Category Archives: editorial pets

Do Dogs Dream?

Cesar Millan asked this question last week and his site would not allow me to respond. Yes, they do dream. Our 13 year-old Zoe just had one and I hated to leave her to come in here and write this. She’s a herder and will be by my side in under three minutes.

The tail wags, ears twitch, eyes open and close. Then the entire body twitches and the paws run like crazy. Sometimes she awakens for a walk and breakfast, and sometimes the REM phase just puts her back asleep. I like to guess whether it’s a squirrel, bunny or mouse. When she was young and faster she did kill two mice with precision and my husband took each out of her mouth immediately and fed them to the baby birds over the fence in the protected wildlife area. 1,200 acres, five feet away. Moose crashed a wedding and elk jumped the fence and crossed the highway. I used to make our bedroom balcony available for credentialed photographers. What a view.

The baby colts (young Greater Sandhill Cranes) would make sounds at night. I’d awaken and tell my husband that mom was going to the 7-11 to get them something to eat. There was no 7-11, and we didn’t see any this year. Years ago there was a fox that hung out there for hours every day, waiting for the 6′ parents to leave their colts. They never did, “married” for life and raised colts every year. The fox always left, disappointed. Hey, you just chose the wrong prey!

Yes, dogs do dream. She’s never had a thing for any bird, as there is a turkey who lives in our neighborhood and he is pardoned by all of us every Thanksgiving! She just ignores him as she walks by on leash.

She has been with me for 20 minutes and can jump down, just not up. Time for “last chance” and bed. You know who’s the boss now. It certainly is not me. Cheers! Dee

The Best Things

in life are not free. Especially when it comes to taking care of a dog while you’re away from home and can’t take her with you. Heads and tails above the others and affordable was Dog Boys Dog Ranch. She had cattle, horses, and as a pup with excised hips she was placed with older, sedate dogs.

Don’t listen to that. Those dogs did not chase our Zoe around the pasture. They whispered in her ears. She learned so many bad habits it was actually funny. “Tell them you can’t get up to the kitchen counter then eat their steak.” We’re smarter than her but she has messed with our minds for 13 years now. Yes, she did that. She also stole a croissant and needed to bring it to her special place to eat it so it looked like a mustache and she took it right by our guests at brunch and we couldn’t stop laughing. There was no way she would be reprimanded!

We thank Dog Boys for not only taking care of her, but shaping her character through allowing her to interact with other dogs and people. Everyone knew her, she was sometimes in the office. Now she is an erstwhile friend to many in the neighborhood and a mascot around town. Thank you. Dee & Z

When I think of the people we allowed to take care of her over her many years, as a pup she went to Dog Boys and they still remember her 12 years later. Sorry to give this away. I’m writing a piece because I think many dog boarding facilities are sub-standard and our Zoe has been in several. Others charge a fortune for sub-standard care at home. Dee

My Zoe

The belle of the ball. Oh, she was so sick when we took her home. Just six weeks old, coccidia and hookworms but we took care of that immediately until her hips went out and we had them removed at six and nine months then (thanks Dr. Val) she was great. A mascot around the neighborhood she enjoys her status as grandma to the pups and mascot out and about.

I talk about her and my many years of  volunteering to ask readers to ask the family if you want a pet, what type of pet, make sure you know that your kids are ready for that responsibility whether it’s a guinea pig or a dog. It is a serious responsibility. I know parents don’t like this extra task, however if your child takes it seriously, they’ll be better children, students, and spouses and parents one day.

If the hamster dies, show it, bury it with them. Don’t tell them the cat went to heaven. If they’re old enough take them to see Fluffy be euthanized with your hands on her head and tummy while they say goodbye for the last time.

The kids don’t have to stay the entire time for the pink shot. You do. You owe it to your pet for his/her service to you, because you think they only wanted to be fed and walked and took up your time. My dog is getting old and as I lifted her up to the bed, all she cares about is taking care of me and making sure I’m safe. Us, but he is the fun guy and I am the disciplinarian and food wench, she only cares about me! Food! Dee


My husband drags himself in the door every weekend, from nine at night to one in the morning depending on airline mishaps and goes to bed.

He bought me flowers for fifteen years. We’ve been together for over that time, and married 14 years so I don’t want him to spend time buying me flowers over the weekend.

When he slogs in from plane and car he doesn’t see any of the arrangements I’ve made for him. Late Saturday morning he may notice something.

He is a physicist. I have bought him several vintage chemistry vessels that he recognizes before ever seeing the flowers. Oh, is that an Erlenmeyer flask? I got a couple more today. Even a pipette.

He didn’t go on with physics because the lab time was too lonely and he had no-one to come home to. He has me and Zoe now. I love for him to recognize things he was used to, and to always look forward to vessels that point toward our future. He’s a scientist. Why not use antique (1950’s – 1970’s) glassware to get him to enjoy a Gerbera daisy while he eats his over medium egg with bacon and toast with local peach jam?

I love his brain and his heart. Zoe, the dog, loves his playfulness more than my role as disciplinarian, vet-taker and food wench. They are my family. If I have to buy antique chemistry flasks for him to appreciate his life and flowers, I’ll do it. I think it’s cool, even my florist finds it interesting but they’ll sell me fewer vases! I now use mason jars and they’ve taught me basics of arranging, which means they see me more but make a bit less money because I’m learning to do it myself.

Same with cooking. My mother never wanted me in her kitchen, but I learned through her, my aunts and school I spent my life savings to attend. And thank you, Gourmet Magazine. Right after Mom read it, I did as well. Now I get attention for being a good cook, and mother of the most famous dog in the neighborhood. We do regularly water the favorite tree of Zoe’s deceased friends Jake and Wurli. Cheers! Dee

Harley Flowers

Yes, I had an arrangement made yesterday for my barber, Mr. B. My husband has his hair done by female stylists who only work for men. They won’t cut my hair but will allow my female dog to be there all day.

I know his gals and one (and her boyfriend) takes care of our dog when we’re out of town, but I can usually drop him off and go to the market while he’s being groomed. Oh, they love our dog, too. She hangs out with the patrons and other dogs.

My florist chose orange and we chose spiky things like thistles to make a manly bouquet for my annual gift to my Harley biker barber. I served it up in a local brewery’s pint glass, a vase of sorts for him to keep.

I’ll not go back to my favorite florist before Valentines’ Day as we do not celebrate Hallmark holidays. I’ve flowers around and secrets, too. One is that I don’t like crowds, he knows that. I do not wish to be in a crowd of men buying flowers like crazy for a Hallmark holiday. I’m not in the market for men, so bought just a few flowers this week to replenish what we have. My secret, OK it’ll remain that. Happy Valentines’ Day! Dee


The Stare

People sometimes talk about “dog heaven.” I can’t imagine a people “heaven” without dogs, or even my enervating cats.

When Zoe goes, it will  be with our love and blessing and hope we will meet again. She is certainly irreplaceable.

Who do you know that can stare you awake? No harrumphing, barking, whining, squirming and rolling on the rug. No scratching of floors or doors. She just stares and after 13 years we are one, and I awaken, dress for the weather, take her out, feed her and on weekends, lift her up to the bed to snore alongside my husband.

Zoe has made “the stare” into an art form. I know 99% of the time what she wants. Early dinner. Out. Precious (it’s her only toy and I keep it up high). Bed. “Lift me, Mom!” Up on the couch with me at night to watch a movie. Often she doesn’t even ask for that one but she is usually respectful of my space except when I make half of a soft blanket available.

It’s one thing when I’m awake and aware of the time of day as to what she needs (she never lies when she stares to go out), it’s her ability to stare when I’m sound asleep and awaken me. Eerie. Luckily no-one in my life has ever done that. My older cat learned from my sister’s cat how to open the cat food cupboard. He’d get up at four in the morning and slam that door about 1,000 times, then come upstairs and sit his hefty 14 lbs. directly on my bladder. I had to get up, go downstairs in the open loft and use the bathroom, then I’d feed him and we’d both go back to bed. He was a talker, Burmese mix, and in 13 years I never got in the last word in an argument. “Anywhere is allowed save my kitchen counter work space.” “Mraaaaaah.”

My younger cat, at the time, played with dogs. Dogs would run away from home to play with him. Yes, I’d get phone calls. Is she there? Yep. He walked into my loft at nine weeks and lived there nine years, crawled in bed with the dog and stayed a year. He taught himself to retrieve crumpled post-it notes. He’d sail over the top of the sofa, grab the note, run around and drop it at my feet. Yes, a DSH Retriever. That’s domestic short-hair, he was a tuxedo cat with white chest and paws.

You wouldn’t believe that the day after he was neutered the vet called to make sure he was calm and sedate. I’ve spayed and neutered enough feral cats (about 2,500) that I know they do what they can do, especially males as the surgery is not as invasive. The moment I answered the phone Mickey was sailing over the top of the sofa chasing a post-it note. He’d dropped an old one at my feet, daring me to toss it. “He’s right next to me, Doc, and is calm and doing well.” He was calm and doing well, according to him, as he dropped the “ball” at my feet so was next to me.

I’ve had some strange animals but none could just stare me awake. It’s freaky. No. My “alarm clock” is not for sale or rent. First, because her timing is her clock, not mine. Fall back and spring forward are difficult times for us because our sun and clock are different. Seven a.m. becomes either six or eight. As she ages it seems to take longer to adjust.

Our girl is dearly loved so much that even my mother-in-law bought her a matching Christmas stocking last year, shocked that Zoe was not considered part of the family, stocking-wise. That from a family that wanted to keep her as a pup in a goat pen, and not on our bed. Farms. We hung it up between our stockings with pride. I don’t think it stared at us. Cheers! Dee

ps One could set off fireworks across the street in the park and it wouldn’t wake my husband. The Stare doesn’t work on him. Is it a motherly instinct? If you know, please clue me in. Thanks, Dee


You Don’t Need Lessons

Yes, I do. I learned to knit and purl with minimal instruction. I got to the point that I could make my father and brother golf club covers because they were essentially mittens without a thumb and I didn’t learn to make a thumb. This post is for my one and only brother.

Petit point was easy but not very relaxing. I recently found a complicated one I started years ago but with arthritis, it’s not comforting either.

Mom didn’t really want me in her kitchen, underfoot, so I learned to cook through books and Gourmet magazine. After college I got a job, a big step up, and hated it. I quit the job and spent my life savings on cooking school, the best time at school I ever had. No, I’m not a chef, I’m a good cook.

Owning a pet. Been there 27 years and still going. Learned about cats from a book. My sister sent my brother east from CA with a five week-old cat, a Burmese mix, who never let me get a word in edgewise for 13 years. Dogs, I thought I knew. My first was abused by a deputy sheriff and in a shelter where I visited her for a year. When euthanasia was mentioned as she was becoming a danger to men and children (kids used to throw rocks over the fence at her) I took her home, rehabilitated her and she was so loved in our neighborhood they took up a collection and donated a tree to the city for our park, in her memory.

Our current dog was another rescue. We adopted her at six weeks and she turns 13 years old this weekend. We’re having a party for her and her human and canine friends.

Today is our 14th wedding anniversary. My husband is away on business but I’ll make his favorite stew this weekend. He got me a multi-purpose slow cooker I need to try. I bought flowers that will remind us of the places we’ve been together. Yes, he’s still the “human tornado” that makes a mess everywhere he goes and never puts anything away. After over 15 years I’m happy he puts down the toilet seat, even though changing a roll of toilet paper is beyond the realm of capability.

Utah, 30 years ago. Snowbird, 12,000 feet and air so thin one cannot get enough of it. My little brother says, “no, you don’t need lessons. I’ll teach you!” He did come and save me.

Four times down the bunny slope, two on the bottom half of Big Emma. Then he brought me up to the top and left me in a big bowl. I didn’t know how to turn (schuss) to reduce my speed so I just snowplowed at 100 mph then sat down and cried. I did that a few times and he took the lift back up and came and got me. My legs hurt from snowplowing for a week! He just told me tonight that my father sat down and cried as well. So much for brotherly “lessons.” God rest you, Dad.

My dear husband decided to create a blog for me a number of years ago. I was terrified. What if I couldn’t write or find anything to write about. The first blog I wrote was the most popular of all time, How to Eat a Concord Grape. I’ve thousands of visitors to this niche blog and have met some good friends through it. Thank you, dear! This was a “seat of the pants” thing I just had to do on my own. It has helped my writing and storytelling skills. Thanks to AL&J, retired English teachers, as well.

I remembered what I used to do when first confronted with a computer. I wrote down the 4-5 themes I had to hit in a white paper or speech, or legislation, wrote them down on a piece of paper, and got to work. Once a blank page or screen was not an issue, the words flowed.

The lesson here is sometimes one needs a lesson, like hurtling down a mountain faster than your car can drive. With a proper education, others are just a natural extension of current abilities. Older and wiser, I try to learn something new every day as each day offers new possibilities. Right now I’m into art, framing and flower arranging. The arthritis brings limitations but they’re only physical. Courage, ambition to be the best “me,” selflessness, kindness to others all help. Carpe diem, Dee