This morning was the 15th anniversary of the semi-truck crash that killed my dad. Fifteen years of working on issues to make our roads safer. Fifteen years of missing him every single day.
For whatever reason this year was rougher than usual. So after my physical therapy session I planned to take myself off for a walk in the woods. Unseasonably warm, at 52F (11.11C) this December afternoon, I packed extra water for Katie-girl who insisted on going along. “We can’t waste a day like today mama!”
Though it was a Monday there were plenty of people enjoying the sunshine. Everyone we met smiled at the cute sheltie who was showing off her good side by letting little kids pet her. We even ran into a woman who said she used to handle shelties at dog shows and that “someone did some good breeding” with Katie.
We moved at Katie’s speed which means we walked very slowly. There was so much to see and sniff. I was in no hurry either, thinking about Dad and Mom, and how much they would have enjoyed a walk in this woods on such a beautiful day, and that made me smile.
About an hour into the walk my phone, which I had set to map our walk, intoned “Mile 1, split time – not moving.” I laughed out loud. We were so slow that the GPS in my phone didn’t think we had moved at all. Katie was insulted.
All in all it was a lovely walk in a beautiful park. It’s new to us, we were introduced to it just this past fall by a friend. Katie says we owe her cookies or something else equally nice, as this is a wonderful place to walk. While we were there I bought a pass for 2020 as I’m sure we’ll be back!
There’s nothing quite like spending time outside to shake the blues. I’ll always miss my parents, but it felt good taking them with me on today’s walk.
And I bet they enjoyed it just as much as we did.
Guess what, guess what, GUESS WHAT?!
Today is my birthday! My very own special day when my folks have to pay attention to me! When I get whatever I want. Like to go to the park, and then take a nap and then have cake and ice cream. With presents!
Well, maybe not the cake and ice cream, and maybe not presents either, but definitely the park and the nap! And because it’s my birthday mama says I can use her “Weekly smile” post too. Cause there’s nothing so easy to smile at as a happy sheltie-girl.
And let me tell you, this birthday girl is happy!
Cause you know what mama got me for my birthday? She got me SNOW!
I just love snow. It’s so cool on my face, and enhances my natural beauty. Mama said she didn’t know what to get me, I’m now a teenager in addition to being a princess, so she ordered up my favorite thing next to supper. Snow.
We went out to one of my parks and walked a long way through the woods. Mama was very busy taking pictures of me in my snow.
I didn’t mind because she brought treats. In fact I started looking for good spots for pictures too. I figured the more pictures she took the more treats I got!
But then mama said since it was my birthday she’d put the camera away and we’d just enjoy the walk. I was OK with that too, there was lots to sniff and I pulled her around to a bunch of places.
I’d look over in one direction and she’d say “Do you want to go check that out sweetie?” and then we would! It was a great morning! We just kept exploring.
We were near some picnic tables when mama asked me if I wanted to be a special birthday girl and leave something for someone else more needy than me. I said sure, so she left some birdseed for the squirrels who were running around the park.
I figured it was the least I could do, cause I know I’m pretty privileged.
We walked for a long time. And then something amazing happened. The sun came out!
Well! The camera came back out, right away. Mama said I glowed like a true princess! But the sun only stayed out for a moment or two and then we were back to a typical cloudy December day.
I didn’t mind at all.
Mama said it was pretty perfect for her too, she watched me sniff and explore and enjoy the snow and she forgot her own wet feet and cold fingers. She couldn’t stop smiling herself.
So that was our smile for the week – my snowy birthday walk.
We hope you all had a wonderful week too. As we head into the busy holiday season we remind you all to slow down and enjoy the time you have with family and friends.
And if you can, take a walk in the woods, especially if it’s snowing. You’ll smile too.
When mama said she was going to write a tribute to Reilly Cowspot Dog, my fiance, I asked if I could please do it. Because Reilly was, and always will be, my boyfriend, my soulmate.
Mama wasn’t sure it was a good idea to let me write it. She said maybe it would be too hard for me, that I’d get all sad and stuff, and of course she’s right. I am truly heartbroken that I won’t see Mr. Reilly on this earth again.
I love him so.
But it is precisely because I love him that I want to tell you about him. And even though it makes me sad, it also helps me to remember him and all the good times he had when he was here.
Mama is right when she says you can smile and cry at the same time.
Reilly was born an old soul with the deepest, darkest, most beautiful eyes. I’m told he was a good boy right from the start. He never got in trouble even when he was a puppy.
He was a color-headed white sheltie, which means most of him was white, but he had this marking on one side that mama thought looked just like a Micky Mouse head, especially noticeable when he was a little guy.
Mama says one of the first things she remembers about him was a video where he was walking on a treadmill, getting his walk in when the weather was bad outside. He was so adorable.
He grew into a tall guy, so dark and handsome, with a big, booming voice. Sometimes people were startled when he barked, but they shouldn’t have worried because Reilly loved everyone. His mom said he even liked to go to the vet, and would bark upon arrival to let them all know he was there. Can you imagine being happy to visit the vet?
And what an adventurer he was! He loved to explore parks, proclaiming each of them ‘his’ once he had visited. Why he and his brother Denny even earned honorary Park Ranger status! Reilly felt it was very important to visit as many of his parks as frequently as possible just to make sure everything was up to his very high standards.
A couple years ago, when a hurricane was threatening his home, he and his family got to go all the way to Alabama to stay at my lake house! I wasn’t there, which makes me sad now, but I was sure happy to see the pictures of Reilly enjoying the cooler Alabama weather out on my deck.
I hear he especially loved the air conditioning vents that I had put in the floors there. They are perfect to cool off warm sheltie tummies and I’m so glad he got to enjoy them.
He climbed my mountain there in Alabama too! Just one more adventure in a life full of adventures for my Reilly.
For the last few years Reilly was lucky to live near the ocean, and oh my goodness, how my Reilly loved walking on the beach in the early mornings or late evenings. So many lovely smells. So many birds to chase!
He loved the salt air blowing in his fur, and the sand between his toes, even the toes of his bad foot. He had the most adorable little boots that he wore to help him walk easier. I thought he looked so sophisticated in them.
And guess what? A couple years ago I got to actually meet the love of my life! I’m sure you all remember that. He was so welcoming, letting me spend time in his home. He shared his beaches and parks and family with me, and even let me eat out of his bowl without arguing!
My Reilly, he was such a gentleman.
When he wasn’t adventuring or exploring he loved to spend time at home with his folks, lounging on the deck in the winter sunlight, or hanging out in the air conditioned sun-porch during the warmer months. He did that more and more these last few weeks as he became weaker in his illness.
This past Wednesday, the day before Thanksgiving, his poor body just gave out and he crossed the rainbow bridge, only two weeks after his little brother Denny. Mama took me on a walk the next day and told me the sad news. Of course I wasn’t surprised, as she had warned me that he was very ill. But still.
Mama’s eyes are leaking at random times now, and this morning I crawled into bed to wake her up with kisses which I haven’t done in many years. She hugged me tight. She says she is so heartbroken for Reilly’s folks who have lost both their boys this month.
She says there are no words to make this better.
And she says she knows lots of people all over the world were sad to hear the news. Did I tell you my Reilly was famous and had his own blog? He had friends everywhere.
I feel very honored to be his girl and I know when I go across that bridge he’ll be waiting for me. Cause that’s the kind of gentle boy he is and always will be.
So Mr. Reilly. My love. I will miss you forever and ever. Thank you for being my guy and sharing your space with me and putting up with my princess-ness. Thank you for all the gifts you’ve sent me over the years. Thanks for sleeping next to me when I visited, and taking me to your special places. I loved all of it. And I loved you.
No, that last bit shouldn’t be in past tense. I love you Reilly, and always will. Till we meet again sweetie, run on those beaches up there, and sniff through the woods. Chase a bird and a squirrel for me while you’re waiting. And eat the good treats, just save a few for me.
Your feet, all four of them, are good now, and your legs are strong. Your bark is as loud and as deep as ever; I’m sure you announced yourself when you got over the bridge. Run and bark and keep a watch over Denny and I’ll see you again. One way or another.
Your girl Katie.
Trent hosts a collection of smiles each week. People post on their own blogs, describing things that made them smile that week, and link their posts to his. On Mondays, a day when we could all use a few smiles, Trent posts a recap so that we can all visit everybody else. It’s a nice way to start the week.
So this week, in Michigan, we got snow. Record breaking snow, more snow this early in the season than we’ve ever received in the history of our weather.
Did we smile?
Well, not so much, not after the first “Oh it’s so pretty” wore off. My husband went out three times during the day to clear the driveway. And then he went and bought a bigger snowblower.
To add more drama to our lives, this week we’re having drywall put up in the garage, so the car had to stay outside. In the accumulating snow.
I took his truck with four wheel drive to my morning physical therapy appointment. Driving in blowing snow, through snowdrifts, and finding out, after the appointment, that there was no snow scraper in the truck meant I was still not smiling.
And Thursday and Friday we had painters doing the inside of our house. Katie and I were relegated to one bedroom with the door closed so she didn’t end up a painted dog. She wasn’t smiling.
And when Katie is unhappy everyone is unhappy. So most of Thursday and some of Friday she and I explored her parks.
And then the sun came out. Which made us all smile!
After two long days of exploring cold, snow covered parks, we spent last night playing hide the sheltie-girl.
And the smiles continued.
What made you smile this week? Share it with us! Those of us up here in snow country could use more smiles.
Mr. Denny was a quirky little dog with a huge heart. He didn’t trust just anyone, and was always on guard against anything scary. Even if it was only in his imagination.
I met Denny a few years ago, but I’d watched him grow up on his big brother Reilly’s Cowspot Dog blog since he was an adorable puppy.
When I first stayed at his house he wasn’t sure about me, barking every morning when I left the guest room, as if it was the first time he’d ever seen me. But eventually he sauntered by and sniffed the hand I’d left dangling for him. And during my next visit months later he didn’t bark at me quite as much. By our third visit he was actually letting me tickle his tummy.
When we all went out he was ever vigilant, making sure there was nothing dangerous, ready to warn us if need be. But, just to be safe, he liked to stick close to his brother, Reilly, and to his mom and dad.
Still, even though they could be scary, he loved a good walk.
The last time I saw him was this past April. We were good buddies by then, but you could tell he wasn’t feeling very well.
He’s had health issues, allergies, and even surgery on his knee. But the latest problem were his kidneys. And two days ago they gave out; Denny crossed the rainbow bridge in the arms of his devastated mom.
He had to leave and make the journey on his own and I can’t help but wonder if he’s scared over there without his family. But then I remember that across the bridge all things are possible, so I know that now he’s healthy and happy and curious and brave.
And I know, for sure, that his heart is just as big as it always was.
We always imagine a dog running free when it travels over the bridge, but for Denny I want to say “run brave” little one. Be happy, find all the best things, the best food, the best tummy rubs, the best places to nap, the best beaches to run on.
Oh, and definitely find the ice cream, sweetie…there has to be ice cream over the bridge!
So, until we meet again Mr. Denny, thanks for the cuddles, I am honored that you trusted me. Your family and I will miss you forever. You were a very very special little boy.
Boy I’ve been busy; mama says you wouldn’t know I’m going to be a teenager next month. After lolling around all summer I’m now all energy and bark. Maybe too much bark, but it gets me what I want so I’m not going to stop.
Even when mama calls me “KATE!”
So when I kept barking and getting under her feet, mama gave in and took me to a local park. It was a beautiful, if a bit windy, day. Mama said that worked in our favor because no one else was out there.
She was intent on taking pictures of these yellow trees out in the wet swamp.
She does this every year and every year she gets her feet wet. I chose to stay up on the hill and wait for her; I haven’t forgotten how I got my feet wet following her last year.
Then she started focusing on the light shining through this young oak tree leaf. I was bored and figured she should be focused on me and my treats, so I photo bombed her shot and she got the message. After that it was all about me.
Still, this was just a local park and I thought I deserved a bigger adventure. After all, this year I’ve spent weeks and weeks at ‘camp’ and she feels quite guilty about that. I milk it for everything I can, so I kept bugging her to take me somewhere more fun and guess what?
She made a date with another sheltie and her mom down in Ann Arbor at Nichols Arboretum!
Mama and Amy’s mom have been Facebook friends for a long time, and it turns out Ann Arbor is sort of halfway between where we each live, so we met there yesterday.
Abby and I got along just fine, mostly because we ignored each other. If I’m honest I sniffed her behind a couple times, but she was polite and didn’t try to sniff mine at all.
At first we weren’t too excited to pose too close to each other, but almost right away we recognized if we just did what they asked we got to go off and sniff sooner. And there are so many good smells in the woods there!
Since I had been there before I showed Abby some of my favorite places. There was one spot with lots of pretty leaves on the ground.
Then mama saw this tree. Well. You know we had to pose by that!!
We walked for a long time, but Abby and I didn’t get tired at all, mostly because mama was always stopping for more pictures. You know how mama is.
On our way back to the car I asked Abby if she wanted to come back sometime and explore more. She said she was definitely interested!
It’s a good thing we went for that walk yesterday. Cause this is what’s happening today!
So, as you can see, I’ve had a pretty good time lately. I didn’t even tell you about the new park I explored last week with my friend Deuce!
Yep, mama’s keeping me pretty busy. She says she’s trying to get me to sleep through the night. Yea. Like that’s going to happen.
Talk later, your park advisor pup, Katie-girl.