Up all night

Sunday night-  Benjamin was up all night vomiting and shaking.  He could not get comfortable- pacing, digging, panting.  Needless to say, I was up all night with him too.  By 9am, I decided to take him to the hospital.  He was there all day- getting blood work , xrays, and fluids.  All the tests came back normal.  So we have no idea why this happened.  I am not sure I like that outcome.

Poor guy was so exhausted- he has been sleeping since 7pm last night and its now  10am.  I just want his body to rest and recuperate.  He felt soooo bad.

How did I handle this?  I kept myself from going into a deep panic, but I was a crying girl at the vet’s.  I just don’t know how not to take on his pain.  I actually think I take it on 100 times more than what he is experiencing because I put fear on top of the pain.  I create stories that shouldn’t exist like  ” He is scared”  “He is not going to get better.”  “He is helpless.”  I am reading a great Zen book that talks about a simple technique that can begin to put space between the scary thoughts and yourself.  It tells you to label your thoughts as they are happening.  So instead of saying  “Benjamin is scared.”  I would say  “Having a thought that Benjamin  is scared.”  What this clearly does is show the possibility that the thought may not be true. Just because I am thinking it does not make it true.

Someone said “the mind is a scary neighborhood to live in.”  I am going to start to planting new thoughts and raking old ones away in my neighborhood.  I want to make mine more inhabitable so that I can drive through it  without so much worry that I will be hijacked by a scary thought.



I want to showcase all the dogs I walk, so over the next many months, I will give each of them their space on my blog.

Pippin is Joy expressed. When I pick her up from her house, she is makes these adorable eeeehhh sounds as she races down the stairs to my truck. She sits up front with Madeline and Lucille often. On the way to the park, she is shaking in the seat and eeeehhhhing the whole way. She knows somewhere there is a ball in my truck. I love to joke with her and make funny sounds back at her. Then she will lean over and give me a solid puckered kiss right on my lips. We are buddies on our way to an adventure.

Once out of the truck, she looks at me and waits with her big eyes wide open, asking “where is it, I know you have one!” Depending on the dog pack that day, I will bring a ball out or not. If the group has big intense excitable energy, I have to fore go the ball- I don’t want a fight breaking out over it. But usually, Miss Pippin has her dream realized.

Pippin will fetch over and over and over again and the entire time, her tail never stops wagging. She is a “high drive” dog. This means she is a working dog. She could be finding drugs along the mexican border, finding people lost in avalanches or even detecting when a seizure will hit someone. She has that insatiable need to do, work, and play.

Pippin makes me laugh a lot. She looks like a cartoon character- big head, big eyes, big smile and big personality. She is so full of life that she gives me inspiration to smile and find joy in whatever is happening. Pippin has one rule: Love Life.


I think most of us don’t like endings.  They can ignite a fear of loss and loneliness.  They can bring on feelings of emptiness, they can even feel like death.  We will resist against an ending, perhaps pushing something to keep something going even when Life is showing us its time to let go.  No one wants to mourn that something is over.

What if we looked at endings as beginnings instead?  What if we saw that the end of something was really the birth of something greater?  Nature is perfect in its timing of life and death.  It lets go exactly when it is time to begin again.  A flower wilts and dies just as its seeds around have taken hold into the earth.  Sometimes the connection of life and death is not so transparent. We might need to let go and grieve fully for a time, and then God brings someone into our life to bring new love when we least expect it.

The sun sets and fades out of our view, bringing an ending to the day, but in its place, is the bright round moon ready to shine its light on a new night.  Today, I choose to believe in the birth of  new love and awareness , as the old one leaves from my view.

Heart expanding Love

What I love most about my dogs is the feeling I get from being with them. Quite simply- its Big Love. It is so big that there are no words to adequately explain it. There is the constant hum of it, then every so often there is a bliss wave that rides in that takes me over.

I got it yesterday on Benjamin’s evening walk. I stop usually every 5 minutes or so, and he always makes his way over to me when he sees that I have stopped. he leans up against me and rests. I talk to him then, telling him what a good boy he is. Then I will often look back at his little nub and see it wagging. The moment was pure connection. My heart opens so wide , its like a huge inside grin. The love can’t be contained, it flows over and out of me.

I think this is what the sages would call Samadhi. The dogs make it easy to reach this state because they ignite in us a heart expanding phenomena. It is easy to forget about time and lay with your dogs in all their glorious silliness. It is easy to forget the past bad day while your dog looks at you with such sweet earnestness. It is easy to stop fretting about tomorrow’s big stressor when your dog gives you his paw as if to appease your worries.

If you are one that finds it hard to meditate in the traditional sense of butt on pillow ,sitting tall. Do what I do- just lay around with your dogs. Stretch out your body next to their warmth, and DO NOTHIING but soak them in. This is Meditation. This is your Present M100_1104oment. This is Life Bliss.

Yuki is here with my pack

Yuki girl is staying over for a couple nights.  I love having her here because she adds her own spice to this family.  She is a border collie mix, around 5 or 6 years old.  She is a great combination of sassiness and affection.  She has this persistent way about her on the trails runs-  she will find a stick, pinecomb, or ball and get you to pick it up and throw it no matter what. I will even say to myself  “no more, I am done.”,  then  2 minutes later, I am throwing it for her. It is the way she looks at me-  she places the stick in front of her, then lays down right in front of it and waits so purely and patiently.

Now, here at home, at 9:30 pm,  she is layed out on her bed,  head hung over the side.  She  looks like a little girl, all curled up , ready for a nighttime story.  Every time I get up, she slowly raises her head just to check in to see if any new action is necessary. After all, she is a border collie-  always ready to be called in for work.

What I love about her- is her fortitude and resolve.  She is a little girl in a mighty package.  Size does not matter here, presence does.  her attitude tells other dogs  ”  I mean business.”   She is quite fearless, and  yet elegant in her dog social skills.  She lets other dogs get her ball  even if she is in fast flight toward it, and at the same time= raises her lip when a dog bumps too hard into her.  She communicates with graceful skill.  I love this girl.100_1383

This Adorable boy needs a home!

He was rescued from a shelter by a friend of mine. Before that he had been on the streets with a homeless man. He is about a year old and he is an American Bulldog mix. He is goofy, inquisitive and really quite mellow. He has a very sweet way about him, respecting other dogs space and offering play when they are up for it. He is very gentle and affectionate. This is one stellar dog who deserves lots of love and a forever home.photo

A Hard day

I had a hard day yesterday.  I was in pain watching Benjamin have a hard time of it.  He has good days and bad days and how well he is doing affects me greatly.

We went to Wildcat canyon Park for our morning walk and he kept on going in the bushes to make a bed.  He will dig and rustle up the leaves and brush and then just stand and look at me.  This has always been odd behavior to me and I can’t quite figure out what he is trying to tell me.  I think it is that he is tired and does not want to go further.  I sat down on the trail and cried while he was in the bushes.  A nice lady walked by and asked if I was okay.  I told her I was sad because my boy is not doing well today.  I told her how much I loved him.  I told her we had been through alot together.  He came out of the bushes then and went over to her and nudged her for some pets.  We slowly went on our way.

I brought him home and he curled up on his bed and I went on my way to work with the girls.  But I carried the pain with me all day.  I then became fixated with finding a cure for the pain.  I believed needed  to get rid of it.  I was looking for some hit of something to take it all away.  This is why people take a drink or eat some chocolate or drive too fast.  There are so many ways to ease the pain- but most of them just put a small band aid on it and it comes roaring back and we go through all the searching again and again  for that elusive cure.

As hard as it is,  I will try something different today- I will just be with the pain. Allow it to breathe and have its time with me.  My spiritual counselor says it is like a hairball, it needs to come up, it needs to be spit out. I will probably sit with my boy and just smell him, pet him, hold him and talk to him.  I think this is where the healing is-  to just let it all be.  Nothing needs to be fixed or taken away right now.  A good cry is the remedy here.

The Lucille and Madeline Dance

These girls have a very interesting dynamic. Miss Madeline is the more stable of the 2. By this I mean- she is predictable and sound in her behavior. Lucille is as I like to call her “My complicated girl”. She is dominant and insecure. She is moody- sometimes extremely over the top affectionate and other times- withdrawn and sullen. If she was a human, she would be diagnosed as Bi Polar.

So Lucille never accepts any dog in the home readily. It takes time. and even then, she has to remind them she is a force to be reckoned with. The funny thing is, she does this posturing when they could care less. Poor girl flaunts her ways and they are 100_1077busy pulling out stuffing from the closest toy. Madeline was the perfect 3rd dog for this household. She is quiet and unassuming. She knows Lucille has “issues”, and she gives her space. Funny thing is, this relationship keeps on developing even after 2 years together. Yesterday, at the Albany bulb evening walk – they start sniffing each other and suddenly Madeline does a play bow and Lucille does a little dance! It went on for a few minutes and I got such a kick out of it.

They way I see it, Madeline is the smart one- she knows Lucille is a bit of a loose cannon- she knows she is “the special sister”- so she uses her quiet and respectful ways to gain Lucille’s trust. And her timing is impeccable- she knows exactly when to kick in a little play- it has to be when Lucille is totally relaxed and at ease with her- no food or toys in sight. I think Madeline would make a great negotiator or peacemaker- she is centered in her approach to Lucille- she knows exactly where Lucille’s boundaries are and never crosses over. and even when Lucille snaps and loses her cool, Madeline can immediately return to center and appease Lucille with a calming look.

Harmony usually exits between them. It may look like Madeline is the submissive one, yet- I see her as the wise one- giving just the right space and just the right connection to Lucille. Good Girl.

The Tolerance of a Mom

I am humbled by the level of patience my mom had with me over the years, especially my teenage years. She had to put up with so much angst, when throwing me out would have been the easier road. I hope I have apologized enough in words and deeds. I am not “Miss smarty pants” anymore, in fact, I think I know much less than I thought I knew then.

The ability to tolerate a hell of a lot has been passed onto me, with the mothering of my dogs. When Lucille came to me the other night, very concerned and upset because a long strand of grass was stuck in her bum, I had no problem pulling it out. In fact, I have done that countless of times. When Madeline wants to come in and out from the backyard, I have no problem opening and closing the door 10 times in 20 minutes. and No, I can’t leave the door open because Benjamin is deathly afraid of flies. and then, I have no problem spending 1/2 hour hunting down the one small fly that has found its way in so that Benjamin can stop shaking in his bed. I have no problem with the shrill barking that Lucille does the moment we get in the truck until we get to the park. This ride could be 10 minutes or an hour. She sits directly behind me, and while she barks, she spits at me so much so that my shoulder is wet from it all. This is simply because she is so enthusiastic about our destination. I simply tune it out and wipe my shoulder clean. If a passenger ever rides with me, they are amazed that I ride in peaceful ignorance while she yells with glee at both of us “Mom, when are we gonna get there!”

I think what others might find extremely annoying, I find precious- because I am their mom. Their quirks are what make them loveable to me. I celebrate their unique goofiness. I let them be who they are, without needing to change or mold them to suit my interests. I love them unconditionally- especially because they are quirky and odd.  That is what a mom does.

Thank you mom for teaching me about love and tolerance.