Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mystery meat

A few mornings ago I made a huge discovery in my very own back yard. Jenny and I had just come outside when I spotted the biggest piece of beef sausage lying in the driveway!

I bit down on it and picked it up. As I sat there looking up at Jenny I could feel each side of the sausage hanging down, but this moment of elation and pride dissolved quickly. She yelled at me and grabbed at it. I clamped down hard with my teeth, but she was able to rip off one end and put it into a clear bag. This gave me time to eat some of it before she took away the rest. It was thick, fatty, and juicy. It left a greasy, delicious smelling spot on the driveway which I licked until Jenny pulled me away. She was quite upset and told me that the sausage could have been poisoned. She said she would save it to show the vet if I became ill. I wanted to reassure her that it smelled and tasted fine but how could I?

We went for a walk and proceeded to enjoy another ordinary sort of day (although Jenny watched me very closely for a long time after). Thankfully I never suffered any ill effects, but I knew I wouldn't -- the meat was scrumptious!

I'm left only with a fond memory and unanswered questions. Who left the sausage? Was it a cat? crow? dog? raccoon? human? Where did it come from? Why was it abandoned? Was it stolen? Do I have a secret admirer? Or a secret enemy that failed to poison me?

I have a feeling this is another mystery which will go unsolved.

With love & cuddles,

Lesson# 38 A mystery can appear when we least expect it even in sausage form.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Strange dog smells

Yesterday my parents came home smelling like dogs and it's been driving me crazy! Where were they? Why would they smell like strange dogs? Why didn't they take me with them? In my quest to answer these questions I've been considering the following possibilities:

Possibility # 1 They went to a dog store to find me a sibling.

It's been a long time since I last had brothers and sisters around. I don't remember much from this time but I do know that I was very young and spent most of my time fighting to get my share of the milk. I wasn't able to enjoy their company until after my belly was full. Once my hunger subsided I would snuggle in and fall asleep. It was during these last waking moments that I appreciated the warmth and familiarity of my brothers and sisters. What would it be like now? What if they brought home a dog? Would we get along? Would I have to fight for my share of the food? Would they make me share my cozy bed? What if my parents decided they liked my sibling better than me? To be on the safe side I think I'll be an extra good girl for the next few days, then they will see how unnecessary siblings are.

Possibility # 2 They visited a dog trainer and plan to enroll me in obedience school.

This would be worse than sharing my house with another dog. I've seen how trained dogs act. They are like robots that do whatever their parents command. They sit, fetch, roll over, and walk beside their parents. How awful! They don't get to eat street food or run ahead of their parents whenever they feel like it or bark at anything that moves. Would they take me to obedience school? I know they get upset with me sometimes, but they wouldn't do this to me would they? To be on the safe side I think I'll be an extra good girl for the next few days, then they will see how unnecessary obedience school is.

Possibility # 3 They met an ex-lion tamer with a travelling circus who now trains dogs.

I couldn't help but imagine this catastrophe. I've heard about circus dogs before and the whole thing would be a nightmare. I'd have to wear a tutu and walk on my hind legs and do all sorts of tricks all to entertain bored people. I'd be hungry, lonely, and have no choice but to run away. My parents aren't considering selling me to a circus are they? Don't they know how unnatural and humiliating it would be? Don't they know I'd miss them? I figure this is the least likely possibility, but I couldn't help thinking it. You must understand that I'm an anxious dog with lots of time to think. To be on the safe side I think I'll be an extra good girl for the next few days, then they will see how unnecessary circuses are.

I still don't know where my parents went, why they came home smelling like strange dogs, and why they failed to invite me, but I've come to realize that there are many things I will never know. My sense of smell can only tell me a finite amount of information. I hate not knowing, but there is little I can do about it. I will simply have to trust that my parents love me and will take me places when they can, and leave me home when they can't.

Did I mention they brought home dog food?

With love & cuddles,

Lesson# 37 Smells can be deceiving.

Sunday, February 28, 2010


I love mornings! I especially love it when Jenny stays home to share them with me. There is something unique about this time of day that distinguishes it from the afternoon, evening, or night. Let me explain.

I'm usually woken up by a loud, obnoxious, self-important sounding alarm. Jenny gets up, gets dressed, and I follow her into the kitchen. She sits down on the floor, grabs me and smothers me with kisses and says "Good morning Lottie." Next she asks me if I'm hungry and I jump up excitedly to show that I am. I eat and drink quickly as I am still not able to savour each morsel.

Then I run to the living room window and inspect the neighbourhood while I wait for Jenny to get her coat and boots on. Each day I hope that this will be the time she forgets to put my harness on, but she never does. She says "Lottie, come here, we have to put your harness on." Sometimes I defiantly look away and pretend I don't hear, but she moves closer and puts it on me anyway while declaring "you have to put your harness on if you want to go outside." I can barely contain myself the moment the door opens. I jump and whine and as soon as I feel the blast of cool air I unleash a mighty bark upon the world (which humans rarely appreciate).

This morning was wonderful. It was quiet, fresh smelling, bright, clear, and slightly cool. Only a few cars passed by. I sniffed the ground and the air. I watched and listened for birds and squirrels ( I haven't seen any bunnies for ages) but heard neither. The loudest noise was the sound of Jenny's boots crunching through the snow. My leash prevents me from going very far, and sometimes this bothers me, but it is much more tolerable in the morning. It even adds to the feeling of connectedness with Jenny. Mornings hold so much promise, they feel optimistic, joyful, tranquil, and special and I love sharing all of this with her.

After we get back she cleans me up, has her breakfast and pours the coffee. She invites me to sit with her in the coziest chair which she and Dad call the "grandpa chair" and we look out the window together. This morning we saw many long shadows across the front yard and on the street. I wish mornings would never end...

With love & cuddles,

Lesson # 36 Mornings hold our hopes and offer in return a fresh start to all who are willing to embrace them.

Sunday, January 24, 2010


Early this morning the fog was so thick I could only see a short distance past my nose. You may be surprised to learn that I didn't mind. It's kind of a metaphor for how I live my life. I'm used to living in the present and don't think too far ahead, because I've learned that circumstances can change as often as the weather. It took four tries before I found my current home, and my instincts tell me that it will be the last.

Jenny wears glasses so that she can see well past her nose, but I don't think they work in fog so I doubt she sees much past her nose either. I'm not sure whether she lives moment to moment like I do, or thinks ahead by days or even seasons using a kind of mental map. I suspect she thinks ahead in an attempt to control or quickly respond to events that arise. I'd like to tell her how futile such attempts are. If I could I'd tell her to trust her instincts as I trust mine for they have never failed me.

Regardless of how differently we live and think I enjoy navigating the fog of life with her.

With love & cuddles,

Lesson# 35 Navigation requires instinct and foresight.

Sunday, January 17, 2010


I think I'm losing my patience! I spend most of my time waiting for my parents and it's driving me crazy!

Example # 1

Due to the mild weather lately I've been able to go for long walks. I'm very happy about this as there are always many things to smell and investigate. My only disappointment has been waiting for Jenny. She can't always keep up, especially when I'm running up hill in deep snow. Sometimes I'm tempted to bark at her so she knows I want her to hurry up, but I never do (I don't want to push my luck). Instead I do my best to keep going. I know that she's trying to be quick and can't help only having two legs. Poor thing! She reminds me that most dogs walk beside their owners and that I should be grateful that she lets me run ahead of her. The arrogance! I'm pretty sure I could wriggle out of my harness, but I know this would upset her so I try to be patient.

Example # 2

Frequently my parents ask me if I want to "go downstairs for a movie". They know this is one of my favourite activities. Since I'm always in the mood for a movie, I run downstairs as fast as I can (even in the dark) and wait for them on the couch. Meanwhile they take forever getting their sweaters, making tea, bringing down cookies... it's almost enough to drive one to insanity! To speed them up I demean myself by crying loudly in the most annoying way I can muster. Then when they do make it downstairs I get so excited that I run back and forth on the couch wagging my tail and snapping at the air before lying on my back for a belly-rub. Daddy has started calling me "snapper" in a silly voice when I do this. Apparently I remind him of a snapping turtle.

Example # 3

I love the sound of the coffee maker! When I hear coffee brewing I know that "coffee & cuddles" are sure to follow. I'm always eager for cuddles and since coffee is hot and takes awhile for my parents to drink, I get to stay with them even longer than usual. You might think this is a sure thing, but sadly it is not. Sometimes the coffee finishes brewing before they notice, so I have to jump around and whine to remind them. If it wasn't for me they might forget about it all together and remember it hours later when it's cold and ruined.

Now that you've heard all the facts, I'm sure you'll agree that my parents can be exasperating. At least I've kept my dignity intact by remaining calm. Despite such tribulations I know they are minor, and I'm lucky to have moments to look forward to and people to share them with. I will continue to do my best to be patient.

With love & cuddles,


Lesson # 34 Patience requires effort, discipline, and empathy -- and it is worth it!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Animal Tracks

One of my favourite things about winter is discovering animal tracks in the snow. Every find is an exciting glimpse into recent history. Just knowing that another animal walked, hopped, or scampered past is an exciting reminder that I share my community with many other animals.

To date I've seen mouse, dog, and bunny tracks, but am hopeful I will find other species in the future. When I am lucky enough to find new tracks I smell them deeply and follow them until they end. This makes me feel like a detective hot on the trail of someone that's trying to elude me. One day I hope to find, smell, and explore the tracks of a masked shrew, red fox, or white-tailed deer. That would be so exciting!

It strikes me that I live very differently from these full time woods creatures. It's hard to imagine a mouse getting cuddles in the "grandpa chair" or a red fox watching movies with his or her parents. Despite our differences I suspect we all want the same "creature comforts" like food, water, a warm, safe place to sleep, and family members to love and be loved by.

Finding animal tracks in the snow reminds me that each of us leaves a unique mark on the world, waiting to be found, examined, and marvelled over.

With love & cuddles,

Lesson # 33 Go forth and leave your mark!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Christmas Tree

Jenny explained that since Christmas was fast approaching it was time to put up the tree. She reminded me that everything had to be ready in time for Santa's visit on Christmas Eve. The degree to which my parents fussed over the tree led me to believe he was very particular. Jenny asked me if I liked it, but how could I like something that looked and smelled so artificial?

First, Dad brought the tree upstairs, removed it from a long box and carefully put the pieces together. Once it stood upright he and Jenny carefully opened the branches. Little pieces fell onto the floor but they didn't seem to mind. Next came a string of lights then the garland. It was funny to see my parents paying so much attention to a pretend tree when they barely noticed real trees! I on the other hand love running under and around trees in my never ending search for bunnies. So what made this fake tree so special? Why is it only set up once a year?

Just when I thought the tree was dressed up enough they decided to embarrass it further by adding ornaments of all shapes and sizes. Some ornaments looked like tiny replicas of children's toys while others were homemade or hand painted. Many of the glass balls and other equally delicate ones were placed near the top. Did my parents think I would knock them down and break them?

After the ornaments came one final touch. Dad placed a small girl with wings on the very top. Why would a girl have wings? Did she live in Christmas trees? Would she watch over us? Will she come alive on Christmas day? I imagined that she might swoop down to tell us that it's time to open up the presents. I wonder if she knows the tooth fairy? I hope Santa brings me chicken treats.

I must admit that despite the silly decorations, and bad smell of the fake tree it looks very beautiful!

With love & cuddles,

Lesson #32 Don't let your tree be a fashion victim. Decorate responsibly!