Change Is Hard

…but change is certain.


I met a boy and I liked it!

Hey there, Peeps!

Penny here. Mom says she has more star pictures and camping pictures and barn pictures to show you, but I told her you’d rather see me! Cause I have to tell you about my date with Lance!

My friend Lance

Yep, my mom and Lance’s mom arranged a play date on Tuesday. Lance turns 1 year old tomorrow, so he’s about 6 months older than me. Isn’t he handsome?

I was smitten as soon as I met him. We hit it off right away because we both love to run! All four of our folks sat in chairs in the shade and talked and watched us play.

Our first nose touch.

Of course they made us take breaks pretty often, but we still played a lot!

Our first run together.

And Lance told me lots of secrets about how to get what you want from your parents. After all he has six more months of experience than me. I appreciated the intel.

He gave me lots of good advice.

But mostly we were just two crazy dogs having a wonderful time.

You can’t catch me!

And in between runs we got treats! What a wonderful day!

An excellent break from all that running!

Neither of us could believe our luck, to have a nice sunny day and a big yard to play in and four people to pay attention to us and provide drinks and treats!

Lance has the biggest water dish ever!

I’ll tell you a secret. I think Lance sort of likes me.

I think he’s blushing.

And I sort of like him too.

Whispering sweet nothings in his ear

Then of course the moms decide they should get a picture of the two of us sitting together.

Hey Lance! Let’s make them work for it!

Why do moms always do this? Does it seem like a good idea? I haven’t even graduated from puppy school yet, why would I want to sit and stay?

What is this stay thing you keep asking for?

Yep, it went about as well as you could expect.

OK, get the shot quick, cause I’m not sitting here one more second!

And just to add another little wrinkle to this photo shoot idea, they brought out Payton, Katie’s half sister, and decided they wanted a picture with all three of us!

This should be interesting.

Well. Payton is an old pro and sat stoically while all sorts of shenanigans went on beside her. It helps, I guess, that she’s deaf.

Stay means jump really high. Right?

I’m sure she was tired of sitting there, but finally mom got one shot of the three of us.

Payton was pretty disgusted by then.

We weren’t exactly all sitting. Ahem. But I did the best I could.

Mom ended up just taking pictures of the other two….

Handsome brother Lance and beautiful sister Payton.

…and then just of Payton, because mom says she looks so much like Katie, she couldn’t help but take a bunch of pictures of her. Mom was really glad she got to see Payton again.

Mom’s eyes leaked just a little bit.

And I got jealous and decided maybe I did too want my picture taken with my sister’s half sister.

Hey! Maybe I’ll pose for a picture after all!

And then Lance and I went back to playing!

Hey Lance! Wanna PLAY???

We played and played, and I started a lot of it!

I think we’ve met our match!

I couldn’t resist jumping on him to see if he’d run with me.

Come on! Let’s PLAY!!

And then the folks said we should go for a walk! A walk? Are you crazy? Lance and I just ran about a gazillion miles!

This was the perfect way to end our first date!

But their property was so pretty and shady that we all had a wonderful time exploring. Next time I expect I’ll be able to be off my leash and explore even more, just like Tally, Lance and Payton’s really big sister, and Payton.

Meet Tally. She’s such a good girl!

Isn’t she beautiful?

And then, after our walk when I thought we were going home, Lance’s mom and my dad got my loose ear glued down again.

What the heck, people!

And then it was time to say goodbye for now.

Three little shelties all in a row. Then mom said one had to go.

Boy I had a wonderful time.

Bye for now, Lance!

Today I sat by one of my windows and watched the clouds go by and dreamed of running in a big field with my friend Lance.


Missing you, my friend.


A guided walk

Saturday morning I walked in one of Katie’s parks along with 10 other people and an expert guide, to see the wildflowers blooming and tour some of the projects the township is working on to make more of the area open to the public.

One of several steep hills we climbed.

It was two plus miles of hills and wetlands, lots of little things blooming, and a cold, sunny day. I was very glad I’d worn waterproof shoes, and three layers of shirts!

Our guide told us what this was, but I can’t remember the name of it now.

I had just driven back home Friday afternoon, after five days of camping near the Sleeping Bear Dunes in cold, sometimes rainy, weather. I was kind of tired and thought about skipping this guided walk. It would be so easy to sleep in.

Tiny little white lady’s slippers just beginning to bloom.

But we were going to explore parts of the park I’ve never been to and I didn’t want to miss that, so I went. And I’m glad I did.

A lone trillium.

There will soon be so much more of the park available to explore, and I think it will be nice to have areas of the park that are new, without memories of Katie, that can be Penny’s alone.

Wild germanium

I can’t wait to show it all to her. They say the bridge from the parking lot to the new sections should be ready this fall. I don’t know, it seems like there is still a lot of work to do. But our guide, who is in charge of all the township parklands, says he’s confident they’ll get it all done.


Meanwhile I’ll probably take Penny over to walk the trails Katie and I used to wander. The last time Katie and I were there she had a really good walk. Where before she had often refused to walk down the big hills, on this last walk, in the fall of 2021, she was eager to go.

I don’t know what this is, but it was pretty!

She walked much further than I expected her to, and even jumped over a tree branch that had fallen over the trail.

How fun! We got to go down trails that were normally off limits!

So I have those good memories to ease me into sharing her park with her new little sister, Penny.


The guided walk helped me, too, to see the park without Katie, but to realize she’ll always be there with me, just like she is in so many places.

Hi mama!

And that’s good.


A dreamy conversation

Katie visited me in my dreams last night. I can’t remember the entire conversation, but I remember some, and the comfort her visit provided:

“Hey mama, I love you.”

“I know you do, baby-girl.”

Yea, but it seemed like maybe you needed to hear it.”

“Yes, I’ve been missing you something terrible.”

“I’ve noticed, mama. You’ve got to stop thinking about the day I crossed the bridge.”

“I know. But everywhere I look I remember you.”

“I’d think you’d be too busy with the new kid to spend much time missing me.”

“You’d think, right?”

“She seems like an OK kid, mama, but you can’t let her break all the rules, you know?”

“Like I did with you, huh?”

“Well, yea. Like you did with me. You’ve noticed she’s really smart, right?”

“Oh yes, we’ve noticed.”

“Well, she’s going to want to do lots of stuff, and some of it will be stuff you did with me and you can’t be crying all the time, OK? It’s not fair to the kid.”

“You’re right. I can’t be doing that. She deserves more from her mom.”

“She doesn’t call you mama?”

Nope, you’re the only one that calls me that. She calls me mom. But I’ll always be your mama.”

“I know mama. Always.”

“Always and forever, baby girl.”

“OK mama, now get going on the training…I watched that yellow flower photo shoot and frankly she’s got a lot to learn.”

“Awww give her a break, sweetie. She’s only 5 months old. She’ll figure it out once she stops putting everything into her mouth..”

“I know, mama. Well, I just wanted to stop by and tell you I love you. And to remind you to do right by the kid. I’m watching.”

Thanks, Katie-girl, it sure was nice of you to stop by.”

“Oh, I’m always here, mama. Always.”

“I know baby-girl. I know.”


A Tale (hee hee) of three parks

Penny here. I know you’ve heard from me a lot this month, but honestly, I’m the best thing mom and dad have going on right now, so I’m going to take advantage of that and get all the screen exposure I can! Cause I know things can change in an instant.

Gotta keep an eye out behind me, you never know what might sneak up on us.

Like for example…one moment I was playing with all my sisters at Mama S’s house and the next minute I was in a mom and dad’s arms and then in their car and then in my very own home!

Being aware of your surroundings is very important when you’re out in the world like this.

Sometimes I get to visit Mama S and my sister and my dog mom. That’s a lot of fun, and we play a whole bunch, but lately my mom and dad are taking me more places to explore. They say they’re exposing me to different sounds and smells, but mostly I think they just want to play.

That’s a pretty tree, mom, but you should be focusing all your attention on me.

Why last week mom took me to three parks! Three! I think she was trying to wear me out but that’s not going to happen. She said she didn’t want to waste the good weather, so we needed to go, go GO!

Sometimes mom has good ideas!

There could be something scary in this water!

The first park we visited was Independence Oaks. I’ve been there before, when mom met a friend there and we all went for a walk. But this time it was just us, and we were in a different part of the park.

I’m gonna break up this dangerous stick, OK mom?

I was a little uncertain for some reason that morning, not at all sure I wanted to be there. My mom is pretty observant and we didn’t stay too long. She says we’ll try again on a day when the park isn’t so busy.

Then on another day we went to a park I’ve never been to before! Mom said it was one of Katie’s favorites and that they used to camp here a lot.

I don’t know what camping is. Mom says that’s OK, when I’m a little older she’ll show me.

Is that another dog down there?

There was a big lake and mom took me down so I could smell the water. I think maybe I like water, but she wouldn’t let me go in. She said it was too cold.

I want to play IN the water, mom!

Too cold for a sheltie? I don’t know mom, I think it might be fun. Promise me you’ll let me wade later this summer, OK?

The lake looks pretty from up here, mom!

Then she said we were going to walk in the woods! I wasn’t at all sure I wanted to go into the woods!

I don’t know, mom. Are you sure?

There could be scary things in there!

I guess it’s not so bad in the woods.

On the other hand, it turned out that there were lots of wonderful smells in there! And mom let me smell all of them.

I practiced my sit. I even did a little staying. But not much.

It took us forever to do just a little bit of the trail that Katie and she used to walk all the time.

This is pretty cool, mom.

Eventually I got pretty comfortable in the woods, but there sure were a lot of smells and crazy sounds! And there was a boardwalk I didn’t like at all!

Nope! Not walking on this, mom!

Luckily mom scooped me up and carried me off the boardwalk. I was OK after that, but I was still glad to get back out into the open where I could make sure to protect mom from any scary woodland monsters.

So this place is full of people in the summer? Interesting.

Then, on another day mom took me to Springfield Oaks! I’d been there before, so I was cool with this park. It has a giant sledding hill that we climbed last time.

What’s that over there?

We walked around behind the sledding hill this time, so I could spend some time smelling at the edge of the woods. Lots of people walk their dogs there, so there was quite a bit of pee-mail for me to read.

We’re going to go up this hill, right mom?

But what I really wanted to do was run up that hill!

Mom said we didn’t have to, but I think that was just her not really wanting to go up it. I told her we needed to go up there to see what there was to see on the other side! After all, I’m an adventure-girl!

I posed a bunch for mom. I’m figuring out the modeling business can be very lucrative with treats.

But of course first mom had to take like a bajillion pictures. Katie warned me about her.

I even got to lay down on the job!

I decided I didn’t mind too much. The treats were good. But finally I dragged her the rest of the way up the hill and guess what? We could see a school bus and a whole bunch of kids down there!

Well what do you know, that looks fun!

I thought that was very interesting. Mom thought we should avoid them and go down the other side of the hill. So we did. And on our way down mom found these yellow flowers and got all excited.

Yellow flowers, mom? Really??!

She said something about Katie getting her picture taken every spring in the yellow flowers and I should sit there for her so she could get more pictures.

I guess if I can lay down I’ll let you take some pictures of me in the flowers.

Whatever mom.

Nom, nom, nom.

But wait! These are quite tasty! Another perk to being a model!

Mom said that was enough and it was time to go.

If I hide down here you can’t see me, right mom?

Sometimes mom has no sense of humor.

Anyway, those were my adventures in three parks last week! I don’t know how many more parks there are out there. I think Katie should have left me a map or a list or something. I guess I’ll just have to stay flexible and see what the folks have lined up for me next.

Oh yea, I forgot to tell you, I got dirt on my nose when I was in the woods!

I’m in puppy school with daddy, and that’s been kind of fun. So far they’re just doing stuff I mostly already know how to do, but I get lots of treats, so whatever, right?!

Time to sign off, this is way too long and I need my beauty sleep!


Your adventuring girl, Penny.


Tunnel time

Katie here. Yes, I’m still around, someone’s got to supervise the little one, and who better than me, right? After all, I had a hand paw in finding her for mama and daddy, so I keep tabs on her just to make sure she’s following the rules I set up for the household more than fifteen years ago.

Piggy! My favorite tunnel toy!

But I can see that I might have to remind some of you that there is nothing new on earth. All the games that little Miss Penny has ‘invented’ I thought of first.

Penny’s favorite tunnel toy is Blue!

Yep. I heard mama tell the little one that I was the beautiful one, but she’s the smart one. Well. Let me remind you all that I outsmarted mama lots of times. And I have the stories to prove it.

I was also much more patient with mama and the camera than little Penny is.

But today let me share with you that mama kind of teared up the first time she tossed a toy in the tunnel and smartie-pants ran through the tunnel and brought it back.

Way to go little Penny!

Because, you see, that was one of my all time favorite games. And Penny plays it just like I did, even though mama and daddy didn’t teach her.

Piggy in the tunnel!

Well of course they didn’t. I have a direct line to Penny’s little brain and I’m always guiding her. So the next time you all think she’s so smart just remember where she gets it from. Yep, I’m never far away.

And please note that I posed on that spiral in the park first. Just saying.

I was there first.

Now go get mama a tissue, her eyes are leaking all over again.


Let the adventures begin!

Penny, our 4 month old sheltie, has been fully vaccinated for a couple weeks now, so it’s safe to take her beyond our neighborhood. The little girl has no idea how big the world is, but we introduced her to a tiny part of it last weekend.

Where are we, dad? Is this another vet?

On Friday evening my husband and I took her to Katie’s park. She wasn’t sure about the whole adventure thing when she emerged from the car.

I think turtles have been here, mom!

But by the time we got to the pond she was having a good old time. There were so many things to sniff!

This is kinda fun, you guys, being out here in the evening!

We just wandered around the pond, we didn’t do the whole trail. After all, she’s just a little girl, and there will be plenty of time to explore the whole park in the future. This visit was just an introduction.

What’s this down here, dad?

Of course I talked to Katie quite a bit as I took pictures of Penny and her dad. Katie says she is fine sharing her park, especially with her little sister. Of course I wish she could have been there to introduce the park to Penny herself, but I like to think there was a bit of Katie there, showing us all around.

Is there another puppy here, mom?

Then on Sunday I met a friend and her five month old cocker spaniel named Whisky for a longer walk at a park Katie had only visited once.

Ok Whisky, I’ll let you give kisses to my mom. This time. (Picture by Whisky’s mom, Karen)

We walked on a combination of cement paths, wooden boardwalks and dirt paths along a fast moving river.

These leaves smell AMAZING!

Personally I liked the woods the best, and once Penny got over the abundance of leaves on the ground, and realized she couldn’t eat them all, she settled right in trotting along the path.

This place is so cool!

She also got to see lots of other people and dogs enjoying the park. She was interested in all of them. When she sees something new she sits, very alert, and considers what it might mean. She’s a thinker, this one.

What might that be over there?

I think she had a wonderful time. It was her longest walk, and in a new environment, and she was a trooper.

This was the very first log I’ve ever jumped over!

She fell asleep in her crate on the drive home and pretty much napped the evening away. But the next day she was bored at home, now that she knows there are more exciting alternatives out there.

Hey mom! Did you know I can do zoomies in the WOODS?!!

I might have created a monster.

Yep, I got a little muddy. It was amazing!


A little pond adventure

Penny here!

HEY! I know Mom said I should just lay low for awhile cause you guys have seen enough of me, but HEY! I’m right here people, and I’m pretty stinking adorable, and everyone, just everyone says they want to see more, more, MORE of me.


Watching the neighbor and his dog Simon jog past our house.

OK, so maybe not everyone. But majority rules, so I’m going to tell you about my recent adventure anyway, cause I’m the majority and I do what I want. Mom and Daddy have begun to understand that about me.

But I digress.

My first visit to the neighbor’s pond.

Mom and Daddy are still being very protective of me, and decided I couldn’t go anywhere that had other dogs for two weeks after my last set of vaccinations. Geeze. All the other dogs get to go and I’m stuck here at home with a couple of old folks.

I swear, they can hardly get up off the floor after getting down there 5 or 6 times every morning to play with me.

Sometimes I think I should trade them in for newer models, but something tells me if I just wait a little bit longer (say, a week or so) there’s going to be all sorts of fun stuff to do!

My back yard is fun and stuff, but I want to see the WORLD, Mom!

Anyway, Mom decided that we could visit our neighbor’s pond today. It’s just across the street and no doggies go over there, so she figured it would be the perfect place for me to explore.

Mom! This place is AMAZING!

And boy was she right! We found out right away that I’m not afraid of getting my feet wet!

My very first muddy feet!

In fact I loved walking along the shore in the water even though Mom said it was really cold and wouldn’t let me explore near the deep parts.

I thought it was important to taste it too, in order to get the full effect….

Nom, nom, nom.

…but I don’t think I really like the taste. I might have to taste it again, though Mom wasn’t real keen on me drinking from the pond. She says I have nice clean ice cold filtered water at home. I said, sure Mom, but that doesn’t taste like frogs and turtles and fish and muskrats!

Moms don’t always understand stuff until it’s explained to them.


I had so much fun over there. I got water up my nose and got to shake it off, my first real doggy shake. I think this little adventure proves I’m a big girl now, and ready to take on the world, if they’ll just let me!

Nothing that a little shaking won’t fix.

And just to prove how responsible I am, when we got back to my yard I helped Mom by picking up my poop bag she’d left behind and carrying it back to the house for her. I figured it was only fair that I pick up after myself in return for having a great little mini adventure.

Mom says that pond was nothing compared to what I could see if I continue to be a good girl.

Don’t worry, Mom, I’ve got this!

I told her just watch me. They didn’t name me Unstoppable Penny for nothing.

No siree.