Unwanted Favors: What’s the Affirmative Response to “No”?

Last month, we were in Texas and I’m still thinking about a near-altercation between two dog owners. I was one of them. And since I’m still thinking about it, I will exorcise it the only way I know. Here goes: Mister Dog and I had been driving all day. We finally got the Rollin’ Rancho … Read more

Calming Signals: They Call Me Mister Dog!!!

Sidney Poitier died this year and I mourn him. I was not the only girl who swooned over him in To Sir With Love but the performance that galvanized my opinion of him was In the Heat of the Night, with his famous line, “They Call Me Mister Tibbs!” Impossibly, I was watching it with … Read more

Thanksgiving is for the Dogs.

Here are two of my dogs, Preacher Man and Manning, guarding the back door. You’ll notice they are facing the wrong way. It’s not about who might come in; it’s about making sure SHE doesn’t get out. “Herding dogs,” my other dog, Jack moans, “have a little too much space between the ears.” He is … Read more

A Book Report and What We Know Now.

A bit of explanation: I grew up on a farm without a bookshelf. We were not readers. Once we finally got a television, there was only one channel but it had Walt Disney’s Wonderful World of Color, disappointingly black and white in our house. I mention this because Walt’s photo is in the dictionary next … Read more

Learning to Herd: How Dogs Become Family

I was raised by people who didn’t let dogs in the house. The common opinion was that dogs should live outside or in the barn. On our sheep farm, there was a hard line between us and the animals we depended on for a living. But my mother insisted I spend the day outside with … Read more

Poetry Out Loud: Walking the Dog

Walking the Dog There was a message on my phone. My dog was ready to come home, they said. It was just her ashes, they didn’t say. Never one to be put on a shelf, we took one last walk together around the farm, her cremains, I guess, tucked under my arm. She usually bounds … Read more

Requiem for an Old Truck

req·ui·em/ˈrekwēəm/noun 1.(especially in the Roman Catholic Church) a Mass for the repose of the souls of the dead. There is something about a three-quarter-ton pick-up, once I manage to make the standing leap into the cab and crank up the air conditioning to the “jet-engine” setting, that seductively whispers in my ear, “Perfect Purse.” It’s … Read more

Things My Dogs Don’t Care About.

I’m the kind of person who has big dogs. I always have been, not that my dogs care. I have no excuse for my current condition. I was trying to remember the last time I picked out a dog. That’s the thing about making friends with rescuers. Dogs just arrive somehow. Sure, you said yes … Read more

Calming Signals: Sleeping with a Reactive Dog

    I don’t mind bragging; I’ve slept with some very fine dogs in the course of my long and blessed life. Some say I can’t tell a good dog from a bad one but of course, I can. How else would this have happened? It’s been six years now since my arranged marriage with … Read more

Calming Signals and Preacher Man: Still “Reactive” After All These Years

Bear with me, please. I miss my dogs, one in particular. I’m in Dunedin, and he’s 12,620 km away. It sounds even farther in Newzealandish, doesn’t it? It’s National Pet Day back home, I know he is keeping an eye on the door. The Dude Rancher takes good and kind care of the dogs while I’m … Read more