Tag Archives: Dogs

My Furry Family

In our family the animals rule. I’ve mentioned a time or two in the past that family gatherings often have as many dogs as people.

And no post about the furry family would be complete without the family matriarch, we call her “the Empress”.

Large tabby cat in a basket.

Wits End Travel and Photo Yoga Photo Challenge: Four-legged Friends

Day in and day out, rain or shine

The thing I do everyday, at least twice, usually three or four times, without exception is walk the dogs.

When they first became our dogs (they had been Grandma’s but she became unable to care for them) we did not have a fully fenced yard. We did finally put up small fences so I can just let them out but by then they were in the habit of being walked and insist on it. Many of my photographs are taken on our dog walks.

Lens Artists Photo Challenge: Everyday Moments

Muddy Paws United

We are “dog people” at family gatherings there are often equal numbers of dogs and people. Our dogs are, mostly, friends with each other as well. I call them Muddy Paws United, Beach Walking Club. This post from last year talks about the friendship between our dogs: Puppy Friends. This year, sadly, my dear friend Sam, passed away in May. She was almost 13 years old and had lymphoma. This post is a bit about that sad time: No Pedigree, just a heart of gold. I had planned to talk more about my dear Sam, but my heart is still tender from her loss. I know that with time I will feel a surge of happiness when I see her picture, but for now it still brings tears. I think my two still half expect to see her when we go over to Dad’s.

Introducing the newest family member: Max, Dad’s new puppy:


She seems to be fitting in pretty well, although she wears the older dogs out pretty quickly. She is a good match color-wise for the older dogs. Here is the new Muddy Paws United:


Hopefully Ginger and Asta will become as good friends with Max as they were with Sam. I still miss Sam but hugging a puppy is good therapy. She has really helped my dad adjust. He got quite depressed during Sam’s illness and was extremely lonely after she was gone.




No pedigree, just a heart of gold.

Sammie didn’t have a pedigree.


She was really too young to be taken away from her mother when she came home with Dad. Her mom had a pedigree: Brittany Spaniel. What is known of her father is that he was a good fence jumper and the source of her lab-like coloring and shape. The mother’s owners were appalled since they wanted pedigree. I won’t give details…or share my opinion about such people,  but Sam came home with Dad at seven weeks old because staying with mamma wasn’t an option. A tiny, by turns timid and energetic ball of mostly black fur with a white tummy and a heart of gold.

She used to worry when Dad went out in the boat, running back and forth along the bulkhead barking. She wouldn’t get into the boat or swim. She also worried when he climbed ladders.

She went everywhere with Dad.


When she was young she was so fast that she actually grabbed a bird out of the air, a wren I think. Chasing birds is a young dog’s sport and as she got older she discovered fishing. It took us a while to catch on to what she was doing: she would wade along watching the bottom and every so often jump. Watching carefully we realized that, as she waded along she would startle the bullheads and occasional flounder into moving then try to pounce on them. She spent hours at it.


She even caught one once, it had been injured by a seagull, but she was very proud.


I’ll probably say more about Sam soon. We had to say good-bye to her last week and I have a big hole in my heart right now.

Puppy Friends

I usually try to only make one post (if any) to the Daily Post Photo Prompt for the week. But, on Sunday we took Ginger and Asta over to see their friend Sam. When Ginger and Sam saw each other they started running and came together in something a lot like a hug. It made me think about how friendship isn’t just for humans.


These two have been friends since 2010. Sam is my Dad’s dog and Ginger belongs to my Grandma.


Ginger was born  in 2009 and they met in early 2010.  They spent time together in the desert when Dad went down for the winters and on the beach in Puget Sound when Grandma and Ginger came up during the summers.

In 2014 my uncle passed away and his dog, Asta, joined the pack.

Now everyone lives in the Seattle Area. Sam with my dad on Vashon island and Ginger and Asta with me in West Seattle, where they visit Grandma a couple of times a week.

The three of them are as close, possibly closer, than many sets of human friends. When I say to Ginger and Asta “we’re going to see you friend Sam Dog”, they are at the door ready to go (humans are so slow).

All three are mutts. All three came from situations where they weren’t wanted*, but they are cuter than buttons and our human family will never let them go now we’re all together.

I am by both nature and circumstance a loner and sometimes I envy the close friendship between this trio of dogs.

*A bit about the “kids”:

  • Sam (the biggest black one) was adopted from a place where they wanted to breed pure breds from her registered Springer Spaniel mother, but her dad was a good fence jumper and they didn’t want the impure pups.
  • Ginger (the middle sized white one with gingery spots) was obtained by some friends of my grandmother for their grandchild, but the parents said “no way”. So she was going to be sent off if grandma didn’t adopt her.
  • Asta (the small cream colored one) was adopted from Coachella Valley animal shelter by my uncle: she had been found wandering the streets in Palm Springs CA in the summer.

A wet and fluffy day

Is wet and cold a texture? It rained all day today and since it was below 40 degrees F most of the day it was pretty chilly too. I tried to capture the essence of this day with a picture:


Wet and unseasonably cold: notice the tight little flower buds, usually this tree is blooming by now, sometimes it will even have a flower or two in January. My umbrella is on the ground below because I couldn’t hold it and manage the camera. The raindrops on my lens are there because I couldn’t manage the umbrella, but  I like the effect.

The day was fluffy because I took the pups up for “two-fer Tuesday” at the Wash Dog. So they are clean and fluffy for visiting Grandma tomorrow…all I have to do is keep them clean and dry-ish until then.

I hope you enjoy my textures. To see more interesting ones check out Tuesdays of Texture.


Puppy Love

It has been a stressful week. Grandma’s dogs, however, are resting easy knowing that they are so cute they will be well cared for. We took them in to visit her last Friday. As always they spread cheer among all who saw them.

Every time she has been in a skilled nursing facility (this is the third different facility she has been in) they have allowed pets to visit. It is pretty cool that places recognize the value of wagging tails and puppy dog kisses.

Just FYI: we don’t allow dogs on the couch…Richard caved first. A little puppy love and his heart melted.

Dog days of summer

I am jaded in some ways and spoiled in others. My Eyes, like yours, see what they see, but through a lens filter created by past experiences.

For some people summer is a time of great joy. I don’t like it.

Being a native Seattlite, on hot days I use a passive-aggressive anti-solar plan, as we have no air conditioning: I try to get the house as cool as possible by opening windows and doors early in the morning, then, as the sun starts to warm things up, I let it know that it is not welcome by closing doors, windows and blinds.

This works pretty well most of the time, because the Puget Sound area usually has an on-shore flow from the rather chilly Pacific Ocean, night temps are usually in the low to mid 60’s. If the house gets below 70 degrees before I shut it up it will generally be 75 or less in the evening, for free. Occasionally we get an off-shore flow and things don’t cool down much at night. That throws a spanner in the works as I can’t get the house down below 70, I do the best I can but it is still warm.

I have two choices about what to do after closing up: I can stay home in the dark and try to minimize metabolism so I don’t generate heat, or I can go somewhere else. The first choice is why I tend to get depressed in the summer time: it really is not an upper to sit in the dark trying not to exist. I can’t read or sew, I do play with the computer, although I sometimes think I shouldn’t have anything on that generates heat. I have to do something and I have a theory that the semi-hypnotic state that the computer induces burns fewer calories than even sleep does.

When I don’t have a commitment and am not feeling too down in the dumps, I usually go over to my dad’s, as it is generally 10 or so degrees cooler at the beach.

Today was an off-shore flow day and the hottest of the year so far. For many 95 isn’t big news and we shouldn’t complain: We don’t have wild fires like they do in California, we don’t have flood waters filled with nasty things (alligators, snakes, sewage) like they do right now in Louisiana. I do truly understand how good we have it, but, through the filter of life in Seattle, 95 is pretty hot.

Today I thwarted my summer induced depression by heading to dad’s. Grandma was tired and couldn’t join in, but I took the pups. We all splashed in the cool water. Ginger went deeper than usual, poor thing really feels the heat. So here is a view of the Dog Days of Summer, through my eyes:

The dogs all had fun; I kept my cool; and Ginger won the Olympic gold medal for muddiest belly. Tomorrow will be another scorcher so we are in a

if No_commitments = true
repeat Beach_fun
until On-shore_flow

loop. I wish you all such pleasant loopiness!

May Day at the Beach

May Day, last Sunday we went to the Beach for the first time in a while. I had just arrived home from a trip to China, where the weather wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t truly clear, except the one day after it rained (see  Kites and Umbrellas about the rainy day and Kites and Kids to see the clear day).

In the Puget Sound region we take a lot for granted, beautiful scenery and clear, clean, extremely breathable air come immediately to mind.

Are we there yet?

We picked up our friends, Ginger and Asta, and took them over to visit their friend, Sam, who lives on the beach with my dad. It was more like July than May, in town I think the temperature got over 80 deg F, but there was a nice breeze at dad’s place.

Brave little Asta.

Hard to believe that one year ago little Asta was so nervous that she always got car sick and had never, to our knowledge (she was a shelter dog), been out of the desert. She hit the beach running after the two other dogs when she arrived in Seattle last May, but now she heads out on her own. Not afraid of anything: she even will chase a Great Blue Heron (more brave than wise). I have sometimes pondered whether she somehow senses that my uncle’s ashes were spread on the beach there and it somehow makes her feel at home, he was her person).

Richard went sailing, the dogs and I explored the tide flats, Dad mowed, Sam went fishing. A one day slice of paradise for all!

My new car seat cover earned its keep:

Tired dogs are happy dogs!

Happy May to all.