July 4, 2023

July 4 is a national holiday, and everyone celebrates in their own way. Here at the White Dog Ranch, we celebrate the birth of our Itty Bitty Baby Girl, Zsofia. She came into our lives through the grace of one of my students whose huskies had an adorable litter of wiggly babies. He offered me one of the puppies. How could we say "no"? Happy 9th Birthday, sweet Zsofia. 
Zsofia at 8 weeks old coming home with us
Zsofia's first visit to Dr. Julia
Zsofia being adorable
Sticks are still a favorite!

Zsofia's litter at 4 days old


June 20, 2023

 "You guys ALL need to go outside while the yard is still shady and get a little exercise. You need more than bedtime walks to stay healthy. All you are doing these days is eating and napping," I announced as I walked into the living room.

"We also drink water" Roman replied, "We know you would not want us to get dehydrated."

"And contrary to the way it looks," Bailey took up the defense. "We are practicing time telling skills while we do aerobics. In three more minutes, Zsofia's time resting in the coolest best spot in the house is up. She will have to get down and we'll all rotate. I get the ottoman spot and Opal moves to my position. So you see, we'll be stretching and jumping."

"Lilly is stretching right now," Diva yipped. "she has a graceful giraffe neck and note her form as she takes that tissue off the cabinet top without disturbing anything else."


June 12, 2023


Opal long ago decided that she was going to be Roman's friend...whether or not he knew what to make of her. She pushed into his cone of solitude so casually and so unrelentingly that Roman has come to accept, and I believe enjoy, her interactions. 

He regularly lets her sniff him and kiss his face with gentle nudges and licks. Roman has come to understand when she prances up to him and swishes about that she is inviting him to play. She has slowly extended the chase game beyond the living room.

Both were out in the yard with me and caught their antics from Roman's point of view. The  photo is Roman's response to Opal's dance as she moved closer and bowed. He continued his encouragement for her to pursue him around the yard. 

It was thrilling to see the joy of each in their game and Roman's willing happy participation. Later, when Opal came inside to check on me, I took a moment to stroke her ears. Sweet Opal, you are such a patient loving friend; Roman has come so far with your help."


June 7, 2023

It's a fine tradition of the Southwest," Zsofia opined. "When it is hot have a spicy treat, find a cool shady spot and SIESTA!"


June 6, 2023


"You know, guys, SOME dogs love the idea of a wading pool filled with water for a place to take a quick dip and stay cool during these hot days. Do you think YOU might like one or two out here in the yard and maybe on the deck?"

Zsophia and Bailey headed to the back of the yard. "You mean like a bath?' "Outside?"

Lilly thought about it. "Could we play 'bob for yummies'? That might be fun." "I would need a life jacket or water wings" Diva commented. "And a fluffy towel to lie on afterward to dry off. Oh, and sunglasses."

"Maybe if the water was not too cold and there were bubbles. Would dad sit on the edge and rub-a-dub-dub me?"

Roman gave the entire conversation his side-eye whale look. It is a very clear warning not to push or go further. "No one would be forced to go in," I reassured him. "I don't want to be teased or splashed either," he said.

"Maybe let's give the pool idea some more thought," I suggested. "White Dog never wanted a pool; we tried once but she thought it was gross that I was standing in the middle of a gigantic drinking bowl. If anyone changes their minds let me know. For now it's always cool in the house."


June 5, 2023


"It's 8:30 on Monday night and we're STILL waiting for dinner," Zsofia complained. "Why are you just sitting here, Dad?"

"The spinach is wilted but we're waiting for the lentils to get softer. Then they must be mixed and the chopped tomatoes and parmesan must be added. You wanted to share, right? Well then you must be patient," I explained.

"Dad, could we have ice cream first?" Diva suggested. The rest of the WDA quickly picked up her plea. "Um, no. If I share ice cream it will be AFTER dinner, just like always," I disappointed them. Just then the timer sounded in the kitchen prompting me and my cadre of tasters to head off to check for lentil softness."


June 4, 2023

Today was a difficult day and a good day for me. I attended the first Paws To People event without my partner of 44 years who originally developed the concept for our nonprofit. I am carrying on our tradition of education at this event as Sue would have wanted it to be done. Paws To People has been in existence for ten years, and I am compelled to become its frontman and spokesman. 

Thanks to Fat Katz for organizing and sponsoring the event. Paws To People has held many such events in the past, and so I know how much work happens behind the scenes to make a successful event. Even so, I returned to the house afterward and just sat in a chair for a while to restore my depleted reserves. The entire White Dog Army was very well behaved in my absence, and I am appreciative of each of them as well.

June 3, 2023

Always the thinking boy, Roman has found a way to keep watch through the windows without leaving the coolest spot in the living room. From his comfy position, My Boy can see clearly out of the front windows; Hazel and Diva provide closeup confirmation from their positions in the watching chairs.

June 2, 2023


The White Dog Army has decided that I'm not getting enough fresh air and vitamin D. "You spend too much time cooped up in the office staring at the computer," Lilly told him this morning. "We have decided that we'll all take you outside for twenty minutes every day. You can sit in a chair in the sunlight, take a nap, walk around the yard, toss the ball for us. The point is to be outside," Zsofia continued. "You will see it will make a big difference in your mental health to just change your routine," Roman finished. "It does for me."

The Army gathered in the office to nudge me toward the door about 5:30 this evening. "Treats when we return," Bailey called over her shoulder. Diva ran past and through the dog door to catch up with the others. 

I was heading for the chair on the paved area but Opal called me to the back of the yard. "Dad, come see these pretty little purple flowers!" 

I heard her and hustled over to where she stood. "Horse nettles," I said darkly. "These must go right away. Let me get my gloves and the weed burner. Every pup stay away from these and any others you find." Opal looked at Zso sadly. "What did I do wrong?" she asked her sister. "This is not what we had planned."

"Horse nettle stings and are poisonous. Years ago I scorched the yard to get rid of it because Ferguson almost died from eating it. It's nearly impossible to kill them since it grows all over the neighborhood and spreads through its roots." Zso turned to all of the others who had gathered. "This is serious stuff, if you find any, let me know ASAP. I'll be out here every day on the hunt. Opal, you are a hero for finding this."


June 1, 2023

 Zsofia Marie, international Husky of intrigue, stalks the arrival of June. 

And so we have arrived at June. Summer is creeping, or in some cases striding, across the land. And already...The very spirit of summer breathes today, here where I sun myself in a dreamy mood in our back yard while the birds sing and the dogs sniff out the good smells of greenery grown from the recent rains.