Category Archives: dogs


Yes, our tot lot was a mess for a long time with sand and rebar and large fences. I took out my old dog one morning and there were little kids in there who had climbed the fence and were inside with the rebar. I told them to get out, they were 2-6 years old. Otherwise I’d call their mothers.

It was seven in the morning. I did not know how to reach their mothers but they got out of the rebar and went home and called me every name known to mankind. I was now the witch that needed to be avoided at all costs. I just knew it was not safe in there and did not want to call an ambulance for a cut or rebar stick lest it hurt the kids.

Over the year our park was neglected. then finally padded footing was put in with plain vanilla slides et al. Nothing like I grew up with as a kid. The kids befriended my old dog Chani. They’re probably out of college and have wives and kids by now.

We were closest to two boys, Jessie and James. James was older and had a kind of gang of friends around. One day, Chani died. I rushed her to her doc but she’d bled out so we had to euthanize her. Friends came ’round to give their respects at the hospital, in the park and at the watering ceremony for the tree they gave our park in her memory.

I went out to our park and ran into Jessie right after she died, and his older brother James. I asked Jessie to come back behind the bushes with me. At six he was very manly. He did cry, then demanded to know exactly how Chani died. As a woman I did not understand this, and it led to seeing his big brother and his friends. Now. I’m going to yell at you for nothing “Don’t ever do that again!!!” so you can tell him about our Chani later.

A year later I lent them my breed book and they chose Sparky, a Jack Russell Terrier they named Sparky because of Dad, a sub sonar officer. They gave me back my book and I was the first person Sparky visited. Good friends. Here’s to good dogs! Dee


The Commandant

Yes, that is what we called her trainer in Dog Obedience 101. I underwent the training. My husband sat by the wall and criticized my techniques, and the Commandant never even looked at Zoe the entire six weeks.

Zoe did not undergo formal training, which I needed for doggie daycare and overnights, until she was a year old. She knew most of it but had each diseased hip out at six and nine months of age so we gave her time to recover.

I remember a German Shepherd who was really smart, right next to us in class. The Commandant spent a lot of time with him. He would conveniently “forget” to sit. He’d be commanded to repeat it and get a treat for doing so. He was only forgetting for a treat! Zoe did everything first time out (proud parents) but never got so much as a “good girl!” from the Commandant. She learned the basics, come when called, sit, down, stay and heel.

Now I am the Commandant. My husband has been home writing a book. I touch him on on the shoulder with his music or noise-cancelling headphones, point to our old Zoe who I lifted up on the bed and say “she’s with you.” I’m running errands.

Then, near her dinner time, she wants to come out to see the Disciplinarian and Food Wench, me. I tap him on the shoulder and say “she’s with me” and close the door.

Other than the occasional “honey-do” list I do make sure our home is a home and that our little one is taken care of. It’s usually me alone. She loves her walks with my husband. I can’t make it that far, RA for 30 years.

I can ask him to leave the computer or cell phone at a good breaking point to take her out because I’m making him a great dinner and am in the middle of it with three pans on the stove.

One thing I couldn’t teach the young, healing dog was not to jump up on people, because she never had the equipment to do so until she grew her own hips from cartilage. Amazing! She’s nearing 14 and never really had a puppy-hood and now she has no interest in jumping up. I’d just say “leave him alone. I know he’s delivering your food.”

I had to be a bit of a Commandant recently with a teething pup. She used to try to have illicit relations with my legs but now she’s grown, is no longer teething and just hugs me above the knee and does a “happy pee.” Her family knows she has a great place to stay and taunt Zoe when they are out of town. She needs someone for 101 and is a very smart girl so will learn fast if they keep up with homework.

If your dog does something right the first time, always say “good girl” and same for a boy. I do so many times a day, almost the number I tell my husband I love him. Cheers from Dee and The Fun Guy! Dee



Or, as otherwise called, college gals’ night out. There were supposed to be six of us living in in three bedrooms in our sophomore year in off-campus apartment housing. There were nine.

I cooked dinner every night for at least 12, including the guys upstairs and another gal or two. I never cleaned a dish. My budget for 12 was $120 per week, most of our allowance. We went out and got $.25 “pony” beers for the rest. That was after we all played Uno.

When I speak of investment, it is about perhaps a Thursday night out at D’s next to the railroad tracks and across from the factory. Darts. On a fancy night we’d go bowling, but usually in gowns or cocktail dresses after a semi-formal dance.

For a regular night out I’d use the restroom to do #1, comb my hair then return to my bedroom and put on a clean shirt and better shoes. It took all of three minutes.

A roommate took over two hours to get ready with shower, drying and styling hair, makeup and choosing the right outfit. Yes, for a dive bar down the hill from campus. We awaited her finishing the task she assigned herself. She was pretty, a tad plump.

One day I sat her down and said that if I spent three minutes getting prepared for an evening out, if I get a fun conversation for three minutes I’m even. When you take over two hours to prepare to go to a dive bar you need to gain that back to keep even. It is a losing proposition. Be yourself!

I hope a wonderful husband has found her and that she has grandkids to brag about. It just bothered me that she had the world at her fingertips (a dive bar, ok) and had to overdo everything in order to feel attractive on the outside when she was so kind and sweet within. She never needed to hide herself.

Speaking of grandkids, a new neighbor saw two under ten year-old kids at our door the other day and thought they were ours! When she hears her name our old Zoe goes skipping (can I say that about a dog?) to the front door to see them. New neighbor thought they were ours. Nope. Neighbors’ grands who have loved Zoe for years.

When Zoe, an adopted Aussie/Border Collie mix “skips” her little fox ears flop up and down, so cute. My old neighbor D and her top show quality tri-colored Collie became friends with me and my former dog, both now gone. Makai was absolutely gorgeous and used to do silly things like try to drink water from park sprinklers, place every one of my dog’s tennis balls in the water when I took a bath, and chase the head of the rug vacuum.

What Makai lacked on the chart of show dogs was “expressive ears.” My mutt Zoe has them. My friend used to use super glue to bend the ears. Her husband, the Army Ranger, would take off the glue as soon as he got home. Makai always had prick ears like a Doberman. She never went into a show ring. She did lead a good life with caring parents. I think my friend might have put more of an investment in her future that was worth her and her gorgeous dog’s time. It was always fun to take care of Makai when her folks were out of town. She and my Chani are missed but never forgotten. Cheers! Dee



Yes, all dogs and cats out in neighborhoods around the country where I cared for you, I was bitten in under a second, in an elevator.

The dog was with a first-time pet sitter with a new company, no-one told her of the dog’s temperament or that he is usually carried to keep him from biting adults, children and other dogs.

We’re awaiting his shot records in case I have to go to the ER. An incident report has been filed because he has been after me and our old dog for years. This time he drew blood. Here comes hydrogen peroxide, Bacitracin and bandages. Yeah, owner never offered to pay for that or a visit to the ER.

Sanctioning inept canine blood draws is not acceptable so I registered a complaint. I’ve worked with up to 4K shelter dogs and shelter and feral cats for years but have never been bitten by them, or so viciously. I’m just lucky old Zoe was not with me at the time as she would have taken the brunt of it. She may have offered herself up to do so for her food wench and disciplinarian. All I did was nod my head to say hello, never reached out to pet him or moved my body.

I don’t need a tetanus shot, but should get one anyway as I’m overdue. An advocate of responsible pet ownership, our Zoe has all her shots and is a model of good dog behavior. When owners get a dog and don’t spend any time or training and teach them that anything they do is OK that’s a problem, especially when they are a danger to all.

With a human, they would be put in a psych ward on a 72 hour hold for what this dog did to me. I don’t know what happened to them but haven’t seen them in a few weeks. Animal Control may have to weigh in on this. I’m keeping a stick under our door so the dog’s owner can’t come get us if they take the dog he didn’t train. Sadly, I think the dog was underserved by its owner. That is never a good thing. No cheers right now, Dee


Blue Skies

Smiling at me

Nothing but blue skies

Do I see


No fleas are looking at me

Nothing but no fleas

Do I see


Our Zoe has had three fleas this past week. The first, he found and methodically bathed her for 30 minutes, enough to kill a family of fleas. One jumped on top of her dense fur at the park and he sent it to its demise. Another he found a few days ago and we both flea-combed her and didn’t find anything.

She eats excellent food and has never had a flea in nearly 14 years. I think it’s a combination of a warm winter/summer and her slowing down a bit with age.

Attack mode. I’ve been through this before with rescued animals. Boric acid on the carpets. Vacuum. Diatomaceous earth (worms) but he went the extra mile and got dog soap that kills the eggs, larvae, pupa and adults and she has to have that bath this morning, after she had flea medication the other day.

He also got 10# of diatomaceous earth for carpets and doorways. THEN he got a carpet cleaner solution and is renting one today (ours is with his mother 1,500 miles away). Yes, the carpet cleaning solution gets rid all of those above and we’ve a friend coming in to help move furniture to get everything.

My solution when I found out my adopted kitten brought in fleas was to comb them under flourescent lights and place any fleas in a dishwashing solution so they would drown. I ended up finding many eggs in the bedding so trashed all of their bedding and bought new after I did the carpets with borate and entries with diatom dust. Of course I bathed them. Cats are tough in water, I think I still have the scratches! My solution was much less expensive and intensive than my husband’s. He is a physicist so I’ll let him do his thing. I liked the borate salt and diatomaceous earth because they were benign to animals, including us.

Zoe had three fleas total, one she never brought home from the park, and my husband is tearing our home apart to make sure there are not more. He will not let me help except to clean bedding and carpets. I guess that’s my job today. Hope all’s well with you. Dee

Ghost Pup

Yes, we have her for the weekend. She can be sound asleep and I tiptoe out of the room and she is at my destination before I arrive. I believe she is done with teething and is going out regularly and has the right collar and leash so she and my dog can walk together at least four times per day.

She is easily trainable but stubborn. Kind of like me. Her family needs to get away so as a neighbor, we’ll take her in.

Do you know that the dog-walking services would cost me $250 per day? That’s more than we would stay at a hotel, buy gas and food en route to my husband’s family home. They stay 6 hrs. per night, two walks, then I add another two walks and I just ask myself what am I doing? I take care of other dogs I know for free, even helped them en route to death. The sister and I had a 100 lb. dog on a cart, taking him out. Years later I still water his favorite tree and visit his ashes.

I’m not called the dog lady for nothing. Oh, I’m also the cat lady but can not be so as my husband is allergic. I just found a photo, used as a bookmark in an old cookbook, of my dear old dog that died in 2001. Chani is sleeping next to her grey cat friend Sam who got into our gate every day to spend a few hours safe in the sun. They never snuggled, but were, as my Aunt would say, “by.” I’ll have it framed and perhaps send it along with a better story. I think even with Zoe we were always “the brute squad.” Mockingbirds never attacked my pup Zoe or Meow Meow (a moocher) years ago with me at the head of the pack. It was more of a daily parade. Cheers! Dee

Categorical Names

Every Greyhound on the track of last resort, Caliente, had the same name from their handlers. When they “retired” instead of being shot in the head they came to a place that rehabilitated them and found the right people to adopt for individuals or families.

In the meantime we took them out, fed them and gave them their medication, mostly for low thyroid. And we gave them temporary names on a theme, before their forever home would change it.

They always had the same health certificates to cross the Mexican border to the US, and no name.

Beethoven, Mozart, Strauss,

Julia, Simka, Alex G, Iron Chef

Tyler, GZ, Emeril,

Emily (Dickinson), Beatrix Potter, Jane Austen

Edison, Marconi, Galileo,

Shakespeare, Machiavelli, Sun Tzu,

Callas, Horne, Sills (opera)

Madonna, Cher, Lady Gaga

Trisha, Garth, Johnny Cash

CSNY, PPM, Dylan and Baez

James Taylor, Dave Mason, Van Morrison,

Harry Chapin, Jackson Browne, Simon & Garfunkel

Prairie (for PPL), Emmylou, Jimmy Buffet

Marty Robbins, Burl Ives, Juni Fisher

Bucky (Buckminster Fuller), he asked me to call him Bucky, Leonardo Da Vinci, Eddy (Thomas Alva Edison)

Donatello, Michelangelo, Fra Angelico,

Secretariat, Man o’ War, Seabiscuit….

I made lists of a correlated bunch every week, these are only samples I thought of, just now, from many years later. This is a mind burst that reminds me of the needs of these beautiful creatures, Yes, I assigned the naming task to myself. I wanted them to have at least a temporary name before they were healthy and adopted. That’s just who I am. Now may I be excused to take out my dog? She’s slowing down at near 14 and we have to see the vet and consider options at some point.

Hating to think of her demise, I ran into a gentleman yesterday who opened a door for us and said she was the nicest dog around. Even at her age she teaches young ones and as an old lady, puts them in their place with just a stare. Just like my father did with my high school dates! She would never growl or bark consistently (only when the window washers hit their boots coming down to our windows, then I take her out and say they’re our friends and here to help us) or bite.

Naming these sad Greyhounds is like re-naming Zoe. Her adoptive name was unacceptable. She was sick and then had hip problems. I did research on names, came up with twenty, narrowed it to five. After she jumped out of the box and sniffed the wind and was enamored being in the car on my lap we named her Zoe, Greek for life, and I hope I helped thousands of rescued Greyhounds before I ever met this sweet girl.

We never adopted one of these couch potatoes but may think of it if I’ve a good fenced dog park around, as I love to see them as they run, on their own, for joy. Cheers in dog-dom, Dee

Greyfriars Bobby

As I marvel at the people in our neighborhood from business people to young mothers and their babes, old folks, musicians and dog owners, to the smell of quiche tarts or ribs from our oven it recalls my childhood. Not that Mom ever made ribs or quiche tartlets.

Nearly ten years ago my husband and I lived in Scotland for a bit, and it was a short train journey to Edinburgh. We went to see the statue of Bobby that day, the church cemetery and the art museum (the museum was my idea, not my husband’s favorite thing).

When I know mothers of young children, not babies, I offer information on books or movies their kids might like to see. Greyfriars Bobby was the dog that hung out in the church cemetery and was kicked out until the caretaker took him under his wing. A year later the caretaker died and Bobby sat on his grave for 14 years. At the 1:00 gun (Scots are frugal and don’t want to waste 12 cannon balls when one will suffice to allow ships in the harbor to synchronize their watches) Bobby would go to the local pub outside the Church gates and they would give him lunch. Then back to the grave. This was in the 1860’s.

We went, and in the cemetery plot the owner and his dog are buried next to each other and there is a statue of this persistent Skye Terrier in a plaza across the way that was recently refurbished because all the folks who petted him were wearing away the bronze statue. There is a book and at least two movies about this amazing dog. I told a mom about it today, also about the animated movie “Up.” She amazed me by watching “Stick Man” twice while her kids were sleeping!

My dog is nearing 14 so there’s no way she will sit on my grave for another fourteen years! So here’s what I did. I bought a Scottish Royal Stewart tartan 1/2″ leash for our dog from Edinburgh back in the day, then gave it away to last weekend’s guest dog who broke things, peed and pooped immediately after a walk, and tried to eat my arm while teething. I snatched her up after she broke the lamp to make sure she couldn’t cut herself and placed her in the guest bath. She either ate or scratched the door frame and I’m trying to fix it and not doing a great job.

I ordered a collar from London, a 1″ Martingale collar for our old girl Zoe. I hope Scotland won’t get mad at me but they didn’t have any! We got it yesterday and I took her out in it this morning for the first time. It looks great and reminds me of our days in Scotland. Cheers! Dee

The Game

I remember the Titans. GCM High. They came with swagger and talent and bravado and beat us my first year as a student.

There are other games, with compatriots, people who treat me with disdain, even my husband and our dog. My dear husband says I’m “sneaky” because I can find my way through small streets to get to the grocery, streets he does not know and that do not involve highway traffic.

My dog says I do not need discipline any more, I just want you to feed me. I turned down two small, new dogs last-minute to take care of for a week because we just got off another volunteer gig and old dog and me are exhausted. Plus hubby is here 24/7 at least for this week. I’ll make mini-quiches or we’ll make pancakes because I just got maple syrup. I prefer grade B as I think it tastes better.

With people and dogs (not cats) it’s all in your head. Read them, know what they want you to do for them and decide whether or not to do what they ask. Then decide how to explain your answer, that is critical and it must be short and specific.

Cats are a different story. Cheers! Dee



I pour water on a tree here for both Jake and Wurli. They both loved that tree and are gone. A former neighbor had Jake and I helped the owner’s sister with the latter stages of his life. Whenever his former “dad” invites us to his home for dinner of course I have to make his favorite dessert, but he knows that the first place I want to go is to see Jake’s box of ashes with my dog ornament atop. He was a great dog.

Wurli is another neighbor who loved that tree. Musician’s dog. His owner is famous and much younger than me but he reminds me of my father with the exceptional ability to play multiple musical instruments. He stopped my husband with our old dog Zoe and expressed condolences on my father’s death. How he heard of this event I don’t know.

I water that tree for both. When I was two, I used my Dad’s violin as a cello. I have the photo. My brother (executor) and I are going to look for it. I will recondition it, and have it donated to the Violin Scholarship program funded in Dad’s name at his college alma mater. All for now, Dee