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The Inner Lives of Dogs

I don’t profess to be a dog expert.

I don’t understand all dog language — whether verbal or non-verbal. In fact, I’ve been known to misinterpret calm assertiveness (thank you, Cesar Millan, for adding that phrase in my vocabulary) as aggression and aggression as confidence.

OK … once two dogs start snapping at each other, I generally catch on, but what I’m saying here is that I can be a little slow when it comes to understanding some puppy cues.

Except when it comes to my own dog.

My own frenetic dog.

My own frenetic, insane dog.

My own frenetic, insane dog who occasionally suffers from inappropriate verbal response syndrome — or IVRS (I’m trademarking that, so don’t try to steal it) — what I have come to consider as doggy Tourette’s.

When it comes to my own dog, I’m pretty sure that I know exactly what he’s thinking. His internal dialogue goes a little like this:



Food. Food. Food. Food.

Not spoiled.

Not spoiled.

Why’s she telling me I’m spoiled?

DL 01

Don’t let Cooper’s pathetic look fool you … he’s completely spoiled. In case you hadn’t noticed, he’s in my bed. Laying on my side of the bed.

Not spoiled.

Not spoiled.

Was that a noise?


Could be that guy who comes with the boxes.


Gotta let him know I’m here and need attention!


Wasn’t him.

My life is pathetic.




I never get enough food.



Or attention.

Cats get all the attention.

Dumb cats.

Cats get all the food.

Dumb cats.


Food. Food. Food. Food. Food.


Yep, that’s pretty much as complex as his inner dialogue gets. Unless he’s decided to tell me off. Then, I’m sure there are a few choice words thrown in for dramatic and comedic effect.

DL 02

A note to Cooper from his vet’s office. See? He’s not as pathetic as he would have you believe.

DL 03

Cooper and his new favorite toy. See? Not pathetic. He gets new toys several times a year … of course, that could have something to do with his ability to destroy toys within 30 minutes, but still …

Signs of Fall

A few days ago, the heat of summer finally broke — at least for a short window of time — and we got our first real taste of fall.

The temperatures were mild. The wind steadily caressed the trees and a gentle rain started to quench the parched earth.

The land was ready for the relief …


… as was I.

Early fall is my favorite time of year. The heat of summer often bleeds into the days while the evenings cool off quickly and offer a reprieve that summer days rarely do. See, Oregon’s summers are marked by an odd phenomenon in which the days actually grow warmer as the evening progresses. While the heat peaks between 2 and 4 p.m. in other parts of the country, we generally don’t hit our warmest temperatures until 5 or 6 p.m. Then, the heat can be slow to surrender to night.

With the first signs of fall, this phenomenon quickly, thankfully goes away.

With it comes days of intermittent rain and winds. It’s just a taste of weather yet to come, but it’s enough to make one want to bundle up with a good book, a warm fire and a cup of strong coffee (or tea … or cocoa … whatever your poison). Yes, the days grow shorter, but it reminds you to appreciate every moment of light.

Fall sunrise

I Definitely Didn’t Expect This …

Each year, the Oregon Humane Society holds an animal photo contest. I stumbled upon it one day while bouncing around the web and thought I might as well give it a shot.

We were limited to five photos (technically, I could have submitted more if I had used a second email address) and below are the photos I decided to enter:

Best Dog Photo

Coast Cooper

Rawhide 1

Best Cat Photo

Army Men 3

Gus 6

Funniest Photo


Sooooo … I found out just recently that one of the photos took home one of the awards. Can you guess which one?

Yep, it Cooper and little photobombing Zoey in the funniest photo.

I was actually a little surprised because, while I find my animals to be completely hysterical, I never thought anyone else would see them the way I do.

And what happens with the photos now that it has been selected for an award? It will be published in the fall edition of the society’s magazine and a framed print of it will be hanging in the Lloyd Center for a month. Then, I get the print to hang in my very own home.

Smoky Sunset

We have been having wildfires in the Willamette Valley. While they are not all that close to where I live, the smoke has filled the valley, leaving us with red flag warnings because the air is so unhealthy to breathe. The smoke has left me feeling as though I have a horrid cold, but I wanted nothing more than to take some sunset photos, which I knew would be spectacular with the smoke in the air.

Interestingly, the second night, which seemed to balance smoke and clouds, turned out better than the first, which was just filled with hazy smoke.

Night 1: Evergreen Aviation nature path

ES 05

ES 06

ES 07

ES 02

ES 03

Night 2: A simple field close to home





Traveling Not So Light

I headed out of town for a very, very quick trip this weekend. When I returned, it became clear that Colby didn’t appreciate the fact that she was left behind.

Travel 1

She seems to be saying, “See? I fit!” And yes, that IS my toothbrush right next to her. I have come to accept that I will never own anything that is not covered in animal hair.

Travel 2

“Though we travel the world over to find the beautiful, we must carry it with us or we find it not.”

— Ralph Waldo Emerson

(Taken with my iPhone … wish they were better!)

Tower o’ Fun, Day 2

Soooo … today, when I walked in the office to find that Zoey and Colby decided to share one of the beds on the new cat tree. Adorable, right?

TT 01

TT 02

TT 03

TT 04

TT 05

With the two munchkins on one level, that left the top bed free for Izzy climb into later. How do I know she climbed in later? Because when I was taking the pictures above, she was busy trying to steal a sandwich I had placed on my desk, not thinking that she would try to run off with it. Clearly, I was wrong.

I’m not entirely sure how she got up here, though. Zoey and Colby were on the lower level first, and Izzy is not really one who is known for jumping or climbing or … well … any sort of physical exertion. Still, she made it and she was happy … except when I was taking her picture.

TT 06

TT 07

Izzy with her hero, Grumpy Cat, in the background

TT 08

And, because little Miss Zoey is just so darn photogenic, I can’t help but end with another pic of her.

TT 09 v2


Tower o’ Fun

Over the weekend, I decided I needed to replace the shredded cat tree in my office with a new tower. While the tree served the animals well for five years, I was finding more and more bits of the furniture spread around the house.

Of course, bringing home a new tower is always a tough decision. Cats are notoriously picky and they get used to their smell on old furniture.

Yeah … with my animals, I shouldn’t have worried.

Within 5 minutes of bringing it through the door, all five of the beasts had sniffed, rubbed against and climbed on the new tower. Even Cooper thoroughly checked it out. Every day, I find a different mix of characters lounging in the beds.

Today, it was Zoey and Colby …

Tower 01

The old tower in front of the new one. The animals do still like having the old tower around and will sleep on it, but they all like the new one.

Tower 02

Zoey (bottom) and Colby in the new tower.

Tower 03

Tower 04

Tower 05

Tower 06

Tower 07

Tower 08

Tower 09

Tower 09a

Tower 11

Tower 12

I love to see these beauties so happy … now, I just have to figure out how to sneak the old tower out of the house without them realizing that it’s going away …


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