Along for the ride:

Saturday, December 23, 2023

Lacie Enjoying the "Rest and Best of her Forever"


 Lacie is currently living "The Rest and Best of her Forever" with me, as my Forever-Foster. 

When you take on a fourteen year old dog, you know you must make the most of every day, with them and for them. She makes me smile, every day.

The neighborhood feral cats, that mostly ignore Lacie's strolls around our backyard, stretched and rose from their spots in the sun and Lacie achieved some slow-motion cat herding, which made her day.

Lacie's legs move faster in her dreams than when awake.
She's on meds for arthritis and pain pills for her bad knees, as well as a liver supplement. Pills are disguised in a spoonful of kitten food and some rotisserie chicken bits. 
She now has a raised food and water station that has helped a lot.
Her coat is shiny and fabulous, although she can no longer stand long enough to go to the grooming salon. We manage a walk around the block in the morning, to give her an appetite. 

Lacie's eyesight is imperfect so we have night-lights in every room and solar lights in the garden, so that she always knows where she is. 
Our late afternoon excursion is around the corner to the school. Now that she has learned that people are a good thing, Lacie stops and smiles in the hope of getting attention from anyone she sees. 

Friday, September 29, 2023

Orchid Wrangling: No experience Required

I've been lucky enough to live in homes that have the right amount of indirect sunlight to please both cats and orchids.

The climate in California allows us to have Cymbidium Orchids outdoors.
I believe I've owned the scruffy example below for close to fifteen years; ignoring it until it flowered each year, around Christmas time, with copious sprigs of large blooms.

When we moved into our new home last November, I placed it on the front porch, where it gets sun late in the day, but not too much. For months my weekly recap of  to-do lists had "re-pot Orchid" somewhere near the top. The trouble was that I've never divided and re-potted an orchid before and didn't want to kill it.

I did seek out a Youtube video on repotting Cymbidium Orchids and decided I had to take the leap of faith and try. There's a lot of healthy sprouts but many worn out sections as well.

The roots were impressivly tangled and I pried and wiggled sections apart while maintaining as much healthy root as possible.

The big monster was divided into many manageable sections.

Two trips to the garden center to get sufficient orchid planting materials and again for more Sphagnum Moss and I have several new potted orchids around the place.

All of them are looking healthy and showing new sprouts. 

                                                     Who knew that all I had to do was try?

Friday, June 9, 2023

From Rescue Dog to Foster Sister, Cat Magnet


"Misty-Rough Collie" was what I had printed on her name tag, as so many people nowadays (in California) have only heard of Border Collies. I didn't want her to be misidentified, if she were ever lost.

Misty was two years old when I adopted her. She'd had a bad start in life; abandoned by the breeder, one of only nine surviving dogs. Misty was placed on a feeding tube as she was too weak to eat. She was afraid of everyone and everything at first.
I've always greeted everyone we meet on walks. It gives a dog confidence that humans are potential friends and helps allay the fears of our multicultural neighbors, who have not all grown up with exposure to safe, polite Dogs.
Asking the dog to sit and rewarding them with a treat doubles the sense of security of both dog and human and reinforces the positive encounter.

Many times, people with children said that this was their first time having the courage to approach and touch a dog. In this way, Misty was a great Ambassador and I was proud of her.
Misty's other role in life was as Foster-Sister to a parade of dogs in transition from old lives to new ones. Some stayed for a few days and some for several months.

Misty was also a magnet for cats. She integrated easily into a tolerant relaitionship with our resident feline and other cats we saw on our walks didn't run from her when we crossed paths.

Our bossy outdoor feral cat, Winnie, took a liking to Misty and would rub up against her. If Misty tried to walk away Winnie would swipe at her with a paw. Misty would sigh and put up with her.
Winnie began following Misty into the house through the doggie-door and would often be asleep on Misty's bed in the morning.

Misty with Sadie & Feral Cat, Winnie

Misty had degenerative myelopathy; a nerve disease similar to ALS (Lou Gehrigs disease). Initially diagnosed by our vet who noticed she had a slight drag to a back foot. Anti-inflammatories helped for quite a while, until her deterioration accelerated. She collapsed at 3am April 20th and couldn't get up. 
It was time to let her go ahead.
Misty was only seven and I feel lucky to have shared five of those years. She was my Heart-Dog and I was her Person.

Saturday, April 1, 2023

Dogs are Good People

Trying to think of a title that didn't sound too negative, regarding a particularly disappointing and toxic Human, I fall back on the positive: Dogs are good people.

Lacie, the tri-color Rough Collie, joined our family three weeks ago. She's thirteen years old, very deaf and partially blind. The nose, however, works just fine. I thought it would be hard to teach a senior dog who couldn't really see us and had no idea we were calling her name, to find and use our Doggie Door. Lacie needed a bit of help orienting herself in our house. She paced for several days checking out walls and corners and food bowls but quickly recognized the smell of bacon treats from the other side of the dog door and started going in and out as needed. She was rewarded each time. Now, she'll follow me outside through another door, realize no treat was forthcoming and return to go through the house to the doggie door and appear triumphantly around the corner demanding her just recompense. She makes me smile. 

We initially set up some bright night-lights around the house to help her navigate at night. I had solar garden lights outside, facing towards the door so she wouldn't step out into darkness and awa, to illuminate her pathway. I'm averse to sleeping with the lights on but would have been awake listening for any restless moves in the night anyway. It only took a few days.

Lacie is a Forever Foster. She'll be with us for the rest of her days and our Rescue Group will take care of any vet's bills. We have rules about only adopting out dogs that have been spayed or neutered and Spay Surgery is out of the question at Lacie's age so she needed a soft landing. As you can see, she and Misty are a pack already. 

Friday, January 27, 2023

Sadie-Queen of the Castle


Sadie came to me in April; a ten year old Smooth Collie in need of re-homing after her owner passed away. Unlike some of my Fosters, Sadie had known nothing but Love all her life and had an irresistible smile, despite some creaky bones and white hair. She was a joy to have around for a couple of months, until we received a request from a qualified Collie Home in search of an old dog to match the adopter's own age and activity level. We did a home check and Sadie moved in with a wonderful woman who had owned many collies over the years. A ramp was custom built so that Sadie would navigate the two steps more easily. She never doubted that it was for her.

Unfortunately, Sadie's new Mom encountered unexpected health problems over the next few months and Sadie's time with her was less than half a year; so Sadie came back to us for a while.

We were thrilled to receive a request from a qualified adopter to fulfill her lifelong dream of owning a Smooth Collie; with a preference for a Senior dog. We call this kind of a match Collie Magic.

A road trip was arranged and Sadie was in Collie Heaven with a large house and property to roam and some senior canine siblings.

Snow has been a new discovery for Sadie and she has taken it in her stride. We're happy to receive regular updates and photos of Sadie's Happy Tails.

Saturday, December 25, 2021

Merging Tribes & Bringing Back the Party Spirit


Even though I haven't ridden or been to The Barn in a while, my Tribe of Equestrians have kept me on their chain and we've seen each other once or twice. We were texting in circles, settling on a date, prior to them being sucked into their family obligations and travel for the Holidays and last Sunday, Dec. 19th was a match. I have no such obligations now and I had the unstoppable urge to cook and bring the Party Spirit back to my house. The dust on my serving dishes was a testament to how long it's been.

On my own turf, I was able to add some other long-standing friends, so that everyone could encounter those I've been talking about forever. We were a dozen Festives, all told.


One of my friends, and her adult daughter, have a Christmas Collection Compulsion and were thrilled to be able to haul some Nutcrackers over to display. They also helped drape my covered patio with fabric I'd purchased at a flea-market a decade ago. We had air circulating, for health and safety, but enough drapes to keep in the heat from my two propane heaters.

The menu included Crab that I'd bought live and boiled myself, with salt, pepper, Bay Leaf that I collect locally, Fennel and Pastis. We cooked a 10lb fresh salmon on the charcoal BBQ and had chilled asparagus: with mayonnaise that I made with fresh lemons, free-range eggs and Olive oil that came from family olive trees overlooking the Mediterranean. Hot baked potatoes and Cardoni in Gruyere sauce. (One vegetarian version and one dish with marrow bone jelly in the layers). Cheese plate, Tiramisu and pecan pie; drinks with and without bubbles.

I had warned everyone to bring jackets and had provided blankets on each chair, as we were having a cold spell. We were amazingly cozy, which was a great surprise.
I had set up the fireplace in the living room but forgot to light it, as we were outside. I put a match to it last night as my reward for finally putting away all the plates and glasses that had been washed but left out for almost a week. The big chunks of wood are from a Redwood tree that the electric company cut down in our last home. They burn for hours.

The pictures on the mantel are of our first collie, Diva, and our daughter growing up together. The wooden yoke was used to harness cows to a cart, during The Artistic One's childhood on a farm in France. 

Harnessing memories from the past and embracing new ones, as the days start to lengthen once more. 

To be continued.....

Saturday, November 27, 2021

Two weeks notice, the poem

 If you think of me as a problem and that the problem will go away, if ignored

You will be correct.