gratitude-a-thon day 2036: riley is 10. you should get a dog.


Today my dog is 10. I talked to him about this and I tried not to, but I cried.

I cried because I can’t actually imagine my life without this dog and I know he won’t likely live as long as I will. I nuzzled him and told him how darn much I loved him and that I hoped he’d had a good life so far. He didn’t answer, but he did purr. He purrs like a cat to tell me when he’s particularly happy. I always think his purring is pre-verbal and he will talk some one of these days.

This is the thing about Riley and me: I talk and talk to him, but he never talks back. He has particular barks. He has an “I need water bark,” an I have to pee, stat,” bark, “I’m about to poop on the rug” bark, a “play with me,” an “I’m starving,” and a “the mailman’s here and I’m going to tear him from limb to limb if he gets near the front door” bark. But he never speaks to me, and yet I totally understand him. Sometimes better than people who speak English to me. I don’t know, but that’s how it is. And this is why I love him so much and also because he’s really funny and well, I love funny.

I am so grateful that 10 years ago a dad in Coolidge Corner was allergic to a little puppy he flew in for his family from a breeder in Minneapolis. Turned out that Riley was more Cavalier King Charles Spaniel than Bichon, so his hypoallergenic-ness was a no-go. But that’s how we found our boy. It was meant to be. Because I can tell you, we were made for each other. If you don’t have a dog, I can’t recommend it enough. They make you a better person, and they are full of absolutely pure love.






gratitude-a-thon day 358: right in your own backyard: spontaneous sunday

If Riley could talk (and I’m sure he will very soon), he would have said, “This is fucking great. How come we’ve never been HERE before?” He loved this walk. Me too.
Lake Waban. This place is special
This was a serious Dr. Seuss moment. Did he go to Wellesly?

Don’t you love when you wake up on a Sunday without plans and then one magically materializes, and it winds up being complete perfection? Like if you tried to plan it, it never would have come off right, but because it just happened, it was exactly right in every way. Enter Facebook, and a blog post on Rhode Island, and my old roommate Leah, who lives six minutes from me, and who I do a lot of technological staying in touch with, but not real life seeing, and ba da boom, a Sunday off-the-leash dog walk around Lake Waban on Wellesley’s campus, where I had never been before, and where nature does its thing in the best possible way.

Leah has great energy, and she’s smart and funny, and she has Stanley, her fearless five pound dog, who thinks he’s part of Hell’s Angels. After our walk, she took me to Volante Farm, where  I’d never been, and we looked at flowers and plants and bought some yummy stuff to eat, and then we stared at the lines of summer flowers being grown, which I’d only ever seen in bouquets at the farmer’s market, and which I couldn’t take my eyes off of. We then lounged in her backyard, where our dogs pranced around, and we gabbed and ate until our tongues were tired. Spontaneous Sunday. Absolute A++++.

Volante Farms in Needham is new to me. I can’t wait to go back. This is the tiniest bit of the enless row of flowers. It went on forever (ok, not really, but sort of).
The adorable Leah and her fearless and crazy cute guy Stanley.

gratitude-a-thon day 136: Nena the pit bull (and adoptive mommy)


Ok, if you know me for five minutes, you know I am a dog person. Maybe more than a dog person, and more like a person totally- and-completely-OBSESSED-with-dogs person. After having dogs that weren’t properly trained, and which I had little interest in when I was growing up, I was someone who thought dog people were weird and puppies were overrated. Until. Until I agreed to let my kids have one five years ago. And through a series of kismet circumstances, got our boy Riley, MY MOST FAVORITE PERSON.

So, when I saw this unbearably sweet video, I couldn’t keep it to myself. This dog is mommying a whole litter of dogs that aren’t hers. Gives the expression “good dog,” a whole new meaning. Oh, the adorableness! Even if you don’t like dogs, you can see the humanity here, can’t you?

Truth is, dogs just get life in a way that we people struggle to. They really understand  the important stuff–walking, running, playing, eating, sleeping, cuddling. Their total devotion to their owners is incomparable. If only my kids liked me as much as my dog does. Their unconditional ability to love, perfect. Grateful for starting my day with Nena the pitbull and her adopted brood. Woof!