9 things that dogs teach us


Dogs teach us so much about life – the importance of a kind word, the touch of a hand, a hug.

The need to play, to chase a ball for nothing more than the joy of running, to feel the air blow into your face.

To nap frequently.

To take life as it comes and never, ever be ready to do anything but love.

Well, love and gobble down a good meal …

Birthday girl


Willow is 8 today. She came to our house on May 16, 2009, but the breeder’s paperwork said she was born March 28.

By the time we visited the farm, all of her littermates had been adopted. We could take the little puppy who was alone in her cage, or we could choose from a litter that was two weeks younger.

We already had a name in mind. I picked her up, asked “Are you Willow?” and she snuggled against my chest in affirmation. No need to see the others. I checked out the younger pups, but Willow was still The Willow.

d08f3-willowfirstday1I have bonded with other dogs in my life (Hello up there, Poppins. Hello, Tucker), but no one ever had a hold on me like Willow The Best Dog There Is™ – she who jumps up on the bed when the alarm goes off and leans in for a spoon. She who won’t relinquish the orange ball. She who we were sure was part greyhound because her long golden-retriever coat was late in arriving and she ran like the wind.

I started calling her Willow The Best Dog There Is somewhere along the line, and added the ™ just for fun. I know other people love their dogs as much as I do. Sometimes – and those who do understand this – there’s just something deeper between human and canine.

Happy birthday, Willow.

Prose poem: Independence Day

dejah in clover

The hound ran.

She ran because she was happy to be free, beyond the fence, beyond the limits.

She ran across the field through the clover, through the tall grass waving as she brushed by, her mouth open in what looked like a delighted smile, happy just to be alive and exploring and seeing what is out there beyond the fence, beyond the limits.

She ran like she did when she was a puppy in this field, a bounce in her step that wasn’t there behind the fence. The enclosed yard did not contain quite enough space for her to unleash her full speed, her full joy, the fullness of her being and potential.

The fence kept her safe, no doubt – from predators and from getting lost in the woods beyond the field. But beyond the fence lay freedom and joy and all the speed she could muster.

There were fewer limits there, and there she could be all the dog she was.

This dog

Dejah Thoris, Princess of Mars

We have two golden retrievers. The older one is a sweet, dignified dog who loves to be hugged, snuggles like a champ, listens and comes when we call, and is just so beautiful that I have dubbed her Willow The Best Dog There Is.

Then there’s this dog.



Dejah and pillow
“Honey? Have you seen the throw pillow from the easy chair? I can’t find it anywhere.”

Tuesday morning we looked out the back door and saw that Dejah had grabbed a throw pillow off an easy chair, walked out on the deck and lay down on the little dog bed with the pillow. She’s always grabbing something. I took the pillow and brought it inside, and a few minutes later I found the TV remote out there.




the remote



I posted the two photos on Facebook with silly captions. Kirsten Tynan asked, “Did she manage to get the TV out there as well?” and I replied, “No, she draws the line at pillows and remotes. and newspapers. and baseball caps. and socks … and sneakers …” and Kirsten responded, “Except for the newspapers, that sounds like all things that smell like you guys.”


And all of a sudden, it all made sense. (Slippers. She loves my slippers, too.) She likes to carry on with stuff that smells like us. All of a sudden, it went from an amusing irritation to something heart-melting. Dejah walked off with the remote? Awwww …

This dog will never qualify as The Best Dog There Is, if being a good dog is about being gentle and loving and obedient. But this dog is her own dog who shows her love in the dag-nabbed goofiest ways. And that works, too.

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Creative log:

Wednesday, June 8, 2016: Filled six journal pages with writing and one with drawing. “There Is No Box”