Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


Introducing a Pretty Penny

Katie here. I know you haven’t heard from me much since I crossed the bridge.

My sister Payton and me.

But that doesn’t mean I haven’t been working. Mama asked me awhile back if I’d help her and daddy find a little sheltie girl. She said they had been real lonely without me and she knows shelties are a working breed, so she thought maybe I’d work at finding the perfect little girl for them.

And guess what? My half sister Payton’s human mom knew a breeder who knew a breeder, and last night mama and daddy picked up my little sister! Meet Penny!

This was her first evening, sitting on my sofa. She was a little overwhelmed.

She’s nine weeks old and just the cutest little thing! And you know what? I’m not even jealous like I used to be when mama or daddy paid attention to anyone else but me. Living here across the bridge teaches us lots of lessons, and one of those is that our folks’ hearts are expandable and there’s always plenty of love for every doggie.

Her first meal at my house….eating from one of my many bowls. I guess it’s her bowl now.

I’m really happy for mama and daddy….and I promise to supervise things to make sure they teach her all the stuff I taught them when I was there. You know. Like my one picture one treat rule. That’s probably the most important thing Penny needs to enforce because you know how mama is with that camera of hers.

Little puppy in a big new world.

But she also needs to knows it’s OK to get mama up at 4 a.m. if she feels like it, cause mama will get up with just the tiniest little whine. Mama is a softie.

Penny, some of her siblings and her mom at her breeders house.

And she needs to know that daddy likes to cuddle on the sofa some, and even if she’s not in a cuddle mood (you know I was not a cuddle bug) she should snuggle with him a little bit cause it makes him feel good.

Checking whether daddy has anything good to eat

And that’s her most important job … to make mama and daddy smile. In return they’re going to show her such a good time! Oh the adventures! And the walks at all my parks! And school, I need to tell her about all the treats she’ll get at school. And the lake house, she’s going to love the lake house! Why, she might even get to meet some of you! I sure loved my visits, you guys are the best!

Notice how these photos are blurry? Mama was using her phone and Penny doesn’t stay still very much!

I can’t wait to watch her grow up, she’s going to be a looker, but in her own way, you know? Mama really believes every sheltie is different and it’s her job to find out what each one is most passionate about. Me? I was passionate about food, um, camping, but Penny might love doing something else.

Mama and daddy will let her try different things, and Penny will decide what she thinks is the most fun. Because fun is what it’s all about, right? That was another of my rules, that mama and daddy provided me fun adventures, and I recommend Penny strictly adhere to it! It’s important for her to ask them every single day what fun thing they have planned. Otherwise they get lazy, you know. She needs to keep after them for their own good.

Dreaming about all the fun she’s going to have.

Anyway, I know you guys will give her a resounding welcome, she’s going to fit right in. Yep, this is going to be fun to watch, and you can be sure I’ll be watching over her and my folks just to make sure things go well.

A princesses work is never done. But I don’t mind one bit.

Welcome to my world, pretty Penny! Welcome to your world!

Looking out the back door at her backyard.


Remembering Ricky

Katie here.

Mama said I could get on her blog to tell you about my buddy Ricky who crossed the Rainbow Bridge last week. He was one of the original dogs with blogs, and mama found his blog years and years ago when we were all youngsters. There were a bunch of shelties with blogs back then — Ricky and Misty and Miley and Reilly and Ludo and Morgan.

Mama thinks there were more, but she can’t think straight when her eyes are leaking.

Anyway, we noticed Ricky right away because he was such a dapper little man. So much sophistication in such a little package. Mama likes to call him Little Ricky, because he was tiny.

But he had a big personality.

Ricky had fun with agility, but he liked to do it his way. His mom worked and worked to speed him up, but Ricky was his own guy and took those obstacles at a speed he deemed appropriate. Especially, as we remember, the dogwalk where he liked to survey the entire facility as he moved arcross the top. Ricky, always so elegant, never felt there was a need to hurry.

Ricky was really good at learning tricks too, and for a time he learned a new trick every week. His mom posted videos of his latest accomplishments and we were always so impressed! He learned to hold things in his mouth, and spin to the left and the right, to play dead, and so much more. He was so smart, and he made mama and lots of other people smile every week.

In fact, Ricky was something of a celebrity, he had so many people that enjoyed watching him learn new things. I told mama that we should try to meet him, and she said she’d see if she could arrange it. And guess what? I got to visit Ricky two times! It isn’t often that a girl from a small town gets to meet one of her idols in real life, you know?

In fact, visiting Ricky was one of my very first big adventures, cause they lived hours away from me and in a different state and everything! It was on a trip to visit Ricky that I proved to mama that I was a good traveler!

Ricky was such a gracious host. He shared his house and his people and his beautiful yard with me without any protest. He was such a cool dude, we got along great because we ignored each other most of the time. He didn’t even get mad when I drank out of his waterbowl!

He was so polite and nice to me that when we stayed over night at his house I decided to invite him into our bedroom (OK, it was really his room, but he let us stay there) to do obedience with mama and me so that he could get some treats from her too. Ricky really loved treats.

And that first visit he took me in his car to one of his parks! I was so excited! Ricky, of course, was too cool to be excited about a car ride with a silly girl.

It was a very very beautiful park with a little stream at the bottom of a big gorge. We walked and walked, with lots of sniffing thrown in. Wherever Ricky sniffed, I sniffed; he was sharing all the best stuff with me!

And when we climbed back out of the ravine there were beautiful gardens and we sat close to each other on this little wall so the moms could take pictures. He was much more patient than I was with the whole picture taking thing. This was way before I contracted with mama about the one picture, one treat clause, so we ended up sitting for way too many pictures for way too few treats. But Ricky never got upset.

He was such a special boy.

I visited him a second time, and by then he had a little sister who was, of course, bigger than he was. We all went to a park together again and had a wonderful time. Ricky was so patient with all the girls, his mom, my mama, his sister and me.

I am so sad that Ricky had to go on ahead. But I can imagine him exploring the whole place, and finding the best sniffing spots, and where all the good treats are. And I bet he’s found Ludo and Reilly and Denny and Morgan and Misty too by now. Just picture it, all those shelties running and laughing and enjoying snacks. All those sheltie smiles as they play together while they wait for the rest of us to arrive.

It’s got to be one amazing place, over the Rainbow Bridge. I wish he could have stayed here with his mom and dad and sister, but I know he’s happy there too. He may have been a little guy, but he sure shouldered a whole lot of love from all of us who knew him.

See you later, Little Ricky. I’m so glad I got to meet you, and I’ll never forget your friendship. You were and always will be one classy dude.

-Love, your pal forever, Katie.


A man and his dog

A walk on the beach with a dog.

A walk on the beach with a dog.

While I was away sitting the cat I walked the beach every day. Lucky me. On my last full day I wandered south to a point where I enjoyed small waves washing over large rocks. Sometimes I’d look back the way I’d come because the sun on the water was pretty nice.

And then I noticed them. A man walking his dog on the beach. The dog was having fun trying to pull a stick out of the dune. They were quite far from me, even using my zoom lens, so most of the rest of these photos are cropped.

"I want this stick Dad!"

“I want this stick Dad!”

The dog wanted that big stick real bad. He pulled and pulled but just couldn’t get it loose. So his Dad gave him a hand.

Thanks Dad!

Thanks Dad!

Turns out it’s a huge stick! Way bigger than he was! But what a stick! So much fun to run with it!

Mine mine mine mine mine!

Mine mine mine mine mine!

Along the way the dog enticed his Dad to play. And it usually worked.

Tug!  It's a wonderful game!

Tug! It’s a wonderful game!

But most fun of all was running triumphantly down the beach with his stick.

This is the jackpot of sticks!

This is the jackpot of sticks!

They were moving toward me, I was walking toward them, shooting picture after picture.

Try to keep up Dad!

Try to keep up Dad!

Finally we met, on the beach in front of the house where I was staying. I got to talk to the man and admire his dog. The dog kept playing with the stick. He was a very very happy dog.

No time to talk lady!

No time to talk lady!

And then the two of them wandered past me down the beach, stopping to play at the edge of the water.

Having fun in a beautiful place.

Having fun in a beautiful place.

It was so much fun to watch them.

Come on Dad!

Come on Dad!

And it made me realize it was time to go home to my own Katie-girl.

Moving along.

Moving along.


To love a dog

Social media.  Who knew way back in 2006 when I first started blogging that I’d meet so many people.  Who knew when I stumbled across a blog about an agility dog down in North Carolina that one blog would lead me to other dogs with blogs, and their wonderful owners.

The years slid by with warp speed and, inevitably, some of my favorite dogs have grown old and ill or suddenly (at least to me) moved on to their next adventures on the other side.  So many dogs.

I was thinking about some of them this weekend as my friend Ellen struggles with the terminal cancer of her second ‘Merle Girl’ Boost.  She lost her Tika just last month and now faces the loss of another sweetie.

It’s almost too much to bear, and they aren’t even my dogs.

Tika in 2011

Tika in 2011

I was lucky enough to meet the three of them a couple of years ago.  We even got to go for a walk and I felt honored to hold Tika’s leash while Ellen took some photographs.  After reading about them for so many years I felt like I was in the company of celebrities.

Boost plays with her leash in 2011.

Boost plays with her leash

And now hearing the tragic results of Boost’s tests my heart breaks for Ellen.

I think back to all the great dogs I’ve been lucky enough to get to know, even a little bit, here on the internet.  Sarah’s Misty; I cried all day the morning I read she had been set free.  Most of you remember Honey the Great Dane who danced with her mom at competitions and how sad we were when she had to go.  Eva’s mother Hana who left Eva when she was just a puppy, way too soon, and Dog Dad’s Deacon and Essex  the collies who had to go early as well.   And of course recently Katie’s Maizey and Debi’s Norwood.  Heartbreaking, all of it.

There are more, so many more, and all of these losses make me very sad — but the sadness never cancels out the joyous fun of knowing them in the first place.  And as Ellen herself said many years ago, if you hang out in a world filled with people and their dogs you’re going to face heartbreak.  But she says, and I agree, it’s worth it.

Katie the sheltie-girl puts it succinctly.   “We are only promised today, mama, let’s go to the park!”


Sharing my park with all of you.

Sharing my park with all of you.

Good advice sweetie.  And while we’re there we’ll take a moment to send good thoughts out to Ellen and her Boost.

Ellen and her Merl Girls

Ellen and her Merle Girls


A walk in the woods honoring our friend Norwood

Katie here.  I want to tell you about a very special dog named Norwood.  Every morning he and his mom went out for a run or a walk, and they posted the weather report from their hometown and a picture of Norwood being…well…Norwood.  No matter what kind of mood my mama was in, Norwood always made her feel good.  He had lots of special skills and one of them was making people smile.

Norwood makes a snow angel.

Norwood makes a snow angel.

My mama and lots of other people called him Dude for short because he was such a goofy guy.  And fun.  And very very happy.

Tragically he had to go to the Rainbow Bridge last week, way before his time.  It wasn’t anything anyone expected, least of all his mom, and now people all over the world are all weepy eyed.  Mom cried all day at work on Thursday; she just told people she had a cold, cause how can you explain crying over a dog you’ve never met?  But that’s Dude for you, brightening everybody’s life every morning and leaving a big gaping hole now that he’s gone.

Norwood and his mom ran trails in the woods.  In the winter his mom wore snowshoes and the Dude wore his boots.  He loved loved loved running in the woods.  So after he had to go his mom asked us all to take a walk in the woods to honor Norwood.

He loved to run with his mom Debi.

He loved to run with his mom Debi.

And yesterday that’s just what my mama and I did.  It was a beautiful warm sunny winter day with blue skies and white snow.  Norwood would have loved it.  We walked along a packed trail between the towering trees  listening to the silence.  And we thought of Dude and how he’d be running back and forth ahead of us, just grinning like everything.   I didn’t once pull any of my princess tricks, we walked in respectful silence most of the time, and just enjoyed being together.  I even did my special running recall in honor of the Dude.  And because my mama had treats.

I can fly!

Here I come mama!

Mama says we’re glad we went out to the woods to think about Norwood.  He will always be a very special dog and we aren’t ever going to forget him.   We won’t forget his goofy grin, and his multi colored boots or his florescent collar.  We won’t forget how he loved to go on adventures and how much he loved his mom.  And we won’t ever forget how lucky we were to know him just a little, here on the internet.  We know we didn’t know him as well as some people that got to meet him in person, and certainly not as well as Debi, his mom, but still weren’t we lucky to enjoy him while we could.  My mama’s heart is breaking for Norwood’s mom and all his special friends.  I know when it’s my time to go to the bridge he’ll be one of the first dogs I’ll look for, cause he’s just so much fun.

Until then I will think of the Dude every time my mama and I take a walk in the woods.  Right now I gotta go comfort my mama.  She’s getting all weepy eyed again.  The Dude can do that to a mama.  Anyway, don’t worry about your mom Norwood, everybody’s sending her lots of hugs.  We’ll look out for her, just like you did.  You run free Dude.

Man, we’re going to miss you.

Portrait of the Dude.

Portrait of the Dude.

PS:  The pictures of Norwood were taken by his mom, Debi Horvath.