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Posts from the ‘Golden Retriever’ Category


“The moment one gives close attention to any thing, even a blade of grass it becomes a mysterious, awesome, indescribably magnificent world in itself.” – Henry Miller

Abby is six months now and getting sweeter by the day. She went to the vet today to get spay. A bit tired and worn, she came out with the cone so she wouldn’t open up the wound. It takes a while to get used to it. A few stumbles and underestimating the width of the cone, she hit a few walls. And then she figured it out.

The cone makes you look up and be aware of your surroundings to maneuver. No way to have your head down like we do staring at our phone to respond immediately to the next work email emergency or ridiculous request that’s needed “ASAP.”

Nope, when you have the cone on, you keep your head up, rapt with attention and mighty aware of all that is in right now, here in front of us.

Next invention! Cones for humans.

“I don't have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness - it's right in front of me if I'm paying attention and practicing gratitude.” – Brene Brown

“I don’t have to chase extraordinary moments to find happiness – it’s right in front of me if I’m paying attention and practicing gratitude.” – Brene Brown

Happy 5 Months

“The most wasted of all days is one without laughter.” – e. e. cummings

Abby is 5 months old today.

Puppies and babies change so much each day that we count the months rather than the years. We could all enjoy our days more if we counted each one rather than looking too far ahead or behind.

When I had to pick between two puppies three months ago, I chose Abby when she looked deeply into my eyes. She still does and melts my heart each time. From 8 to 32 pounds and almost all of her adult teeth are in, which is great for my arms. Those puppy teeth are razor sharp.

Happy 5 Month Birthday Abby and for making each day a new adventure, filled with fun and joy. Can’t ask for much more than that.

“Never, ever underestimate the importance of having fun.” – Randy Pausch

“Never, ever underestimate the importance of having fun.” – Randy Pausch

Chasing Leaves

“Now and then it's good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy.” – Guillaume Apollinaire

“Now and then it’s good to pause in our pursuit of happiness and just be happy.” – Guillaume Apollinaire

“Making the simple complicated is commonplace; making the complicated simple, awesomely simple, that’s creativity.” – Charles Mingus

As the spring tries to break the final grip of winter, a cold wind rustles the leaves free from the thawing ground. The perfect scenario to chase the floating leaves down the path. And Abby takes up the challenge to pursue each one with vigor and focus.

How simple. Mere happiness in the moment, in pure being. Plenty of leaves to chase.


“Abundance is a process of letting go; that which is empty can receive.” – Bryant H. McGill

“Appreciation is the highest form of prayer, for it acknowledges the presence of good wherever you shine the light of your thankful thoughts.” – Alan Cohen

“Appreciation is the highest form of prayer, for it acknowledges the presence of good wherever you shine the light of your thankful thoughts.” – Alan Cohen

I have to convince Abby to let go of the ball so I can throw it again. She holds it so tight as if it’s the only ball that ever existed. She is slowly figuring out that if she lets it go, play can resume.

We hold tight to many “balls” like the past, unforgiveness, regret, resentment, all at the expense of the many gifts found in the present moment, today, right now. We assume scarcity rather than accept abundance.

Your “command” for this day and going forward in your training for living a good life – “release.” Let go of the unnecessary and hold tight to the “balls” of joy, delight, laughter and most important, gratitude.

Illogical and Unreasonable

“Your success and happiness lies in you. Resolve to keep happy, and your joy and you shall form an invincible host against difficulties.” – Helen Keller

Each of us walks our own path, yet we are not alone. Sometimes the road is smooth.  Sometimes it is fraught with potholes. Most of the time, it is a bit of both. The choice that is always ours to make is our response. Often the obvious and justifiable response is frustration and complaining. The illogical and unreasonable response is joy and gratitude.

Here’s to being more illogical and unreasonable. We can all use a lot more joy and gratitude. Abby has figured it out to be sure. Joy beats frustration, paws down.

“Relax! Life is beautiful!” – David L. Wolper

“Relax! Life is beautiful!” – David L. Wolper


“Nothing is softer or more flexible than water, yet nothing can resist it.” – Lao Tzu

When we’re young, we’re agile, flexible. We bend and don’t break. Experience, time, age changes us. We become rigid, rule-following, hard as rock in our ways, leading with “no,” “can’t,” “it’s too late.” Yet we have a choice to lead with “yes,” to choose differently.

So as you enter this day, start with “yes” and follow it with several more “yeses.” Be flexible and loosen up a bit. We become more agile with practice. We become more of what we want to be with practice, actually.

Laugh more, be silly, let go of all the “shoulds,” “musts” and “have-tos.” Be like water, or like puppy Abby. Softer, flexible, irresistible.

“There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face.” – Bernard Williams

“There is no psychiatrist in the world like a puppy licking your face.” – Bernard Williams

Friendship, No Kinship

“One of the most beautiful qualities of true friendship is to understand and to be understood.” –  Lucius Annaeus Seneca

I was going to title this post friendship to talk about the bonds of friendship that we form through life, if we are wise and lucky enough. But some friends become family, they know what we are thinking and feeling, often times before we know. They understand that it’s more than enough to be present  through all that life sends our way, no words needed.

So after three very long and intense weeks at work, I looked forward to meeting Chris and Lynn for a beer at my favorite place (Urban Growler) today. They had “something” for me. A painting that they had commissioned an artist to paint of Molly and Lily from a picture on this blog. I lost both Molly and Lily a few months after my Dad in 2016. A gift beyond words, from friendship to kinship.

“There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship.” – Thomas Aquinas

“There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship.” – Thomas Aquinas

My Dad, Molly and Lily were my best friends. This painting, this gift, honors those special relationships that go well beyond words, well beyond death. If you are blessed enough to have friends who are kin, who are generous like Chris and Lynn, be grateful.

Home Again


“Happiness is a warm puppy.” – Charles M. Schulz

After a 12 hour round trip to Thief River Falls, Minnesota, Abby is home and Abby is my new home. Home is so much more than a place. Places, people (and pups), conversations, memories, moments, our true north all make up home. Often hard to put into words but clear as crystal when we arrive. Comfort, ease, acceptance, laughter, tears, connection, understanding without explanation – when we have these, we are home.


“Happiness is a warm puppy” is not merely because they are cute. That’s undisputed. It goes deeper than fun and frolic, and there’s plenty. A puppy models for us ever so brilliant humans the critical importance of play, delight, immersion in the very moment, not looking back or ahead. Puppies chase a ball with intent, purpose and focus without distraction. They move on when done to engage fully in the next moment, emptied of the past and future to be filled completely with the present.


This weekend is a homecoming for Abby and for me. We think we take care of them, but in reality, they are taking care of us. Home again, indeed. Welcome home.


The Next Chapter

“The story of life is quicker than the blink of an eye, the story of love is hello, goodbye.” – Jimi Hendrix

The story of our life, each chapter, unfolds as it should. This year, the chapters that I’ve written and that have been written for me, I do not understand right now. But each chapter builds on the next as the plot thickens and the characters that enter our story gently hold our hand and lead us deeper into our story.

For many years, I’ve shared the stories, antics and adventures of Molly my Samoyed and Lily my Golden Retriever. My parents made it in here quite a bit as well. They have been the main characters for so long that where they end and I begin is hard to separate. We define each other. Those closest to us make us our best self as they patiently hold us through our not-so-best self.

Losing Dad in April, Molly in June and Lily in October has left me wandering a bit, trying to get back to my center. As I have bided time, as we all must, I’ve have accepted my “new” normal and continue on. And while it often seems like forever, we do heal, we do become whole again in a different way.

And now the next chapter.  Abby, a sweet golden retriever who will be joining my family on December 16th. As we mark our days of loss, we must also mark our days of joy and anticipation. And joy is so much sweeter when we’ve been on the other side.

“If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, on where you stop your story.” – Orson Welles

“If you want a happy ending, that depends, of course, on where you stop your story.” – Orson Welles

Abby follows a long line of best friends who have come before to shape me with their canine wisdom and unconditional love, making me a better human. Greta, Misha, Elly, Molly, Lily – my characters that have come before remain in my story even today. No one or nothing that ever comes before is ever truly gone. The best of them remain in us. Abby joins a line of wonderful characters and she will be her own unique character, bringing all new adventures and creating the next chapter.

Our life is not one word, one line, one page, one chapter. It is woven together to make up a composition. Keep writing your story and allow others to write on the pages as well. The final chapter will come all too soon, so enjoy today’s page and cast light.

Mark This Day

“There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love.” – Washington Irving

I need to mark this day. A day of loss and one of deep gratitude as well – often what life is made of – a mix of both.  So many of the good lessons I’ve learned over the years have come from Lily. My funny, goofy best friend who always knew how to brighten a room with her levity and capacity for sheer delight.

After over a month struggling with an auto-immune disease, I needed to make a choice for her today, not me. Even after two blood transfusions, multiple tests and over eight medications, she wasn’t bouncing to her natural state of joy. As soon as she generated blood red cells, they were destroyed. After her second transfusion on Sunday, her red blood count dropped to half where it should be at a minimum. She wasn’t who she was and she was suffering.

It’s never easy to make the decision to say goodbye to a loyal and loving friend, but when you see the relief in her eyes as the pain releases from her body, you know it’s the right decision. She was only six years old and was still heartbroken over losing Molly in June and Dad in April. We were making our way, marking our days together, mending each other’s heart.


Mark your days – each and every one – the good ones and the oh so difficult ones. And know underneath someone else’s distant or distracted nature, something very difficult may be going on in their life and most likely is. It happens to all of us to be sure. Be kind and compassionate especially if you don’t feel like it. And remember that we don’t have forever, so start enjoying your life today.

Lily showed me unconditional love, how to lighten up and how to greet others – with wide open eyes, boundless energy and an unending smile. And, if necessary, gently holding your arm in her mouth.

Safe travels to heaven Lily and give Molly and Dad a big hug from me. You’ll be sure to make your mark there like you did on my life here. Thank you love.


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