Easter House Guest.

I just don’t know 🙂 … (Backstory here)

Truth

“What I would do for wisdom,”
I cried out as a young man.
Evidently not much.
Or so it seems.
Even on walks
I follow the dog.

~ Jim Harrison, Braided Creek: A Conversation in Poetry


Source: Thank you Hammock Papers for poem. Photo: Brian Guest with a Vizsla

Lessons from Lucy

dave barry

I turned 70 in the same year that my dog, Lucy, turned 10—or, in dog years, 70. So we’re basically at the same stage of life, namely, Getting Old.

Lucy is handling it a lot better than I am.

I’m not complaining: I’ve had a good life, and I’m content. But Lucy is more than content: She’s happy, often exuberantly happy, constantly finding excitement and joy in everyday events. It occurred to me that maybe I could learn some life lessons from her—that I could find more happiness in my own life by doing the things Lucy does, except of course for drinking from the toilet.

One thing Lucy does is love people. She is extremely friendly. Even though, as a puppy, she was abandoned to the streets, where she probably had some unpleasant experiences, she shows no fear of strangers, human or canine. She is determined to shower love upon everybody she gets anywhere near. And she is always making new friends.

Pretty much everybody loves Lucy. It’s hard not to: She greets all visitors, whether or not she’s ever met them before, by running up to them, tail wagging, and expressing her love for them with every inch of her quivering-with-happiness body. She is ecstatic when, for example, the bug man comes. Every South Florida household has a bug man who comes once a month to spray deadly carcinogens around as part of the ongoing battle between humans and what we call “Palmetto bugs,” which are cockroaches the size of mature squirrels.

The bug man is Lucy’s best friend. She follows him from room to room, ready and eager to assist in the event that he needs to be licked. She’s like this with all visitors to our house; every one of them is her best friend. So is everybody she meets when we’re out walking around. She has many, many best friends. She is 75 pounds of pure, unstoppable affection, a powerful groin-seeking missile of love.

~ Dave Barry, from “Learning a New Trick From My Old Dog: Friendship” (wsj.com, March 15, 2019)

Dave Barry is the author of the forthcoming “Lessons From Lucy: The Simple Joys of an Old, Happy Dog” (April 2, 2019)

Oh, so much Truth…

Our house is quiet at night, I seem to be hearing dog paws on the stairs, but the dog lies sprawled asleep on the floor next to the bed. Maybe I’m hearing the dog we had before the one we have now? I don’t think people linger on after death, but I wonder whether dogs do. And that we can hear them scuffling about for many years after they’re gone.

Linn Ullmann, ”Unquiet: A Novel” (W. W. Norton & Company, January 15, 2019)


Photo of our Zeke on 11/17/14 (RIP).

Saturday Morning

She likes it best when everything is very, very quiet.

Linn Ullmann, ”Unquiet: A Novel” (W. W. Norton & Company, January 15, 2019)


Photo: All Things Shabby and Beautiful

Merry Christmas!


Photo: Erin Vey (via Your Eyes Blaze Out)

Running. With *$!# Management.

6:58 a.m.

First day of Winter. Temperature: 61° F. Repeat: 61° F, on December 21st. Paradoxical? Global Warming? Heti whispers: “Not everything has to be so heavy all the time.” Whoa Sheila, try walking with me in this Head for a few yards.

I step on the scale anticipating a bad outcome…and expectations are exceeded on the high side. Now Sheila, here’s some real Heavy.

Rain patters on the roof, bangin’ on the gutters. I flip open the Dark Sky app…it’s calling for heavy rain for the next two hours. 

“Severe weather alert: Coastal Flooding.”

Well, maybe that might work – a flash flood to drag me along the highway, scrubbing the cheese, gingerbread cookies and peppermint chocolate gelato off these bones, and cleanse me of this mood while it’s at it.

I pause as I put on my sneakers. Maybe it’s best to wait for the rain to let up, and run later. Who are you kidding? Get your a** out the door.

I’m out the door. I run. With Me (M), and me (m).

M: What’s with the mood?

m: I don’t want to get into it.

M: Blog title? Anger management? Angry about what? 

m: Hard of hearing? Pick a topic. I’ll find an angle.

M: Root cause? [Read more…]

A dog’s life

In deciding how far to go to save a pet with health problems, people fall on two sides – those who’d do whatever it takes, pay staggering bills, take leaves from their jobs, and those who see a broken animal as a costly nuisance, something that can be replaced…What role does suffering and quality of life play? And how do you navigate it when you’re in the middle of an emergency, swamped by uncertainty and unknowns? … “To look into [a dog’s] eyes and watch the lights go out as they go to sleep, it’s so heartbreaking I can’t imagine anybody apart from the toughest people can do that without being seriously affected. So the decision becomes let’s not do it, let’s give healing a chance.”

Scout came into my life in the middle of a January night in the parking lot of a Super 8 near Rochester, N.Y. A rescue worker plucked all 11 pounds and 12 weeks of her from a crate on the back of a truck and slipped her into my arms. It was raining and I tucked her inside my pea coat. She snuffled my neck. You’re home, I whispered. And although I didn’t realize it at the time, so was I…

I found her on the rescue website Petfinder and it really was love at first sight.  Her face was gentle and curious, with old-soul eyes. She had four white paws and a blaze of white the shape of Texas on her chest. In the litter’s adoption video, she was the one always at the bottom of the pile.

I’d wanted a Lab mixed with something smart and sweet and stumbled on a litter of Lab/Border collie pups in Mt. Airy, N.C., in December, 2015. The rescue pulled dogs from high kill shelters and adopted them to the northeast United States and Canada, employing a truck to deliver dogs to their new families every two weeks.

I hadn’t planned on getting a puppy. I’d never felt brave enough to try to take care of something that required so much attention. But I had wanted a dog of my own for as long as I can remember. I imagined that having a dog would be a good antidote to depression; it would get me out of my own head, serve as an anchor outside of work and make me feel safe. A dog would push me out of the house and into the world, and it would keep me home, too, when it was better to be there.

With Scout, I had something to focus on other than myself. Housebreaking alone was a full time job. On weekends, I was up by seven o’clock, because no one can sleep with the Looming Dog Alarm Clock. I made small talk with strangers, as long as they had a dog. I stayed in more at night, busy with belly rubs, teaching tricks and playing tug of war. Everything was nicer with her around. Reading books and watching movies. Sleeping. Walking. She followed me everywhere. Training her made me feel good at something. She was the best comfort and company, a mostly serious dog full of concern, unless there were squirrels to be chased, a ball to be thrown or a lake to be conquered. She made me laugh every day.

Love does find you.

~ Shawna Richer, from “A dog’s life: What would I sacrifice for the animal I love? (The Global and Mail, December 15, 2018)

Saturday Morning


Photo: Shutterstock via Newthom

Mission Complete

The casket of former President George H.W. Bush will reportedly be accompanied by his service dog when it’s flown to Washington, D.C. CNN, citing a source familiar with the plans, reported that Sully, a yellow Labrador, will make the trip with the late president before going back into service to help other ex-veterans.  Bush’s spokesman, Jim McGrath, shared a photo of Sully appearing to sleep right by Bush’s casket.  “Mission complete,” McGrath wrote on Twitter, using the hashtag

CNN noted that Sully is a highly trained service dog that worked with Bush starting in the summer of this year. He served Bush starting shortly after former first lady Barbara Bush died in April…

Bush’s funeral in Washington, D.C., will take place on Wednesday at 11 a.m. at the Washington National Cathedral. He is set to lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda from Monday through Wednesday morning.

~ Justin Wise, George H.W. Bush’s service dog to accompany his casket on trip to DC: report (The Hill, December 2, 2018)

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