Monthly Archives: June 2016

An Accidental Gift


Here you see one of the greatest gifts we have ever received. This is our dog Baxter. Also known as Baxter Pup, Baxter McWaxter, and Wiggle Butt. He is one of our greatest joys.

Baxter was dumped off in our yard when he was but a wee pup. He was in good health. We like to think that he came from a loving home that cared about him. We wonder if perhaps they were not able to provide for him but knew of the Crazy Dog People that lived on the corner. If we drop him off there, surely he will find a loving home. How right they were. We did briefly put him in a crate by the road thinking someone lost him. That lasted all of about 20 minutes before we brought him in the house.

He has been a wonderful dog from day one. He didn’t get into things. He didn’t cause any trouble. I did start training him right away. As a pup he looked like a Rottweiler. I wanted to make sure I had such a large dog, of a powerful breed, under control. So every evening I took him for a walk across the street to the cemetery and we worked on obedience. Baxter never did grow into the Rottweiler that I anticipated. He stayed slender and topped out around 60 lbs. He also remained a marshmallow. We still have to be careful not to yell at home or he will roll over and piddle. If we raise a voice at him he will slink into another room and hide. He is seven years old now. I don’t see him outgrowing that anytime soon.

Dgos-Baxter and Shelby

He gets along with all other dogs and cats, and I imagine all animals. He is a peace loving soul. Our greyhound Phoebe took to him from that first day. She seemed to think that he was her pup and treated him as such throughout her life. Above he pauses on a walk with his “sister” Shelby. He loves to play Frisbee while Shelby runs behind him barking. Baxter listens so well that I can walk with him off leash and if we encounter other walkers or bicyclists, I can point to a spot beside me and say “right here” and he will stay beside me until I release him with an “ok”. This is without formal training of the action. He just wants to please and is easy to communicate with. He has always had the ability to listen and understand.

Great as they are, I do not see his good behavior and obedience as his greatest traits. His best feature is his disposition. He is a happy dog and everybody that meets him is taken with him. He smiles at people. If you are feeling down, he acts silly. He will bring you a toy. A room seems to light up and become a happier place when he enters. Handsome as he is, he is a relatively non-descript looking dog. It’s his personality and presence that make him special.


So to whoever left him at our house, we thank you. Because of your actions our lives have been forever changed for the better.

Tribute to a Dog

Dog-Phoebe with Bunny

Phoebe has been gone from us a week now. Her loss came suddenly and was a huge shock. One minute she was running around being her silly self. The next minute she was crying out in pain. Her femur had fractured. We briefly considered amputation. But upon seeing the x-rays we discovered that it broke because of weakening from a bone tumor. And with further x-rays we learned that there were questionable  spots on a rib and her heart didn’t look quite right. Then the vet told us that by this point the cancer had usually spread and even with treatment her average life expectancy would be six months. Phoebe was already 10 1/2 years old. Although we struggled with the choice, there wasn’t really much of a choice. We didn’t want her to suffer a surgery and what would follow. We loved her enough to let her go.

Dogs-Phoebe and Baxter

I cried almost all of the first day. The second day I was greatly improved. I only cried for half of the day. As time goes by I cry less. The good memories take up more space. There is definitely a large void in our home and our pack of dogs. Although Phoebe was a lazy hound, she had a big presence. Her favorite thing was car rides. You can see how happy she is that she and Baxter were loaded up in the car to head out for a hike. Phoebe demanded car rides. She got depressed if more than a few days went by without her getting one. Particularly if any of the other dogs got a ride and she didn’t. She would stand staring at the door waiting for us to get the hint. So she was often my passenger on the way to pick up an order of Chinese take out, or a run to the store to buy more dog food. She liked the ride to Tractor Supply for the dog food best. She was allowed to accompany me into the store to get the dog food. She was not above jumping into the cars of guests when they left their car doors open. After all any car ride is a good car ride, right?


Phoebe was a retired racer that we got from Greyhound Adoption of Ohio. She was nearly two years old when we got her which is fairly young for a rescue dog. Although we are sad that she is gone, as the tech from our vet’s office said, we were able to give her 8 1/2 really happy years.  That is a life well lived.

Therapy Dog Helpers


A big shout out to Paws N Claws Academy of Streetsboro, Ohio! They were very gracious and allowed me to conduct therapy dog testing there this past weekend.  As a result, three new dog and handler teams are certified to provide visits, and thus spread joy in our area. Above is my certified therapy dog, Shelby, who helped with testing by performing the part of the neutral dog. Good girl!

Hollie, the owner, even provided me with assistance before, during, and after testing. What a nice lady! It is a pleasure to test there. Thank you Hollie!

Hollie provides training of all kinds for dogs. Everything from group classes like agility to training that helps overly reactive dogs.

Also, a big thank you to my daughter Olivia, who is a joy to work with!

Scents of Summer


I love this time of year! Every where I go outside our house, I encounter the most wonderful scents. The peonies are my favorite. I can’t think of anything that smells better. And they are also a very showy and appealing flower. I planted four new peony bushes this year so hopefully by next summer I will have new types to show you.

                                    Roses   Roses

The roses are also coming out in full force. The scent here is wonderful too. I worried about my roses because the past two years they weren’t very impressive. That must have been due to two cold winters in a row. Last winter was more mild and the plants are blooming profusely now. I also planted a new rose bush in the spring. I don’t know if it will bloom this summer or not. If it does, I will let you know. It is a bicolor rose, red & white flowers.

    Lilacs   Lilacs

And around the other side of the house are the lilac hedges. They provide a nice screen from the road during the summer months. And more olfactory delights. I must say, life is good!

Dogs and Peonies!

Shelby and Peonies   Baxter and Peonies

Dogs and peonies. It doesn’t get any better than that. Shelby and Baxter thought it was a great honor to get to go outside with mom, one on one while the other dogs stayed in the house. It’s not often they get mom’s attention all to themselves without another dog around. And they really appreciate it.

Nikki and Peonies   Phoebe and Peonies

The other dogs, not so much. Nikki and Phoebe were puzzled as to why I would ask them to sit and stay while walking away and then pointing that camera thingy at them. We could have been sitting together and snuggling. You can see what Phoebe thinks of my idea to sit. I don’t think so she said, laying down.

Kammie and Peonies

And the photo shoot would not be complete without our foster dog Kammie. She also seemed puzzled by this new concept of sitting in front of flowers. But she aims to please so she did her best to cooperate. Kammie is a nice girl.

Dogs and peonies are two of my favorite things so I thought what could be better than combining them!