Walk This Way

Everyone familiar with dogs knows that they’re creatures of habit. They know when it’s time to be fed, they know when it’s bedtime, and they know every turn on their daily walk. If you try to stray from this routine, they will happily remind you of your mistake. When it comes to feeding time and bedtime A.J. is no exception. But walking, well, let’s just say A.J. has a mind of his own. Continue reading “Walk This Way”

Eye Drops

Three weeks into the new year and we found ourselves in the vet’s office once again.

After a beautiful week of snow, it was finally starting to melt. The off-leash park where A.J. likes to run had turned into a lake as rain came down and a foot of snow started to melt. What little grass is left in the yard began to show through. A.J. was once again coming home from walks covered in mud. Everything was a wet, soggy mess. In other words: business as usual in Portland, Oregon. Continue reading “Eye Drops”

An Icy Day

I awoke early this morning to the sound of howling winds. I knew it was very cold outside, and, being Saturday, I decided to go back to sleep.

A couple of hours later I again awoke. My husband was by my side, my dog at my feet – and the wind was still howling. But it was time to get up. Continue reading “An Icy Day”

Christmas IV

Another holiday season has come and gone. Let’s take a look back at our previous holidays with A.J.:

So you would expect, being all grown up, that our holidays would continue to go smoothly. But this is A.J. we’re talking about. Continue reading “Christmas IV”



We found a new place to board A.J. It’s a kennel without kennels. They call it “cage-free boarding.” It’s a place where dozens of dogs who get to spend all day and all night together. At night the dogs go into a big room lined with beds that they all share. Due to our “no dogs on the furniture” rule, A.J. has never had to share his bed. He has several dog beds and blankets, and they’re all his.

Because of this, when we were looking at boarding A.J. where he was going to be sharing a bed with a lot of dogs, we were (okay, I was) a little concerned he’d have trouble. Without my even asking, Greg repeatedly told me he didn’t care if A.J. slept on our bed. So I finally decided – to prepare him to share – A.J. could start sleeping on our bed with us. Continue reading “Bedtime”


There are several parks within easy walking distance of our house that have off-leash dog areas. This being Portland, that means the entire parks are off-leash. This is very lucky for us, because the official off-leash area is a big empty space where you’re supposed to throw a ball for your dog to chase and bring back. This is of absolutely no interest to A.J. He prefers to be out among the trees sniffing around and chasing squirrels. So he runs through the entire park doing just that.

When I go there and let him off leash, he runs off and does his sniffing and chasing. I then look longingly at the groups of people standing around talking while their dogs mill around them, occasionally chasing the tennis balls that are thrown for them. I think “Wouldn’t it be nice to just be able to throw the ball for him, have him bring it back, and stick near me?” But I have a crazy dog who just runs around on his own.

But then I was reminded: Sometimes you just have to look at things the right way to appreciate what you have.

Twice within one day I had people walk up to me and say “How nice to have a self-exercising dog!” And they’re right! I can just stand in place, and A.J. will run himself ragged. I don’t have to throw anything. I don’t have to walk around with him to get him to move. I just have to watch him and he takes care of the rest.

What a great dog!


Home Improvement Help

When I bought my first house it came with a tiny patch of grass in the front yard, and the rest of the yard was all rocks. We spent months putting in a fence, terracing, and a yard. We then spent several more years putting in a deck and a ton of plants. We were very proud of what we had accomplished, but I swore I’d never take on a big yard project ever again. I’m now on my third. Continue reading “Home Improvement Help”

Happy 3 Year Adoption Day

Happy Adoption Day!! Three years ago today, after months of searching for exactly the right dog to fit into our lifestyle, I brought home exactly the wrong dog. And I don’t know what I’d do without him.

  • Who would follow me around the house?
  • Who would rest their chin on the bed and stare at me at 5 o’clock the morning?
  • Who would make a dirty, hairy mess out of the house?
  • Who would provide endless entertainment?
  • Who would introduce me to strangers?

Who else could possibly be my boy?

Happy 3rd Adoption Day (and 4th Birthday) to A.J.!

AJ playing in the park
A.J. celebrates his birthday by chasing squirrels in the park.