Pet Playland

The dog park.  An amusement park for canines, the suburbian playground for papered, rescued, loved four-legged family members to run unencumbered with no leashes, no pressures.  And no bias to sex, size, race, color, breed.  Lucky we are, to have our local taxes pay for this place we frequent, walk, visit, admire the views, say hello and good bye, laugh, and just watch.  The four-legged ones having fun.

Cali, Zoe and friends

Dog heaven.  And a couple more shots of the park, though now white covers the ground.  Not that the dogs mind playing in the snow, of course. C


Doggy Diligence

After losing 16 year old Annie, we are on the search for another Aussie to keep Zoe company.  And what a process it is to get “approved” to adopt a new dog from the aussie rescue group, even though we got Zoe from them when she was but 3 months.   After completing the lengthy online application, they called my references, my vet, and did a home visit.  Pretty standard stuff for most adoptions or purchased these days, from what my friends tell me.

With the press lamenting about the dogs (and cats) being abandoned or turned in since their owners cannot afford them–going from homes to cages in overcrowded shelters– it is a little bizarre that we have to practically complete a psychological profile to get a forgotten or mislaid pup, but I do understand that the dog lovers who run the organizations want the dogs to become a permanent part of our lives, not another temporary stopping point.

And now the search is underway.  Not to find a dog just for us, but more importantly for Zoe.  The new Aussie has to get along with kids and many guests and grandparents and other dogs and be able to live without a fence and be loving and like to run/play/jump/catch/swim/do agility/hang out while we work.

Zoe is a bit shy with other dogs, so we are trying out boys-girls-puppies-year old dogs, to try and find a match for her. How to turn any of them down, when they are all so cute and smart and wanting love?  But, we need to find one for she AND us, so we will meet, greet, play, and wait.  Hopefully she will find a new friend soon. Sadly,  there are new candidates available each week.

And we will be new parents again if we choose a puppy.  So much work!  But more or less than a year-old dog who has never had training?  Hmmm…maybe less. 

And if you are looking for a new addition to your home, there are rescue groups for almost all breeds and shelters and home fostered dogs.  All looking for a pat, a treat, a run and willing to give back more than you can imagine.  The search might take some time, but remember they will be in your lives and homes a long time.  Choose wisely.  C

Maxx & Annie & Zoe & Us

OK, so maybe it wasn’t such a great idea for the family to watch Marley & Me last weekend, our first night back in the house after putting Annie to sleep.  Funny, sweet, sentimental, and so sad at the end you know is coming, but a bit more graphic than I expected.  But, a far more enjoyable film than I expected, for some reason.

And just to torture ourselves, we were given the movie as a gift yesterday from my in-laws and we all watched it again, since four of our guests had not seen it.  Is it possible to see that film without crying at the end?  Not yet, for me anyways.

At least it confirmed that Maxx was NOT the worst dog in existence, and the tender, lovely moments like when Marley let Jen cry on him, and how he could not sleep when she was in labor–though she was sleeping– reminded us of how intuitive doegs are, why we want them to be part of our homes, our families, our lives.

My big complaint about the film is that while Marley ages dramatically throughout, the owners do not at all.  And that scene where the family is in the pool after the third child Colleen  is born….no, Jen never had children.  Fit and muscular, I don’t think so.

I truly think you have to have owned and put down a pet to fully appreciate this film.  The loss is wider than you dream possible, as my mother-in-law teared up afterwards remembering putting down dogs from long before I knew their family. But the joy they bring makes us repeat the cycle.  C

Annie, Farewell


Annie, you came into our lives

On your one-year birthday

So fearful, so quiet, so timid

Learning the way of family life

And friendship

And joy

From Maxx,

Watching carefully,

Then accepting, loving, no longer hiding.


Your favorite days

Were always a run on the beach,

Chasing the birds, the dogs, the spirits

 Us almost losing you on a fog-filled beach in Washington

Our only clue your jingling collar

As we yelled for you in vain, and hope.


You have hiked from San Francisco

To Portland

To Sedona

To Chicago

To our neighborhood,

Seeming to smile all the way

The kindest soul I have ever met

Who taught many people to love dogs

Just sitting patiently

Rolling over for a rub,

Stealing a kiss

Never asking,

Always giving.


We shall miss your gentle aura

The softness of your fur

You herding us playing baseball or football

Your kind brown eyes

Your patience.


Be free

Of your aged body

But your always-young soul,

Find your friend Maxx

Who taught you to love

And be there to lead me






Written for my wonderful Annie, who we lost just shy of her 17th birthday. 


16 Going on 112?

AnnieMy oldest girl Annie turns 16 today! Annie has lived with us since her first birthday–shy at first, extremely fearful of males, she didn’t know how to play or walk or talk…er, bark.   Annie was the second Australian Shepherd to join our family, she quickly became a favorite for all our guests. 

Annie is a beautiful blue merle with one partially blue eye. Visitors always wanted to “make a coat of her”, her fur was so soft.  And once she lived with us, and our other Aussie Maxx taught her to trust, she is still the happiest dog I know.  I wish we could all go through life as content as her.

She loves to run the shoreline on the beach,  used to love long hikes to chase the squirrels, chase balls, and have belly rubs. She has made dog lovers out of children terrified of canines, and she has taught our newest Aussie—an abandoned one we got as a 3-month old puppy–how to be part of a family.

It’s amazing that Annie has made it from San Francisco to Chicago to the suburbs, every change so simple for her. Enjoy your bone; you have earned it! Happy Sweet 16.  C