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Author. Artist. Animal lover. I write about animals, travel, life lessons & more. Liz & Toby Adventures, Book 1: My Dog Sees Ghosts. http://www.dakotaduncan.com

Are You Still Processing the Trauma? I Am.

Now that I am fully vaccinated, I feel like a turtle peeking out of his shell. It’s exciting to see the world again, or at least a small part of it, but I’m not sure I’m safe. In talking with others, I’ve found this is a common fear. We just spent the past 15 months learning to be fearful in order to stay safe. We rarely went outside our own homes, didn’t socialize unless it was through video chat, and many of us even worked from home. We learned that the outside world is a scary place only to be…


What I learned about how my brain is wired

Are you the type of person who can easily articulate yourself verbally, tossing off facts and opinions in well-reasoned arguments with no prep time? I am not. Sometimes I get asked questions that cause my brain to go foggy even though I know I have the knowledge in my head. It’s just that I need time to sort out my thoughts. It can be really frustrating.

Last week I read Dr. Bo Stapler’s article, 3 Irresistible Advantages of Using Voice-to-Text for Writing Stories. He explains how much he enjoys dictating stories and explains why this is so. His thoughts so…


Boosting Your Creativity is Easier Than You Think

Think you aren’t creative? Think again.

We all know people who insist they are not creative, but then you walk into their home to find they have personally decorated it to Architectural Digest standards, or there is a gorgeous garden in their backyard that they have spent the last 5-years lovingly designing and tending, or they have stunning scrapbooks of their kids that they have created on scrapbooking retreats with their friends.

Creativity Can Be Simply a Matter of Belief

According to Harvard Business Review, anecdotal evidence suggests about half of us don’t think we are creative. …


ANECDOTE | ANIMAL THERAPY

My experience with a 3-day workshop

Have you ever wished you could help your pets simply by touching them? It turns out that you can. Have you ever heard of Healing Touch? It’s a holistic energy-based healing therapy used to support balance and harmony. It’s similar to Reiki, but not the same. It turns out, there is an offshoot of Healing Touch called Healing Touch for Animals (HTA).

What is Healing Touch for Animals?

I heard about HTA several years ago. I was learning a bit about animal communication, as I’ve taken the time to do every few years since my impressive first experience with an animal communicator, and Healing Touch for…


The challenge of labels

Recently, a friend mentioned that on her blog she is asking for submissions about what it means to be a woman. Wow. Not an easy topic, which is actually her point. She is hoping to put together a collage of answers that represent the gamut of responses, and in doing so, invite readers into what could be challenging conversations.

I’ve not written my submission, yet. I’ve barely begun thinking about it. Answering the question feels daunting. For me, being a woman means being strong and independent. Being a woman sometimes means being invisible. Being a woman means being a wife…


A Look at Portland, Oregon

I love Portland, Oregon. Pre-Covid Portland was a beautiful city, big enough to offer cultural and dining experiences, but small enough to easily navigate and possess a palpable personality. A few weeks ago my wife and I drove through downtown Portland to see what had changed since the pandemic struck. We knew from a trip into town in the fall that some businesses had closed and homeless tents had cropped up in many locations. We hadn’t expected how much worse it had gotten.

As we entered the downtown area, fairly near Old Town Chinatown, we could already see a shocking…


Coming to Grips With Adult Goals Set By a Child

You know that dream that you have over and over again? Sometimes it’s months or even years between viewings, but when it’s back, you recognize the place, the people, the action. You know what you will do and how it will feel before it ever happens. More and more, my waking life has been feeling like one of those dreams.

Maybe part of it has been that the past year was spent in lockdown due to the pandemic. It’s more than that though. …


Anecdote | Creative

Watch your cat.

My wife often reminds me that our cat, Jasper, is very good at being a cat. He doesn’t worry that he’s not a successful enough cat, or a fit enough cat, or a cat with thousands of followers on social media. He is simply himself and doesn’t strive to be more than that.

On the other hand, people seem to have trouble being good at being human. We want things we don’t have. We don’t do things we know are good for us. …


Perspective | Education

My quest for the perfect chew

“Nine dollars for a bully stick!” I mentally shouted my outrage and knew for the time being we were sticking with homemade chew options.

Chewing is a natural activity for dogs. As puppies, they explore their world with their mouths and as their adult teeth start coming in, they chew to relieve pain. Chewing is an instinctual way for dogs to keep their jaws strong and their teeth clean. It also is a way to relieve anxiety, boredom, and frustration. Although I couldn’t find any credible reference to support it, I also think that it’s probably just fun. …


Anecdote | Travel

People are infuriating. Dogs are the best.

If I had unleashed the primal growl that had been building for hours, I probably would not have been allowed on the plane. I hid my disdain for all that was happening around me behind my facemask while realizing a greater appreciation for a dog’s ability to lash out without anyone thinking he’d lost his grip on reality.

Taking some deep breaths might have helped my anxiety level, but given the mask and that I was surrounded by people on all sides, that wasn’t practical. Instead, I retreated inside my mind and reviewed the past several days. …

Dakota Duncan

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