This weekend marks the one-year anniversary of the blog!  My very first post was direct and to the point, Melvin is a blessing.

In the past year, Melvin has (unexpectedly) gained a bit of a cult following!  I started the blog because he gives me so much content, it was a crime not to share it.  Over the course of the first year, in addition to his antics, we blogged about packing up our old house and moving into the new.  You were there with us when we found out he had Happy Tail, the frustrations about it not healing and how difficult it was to keep wrappedWriting the blog helped me get (and get him) through his amputation and it helped to chronicle his love of apples and fashion. In that order.  The remaining 90% of the posts have been about Melvin’s gold medal winning ability to lay around and claim every inch of this home as his own.

What’s up next?  The blog is getting a Facebook page (almost ready) and Melvin will be getting a sibling. But no matter what our next adventure turns out to be, I want to extend my sincerest thanks that you join us.  I have met (virtually and in-person) some of the most wonderful people while doing this blog.  Dog, cat and all-around animal lovers and activists.  A community I’m proud to be a part of. Melvin and I are so grateful for each and every person who pops in to see what we are up to.

Melvin sends a super-shout-out also.  He’s a bit busy patrolling for the brown truck man right now but I can assure you he did pause to drool in your direction.

Up or down?

Getting up on the couch is apparently a huge expenditure of energy or a massive commitment because Melvin will often do a half-up/half-down while he ponders…  Am I thirsty? Did I get all remaining treat out of that Kong?  Is that dirt on the floor or a crumb?  Should I patrol the window first? Why am I half-up/half-down? Who am I? Did I evolve or was I created? Why is She laughing at me?

That feeling.

I think most people rely on that feeling when ‘you just know’.  It’s often used in dating, home shopping (during all big purchases really) and also when picking a new/the next dog for the household.  It’s an emotional light that goes off that compels you to run in that direction and never look back. Some of us find ‘the one’ right away whereas others of us look longer before the feeling presents itself.

Take my friend V, she can walk into a Petsmart adoption event, see a dog from across the room and that dog will end up going home with her.  That same day.  It’s almost as if she knows before she goes. The proof of this is that three new dogs have shown up at her house in as many months.  And in her lifetime, well I’ve lost count of how many animals she has saved. Her knowing has no fear or boundaries or walls.  She is my hero.

I take longer.  For one, I have a resident dog that has to meet the potential one before I can bring that one home.  Thus,  I cannot walk into a Petsmart and leave with one.  Now some of you might be saying, bring Melvin to adoption events.  You’re too funny, and apparently smoking crack. I will write a full post on why Melvin is ban from Petsmart.  Also, while I believe in rescuing a pet, I tend to seek dogs who have been in foster long enough to know some quirks about them.  I don’t so much care what the quirks are but I like to be ready with a plan on how to address them.  I’m a planner. It’s a disease.

So far, in our quest that started late February, we have met five dogs.  One of them got adopted the day after we met him. One of them was rejected immediately by Melvin (actually they both mutually rejected each other but Melvin was much more verbal and foamy about it). Two were not the right energy for Melvin (or me) although they did make for fun play dates.  One had been abused and was in desperate need of having her soul mended.  (While I very much want to be the person to fix her, unless I’m sure I can do that, I remain unsure. Melvin and her would likely have months of separation.)  We also a have a dog that we are trying to meet who lives in Baltimore. My schedule has kept us from getting out there to meet her.

I am open to dogs with challenges. I tend to lean towards considering dogs who have health challenges over deep-set behavioral issues. I think that is mostly due to…

  1. I work full-time away from the house.  If I worked from home I’d have more time to work on the issue and;
  2. My experience thus far has been with dogs who have had health needs.  That is where my confidence is.  Where others might see costly vet bills or large pill boxes, I see opportunity.

Which is why when I recently read about a dog with diabetes, who was going blind, I fell in love.  Proof that there is someone for everyone.

To be fair.

I have mentioned that Melvin has challenges with other dogs.  I’m selling him short when I say that.  There are issues with other dogs but it’s not always Melvin’s fault.

First off, he is exuberant leash reactive.  For those of you who walk a dog on leash you know, ‘leash reactive’ is an equation.

  1. First, there is the dog, who on most occasions will pull towards something they want to be closer to.  Not perfect behavior but certainly not always aggression.  Often for Melvin,  he is just excited to see or meet someone new.
  2. Second, there is the person holding the leash.  In Melvin’s case, that’s me.  When he pulls, I stop.  Even if it means falling down digging my heels in the ground.  At the same time, my heart rate goes up, knowing that ‘reactivity’ could occur.  Funny, because this is the part of the equation that usually causes that reaction.
  3. This circles us back to the dog/Melvin.  He senses my concern and goes into a different state.  I don’t want him charging this other person (or dog) so now he must.
  4. The last part of the equation is the leash.  It pulls tight (due to its anchors) and a different mood is put into play.  Tension.

So yes, Melvin is leash reactive. But so am I.  I could blame the leash but who’d believe me.

Next, there is no way Melvin was socialized as a puppy.  He greets other dogs at a fast, excited pace and goes right in for a face-to-face hello.  I swear he thinks he’s Parisian because it’s almost like he tries to give the dog a kiss on each cheek.  Although  Melvin looks goofy and wiggly and is wagging his nubin and perhaps in some language saying ‘yippeee, play, play, play’ when barreling towards the other dog,  meeting face-to-face in the dog world is rude and the dog will usually issue a warning.  Here is where socialization comes in handy.  Socialized dogs read cues.  They (hopefully) react accordingly.  Melvin thinks every cue means ‘definitely speed-up’.  When a dog does not like how Melvin is playing and barks or snaps, Melvin hears ‘keep going, I love you’.  Some dogs tolerate it, some do not.

Of course, there are a handful (ok, two handfuls) of dogs that Melvin sees on walks that I can tell will be an issue. He is way too aware of them, assumes a lunging stance and barks and/or growls.  We u-turn, about-face or cross the street.

We are all works in progress.


I had to do some work this weekend.  Melvin opted to sit under the desk while I did so.  This dog does not always seek comfort.

And this is him after a night of not feeling so well.  Too keep his street cred I’ll claim it was due to my dizzying striped pajamas partying on St. Patrick’s Day, but really it was just allergies.

Funny Finn.

Our family friend’s, Jimmy and Abby, have a Golden Retriever named Finn.  Finn is adorable and sensitive. He’s a lover, not a fighter.  On a recent outing, Abby and Finn went to a dog park.  Another dog walked up to a lounging Finn and the unimaginable happened.  This other dog pee’d on Finn’s face.  Finn, although confused and emotionally wounded, was gentle and understanding.  Abby watched in horror. I think that moment might always haunt her.  As much as this story makes me cringe, it also makes me laugh.  Dogs teach us to find the humor in otherwise unfortunate situations.

Yesterday, Abby posted this update about Finn on Facebook:  “Finn’s only contribution to the bad day was freezing in front of moving traffic (because he was afraid of a little girl’s pink tricycle) so that I literally had to pick up all 70 pounds of him (I hear this is a great idea when pregnant) and carry him to safety!”

Abby gets my vote for pet mom of the week!


I’ve mentioned before that I suffer from migraines.  I certainly don’t love this aspect of my life, but they come and go and I have learned to accept this plight.  The part I’m most grateful for is that I have family and friends who help me on days I cannot function (I literally go blind during some migraines) and I have a dog who embraces each and every migraine day.

As far as Melvin is concerned I stayed home on a glorious 75 degree March day to lay in bed with him all day.  He couldn’t be happier.

Duck Duck Goose.

Melvin and I went on a hike that included the tour guide (me) getting lost. Upon return home, I was exhausted. I walked in, took shoes off and thought a nice sit on the chaise would be the perfect end to a rather long weekend. 

Melvin had other plans for the chaise.  Those plans did not include me.


Melvin and I spent too much a lot of time in the car this weekend.  At each destination Melvin was treated to a walk, a hike and/or a meet and greet with a potential new four-legged brother or sister.

Halfway into our travels and Melvin finally figured out a way to lay down but still gaze out the window.  If only he’d learn to drive.


Max was an awesome-ly wonderful dog.  He had a soulfulness about him that made me believe in zen. He was pure love and he stole my heart instantly. Others had come before Max, but he was the one that inspired me to always have a dog.

Max’s last year of life was a difficult one for me health wise.  I had two life threatening conditions, was in-and-out of the hospital, lived with my parents for a few a months and didn’t work for a year.  I had the love and support of the most wonderful family and friends.  But those of you with animals know, often times, the only living being you are with 24/7 is your pet.  When I was up at night unable to sleep, Max would lick my face.  When I was sick in the bathroom, he’d lay next to me.  When I would take short walks he’d move slowly and never complained when we had to turn around early. 

As I started healing, Max started losing his battle with old age. The universe can be very hurtful.  Many felt that he waited to know I was getting better.  That always made me sad.  But the truth is, I loved him and he loved me and life is what it is. Max crossed the rainbow bridge the day after his 12th birthday, just one week shy of a my one-year anniversary of surviving my first health crisis. 

I will not write about the sadness although I will say it consumed me.  I have never known heartache like that and the saying ‘grief is the price we pay for love’ had never rung more true for me.

I was reminded recently about a funny grieving story.  Yes, funny grieving stories exist, you just don’t know how comical they are at the time.  Coldplay’s “Til Kingdom Come” song was my go-to-sadness-song when Max died.  I played it 5,672 times.  To make it harder on myself, I’d imagine Max was singing the sentiment of the song to me (don’t judge!). I had it on in the car one day and was bawling.  Next thing I knew a policeman was pulling me over.  I felt really awful for him.  When he walked up to my window and looked in at me all he saw was a red, blotchy, weepy, snotty girl who was wearing sweats and slippers and could barely form words.  The best part is, he pulled me over for going too slowly.

After a brief exchange with him where I was able to explain “dog…died…song…sad…ugg slippers are technically shoes…” he looked at me with compassion and said, “I just lost my dog recently.  I understand.”  He let me sit and compose myself and suggested I not listen to the radio on the way home.

Support comes in rare forms. People understand.  Thank God.


As mentioned in my last post, I left Melvin last week.  Ok fine, the day I departed was his birthday.  I felt terrible. (He had someone come stay with him, so to be honest, I’m not even sure he noticed I was gone).  On one hand, I come from a family that makes a very big deal out of birthdays. I’m blessed to even know when my rescue boy was born, most families that rescue aren’t so fortunate.  Even though Melvin did not know it was his birthday, I knew, so there was definitely some guilt.  On the other hand, we went to the Bahamas, to an Island called Paradise and it was sunny, 80-degrees and people brought us frozen drinks all day.  We saw movie stars, royalty and pro-football players.  I slept in, spent extreme quality time with my family, ate great food and shopped. 

When we were en route to our resort (about a 45 minute car ride) we saw so many dogs. Dogs running in packs, no collars, looking hungry and rough.  My first thought was that Melvin would not last a day in that environment.  My second thought was that those dogs running around had probably never known love.  My third, and most important thought was, spaying and neutering programs are so important.  I’m going to try to figure out how I can make a difference in that last area.

But for now, I’m back.  To ease the guilt of the birthday ditch, I’ll unpack his nemesis the suitcase quickly and put it away.  All he knows is when that thing is out, I tend to leave. He’s a dog, the return doesn’t matter if the enemy is still sitting there, mocking him.  Melvin seems somewhat happy to see me and will now start the ‘I’m-ignoring-you-for-leaving-me unless-you-have-food’ routine.  

This is how far he stayed from me yesterday.  For a dog who lives to be underfoot, this distance is significant.  And hurtful.

Happy Birthday!

Dear Melvin,

I love you.

I don’t need to know what state you were born in, what you looked like as a puppy or what your first family saw in you that made them pick you. For me, seeing you was love at first sight and as far as I’m concerned, your life started when we rescued one another. This is your forever home.

Did your allergies start when you were born? I still recall the day that we went all-day and you had not itched once, I felt great success. How could someone give up a dog because they were ‘too itchy’? To be honest, I’m thrilled they did. You belong with me.

You are celebrated every day sweet boy. I applaud you overcoming your fears (brooms) and aggressions (hangers) and am proud we comfortably co-exist with both those things as we continue to tackle (not literally) other dogs.

Happy 7th Birthday to my squishy face, exuberant, love bug! You move me forward. You are pure joy and I’m blessed to love you!

Love, me.

PS. I’m sorry I woke you up at 4am on your big day and then left for the Bahamas but I promise I have very fun things planned for you while I’m gone and lucky for you, we celebrate Birthday Month in this home!