Monday, August 29, 2011


I just witnessed a peaceful exchange of goods done with grace and style.  It was unmatched diplomacy that made my jaw drop.  I wasn't watching CNN or some historical documentary.  I was in my living room watching the girls play.

Arwen has taken a fancy to Blue Bear, a fairly new toy that looks like a gummi bear that I bought for Nyxie a few months ago.  It's since become forgotten in the toy basket, abandoned for stuffies and tennis balls that are Nyxie's favorites.  One day, Arwen walked over to the toy basket (odd enough for her), rummaged through, and plucked Blue Bear out, prancing away with him in her mouth.  Arwen has been a loyal Orange Ball fanatic for years.  On that day, for whatever reason, Blue Bear caught her attention.  Maybe she'd been pining away secretly for Blue Bear, but I doubt it.  What Arwen wants, she demands.

This morning while drafting an entirely different post, I was watched the girls gnawing on each other, like they do most mornings we're home alone.  Suddenly, Nyxie picked up Blue Bear (that Arwen had been chewing earlier) and settled in to play.  I got a bit leery here, thinking Arwen might become territorial.  She walked over towards Nyxie and watched her sideways.  Nyxie stood, letting go of Blue Bear but still standing in front of him.  The girls exchanged some bitey face, sniffed at each other's hind ends, and Nyxie slowly (not nervously) walked past Blue Bear.  Arwen reached down and picked him up, chewing contentedly.

I sat mesmerized at the ease with which this happened.  Many of you know how large and in-charge Arwen can be, dominating most "disagreements" with an icy look.  What I witnessed was pure magic.  They spoke volumes of respect and affection without a single word.  Flawless, successful communication.  It was beautiful.    Now I know this happens repeatedly on a daily basis - 2 dogs sharing the same resources and coexisting gracefully - but it was too elegant not to share with you.

Oh, the lessons they can teach us if we're just paying attention!

I've continued the Tick series  - this time about Ehrlichia - on The Examiner Dallas.  You can read about it here.  

Also, a quick story look at blood work and blood draws at the vet why vet from Hello Dallas - "Are Veterinarians Undercover Vampies?"  

Thanks for reading!  I have a few new items on my Etsy shop also.  T has decided to make some goodies so she can eventually have enough to buy a car when she's ready to drive.  I'm so proud of her!  You can see her items here (under the subheading "Indentured Child Labor" - that kid cracks me up!)

Sunday, August 21, 2011

A World Without Dogs?

Last night, we watched a movie, "Priest" about a diesel-punk apocalyptic world of vampires monsters and the priest/ninjas that fight them and keep this futuristic world safe.  Not your average fare, but as I've said before, our family is all about things that "go bump in the night", vampires, zombies and the like.  And I'm a Paul Bettany fan, so it worked out doubly in my favor.

About halfway through the movie, Nyxie climbed across the couch, and curled her 70 lb body into the crook of my own. I was lying on my side, head propped on some pillows and legs curled forward.  She wanted to spoon with me!  There wasn't a ton of space, but this is where she wanted to be. I slowed my breathing and made more room for her, aware of the unspoken closeness with such a wonderful creature.  It's not rare for her to cuddle with me, but I never take these moments for granted.  They're the ones that really count.

Some time later, Matt opened the freezer, breaking the spell.  The freezer opening is the great Ice Bell - no matter where the dogs are, they come bounding into the kitchen for an ice cube.  (And with that, they have conditioned us to offer them an ice cube each time - they are wonderful trainers!)

After the movie, Matt observed that there wasn't a single dog in the movie.
He laughed,  "People wouldn't live anywhere where there weren't any dogs..."


Saturday, August 13, 2011

Fridge of Love

My friend recently gave me a thank you card for a birthday present we gave her son.  It was a thoughtful gesture that showed not only excellent manners, but appreciation.  What was even more wonderful was the surprise of opening the envelope to find a picture of the birthday boy himself!  I think I'm pretty new to this picture sharing tradition, but I love it.

Fridge of Love - feels good waking up to this!
My refrigerator is covered in pictures of T, fun magnets and many pictures of our friends' children.  There's enough pictures of our friends' kids for a beautiful wall collage.  I love these pictures of smiling kids - in graduation dress, tiny bathing suits, halloween costumes, and Christmas finery.  I feel like I'm connected to them on a daily basis in this great big web of friendship.  The families of these kids represent the relationships that span time and space, the many wonderful people whose lives have intersected mine.

That's a ton of babies!
So with that heartfelt statement, I have to share a second story.  Last night, Matt was putting away dinner and glanced at the fridge door.

"Whoa!  Who the hell are all these kids?!"

If you know Matt, you know that this was a benign, yet completely honest statement.  I'm always the one that opens mail and receives the letters from away.  Had he opened an envelope with a photo inside, he would have handed it to me since I'm the "Lore Keeper".  So it comes as little surprise that he was oblivious to the pictures going up on the fridge door.  But I still laughed so hard I cried.
When I recovered, I started thinking about all the 4-legged kids I know from all the amazing families I'm connected with both offline and online.  But no body ever sends us any pictures of their dogs!  I thought of all those happy faces and realized I wanted to add them to my daily web.  So I ask you, friends both in Blogville and beyond, to send me your doggie pics!  I'll make a collage of them to share with you - I'm hoping to need a bigger fridge...

Please forward pics to  I can't wait to see all my 4-legged friends!

In other business:
I've just joined Twitter as "foleygrace" and you can follow me using the button on the top right of this blog page.  I'd love to follow you, too if you're on "the Twitter".

My newest article for The Examiner Dallas is the 1st in a series on ticks.  It's everything you should know about them but were too grossed out to really ask.  Please comment, follow, "Like", or Tweet.  Every click and follower is a tiny bit of money for me!  (That translates into lots of food and toys for the girls)  Also, please let me know if you'd be interested in writing for your local Examiner - it's an easy way to earn a bit of cash.

My newest article for Hello Dallas gives a local pet food drive for seniors the spotlight,  Maybe you could spearhead a pet food drive in your area?

Friday, August 5, 2011

Doing the Day

Morning smooches

I overheard a friend talking on the phone to her boyfriend before work one day this past month.  I know you all are thinking I was eavesdropping, but I wasn't doing so intentionally.  Really.  I was just in the same small room and I can't exactly close my ears.  Regardless, she was saying goodbye to him and told him,

"I've got to go, Babe.  I've got to go do this day"

While I never said anything to her (Sarah - you know this is you if you're reading this) that day, her words have rung in my head like a tolling church bell in a cathedral tower.  What a statement!  It wasn't a whiny complaint about trudging through another monotonous day.  It wasn't a complaint at all.  It was a statement of intent and purpose. I was impressed with her sense of purpose and engagement.

Arwen and Nyxie do every day.  They don't crawl out of bed, struggling to shake sleep and dreading the day's events.  They meet each morning like an old friend.  They wake and are ready to dive into the day.  I suspect that they're also quite interested in me making breakfast, but that's another matter altogether.

Maybe dogs are just happy to have made it through the long dark of night as a pack - all the members safe for another day of hunting and community.  We'll never truly know, but I do know the girls are what you'd consider "morning people".  They do their dogya stretches then prance about with tails wagging, giving kisses to all who'll receive them.  This seems like the right way of going about things, even if I don't have a tail to wag.

Please check out my article on canine heat stroke - how to recognize and handle it.

Also, please check out my latest HelloDallas article where I advocate for folks to bring in their outdoor dogs, poor kiddos...

Monday, August 1, 2011


Dogs have muchness. Pluck. Passion. Joie de vie! That depth of feeling found in puppies and children is never totally extinguished with age and experience in our dogs. Although an old dog may not hop up at every sound or human movement, they are still eager to go for a walk and enjoy a delicious yummy when the occasion arises. When they stop doing these things, we tend to get nervous.

"Something's wrong with Fido, he's just not acting right" .  That's usually when dogs end up at the vet.

Where does this ability to live in the moment come from? Some might say ignorance. Others would attribute it to simply instinctual behaviors, nothing more complex. But as we all know, there's no joy like the joy of a dog.  No playtime as fervent, no loyalty as passionate, or no food more enticing (than our own) to a dog. If we watch them do their doggie thing, they are fully there. Present. Engaged. Giving their all.

I find it tough to do this. It's a constant struggle, a conscious effort. What's the reward?
Muchness. In all things and not looking back with regrets or shame.

A few months ago we had a lost pup wander into the clinic, muddy and tired from what was surely an ill-conceived attempt to run away during a thunderstorm. The poor kid was shaking and tired; nerves fried from her ordeal. It was still early in the morning but we called the # on her collar. Mom said she'd be on her way. Without thinking, I grabbed some shampoo and towels and began to wash the poor dog. She was small, and stood on her hind legs to sniff me as I washed the dirt and worry away. She was safe. The storm was over and she licked my face. I was a stranger to her, just living in the moment, doing one good thing for its own sake, and loving every minute of it.  I felt just like a dog.

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