Wednesday, September 2, 2015

I have not posted here on Whidbey Dogs for about 3 years.  Dog Almighty!?!  Whassup with that?  Well, I diverted my attention for a while and wrote a piece for the musical theater, called Lather, Rinse, Repeat.  

I ran a successful Kickstarter on it, then had it mounted and produced last fall.  That took a tiny bit amount of my time, as I also work full time as an Interpreter for the Deaf.  We lost our two BBDs (Big Black Dogs), a horse, and raised a terrior (sic) puppy in these past three years. There just ain't a lot of lot of spare time, you know?

However!   Whidbey Dogs is up and running and wagging again.   Stay tuned for stories on local dogs, our dogs and my studies as an Animal Communicator this past year, under the tutelage of master communicator, Joan Ranquet.  

If you have a dog you would like to have spotlighted on this blog, send me an email and pictures to this email:    I'll be all over it like flies on - dark stinky things.   Meanwhile, here is a snap of  Daphne and Molly at Maxwelton Beach.  
These are 2 new dogs to us, since my last post.  They both have stories, these girls.   

Stay tuned.

Monday, December 31, 2012


Elly Bean, on her penultimate day walking this good, green earth, 
enjoying her moment in the sun.

 Today, apparently, is New Year's Eve. Out for a spin this afternoon, I was handed a ticket for LWI. I didn't even think I was going that fast. I will admit, I had my nose to the ground, and my back end was probably going a little faster than my front end, but c'mon! What the bark was this ticket for LWI? I looked closer.

The fine print showed me that it was for Living With Intention. “You're actually quite good at it,” a voice said. I looked around. Leaves, grass, stones, tree trunks... the usual assorted things to smell and pee on. I sniffed the wind. Heavenly, but no whiff of a person nearby. Was it the Universe talking to me? Was it the great Connection we all share? God? That boy down the street who aims his BB gun at me if I go up his drive?

I picked up my LWI gingerly in my teeth and took it with me, as I trotted home. I know on this date, the last day of the year, humans make lists of things they want to change in their lives for the coming year. I know they set their standards pretty high, too. Then they get discouraged. Then they give up and continue on in their habits that they had hoped to change in the first place.

We dogs don't do that. No lists. No need. But, I guess we do all share the trait of Living With Intention.

When my tail wags, it wags with full on intent: mostly in utter joy, sometimes with trepidation, but always it is there behind me doing what it is supposed to be doing at that point in time.

When I pull on my leash, when I gulp my food, or sit tidily for a cookie, dig a hole, chase a bunny, race down a hill with abandon, check my pee mail, scatter a flock of seagulls by running right through them, nuzzle the hand of the person I love best, and turn four times before I sleep, it's all I do. There is nothing else in the world that takes my focus from that moment. And since that moment is all I have, I am going to make it my tail-wagging best.

So, thanks for the ticket, whoever you were that was passing them out to all of us canines. I shall do my utmost in carrying on in Living With Intention for … well, right now. Because it isn't next year yet. It's not even tomorrow. Heck, it's not even dinner time. Right now. Right now. Here I am.

Monday, December 24, 2012


To all of you who have wagged your tails when you saw me – whether you knew me or not.

To all of you who tore through wrapping paper to get to a new toy, which you promptly ignored and ripped, instead, the tissue paper to the tiniest, most festive shreds.

To all of you who stayed by my side during the year, even on my less cheerful days.

To all of you who knew the gravy drippings atop your evening meal were payment received for the torture of the sweet aroma of a 12 pound bird slow roasting in the oven all day long.

To all of you who warm our feet at night. Who claim your rightful place on our laps. Who yodel when we return home, whether we have been gone mere minutes or days. Who offer a paw, a tummy, a tilt of the head, a loving gaze, a sigh.

To all of you who keep Christmas in your heart the whole year 'round.

I thank you. Simply. And happily.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012


 More Whidbey Islanders have sent in thoughts and pictures of their dogs. How cool is that! Little giggles bubble up in my heart (they really do) when I hear of people speak of their dogs with such warmth and love. Think of the things that we are privy every day, because we share our homes with dogs: humor, affection, tenacity, stoicism and, of course, their unconditional love. Those are some pretty amazing lessons to have at our feet, wouldn't you say?  

Sarah loves her teddy bear, but has a little trouble getting him to behave. 
Nothing like a good bite on his nose to put him in his place!    
Sarah lives with Sandra Staats

And, I'm hoping we will get a picture of Poodle and Bad Dog; meanwhile, here is this family's story (from Ligeia Lester)

I have two dogs, and two children. Coincidence? I think not. For the purposes of this story, I will call the kids P and J. The dogs will be known as Poodle and Bad Dog. Originally, we got the poodle because we are, essentially, DOG PEOPLE. I mean, we like dogs, sure, as much as the next guy, but then multiply that by about... 47. (our favorite number is infinity, but that won't work in this particular equation, now, will it?) 

P, in fact, was the kind of kid who would approach any dog, anywhere, and ask to play. Of course, she was taught dog etiquette, and knows to always talk to the owner first. P was such a dog fanatic, that at the age of 3, she stopped a stranger who was walking by our house. She said, "Excuse me, is that a fetchy dog?" -meaning, does that dog like to play fetch. When told that the dog did like to play fetch, P ran to her room and got a tennis ball. She fetched that dog for nearly 40 minutes in our front yard. Of course, we put a kink in our neighbor's walk, but it was a pretty clear sign to me that P was a dog person, and there was no helping it. 

Now, J, on the other hand... He was not a dog person at first. He was a timid toddler anyways... He was actually afraid of the Easter Bunny for a number of years... So it's no surprise that he disliked dogs out of hand. Of course, that was not to be tolerated by me or P, so we set about changing his mind. We introduced him to quiet dogs, calm dogs, small dogs, any and every dog we could find. But no matter what we tried, he hated dogs. Except for one. Poodle.  Now, Poodle isn't really a poodle; he's a poodle-mix. He's very, very cute, but not so smart. He's incredibly submissive, which means that even a tiny, scared boy-child is higher up in the pecking order. 

Once J figured out that Poodle was scared of him, his entire attitude changed. J set out to show Poodle what a kind, gentle, loving boy he could be. I'm not kidding when I say that dog was the PERFECT dog for our family. I mean, you can't find a better dog. Poodle is not as "fetchy" and playful as P would like, but he is pretty fantastic, and very well-behaved. He knows a handful of commands, but most importantly, he loves us. He loves us so much he can barely contain himself when we get home from school. Poodle races around the yard like his tail is on fire, begging for someone to chase him. And wouldn't you know it, every day, P and J are up for the challenge. Poodle has changed our life. He completes our family. He teaches us, comforts us, challenges us, and loves us. 

Now, I'll have to tell you about Bad Dog later. I bet you can't wait to hear how we wound up with a dog by that name! Til next time, Poodle, and P and J.

(Stay tuned for updates on Poodle, Bad Dog and other Whidbey Dogs!)

Thursday, November 15, 2012


Okay, so you get that headline if you were either: A) raised Catholic, or B) studied Latin in school.
I'm just going to briefly apply it to my dear, dear Cooper and our "misunderstanding" last night.

I fell in love with Cooper at PAWS in Lynnwood, WA.  (You've heard about him before; this shant be the last time!).  Here is a picture of our second meeting.  I had met him the day before.  I was looking for a 15 lb. female.  I was thwarted by PAWS at every step.  More about that, on another date.  This day, you can see how happy I am, and how... OOGY he was.  His name was Kodi.  He was spewing in a rather projectile fashion, from both ends, due to the stress of being abandoned, rejection and a butt-load of vaccinations all at once.  This new person, who had walked past his cage innumerable times looking for a small female, was now, suddenly, TOUCHING HIM!  He was tentatively allowing himself to have hope.  But mostly he was feeling like ca-ca, in the true espanol sense of the word.

Cooper (aka, at that time Kodi) was walked, sweet-talked and introduced to Sara and Scott.  He and Dana had met the day prior.  He had made it clear he wanted OUT of there.  A dear friend of the humans had popped in to introduce herself.  The humans were important to her; thus, so was the new canine.   Cooper embarked on the next journey of his life:  a strange car (with a terrifying lamb squeaky toy), a walk, a boat ride, another walk and a truck to hop into.  Then... heaven.  Doggy Heaven.  Really.  Acres and acres of grass and trees and small critters and wonderful smells.   Could he DARE a smile?  Was this where he got to be for now?

 He was home.  They were calling him a strange name.  It sounded nothing like Kodi, but he would turn to it, if it made them happy.   He liked the other dog there, but soon proved his naivete at not knowing how to play, how to romp, how to be happy.  Experiences he had not had, to date.

It's been quite a year with this guy.   In fact, after almost one year, he finally performed an appropriate play bow, chased the other dog in fun and without a hump in sight, and picked up a toy - delighting in its squeak!   He continues to be amazed.  A recent animal communicator student told us he is constantly saying, "Really?"  "Really?"  We see that as, "Really?  I get raw meat?"  or "Really?  I have people who touch me lovingly?"   or "Really?  I don't have to sleep outside, all alone?  You'll let me come in here and sleep on a soft, cushy bed mere inches from where you sleep?  Really?"   Cooper awakes with whines.  He just really can't believe his new-found fortune.  He can't believe he actually and finally belongs.

And, try as I might to remember that, sometimes I forget.   Last night he cuddled up to me.  Husband was sawing logs on the other side of the bed.  Cooper came up for a bit of a frantic cuddle.  I was still reading, and somewhat distracted.  I petted him and reassured him.  Then he wandered to the other side of the bed and whined.  I got up, to let the man savor his sleep, and trod quietly through the house, showing Cooper his doggy door.  It is important to me that he knows his freedoms.  He walked through it and I went back to bed, to my book.   Ten minutes later, Sara came over to my side of the bed, concerned.   Cooper hadn't found his way back inside.  I threw the covers aside, and heaved myself out of bed, once again.  I thought of going to the doggy door (I AM trying to teach him a lesson, after all.  He has a certain amount of autonomy.  I was hoping he would easily do his thing, then find his way back in.)  Instead, I walked to the living room door and switched on the light.  There he was, curled up and shivering against the glass door; settled in for the night.

I quickly let him in and fell over myself, apologizing.  He was confused and kept flopping over, showing his tummy in submission.  We must have taken 15 flops between the door and the bedroom.  Over and over again I told him I was sorry, and that he NEVER had to content himself with sleeping outside, on the outskirts ever again.

Today we are fine.  But I continually ponder at the path he has taken until he reached here, his new home... where he sleeps on a comfortable, clean bed, inside with the humans and the other dog.  Where he is welcome, beloved, and enjoyed.  Where he is not labeled "destructive" or seen as someone who lives in the margin of society.  Where he is accepted, hugged, enjoyed and slowly realizes that he can let his humor shine through.  Mea Culpa, Cooper.  From now on, if you wake up during the middle of the night, I will show you the door, turn on the light and wait, shivering, for you to do your thing and come back to sleep with the rest of your pack.  Indoors.  Safe.  And loved.
  You Belong.

Friday, November 9, 2012


To get our blog up and running, we put an ad on Whidbey Island's version of Craigslist. It read something to the effect of:

DOG OWNERS: You know we all LOVE to talk about our dogs, right? I have started a new dogblog: Have a look! And, I would like to include your thoughts and observations along with pictures of your dogs; heck I'll even include your dog's thoughts and observations! And not just in the comment section, but in the body of the blog. It's like a fun group project, which I think will provide some interesting reading to dog lovers on the island. No hidden agenda; this isn't one of my million dollar ideas, or anything. I simply love dogs and like to hear stories from other people who share their lives with them.

Well, in fact, that is exactly how it read; I just cut and pasted it from the ad. I even bribed people, by saying I would donate $1 to drewslist for every reply. (Note to self: get that check off today.) I heard from a few nice people, but Drew won't be buying a Ferrari any time soon, that's for sure. (I don't even know if he wants one, so maybe that's a good thing.)  However!  As I am one to always strive for the Pollyanna side of life, it's a new blog, out of billions and billions out there on the internet, right? But it's the only one for dogs and their owners here on beautiful Whidbey Island.  If it grows, WOOF!  If not, I'm still having fun.

And here, from one of the first responders, Rita, and the dog who shares her home:

This is Ripley, posing at Whidbey State Park.  Isn't she a beaut'?  

Ripley is a 9-yr-old Rhodesian RIdgeback who offers us unconditional love -- all the time, no matter what!  She is always willing to go for a walk or a ride, never giving the "I'm not in the mood" excuse that humans might use. She enjoys just sitting in the sun, smelling the air -- showing us how simple the experience of true joy really is. She's thrilled at breakfast time, thrilled at dinner time,  loves drive-up coffee places, Ace Hardware & the Country Store. Loves hiking, and the beaches. -- And she demonstrates to us every day how the simple things in life can bring so much happiness.

Ripley is not just a dog; she's a key member of our family and the entire focus of everything we do.  Not one decision is made without taking her needs into consideration.  We love her unconditionally as well, having learned how to do that from her.  For us, a house without dog hair is an unhealthy environment.

Barking for Starbucks!

Unconditional LOVE.  There's just nothing finer.  More in our next post from other Whidbey-ites and the dogs who love 'em.  

Sunday, October 28, 2012


Many of us share our homes with dogs. Other animals, too, but this is a dogblog. Thus the name. So, I would like to find out why, at least here on Whidbey Island: Why do you live with dogs? Don't be shy. I'll just ask for a show of hands, then.

Well, seems mine is the only hand up, at this point. Possibly because I have only just created this blog. So, I'll go first then, shall I?

I like the way their paws smell: earthy, musky, well-travelled. Really. Have you ever just flopped on the floor with your pooch and taken a deep whiff of a paw? That smell seems the very essence of who they are in this world.

I like their pure, unbridled joy when one of us comes home, whether it is from a (rare) vacation, a day at work, or just coming back from the recycling center. They are thrilled at the reunion. Sara (our border collie/flat coat retriever mix) is so elated, she has to trot around the house with a toy in her mouth, squealing in a glass-shattering pitch for about three minutes. Cooper (our Bernese/Golden mix) whines like a puppy and collapses for a belly rub, tail thumping the floor. When Sara gets ahold of herself, her squeals turn to yodels. Or “oodle-oo's,” as we call them. Between the “eeeeeeeeeeeee's,” the “oodles” and the dull thud, thud, thuds, we have quite a nice serenade welcoming us home. Every time. Without fail. No matter the hour.

I like their daily reminder that now is all we have. When stress gets the better of me or I find myself worrying about what might happen, I try to remind myself to look at my dogs, and see that they are not bogged down with the what-ifs and wherefores and what-might-a-beens that plague us. I am not very good at this. But they are. Great teachers, eh?

So, your turn. Why do your couches and beds have dog hair on them? Why are your floors decorated with muddy footprints, and why do your doorways have a jumble of old towels and leashes hanging within easy reach? What possible reasons could you have for sharing your home with dogs?