Jake versus the bubble wrap.

I got this awesome new photo and it came wrapped in a ton of bubble wrap.


While the bubble wrap was hanging out by the door, awaiting transport to recycling, Jake’s ‘there-is-a-soft-surface-for-you-to-lay-upon’ alert system kicked in.  The best part about this video is at the beginning when he timbers in slow-motion into the pile.


I work from home now.

So the trial of working from home transitioned to working from home full-time.  I won’t lie, it’s AWESOME!  I’m still finding the balance. I miss seeing my work friends everyday and I miss wearing all my cute clothes but dressing up to stay home seems borderline Kardashian so…  and we need to get on a different dog walking schedule than EVERYONE else in the neighborhood (my dogs don’t love their own kind — Melvin is more tolerant, Jake foams at the mouth).

The biggest plus to me working from home, the dogs have a new-found calmness. It’s hard to explain.  They are just more relaxed, Melvin has even stopped barking at every fake noise. Also, they have both loosened their velcro grip on me.  They have ascertained that there is no exit out of the office (I’m not a climb-out-of-the-window kind of girl).  One way in, one way out.  So they allow a little space every now and then.  Sometimes, not always, but every once in a while, I even get to go the bathroom alone. Who knew how delightful privacy could be!

Here they are: hardly working. IMG_0048

So I’m home more now.  The boys are doing great.  Seems like a good time to try new things!

  • I want to get the boys to the beach/beach house.  This requires a 7-hour road trip with two dogs. Totally doable.  I think.
  • Take the boys for more separate walks.  Don’t get me wrong, our together walks are awesome but I want to take some time out for each dog since they have different walking needs.  I miss my walks with Melvin and I want Jake to feel like he is not being rushed.  It will also be good practice for them to get used to being left at home   without the other for a little while.
  • Get Jake’s wheels.  He doesn’t need them all the time but it will be good to get him used to them slowly for a time when he does.
  • Volunteering.  Animals, humans, yes please.
  • Fostering.  There will never be a better time than right now when I can be home more often and have time to work on the foster and on getting the boys used to four-legged (or tripod!) visitors.  I should set the expectation here: I fully expect to foster-fail (in the good way).
  • That’s it, geeze I do still have to work also!

What are some of your upcoming goals?




An update, from Melvin.

Hey what’s up? Sorry I shouted that but my little brother is the loudest creature ever put on earth and I can barely hear my life occurring when he is within 45 feet of me. He snorts, he grunts, he snores, he honks, he does some weird gargle with his spit and sometimes he makes a hairball noise.  He does this all day and all night.  I think there are maybe 21 seconds a day where his body is so tired of making a noise that it holds his own breath for a moment of peace.

He’s fine. Whatever. Sure, there are some other things beyond his noises that I don’t love. I am not allowed to pee or poop in the house and quite frankly that is ok with me. But Jake? Oh do whatever you want.  You’re too tired to go out(?), just pee here on MY BED (said me never but he still does it).  He pees and she gets him robot skirts. Also, hear me now world, my brother Jake is the laziest creature on the planet.  He somehow has convinced her to carry him up and down the steps.  How embarrassing, get a gym membership dude.  Lazy is not adorable.

I have also decided there are zero benefits to being small (except that you get to be extra noisy, pee wherever your heart desires and you get carried).  I can see out the window.  Dude cannot.  So I bark, at nothing, and he gets all riled up and I just go lay down but he doesn’t know the fake thing isn’t still out their so he tries to hop up and see it but he can’t.  I laugh so hard, in a silent way.  I can jump up on he couch, on my throne the purple chair, on the bed.  Little dude just stares up at us.  HAHAHAHAHHAHAHA.  And then of course he makes some sad face that gives her the emotions and she lifts Lazy up to be with us. Ugh.

There are some things are ok about him.  He seems to make her happy (although not as happy as I make her but anywho).  He really seems to like how I smell, and so do I, so I like that he gets that. I mean I used to think it was odd that he smells every inch of me but he’s addicted to the Melvin-man, it happens to the best of them. He and I share a dislike of other dogs.  When I was the only dog, I had to do all the work on chasing approaching dogs away.  Now, little dude does it, from a buggy even!  And he’s really good at it.  I bet he could spark fear in a dinosaur. While I don’t love his giant pink car seat that takes up a billion inches of my space, I do like that we can pretend we are rich kids in a limo and She is our driver.

Ok fine, I love that he has taken to kissing me constantly.  I mean for months he’d just land on my precious body from out of nowhere so him kissing me is definitely an improvement over that. And well, maybe, I love him as much as he loves me. I don’t even recall our life before him, that seems weird.  Has he always been here?  Sometimes, NOT ALWAYS, we will hold hands through the walls of his condo at night.  Yeah, he’s my bro-man.

Oh, I’m also supposed to let you know I’m doing ok.  I had a seizure last week and it took me a few days to get back to my awesome self.  I feel bad I made her worry but one minute I was fine and the next minute I was confused and didn’t really have control of my body.  But then it was fine.  She said, ‘one day at a time, bud’.  Gah, I love her so much. I’m not 100% but we go back to the vet today and I get laser therapy today too!  Big day, big day!

Happy Monday!  Melvin-man, over and out.

Here is me not feeling great. I still look so handsome. IMG_0043

Here is little-dude letting me have the momma all to myself. IMG_0042

It’s hard to tell, but this is us ‘holding hands’.  IMG_9951


Stage Mom.

The moment I entered Jake into the cutest dog contest, I became a stage mom.  I mean there were days I thought about putting make-up on Jake before we left the house.

The winners were announced this past Saturday.  It was a HOT day for a Wagfest and Jake was over the whole thing before we even arrived.  We were both decked out in Sirius Republic gear – he had on his brown Sugar Skulls collar, he borrowed Melvin’s Sugar Skull bow tie.  He had his skull and crossbones diaper on and I wore my ‘Must Love Dogs’ t-shirt!  Jake also had two Kool collars on and he was still overheating within five minutes.

Where are you taking me?photo 2

I’m hot, take me home. photo 1

It came time to announce the winners.  They started with 2nd runner-up, that dog was announced and it was not Jake and the words that came out of my mouth were “WHEW!”.  Who says that?  I’ll tell you who, a stage mom.

They then announced the 1st runner-up and IT WAS JAKE!  There was loud applause and cheers (we had a lot of fans there) and we got stopped for more photos than anyone else. Doy!

To be honest, my recollection of the whole day is a tad different from everyone else’s.  This is what was said: 1st runner-up, Jake from Ashburn!  This is what I heard: 1st runner-up, Jake from Ashburn.

We got a very generous prize package of gift cards that we will donate to dogs who are in need.  All in all it was super fun, we are very honored and look forward to seeing his photo in the magazine!

Thank you to all who supported us and voted!  And as for those who ask why Melvin wasn’t entered, Melvin is cute, sure, but Melvin’s true gift is his ability to love. When they have a contest for that, he will win!

photo 3

Today was lame.

I had every intention of sitting down and penning our update on the Northern Virginia Cutest  Dog contest.  I just had to get through an interview with a rescue group (for volunteering!!) and a few work things.  But Melvin had different ideas for how today would go.  I’m just going to tell you the Melvin part matter-of-factly because right now, we don’t have a ton of info:

  • He was confused this morning and panicked a few times.
  • He was unable to get up from the lying down position (on hardwood and on carpet) and that, too, made him panic.
  • He then had a significant increase in his normal tremor activity, his whole body was shaking.
  • Then he threw up. A lot.

I took him to the vet and they think he had (another) seizure episode.  They weren’t however ready to rule out minor stroke. He was all sorts of sore from the episode so they laser therapy’d him, took blood and pee and we are going to reassess tomorrow.  We feel like he’ll need a neuro follow-up but it was not felt it was critical to do that today. The last time he had a seizure, the next day he was unable to move and had to be put on Doxy (which helped).  He is back home now, resting and still a bit out of sorts.  He got some meds to calm him down and relieve any lingering nausea.  The hardest part was hearing the vet say over and over ‘sometimes, with OLD GUYS like him, blah blah blah’.  Uh, he is only one (plus 8).  He is not old. But that’s why it’s the hard part, he IS older.

So you know that no story of ours is complete without some sort of humor.  When I realized Melvin needed emergency care, I rushed him out to the car (through the garage).  Normally when I take Melvin to the vet (alone) I sneak him out the front door so that Jake does not explode with jealous rage.  Well today, Jake saw me load him up.  I came back in, put Jake in his room and apologized (HUGE WASTE OF TIME SINCE HE DOESN’T SPEAK HUMAN).  I could hear Jake honking and howling as I pulled out of the driveway.  Once at the vet and situated, I checked the Jake cam to see if he’d calmed down.  He had not.  Instead, he was shooting meatballs out of his butt faster than his body could possibly even be making them and he was HOWLING at the moon, arching his back and putting a every ounce of hissy into the fit as possible.  There is no way to record on the Jake cam but the vet staff saw it.  Meatballs and howling. Not exactly the behavior you would expect from one of the top three cutest dogs in NoVA!  Thank goodness the voting is over.

Here is my boy getting loved on by the vet.  We all had to wear protective glasses during the laser part.

IMG_9942 IMG_9944

A thank you note, to Melvin’s first family.

I did this post a long time ago. I’m not sure why I never posted it but our good friends over at Oh Corbin just did a similar letter and I was reminded that this draft was still there.  ————————————————————————–

A while back, a woman posted a letter to her newly rescued dog’s previous owner. It went viral. I’m not sure when she was writing it that she knew that might happen.  The writer/rescuer received countless accolades and endless negative feedback. Many embraced her anger at the dog’s previous owner while others found it wildly judgmental. The thing is, the dog that was rescued had just died. Grief can be very powerful. With grief, often comes anger.  I found it sad that so much energy was focused on taking sides when we could have been celebrating the dog’s life. I think most of us rescue not to judge, but to save.  That non-judgement should extend to those who surrender, those who rescue, those who foster, those who foster fail (my favorite of all failures!) and to those who grieve.

(To ALL animal abusers,  you are on your own; you we will judge harshly.) 

I was torn when I got Melvin, I was happy he was mine but upset that his owners let his health deteriorate   It took me a little while to just feel grateful.  This letter might have been different if I’d written it when I first got him.  With time comes clarity. 

Dear previous family of then Riley,

Thank you for deciding to not be dog owners.  It’s because of you that my heart is full and my life is happy.

I was told of your frustration with owning Riley, that everyday you’d let him out in a fence-less yard before you left for work and that he’d wander off. You’d probably met some wonderfully well-behaved dogs in your life and you likely assumed Riley would hang out and wait for you while you were gone. Let’s be honest, Riley was not wonderfully well-behaved back then.  He was a need-a-fence kinda dog. (To this day his recall is only mediocre).  I’m just so thankful he was never hit by a car. They told me how frustrated you were that animal control had picked him up so many times and that on that last time, when they called you said: Keep him. Those two words, changed my life forever.  When he left you and came to me he had mange and giardia and massive yeast infections, not to mention his horrible allergies.  I want you to know that he’s so much better now, I don’t think you’d even recognize him!

I know that someone, somewhere did something to him with hangers. If that was you, I hope that heavy regret has set in.  I pray that whoever it was, if they ever consider getting another dog, that the universe puts a hanger in their path and they’re reminded that they are not dog people.  I want to assure you, his current life is free from punishment, what is required from him is only what he has to offer.  Some days it’s exuberance, some days it’s sleep.  Today it’s regurgitation.  It’s all good.

I didn’t like you at first.  But I know now that you and I were meant to unite.  I’m eternally grateful you didn’t allow the vet to put him down. I’m sure many would have seen ‘the worlds most allergic dog’ as a hopeless case. I’m thankful you said  – maybe someone else can help him.  I imagine defeat was hard to admit. Or maybe you celebrated his departure. Either way, that’s okay.

Here’s the truth:  I understand.  I know how much money his medications cost.  I know how expensive his food can be.  I know, that just when I think we’ve spent all we can on tests, more are needed.  He is not the dog for everyone and you didn’t know that when you went and picked him from the litter.  I will probably never be able to retire, but I was able to make that choice freely when I took him.  I really do understand.

His name is Melvin now. He is healthy.  He is happy.  He is my heart.  He knows true love. He personifies joy.  He and I were meant to be together which means you were meant to have him first. I rescue dogs, that means that they each have previous owners, a past that I have zero control over.

Thank you, for giving him up.  You did the right thing. If we were ever to meet you on the street, I know he would greet you with love and understanding and wiggles.


Me.  His forever.

PS.  No, you cannot have him back.


I realized yesterday that is has been several months since the boys have had a scuffle.  And by scuffle I mean Jake lunging at Melvin’s face for no reason, or ‘falling off’ the couch onto him.  Melvin, thank sweet baby Jesus, has never reacted to Jake.  In the same way he knows he can walk away from rowdy kids or moments that make him uncomfortable, he knows also that he has the choice to ignore younger brother antics.

Upon realizing the peace that has set in, I did what any insane person would do.  I didn’t accept it and cheer, oh no, I tested it.  I dropped treats ‘accidentally’ one by one on the floor in front of them. They took turns eating them.  I brought Jake up on the couch with me and gave him snuggles using an annoying baby voice.  Melvin just laid there.  I got on the floor with Melvin and said ‘you are the best dog ever’ and gave him his own snuggle session.  Jake looked over from his perch then went back to sleeping.  What the… ?

They. Like. Each. Other.  This is pretty huge for two dogs who separately do not enjoy their own species. Love, apparently, is truly all you need.

Of course the moment I push publish on this post, we will probably have an episode of Dogs Gone Wild.  It’s not all daisies and sunshine, Jake still pees on Melvin’s bed EVERY flippen chance he gets.  Luckily, I have a bed buying obsession I notice first and switch out his bed before Melvin has a chance to be offended.

Hey, let’s form a B, for Bitchin Brotherhood. IMG_9697

Use your left googly eye to check if she’s still watching us. Don’t be obvious.IMG_9793

They share a passion for illiteracy. IMG_9827 IMG_9840 IMG_9838

Hey rug, I love my brother more than you.  Bros before hos.IMG_9784

Gimme a kiss you handsome giant. IMG_9610

Happy weekend everyone!

50 shades of AWESOME.

There is this ah-mazing person out there who, on her last birthday, decided that she would do fifty acts of random kind things before her next birthday.  To be fair, she is already crazy kind.  For her to be even nicer, whoa!

The Facebook page is here.  A week or two ago, one of the post was that a package was going out to someone.  A gift, for no reason.  I thought, how exciting for that person!  Well it got even better (for me) cause that package arrived at my house!  Ahhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!






Ok, at this point in the opening of the gift, I seriously was just so touched to be thought of. That of course didn’t stop me from digging in and pulling out the awesome prize inside!


I full on squealed!   It’s awesome for so many reasons but most of all because I HAVE BEEN LOOKING FOR THIS!  You see, Jake has a sweet side (that snuggles, and loves and kisses his brother) and, like most of us, he has a bit of a dark side (that never pees on his own bed but always on brothers, that shoots meatballs out while grinning, that leap-falls off the couch onto an un-expeccting Melvin).  Some time ago I found the white version of this and was looking all over for this one to remind me that both of his sides make him complete!


I’m so thankful!  You should follow the Fifty Shades of Kindness page!  It’s fun to see what things she comes up with but better yet, it’s a great reminder that we should all follow that lead!

Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!!!!

Diaper magic.

Long gone are the days of accidents and stress. Jake and I have the diaper thing down to a science.  First I wrap a giant pad around him, then I put one of his new awesome Sirius Republic diapers over it, and then I send him on his way. (Side-note: has anyone else reading this ever gone to Home Goods to buy a stylish trashcan for your dogs incontinence pads?  No?  How odd.)

IMG_9805 IMG_9821

But sometimes, before step one and step two, his legs konk out and remind me why we are in this new chapter. (I have figured out that putting the pad around him tickles his parts and that is the reason for the konk-out) The other day, this is the position they quit on him.  He just hung out there until they bounced back.  He is awesome that way!


Beauty is forever.

My dearest friends have lost three dogs in less than three years. Two of the dogs, in less than one year of each other.  The first was a shock, they found out that young Sosa was full of cancer the day they had to say goodbye (story here). Shock prevailed and the pain was raw. The second, MollieAnne (story here), she outlived her cancer diagnosis by four years and in the end, it was a full, lovely life that took her.

Beauty crossed the rainbow bridge last week. They rescued Beauty as a senior, they knew their time with her would be short. Beauty’s first family adopted her as a rescue when she was just a pup.  One day, that same family showed up at a PetSmart adoption event for Lost Dog Rescue (where they got Beauty) and said they were moving out of the country the next day and couldn’t take Beauty with them.  They didn’t call ahead, they just brought Beauty over and dumped her, at age 11.  She was in fairly rough shape, it was obvious that she had severe joint issues, her hips were not working right, it took a tremendous amount of effort for her to just lay down, let alone get back up.  The reason I know this is that Virginia and I were at PetSmart that very day, doing what we normally do, stalking visiting with dogs who need some love.  It was love at first sight for Virginia (you can read more here) and it was immediately clear that as quickly as Beauty lost her first home, she found her forever.

Virginia and her family didn’t have to change who they were to accommodate Beauty.  They are a home of animal loving fools and all the dogs that come into that house get what they need to have the best life they can. Beauty (we are assuming she got her name from Black Beauty) was taken straight to the vet.  She was put on medications to help with her mobility.  She went to therapy — laser, water, you name it, she got it.  She was put on a diet.  When she showed up at Petsmart that day, she was 11 going on 20 (from a physical perspective). Within six months with her forever family, she was running and swimming like a 7-year-old.

Beauty was a herder, she shuffled the kids around like Mary Poppins.  She didn’t react well to loud noises, especially loud male voices. If things got too active around the kids, she would start nipping bootys to keep the moment in check. Eventually we just started calling her Booty. She chased away nighttime monsters in the kids dreams by going room-to-room throughout every night to watch over them. She did school drop offs, she stepped-up after her elder canine sister MollieAnne left us last year. She loved food more than any dog I have ever encountered.  She would jam herself into the pantry to lay down, willing boxes of food to fall down so she could snack.

As suddenly as she arrived in our lives, it was time for her to go.  Cancer crept into her bones.  It was quick. The vet equated bone cancer to agony.  The decision to let her go was clear, but the sadness was intense.  The kids said goodbye and during her last minutes on earth, Virginia and her husband, Shane, gave her all the love in their hearts to take with her to heaven.

Taking in an elder dog and then losing that dog is similar to losing any other living creature except for one small thing.  When you wish you had you more time with them, it’s not time at the end you crave, it’s that you had gotten them earlier, had more time at the beginning.

I have said this time and time again and Beauty reinforced it, old dogs, are the best dogs.  Their capacity to love is unlike anything you will experience.  Their soulfulness is piercing.  Their gentle existence, well it’s like seeing peace. Sitting with an elder dog instantly makes you a better person, through some sort of magical osmosis.

Farewell thee lovely Beauty.  You were loved more in your last years of life than most dogs are loved in a lifetime. Your home feels empty but somehow still full from the memory of you.  Your kids carry you in their thoughts and ask about you daily.  You leave the world with a lesson taught:  you are never too old to find your forever.