A beautiful expression of hope and comfort in Newtown, courtesy of our canine friends


It’s been a horrendous week, in fact a horrendous year. As a mother of a 1st and 3rd grader trying to explain what happened last week is impossible. And shouldn’t be necessary. And things were made even worse on Monday when our school was on lockdown for two hours due to a break-in. But I saw a story that brought me so much hope I wanted to share.

We are the proud, and sometimes angry, family to a rambunctious Golden Retriever named Rudolph who will turn 4 on Christmas Eve (hence the name Rudolph). We switch between yelling at him for eating unmentionable items and loving him so deeply it hurts. Well, we aren’t alone.

This week, a group of Golden Retrievers made the 800 mile trek from Chicago to Newtown, Connecticut to bring comfort. That’s it. Just to bring comfort. Because you can’t see an adorable dog looking at you, begging to be pet, and not rush over and smile. And kids more than anyone adore dogs and will accept the gesture of love and hope without question. No judgment, just pure love.

This week has been one of the saddest in our country’s history. But I am so proud to see our animal friends stepping up to the plate and bringing even the smallest amount of comfort to those who need it the most.

I just hope, as human beings, we’ll be able to do the same.


Behold the power of dog hugs!

This week we celebrated Valentine’s Day with our loved ones, but it was also a time to remember loved ones who are no longer here. A close friend lost her beloved golden retriever this week and as we talked and laughed and cried together, I kept thinking how cruel it is that pets live such short lives, but also how LUCKY we are to share them. She, like I, was head over heels for our dogs and often regarded as “crazy” by our friends and family. In a good way I hope 🙂 But we both know that the pure unconditional love you share with special pets is so powerful. I don’t feel embarrassed, in fact, I feel sorry that some people will never experience this type of love. Because it is simple and uncomplicated and something we all deserve and need.

As we age, we are losing so many dear friends that sometimes it’s overwhelming. It’s like a clock is ticking and we know we will be next. It’s unavoidable. And we don’t always see eye to eye with our relatives, sometimes there are so many mixed feelings we have to reconcile at the end of life. But our pets are always just there, not judging us, not staying mad at us, never ignoring us, just loving us. How special that relationship is, and for me, as I struggle with aging parents, I am ever thankful that I have had and will always have a furry dog to hug.

And hugging a dog can be true therapy. As you can tell by the photo of my oldest son, I am (hopefully) passing on the dog hugging gene to my boys 🙂 Because they will need it too. During one of the most painful times in my life when I lost a close friend to a car accident at a very young age, I remember feeling like life was spinning out of control. It was my first time dealing with death and I was in shock. We were all grieving at my friend’s house and so was their family dog. I remember this little dog gingerly walking up to me and bowing her head and it dawned on me that she also needed a hug. That hug meant the world to me and now I don’t hesitate to grab my dogs when I need a hug. Of course I grab my kids and husband as well so don’t think I’m ignoring them! But sometimes it’s nice to huge someone without having to explain, without having to go into details, to just feel that love. Because your dog will always give it back to you. (Well, assuming you treat it with respect and dignity of course.)

This past week I was awakened at 2am to clean up vomit – yes once again Rudy ate something hard and plastic – and I was irritated and cranky and couldn’t get back to sleep. But then the next day I’m reminded how fragile life is. For all the hassle and cleanups, it’s truly a small price to pay for the love I get in return.

Now go hug those doggies 🙂

Who knew my golden retriever had a thing for lavender soap???

  Ever since our golden retriever – Rudolph – was a puppy he has gotten into trouble.  Here he is pretending to be a human child sitting in my son’s booster seat.  He looks so innocent 🙂 Brief history of his problem:  At age 3 months he had an endoscopy for swallowing whole a hot pink rubber centipede that he found in my son’s room.  The problem is our doors do not shut well in this house so it is so hard to keep him away from things he shouldn’t chew, although believe me we try our best.  Now at age 2 he can push open any door in the house with his nose, including our glass shower door which swings in and out.  So he is never left alone in the house, but he somehow manages to slink away when we’re here and find something new, something unpredictable to chew on.

Last winter it was bike seats.  Yes, he ATE my boys’ bike seats while still on the bike.  Again, our fault, we left our bikes out under our porch during the winter since we don’t have a garage.  He and my Siberian husky enjoy our fenced in yard a lot while we’re at work or away since we can’t leave them in the house or he’ll chew something.  So now outside has to be kept free of toys as well.  Impossible to do with 5 and 7 year old boys! 

Fast forward to a few weeks ago.  I find my new bar of lavender soap on my bedroom floor with tooth marks.  No dog in sight.  Since it was brand new I just decided to wash it off and put it back in the shower.  Two days later it’s gone.  My husband thought I threw it away, but nope.  Later when we relayed this story to our friends over a few glasses of wine, Rudolph actually entered the family room and dropped a NEW bar of soap on the floor in front of us just as we were telling the story.  SO is he brilliant and knew what we were saying?!  He obviously was turning himself in.  Guess he wasn’t too afraid of receiving any punishment.  (He does sleep on our bed so may be a tad spoiled.)   

Then again this week the soap disappears AGAIN.  Ugh!  Checked in with vet and there is no harm to him – he has been unphased with absolutely no evidence of stomach upset or digestive issues.  Luckily we buy all natural soaps so there shouldn’t be too many chemicals in them. 

So my question of the day is – what type of soap will he find unappealing????!!!  And what’s the next item that I could never predict that he will chew???