from 1 to 100

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When Tiamo had her litter, the pups averaged about one pound each with Dolce and Amore weighing in at .98 lbs and 1.5 lbs respectively.  They were so tiny you could nestle a single puppy in the palm of your hand and still wiggle your pinkie and thumb.  Within 48 hours they had doubled their weight.  We were impressed.

And slightly nervous…


tail thumping

With Momma supplying the nutrition, each puppy easily grew two to four pounds a week.  By the time the little tykes had opened their eyes they had gained some solid substance.  They had outgrown our food scale we used to weigh them, and the palm of our hands as we held them.  It now took two hands to hold our roly poly’s.  We knew the puppies were healthy, which was a good sign.  It was also a sign of things to come.

When we added chow to their diets, Amore and Dolce  were tipping the scales at 14 pounds, give or take a few ounces.   With their fat bellies, they were nothing but huge balls of fur.  Now that I think back on those times, they were bigger than huge.  It was time to be scared.  But noooo, we were oblivious to our future.


14 lbs. It’s all relative.  To a weightlifter, 14 lbs. is nothing.  They single-handedly lift weights many times that.  To us, fourteen  pounds is huge when it is all wiggly and squirmy.  For us, fourteen pounds is really twenty-eight pounds.  14 lbs. times two.  You never just get one dog on your lap, you get both.

Fourteen pounds can make your wrists ache. And your back twinge as you pick the pups up in your arms. And 14 pounds will soon be 100 pounds.  100 lbs. times two.  We were screwed and there was no going back.

When 14 lbs became 34 pounds in a little over a month later, we knew we were in trouble.  Our food costs doubled as they ate more and more, and our vet bills tripled.  And both girls wanted to sit on us or be beside us.  And there was Tiamo, our momma.  We were a household of dogs.  Our life was never gonna be the same.


At six months Amore and Dolce hit 65 lbs.,  friends would comment, “Oh, my!” as one of the dogs would lean up against them, causing them to lose their balance.  “Just look at those paws! These are gonna be some big dogs!”  We knew that.  Yup, we knew that.


Sixty-five pounds cranked up to 84 lbs by the time they had their first birthday.  We were never gonna return to normal.  Our  lives just became all about our girls.  Momma weighed in at 98 lbs. and here were two more fast approaching three digits on the scale.  Within the next year, we were going to be looking at 300 lbs. worth of lap-dogs. Two-thirds of which were still puppies. Yikes!

Over the next two to three years a Berner could easily add another 10-30 lbs onto their frame.  Well into their second and third year, Bernese Mountain Dogs will continue to lay down bone, put on width and substance, and their heads will continue to broaden.  Amore and Dolce were no exception to the general rule of Berners being slow maturing dogs.

Three years old, Amore and Dolce finally grew into their bodies but they were far from mature.  They still had their puppy on.  For over 36 months, Malcolm and I would look at each other and ask,”when will they calm down?”  “When will they grow out of their puppy phase?”  “When will they quit growing?” We were at the 200 marker:  200 pounds of puppy plus 100 pounds of chow a month costing us $200 every 60 days.  We were exhausted.

I can honestly say, to this day, they haven’t.  Grown out of their puppy years that is.  Well, not completely.  They take longer naps and have quit chewing shoes and books, but Amore and Dolce will always be our puppies.  Our girls.  And the best gifts we could have ever given ourselves.

At eight years of age, Amore and Dolce hover just under 100 lbs. each.  Dolce is slightly heavier from eating too many apples, Amore is slightly higher in height.  Both fight over who gets to sit on Malcolm or me.  We have resigned ourselves to dog hair in our wine and canine bodies in our laps.


There is an old Swiss saying, “Three years a puppy, three years a good dog, three years an old dog and the rest is a gift.”  It’s an accurate description of Bernese Mountain Dogs.

Here’s to our 100 lb. gift(s) that still likes to sit on our lap!



happy campers

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Like most pet owners, nothing brings us more joy then seeing our beloved four-legged children happy.  And we go out of our way to bring them nothing but an abundance of happiness and comfort.  We buy them special treats and toys, make sure they have soft cushiony pillows to sleep on, take’em on walks.  We love’em, pet’em, provide for them.

Malcolm and I have found a simple scratch behind the ears and Dolce is in ecstasy.  Eyes closed, you just know she is in heaven.  Amore adores a rough love down.  Rub her sides and back haunches like a deep massage and she is in bliss land.  One of the few times she’ll stay still.

They go berserko when it’s time for their hikes, initiating a barking frenzy until loaded into the car.  365 days a year we take them out to the Galisteo basin for their daily walks.  Through rain, snow, wind and cold, we suffer for their happiness.  Our girls love the cold.  Us, not so much.  But we do it cuz we know how much joy it brings them.

“Man, Amore was one happy camper when she spotted a jack rabbit on our hike today!” Malcolm relayed to me when I got home from work.  “She took off after it like a shotgun blast!  Of course, she only ran about 40 yards before she tuckered out.”  Malcolm chuckled over the memory.  “She came back all shiney eyed and excited!”   Amore is our scout, always on the look out for adventure.

Over the years, we have narrowed down Dolce and Amore’s happy list to three main activities. We are talking happy camper activities here.  Total happiness.  Total joy. Two of the three are seasonal.  The third is daily.  And just so you know, treats are a given so they aren’t on the list.


There are no two ways about it, Amore and Dolce love the snow.  On occasion they even sleep in it, only to come inside covered with white and hop on the bed at four in the morning shaking off the wet debris.  Snow days are happy camper days.  The girls would live and breathe snow if it was available on a regular basis.  So we bundle up like Ralphie in the Christmas Story movie and take them to play.  We freeze our asses off, along with our noses and our toes to watch Dolce make snow angels and Amore run through the powder like a dolphin.  Their joy brings us joy.

Then there is our harvest.

About every four or five years, if we are lucky enough, come late August through October, we get apples.  Our girls love apples.  No, you don’t understand, they loooove apples.  Love to snap those shiney red orbs off of the low hanging limbs.  Love to lay down in the cool shade of the branches and stock pile the fruit.  And they love to eat’em.

The second she hears the portal door opens, Dolce is out, with Amore on her heels.  They’ll beeline down to our lone fruit tree and burrow into the apple-laddened nirvana. I’m serious here, this tree is their heaven.  You can see their eyes fold back as they tug an apple off it’s mooring.  We watch as they each back up, apple in their mouth and drop the red fruit onto their growing pile of fruit.  Like a kid in a candy store, Dolce and Amore don’t know which apple to chomp on first.  The girls are in their element and they couldn’t be happier.




On a daily basis, Dolce and Amore bring happy to our hearts.  And, on a daily basis, Dolce and Amore get their third happy.  It’s their special time that has become a ritual.

I like to get up early, get ready for work, and then enjoy a cup of coffee before leaving to head into town.  I feed the girls, grab a mug and read a bit on my iPad.  One by one, Amore and then Dolce come by for their early morning snuggle.  First Amore, always a bit restless, she’ll hop up on the couch lay her head down for a few minutes and then go search out her next adventure.   A scratch on the belly, a rub behind the ears and she is off and running.  Then it’s Dolce’s turn.

Dolce knows the drill.  She positions herself on the sofa, backs up into the couch pocket and gives me the nod.  She knows with a certainty, I’ll gently pull her back into my arms.  It her cuddle time.  They say dogs don’t like to cuddle.  They lie.  My Dolce could stay for hours nestled besides me.  For the next 40 or so minutes, Dolce is in her happy place, content with nuzzles and hugs.  And me…….

I really don’t get much reading done, but I am one happy camper!


what dog hears


We all know dogs have selective hearing.

When Amore was in her teenage years, she was a handful.  Headstrong, willful, she refused to “sit”, “stay” or “come” when we called to her.  Totally blew us off.  Even with the promise of a treat, she would ignore us when we issued commands.  Oh, she heard us alright.   We would see her ears twitch, her head would cock to the side, her little brain thinking and then she would give us her tail.  The canine equivalent to flipping us the bird.

Malcolm would put on his serious voice, deepening the word as he gave the command.  “Come” he would say in his stern sargent’s voice.

“Come!” he repeated, sharpening the directive.

“Amore! COME!!” he said for the third time.

Amore gave him the look and went back to what she was doing. There was no “three-time’s-a-charm” ol’ college try.  And, after the third repeat, dogs really don’t tune in anymore.  All they hear is yada, yada, yada, etc., etc., etc., and so on and so on and so on.

After talking to a dog trainer, we realized Amore just didn’t like the word “come”.  Why?  It started with a “C”.  Poor baby, it hurt her ears. It seems a lot of dogs comprehend “H” and “W” word commands easier.  Who knew?

Word commands such as HERE, HEEL, HUPP (H + up), and WAIT,  are more pleasing to their ears.  All one-syllable words.  Words like HOLD,  HUGG, WHERE, WALK, and  WHAT (to be said when furiously barking) became synonymous with the old standards of, come, sit, follow, up, stay, stand, no, load up, fetch and find.

Malcolm and I liked the new commands, not only were they one-syllable, but they were mostly four-letter words.  Always a good feeling to spew those.  In the past, there was nothing like a four-letter word to get the point across.

G.A.W.D    D.A.M.N   it   D.A.W.G.   C.O.M.E.!  Screamed in frustration.

or, my favorite,

F # & K  –   N.O.T.T.  my  N.U.T.T.s, said in pain as Amore jumped, paws first, on Malcolm as he was spawled on the couch.

We switched our command to “HERE” (minus the gawd damn) and lo and behold, Amore obeyed. Came wanting her treat, but she came none the less.  We now say “WAIT” to Amore before allowed to sit on the sofa, with all body parts preserved.  HUPP is for the girls to load up into the car for a WALK, and HUGG will get you a cuddle and dog licks as their paws wrap around our waist.

And Malcolm and I, we have a running joke about what Amore and Dolce actually hear……..

what a dog hears




pin the tail


In 2002, Malcolm and I threw the dart.

The finely chiseled point hit Santa Fe, New Mexico on our relocation map and a few months later we packed up and moved to the Land of Enchantment.  As we were narrowing down the destination to call our new home, I informed Malc I would moved anywhere west of the Mississippi.  Malcolm calmly informed me, the zip code we called “ours” must have the New York Times delivered.

Well, I can safely say, Santa Fe is west of the mighty river but the Times delivery was a bit spotty the first few years of residence.  Yes, it was delivered, sometimes only 3 days after print.  Other times we would collect a weeks worth of daily papers crammed in our mail box.

We contracted with a REALTOR® and started the process of buying our dream home.  It was September and the weather was gorgeous.  As we walked through houses that fit our criteria, attended open houses on the weekends, and looked through the Internet for FSBOs, we found one consistent fact.  Very few homes in Santa Fe have air conditioning.  For that matter, very few even have swamp coolers.

“Oh, you don’t really need them,” our REALTOR® stated.  “It’s only warm a few weeks in June.”

“What do you mean no central air?”  Malcolm questioned.  Malcolm hails from Hotlanta, Georgia.  My roots are from Central California.  Hot, hot, hot summers were a staple for both of us.

“Seriously, the temperature here only gets to about 85 – 90 degrees for a couple of weeks in June.”  SOLD!  We signed the mortgage sans air conditioning and ceiling fans.

Our beautiful fall turned into a cold winter.  We have radiant heat and my toes have never been so warm. We loved the snow and the cold. We were loving our new digs. Then the snow melted into a windy spring.

“When does the wind stop?” I asked our now REALTOR® friend.

“Dont’t worry, this is just our March winds.”  She replied.

It was May.

“Don’t plant anything until after May 15,” she added.  “We could easy have another freeze or some spring snow.”  And we did have another freeze and more snow. With snow in May, there was no way our summers would be reminiscent of our past ones.  We smiled to ourselves, glad to be away from the humidity of Georgia and the high temperatures of California.

We blew into June, by now well versed in New Mexico’s erratic weather.  From past experiences, we both knew 85 degrees of hot days was nothing.  Anything under 95 degrees was cool compared to where we came from.  We convinced ourselves we didn’t need manufactured cold air.  We opened our doors and windows and captured the cross winds. For the most part, it worked.

Through out the years, June in Santa Fe has varied from cold to cool to warmish to hot.  We have installed ceiling fans where needed.  Five of them.  We have purchased oscillating fans for air movement.  Six of them.  Our REALTOR® was correct – the hot temperatures last only a few weeks.  Usually from mid-June to Labor day, with July cooling down some from the monsoons.

Until this year.

This year, it has been 100 and hell degrees since Memorial weekend.  It is time to flip the calendar to August.

Dolce and Amore have suffered right along with us.  It’s too hot to walk them, too hot to leave them in the car as we run errands in town.  Too hot period. The temperatures this summer have been almost unbearable for the girls.

Even with the fans spinning on high, the hot summer air has been stifling.   On occasion I’ve resorted to using their bushy wagging tails as a fan, convincing Malcolm to rub their ears as I positioned myself behind one of the girls to catch some tail wind.  

We watch the girls panting on the cool brick floor in misery.


We watch them move from room to room searching out the coolest areas of the house.


We take them on car drives with the air conditioning blasting. Not going anywhere in particular – just driving in a cold car to cool down.


We have even taken them down to the local pool to give them some relief.


We have clipped their fur as short was possible, trimming their feathers, their bellies, their sides and chests.  We fill their water bowl with ice cubes for chomping. We keep water spritzers close by to spray some coolness on Dolce or Amore.  It’s still too hot.

And it’s still 100 and hell degrees.





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“Did you hear that?” I questioned Malcolm.  We were both reading our pads in the living room, the windows and doors open to allow the gentle cross-breeze through.  It was one of those early evenings where the work was done and the day was wrapping up.  Malcolm had poured us each a glass of an Australian Malbec to sip as we read.  Fat cat was sprawled on her back, paws in the air.  Dolce was gnawing on a bone and Amore was wandering the perimeter.


“WTF?” Malcolm heard the loud chirring noise this time.  My eyes flew to the ceiling.  The large vigas up high will crack and groan as the house settles but this screech was different.  This sounded like it was coming from the guest bedroom and it was louder than a mouse.


“What do you think it is?” I asked.

“No idea!”  Another loud squeak was heard, along with a heavy thud.

“Do you think it came from down in the guest room?”

“Why don’t you go check?”

“You go check!  I’m not going down there!”


Crap!  This time the screeeeeech reverberated between the living room and guest room.

“It’s coming closer!”  I whispered to Malcolm.  “Do you think a critter came indoors?”  We’ve had a few varmints brought in by Gordita and the girls.  A couple of times a bird has flown in via the fireplace chimney.  This screeeeeech wasn’t human.  It brought the hairs on the back of my neck straight out.  My reptilian brain was flashing danger, danger.  Another screeeeeech came from under our large picturesque windows in the living room.  Followed by a thump and a thud.   It was coming closer.

“Where are the girls?”  I did a quick head count.  Gordita was still on her back, paws up, unperturbed by the noise.  Still intent on her bone, Dolce was uncaring of our panic.  Where was Amore?   Dear god, where was she? With the doors open, Amore had been in and out.   Had she been attacked?  Coyotes roam fairly close to the house, could she have been lured out from the safety of our portal?


The hairs on my arm were on full alert.  I slowly backed up, inching towards the garage.  When my back hit the door, I reached for the knob and slowly opened it, sliding my arm through the crack to grab a nearby shovel.  Any weapon was better than nothing.  Malcolm headed to the portal to find Amore.


I raised the shovel in attack mode.




“Megs!  Come out here!”  Malcolm whispered from the portal, his index finger raised up to his lips, silently telling me to keep quiet.  I tip-toed out, shovel in hand.  Malcolm had stepped off the brick portal and was leaning around the corner of the house.  I peered around him, my heart beating out of my chest.


And there was Amore.


Chasing after lizards.


As they climbed up the stuccoed sides of our house.


The screeeeeeching noise was Amore jumping up and raking her paws along the outer walls.  Her strong claws scraping the stucco as she reached out to snag a lizard.  Imagine a large canine taking vertical leaps against  the solid structure of our house.  That was Amore.  Her whole body stretching upwards as she sprang into the air.  Her focus solely on the lizard.  Her paws screeeeeeching against the wall as she slid back down to the ground.

The thumps and thuds was her 100 pound body sumo wrestling with the same barrier of wood and stucco.  I lowered the shovel, my heart rate slowing, my panic subsiding.  The movement attracted Amore’s attention.

Eyes shiny and bright, tail wagging in pure, unadulterated joy, Amore had her catch dangling from her muzzle.  Amore had tagged her first lizard.

Thank god it wasn’t a snake.


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It always amazes me how fast time flies.

As a family with only dogs and one fat cat, Malcolm and I find that most days merge into weeks into months into years as life speeds by.  Those days tend to be a blur of memories, mostly good ones, mostly happy ones, but mixed in with the fond remembrances are the harsh realities of life.

Earlier this week Malcolm and celebrated our anniversary.  As we reminisced our married life, memories of our early days brought forth giggles and laughs over old jokes, old adventures, and old ‘remember when’s. It also brought saddened smiles of other anniversaries.  Our ‘borrowed’ kid, Sam, and our first child, Tiamo.  One was our nephew, the other our beloved Bernese Mountain Dog.  Both were ‘firsts’ in our lives.

May is the month we honor Moms, congratulate Grads, and celebrate Anniversaries.  And May is the month we remember those who have left our lives but not our hearts……


Malcolm and I don’t have children – we have dogs.  Use to be three, now two huge, wonderfully sweet, spoiled brats.  Both of us were in our forties when we meet and married, well beyond the age to consider kids. But still young enough to fall into the pet trap.

Like most parents with real kids, Tiamo, our first Bernese Mountain Dog, was easy to raise and didn’t give us any trouble.  Much. We spent hours training her, socializing her, correcting her, loving her.

Santa Fe is a dog friendly town, permitting canines on leash most everywhere and we took her everywhere that allowed dogs.  She was part of our family, we were part of her pack. There was never a time she wasn’t with either Malcolm or I.

Tiamo would sit at our feet, under the table, while we sat outside eating lunch at the local cafes and bistros. She loved to watch the other patrons, always hoping there might be other dogs around.  She was so well-behaved, little nippers would climb all over her and she loved the attention.  She loved people and other animals, especially Thugs.

But most of all, she LOVED Sam.

Sam was our nephew and was loved like a son.  In so many ways, he was the kid we never had.

Sam at sunset - AZ

One freezing cold January day, Sam arrived in Santa Fe. He arrived shirtless, in shorts and wearing flip-flops. He planned to stay for a short weekend visit. He was passing through New Mexico on his way to life.

I had never “truly” met this nephew of Malcolm’s. He attended our wedding, but like most brides on the wedding day, I didn’t remember much. As for Malcolm, it had been years since he had any true contact with him. Short emails and such, but no one-on-one, face-to-face conversations. In truth, neither one of us knew Sam very well, and me not at all. Neither one of us knew what to expect. I have no doubt Sam felt the same way.

Sam was 23 years, not even a quarter of a century old, and traveling through his life. While both Malcolm and I were fast approaching the half-dollar mark and getting ready to slide down the other side.  Sam was just starting on his expedition, his life’s trek. We were winding down from ours. We were poles apart on where we all were in our lives, in age, in experiences, and in goals. Somehow we managed to find common ground and meet in the middle.

My plan was to cook up a storm, for in my experience, food solved all dilemmas. Sam was in his early twenties, an age when all males ate a lot, extra servings and seconds, so double batches were required.   I went to work in the kitchen.

Malcolm’s plan was to show Sam around town, drive up through the mountains, expose Sam to the wonders of Santa Fe. Malcolm gassed up the SUV.

Sam’s plan was to document life through his travels, videoing his journey, recording his thoughts. He had graduated from college and his young artist’s soul was begging to be set free and loose in the wilds. His jump off was Santa Fe. He had tricked out his truck and camper into a cozy living area. He jimmy-rigged a camera mount on his bicycle to record his wanderings, pulled some money from his savings and had a full tank of gas and ideas. Ready. Set. Go.

He never left Santa Fe. One week later, after living in his truck at the Wal-Mart parking lot, Sam moved into our household, taking over the guest bedroom.

I had someone new to spoil, while  Malcolm had someone new with which to impart wisdom and advice.   Not having kids, we loved the fact he came diaper free and with manners.  He was trained.  We bonded quickly and the three of us became a family. We loved Sam – Sam loved us. Sam was special. Unique. We “adopted” him without any hesitation.

When Malcolm was turning fifty, I surprised him with a Bernese Mountain Dog puppy.  Born on Thanksgiving Day, Tiamo joined our new family when she was eleven weeks old. We all instantly fell in love with her, especially Sam. Although, I think he originally saw her as a chick magnet with four legs and fur.  I mean, seriously, what female under 80 and not blind, would not fall in love with a Bernese puppy! For that matter, Sam was a hottie. What female under 30 and/or blind would not fall for a tall handsome Texan.

Sam took part in Tiamo’s training.  He assisted in walking her, grooming her and teaching her to sit, along with other commands. Sam would volunteer to bring Tiamo to the vet when she needed her booster shots. He took care of Tiamo when we went away for travel and trips. Sam was Tiamo’s third caregiver. The two of them were inseparable.

When Sam later moved into town, I think he missed Tiamo more than he missed us.  I know Tiamo missed him something fierce.  She would go absolutely bonkers when Sam came to visit and wouldn’t leave his side.  Malcolm and I were ignored. For Tiamo, Sam was it.

Tiamo would have this goofy grin on her face when Sam showed up.  Her eyes would light up and she would prance around, showing off for Sam.  Sam always brought her a treat.  Something special just for her.  It got so every time Sam came, she would immediately reach for his pant’s pocket, nosing her muzzle, sniffing for her treat.   Sam never failed to disappoint her.

Tiamo was the happiest when the three of us were together.  Sam, Malcolm and I. Plus Tiamo. She would grab her toy of the week, gnawing on it while laying at our feet, listening to our voices as we caught up on our lives.  Her family together, Tiamo was happy and content.



Sam loved the outdoors.  Even on the coldest of days, he and Malcolm would sit outside, watching the sun disappear behind the horizon, enjoying a glass of wine, a bottle of beer, discussing life.  They would pull up two old wooden rocking chairs to the edge of the portal, facing west, and observe the sky’s colors as they faded from brilliant blue to fiery orange to pitch black.  Tiamo at their feet.  They would still be talking as the stars turned on their lights, twinkling from above.  Tiamo was content to be with her “boys”.

Some nights, Malcolm and Sam would light a small fire in the clay Chiminea for warmth.  Other times, they would gently rock their chairs to the cadence of their conversation, low murmurs that would tease Tiamo into a soft sleep at their feet. During the summer months, Sam and Malcolm would take Tiamo for midnight walks after it had cooled down from the day’s heat.  Tiamo happily trotting along besides the two of them. Plainly said, Tiamo LOVED Sam.

When Sam was 27, he passed away. The first year, after Sam’s death, was the hardest.  Malcolm and I had to re-adjust our family back down to two with a dog. Along with Tiamo, we had to re-adjust to never seeing Sam again.  We all mourned.  We all missed Sam.  Like barbed wire twisted around our hearts, we felt every razor-sharp prong squeezing into our grief and sorrow.  Our hearts were bleeding, bruised and beat up. Tiamo’s was as well.

The following spring after Sam’s death, I started a memorial garden.  West of our covered portal, in full view of the day’s end, I planted flowery shrubs, bushes and flowers in every color to remind us of the sun winking good night.  Fiery reds and oranges, brilliant blue hues, twinkling whites and luminous purples. Cheerful yellows and soft pinks. Bright colors to reflect life’s wonder. Colorful shades of nature reminiscent of watching the sun disappear behind the Sandias as all of us conversed. A salute to our loved ones. A nod to Sam. We missed our Sam, but are so thankful he joined our life for what little time we had with him.

We have since laid flagstone, moved the clay Chiminea pot to the middle of the stonework and added more wooden rocking chairs. Birdhouses and yard art are scattered around to commemorate the joy of life.  Sam’s life. Bright colors surround the garden, flowers edging the stone’s perimeter. Pinon, pine trees and junipers providing the shade and adding a wind break.  It has become a happy place. It is a continual work in progress.

Tiamo was half way through her sixth year when Malcolm and I had to put her down.  Cancer.  Heart-wrenching.  Sad.  Deep. It was early May and we had two weeks to prepare for the finality of losing her.  We had been through the grief of losing Sam. Now we were going to go through the heartache and anguish of losing another beloved child.

There was no question that we would bury Tiamo at home in our Memorial Garden. A place where Tiamo would sit at Sam’s feet as Malcolm and Sam watched the sun set. Malcolm had chosen an area in the garden where Tiamo loved to lay while Sam and Malcolm chatted, solving the world’s problems.  Under a big juniper tree, he started to dig her burial plot.

As Malcolm prepared Tiamo’s final resting spot, Tiamo laid by the deepening hole and watched, silently giving us her acceptance of what was to come.   She was ready.  We were not.

We didn’t want to let her go. Memories of her as a puppy, remembrances of Sam “borrowing” Tiamo to assist him in picking up long haired co-eds, recollections of Tiamo sitting at our feet while on the portal, flooded our hearts. Our beautiful Tiamo was in pain. No more walks on the green belt, no more belly rubs at night, no more trips in the car. We knew it wouldn’t be long.

Our veterinarian had told us we would know when to bring her in. “When it’s time to stop the suffering, you’ll know,” she said, her eyes filled with sympathy.

Malcolm and I felt like we were playing at being God, making the decision about when to end Tiamo’s life, when to “bring her in.” “When it was time” turned into “then it was time” way too soon. With tears in our eyes and a heavy, burdened heart, we put Tiamo down. Again, Malcolm and I deeply grieved.

When we bring pets into our lives, we come to the understanding that, most likely we will outlive them by many years. Most likely there will be many other pets in between. We had already put Thugs down, our aging cat of nearly twenty-two years. Malcolm and I accepted that. Hate it, but know it, and know this is life.  This is the harsh reality we all go through.  Damn it hurts.

We buried Tiamo in her favorite spot, shaded by junipers and surrounded by color, facing west to watch the sun set.  She is deeply missed.

I would like to believe Sam and Tiamo are high in the sky, in their happy place together.  Tiamo has her “Sam” to play with, sniffing out an endless supply of treats from his pockets, prancing around in a field of soft green clover.  Sam has Tiamo, keeping him company while he enjoys the fresh air and outdoors.

We miss our kids.

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wiggle butt

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I doubt there is a dog alive that doesn’t have one.  A wiggle butt that is.

That happy dance of joy performed just for you when you return home.  That warp-speed tail wag when it is chow time.  That hinny shake when it’s time for a w-a-l-k.  That twirl of excitement when car keys rattle and a trip in the truck is gonna happen.

I doubt there is a dog alive that doesn’t have a three-foot leap when an adventure is about to start.

That gyrating spin of tail and fur when the back door is opened for escape.  That springing vault over the back of a sofa when the frig door is opened.  That hurdle over arms and legs  when they hear the garage door rolling up and the car being parked. That tail waggle bound over muddy puddles, through rain, sleet and snow.

I doubt there is a dog alive that doesn’t voice their opinion when the doorbell peals.

That barking frenzy disco rendered when they realize someone is on the other side of the door. That clamorous running from room to room to announce we have company. That twist and turn accompanied with loudness when they spot another person on the trail.

I doubt there is a dog alive that doesn’t have one.  A wiggle butt that is.

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How come

with just a few barks

everyone can understand

that Lassie is saying

Timmy fell down the well

but with my endless whining and gnawing

you can’t understand

that I am saying

I’d rather the earth swallowed me whole

than go out in public wearing this raincoat

     by Francesco Marciuliano

After Dolce spent weeks at the vet’s recovering from her several surgeries last summer, she returned to us with a new vice.  Her days rubbing paws with other canine inmates manifested into a  penchant to be heard. In the 53 days spent at the vet’s healing, Dolce learned how to bark.  Loud.  Often. And for no reason.

This is no Lassie bark.  This is no “the house is burning down and I’m saving you” bark.  It’s not a doorbell bark or a TV bark or a car just drove up bark.  Nope.  This is a trumpet of deafening, abrasive clamoring.  With no translation. No explanation.

Now, Tiamo, she had a few Lassie bark moments.  She would come down into the den as Malcolm and I watched TV and do the bedtime bark shuffle.  She would stand in the doorway and back up as she barked three times.  It was nine o’clock and time for me to come to bed.  Nine o’clock on the dot.  She never missed the dot.  Three sharp barks with exclamation marks.  She would then race back to the bedroom and wait for me.

Once Tiamo came down to the den calling out to us with an excited yawp.  There was enough bellow in her bluster to give us pause.  It wasn’t nine yet, there had been no yelp from the TV, we were curious as to her behavior.  I followed her back up into the kitchen and discovered Thugs, our old and aging cat at the time, had gotten himself stuck on the counter and could not get down.  He had expanded all his energy in his jump up and now found himself without the stamina to climb down.  Thug’s days of enterprising activity had long passed him by.  He had twenty years of hard living behind him and his life style had catch up to him.  Tiamo just wanted her buddy safe, down on the ground where she could look after him.

Another time, another barking frenzy, Tiamo came to warn us the replacement mousers had knocked over a glass vase full of water.  Not only was there water all over the table and floor, but shards of glass was everywhere.  Her mayday kept our bare feet from being sliced up.

But Dolce, she just barks.

Bark.  Bark.  Bark.  She knows only one word.  Bark.

It’s all about context.

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conspiracy theory

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Somewhere within a normal weekend, I sort through my dirty laundry to start my standard three loads of wash for the week.  Whites, coloreds, and darks.  I find myself doing the usual routine of coloreds first, so I can start the drying process of the “hang-dry” only sweaters, then on to the darks, and lastly the delicates, the unmentionables, the whites.  Those take some genteel care.

Somewhere within all three loads of laundry are a multitude of socks.  White ones, colored ones, and dark ones.  They go into the washer as a pair.  Side by side they spin together, dancing the wash waltz through soap and suds.  When the cycle ends, they get tossed within a soggy pile of wet mess into the dryer.  It’s here where the marriage tumbles.  Throw in a bounce or two and what used to be matching pair of argyle socks is now a fight of unraveling yarn.

Sadly, Mr. and Mrs. Bobby Socks, the once matching duo of socks is now separated and divorced.  Single.   Alone.

As I sort and fold together the matching pairs, there is always one lone sock leftover.  I doubt there isn’t a weekend that goes by that I don’t lose a cute little toe warmer.  And stupid me, I hang on to those single leftovers, with hopes they will partner up again.  Surely, the other matching sock will come marching back home.  I have a whole drawer of single socks just waiting to get back into dating again.  Just waiting to be part of the pair, folded back into productivity and in the proper sock drawer.  All they need is a matching mate.

Unless Amore or Dolce get a hold of them. Amore or Dolce are home wreckers (I’m not sure whom is the canine culprit) .  Those little bitches are Sock Stealers!  That’s what they are.

It’s bad enough to lose a sock from the dryer, but to have Dolce happily be the other woman, stealing away Mr. Robert Sock is too much!  Chewing away the fibers of a solid cotton partnership, leaving holes in a marriage of toes and a heel, is beyond me.   How dare she!

For Amore to drag the morally-lacking Mr. Sock out to the muddy, snow melting pen into oblivion is to lose all trust in our canine friends.  To purposely separate a knee-hi couple, to deliberately come between a smart-wool pair,  to destroy a happily knitted toe’n heel matched duo, is, well, unbecoming of our girls.

I thought I had trained them better.  Raised them properly.  Guided them gently through their middle years. BUT NOOOooooo!  They have to go steal socks!  And with no remorse.  Does she look guilty?  Remorseful?  Sorry?  Nope, not Amore.  That is her giving the “what? I don’t see a chewed up, destroyed sock sitting on my pillow right next to me” look.  The “I don’t know what you are talking about” look.  Notice the non-eye contact, the ignorance of the situation?  AND do you notice the huge disconnect of the elephant in the room?  A huge hole in the toes.  Welcome to my world.


Do you think this happens to Malcolm’s socks.  Oh, no, not to him! Come to think of it, I probably wouldn’t give a rats-ass if it was one of his socks.  All of his are white and thrown into one big happy orgy of a drawer.  He doesn’t sort and fold, he doesn’t match up, he wouldn’t even notice a sock that was newly divorced.

This is a conspiracy!

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hellwoooo 2016

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Happy New Year Everyone! 

May your 2016 be filled with 1.5 cadrillion dog licks and kisses.

Yup, it’s the end of the year where we count our blessings and hope for a great new year.  In just 48 hours, 2016 will be here, ringing in a whole new set of hopes and maybes and breakable resolutions.  Malc and I are glad this past year is behind us.  It was a hard one for us.

At best, 2015 was an interesting year for Malcolm and I.  We are thankful it went fast and furious, and didn’t slow down.  We made it through 365 days of 2015 hell.

2015’s scorecard reflected one major surgery (I’m all better, thankmutt manuscript cover you), the lost of one very dear friend (this one hurt deep), we endured a jury and trial (don’t worry, we won), we experienced the near-death of Amore (lots of tears), withstood several surgeries for Dolce (horribly expensive – two month vet stay), and my second book, the mutt manuscripts was published (Malcolm was pulling his hair out as he edited the book).  Woven in, out, and between the year’s hardships were Dolce and Amore, who unfailingly gave us more love and comfort than you could ever imagine.  Dolce and Amore helped us through the rough patches of 2015.

Our hearts couldn’t help but smile as Dolce made angels in the snow.  Her enjoyment sliding down the hill as she wiggled to gain speed lifted our spirits.


We giggled over Amore’s silly antics as she stole Malcolm’s place on the sofa and then looked at him with a question in her eyes, “What?  Don’t look at me, you’re the one who got up and left!”


While I was recovering from surgery, the girls instinctively knew to be protective of my leg.  Not once did Amore step on my leg while I was resting in bed (unlike her usual, know no boundaries, step all over you style).  She would come around from the other side of the bed and gently lay by my side for company.

When we were grieving, a soft muzzle would find it’s way on our lap, offering solace.   When we needed a distraction, we found a snake in the house one of the girls brought in.  Nothing like a big scream of fright to divert your thoughts when you walk within 14″ of a snake.  Doesn’t matter it was already dead.  It was a snake.  End of discussion.

Morning coffee came with Dolce curled up with me on the couch as I read my emails on my iPad before I left for work.  And they say dogs don’t cuddle.


Afternoon naps would find Malcolm sandwiched between fur and paws and warm comfort.  Dinner came garnished with a side of dog hair loving shared by our dogs.  What would we do without some dog hair protein?

Dolce and Amore helped us rally throughout the year.  They brought us outdoors for their walks, encouraging us to breathe in the fresh air.

malc dogs 2015

Sunshine, snow, and a brisk breeze will definitely rid one of life’s stresses. They gave us routine, getting us up at 5:00 a.m. every morning for their breakfast and they gave us our groove back.  Stella would be proud.

That was our year.  Dolce and Amore’s tally for the last 365 days goes something like this…..

  • 1 book published about us! Yea! We’re celebrities!
  • 1 snake in the house (this should go on Gordita’s list, we didn’t bring it inside, she did!)
  • 3 new dog pillows (Costco has’em cheap)
  • 3 trips to Duke City to pick up friends at the Sunport (we love company – more petting for us)
  • 4 mud days (rainy days are the best for paw painting the brick floors)
  • 6 canine surgeries (1 stomach twist – 5 ACL repairs)
  • 8 pig ears (Rats, only 8, cuz our Mom and Dad put us on a diet)
  • 10 lizards caught by Amore
  • 12 bones (we don’t get these much any more)
  • 15 photo bombs  (hee hee hee)
  • 16 days with Debbie our doggy sitter (she loves us!)
  • 29 snow angel days (these are the best!)
  • 31 bags of dog food (yummm yummmm yummmmmm)
  • 58 days in a crate (“this totally blew!” Dolce with the ACL surgeries)
  • 365 walks in the park (Yippee!)
  • 365 couch seat steals  (Amore 365 – Malcolm 0)
  • 365 nights of blanket hogging and pillow stealing
  • 365 days (minus days mom was recovering from surgery – we couldn’t jump on her like we use to) of love and cuddles
  • 365 afternoon naps with Malcolm  (stretch and yawn)
  • 365 kitchen drive-bys (times two)
  • 5,432 times ‘tween the human legs (North and South bound)
  • 1 billion dog paw prints (on brick floor, rugs and in our hearts)
  • 1 zillion selfies (but dad had to hold the camera)
  • 1 trillion dog hairs floating around
  • 1.5 cadrillion dog licks and kisses


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Happy Tail Wags

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Santa’s elves

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malc dogs 2015

fat boy is coming!

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Santa’s comin’

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Amore – Santa – Dolce

happy first of Christmas

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red or green

just say Christmas!



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I once worked with this accountant guy, who would walk around the office saying,  “Same pair of jeans, different pocket.”  It was his slang for the familiar saying, “Robbing Peter to pay Paul.”  To him, money was the same no matter which bank account it came from (I didn’t say he was a good accountant). He was a doofus kind of guy, typical nerdy numbers man, can’t even remember what he looked like, but I never forgot his quote.

My dad always carried his keys and loose change in his pockets.  Wallet in the back right pocket, his keys in the front left, mixed in with nickels and dimes. Myself? I’ve learned never to put my car keys in any of my pockets after I water-logged the key fob in the washer from forgetting to clear out my pockets.  Then I found out how much those fobs cost to replace. Never. Again.

Pockets today are designed differently from yesteryear’s.  Frequently advertised as an added feature, you’ll see the “5-pocket” everywhere. That fifth pocket is a joke.  It’s not like you can put anything in it. What? Taxi money?  Your spare key?  A dog treat?  And if you do, I can guaran-damn-tee ya’, you will forget about it and all will be in this week’s wash. That fifth pocket is for decor only.  Don’t use it.

Now a days, almost all of my pockets harbor food.  Dog food and dog treats and dog biscuits. Filled with anything peanut butter flavored, we use dog treats to keep our big mutts in line. You’ll find ’em in my pant’s pockets, coat pockets, vest pockets, even shirt pockets.  I have it down to a science:  Jean pockets will hold around one large handful of treats, each; Coat pockets can hold up to 50 or so dog biscuits; Vests, somewhere around a cup’s worth if in the outer pockets, less if using the inside ones.  Shirts, not so much.  Only use the shirt pocket if going through your bank’s drive thru teller and you specifically ask for a dog treat.  Tuck that baby in the pen pocket to award your canine for sitting so sweetly in the back seat later.

On walks, both girls know I carry treats in my pockets to reward good behavior.  Amore especially, will block my path with dandelion hopes of getting a treat.  Ten feet down the trail and she’s body blocking me for a kibble.  Dolce is more discreet. DSC00523She’ll dog our steps three feet from behind so she doesn’t miss out when the goods are distributed.  She’s right there, eyeing our hands and elbows just in case they rise above the waist line as we reach into the pocket. Dolce is quick to align herself front row and center when the treats come out of hiding.

The other day, the weather just cold enough to need an outer garment,  I grabbed my down vest as we were leaving to walk the dogs.  To my dismay, I discovered last year’s crumbs when I stuffed my hands in the outer pockets. Uck!  Dolce and Amore were all over that once they got a whiff.

Dolce gloating after getting an extra treat!

Dolce gloating after getting an extra treat!

It used to be I could wear my jeans several times before throwing them in the wash.  Until dogs.  Until Dolce and Amore. Now I need to pull out my pockets to shake out the dog treat debris.  Now crumbs and broken pieces of dog biscuits accumulating deep in the caverns of my pockets need to be shop vac ‘d out.  Now, I am a poster child for nose dribble and muzzle drool deposited from Dolce and Amore poking in my pockets, sniffing out treats.

And now, after one wearing, my jeans look and smell like peanut butter dog treats, sometimes worse, depending on where the nose has been. I do lots of laundry and I check out the pockets. All of them.

And now, for some reason, every time I pull out my pockets to shake out the crumbs, I think of doofus saying, “Same pair of jeans, different pocket.”

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It rained yesterday.  Hallelujah!  Praise be to the rain gods.

Even in the normal scheme of things, this is a big deal to us desert dwellers.  When looking at the big picture, New Mexico needs every drop of water we can get.  Based on what I saw in the rain gauge, I’m guessing we probably had just under two inches of rain.   Rain is good.

Yesterday’s rain was one of those rains we call a “good rain.”  A steady fall of moisture, spread out over several hours, allowing the parched soil the ability to soak it all up.  This storm also brought a good-sized dump of snow up in the higher elevations.  It’s always to good have an early snow pack.  Snow is good.

What is not so good is mud.  Yesterday’s rain also brought muddy roads, muddy shoes, muddy pants, and muddy towels.  It brought muddy couches, muddy bed spreads, muddy rugs and muddy towels. But what it really brought was muddy dogs, muddy paws, muddy floors and muddy towels.  Shoes, towels, pants, towels, couches, towels, bed spreads, towels, rugs, towels, dogs, towels, paws, towels, floors and towels being the optimum words.

So, let me set the scene….

Yesterday was Wednesday and Wednesday is cleaning day. The one day of the week my house is actually clean.  Not just picked up or straightened up, but mop n’ glowed clean.  Walk in the door after work and smell Pine Sol clean. Tables are pledged, dressers are dusted, tubs are scrubbed. With a house full of dogs, having a clean abode is a novelty, cuz it doesn’t happen but once a week.  For only a few hours.  Max.  Come Thursday morning, we’re back to status quo.

Our house cleaner, who is my designated house-cleaning goddess, I mean, I worship that girl, is busy doing her magic.  Malcolm is charged with keeping the dogs out of her way while she is whipping the house in shape. As the storm is sending it’s drops of water, she is mopping the brick floors. The dogs, whom had been out in the pen loving the brisk weather, decided to come in from out of the rain.  Smart dogs, but obviously not smart enough. Dolce and Amore came inside wet, muddy, happy.  My wonderful house-cleaner, not so much – happy that is.

wet dog

wet dog

The girls didn’t have sense enough to come inside before the rain started, before they wallowed in the mud and before they were nothing but wet dog.  A wet, muddy dog does not a happy house cleaner make.  My house-cleaning goddess was not happy.  At all.

Dolce and Amore had trooped in ooey, gooey mud from one end of the house to the other as they searched for Malcolm. On the what was once a Pine Sol cleaned floor.  That had been just mopped.  By my now upset house-cleaner.  Muddy paw prints now  dotted the brick floor from the master bedroom to the office in the back of the house.  Muddy paw prints now decorated the cream colored couch.  Muddy paw prints were now everywhere.

I came home to three huge piles of wet, muddy towels. There were towels still spread out on the bricks to absorb the uck and muck brought in by Dolce and Amore. Towels used to clean up after our wet canine heathens. Towels used to wipe muddy paws.  Towels used to fluff dry the dogs.  Towels used to mop up the floors and clean off the couches.  Towels were stacked up in the laundry room waiting their turn in the wash. Towels everywhere.  All dirty.  All wet.

Malcolm is on his fourth load of laundry.  I’m hoping my house-cleaning hero returns next week.

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crouch n’ scrunch

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It doesn’t take much for Dolce and Amore to realize there is a car trip on the agenda.  Just the simple act of putting on socks and shoes will start the dancing chorus of excited barking.  The grabbing of the car keys, the purse in hand, are more visuals for them to be on the alert.  Two steps taken in the direction of the garage door has the girls pawing at the door knob to be the first one out.  Nothing excites the dogs more than the thought of a trip in the car.

A disgruntled Dolce sitting in the backFor Dolce, her excitement starts at the first right out of our driveway. And then the crouch n’ scrunch starts.  What’s that you say?  Oh, let me tell ya….

The crouch n’ scrunch is the side effect of frenzied scouting for the first available opportunity to bark. Loudly.  It’s the first phase of searching for movement on the hike and bike trail that runs along side the road. It begins with Dolce planting herself in the middle of the back between the two front seats.  Then she crouches.  Scrooching down, she scrunches her shoulders and head to have the perfect view out the front window.  Posture be damned, she is on the look out for fellow canines, humans, cyclists, birds, pesky flies, anything, just give her something to objectify. Okay, nothing works just as well.

Because nothing, is just as good if not better, than barking away at the possible threat a dog on a leash might pose as we drive by at warp speed.  A walking human will incite her vocal chords with or without the slightest possibility a dog might be trotting next to them as we pass.  A cyclist in the bike lane will receive a barking to just because.  It is, therefore she will bark.  There is nothing, therefore she will bark some more.

“Dogs feel very strongly that they should always go with you in the car, in case the need should arise for them to bark violently at nothing right in your ear.”
Dave Barry

The crouch n’ scrunch is Dolce’s latest trademark in car-riding alignment.  She compliments the position with a ping-pong head bobble.  Right, left, right, left.  Her eyes darting up and down the trail as she swings her head back and forth.  Wishing.  Hoping.  For anything.

During the summer months, Dolce’s frustration escalates when her vision is impaired by the tall grass and weeds that sprout up along side the trail. Her brown-haired brows pull down in annoyance when she can’t lay her eyes on the short-legged canines.  Those little dogs that fall below the weed line, hidden from sight. You want to really piss Dolce off? Block her view.  Pull down the sun visor or lean too far over the center console where she’s on the look out and you’ll get a quick retaliation, doggy style.  A strong paw and/or snout will inform you to move back to your own territory.  A small yip will instruct you to put up the visor.  Don’t obstruct her vista.

We are fortunate this crouch n’ scrunch is a short-lived phase.  Ten miles later, Dolce has forgotten all about barking at nothing.

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my side

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As creatures of comfort, we all have special rituals and/or habits that brings us small pleasures.  From sneaking a piece of sinful dark chocolate to a cherished cup of coffee, it’s the little things that bring us bliss. Simple joys that give us that drawn out “ahhhhh” moment.  It’s a cold beer after a hot day.  It’s grabbing a warm blanket and settling into your favorite chair in the evening to watch some TV. It’s fresh sheets as you climb into bed, curling up to sleep.

We all know there’s nothing better than nature fresh, clean sheets.  Crisp, cool, clean sheets – how many of us stretch and sigh as we slide between the covers?  Rolling into the perfect position as we lay on our side of the bed and close our eyes. How many of you fluff your pillows and arrange them just so?  Who among us rolls first to the left and then on to their stomach?  Or do you sleep on you back, arms above your head, knee bent?  Are you a left sider or a right sider?

We humans get pretty territorial when it comes to which side of the bed we sleep on.  Some want the side closest to the bathroom.  Some want the right side just because that is what they are used to. And some want next to the side closest to an electrical outlet for their alarm clocks and landline.  In our household, either one of us is lucky enough to have a side.

When you have dogs, dogs who consider the middle, bottom and your down pillow as their side of the bed, we’re lucky to have a corner of the blanket and three square inches of mattress. There are two sides to each bed and Dolce and Amore have ownership of both.  There is no left or right side, only a Dolce or Amore’s side.

the dog sideBoth girls like to climb on the bed for a little night-time loving as I prepare to go to sleep.  Dolce especially loves to curl up against my legs as I absently scratch her ears, her head draped across my thighs.  Amore will troop cover the covers and pillows as she heads to the top of the bed to get her share of rubs.  Ten minutes later they are off to other parts of the house, only to return in the wee hours of the night to take over the bed, staking their claim on the mattress.

There are times when I ask Malcolm to call the dogs so I can have some leg space.  I beg him to give me ten minutes to enjoy the bed to myself before he lets the girls in.

“Let me get settled and then they can hop up,”  I plead.  Without his help, I’d be curled up into a cramped ball, while the dogs sleep diagonally across the bed, paws in the air, taking up all the space.

But still, we let them up on the bed.  It’s a special time for me to give love and comfort to our girls.  My special ritual.  My special pleasure.

The other day on facebook, I ran across a video of James Stewart and Johnny Carson. In it, James Stewart reads a poem about his dog.

And, now you know why Dolce and Amore have their side of the bed.

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White noise

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Swish.  Swosh.  Swish.  Swosh.  Click click click click.  Click click click click.

The subtle sounds vibrate through the house as Dolce and Amore ramble in and out from the pen.  Swish.  Swosh.  The first sound is the dog door flap as it swings back and forth.  There is a gentle cadence in the sway of the heavy plastic protecting the entrance to the house.  Swish.  Swosh.  Swish.  Swosh.  Two dogs in.  Two dogs out.  The click click click click clatter comes later, as they move further into our residence.

Throughout the day, Malcolm and I tune out the swish swosh as the girls come and go.  The sounds blend into the audible buzz of our household.  The hum of the refrigerator, ticks of the clocks, birds cawing, cars that drive by.  White noise that doesn’t even penetrate.

In our sub-consciousness, we know Dolce just came in from the pen.  Swish.  Swosh.  Coming through for a drive by to check out what’s going on, Dolce swings through the kitchen first before going to the water bowl and on to the couch.  As we hear the slurps of her licking up water, somewhere in the back of our brain we tell ourselves to add fresh water and ice to the bowl.  We listen to her grunts and sighs as she settles into a comfy position on the sofa.  We hear all this as we continue with what we’re doing.  We have become so use to the background melody Dolce and Amore make, it has become an echoing beat in our minds.  A little song that plays over and over.  A part of our everyday life we don’t even notice.  White noise we won’t even hear.

“Where are the girls?” Malcolm will ask.  “I just heard them go outside,” I’ll reply.  I chronicled the swish swosh as an exit.  It’s an unconscious, sightless audit I do, taking inventory of the girl’s actions.

During the night, Malcolm and I register the acoustic swish in our sleep.  It’s part of the sounds our minds filter out as we slumber.  It’s immediately followed by little clicks as their paws hit the brick floors.  In our sleep, we mindlessly track them as they wander through the darken house.  Click click click click.  Followed by another set of click click click click.  Never loud enough to fully wake either one of us, never annoying, it’s a calming presence that blankets us with warmth.

Dolce especially has turned into our protector.  She likes to sleep just outside the dog door, guarding the entrance.  Amore likes to sleep on the cool bricks at the foot of our bed, chaperoning her human folks. During the night they take turns as they roam through the house, securing the premises.  Click click click click.  Even in the depth of sleep, I hear the clicks as they defend their territory.  Patrolling.  A small moan is heard as our canine sentinels settle back down to sleep.  All is well in their world.

Many believe white noise is like radio static.  Disturbing, irritating, abrasive.  To Malcolm and I, white noise is music to our ears.

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