We are snow lovers around here.  We romp in the white stuff to no end- sledding, snow shoeing, hiking in the woods, making snow people and magical snow angels.  (I am not even including skiing in this list because Penny and Lilly haven't mastered coming along on that sort of outing yet).  There is nothing like a crisp winter day where the sun is shining and you just want to get out in it and embrace the absolute beauty of WINTER.   Just makes you want to pause to sigh and take a deep cleansing, life affirming breathe!  

That said, we have collectively all had enough.  ENOUGH we say, we yell, we bark, we yip!  This snow, while still seemingly beautiful, has become impassible. unplayable and well, just plain old not fun anymore.   Even a snow day (at one time in the season a gift) has lost it's sparkle.  We just can't get around in this snowy crusty icy uneven mess.  

Poor Penny, who's favorite activity is retrieving (as it should be…).   We throw the ball and one of two things happens.  Penny can't get to it because her little skinny legs get caught in the deep deep crusty snow… OR  the ball ends up going into one of the deep footprint holes from a previous ball throwing attempt only to never be found again.  Done… end of activity.  No fun for Penny.

And Lilly… well she's just getting plain old FAT.  Her favorite activity- running off with wild abandon in the woods and not returning until she has burned off all her excess energy (which can take a good 10 or 15 minutes each time) has been reduced to gingerly walking on the trails in a single file line.  BO-RING.  She has resolved to just stand at the hill at home, toy hanging from mouth, and watch Penny attempt to find her ball in one of the big crater holes in the backyard.  And get even fatter.

So what does this leave us with?  Two frustrated, under exercised, bored, depressed dogs.  And there is really nothing more depressing than a depressed labrador retriever….  

But deep deep under all that sadness and frustration is the glimmering of HOPE.  I see it in their eyes.  They stare out the window at the pool and dream of days to come.  Days when the sun will rise high in the sky and with it bring warm, snow melting temperatures.  Days when the grass (the green stuff we haven't laid eyes on in months) will reappear bringing back open spaces for ball throwing and roll scratching and jumping and pooping.  Days when the cover will be removed from the ice crusted pool and the backyard swimming hole will again be open for business.  SPLASH… we can almost feel it now.  Those days will come.  We just have to believe it.  Those days will, indeed, come...

Wipe Your Paws Here

This winter has been a bit strange.  We haven’t had a ton of snow, but most of the snow we have had has been followed, almost immediately, by rain.  And that kind of stinks.  It means not a lot of sledding or snowman building.  The trees don’t remain glistening in a winter wonderland.  My lawn, instead of being blanketed in solid white snow cover, becomes mushy, wet, miserable and MUDDY.  And the only thing worse than a mushy, wet, muddy lawn are the eight feet that romp and play and roll in it before they decide to come in and leave it all over the floors of my house! My life has been reduced to an endless wipedown of muddy paws.   Round and round we go.  Penny and Lilly go out… they have their walk… they come in…. I wipe paw 1-2-3-4 then 5-6-7-8.  They eat their breakfast.  It’s time to take the kids to the bus, so we go out again… we sneak in a ball throw for 5 minutes… we come in… I wipe paw 1-2-3-4 then 5-6-7-8.   They take their morning snooze.  Then before we know it, out once more, this time, for a hike.  We come back an hour later. I wipe paw 1-2-3-4 then 5-6-7-8.  And so on and so forth throughout the day.

It’s a moments like these when I turn to those of higher thinking for an answer to why all the mud?  Why all the wiping?  Has it all really come down to this?  To quote Thich Nhat Hanh on a similar seemingly monotonous and meaningless task:

While washing the dishes one should only be washing the dishes, which means one should be completely aware of the fact that one is washing the dishes. At first, glance, that might seem a little silly. Why put so much stress on a simple thing? But that’s precisely the point. The fact that I am standing there and washing these bowls is a wondrous reality. I am completely myself, following my breath, conscious of my presence, and conscious of my thoughts and actions. There’s no way I can be tossed around mindlessly like a bottle slapped here and there on the waves.
– The Miracle of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hanh.


I suppose I, too, am completely myself.  As are Penny and Lilly.  Happily, joyfully, muddily doing what we do and generally grateful to have each other and to be doing it together.  So in full appreciation of this “wondrous reality”, I will mindfully continue to wipe paws.  And wipe and wipe and wipe.

Perhaps I should be quoting the Karate Kid instead- Wash on.... wash off my little pups.  Summer will be here soon.


Mushy Blessings

Chris, Lilly and I were enjoying a lazy morning spoon in bed.  Well, not exactly a lazy morning for Chris, who had already driven Benjamin to early morning baseball practice and had just enough time to come home, catch another half hour of sleep before he would have to head out again.   So there we are- post walk, pre-pickup- the three of us cuddled as close as a threesome could be.  Chris is, of course, trying to shove Lilly out of the bed so that the two of us can get a ten minute cuddle, but like a boomerang, Lilly keeps returning.   How could any being possibly love us any more?   I will never know what went on in the first 6 months of Lilly’s life, since that’s when we adopted her, but I do know that she knows how lucky she is to be a part of our loving family now.  She will forever be grateful for us.  And us for her. Chris gives up and resolves to just enjoy her soft mushy warmth….  I know that 2’s supposed to be company and 3 a crowd, but how can anyone possibly resist this!?    It’s all about accepting your good fortune, embracing it and expressing it openly to the ones you love.  And what better way to show that than with one big spoony mush.  Like heaven…

Dorothy Had It Right

The girls just came back from a weekend vacation away.  Well, to be truly honest, WE just came back from a weekend away, and THEY came back from the trainer’s house where they go when we can’t take them with us (which is usually).   Every time we head out of town, I get so excited for Penny and Lilly because I know that they will be in a place with lots of other dogs running around and chasing each other and having just the best crazy canine adventure EVER!!  And what could be better than that?  And so knowing this leaves me free to have a wonderful time loving my time away too. But it’s funny.  The last two times they came back to me, they’ve been really clingy and lovey and even a little mopey too.  They seem so incredibly content to just be at home and nestle together on their dog beds.  It got me thinking- how happy are they really on their doggie “vacation”?   Could it be that even if they have lots of doggie friends to play with, and they are well taken care of, maybe they just want to sleep in their own bed in their own house with their own things?  Huh…  And I realized that that is how I feel sometimes too.  As much as I love a new experience, there is nothing like returning to the familiar.  I guess it comes down to the fact that in then end, for my girls and for me too, there’s really no place like home.

IMG_1760   Back home... the girls relaxing

Morning Love

I was enjoying an early morning lick bath from Penny and Lilly this morning.  It starts out quite pleasant.  A morning hug for my two beautiful girls.  But before I know it, I’ve got two dogs on top of me licking with a vengeance.  Lilly goes for my underarms, which is just not enjoyable for me and I can’t imagine why it would be for her.  Penny goes right for the face.  Which is good for a lick or two but then thoughts of what she licked before and therefore what is now getting all over my face cross my mind and we need to be done with that.  So after our pleasant yet unpleasant episode I am left war torn and sticky from dog saliva.  Not quite the most clean way to bring on the day.  But nice to go into it knowing I am loved. Image

Lilly- in one of her few face on photo ops