December 2, 2016

White Dog laughed at me. "Oh momma,you are always cold! It is cold outside this morning and gloomy, just curl up under your grandma's afghan and get warm."

I was chilled and tucked in as she suggested. Sachi snuggled against one side of my legs and Benson on the other. Zso settled between my feet. "See you look toasty cozy now," she continued to laugh at me. I worked bundled in White Dogs for most of the morning and was comfortable but when I unwrapped to go work on the computer, I once again felt goosebumps. "I hope I am not getting something," I thought to myself.

I quickly accomplished what was needed in the office as I pondered whether to layer clothes. Back out in the momma chair, once again under blankets and White Dogs, White Dog joined me. "Please don't make fun of me Baby Girl," I begged her. "I am seriously starting to feel cold and I do not sense a fever."

"It does seem cooler than normal in here," she agreed as she hopped up to sit against my shoulder. I noticed the entire White Dog Army was moving in closer to form a pack cluster.

"Momma," White Dog asked me. "What, Sweet One?" "When was the last time you heard the furnace kick on?"

I thought about it. In fact every member of the Army tilted heads to ponder. "You know, I don't think it has come on at all. At least since dad left this morning." And it was cold today. barely in the forties and windy.

I reached for the phone. "Steve, it would be odd if the furnace had not cycled at all today wouldn't it?" He agreed it would and then paused. "I thought it was colder than usual this morning and then I started rushing around. But I do not remember the furnace noise."

White Dog turned head and mouthed to the rest of the WDA, "Pilot got blown out by wind down chimney."

Steve snapped to the fact that I must be freezing and promised to come right home as soon as he finished a small work task. "Stay under the blankets," he instructed. "Don't worry."

He was home within an hour and went right down to the basement. The WDA huddled at the top of the stairs as we heard him remove the furnace hatch and fuss. Ten minutes later, he was in the living room with us. About four minutes after that the furnace clicked on and heat roared out of the vents!

The WDA wagged and jumped up to kiss me. YoYoMa who had been a draft blocker at the front door lumbered over and pushed my blanket aside. White Dog pawed for me to recover and admonished Yo, "Brother, you know momma, it will take HOURS for her to get warm!"


December 1, 2016

White Dog was an only child for a long time before we decided to add to our family and become an Army. She cherished her toys and took gentle care of them. On the rare occasion that one would rip or have a medical emergency WD would sit by my side as I stitched it up; then she would sniff my work before softly placing the healing patient on her bed.

These days are a bit different. Blue Lambie still lives in the toy box and comes out to play but his legs are missing as is an ear and both eyes. White Dog has learned that sometimes when rescue dogs discover toys they enjoy them so much that the stuffie is loved to pieces...literally.

WD also knows that puppies can be a bit tough on plush "babies." Zsofia, now a VERY big pup, still loves to do her "Kill It!" dance of slamming a chosen toy around and around until our Darkest White Dog is dizzy. The toy, I believe, is no less impacted from the pounding.

White Dog is generous and has always shared the toys in the toy box that were hers. Over time, the toys have become more communal in ownership but every so often I see the Little White Dog of My Heart quietly pick up Blue Lambie or Baby Bear (when the others are off doing raucous things), cuddle for a second before hiding the toy deep in the bottom of the box.


November 30, 2016

White Dog looked out of the window. "Wow! I do not think Leaf Drop Day has EVER been so late," she commented.

The Mulberry trees in our front yard are always the last on the block to change color and fall. Additionally, the leaves each year on both trees seem to make a pact. They ALL wrinkle over just a single night and fly off branches to carpet the yard the next day in a mass drop. White Dog calls it "raining leaves."

The entire White Dog Army takes turns observing the phenomena from the Watching chair.

The chance to run zoomies through the leaves is one of White Dog's favorite rituals.
The scene that greeted us as we opened the blinds this morning.
By the end of the day.
White Dog end of Autumn patrol.


November 29, 2016

White Dog came inside. "Get the shower ready, dad," she said to Steve. "Sachi was rolling in something slimy in the yard and it stinks,too! Might be cat vomit or something." Seconds later, our Little Man came trotting in happily humming to himself.

Steve scooped him up but remembered to keep him at arm's length. Sure enough, the side of his neck and shoulder were a fragrant mocha brown. "Hey Buddy, guess where we are going?" Steve asked him as they walked toward the bathroom. Sachi struggled to cuddle into his dad's arms and lick his face.

"Maybe after the bath," was Steve's reply. Sachi was placed in the tub and I was handed towels.

 "How about a nice relaxing warm bath?" we all heard as the water was turned on and splashing began.


November 28, 2016

White Dog and Steve spoke early this morning about the "test." Opal is coming up on her One Year Gotcha Day Celebration next week. She has come a VERY long way from the broken and awfully sick mill dog breeder who trusted nothing or any one.

Her progress makes us all smile every time we think of her or I look down at my side to see her sitting lovingly at my feet. She joined the coffee club a while back. She lines up nicely for treats. She is our number one toy tester.

Opal now lets me brush her; pet her and touch her all over; she even lets me in the morning sometimes lift her up onto the bed to sit beside me and be kissed.

But Opal has never shown the slightest interest in joining the rest of the White Dog Army in their walks. White Dog felt it was time to show her sister what she was missing.
But WHY do I need to do this?

Tonight when Steve got home he told Opal that together they were going on a little adventure. She did not seem to like the notion and put up a bit of a chase to scoop her up into his arms.

I held her and spoke softly explaining that she and dad were just going to walk to the corner and back, to check on the neighbors she could hear but doesn't see. She looked at me not convinced this was necessary.  I continued speaking as Steve put Bella's borrowed harness on her.

"Just give it a try. See. you might like it. It will be just you and dad and if you do not like it we won't push again." I could tell by the press against me and her deep breath that this was a total act of loving trust...and that she was doing it to please me.

Steve carried her to the front stairs.

I turned to Bella. "Remember when you were just as frightened by the thought of walks?" I asked her. Bella is now on the first walk team and goes willingly...but she never tarries and hurries right back home and to my side.

Treats were waiting when Opal charged back next to my desk. I rewarded her with praise and pumpkin cookies. "How did it go?" I asked. She skittered out of the room when Steve came in.

"Well, if you call her standing stiff legged refusing to move a good first attempt, then we did fine. I pretty much coaxed her every step down the drive and back. And now I think it will be a while before she forgives me."

"We won't try again any time soon but it was good to see where she was in readiness for the outside world," I reassured him. "If she is happy as a homebody then let us respect that."

I handed him a dog cookie. "Go and tell her how brave she was."


November 27, 2016

White Dog was watching me make lunches for tomorrow. "It was nice having Dad home all of these days," she said. "Four days gave us enough time to enjoy the holiday, get things done, relax and still have time for afternoons walks to chase leaves."

I agreed it WAS a special time spent at a long golden speed with spaces enough to just get caught daydreaming. I knew her next question. "Why can't it be like this EVERY week?" she wanted to know.

Knowing Steve was feeling the ticking clock more acutely than we were I did not send WD to ask him. Instead, we listened as Sachi sat laughing on his chest and Zsofia brought green snakey to him to make "sing" and Stormer laid sprawled across his feet. We both sighed.

"We are very lucky dad has a good job and he is home for dinner every evening with time left after to play. Remember how scared we all were not so long ago that he would not be able to find work"

White Dog responded, "Benson told me he saw a billboard the other day that announced you could win like $130 million doing something called Powerball. That is WAY more than dad earns now. He should just do that! Then he could be home with us."

"Well, Little White Dog of My Heart, that would be perfect wouldn't it? Do you think the White Dog Army has enough luck to make it so? I will buy the ticket if you say yes."

November 26, 2016

White Dog continued "healing" by riding along to tote and carry firewood for a friend. When Tina announced that her dad had chopped down the old dead tree in his front yard and was cutting it to give away for those who needed firewood, we immediately thought of a friend just moved to our area and struggling to get established. Free firewood would go a long way in reducing her heating costs and she was enthusiastic when we asked if she was interested.

We agreed to bring the van to help transport and we met at Tina's dad's home where the wood had been perfectly cut (thank dog) and was stacked next to the garage waiting.

White Dog hopped out of the car and pranced over to inspect the pile as Steve and our friend pulled on work gloves and opened the van doors. "OK, White Dog! Ready?" Steve prompted her. The humans loaded up their arms with lumber and began stacking it in the van.

On the second round, Steve held out a smaller branch to her. "You can carry the small ones," he told her. She looked at him, astonished, and limped a few steps. From the car, I laughed. "Oh, right,you are injured. I forgot." He said.

For awhile she supervised the back and forth of loading by both Steve and our friend...Steve piling wood in the back; our friend at the side. Then she nimbly jumped into the vehicle and sat backward in her driving seat so she could supervise in comfort.

They finished loading and the car was closed up to travel. WD carefully looked over the stacks and settled in the passenger seat to travel. We headed to my friend's to unload our treasure.

At the home end, Lulu the Dachshund came out to watch the process and White Dog explained observer safety rules about staying out of the way and not tripping up the workers. Lulu came over to greet me and then, not impressed with the activity, went back inside. "Slacker!" WD mumbled. "Hey! Be nice!" I cautioned.

In no time, the wood was stacked by the door and we were heading home...but wait! Steve pulled into the frozen custard place. "Such hard work. I need an ice cream," he announced. "How about you?" White Dog agreed. "You both have vanilla mustaches!" I pointed out as they slurped the last licks of their cones.

By the time we got home our friend had already left a message that she had a wonderful warm fire going and it was bliss.


November 25, 2016

White Dog was limping and refused to come over to me. Steve lifted her up and placed her in my arms. "What is wrong, Baby Girl?" I asked as I ran my hand down her leg gently squeezing. She winced when I reached a spot just above her left rear ankle.

She was bleeding. I shifted her so I could see better. WD bore a scrape and skin clumpy with spittle. As we cleaned up the small spot, I demanded to know what had happened.

A bit earlier, I was reminded, two of the boys, Benson and Stormer, were roughhousing in the hallway. WD had politely asked for permission to pass but they had ignored her. Her need to get to the dog door eventually drove her to push her way through the machismo...and she found herself stuck in the middle of a lunge when Stormer mistook her determination to get past with a desire to play.

She made it clear that SHE was not playing with her tone and swift move over him.White Dog went outside but returned limping. Fortunately the boys had given up their goofiness and she passed quickly to her bed where she cowered.

White Dog CAN be a bit of a drama queen and she DOES know how to take advantage of a situation. Steve set her highness up on the sofa surrounded by pillows as he massaged in antiseptic. He fed her a few small treats and spoke in gentle baby tones as he gave her a doggie aspirin and excused her from nite-nite walks.

I had a serious talk with Stormer and Ben about how over the top macho stuff could quickly escalate into one of them hurting the other, which would be horrible...or worse yet, they could injure an innocent bystander like WD. They both felt awful.

After walks (White Dog waited on the couch), Steve carried her out to potty. Mind you, she had not been incapacitated but Steve hated to see her limping. Then he brought her in and tucked her into bed.

Both boys tried to make apologies but WD turned her head. "Perhaps try again in the morning," I told them, "You scared her and she hurts now."

We were about to head over to the bedroom when we heard a sad whimper. Steve turned back to see what White Dog needed. I raised an eyebrow when he sat down on the bed.

"She wanted me to move the water dish so she cold reach it from her bed," he replied. I rolled my eyes. "I hope the personal injury lawyers in town don't hear of this," I commented. "She will be fine in the morning," he told everyone.


November 24, 2016

White Dog, YoYoMa, Bella, Sachi, Zsofia, Benson, Nilla, Opal, Pearl, CA Stormer, Trixie, Steve and I remind you to remember those without today...without shelter or safety or a meal or a hand to hold in their fear. Those fighting for things we take for granted...or broken and surrendered to despair.

We are a family of privilege and blessings beyond bounty. We live a life of miracles. We know that.

Today and every day we send you these reminders...and our gratitude for you...


November 23, 2016

White Dog. In my sleep I put my arm down to respond to the jump up to awaken me. At the same time my brain processed "Why is WHITE DOG here?" my oxygen concentrator started screaming to alert the loss of electricity. We were fully awake in an instant.

I ripped my sleep apnea mask off. "Steve I smell ozone!"

I began calling and gathering White Dogs to me so I could push them in a line through the dog door should we need to evacuate immediately. They were serious and controlled and responded just like we have drilled a million times. I was amazed and whispered a prayer of thanks.

Steve went to check the house. "All safe in here," he called. I heard him hastily pulling on clothes. "Going to check outside."

Heart still pounding, I lavishly praised my Army for their focus and discipline. They began to get nervous knowing Steve was not with us.

Steve came back inside after a few minutes. "Holy cow! The big new building they are constructing on the corner is totally up in flames. Outside the air is horrible! There are firemen and police everywhere!"

It was strangely quiet for such a disaster. No sirens had alerted us to the unfolding event. Now listening carefully we could make out shouting and the circling helicopter.

Steve went back out, he knows the general contractor on the project and some of the architects involved. The blazing building left him personally touched. The WDA moved to wait for him by the door.

When he returned he reported the building was a total loss but that the first responders and firefighters had managed to keep all of the buildings around it safe from harm. Teams worked to collapse walls inward so as to not land on busy Central Avenue.

In the 3am darkness lit by huge spotlights, the wreckage of smoldering materials, licking flames, and twisted concrete and metal haunted.

The electricity returned but it was hard for anyone to get back to a comfortable sleep mode. The unease was heightened when we rose for breakfast and learned that the fire was the result of arson. Fire and police investigators have determined there were several origin points placed strategically at critical spots in the building.

It has been hard on the WDA today as helicopters continuously circle the neighborhood and police presence is heightened. Patrol cars frequently drive by and others on foot are canvasing the area for information.

The WDA is wary and watchful. And frankly, so am I.