Archives For dogs


A couple of months ago, this little dog with his little white feet was running through traffic on Jensen St in the 5th Ward of Houston with an apparent death wish.  Jensen St. is an industrial type road with sometimes heavy traffic, but since he was roaming around at night, his chances of getting hit by a car were a lot less.   After being forced to detour onto Jensen to avoid construction, I noticed this little pup in the middle of the road and instinctively wanted to rescue him.   As I worked to turn around down the road, I noticed another car stopping in an apparent rescue attempt, but I don’t think the pup made it easy because they left fairly quickly.  By the time I got back to him, he was on the side of the road sniffing away so I pulled over, got out of the truck and since my other little Pup was with me I put her out in the grass to help.  The dog quickly came to her to say hello and without hesitation I picked him up and put him in the truck.

After the standard social media posts and attempts to see if anyone would claim him, my plan was to find this cute tiny legged dog a good home.  I had no intentions of keeping him since I already had three dogs and there were a few people already interested in him, but after a week or so of hanging out with this dude I couldn’t help but consider adding him to the family.  And just like that, Torta aka Happy Feet become a part of the pack and as you can see in the pic above he’s living a very very hard life.  (by the way, Torta is the Spanish word for a fajita filled french bread sandwich).

My love for dogs goes deep and I know I get it from my father, who my mom says would bring different dogs home all the time.  Growing up we always had a dog and sometimes two.  Unfortunately my dad passed away when i was 10, but his dog loving spirit lives on in me and my mom witnessed it in action when I hosted my first little dog fest in my back yard in the Summer of 2010.  I had this vision of having friends and family over on a Saturday morning and I would offer coffee, juice and breakfast tacos and everyone would be encouraged to bring their dogs.  I set up a small kiddy pool in the backyard along with balls and lots of dog toys and guess what, everyone showed up.  About 15 – 20 people stopped by with their dogs, some people bringing 3 or 4 dogs, and we had a good little morning event.  I had people and puppies over for breakfast and thus the name “Puppies for Breakfast“.

Two years later, in 2012 I decided to host a larger version of this festival concept and on Saturday, May 13th from 10am – 3pm, Puppies for Breakfast will celebrate it’s 5th year and has become one of the largest dog festivals in Texas and probably the country.  A little gathering that started in my back yard has turned into a huge event and every year it gets bigger and better.  This year we have over 40 different vendors and dog industry companies involved, 3 food trucks, a couple of dog treat trucks,  and amazing sponsors such as Kriser’s Natural PetArne’s WarehouseMarket Square Tower, Pet Talk Magazine, and Sit Means Sit Dog Training.  The event will also have the signature 4,000 sq ft dog play area that will once again become a Puppy Bowl full of balls, pools, and toys.  We have 2 – 3 DJs, including DJ Illset and Fredster, two custom photo wall / booth areas, and not to mention the existing dog run / park that is part of every day use at Market Square Park.

This year the event will benefit Animal Justice League Dog Rescue and though the event is free to the public, we are are asking attendees to please make a $5 donation or gift of any amount to help this amazing rescue.  You can also make a donation online at

This is a family event and if you don’t have a dog don’t let that stop you from enjoying a great event.  Big thank you to the Downtown District and Market Square park for hosting us every year.  They’ve been amazing and we love our partnership with them.  See you Saturday.

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Today is the last day in the series that I’ve been writing called Hector’s Search for Happiness.  I hope you guys have enjoyed it and that somewhere in this stuff you’ve found something to take to heart and chew on.  My ultimate goal in this and in anything that I write is to encourage and build you up.  My life isn’t awesome everyday by any means and I have my share of daily struggles, but just like anyone else I want to be happy and I want my life to matter.  Your life matters and I believe that every person on this earth has a purpose.  Figuring out that purpose should be your daily mission and in doing so I feel that you will learn a lot about yourself, which brings me to my first list for today which is Loving Yourself.


I’ve traced my life back as far as I can remember and I don’t think that I ever really struggled with self esteem issues.  I don’t feel like I’m a great looking person and I do have about 10 – 15 lbs to lose around my waist line, but my confidence doesn’t come from how I look, it’s just the way that I’m wired.  For some, self confidence will come naturally while for others it has to be taught and developed.

If there was one ultimate source for happiness I feel that it will come from how you feel about yourself.  This can come from how you view yourself physically to how you feel about your purpose in the world.  This morning the comedian Amy Schumer was on the Today show and she talked about how walking in self confidence has not always been easy but that she has found her stride and she is doing what she can to encourage others.  In Amy’s words she’s not a “skinny” person and in one of her comedy bits she describes what goes on under her clothes as a lava lamp, where everything just moves around all lazy and slow, waiting to be released with the unzipping of the back of her dress.  It’s great that she can make fun of herself through her comedy and she does a great job of using humor to lift people up.

If we can learn anything from Amy it’s that size doesn’t matter and it’s all about what’s in your heart.  Who you are as a person is more about what’s going on in the inside that what the world sees on the outside.  I have encountered some very shallow people in my life who are beautiful people physically, but unfortunately lack substance and heart.  While on the other end I know people who some may say are overweight and not that physically attractive yet they have hearts of gold and are making a difference in the world.  Those are the people that I want to know and those are the kinds of people that we can learn from.

Focus on finding your place in this world and surround yourself with “beautiful” people with “beautiful” hearts.  Build one another up daily and in doing this it will undoubtedly help you with your own self confidence.  Also, don’t fall into the trap of comparing yourself to others on social media, which can be one of the biggest confidence killers.  Know that everything that we see online is not the real world and your friend’s photos of how awesome their life is and how happy they are on vacation or at the beach is not the whole story.  If you’re not careful you’ll find yourself comparing your life to others and beating yourself up because you can’t post amazing before and after fitness photos from your bathroom.


When I was 12yrs old and we moved to Spring Branch into some huge new apartment complex called Afton Village.  I give the apartment name because I would love to hear from anyone who lived there as well back in the day.  That place was seriously it’s own little city and I have some great memories from that one year of living there.  One of my fondest memories was seeing BMX freestyle in person for the first time in my life.  I remember walking through the complex and being stopped in my tracks as I saw someone playing around on their bike about 100 yards away.  I was mesmerized by what I was seeing and it changed my life forever.  Not long after seeing this my mom bought me my first BMX bike and I rode the hell out of that thing.  I slowly began trying to do whatever tricks I saw that guy do at Afton and by ninth grade I become one of about 20 other BMX flatland riders in Houston.

I can truly say that my bike changed my life.  I loved riding and it was my passion throughout high school and I feel that it kept me out of a lot of trouble.  Me and my friends spent hours and many late nights on the weekend riding in parking lots and learning new tricks.  I remember coming home from school, not being able to wait to get on my bike and hit the park tennis courts to master that one trick that I had been trying to learn for the past 2 – 3 months.  I had found a passion and something I truly loved and it made me happy.

There were several years in the 90s where I abandoned my BMX bike and got into mountain biking and even had a short stint as an aggressive inline skater.  LOL, yes, I skated and I would have to say that I became very good at it, buut by 1998 I caught the BMX bug again and picked up where I left off in 1990.  Since then I haven’t slowed down and riding my bike and being involved in the cycling community is a passion of mine that makes me happy.  I’m sure I’ll be riding around this weekend so keep an eye out for me and don’t run me over.

Friends, love yourself, love others, find your passion and run with it, do what you love and do whatever it takes to be where you’re supposed to be, don’t settle for anything less than what brings true happiness and change the world around you.  And if you don’t own a dog or a bike, get your ass out there this weekend I find both.  That will be your homework for the weekend.  Trust me, you’ll be a very happy person by Monday.

Happy weekend.







My day usually starts with the opening of our blinds around the house, allowing the sun to come in and hang out for a while.  I make coffee and begin with one of many huge cups.  This morning was an early one for me and after pouring that cup, I decided to sit on the back steps and enjoy the cool morning and hang out with my son.  He’s a 70+lb golden retriever named Homie and he’s basically like a child to us.

Had this 13 year old dog since he was a puppy.  We have a lot of history together and so many memories, good and bad.  When he was a puppy he had an uncontrollable chewing fetish and over the course of a couple of years he had destroyed a couple pairs of glasses, a cell phone, wood window seals, shoes, tv remote controls, and half of a Christmas tree.  Yeah, that’s right, he ate half of our tree one Christmas.  We came home one day to find that the bottom half of our tree was missing and ornaments that once had a place to hang were all over the floor.  Apparently the taste of the tree was so good that Homie decided to have a good lunch.  He’s crazy to say the least, but despite his antics over the years, we still love him.

As he grew up, I’ll admit that I didn’t handle a lot of his antics very well.  He definitely tested my patience and received a few beat downs (a.k.a spankings).  Trust me, many times I wanted to give him more than a spanking, but even those ended up hurting my hand.  He of course matured and developed into a very obedient and loving animal.  Best dog I’ve ever had.

With all this said, I’ll get to my reason for this post.  As a dog owner and straight up animal lover, there’s a trait about dogs that I think we can all learn from.  If I ever saw the ability to forgive in any animal, it would have to be dogs.  And I learned this a looonngg time ago.  There were many times that Homie would “piss me off” and I found my self slapping him in the hind area like I was spanking a kid.  Multiple times and sometimes a punch in the ribs.  Yeah i know, not good, but that was then.  Remember, my patience was tested with this guy.  But every time, immediately following one of these disciplining episodes, I could sit next to Homie and notion for him to come give me a hug and he’d be right there.  It didn’t make any sense.  I had just given him a whoopin, why would he even want to be near me?

You see, dogs don’t know how to hold grudges.  They don’t know how to hold unforgiveness.  Of course, if they’re seriously abused they’ll develop a fear towards humans, but in general, dogs only know how to do one thing, and that’s love.  It’s as if they were born to love us humans, and I’d say that there’s a lot that we can learn from them.  You could slap a dog, kick him, give him a couple of body slams, and then lay on the ground next to him and he’ll be right there ready to play and show his love.  He/she completely forgets that just a few minutes ago you were unleashing your “fury” on them.

Let’s keep this in mind today as we go about our business.  If a dog has the ability to forgive as easily as they do, shouldn’t we all the more?  If you are holding a grudge against anyone or have been carrying around unforgiveness, lay it down.  It’s not worth the effort to carry that junk with you.  It actually takes more energy to walk around being bitter and mad at someone than it does to simply forgive, let go, and move on.  It’s definitely easier to say this than do, but we all have the power to forgive.  And if you need help with that, God is always right there ready to help.  Unforgiveness is dangerous and limits our growth.

So learn from the dog.  Study their ways.  Live a lifestyle of forgiveness.  And if you don’t own a dog, go get one today or tomorrow, or this weekend.  They’ll change your life.

– Hector


Those of you who have been following Homie’s story as of this past week, thank you for your kind words and prayers.  We really really appreciate it.  Tuesday was when we rushed him to the vet because of his symptoms, and it didn’t look good for him.  We found out that he has Idiopathic Vascular disease, which is a disease that basically affects his balance, equilibrium, and other areas of coordination.  Homie basically walks around like a drunk person with his head cocked to the side all the time, as if he’s saying “Huh?”.   It’s Saturday and we’re pleased to say that Homie looks like he’s already improving.  He’s still walking around like he’s hungover, but he gets up a little more often and he’s starting to bark again.  We’ll know he’s doing super good when he starts grabbing his decapitated stuffed toy and ripping it’s cotton ball guts out.

We’ve been touched by everyone’s interest and concern about Homie, which is tight, considering he’s just a dog.  But is he really “just a dog”?  To us he’s like a son, and for those of you that don’t share the same passion for animals as we do, I’m sure it’s hard for you to understand this.  It’s funny because a friend of Minette’s from work didn’t see the “big deal” regarding Homie, because in his part of the world, dogs are just dirty animals that roam the streets and occassionally get eaten by humans.  We’d never eat Homie though, unless I was really really really hungry, but even then I’d have to have a few side dishes like mashed potatoes and gravy, corn on the cob, and some corn bread.  mmmm.  🙂

With Homie being sick this past week, it had me and my wife recalling many cool and crazy Homie stories since his puppy days.  One that comes to mind that we always rememeber was how much he use to love chewing stuff.  He once chewed up my glasses and we found them in pieces in the living room as if he was eating potatoes chips.  Another time I found my cell phone lying on the floor with huge teeth bites and a crushed screen.  He’s chewed up the corners of a coffee table, chewed paint off of a brick fire place, would always chew the wood base board underneath the windows, would ram his head into our wooden fence and break planks so that he could sit there and chew on them, and a stuffed animal never lasts one day after homie rips its eyes off first, then the head, then its guts.  He had and still has issues, but we love those “issues” and have a lot of good memories with this dog.

We’re hoping to see Homie recover a lot more over the next couple of weeks and pray for the best.  He’s still very healthy, has a lot of energy and though being 12.568 years old, he still acts like a puppy.  We’ll keep everyone updated on his progress, and I think i’ll pull up some old pics and throw up a gallery this week.  Thanks again to every for caring.  Homie says “Word to your mother” and that he’s a gangsta.  ha.

– @hectorgarcia

(To comment, click on the title above to be taken to the single post page.  thanks.)

Homie Balonie

August 24, 2009 — 6 Comments


Well, that’s not his real name, but that’s what I call my 12 year old Golden Retriever. He probably thinks that it’s his real name by now, but then again he has many names. What started out as “Holmes” slowly turned into “Homie”, “Homeless”, “Homeless Kablonless”, “Homie Cabana”, and of course “Homie Balonie”.

He was given to me as a puppy after a friend of mine found him as a stray in her neighborhood. She brought him to work and immediately I wanted to take this little crazy dog home with me. I love animals, maybe too much sometimes, and Homie is by far the best dog that I’ve every owned. He’s like a son to me and we know one another like white on rice. He truly has been this man’s best friend (next to my wife of course).

Though i know he’s getting old, it wasn’t until this past weekend that I realized how old he really is. You wouldn’t think that he was 12, especially by his playful, puppy-like behavior. He loves people and loves to play. If he sees you at a distance while out on a walk, he’ll want to run straight towards you (while freaking you out at the same time) just so he can meet you and get petted. Dogs are awesome. I don’t know any other word to describe them, especially this one.

Well, while at the park, in the middle of playing with another dog, i noticed that Homie was exhibiting some balance issues. Looked like he was drunk, but it was obvious that his equilibrium was off. It was almost as if he were having a small stroke. Not sure yet. But I immediately squatted down next to him, held him close to help him keep his balance, and simply asked him what was wrong. This helpless feeling came over me and if it would have gotten worse, I’m man enough to admit that I would have teared up. Once he got his composure, I thought it would be a good idea to walk over to this fountain nearby so he could cool off a little, and that’s what we did. Near the fountain he once again showed signs of imbalance, but once he got in the water, he chilled for a little while and he hasn’t exhibited this issue again . . . . yet.

Why am I writing this little story about my dog? I don’t know, but because he’s so close to my heart, I had to write down my thoughts and feelings.  I’m not sure what i’ll do when he passes, but that time could come sooner than I think. Most Golden’s live about 12 – 14, maybe even 16 years. Hopefully those will be a llloooonnngggg few more years.

I’m doing as much as I can with him now. I know that he loves the water, so I’ll be taking him to do some more swimming soon in a lake or two. Getting him out of the house more than usual, and working to get him around other dogs more often. Just want him to have a lot of fun his last few years.

I’ve thought of writing a children’s book based on Homie’s life. There are a lot of stories to tell and tons of morals to teach though them. Yeah, as a puppy he chewed up my glasses, a cell phone, shoes, and window base boards, but he’s come a long way since then and if i could clone him I would. Best freakin dog ever.

With all of this said, I’ll most likely be writing a little more about Homie and sharing some thoughts and insight about life in general, based on what I feel I’ve learned from this dog. This could be the beginning of the book I want to write, which would be appropriately titled “Homie Balonie”. Thanks for reading.

– Hector Garcia
Twitter: @hectorgarcia