December 20, 2016

Shepherds Keeping Watch

Since we have our own little shepherd (mix), I wanted to do a shepherd-themed card this year, and this is what I came up with:
Shepherds Keeping Watch...

December 13, 2016

Good Fences Make Good Neighbors

I thought of the phrase "good fences make good neighbors"** when I took this photo of Rita checking out a neighbor's hens.

December 8, 2016

December Dog Photo Challenge - Plus Bloopers!

Rita and I decided to join Spencer the Goldendoodle's December Dog Photo Challenge for a fun way to be inspired this month with our photos that we post on Instagram and Facebook. (It's not too late to join! Check out the link to Spencer's page and join us!)

I thought I'd share some of the bloopers today! (We always have many since Rita isn't in love with getting her picture taken. And, wow, I can't believe how long it's been since I posted twice in one week! I'm really enjoying my new once/week schedule, but I wanted to share this before December was half over!)

The other day, the word was SWEATER. With Rita's thick coat + our San Diego weather, she's not a sweater girl, so instead I had her pose with #bearsinsweaters. I got this adorable photo:

December 6, 2016

Easy Xmas Craft: Scrabble Tile Ornaments

If you've been a blog reader for a while, you know my sisters and I get together every now and then for what we call "forced crafting." (It's like a forced march - you will participate. And you will enjoy it, dammit.)

You might also remember the last time we did a Scrabble tile craft, it involved dogs (we made pendants for necklaces and earrings):
Remember these guys?

November 29, 2016

Forget Puss in Boots; It's Pup in Socks!

My niece is a graphic artist (okay, technically she brands herself as a "professional weirdo"). Here we are snap-chatting at her wedding earlier this year. (I do not snap-chat, but my niece does and of course, knowing me as she does, she knew the dog filter would be the most appropriate.)

November 15, 2016

A Dog-Less Road Trip - But Not Totally

Remember I posted recently about Rita's car anxiety and the triple-whammy I was going to try to use on her for our upcoming road trip? Well, I didn't have to triple-whammy her, because at the last minute things worked out for her to stay and play with Reg. (Yay! She loves Reg and hadn't seen him in a while!)
Reg & Rita - Reunited!

November 8, 2016

Running Negative Splits With the Dog

If you don't run or swim competitively, you might not know what negative splits are. (No, they're not banana splits minus the banana.) A negative split is when you try to complete the second half of your workout/race in less time than it took to do the first half.

Normally, you're nice and fresh for the first half, so that's your faster half - but not if you run with Rita. Rita always seems to want to run a negative split.
My adorable running partner. (Note the sandy nose.)

November 1, 2016

Is There a Dog-Lover Gene?

I think there must be a dog-lover gene. I have no scientific evidence, but I do have photographic evidence!

I give you... me with our pup Bailey* (many moons ago)...

October 25, 2016

When Car Rides Turn Scary - Pups with Anxiety

Rita is great about riding in the car - at least when we're just running errands. She hops in the back seat, raring to go, and never tries to come up front. In fact, I've left an open bag of treats in the front seat when I run into the store for something quick, and she's still just sitting quietly in the back when I return.

But lately, when we go on road trips, she gets worse and worse anxiety each time. Here she is hiding under the bed we put in the backseat to keep her comfy:
"The evil things won't find me under here!"

October 18, 2016

Furry Ninja: Is My Pet Trying To Kill Me?

This seemingly innocent fuzzy-faced pup tried to kill me a couple of weeks ago.
So cute. So innocent looking. But a silent killer lurks within....

October 11, 2016

Q&A with Author Barbara Techel - "Wisdom Found in the Pause"

Some of you may already know my guest today, or you might remember her previous visit to Pooch Smooches (especially since it was a very memorable post called "Poop Happens"). Please welcome author and all-around lovely person, Barbara Techel!

Barbara has a new book out called "Wisdom Found in the Pause: Joie's Gift." It's available on Amazon as an e-book or paperback.

Today I'm interviewing Barbara, and you can find my review at the end of the post!
Barbara & her special-needs pup, Joie

October 4, 2016

You Can't Beat a Beach Vaca With Your Furry Buddy!

As you guys know, we took a week off from the blog a couple of weeks ago to celebrate our 20th anniversary. To celebrate, we traveled up the coast with Rita to Los Olivos and Cambria in central California.

Rita is still getting really stressed in the car (probably a subject for another post) so she was exhausted after our drive to Los Olivos. She collapsed on top of her squeaky chipmunk.

September 27, 2016

Feeling Hot Hot Hot

I love the fall. It's my favorite season! ...except in San Diego when we have the worst heat of the year. Like now. Bleh.

Actually, by the time it's really Wordless Wednesday, we're supposed to have cooled off a lot, but the last few days have been miserable. It's bad enough to have the post-vaca blues, but post-vaca blues + a heat wave is really no fun!

September 13, 2016

Wordless Wednesday: Happy Feet

I wanted to use this photo for today's post, but didn't know what to say about it, so I Googled "feet quotes." Because, hey, there are quotes about everything, right?, so why not feet.

I really liked the first one that came up!

September 6, 2016

Don't Forget: Remember Me Thursday® on 9/22

According to the The Humane Society, only 30% of pets in US households come from rescue facilities. And there are huge numbers of pets out there just waiting for their forever home. That's why Helen Woodward Animal Center (where I volunteer every Monday) started Remember Me Thursday®, which takes place this year on September 22.

Remember Me Thursday® is a global awareness campaign advocating for orphan pets to live in forever homes, not die waiting for them. The goal is to "shine a light on all orphan pets waiting in shelters and rescues right now."

August 30, 2016

Life's a Beach - Part Deux

I used to have a long-sleeved, pink "Life's a Beach" T-shirt when I was in college. I LOVED that shirt and wore it constantly. Then someone stole it out of the dryer in the dorm laundry room. (People suck sometimes.) Anyway, I've lived the vast majority of my life near a beach and I've always loved that phrase.

When I wrote the title for this post (it started as just "Life's a Beach), I wondered if I'd already used that title, given my love of the phrase. Turns out I did... over 4 years ago - and it was a sad post. It was just a few days before our girl, Abby, died and we knew the end was imminent. Hence the "part deux" in the title. (I'm all sniffly now from re-reading that old post, so let's get on to some fun beach pics of me and Rita...)

Life's a beach, part deux is all about the smiles!

We'd only been at the beach like one minute, and her nose already had sand on it.

August 23, 2016

Yeah... Pretty Much...

I'm a pretty easy-to-please person. It doesn't take much to make me a happy camper. One of the things I really love is just hanging out with my pooch and loving on her.

August 16, 2016

A Super Scary Thing At Our House

Every once in a while, Rita freaks out over a new thing in the house, which she decides is super scary.

A while back, it was this tiki man.
I guess he is a little scary.

August 2, 2016

A Post About A Different Kind of Dog

While we were on our recent road trip to South Dakota, my sisters and I saw a lot of prairie dogs! And, heck, I'm always looking for blog fodder, so today I'm writing about a different kind of "dog."

We first encountered prairie dogs at the Lewis & Clark Interpretive and Keelboat Visitor Center (and rest stop!) in Chamberlain, South Dakota.

There were prairie dogs cut out of metal sheeting...

July 26, 2016

Road Trip! SD to SD

As I mentioned last week, my siblings, my one sis-in-law, and I all met up in Oacoma, South Dakota to bury my mom beside my dad's ashes. Two of my sisters and I drove - from San Diego to South Dakota - in two days, which seemed like a bad idea on the start of day two, but we had a lot of stuff to bring!

On the whole trip, this was the only dog I got to love on - a carved wooden dog.

July 12, 2016

Who's The Top Dog?

Birthday Donations Update: I wanted to thank everyone who wished Rita a happy birthday the other day. I'd said I'd donate $1 to Baja Animal Sanctuary (where Rita came from) for every comment. Well, I decided to include my replies to everyone's comments, which put the tally at 98. Woot! I rounded up to $100 and sent a check off to BAS, so thanks everypawdy!

Now back to our regularly scheduled post...

Frequent readers will remember Rita's cousin Reggie came to stay with us for two weeks last month.

While organizing the gazillion photos I took while he was here, I noticed these two similar shots from different days:

July 5, 2016

"Scout"ing Out Some Fun Over The Fourth

Hope all our American readers had a lovely long weekend! And hope your pups weren't too upset about the fireworks!
A patriotic pup with red, white, and blue flowers

June 28, 2016

Dog On A Log In The Fog, Post-Jog

Okay, not really "foggy" but "marine layer" doesn't rhyme.

Are you impressed with my wordlessness?!

Can you come up with more "og" words? I'm all agog to see if you can!

June 21, 2016

Wish Rita a Happy Bday; Help a Dog in Need!

Last Thursday* was Rita's fifth birthday. To celebrate, for every person who comments wishing her a happy birthday we'll donate $1** to Baja Animal Sanctuary, the rescue in Mexico where we got Rita.

We've been celebrating Rita's b-day all week, culminating with today's donation-fest. It's what my friends and I always call a "Hanukkah Birthday." (What would be really great would be a "Ramadan Birthday"!) Hmmm. Just remembered Hanukkah is 8 days, and we're only celebrating Rita for 7 days. Guess this is technically her "Hanukkah -1 Birthday."

On her actual bday, we went to the beach:

June 14, 2016

What's On The Telly? Dog Don't Care; He Watches It All

As you know, Reg stayed with us for two weeks recently.

Man, that dog watches a lot of TV! He loves everything - dramas, dancing, sports, cartoons, the news... even commercials.

Here he is watching Peaky Blinders. Not sure if he could understand their heavy Irish accents or not. We certainly can't, so we turn on the captions, so maybe he was paying such close attention because he had to read along like we do.

June 7, 2016

The Opposite of Bitey-Face

Last week I shared a lot of bitey-face photos, which is mostly what's been going on around here since Reg came to stay with us for two weeks. This week I thought I'd share the opposite of bitey-face: the much-less-often-captured-but-just-as-cute Snuggle Sessions. (Note: sessions are generally brief since Rita ain't much of a snuggler.)

This is Rita's spot on the sofa - the corner of it beside me. Reg would often insert himself between the two of us. Here he is, resting his head on Rita's haunch. (Say it with me: "Awwww.")

May 24, 2016

Pics To Make You Wanna Go To Maui. Like, Now.

Last week I told you about Rita's adventures at the gulag spa while the hubs and I were in Maui. Today I thought I'd share some pics from our trip.

We love Maui and have been several times as it's a not-tooooo-long, non-stop flight from San Diego. And it's so relaxing there!

Here is the view from the lanai at the condo we rented. (If the view alone doesn't make you relax, doesn't the word lanai? So much more serene sounding than balcony.)

May 17, 2016

We're Worriers. So, Yeah, We Asked for Proof of Life

I took a blogging break last week because we went to Maui for vacation. If we go somewhere that Rita can't join us, she stays with my sis, brother-in-law, and Reggie. She loves them all and they take great care of her, so we have no worries.

Except when we do worry... Which is often for me.

I can't help it - I've always been a worrier and I always will be one. I have this very terrible habit of always imagining the worst - not because I really think that's going to happen, but because I have to let my mind go there for a minute, just to see what the "worst" might be.

So, off we went last Saturday to Maui, secure in the knowledge that Rita would be well taken care of. I snapped this pic as we were leaving. As you can see, Rita looks completely unconcerned about this!
"Oh, you're leaving? Oh. Okay. Whatevs. See ya'!"

May 3, 2016

Making Our Walking Routine Less Routine

I/we take Rita for a walk pretty much every single morning. We have a lovely 'hood, with lots of different routes that we can take, but still... sometimes you need a change.

So, lately - maybe once every other week - Rita and I hop in the car and drive down to the next 'hood. It's fun because Rita gets to sniff new things, and I get to see new things. (And, since I started running again recently, it's especially good since it's flat, while our 'hood is super hilly!)

Sometimes I find pretty new places to pose Rita...

April 26, 2016

The Fur Flew, But Everyone Was Happy

Rita doesn't like to get brushed. (I don't understand why. The Kong "Zoom Groom" we use looks as if it would feel like a massage. Plus you end up cooler and lighter afterward. What's not to like??)

Sometimes the hubs brings the brush along on walks, so he can quickly sneak in two or three strokes when she stops to sniff something. But this weekend, she was completely distracted by a lizard in the bushes, so he went to work on her!

April 12, 2016

Why I Do Laundry When It Rains

Last Friday, it rained all day. And I spent most of the day doing laundry. It took me a while to remember why I'm so conditioned to think rain = laundry: It's because we lived in Bermuda for 7 years.

Did I ever tell y'all that? I don't think I did, so today I'll share a little bit about Bermuda life. Don't worry - there will be dog pics. (Apologies though: I didn't have a great camera back then, and the images here are snapped with my phone from my photo album. There are some lovely photos of Bermuda on their tourism Pinterest page.)

There are many interesting things about Bermuda, but today I'm focusing on the roofs. Yes, the roofs. They're very pretty - a nice, crisp white, which looks lovely against the greenery of the island and the bright colors of the houses themselves.
Pastel-colored house, white roof, lush landscape? Yep, that's Bermuda!

April 5, 2016

A Doggy and a Foggy Beach

Certain beaches here in San Diego let you bring your leashed dog in the morning or early evening. Because we are lazy (that includes Rita!) we often don't get up early enough to get to the beach and still have plenty of time for a good walk, but today we managed to get up and at 'em early.

It was really foggy today so I thought about skipping it, but we went for it.

March 29, 2016

A Dog Named Trixie

If you've been around the blog a while, you know my mom passed away in December. While going through her things, my one sister found 9 letters that my dad had sent to his parents during WWII.

March 15, 2016

It Didn't Change My Life, But It Does Spark Joy

I confess, I haven't been writing lately. I've got a book over half done, but it doesn't "spark joy" at the moment.

So, what have I been doing? Well, I spent weeks "Kondo'ing" my house.
My Kondo'd T-shirts

February 23, 2016

Old Snow Is Better Than None - Taking the Dog In Search of Winter

Last week we went to Flagstaff for a little vacation, in search of snow since Rita had never seen it before. Unfortunately, it ended up being really warm, which was nice, except that it was too thawed for any showshoeing, but not thawed enough for hiking. Bummer!

We attempted one very muddy hike in Flag in the trails behind Buffalo Park. (Buffalo Park is a nice spot to walk your on-leash dog, with a nice flat loop trail. At the back of the park, there's also a connection to a much more elaborate trail system. But it was too muddy to go very far when we were there.)

Here are Rita and the hubs in the park, with the arrow pointing out the only "real" snow in the background.

February 16, 2016

Wordless Wednesday: Workin' It

Rita is really good at looking like she hasn't eaten in three days when you are smacking out on something she wants a bite of. (Note how she sucks in her cheeks.)

February 9, 2016

I Met My Furry Muse!

If you've been around the blog a while, you might remember I posted this picture last year of our family friends' Labradoodle, Annie, the real life inspiration for Marie, the fuzzy heroine of my third novel, House Trained.
Photo credit: Annie's mom

January 26, 2016

January 19, 2016

Ain't No Party Like a Puppy Party

The other day if you've liked my author page or we're friends on Facebook, you might have seen this pic of me with two cute puppies and a sweet old golden in the background. If so, did you wonder who those pups are?

January 12, 2016

Rita: Nutty About Chew

I wanted to share a couple of cute pics and a funny video from Christmas and figured I better get on it! Christmas already seems so long ago. (Although our neighbors are still turning their Christmas lights on every night...)

Anyway, here's Rita opening her gifts. Do you wrap presents and let your pup(s) open them?

January 7, 2016

See Beautiful: Beauty's All Around on a Hike

Belated Happy New Year!

I must admit - I've lost my blogging mojo (hopefully I'll find it since I'm in the middle of a big spring-cleaning binge), but I promised last month when I shared our Sedona/javelina adventures that I'd share some of the other pics I took if I remembered the See Beautiful hop.

And I actually remembered!

It's hard not to "see beautiful" when you're out on a hike with this scenery:

But I thought I'd share some of the other beauty on the trail - all the different trees and plants.