Saturday, December 31, 2016


As I looked back on the words of wisdom Duncan offered when I was writing the book, I Want to Have the Heart of a Dog, the first thing that struck me is there’s an awful lot of “stuff” about death and dying. 

However, from the perspective that we are infinite beings who never die, his words are a message of hope and the possibility of a way of being far different than the thousands of Earth years of suffering I/we have experienced. 

Duncan also said, “We have broken the pattern…of abuse, betrayal and violent deaths.” “You can manifest the serenity and comfort and love.” “Give this new way of being time to settle into the bones of your physical body and become a gentle habit.”   

If my human default setting is struggle and suffering, of course serenity and comfort and love will feel strange—even uncomfortable. I fight them. I resist them. To relax into these emotions—to let down my guard—seems to invite an attack. 

When one of my furbabies died a few months ago, I remember telling people, “Don’t be nice to me or I’ll break down and cry.” Crying, grieving and feeling a sense of loss makes me vulnerable and open to attack—triggering the memory of abuse, betrayal and violent deaths I have experienced so many times. Yet many people want to reach out in comfort, kindness and shared sympathy.

In fact, rather than closing myself off from the kindness of others, perhaps I want this but am afraid of it because of past experiences. Perhaps this is my spirit trying to show me how to build this “gentle habit” in spite of my fear.

When Duncan said, Give this new way of being time to settle into the bones of your physical body and become a gentle habit, why did he say “gentle habit”? Does that mean quit fighting and struggling and let the Universe handle things for a while?

I rather like the idea of wrapping up this year and starting a new one with gentle habits. Be gentle with ourselves, with family and loved ones, with strangers and, of course, with the beloved furbabies who teach us so much!

Monday, December 26, 2016


The interaction between The Big Three—Ace, Goliath and Duncan—was interesting. Duncan made a few attempts to dethrone Ace as the alpha dog. Ace was a senior dog by that time. No more jumping into the car through the windows or crashing through fences. However, Goliath did not tolerate Duncan’s attempts to take over as top dog. He made it clear Ace would be the boss as long as he was alive.

After Ace became an angel, Goliath the Adored One became the reluctant alpha dog, and I realized he had shown his respect for Ace in another way. When Ace was alive, Goliath never lifted his leg to mark his territory. After Ace transitioned, Goliath started lifting his leg to mark. Another sign animals have more depth than most humans give them credit for.

Since the Alpha Dog role was taken during the time Duncan was with us, he found a different role: that of nurturing disciplinarian. 

In addition to his determination to teach Brooklyn appropriate behavior (check out the earlier post of “The Cat Who Thought He Was a Dog”), Duncan lent a paw in teaching younger dogs the house rules. When the youngsters came inside, my older dogs continued their lessons, insisting they not play. As a result, they learned to be down and quiet in the house. More effective than a human trying to teach manners!

As Duncan grew older and illness weakened his body, my foster dog Tuley became his special companion. He growled half-heartedly at her when he climbed onto the bed. She respected the warning–until he fell asleep. Then she snuck up on the bed and cuddled next to him, putting her chin on his back and comforting him.

In a reversal of roles, the nurturer was rewarded for his years of caring for others.

Saturday, December 10, 2016


Digital versions FREE
until December 31, 2016
I am deeply touched by the sympathy and caring expressed about the passing of one of my furbabies. So many of us have experienced this sadness in our lives, while at the same time knowing our beloved ones are in a better place. 

Over the years I’ve been writing, dogs have wagged their way onto the pages of my books to bring comfort, joy and silliness to the lives of many characters. It seems appropriate to celebrate Hudson’s life by offering one of these books to all of you as a gift. 

My publisher has generously agreed to offer No More Poodle Skirts FREE until December 31. Don’t know if other sites will follow suit, but here’s a link to Rogue Phoenix Press: <>. 

You do have to push a few buttons to get this digital book: Click on “add to cart” and the price will change to $0.00. If you don’t have an account, it will ask you to set one up. When you receive an email with the receipt, click where it tells you to. Make sure you’re signed into your account to download this book (ePub, HTML, Mobi—for Kindle—or PDF formats).

Cyber-(((HUGS))) to all of you!

Thursday, December 8, 2016


These words of wisdom from my Duncan came several years before Hudson’s passing and serve as a reminder to me that we are surrounded by higher beings who love us and guide us, but also give us free will. We are not alone in what many times seems like a chaotic world, but we also determine what happens in our personal sphere of influence. By changing our thoughts and our focus, we can shift what manifests in our physical world.

Sound unbelievable? Why not give it a try? What do you have to lose except worry, stress and chaos?
~ Wisdom from Duncan ~
The time of four-leggeds on this physical plane is less than the two-leggeds we have come to teach. So do not use the passing of my physical body as another excuse to punish yourself. See this passing, instead, as another experience. 
You have the knowledge and the memories of what brought you to this lifetime. So you also have the knowledge and wisdom to choose another route. You can choose a different life. You can manifest the serenity and comfort and love you say you want. If only you choose it. A life of ease, creativity and comfort may be uncomfortable at first. Like forming new habits, the path to abundance may feel strange. You have experienced thousands of Earth years of suffering.
Give this new way of being time to settle into the bones of your physical body and become a gentle habit. Let the past fall away in the gentleness of a new way of being. Don’t feel you have to share this new feeling with anyone else just yet. It’s okay to cradle this in your heart until it grows from tender seedling to strong, healthy tree. Enjoy the newness. Feel the growth and strength. But know there will come a time–and soon–when you will be asked to share your message with the world. For others need to hear these words of hope and encouragement.

Others need to know it is possible to drop away what no longer serves them and open to the new reality forming so quickly around us. Indeed, that we are bringing into reality.
(Excerpted from I Want to Have the Heart of a Dog, by Genie Gabriel)

Tuesday, December 6, 2016


We said good-bye to Hudson this morning. I didn't expect him to hang around as long as he did after Ebony Rose passed at the end of August. As soon as I made the call to the vet's office he kept saying "thank you" over and over. He was really ready. Last night, my doggies who sleep downstairs with me all formed a circle around him to sleep; and my furbabies who have already passed were eagerly waiting for him on the Other Side. I know it was time and, though the tears still come unexpectedly, my heart feels his peace.  

Monday, December 5, 2016


Duncan had a special relationship with a cat who thought he was a dog who used to live in our house. Brooklyn was an adventurous soul who often was scolded for inappropriate behavior. When this happened, Duncan reinforced the corrective action by putting his mouth over the cat’s entire head. Never bit down, just put his mouth over Brooklyn’s head. The cat knew what was coming, and just sat with his ears flattened and his eyes scrunched closed. When Duncan finished correcting the cat and raised his head, Brooklyn just shook it off and went on with his misadventures.

(Excerpted from I Want to Have the Heart of a Dog, by Genie Gabriel)

Friday, December 2, 2016


In spite of fears my heart would be torn into pieces, I finally gathered the courage to volunteer at the local humane society where we adopted Ace…There is good reason volunteers aren’t allowed to adopt for a certain time after they start. The temptation to “save” animals is strong. I proudly made it past the allotted waiting time without begging to adopt any canine friends.

Then Duncan caught my attention. When he first came in, this Collie/Shepherd mix seemed aloof but with eyes that mesmerized me. (Yes, I see the same situation that brought Ace into my life.) I figured Duncan would be adopted quickly. It took me four months to realize he was there for me. By then he had become the “old-timer” at the shelter–the dog who had been there the longest. My special cases. And he came home with me.

(Excerpted from I Want to Have the Heart of a Dog, by Genie Gabriel)

Wednesday, November 30, 2016


~ Woofs of Wisdom from Goliath ~
The wisdom you saw in me was a reflection of the wisdom you have access to if you will only open to it. If you will allow it to reveal itself, and if you embrace it as part of a new way of being. Wisdom is not for only a few but for the many. Everyone can have this wisdom if only they allow it to reveal itself. Simply open your mind and heart to hear its message. The message of love. The message of serenity. The message all is well.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016


Ah, Thanksgiving. That holiday sandwiched between flocked trees and blow-up Santas and  many times pushed aside in the rush to Black Friday. 

Well, corny as it may seem, I still like to take some time to be thankful for the many good things in my life—and that includes lessons that have come out of painful situations.

For instance, I lost one of my beloved dogs on August 28. Another furbaby is winding down his time here on the physical plane. Most of my other doggies are also facing some physical challenges. What I have learned from these situations is to let go of my tendency to be busy just because, and invest my time and energy with who/what is truly most important to me. 

Everything is weighed against, “This furbaby may not be alive tomorrow. So do I slow down and spend time loving these beautiful spirits who have adored me without question for years or do I (fill in the blank here).”

OK, I still have to cook meals and do laundry and pick up poop, but I’m making the time to love my furbabies—and trying not to beat up myself for the times I didn’t measure up to what I think I should do. 

So I’m grateful these situations led me to question what I’m doing and why. 

I’m grateful my “no” muscles are stronger so I can kindly and tactfully turn down requests from others that don’t match my priorities.

I’m grateful this has led me to be kinder to myself and realize my needs must one of the highest priorities in my life. Because if I go under, others depending on me will also go down. Not an option!

Interestingly, this has made me more intolerant of bad behavior. So I’m grateful for more courage to stand up to or divert or walk away from other people’s BS.

Looking at this particular list of what I’m grateful for seems somber amid a totally crappy year. There certainly have been rough times. But I woke up on New Year’s Day 2016 feeling like this was going to be the best year yet, and I think it has been. Whether you take the analogy of a phoenix rising from the ashes, or look at a pile of poop and think there has to be a pony in here somewhere, my lessons have been deep and life-changing. 

As I say in my writer’s bio, my rose-colored glasses may have bent frames and cracked lenses, but I always seem to clean them off and shove them back on my face. And for that resilience and plain old bull-headedness, I am also grateful. 

Wednesday, November 16, 2016


While Goliath was growing and growing and growing, I witnessed the strong bond between animals.

Remember Ace didn’t venture past our front porch? Well, at least usually.

However, one day my younger son called me at work and said Ace had chased a man away from our house and a block and a half down the road.

My Ace was normally not aggressive. As we pieced together what happened, this guy apparently was in our side yard–where he had no business being. And puppy Goliath was sitting at the side door. We figured he was trying to steal the puppy and Ace showed him how inappropriate that was–breaking through the gate to prove his point.

After Ace dispatched the trespasser and would-be dognapper, he came back to the house. This incident strengthened another perception: not only is the connection between dogs and their humans special, so is the bond between animals.

Sunday, November 6, 2016


I’ve worked at my local animal shelter, volunteered there, adopted a number of dogs from the shelter and still have friends who work at the shelter. So I was pleased to see the week of November 6-12, 2016 designated as National Animal Shelter Appreciation Week by the Humane Society of the United States

You can support your local animal shelter in a number of ways:
—Adopt an animal
—Foster an animal
—Attend special events sponsored by your local shelter
—Spread the word about shelter needs and adoptable animals

—Spay/neuter your pets and encourage others to do the same

Friday, November 4, 2016


The Adored One: GOLIATH 
This Black Lab/Rottweiler mix was a nearly perfect dog--
all 105 pounds of him by the time he was fully grown.

Monday, October 31, 2016


Excerpt from
I Want to Have the Heart of a Dog
by Genie Gabriel <>

~ Wisdom from Ace ~
I hope you know by now–without doubt, to the depths of your heart–every four-legged who has walked this physical life with you has tried to show you the pure love in your heart. We are the reflection of that love.

We are the message to let go of the need to punish, and to build your own pathway of love. You don’t have to follow what others have done. You don’t need any guide but what is in your heart. Simply allow. Trust what your heart tells you and allow. Let the fear fall away. Abandon expectations. Live moment to moment without fear of the future. You might have to occasionally wash the dishes or take out the trash, but revel in those moments too.

Thursday, October 20, 2016


Ace and I continued our regular walks–without further yappy dog incidents–until Ace was fifteen years old. On a particularly warm day, Ace collapsed on the sidewalk. A trip to the emergency vet and a later visit with our regular vet brought a diagnosis of laryngeal paralysis.

An expensive surgery could buy us some time and I wasn’t ready to lose my furry buddy. I pulled together the money and we drove forty-five miles for a pre-op visit. The vet staff took Ace to a back room without me and he almost died during the exam.

When they told me what happened, I requested a wet towel, a fan and a darkened room. Within fifteen minutes Ace was cooled down, calmed down, and breathing normally.

I didn’t realize it at the time, but I had stumbled onto the power of connections between dogs and their humans. 

Considering Ace’s reaction at being away from me, the vet surgeon knew something beyond the physical was at work here.

On the day of the surgery, they adjusted their usual procedures so I could be with Ace as much as possible. At the end of the day, he was allowed to go home rather than stay overnight–another concession to our connection.

Since becoming aware of this connection between humans and animals, I've experienced a number of other connections with dogs in my life. 

--Sophie and I connected while she was at the shelter. Though others wrote her off as a hospice dog, she told me we would have 2-3 years together. We had three wonderful years before she transitioned.

--My Cocker Spaniel, Rascal, and I first connected nose-to-nose when I picked him up from his neuter surgery. When he was returned to the shelter for biting at anyone and everything, he came home with me. With my beautiful Shepherd mix, Stewart, as his therapist, Rascal has spent many years in our doggie household, sleeping on my pillow at night.

I've also had connections with my Warrior Girls, which I talk about in my book, I Want to Have the Heart of a Dog, as well as other dogs. Perhaps the connection of most significance for me is with Collies, starting with the dog of my childhood, Tippie. He has returned four times to support me at critical times in this lifetime.  

If you feel a special connection with your pet, know they have come as a special messenger for you. I like to call them furry angels!

Thursday, October 13, 2016


In honor of Adopt-a-Shelter-Dog Month during October, I am sharing a few of my shelter dog stories.

Excerpts from I Want to Have the Heart of a Dog
by Genie Gabriel (
BUY now! 

Ace was my first shelter dog. A Border Collie mix with golden eyes that mesmerized me, and I knew instantly he was smarter than most people. He convinced me some of the best dogs come from the shelter. I got that lesson instantly–most dogs are in shelters or on the streets because of human actions, not their own. The so-called issues that landed my adopted dogs in the shelter have not been problems for me.

For instance, one of the conditions of adopting Ace was he be neutered within seventy-two hours or we would forfeit the extra deposit we made when we adopted him. Seems he had a price on his head at the dog control office because he had run away several times from his previous owners. We didn’t have any problems with him running. In fact, one day he broke the glass in our old, single-paned front door when the mailman came. The neighbors called me at work and I hurried home. Ace was laying on the front porch and greeted me with a grin and the question, “When’s dinner?”

The first time I saw her, she was laying in deathly stillness in one of the stray kennels. A big, black dog and I was in love again…Though I didn’t know it at the time…she was mourning as well as having a massive bladder-and-more infection. When I heard her story and learned she was considered unadoptable because she was twelve years old and incontinent, I stated, “Well, I’ll adopt her.” …Staff cautioned me this would probably be for hospice…The first evening, she proudly TROTTED down the sidewalk. This “hospice” dog and I had three years together.

[Rascal] had three paws in the euthanasia room when I asked the kennel manager to give me a few days with him…Though he got along well with my other dogs, he was terrified of most everything, and it was obvious he had been abused…My beautiful Stewart was Rascal’s therapist. Whenever Raz panicked and started biting at everything, Stewart stood over him and put him in a gentle headlock until Raz realized he was safe and no one was hurting him. When Raz calmed down, Stewart released him…[Rascal] has been with me and my herd for many years now, and he still sleeps on my pillow.

Saturday, October 1, 2016


October is chock-full of holidays celebrating animals, including:

Adopt-a Dog Month sponsored by American Humane Association and Adopt-a-Shelter Dog Month sponsored by the ASPCA , both established to help promote adopting dogs from local shelters.

National Animal Safety and Protection Month was created by the PALS Foundation to promote safe handling and caring for both domestic and wild animals.

National Pit Bull Awareness Day has been expanded to include the entire month of October to educate the public and change the negative image of pit bulls. 

The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) is promoting several pet-related holidays during October, including National Pet Wellness Month, National Pet Obesity Awareness Day on October 7, and National Veterinary Technician Week from October 16-22.

In addition, there are a number of other weeks and days dedicated to celebrating specific kinds of animals, and we will be highlighting some of those holidays on this blog throughout October.

A special heart-tug for me is National Black Dog Day on October 1. Some statistics show black dogs at shelters are passed over more often than dogs of other colors. Here's a fun article at  DogTime listing ten fun reasons to adopt a black dog.

My doggie household usually includes at least one or more black dogs. If they are a BIG black dog, so much the better! October's doggie host on this blog was a black dog--meet Ace!
Ace was my first shelter dog. A Border Collie mix with golden eyes that mesmerized me, and I knew instantly he was smarter than most people.

Ace approached life with an attitude all his own. This incident never fails to amuse my grandchildren and describes Ace perfectly.

We walked every day through our neighborhood and knew most of the other dogs. However, at one corner, a little dog came charging to the fence, barking. He followed us around the corner, yapping incessantly.

Ace glanced at me, doing a mental eye roll at the annoyance. However, he didn’t react until we reached the end of the corner yard. As the little dog bounced at the fence, still yapping, Ace paused and lifted his leg.

His aim was perfect. The little dog backed away and shook his now wet face–quiet for the first time since he had spotted us.
And Ace sauntered away, a grin on his face.

(Excerpt from I Want to Have the Heart of a Dog, by Genie Gabriel)

Friday, September 30, 2016


As I was writing I Want to Have the Heart of a Dog and reflecting on my time with Max, I now see missed opportunities to learn and make different choices.

If I had been aware of the lessons Max was mirroring for me–situations in my own life that made me feel shame or were not allowed by my family culture–perhaps I could have released them and dropped the weight of those emotions.

Many years later, I still wonder if I'm missing opportunities to learn. However, I am very aware I can learn many lessons from my dogs. I hope you are also tuned in to what your pet might be trying to teach you.

Sunday, September 25, 2016


“It wasn’t my role to be cute and cuddly…” my Max told me when I was writing I Want to Have the Heart of a Dog.

Um, right. Max arrived at our house with a habit I didn’t appreciate: humping the legs of humans. 

This was back in the days when I was still learning about dog behaviors and their causes, as well as before I animals were talking to me, so I simply tried to prevent this activity by side-tracking Max before he zeroed in on his next victim. If he was faster than me, I corrected the behavior and distracted him to do something else while I apologized profusely to the human.

Since then, I’ve shared space with dogs who had other bad habits, such as chewing windowsills, fear biting, resource guarding, seemingly aimless barking in a shrieking pitch that literally makes your head hurt, sticking doggie noses into the private parts of humans--

Well, you get the picture. 

Max said I showed compassion for him and realized bad habits didn’t make him all bad. The lesson was to also show compassion for my own bad habits. It took many years to reach the point of not beating myself up, and I still need occasional reminders about this. However, this has been much more useful in changing habits than being harsh with myself. 

How about you? Is there a habit you would like to change? Have you tried loving acceptance of a bad habit while changing it or replacing it with something more beneficial? 

Tuesday, September 20, 2016


September 18-24 is National Dog Week, celebrated the last full week in September—“and any time you like!” according to the official web site. Started in 1928 by Captain William Lewis Judy, National Dog Week was “established not to bring more dogs into the world but to create more responsible dog owners.”

This year’s theme is “Readers Unleashed: Promoting Literacy with K9s.” Very appropriate for a writer like me who loves dogs! Have you ever read to your dog? Give it a try, you might both like it!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016


Some of my doggies--past and present

POSTED BY: Genie Gabriel

As I mentioned in Max’s introduction on September 1, “He taught me the joys of having more than one dog.”

Two dogs keep each other company, give twice as many cuddles, and don’t eat that much more than one. 

The danger is becoming addicted to rescuing dogs!

When I went to work at the local animal shelter, I couldn’t resist the lure of helping dogs by becoming a foster parent. The problem came when it was time to take my foster furbabies back to the shelter to be adopted. I loved them! Why wasn’t their new furever family waiting when this doggie walked in the door? I missed them so much!

Yep, my career as a doggie foster parent crumbled fast. I adopted my second foster dog. 

With my doggie count at three, I figured my fostering days were over. Then an outbreak of kennel cough swept through the shelter. Doggies were finishing up their medications and showing no signs of illness, but going crazy in the kennels until their time in isolation was up. To give them a sanity break, three foster doggies came home with me, bringing my doggie population to six. Not as overwhelming as I had once thought. 

This opened the door to adopting more doggies in addition to fostering. At one time my doggie count reached nine, and I decided it didn’t make sense to work at the shelter when I had a mini-shelter at home. 

Some challenges were obvious from the start, such as the cost of food and vet bills. Each dog also needed individual attention and grooming every day. Sometimes squabbles erupted into fights. 

Being an animal communicator, Reiki master, and life-long dog lover gave me several advantages in living with multiple dogs. However, I wasn’t prepared for the emotional challenge of multiple dogs growing older at the same time. Sometimes the day-to-day toll of caring for an aging doggie who might be incontinent or suffer seizures or have a tumor that wouldn’t heal seemed overwhelming. 

Yes, I know our canine companions live forever in our hearts, are always with us in spirit, and may even come back in a different furry body. However, I still deeply grieve the loss of their physical presence. Every. Single. One.

We lost one of our pack at the end of August, and an unusual quiet settled over our household—at least some of the time. The herd still grumbles about how slow I am fixing breakfast. They still chase the squirrels that taunt them by racing along the top of the fence. They still follow me outside when I work in the back yard or settle in my office when I’m at the computer. 

Yet late at night when I’m wrapping up “one more thing” before going to bed, that quiet settles over the house again and I wonder if the other dogs, like me, are offering up prayers and love for our Ebony Rose. 

If you’re going to have multiple dogs, you will have multiple losses. However, you will also discover multiple joys, blessings, and lessons. If you’re willing to take the multiple dog challenge, this will be an unforgettable experience!

Sunday, September 4, 2016


Sunday, September 4 is EAT AN EXTRA DESSERT DAY!

How to celebrate? Well, indulge in a double helping of your favorite dessert, of course!

Thursday, September 1, 2016


“Max was a cheerful little dog, rather like a silky-haired shepherd crossed with a Dachshund. He taught me the joys of having more than one dog…”

Wednesday, August 31, 2016


“Even those who have been abused deserve to be loved, as you loved me. You didn’t care I had been abused. That simply made you love me more... Our hearts connect because you don’t shy away from us, but embrace us with your loving heart.”

Saturday, August 20, 2016


(These are three of my former foster dogs.)
Homeless dogs own a big piece of my heart. All of my current pack came to me because they needed a home. While most were rescues or strays who found their way to the local shelter, one was a beloved companion whose family was facing a major health crisis.

So it’s easy for me to give a big paws up to International Homeless Animals’ Day. Established in 1992 by the International Society for Animal Rights (ISAR) this special day is intended to draw attention to pet overpopulation and promote spaying/neutering. Since its beginnings, International Homeless Animals’ Day has grown to include celebrations all across the United States as well as in fifty countries on six continents. According to the ISAR web site, celebrations include candlelight vigils, spay/neuter clinics, adopt-a-thons and much more.

Most of my support for homeless dogs has been the hands-on kind. I fell in love every day for the year and a half I worked at Willamette Humane Society, celebrating as each dog found a new forever family. I also tried fostering for awhile, but ended up adopting most of them. Some are still with me, and others are now doggie angels who shared my life for a time and claimed a piece of my heart. 

Here’s a bonus: if you’re a bargain hunter in the Salem, Oregon area who wants to help support homeless animals, WHS is celebrating International Homeless Animals’ Day on September 2-3 with a special 50% off sale on many items at their Thrift Store (548 High Street NE, Salem, OR 97301).

And remember, if you want to adopt a homeless pet, cool dogs can be found at shelters!

Thursday, August 18, 2016


August’s doggie host on the Quantum Canines blog is Duke.

I received this message from Duke as I was writing the book, I Want to Have the Heart of a Dog: “I want you to remember the joy you felt when you first saw me. Another Collie–the love of your heart, your special messengers just as Tippy told you we would be. I came as a reminder we were still with you. We would always be with you.”

Saturday, August 13, 2016


Many years ago after my beloved Lady transitioned, we rented a house. Our apartment was nice, but I’m happiest in a house, preferably one I own. A rental was one step closer to having our own house again and space for a dog.

The dog showed up first. My parents found Duke wandering on the road on the Fourth of July. Mistreated, from the look of scars on his muzzle and his actions.

Another Collie and I fell in love instantly. After several months, my kids and I found another house to buy, built a fence, and brought Duke home with us.

Sunday, July 10, 2016


© photo

According to the Fun Holidays web site, today is Teddy Bears' Picnic Day!

However, the web site also says, “…the origins of this unofficial holiday are unknown. It is also unclear what the holiday aims to achieve.”

Maybe it’s just for fun!

Friday, July 8, 2016


The only brown puppy in the litter
became my adored Lady Willoughby.
If anybody needed a dog, this girl did. Fresh out of high school. Fresh off the farm. This girl was trying to be an adult, but she had so much to learn! Unfortunately, she had set some goals she was determined to meet that blinded her to what would have been better choices. I tried to show her a better way, but she didn’t want to see.

At least she knew she needed a dog.

“After high school, I moved to the city to claim a job and my own life…I also quickly rediscovered my life wasn’t complete without a canine companion. When I moved into a house…a litter of puppies next door brought another furbaby into my life.” 


Friday, July 1, 2016


“Almost all humans with canines in the U.S. declare this day [the 4th of July] the worst day of the year for their dogs,” states a guest post on dog trainer Victoria Stilwell’s blog.

Humane societies report more dogs are found wandering loose on July 4th than any other day of the year in the U.S.

Unfortunately, I have my own story about this, with ANOTHER COLLIE TO LOVE—THAT WE ALMOST LOST.

My parents found Duke wandering on the road on the Fourth of July…Now a single mother, I bought another house and built a fence so Duke could stay with my kids and me. It was then we found out how frightened he was by fireworks.

Duke was out in our now fenced backyard as dusk fell one summer evening in early July. I didn’t think much about it until I heard him fussing. I looked out the upstairs window and saw him running back and forth across the yard. I called for him before making a dash for the stairs, but he didn’t hear me over his terror.

He crashed through the fence and was gone before I made it downstairs. Then it hit me: my parents found him wandering in the road on the Fourth of July. I should have known fireworks would terrify him.

Beating myself up for not making the connection earlier, we searched frantically for him. No one nearby had seen him, so we finally came home.

I feared we wouldn’t see him again, but filed a lost dog report at the local humane society, contacted dog control, and posted an ad in the local paper.

That ad paid off.

A woman called and said she might have our dog…Her house was a couple miles away. I didn’t think he would run so far–more lessons for me. She said she found him lying on her porch, obviously sensing he would find safety with this kind woman. She also said he hadn’t made a sound in the few days he had been with her. Until he heard our voices.

Filled with gratitude, we took him home–definitely wiser. No more dogs out on the evenings when fireworks might be going off, and all our fencing would be reinforced.

Nowadays, my favorite way to spend the 4th of July is tucked safely at home with my dogs.

However, for those who are planning to celebrate and leave their canines at home, this blog post is an older one, but still offers some helpful suggestions.  

Thursday, June 30, 2016


You do not have to dramatize every experience in your life. Sometimes it is enough to quietly take it in and correct your choices from the experience. It is how those experiences affect your future decisions that determine their value. Sometimes in sharing over and over, you become stuck in the disempowering feelings. Instead, use these experiences to know what you do not want and choose something better.

Saturday, June 25, 2016


Pet Sitters International started Take Your Dog to Work Day in 1999 to celebrate dogs as great companions and to promote their adoptions. This year’s event took place on Friday, June 24. 

If you participated, PSI invites you to enter a photo of your dog at your workplace. Photos can be uploaded at PSI's web site until July 31. 

The winner will receive a $500 value products prize package from the contest sponsor and can select an animal shelter or pet rescue organization to also receive a $500 product donation in his/her honor.

Friends, family, co-workers and strangers on the street are encouraged to vote for their favorite photo. Take a look, there are some cute photos already posted! 

Wednesday, June 15, 2016


June is National Disaster Preparedness Month. 
Are you prepared for a disaster? 
How about your pets?

The American Humane Society gives a list of Top Ten Items to have for your pet in an easy-to-grab location in the event of a disaster. Those items include food, water, leash and collar, bowls, ID, medications, and immunization/vet records.

Interestingly, several months ago my instincts insisted that I prepare an evacuation plan for my eight dogs and what to take with us if an emergency came up. I’m not a person who would desert my furbabies, so my plan includes items to meet basic needs for both my dogs and for humans—shelter, water, food, cooking, cleaning, personal care, tools, extra clothes, and bedding.

We do have a “bug-out” location where we could go, but my plan includes items that would serve us if we can’t reach that location right away. You can find suggested lists on the Internet of what to keep in your vehicle for emergencies and tailor those to your specific situation and needs. (Search for “emergency supplies lists.”)

I have a vehicle that will carry my entire doggie herd—though we would be a bit crowded—and have decided where in that vehicle I would stash vital supplies like food and water. Fortunately, the seats fold down and there is storage space under those. 

My list is quite lengthy, but I want things that will do double-duty if possible. For instance, a roll of black plastic will provide shelter but could also catch rain for water. Five-gallon plastic buckets can hold our survival items as well as serve as stools to sit on. I like simple and natural cleaning items like baking soda—I can use it to brush my teeth, to clean cooking utensils, and soothe scrapes or insect bites. 

Hopefully we won’t ever have to use our evacuation plan, but it’s ready just in case!

Tuesday, June 14, 2016


QUESTION: What should I do if my human doesn’t listen to me?
—a baffled Beagle

ANSWER FROM CORKY: Unfortunately, this is a common complaint from those of us in canine form. Most humans don’t understand that “Woof!” means more than “Feed me!” or “Take me for a walk!” or “I have to pee!”

You could try tearing letters out of the newspaper to form the words, “Learn to talk to me.” However, this could result in getting yelled at for destroying the newspaper. You could also try to form these words with your kibble—if one of your doggie buddies doesn’t eat the message. 

There does seem to be paw-sitive movement by some humans called animal communicators to teach other humans to understand pets. Until that happens, our best bet may be to keep learning seriously awesome tricks in hopes humans will catch on that we’re more than just a cute, furry faces!

Again, is it any wonder my eyes are closed in that prayerful position?

Friday, June 10, 2016


Photo from It's a Heartful Life Blog
The killing of Harambe, a gorilla at the Cincinnati Zoo, after a child slipped into his enclosure has generated much discussion among those who love animals.

Two leading experts whom I admire posted thoughtful blogs about what humans can learn from this tragedy.

Animal communicator Val Heart shared her thoughts on her blog, as did Kathleen Prasad, Animal Reiki master.

What do you think? What steps can we take to avoid these kind of situations in the future?

Thursday, June 9, 2016


Golden Retrievers are described by the American Kennel Club as “intelligent, friendly, devoted.” Corky had all those attributes.

Originally bred to retrieve waterfowl shot by hunters, today Goldens are probably most recognizable as guide dogs for the blind. (Details on the history of the breed can be found at the web site of the Golden Retriever Club of America.) Goldens are about 24 inches in height at the withers and weigh about 65 pounds. They are one of the smartest dog breeds as well as one of the most popular for families, as Corky was for us. 

Golden have also found fame. According to udemy blog the list of famous golden retrievers includes: Buddy from the Air Bud movies, Comet from Full House, Shadow from Homeward Bound, Duke (the talking retriever from the Bush’s Baked Beans commercials), and Liberty, President Gerald Ford’s dog. 

If you want to read 15 fun facts about Golden Retrievers and see some great pictures of them, check out Country Living.