Monthly Archives: May 2011

DogPaw – Clark County’s Dog Park

Memorial day was nice and sedate. It included another trip to Clark County’s Dog Park; DogPaw (Dog Owners Group for Park Access in Washington).

This extremely impressive dog park is run entirely by volunteers and is not in any way city funded.  I have been to dog parks in Oregon, Washington and Michigan and I must say that this is by far the most well kept and well designed dog park I have ever been to.

First, this park is HUGE and completely fenced for off-lease romps.  They have an area for small dogs and a main dog park that any dogs can enjoy.  This way, if you have a smaller dog you’re worried about getting rolled by a larger one you can just keep safe in the separate, smaller area.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The second thing about this dog park that I love is that as you can see in the above and below picture it’s got a designated walking trail that span the outskirts of the entire park.  If you walk the trail once you’ve gone about a half a mile.  This type of design is unique and keeps dogs and owners moving in the park instead of clumped in one place where a large number of dogs can congregate (and tiffs can break out).  Even when the park is busy it doesn’t feel it because of the design.   If you want to play ball or other activities there is plenty of open grass space for the furry four legs to do just that.  It’s fantastic exercise for dog and owner alike!

Setting off; the start of the dog park's trail

 

They provide plenty of spaces to sit and rest while your dog gets some exercise

And finally, this park is absolutely picturesque.  If you have a willing dog (I don’t…lol) you can get some fantastic shots!

The picture would have been amazing had he held his ears up!

 

Blizzard found a happy spot

 

Look at that amazing Golden reach!

 

After one go around Blizzard was done.

They are currently raising money to put in a water station.  They currently have $700 of the $3200 they need.  For now, you can always find a fresh supply of water.  Blizzard is picky and won’t drink out of water bowls that have been drunk out of by other dogs.  I find this reassuring since I know he’s less likely to contract something that way.  I just always make sure to bring a travel water bowl and fresh water for him.

 

You know he's tired when he just lays in the van and is ready to go home!

 

So, if you are in Clark County Washington or anywhere near it I highly suggest checking this dog park out!  It’s absolutely spectacular.  The only thing I”m not happy about is that males over 1 year of age that are unaltered can no longer visit the park.  Females in heat are not allowed but unaltered females are.  I’m not sure I find this policy entirely fair.  There is a false assumption that unaltered males are aggressive.  This is not true.  I think it should be up to the owner to determine whether or not their dog has a disposition that belongs in a dog park.  Likewise, if you have a female you should be able to tell when your dog is in heat to prevent any accidents.  It is absolutely best to spay and neuter your dogs. In my case, Blizzard is on a show contract and I’m waiting until he matures to see what his prospects are.  If by the age of three he hasn’t matured to a point that he should be shown in the confirmation ring or bred then I will indeed have him neutered.

 

Do you have a dog park you love?  Send pics and stories and I’ll post them here at Bark Culture!

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Crafty Paws – Leash Holder

I had some great “wants” from readers and will cover those when I can!  Thanks for all the suggestions.

Today I wanted to share a “crafty paws” idea that I made last night.  Every time we go out we have to search for Blizzard’s leash so I decided a nice place to hang it was in order.  I could have certainly just drilled a wall hook and called it a day but the crafty paws bug bit me.

The best thing about this crafty paw is that the sky’s the limit in terms of look and embellishments.  If you imagine it you can make it!

  Supplies

  •   Wooden Tile
  •   Scrapbook paper or paint
  •   Hook
  •   Embellishment glue
  •   Mod podge or collage glue
  •   Foam brush
  •   Scissors
  •   Embellishments
  •   Ribbon or Wire
  • Optionally you can also include a picture of your pet.  In the supplies photo you’ll notice a picture of Blizzard but I ended up not using it.  These things morph as we go and the finished product looked better without it.
    Whatever hook you choose, make sure it will fit your leash.  I prefer a hook that I can loop the larger part of the leash to the top and the metal latch can loop through the lower hook.  (this particular one doesn’t quite accommodate that but this is how these things go with a first run)
    You want to make sure you use a quality collage type glue such as Mod Podge which is available in any craft store.  Not only does this hold but it also acts as a finish to protect your final work.  It dries clear and you can wipe it clean at any point (important with dogs!).
    You can glue scrap paper on or you can paint the tile.  That is entirely up to you.  I have done both in the past and it’s completely an aesthetics and personal choice.
    Step 1
    Cut your paper (if you’re using paper) to fit the tile.  You will want to cut it slightly smaller than the tile as leaving any hang over will eventually cause the paper to peel even with a good glue.  You can also paint the tile and then apply paper as well for another added dimension.
    Step 1a (optional)
    This is an optional step and just all depends on how you work.  I like to drill my hole and get the hook placement correct prior to putting glue to paper.  This way I have guide holes for when I’m finished and that part of the craft goes quick and easy.  I struggle with hooks likes these and find this works best for me.  You can certainly place the hook after you’re completely done but I find the layers of glue make it a bit challenging.
    Step 2  
    Glue your paper to the tile.  If you’re unfamiliar with using something like Mod Podge you want to coat ALL surfaces.   This means putting glue down on the tile AND the back of the paper.  I use a foam brush for this as it coats the glue evenly and foam brushes are cheap.  You will have to throw the brush out afterwards as the glue will ruin the foam brush.
      
    In addition to putting glue in the back you also want to cover the front surface with glue.  You’ll want to do a few layers of glue.  This dries fairly quickly and can be done in one sitting.  Make sure you put the glue on thinly and evenly because while it dries clear any glue clumps will show.
    Step 3  
    This is the fun step!  Add your embellishments!  I like to play with placing and format before any glue goes down.  This is how I figured out that the picture of Blizzard wasn’t going to work.  Try different embellishments with different layers and configurations until you like it.  Layering is a fantastic way to add personality and depth so don’t be afraid to put stuff on top of each other or even under the hook!  You can add personal items as well.  The tag that says “companion” in this picture was purchased blank and I filled it in with the world “companion”.  I tried a few different words but this one seemed to fit how I felt about Blizzard.
    Again, put glue where you’re going to paste an item down, the back of the embellishment as well as the front.  Add layers for protection.
    Note: You can see where I predrilled the holes for the hook as it makes a raised bump.  This gives me a great starting point for end placement.
    Step 4
    Add your hook!  If you’ve predrilled your holes as I suggest above in step 1a you can actually add the hook while your glue is still wet for added strength.  If you chose not to then you will want to wait until it’s dried completely.  Hook placement is up to you but I like to add it closer to the bottom so the leash can hang.  
    You’ll also notice I added some paw prints.
    Step 5
    Add your ribbon or wire.  Whatever you want to hang the holder with.  Alternately you can drill the holder directly into the wall for more stability.
    Step 6
    Now you’re ready to let your crafty paw dry.  Let it dry 24 hours before hanging and use.
    Step 7
    Now you’re ready to hang!  
    Viola!  Enjoy your new crafty paw!
    Note: If anyone is interested in acquiring one from me please comment or shoot me an email and we’ll work something out!

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    Dear Readers – What would you like?!

    Blizzard and I would love your opinion on what you’d like to see.  I have ideas and lately have been focusing on recipes (which will continue since I’m working on getting an actual Dog Bakery up and running) but I want to know what you want to see.

     

    Product reviews?

    Understanding Breeds?

    Exercise?

    Event Coverage?

    News/Thoughts from the dog show world?

    More personal “day in the life of…” type stories?

    I love doing this blog and will continue to do so but if I didn’t want readers I wouldn’t post publicly.  So what do you want to see?

     

    Also, send pics and stories of your own to me and I’ll post them up here as well!

     

    Bark on and Keep Wagging!

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    Peanut Butter Spread

    I promise that I won’t post ONLY recipes but the rain around here lately has me inside and there’s nothing like baking on a cold rainy day.  Lately it’s been for the dog; much to my husband’s dismay.  You benefit…he just shakes his head….

    Today I made a super quick and easy spread that can be put on dog cookies, stuffed in a Kong or given by spoon.  This came from a request from a friend who wanted a frosting recipe that was good enough for people to eat as well.  The “test kitchen” was open today and while we set out to make a frosting we ended up with more of a spread.  The consistency of this isn’t just right to call it a frosting.  However, it doesn’t take away from the tastiness of this recipe and the fact that your dog with LOVE this addition to any treats you buy or bake.  This is a really nice compliment to the Peanut Butter & Banana treats I posted awhile back.

    Ingredients 

      8 oz of reduced fat cream cheese

    4 oz of creamy peanut butter

    1 tablespoon of Canola Oil

    1 teaspoon of honey (optional)

     

     

     

     

    Directions

    This recipe is extremely easy. You’re just going to blend all the ingredients in a bowl until they are all smoothly blended.

    You’ll need to store this in the fridge afterwards.  It can sit for awhile on treats.  You will need to warm it up a bit after it’s been in the fridge or else it will be too stiff to spread.

    Tips

    8 oz of cream cheese is the size of the container above.  To figure out how to get 4 oz of peanut butter just fill the 8 oz cream cheese container half way.  Easy!

    The honey in this recipe is completely optional.  Honestly, your dog isn’t going to mind one way or another.  The honey is added if  you (the human) plan on sharing this with your four legged companion.

    Taste?

    Since we made this at the specific request for something good for humans and their furry friends it required some human taste testing!

    I tasted this prior to the honey and it’s thick and well, tastes like a super creamy peanut butter.  Adding just a teaspoon of honey (which won’t hurt your dog by any means) makes it more easily spreadable and adds enough sugar to make it taste good to the human pallet.

    My two children also helped give their opinion.  They both LOVED it.  My oldest daughter said, “This would be great on bagels”!   And you know what?  She’s right.  This would make an awesome spread on bagels for us hairless two legged folks.

    Keep in mind though this is meant for your dog so if it doesn’t quite suite your tastes Blizzard and I apologize.  However, Blizzard whole heartedly approved!

    Blizzard is eagerly waiting for the first frosted treat

    The first bite is soooo tasty!

    After cookie smile. I think he approves.

    My youngest daughter makes this exact face. We call it SCRUNCHY FACE and it's the ultimate face of happiness. All from the peanut butter spread!

     

    Let me know if you’ve tried this and what you or your furry friend think!  Send pictures of  them enjoying the treat and I’ll put them up here on Bark Culture.

    As always if you have requests that you’d like the test kitchen to try out, shoot me an email or comment!

     

    Bone Appetite!  

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    Salmon Treats

    Time to switch from the sweetness of Peanut Butter and Banana treats to the savory flavor of Salmon!  These treats pack a nutritious punch; omega 3 fatty acids, calcium, vitamin C and tons of protein!  The strong odor from the fish is sure to wet any dogs appetite!

    Let me say before we go on that if you plan on making this recipe you’re going to want to do it with your windows  open.  These cookies have an extremely pungent odor and the smell with carry from your kitchen throughout your entire house.  Even if you enjoy fish the odor from these can be a bit much.  Your dog however will have his nose to the counter/floor/sniffing the air the entire time you’re baking these.

    Blizzard sniffs the air while watching the mixing bowl expectantly.

    This recipe, like the previous one has room for your own special flair.  If you don’t want to use oatmeal you can use whole wheat flour and if you don’t want to use the wheat flour you can use more oatmeal.  It’s up to you what you want to use as your primary dough forming agent.  However, if you use wheat flour you lose a bit of the salmon smell that dogs love after the cookies bake.

      Ingredients

    2 eggs

    15oz can of Salmon w/ juice (any combination works fine; small 5 oz cans or one larger 15 oz can)

    2 1/4 cups oatmeal (approximate)

    Wheat flour for rolling

    Tip:  Canned Salmon can be expensive.  At $2.50 per 5 oz can this recipe can be pretty pricey.  I make these when I find canned Salmon on sale and stock up for the future.  I managed to snag these 5 oz cans for $1.00 a piece and a 14.6 oz can was only $2.49.  I bought what the store had so I’d have plenty on hand for the future!

    Directions

    1.  Preheat oven to 350.

    2.  Grease your cookies sheets lightly (Again as a reminder I use canola oil but vegetable would work as well; flaxseed is best!  DO NOT use butter or Crisco or any other form of shortening)

    3.  In a food processor or food chopper, crack the eggs and put in the entire thing!  Yes, put in the yolk, whites AND the shell.  Egg shells are extremely good for your dog and they love the crunch!  Process well until the egg shells are broken into small pieces.  The eggs themselves will be frothy.  Pour into a large mixing bowl.

    Tip: I use a small food chopper that I purchased for around $10 at a local Target.  It doesn’t chop the eggs as fine as I’d like but it works.  Alternately if you don’t have a food processor/chopper you can use a mortar and pestle or even just a hammer to break up the shells.

    4.  Dump your cans of salmon with the juice into your food processor.  Run it until the salmon is a bit mushy and extremely juicy.  Pour this into your mixing bowl with the eggs.

    5.  Blend Salmon and Eggs until throughly blended together.

    6.  Start adding oatmeal slowly.  I would recommend you start with the 2 and 1/4 cups mentioned above but if the dough isn’t forming add more.  You can also add wheat flour which will quickly bring it to dough. 

    Tip: This recipe works best with an extremely wet dough.  The wet dough can be hard to work with if you want to use shapes to cut your cookies out.  You can add more oatmeal or roll in more wheat flour until it becomes a consistency you can work with.  However, the more flour you add, the less potent the salmon is.  You can also simply treat these like drop cookies using the wet dough.

    7.  Roll the dough out and cut into any shape you like.  I take the literal route and go straight for a fish shaped cookie!

    8.  Put into the oven and bake for 30 minutes.  Again, time will vary depending on how thick you cut the cookies.  I like to cut these extremely thick and typically have to add about 10-15 minutes.  Just keep and eye on them; they will be ready to come out when they are a nice golden brown color.

    Tip: These large cookies take Blizzard awhile to eat which makes them a nice hearty treat.  However, sometimes I want to be able to give him a quick reward for sitting when asked, going potty outside or waiting when I ask him too.  My solution is to make what I call “poppers”.  You just take the dough you’ve formed and roll them into extremely small little balls.  They take about 1/2 the time to cook but are easy to store and are a great “two bite” dog reward!

    9.  After the treats come out you’ll want to cool them on wire racks.

    That’s it!  Once cool they will be ready to share!

    Warning: These cookies don’t have as long a self as most others due to the salmon.  After about a week you’ll want to store these in the fridge to preserve them longer.  If you live somewhere humid you are safest to put these right from cooling rack into fridge.  Otherwise you’ll have moldy cookies and one disappointed dog.

    Let me know how your four footed furry friend likes these!  If you have pictures of your companion enjoying these send them along and I’ll upload them to my blog!

    As always if you have a special treat you want tested or to know how to bake, let me know!

    BONE APPETITE 

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    Man vs Dog

    I think there’s a bit of jealousy going on in my household.  My husband has told me more than once, “You love that dog more than me”.  I always tell him “No Way!”

    We went through this same discussion last week.  He said, “I swear, you love the dog more than me.”  As usual, I said, “No, of course not.”  My husband than stretched out his legs on the couch and relaxed to watched TV.  The dog came up, wagging his tail and clearly wanted to sit on the couch with me (yes, yes I DO let the dog on the couch with me).  I poked my husband’s leg and said, “Hey, you need to move…you’re taking up too much of the couch and the dog wants up here.”  My husband, not moving, just glared at me.  Oops… I wasn’t making a great case against loving the dog more than my husband.

    I really don’t love the dog more than my husband, but let’s face it…the dog is super fuzzy, he feels great to rub, and when I need to do something or don’t want to rub him anymore I gently set him aside.  He might pout a second but he moves on.  My husband on the other hand, he’s rough to rub (I’m thankfully he isn’t as fuzzy!), he weighs considerably more than the dog and he too pouts when I stop or have to move but he’s not easily persuaded to stop pouting by a night blueberry, yogurt treat (well he might be… maybe I should start keeping chocolate cake on hand…hmmmm….).

    His other big sticking point is that I left the dog lay on the bed with me; and of course I let him lay on my husband’s side…pillows and all.  I can blame my husband; who wants to sleep on a bed that is full of dog hair, dirty and smells like a bully stick (and if you haven’t smelled them, they are VILE).  I can’t help it though, I like the soft warm fuzzy animal next to me; he’s like a giant stuffed animal.  PLUS I can keep a better eye on him without having to kennel him.

    At the end of the day though, it’s really not that I love the dog more than my husband.  I love them both but I love them in different ways.  My husband has nothing to fear.  Now, if I could only figure out how to make my lap bigger so I can accommodate a 16 month old Momma’s gal and the dog life would be good…but that’s another story.

    Besides, how can you NOT love this face?!

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    Peanut Butter & Banana Treats

    Blizzard is addicted to peanut butter!  I mean, I don’t think even raw steak would affect him like this so I decided that one of the first recipes the “test kitchen” would try out was a Peanut Butter and Banana dog treat.  Let’s say this was a HUGE success so I present them here for you to try out at home.

    There is flexibility with this recipe as well as I’ll explain below which I really like!

    Ingredients

    • 1 egg
    • 1/3 cup peanut butter
    • 1/2-3/4 cup mashed banana
    • 1 tablespoon honey
    • 1 cup whole wheat flour
    • 1/2 cup oatmeal
    • 1 egg white (optional)

    1.  Preheat Oven to 300 degrees.

    *Even though these are dog treats you should still practice safe kitchen standards using clean counters, and make sure you wash your hands!

    2.  Lightly grease a baking sheet.  I used Canola oil which I rubbed on the baking sheet with a paper towel.  It’s up to you which type of oil you use, Flaxseed would most likely be a better choice.  Just don’t use butter, Pam or Crisco!  Not good for your furry friend.  I would purchase a separate baking sheet for your dog cookies.  Depending on the recipe they tend to leave a residue you can never quite seem to get rid of.  Also, if you’re like me who burnt the first batch I forever has dog shaped burn marks now etched in my cookie sheets.

    I like to use organic and name brand.  Just because they are for my dog doesn’t mean I should skimp!  You can often find ripe bananas for cooking at the grocery store and these are usually cheaper and luckily exactly what you  need.  I purchased mine, which were organic, for only $.39 lb.  Can’t beat that!

    As a note, you can substitute the oatmeal out for a variety of other ingredients; wheat germ, flax seed, or any heavier type agent to give them texture such as Wheaties or shredded wheat. 

    3. Stir together the egg, peanut butter, banana and honey; blend thoroughly.

    4.  Stir in the flour and oatmeal and mix well.  Your mixture should be doughy.  You’ll be rolling this out on a floured board so make sure the mixture is no long “sticky”.   Depending on which ingredient you add (oatmeal, wheat germ, flaxseed…etc) and how banana you may need to add more flour.  Keep adding flour until your mixture reaches a nice dough.

    Bonus points to those geeks out there who can tell me the character on the TV screen!

    5.  Put dough on a floured counter and roll out.  You can roll these out to whatever thickness you like.  I like mine a bit thicker but thinner treats will come out crispier overall.  Use various cookie cutters or shapes.

    6.  Put cut out pieces on the pre-greased cookie sheets.

    7.  As an optional set you can take the egg white and brush that on the dog treats.  This gives it a nice glossy look.  Otherwise, it has no practical function!  Your dog won’t care but you will!

    8.  Bake the biscuits in your preheated oven until dried and golden brown (note: if you don’t use the egg they won’t become golden brown).  This can take anywhere from 15-30 minutes depending on how thick or thin you rolled the shapes out.  I suggest setting a timer for 10 minutes and checking them frequently.  The test kitchen *burnt* their first batch because they were rolled thinner.

    9.  Remove from over and place on wire racks to cool.

    10.  Share with your furry friend!

    Now, while these treats have ingredients safe for humans to eat it’s still up in the air whether or not you would want to eat them.  My daughter (who turns 12 today – HAPPY BIRTHDAY!) kept stealing them from the cooling racks and eating them.  I will admit, they smelled really good.  She insists they are very tasty.  Upon seeing my daughter scarfing them down my husband decided to give them a try.  He picked one up, took a huge bite, chewed and ran to the garbage to spit it out.  Needless to say, he DID NOT like them.  He says they taste like paste.  Regardless of what the humans think, this is meant for someone with four legs and fur.  If they like peanut butter or bananas I’m sure they will eat these with no complaints!

    I gave these to my sponsors for the WCGHS “Hike on the Dike”.  They look great in a treat bag and ribbon which can all be purchased fairly cheaply so consider these for gifts the next time you need a canine treat!

    I believe the “test kitchen” is going to work on Salmon dog cookies this weekend and an awesome frosting recipe that would be a perfect companion to these cookies!  BONE APPETITE!  

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    WCGHS – Hike on the Dike SUCCESS!

    The West Columbia Gorge Humane Society’s fundraiser was a HUGE success!  With the generosity of family, friends and my colleagues from Market Strategies I was able to contribute $200 to the WCGHS!  $200!!!!  Thanks so much to all those who contributed!  I was really proud to walk this event and walk I did!  I walked the entire event walk time and both Blizzard and I were extremely beat at the end.  Luckily I had my support team with me; Mike (my husband) Finnegan (my son) and Braewyn (my 16 month old daughter).  We had to take a break for water and swimming but otherwise we were zooming!  It helped that the event location was absolutely spectacular; the Pacific Northwest at it’s finest!

    There was plenty to do besides the walk and we had a great time.  We got to see a K9 Police demonstration, visit with the shelter dogs and Blizzard was declared (unofficially) the most adorable dog at the event!

    I cannot express my gratitude enough to those who sponsored a pledge for Blizzard and I.  Enjoy these photos from the event!  Can’t wait until next year!

    Costume Contest Winner

    Wait...shouldn't he be walking?

    The friendliest Chi ever! He loved Braewyn.

    Yeeha!

    Fireman Finnegan!

    BIG dog!

    Another BIG dog

    Support Team Member - Braewyn...wait...is she sleeping?! What kind of support is that?

    Blizzard is ready and waiting for the walk to begin.

    Yummy and fun dog and cat cupcakes

    Available shelter dogs

    Gaggle of Goldens

    This guy was walking around taking photos with his Nintendo 3DS! Love the Geekery.

    Walk Start

    Go!

    Walk Leader

    Walk View - Gorgeous!

    Swim break!

    After swim roll. Is there anything better?

    Walk Scenery

    Break point

    Support Team on break

    Vancouver K-9 Police demonstration

    End of the walk rest. Happy dog is happy!

    Mike, Braewyn and Blizzard waiting for the bomb dog demo.

    He really is the world's best pooper scooper!

    See you next year! In the meantime you can always donate or volunteer at the shelter 🙂

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    Blizzard meets the Lake

    When it stops raining around here in the Pacific Northwest it means get your butt outside!  

    We took Blizzard to the local park which also has a lake.  Being that he lived with the breeder he had never been swimming in a pond or at a local lake so I wanted to introduce him to this wonder.

    He took to it like I thought he would.  He wouldn’t “swim” and being a young pup I don’t want to force him into anything.  He’ll learn at his pace.

    He absolutely loved running in the water, ripping back and forth from water to shore.  He would go as far as he could with his feet still touch ground though and would go no further.  He’ll be a great swimmer, just takes time!

    Here are some of the images from this momentous occasion.

    Woah...this is all...wet!!!

    Whatcha doing? Can I fish too?

    Planning his next move.

    Break time in the grass.

    I'm such a happy pup!

    Oooh... whatcha got there?

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    Hike on the Dike – Reminder

    Just a friendly reminder that I’ll be participating in the West Columbia Gorge Humane Society’s “Hike on the Dike” to raise money for their no kill shelter.

    The event is this Saturday, May 14th so there is still time to sponsor a pledge.

    You can donate to me directly at my Paypal account – conleyanthro@hotmail.com

    Or if you like you can donate directly to WCGHS via this link: http://bit.ly/lEXaZ1

    If you donate via the link just make sure that you say it’s for Erica and Blizzard’s  sponsor pledge for “Hike on the Dike”.  Also,  make sure to comment or email me to let me know so I can include it on my pledge sheet.

    I cannot express my gratitude enough to those who already donated!  You guys rock.

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