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Category Archives: favorite kid

Dealing with loss


I know, I know. Things have been rather quiet around here on the dog blog. Nuthin’ but the song of crickets over the past week.

But you see, we’ve had a loss.

Unexpected and sudden as these things tend to go. One moment, you’re thinking about dinner plans … think we’ll oven fry some chicken breasts tonight … and then, everything changes.

It was an unreliable gate to the dog park that couldn’t withstand the strength of a setter’s prey drive of a distraction. And then the driver that wasn’t expecting a dog to cross his path.

And my Favorite Kid was faced with making the impossible decision that all who are Lovers of All Things Dog hope we never have to make.

The right thing to do is, too many times, the most difficult.

Read the rest of this entry

Ask me about my grand-dog

Here are my grand-kids, says my sister, holding out her smart phone for all to see.

Ooh, we say. Aaah. The phone slowly passes by in an arc for the benefit of those seated at the kitchen table.

Well, that’s only some of them, she continues. A couple of swipes with an index finger and now we’re provided a look at a few more kids in various poses of eating, swimming, and even one in mid-tantrum.


I sit quietly, as I do at these events, clutching my own smart phone in my lap. If anyone’s ready to see photos of dogs, I’m your girl.

Oh wait! I remember now. I have a grand-dog. Heck yes, people. Nobody leave yet, cuz I have family photos too. Hang on a sec and I’ll pull them up.

My Favorite Kid with Jack and
The Kaiser. About [coff] twenty
years ago.

My personal order for a grand-kid is placed on back-order while we await the processing of things like, say the May 2015 wedding. Having reared an only child, and a boy at that, it seems natural that my request is for a little lady girl to spoil with animal face hats and toy horses and the like.

But there’s no hurry, of course. No pressure, you two. And don’t get me wrong; a baby boy would be pretty darn wonderful, too. My Favorite Kid was one once and I liked him a whole lot.

In the meanwhile, we were gifted a grand-dog to keep those grandma hormones placated. My kid was brought up in the company of dogs and so understands the joys, challenges and high rewards of sharing life with a devoted canine friend.

There was talk about dog breeds, with choices ranging widely from the noble to the warm and cozy. What would best fit their lifestyle? A handsome, lean boxer or the smartest bunny-butt of the bunch, the Pembroke Welsh corgi?

My advice has always been that you just can’t go wrong with a Lab or a golden. But all biases aside, the choice was not mine to make.


Still, they chose well. After several trips to area Humane Societies and rescue groups, because it needed to be an informed decision – not an emotional one, Derek and Samantha brought home Elsa.

Dark and freckled and wagging a plume to rival Micron’s own Tail of Wondrous Beauty, Elsa is a mixed breed of what appears to be a sporting dog heritage.

She’s a lovely thing, if a bit outspoken. It’s been my pleasure to be an occasional sitter for the grand-dog.


He went out to lunch with some friends, Elsa, I say. Barking is not going to bring him back any sooner. 


So yeah, everyone is bonding nicely here. After saying good-bye to her previous family and spending weeks in a kennel environment, Elsa is learning to be comfortable in her forever home with Derek and Sam.

Adopting a rescue comes with a set of challenges as unique as the dogs themselves. If you’re lucky, you might get an idea of the dog’s background, but even that won’t be enough to totally prepare the new family.

Some stuff just needs to be worked through. When we adopted Jager, we discovered he had a real problem with men in blue uniforms. Why? Oh, who knows. He was freaky about so many things, that was just another checkmark on the list. Jager’s better about it now.


And the same for Elsa. Some settling down time is needed for mental adjustments. Patience, understanding and a predictable schedule is as important as a safe environment and good nutrition in building a family.

Our conversations now include the phrase, Elsa is doing so much better now. Because she’s learning again to trust.

We don’t know what brought this gorgeous and intelligent girl to find herself in the care of the Humane Society.

Elsa, of course, doesn’t have a clue either.

Derek grew up with dogs in his life. He saw that that dogs are not disposable. A pet is not like a shirt or something bought at the mall. An item purchased because it felt right, yet once you got it home you find that you don’t like the color or fit. It turned out to be dry-clean only, when you wanted something you could just toss in the washer.

We don’t take pets back just because they’re not perfect.

However else I may have screwed up over the years by having only one kid to practice my parenting skills on, at least I got this one family value right.

But no matter, all of this. Elsa is one lucky dog. And her history is merely that. All stuff that happened in the past and she doesn’t have it in her face to deal with it anymore. What’s there to do about it now anyway?

The mind of a dog is one that lives in the moment.

And at this moment?

She knows she is loved.

Meet my new grand-dog, y’all.

Piece of my heart

golden retriever
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How old was the puppy when you got him? asked the young man.

Yaxley was eight weeks old when he arrived from California, answered The Husband. Yes? Next question?

What are you training him to do? asks another audience member.

The Husband fields this one, too.  We introduce thirty commands, mostly the basics you’d want to teach any dog. Plus a few that will be used when Yax goes to Advanced Training. And we spend a lot of time socializing him. Any other questions? We have time for one more.

We’re just about to wrap up this presentation to this Bowling Green Chapter of the Delta Chi Fraternity. The members are considering offering a donation to Canine Companions for Independence. With Yaxley, our third puppy with CCI, to impress these fellas we’re working this gig the best we can.

And another hand goes up.

Yes? You in the back, says The Husband.

Is it true, asks this future business leader of the free world. That you replaced your son with a dog?

Ah, there ya go. We got us a smarty pants in our midst.

The Favorite Kid and Yaxley

I see where this is going, of course. This was when the Favorite Kid was Chapter President of his fraternity, which made him the target of his fellow brothers. All in good spirited jest, of course. Well, at least while we were there. Who knows what went on while the boys were making their collegiate memories over those four years.

What happens at the Delta Chi House, stays at the house.


As with his previous adventures in the scouts, I insist on only hearing the happy stuff.  Like Snow White with a song bird on her index finger, I don’t want to know anything about poison apples or whistling short people with pick axes coming and going from the premises.

So, did we replace the kid with a dog or what?

With a step back and sidelong glance by my other half, I can tell this ball has been slammed into my court.

Ok, I start to say. I will say that it is true that we waited until the Kid started college before we got involved in volunteer puppy raising. And sure, I guess it’s true as well, that we gave the dog his room. 

But! I continued, finger raised. Our Favorite Kid is irreplaceable.

Wow, that sounds lame. It did then and even now I struggle to think of a response that doesn’t sound like I’m a little too vigorous in my denial.

I mean it, though. I really do. You can’t replace a kid like mine with a dog, no matter how awesome the canine is.

It’s possible to add things to life. It’s not always a swap of one for another.

As it is with Miss Euka.

We’ve received our next puppy assignment from Canine Companions for Independence. The timing of Euka’s matriculation into Advanced Training is within days of when Puppy Number Five will be showing up to rock our world.

When asked how we can we possibly give these puppies up after raising them for a year and a half, we quip something like … oh, with a lot of pride and large margarita. But then we also take on another puppy which give us a distraction. 

And all that is pretty much on the mark. Pride, drinking in moderation and a new, furry responsibility to fill our thoughts.

But replace one puppy with another?


I don’t know where this bit of profundity started. Or who wrote it. But it beats to the tune of a puppy raiser’s heart.

It came to me that every time I say good-bye to a dog 
they take a piece of my heart with them. 
And every new dog who comes into my life 
gifts me with a piece of their heart. 
If I live long enough all the components of my heart will be dog
 and I will become as generous and loving as they are.

And that’s it, right?

Euka will leave us, but is taking our love with her. We filled her up with it, to the brim and then some. And she’ll carry that with her along her journey to share.

And our next puppy will come into our home carrying the love she received from her breeder caretaker.

We’re not losing anything here. We’re not less.

Oh no, people. We will have so much more. Our lives are enriched with each little puppy life we meet.

And I can’t wait. Stay tuned for the announcement of our newest golden child.

Spoiler alert:  Oh for … I have to tell you. Make room in your hearts for Holly of the Eukanuba sponsored Hero Litter.  The petite purple-collared beauty should hit Ohio soil somewheres around May 18, give or take.

Photo courtesy of Chris Kittredge Photography

The Grench

How the Grench stole Halloween

It had started with the snowfall.  I didn’t realize it at the time, but that short-lived Ohio weather anomaly we experienced in mid-October was a harbinger of doom.  Of fearsome events yet to come.

The signs were there and I just didn’t see them. Didn’t want to. After all, we’ve had snow in October before and the world continued on as we expected.

There’s a new sheriff in town, ya’ll.
Apparently new sneakers, too. Heh, looks
like this mom spared no expense on
her homemade Halloween costume.

Ok sure, the last October snow was somewhere around twenty years ago as evidenced here in this shot of the Favorite Kid sporting his Trick-or-Treat gear back in the old neighborhood.

But still. The white stuff melted before lunchtime and became just a vague memory by the bustle of the evening commute home. It’s still October, we all said. No worries.  Halloween will still go on just like it does every year at this time.

Turns out, I had sorely underestimated the power of the Holiday Grench.

What are you talking about now, you ask. The Holiday Grench? 

Ah, a good question that. No, it’s not a typo. Well, not this time.

A rather upbeat kinda chick, with her starry eyes and silver tinsel hair, we’ve noticed that the Holiday Grench grows stronger every year. Unlike her more famous third cousin twice removed, instead of a heart two sizes too small, within our Grench’s chest beats a sugar plum heart. She just loves the Christmas season, but not necessarily in a healthy way. As is the manner of any maniacal, but misguided, visionary, the Grench wants you to embrace her shopping holiday, too. To drink her cup of wassail, so to speak.

And so to make this vision happen, she must feed on the nostalgic memories of those who yearn to enjoy any type of fall celebration.

Your neighbors put their Christmas lights on their house last weekend, she taunts me.  And did you see?  Amazon started their Black Friday sales. She playfully bounces an ornament off my head. So, do you have your tree up yet?

But …, I stammer. but, it’s not even Halloween yet.

That’s right, she laughs. Time to start your Christmas shopping!  All your friends have already bought their first gift.

And just like the weather, everybody complains but nobody does anything about it.  We stand by as holiday decorations are displayed right after Thanksgiving, then the next year we see artificial trees in early November to whet our shopping desires.  And these days, the frost isn’t even on the pumpkin before we’re assailed with Jingle Bells on the outdoor speakers at the strip mall.

We don’t do anything about it, of course, because we can’t. The Grench has grown too powerful.  Mere mortals such as us are no match for her subtleties.  This holiday spirit is hungry for your fall festivities, because once conquered she can move onto Labor Day and beyond.  The world will be her one big Shopping Day.

Every day will be Black Friday! says the Grench, tossing glittery bows in the air above. But only three of you will get the really good sale price!  Bwahahahaha.

Maybe I’m just being paranoid, but I really got the feeling she took a personal interest in my Halloween this year.  I felt jinxed, like the joy was being sucked right out of my favorite time of year.

Ah, but this chick isn’t easily broken. Me, that is. I didn’t make it to this [bleeped] decade of life without learning some coping mechanisms, you know.

Fergo is a dog outstanding in his . . . oh, good grief,
how old is that joke?

After the first foreboding snow, we found we needed to send Euka to the CCI Spa for a few weeks.  No photos ops at the pumpkin farm for our only October with this pup, an event I’ve enjoyed with the other CCI puppies in our care.

Bent, but spirit not broken, we were blessed with an opportunity to dog-sit a favorite fellow, the sweet Fergo.  At twelve years old, our hearty friend remains a lover of life. And road trips.

Another fall festivity favorite, Jager slips into his Warg alter ego to participate in the Howl-O-Ween Woof Walk to support Miami Valley Pet Therapy Association.  The dictionary definition of cold and miserable, we got chilled to the bone that morning.

Just so you know, says Jager.  This counts as a bath.

By we, I mean me and the Favorite Kid. I woefully underdressed and the hopes that the lukewarm coffee would help warm my inner core were washed away into the storm drains.

Oh, but not our little Jagerhund. The Master of the Hunt wore his orc upon his back with a sense of Warg warrior pride. Our little spotted dog soaked up the excitement of the morning like he hadn’t been out of the house for a week. Which is kinda true, the poor pooch. It was good to give the fellow a special day of his own, rainy mist notwithstanding.

Back at her Swarovski crystal lair, the Holiday Grench is shaking a glittery fist into the air. Nooooo, she cries out. You will start your Christmas shopping. You will, I say. Don’t you dare even try enjoying your autumn festivals. I will not be ignored!  By the way, did you see your favorite shopping site has personalized photo gifts fifty percent off this week?

Then the triple-whammy.  Out of desperation, this vengeful Spirit of the Holiday Yet to Come strikes back with the trifecta of an overwhelming work load, longer commutes to the office, and then the worst slam of all … inclement weather.

So no spare time and little energy to carve a pumpkin even if I did have an empty moment. And then what the heck, Grench? A monsoon in land-locked Ohio? On Beggar’s Night?  What is wrong with you?

Heh, but take this, you spiteful spirit. I stand here and say to all that it is indeed possible to carve a pumpkin in twenty minutes during a lunch period at work. It helps if you’re working from home, of course.  I mean, all my carving tools are here. And the pumpkin. And while I haven’t tested the theory, I’m throwing out the educated guess that neither would be welcome in the office atmosphere.

Here’s how things went down then.

I gutted the big orange gourd on Tuesday night, roasted the pepita de calabazas (pumpkin seeds to you non-pretentious people) on Wednesday after work and finally carved a face into the non-sentient being on Friday at lunchtime. Then Friday evening I was able to get some photos of the thing before sundown.  No matter that it was November 1 when I completed this task.  I got ‘er done, I did.

And anyway, because of the weather situation on October 31st, a few communities moved their Beggar’s Night to the weekend. (Open letter to our humble burg:  You guys should have done that too, you know). So I figure it’s like a belated birthday card. It makes it extra special and festive to extend the holiday for another day or two, right?

With a mug of reheated potato soup steaming next to my pumpkin, I create an evil Jack O’Lantern to ward off that creeping winter holiday for another day.

And all is well in my little world. Or at least looking up a little.
Because I got autumnal photos of my handsome Micron.  Before Thanksgiving even.  
And also because Euka’s spa vacation is nearly over. We are looking forward to picking up the sassy girl later this week so she may continue in her quest to rock our world.
And just in time, too. Now we can start planning our Christmas photo ops. Yeah sure, I’ll give the Grench that one, I guess. 
But I’m still not leaving the sanctuary of my house on Black Friday. That’s crazy talk, y’all.
I’ll be shopping online instead.
Oh c’mon, says Micron.  It’s not like I have an Off switch for the good looks.
I do, however, short circuit from time to time, he admits.
Zoiks! cries Micron. Don’t look behind you! It’s … it’s The Holiday Shopping Season!


I was going to whine on about the unfortunality of no decent Halloween movies on the tube as well.  But then Zombieland was on.  Oh, and Paranormal Activity 2. The latter of which had me sleeping on the sofa with the lights on because I freaked myself out too much to go upstairs. Now that’s a good Halloween, people.

Do dogs dream in orange?

Have you ever had one of the those days? I ask my Favorite Kid. Where so many weird things are going on that you start making mental notes so you can blog about it later? And then you wake up?

No, Ma, says my Favorite Kid. I haven’t.

Hang on, don’t leave just yet. I say, following him out of the living room. Heh, this one was a doozy, kiddo. Lemme tell you what happened in it. 

Please don’t, Ma. he says.

Every dog should have a chance to be this happy. 

What is it about stairs and escalators anyway? Elevators, too. Some sort of transport that is so complicated I can’t figure out how to get to where I need to be. That has to be symbolic in a recurring dream, right? I ask him.

Because the kid graduated with a double major in psychology and sociology, so he must know this stuff. Surely they covered dream symbolism in some college course. Because why else even have this field of study? And whether he wants the job or not, the kid is stuck as my sounding board as I recount my subconscious goings-on.

And food buffets, too. I say. Always food. And something always keeps me from having any. What does that mean, do you think?

It means, he says. Whatever you want it to mean. It’s different for everyone.

Huh, I say. Well, that’s helpful not at all. And now I’m hungry.

I head back to the kitchen for my secret chocolate stash*.

Hey, but there’s usually a dog or two with me, I say. I guess you don’t need to be a psych major for that one, do you?

No, I guess not, says my Favorite Kid. Well done, Ma. See you’ve figured it out all on your own. Good talk. So can I go now?

And you, dear reader, may relax now as well.  We won’t be delving any deeper into the dark soul of the overly active id of my subconscious. Well, at least not right now. This split personality will likely come up in conversation again.  After all, our alternate world of dreams takes up about a quarter of our lifespan, right?

But sure, it’s true that dogs accompany me in my dream world. And how cool is that?  I can pretty much count on the presence of a faithful canine all the time.  Like 24/7. Yep, envy me y’all.

I wonder, too, what my dogs dream about. Wouldn’t you love to be a fly on their nose during their diurnal REM transactions? I sure would, because if the twitching snooter and freely running legs** are an indicator, I really don’t think they’re slogging through worlds of inaccessible destinations and deprivation of pleasure as some of us human beans are wont to do.

Instead, could our dogs be reliving their awesome day, only better? More intense odors upon the air, longer walks, three tennis balls to chase at once and other wondrous things? Maybe rides in the car where the Food Lady really, really lowers the window so they can stick more than a nostril out?

Oh hey, speaking of nostrils, d’ya ever stick a dog cookie under that twitching nose pad of a sleeping dog and they wake up in momentary disbelief and blink their eyes and then think oh my dog dreams really do come true? That’s good times all around, people.

It’s entertaining to me to think that Micron has rich dreams. Built on the memories of people he’s met and the places he’s been.

Like, fer instance, our annual road trip to the pumpkin farm.

Could a visit to the pumpkin farm bring upon an enhanced dreamscape of a field of huge orange tennis balls?

Dream big, says Micron.

Or on the other brain node, maybe one of those big orange tennis balls has gone very, very wrong.

Giddyap, my li’l doggie friends, drawls the cowpokin’ scarecrow.

Taking a pass, says Micron.

I close my eyes and still see it, cries Micron. Thank dog
the thing is lasered in on Fergo.

And with that last vision making its rat nest inside the subconscious canine neurons, we add the capriney aroma of horned goat creatures to create perhaps a whole nuther kind of animal in the mind’s eye.

One punkin’ head too many here, say
the goats.
Or the heck with rolling down the car windows. Micron commandeers his very own monster truck with no bothersome barriers whatsoever. 
Finally, sighs Micron. I can feel the wind in my ears. 
I call this My Mister Mighty Micron Mad Max
 Muscle Machine with a Huzzah 
, says Micron.
Or mmmmmmmmwah for short.

It’s funny to me now that, as I share these thoughts with you, Micron is sound asleep on the loveseat and his snores have turned into soft, bwoofy barks. The dog only barks for two things … dog cookies and, well, ok. Only one thing. Must be a really good dream, this one.

So what to do, but gently place a dog cookie in front of his adorable boop button.

And make his dreams come true.
*Cleverly hidden in a complex system within the pots & pans drawer. Good luck stumbling across that stash, Men o’The House.

**And that one time as we were watching Yaxley lie flat on his back with legs galloping onward, we wondered if perhaps he was dreaming he was flying. Like a pegasus or something.

Halloween Memories of Yore

Other stories celebrating this mystical time of year. Grab yourself one of the season’s ubiquitous pumpkin spice beverages of choice and enjoy these past posts. 

A true-ish ghost story at Ghosts in the Walls

A troubling Halloween night babysitting gig when I confirmed the theory that an opposum in a cornfield sounds exactly like three men with an ax at Spirits of the Season.

A Mom Fail story that I somehow segued into Yaxley’s first Halloween at When Spots are Scary. It’s a gift, this ability to segue two totally random things together. Or a fluke. Either one.

And a couple of short photo posts involving bananas and sharks, but not at the same time. Because that would be messed up, people. At A Vengeful Spirit and Land Shark

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