Category Archives: Stories about dogs



In honor of Canadian Thanksgiving and looking forward to ours later this month, this poem is dedicated to Morrie and Diego, who profit from all culinary events in my house:

(Dedicated to Two Hopeful Dogs)

Crying for our leftovers won’t bring you any favors.
You will not taste their textures or masticate their flavors
if you stand there begging. Those winsome looks aren’t working.
Nor are your lapsing manners—your twisting and your jerking.

Hunger doesn’t justify your unwelcome behavior.
Before we even sat down, we saw Grandpa was your savior,
slipping you a turkey leg he had dipped in gravy.
(That leg I’d saved for leftovers–a turkey sandwich, maybe.)

Our home-cooked meal? Delicious. That you already know.
When I cooked the pies, I fed you scraps of dough.
The turkey giblets boiled for gravy, later went to you.
When I cooked the cranberries, you even ate a few.

You licked the pumpkin bowl so clean. You licked the beater blade
when I whipped the cream for pies. Dear ones, you had it made.
So when you beg for leftovers, I’ll just ignore your fuss.
You ate before the guests, dears. Leftovers are for us!

Prompts for today are winsome, manner, justify, leftovers and home.

Daily Menu

Daily Menu

Lately it’s incredible
how many products edible
I’m buying daily at the store.
There’s constantly a need for more.
One type for kittens two months old,
getting more hungry and more bold.

In the morning, when I enter in,
they climb my robe or climb my skin
thinking that perhaps they may
consume kitten tuna souffle
a second before all their peers
consume it. All four little dears,
meows now turning into roar
as though only four hours before
they had not had a late night meal
of special kitten rice and veal.

Then the old cat limps out to see
the special treat that’s brought by me.
Mixed with fish oil, sardine pate—
a king’s ransom three times a day.
She deigns to feed upon this fare,
eschewing edibles less rare.
The small dog with a skin condition
consumes his own special edition
dog food for his special state
I portion out upon his plate.

Just one more left—the old dog claws
the window with his muddy paws,
demanding edibles from me
both by his barks and what I see.
I provide a different dog food for
this anxious dog who mars my door.
The menu, as you see, is varied.
As cook and waitress, I am harried.
But breakfast done, I take a rest
to do the thing that I like best. 
The minute they are finished chewing,
I present their menu for your viewing!

Seven animals with 4 different diet demands make feeding time a big job–especially with the cat and kittens who need to be fed numerous times a day.  I’m off now to apply for a bank loan so I can go to the store with a wheelbarrow for today’s provisions. When days are full, hyperbole helps.


The prompt word today was edible.

The Dangers of Blogging


I’ve been working sunup to late afternoon for the last four days setting up and running a booth that sells the wares of all of the participants of our wonderful Maestros del Arte show in Chapala.  The last two days were rainy and cold which necessitated two revampings of the booth and moving of all the goods.  The rain kept coming and the mud puddles got deeper. I was running from booth to booth and then back to ours and came home exhausted every night.  Tonight, therefore, I got home at 5, fed the dogs, warmed up a few leftovers, washed off my muddy feet and fell into bed.  It was freezing cold in my house with no central heating, so I set a little space heater on my night table and took turns warming my four sides of my body, fetched a heating pad to warm my hands, and socks to warm my feet. I fell asleep at 7 p.m. and woke up at 11 p.m.

Still, still night.  Went out to see the Super Moon, but it was too overcast to reveal even a glow to suggest where it might be.  Then the gloom opened up for a few seconds and  I ran in to get my camera, but by the time I located it, the sky had closed its window again. Read a few blogs, including Murdo Girl’s which had a video I turned on.  In it her three dogs were barking and barking.  Immediately, Morrie and Diego, who had been sleeping peacefully in the doggie domain,  went rushing out into the night to bark back at them outside the  sliding glass door to my bedroom.  Then all the neighborhood dogs began to bark back.  I brought my dogs in with the promise of a dog biscuit, locked them in their cages, and they are calm once again, but sixteen minutes later, the neighbor’s dog is still going crazy.  The dangers of blogging.

Look Up! (Eulogy for a Good, Good Girl)


Look Up!

She used to chase the shadows of birds across the ground
and dig where they disappeared
and never once thought to look up,
no matter how many times I tried to tell her to.

Chasing light across the pool, she’d pace
back and forth, along its further edge.


Her first playmates the cats,
she could not follow them up into the trees,
but stood instead, barking at the bark they clung to.
Thinking herself a cat, perhaps,
or all of them some new species in between,
she followed wherever it was possible to go.
Up the broad steps to the second floor,
across the terraza and just a small leap
to the ledge of the high sloping dome of the roof.
Up to its top to lie or stand and bark at all who trudged up our mountain
to intrude into her world.


She could see for blocks,
turning like a sundial with the sun
to change her focus, but usually starting at the point,
southward, that most invaders came from.
Neighbors led by unwelcome dogs on leashes
passed below her on their morning walks,
or farmers carrying hoes or machetes
up to the fields above.

Lines of burros plodding beneath her, facing uphill,
small herds of cattle
flooding down to the lake for water—
none escaped the attention of this reina,
who would bark directions to be on their way, fast,
and not to loiter.


No creature had greater staying power than she.
The cats, bored with the high view,
moved to the bushes and trees to hunt possums, squirrels and salamanders.
Only she stayed true to her original position
as she looked ever down from that high dome,
only deserting it a year ago,
when I locked the gate that blocked her progress up—
not because I judged it unsafe for a dog grown arthritic and less sure of her step,
but because of the new puppy,
untrained by cats and with feet less experienced than hers.


Feeling punished, perhaps, she traded her high domain
for a place beneath the terrace table

from which she watched the two upstarts
speed by to cavort in the lower garden
where she once chased bird shadows in the grass.

Version 2
She exercised her staying power one last time
as, looking down on a world reduced to only me,
never once blinking, she stared into my eyes
as I crouched beside the vet’s high table,
and looked straight back up into them,
the closest I’d ever been to her.

That table’s surface, straight and gleaming stainless steel,
was where she lay with her front legs spread-eagled
for the long hour it took to finally climb up that high dome again.
I wonder if she heard me as,
“Good girl,” I told her a hundred times that final hour, and meant it.
“Good, good girl. Look up now. And go on.
You were always such a good, good girl, watching out for us.
But now, look up. Go on.”


The prompt word today is “Original.”

Newest Bloom: Flower of the Day, Oct. 8, 2016


Can anyone identify this newest bloom in my flowerpot?  It has taken this perch for its own, for some reason, although it doesn’t look like it can be too comfortable. He is usually lying down in it, tennis ball in his jaws. The rest of the act is to drop his tennis ball into the pool from it and then dive in after it, swim to the side and haul himself out, then repeat.  And repeat. And repeat.  He did this 11 times in one hour the other day when I was in the pool exercising… then another 5 times when I was inside at my computer.  He noses the ball closer and closer and lets it roll back a bit each time, then suddenly rolls it enough to tip the balance and it goes into the pool. Then if I don’t retrieve and throw it for him, he jumps in and retrieves it himself. This is what you do when your mom won’t throw more than 30 pitches for you in a row.

Morrie Takes off and Brings the Road Home with Him!!!!

Morrie Takes off and Brings the Road Home with Him!!!!

It’s true.  When Pepe came to give me my massage today, he opened the door and all three dogs ran out!  After two months of never escaping when the construction guys were in and out dozens of times a day, suddenly they asserted themselves and were long gone–not a whisper of a tailfeather was in view in any direction by the time I got out in the street to call for them.  I didn’t know whether to fear that they’d gone up the mountain or to be glad.  No cars up there and fewer dogs than in the streets.  So, nothing to be done. I decided to leave them alone ’til they came home, wagging their tails behind them.  An hour and a half later, that’s what they did.  The first two to enter were fine, but this is what I saw when Morrie entered!


First thing he did was make right for the water bowl.


A one-and-a-half-hour run in the mountains sure makes a Laird thirsty!!!


I couldn’t help but notice the splint-like accumulation on his leg.


not to mention the sizeable limb of some sticky weed, complete with tiny tenacious bristles all over it and flower abloom.


Oh yes, those little decorations all over his head were sticky as well, and had no desire to be shed.


Contrast Morrie to his brother’s pristine coat!


The “limb” looked like a sunbather using Morrie’s coat to  attract the sun’s rays–a sort of solar hothouse!

Ah, Morrie.  Always a new thrill.  I got the limb off, in pieces, before he took off to tussle with Diego.  When I fed them, I got a few more pieces removed, then noticed that some scraped off as Diego and Morrie rolled and growled and wrestled and did their usual hi-jinx.  I went back to party preparations.  (Pictures to follow.)

I have neglected to say that the doggie domain is almost finished. Today they primed the walls and they reflect so much light into the hall now that I’m tempted to leave the walls white.  Dare I?  It looks beautiful, even in the chalky transluscent white of the primer.  I put the fridge in and the two cages with beds inside and Frida’s bed which almost entirely take up all the floor room.  I left the outside door to it open and a half hour ago, heard noises and went in to find Diego in Frida’s bed and Morrie in Diego’s bed in Diego’s cage! I couldn’t persuade them to switch back to their own bunks, so we’ll see what happens when Frida comes in. No lights connected, so I can’t take a picture!  Perhaps I’ll try with flash.

Happy Thanksgiving!  Tomorrow before the guests come, I plan to put Diego in the doggie domain, Morrie (and his bed) in the little dog run outside the spare bedroom and Frida in the garage with her bed while the guests are here.  One guest asked if she could bring her dog and I said I thought there would be pandemonium enough with my three.



Where is Magic When You Need It??

IMG_6866The bricks under the window arch will be removed after the bricks forming the arch are placed over it and the mortar dries  The top of the arch you see here will actually be the bottom of the window arch.  Think backwards!

                                 Where is Magic When You Need It?

Oh dear.  I could have used a bit of magic in dealing with one very irate plumber who came up to the kitchen waving his knapsack and pulling at a big chewed spot in the small pocket in front.  Reaching in, he drew out a half-eaten lonche (sandwich made out of shredded pork in a bolillo–a small crusty loaf of delicious Mexican Bread.)

“Su perro, su perro! ” he exclaimed and I understood at once that he had left his knapsack down where any one of three inquisitive and always-hungry dogs could investigate (and open) it.  It was the small one, he sputtered.

In my best ( worst at best) Spanish I said, “You can’t leave your lunch on the ground with three dogs present.”  But it was zippered into his bag, he said.  I had to laugh.  You’ve seen Morrie’s past exploits, right? If not, suffice it to say that in one week he consumed thirty rolls of toilet paper, two rolls of paper towels, a rubber duck, three doggie toys, a box of crayons, one shoe, five books and the handles off an antique chiffarobe. When I bought him one of those indestructible hard rubber toys in an hourglass shape–the ones you put a dog biscuit or peanut butter into to encourage chewing?  Guaranteed forever?  He bit it in two in fifteen minutes.  This is why I laughed.

“I’ll make you a delicious pork loin sandwich,” I told him.

But the knapsack! he whined.

“I’ll buy you a new bag.  Tell me what it costs and I’ll replace it.”  He looked somewhat happier.  He returned to my studio, where they were fixing a burst pipe.  I returned to the kitchen where I cut a  half inch slab of pork loin, covered it with au jus and slivered carrots cooked in the juice, made a sandwich, put celery sticks and dipping dressing in a bag, made guacamole and sandwiched  it between four crisp tortillas, added a Coca Cola and carried the bag with his new lunch down to the studio.  Inside the studio were all three dogs and three piles of poop–all Morrie’s.  I know it so well. Piled around were various bags and boxes of valuables used to make retablos that my robber dogs had had free access to.

“You can’t let the dogs into the studio,” I directed, and shut the door.  I leaned down to remove Morrie’s markers and by the time I arose, one plumber had gone to retrieve something from the garage, the door was open again and all three dogs were inside.

“I’ll put the dogs in the garage,” I said in my creative Spanish, and went to the house to fortify my demands with dog biscuits.  But when we arrived at the garage, there was a very large plastic pipe they’d drained the aljibe (cistern) with in order to clean it, so no go with dogs in the garage. Morrie could have that pipe deconstructed in minutes! Where else? Men were carrying concrete around the side of the house and so I couldn’t close the front yard off from the back.  Finally, I enclosed them all within the 20 foot long “pen” I’d created to isolate Morrie while he recuperated from his earlier neutering. The room builders were off in the street, eating lunch under the neighbor’s trees.  (More of a vacation than eating under my trees.) The plumbers were in my gazebo, having their lunch.  I went down to tell them the dogs were removed from their company at least for now.

The one plumber didn’t look ecstatic over my balanced meal provided, but perhaps he hadn’t tasted it yet.  The pork is delicious, I know.  I’ve been eating it every day for three days now.  The last time I cooked one of these marinated pork tenderloins, I made one meal of it before  Diego snatched the rest off the counter where Yolanda had placed it while she cleaned the fridge.  This time I was looking forward to more than one meal of it, but I’m very happy to share it with the plumber.

Yesterday, I finally dealt with a three day bout of terrible allergies by taking an antihistamine.  As a result, I slept all afternoon, awakening at 7:30 at night.  After feeding the dogs, I suddenly had a terrific burst of energy during which I cleaned out and reorganized the entire garage, Scoured out a 20 year old Rubbermaid garbage can so we can use it to store dog food in, washed dishes and straightened the kitchen and dining room.  I then reorganized my bathroom storage, hung up all my clothes discarded in hurried changes of costume over the past few days, had the silliest of conversations with my Missouri friend and went out for an after-midnight photo session, the results of which you can see on Cee’s Flower of the Day Challenge on this morning’s blog posting.  I then watched an episode of “Castle,” played three games of computer solitaire and finally looked at the clock.  Five A.M.?  I had an English lesson to teach in a few hours and workmen coming at 8.  Loud workmen!!!  Off went the lights and five minutes later, Yolanda arrived with a cup of coffee.  Looks like three hours sleep was going to have to do.

So, another day and another magical progression of events that let me know I’m alive.  The weather is perfect.  Slight breeze moving the trees.  Pasiano accomplished most of the list of “to do’s” I thought up for him to do while experiencing my own all-night energy spurt. The builders are back from lunch and I’m looking out on the beautiful arched window they are in the process of constructing that I’ll be able to see every day from my desk for the rest of my life.  My kids are happily at rest in their prison and hot volcanic water is streaming into my swimming pool.

Where is magic when I need it?  All around me.