#Cats-a-Pulting to Fame

If you have perused Facebook, Instagram or Twitter recently, you must have encountered a funny photo or video featuring a feline.

Cat videos and photos are the new social media standards. In recent weeks, it was hard to miss a video showing a tabby cat coming to a young boy’s rescue during a dog attack. As is clear in this clip, a neighbor dog knocked the kid off his trike, and the family cat rushed onto the scene and ferociously chased the canine away.

Together, seven YouTube videos presenting the same security-camera footage of this event have, as of this morning, attracted more than 7.5 MILLION views.

Today Show and ABC News clips featuring the family talking about the rescue have charted an additional three million views.

However, this cat’s sudden celebrity is not an anomaly.

Girls and KittenAccording to the British mobile network Three, while social networking users post about 1.4 million “selflies” a day, more than 3.8 online photos, videos and memes featuring felines appear daily.

What’s more, Three claims, at least 350,000 cat owners have set up Facebook, Instagram or Facebook sites for their pets.

“Sorry, Kim Kardashian and Rihanna,” a blog post about this study begins, “but we British web users are more interested in sharing pictures of our cats than images of your bums.”

It seems the public’s appetite for all things feline continues to grow by leaps and bounds. I’m thinking it’s time my own cat, Pumpkin, gets his day in the sun.

A few months ago, Marie Claire magazine introduced me to “Seven Cats Who Have More Followers Than You on Instagram.” To be clear, I am certain that MILLIONS of cats have more followers than the 60 I count on Instagram.

Years ago, friends who know me as a Francophile told me about Henri, the Existential Cat. I became enamored with this “chat noir,” who in his first video states, “My thumbs are not opposable. Yet I oppose everything.”

A quick Internet search will link you to Henri’s Twitter page (28.2 million followers) and several of his (or, rather, owner Will Braden’s) videos, which have attracted tens of millions of views.

In recent years, Henri’s stardom has been eclipsed by several others, including Grumpy Cat, a two-year-old, permanently scowling female (formally named Tardar Sauce), who listed as a “Public Figure” on The Official Grumpy Cat Facebook site.

Another rising star is the adorable Scottish Fold cat Maru, who, according to the blog “Cutest Paw,” has a series of Japanese videos that have been viewed more than 200 million times.

Yesterday, several Facebook friends linked to a Friskies cat food ad, which imagines a conversation between an established house cat and a newly arrived kitten.

I ask you, what’s not to love?

While I was growing up, and for the first 15 years of marriage, my family was 100 percent cat-centric. When my kids begged for a dog, I would engage in discussions about why cats are superior and make better pets.

Cats are quiet, independent and loving, I stated. They cost less to feed and maintain. They’re smarted than dogs. If necessary, they huntPumpkin on lap 10-11 for their own food and, perhaps most important, they cover up their own poop. Our cat hasn’t used a litter box since he was a tiny kitten.

My kids know I love them fully and unconditionally, to the moon and back. However, they know that I love my cat, too, and understand that when I say I love Pumpkin “just a little bit more,” I’m only 90 percent joking.

When he was in fifth grade, my oldest son was assigned a research report about his favorite pet. He chose to write about a dog. So, we looked through books and internet sites, and came up with the perfect canine for our family, a Bernese Mountain dog. He wrote as if we owned one.

Nevertheless, I wasn’t ready to take the plunge. “Let’s wait until your sister is old enough to stay home alone when I walk the dog,” I said.

Finally, when Son #1 was mid-way through high school, he threatened, “If you wait to get a dog until I leave for college, I will never forgive you.”

Not long after, after dropping that son at school one morning, a woman driving down a hill ran a stop sign and T-boned the SUV that contained me and the other three children. We rolled three times and finally came to a stop against a fence, with the driver’s side against the ground.

Miraculously, although the car was totaled, the human passengers were completely intact.

I gained a new perspective on life, and decided to stop saying “No” so much. The next weekend, we acquired a dog through the football team auction.

Five years later, that adorable, 90-pound Golden-doodle holds a prominent place in our household, along with his beloved, younger “brother,” which we purchased at a Young Life auction three years later.

My dogs are loveable and loyal. They are happy with one good walk each day, which gets me outside, exercising, even during Seattle’s darkest, rainiest days. They follow me from room to room, keep my feet warm (as I write, they both are lying peacefully under my desk), are game for any activity and never talk back.

Bauer Bimmer and donutsHowever, they are sneaky and steal any food that is left out. They especially love donuts…as do the rest of us.

Which brings me to this morning’s drama. I awoke to the sound of my husband stomping around the kitchen, sighing, running water and clattering pans.

When I went downstairs to see what was the matter, he told me he was cleaning up the mess one or both of the dogs had created during the night. Oozing and brown, in several spots on floors, carpets and doors…well, you get the picture.

It turns out the dogs felt left out of our “National Donut Day” celebration on Friday. Late yesterday, they found the box containing the remaining six donuts. Apparently, the maple bars didn’t sit well.

So, as of this morning, it’s still Advantage Pumpkin.

– Linda Williams Rorem, Permission Slips, 9 June 2014
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Doggone It

Many of you read Carol’s recent post announcing her hiatus from Permission Slips blogging (click here if you missed it).

I miss her already, and suspect that our loyal readers do, too.

Blog puppyCarol’s life is very full, raising the new puppy pictured here, managing a family that includes four children, ages 13 – 21, coaching the local high school’s JV girls tennis team, serving as an adviser to several start-up businesses, helping out with her family’s organic farm and playing tennis as often as she can.

I don’t know how she found the time to blog at all.

However, I think Carol enjoyed writing about the world around her. She is much more interested in politics, brain development, local government and sports than I am, and I believe readers enjoyed “hearing” her unique perspectives.

Personally, I liked it best when she wrote from the heart. Some of my favorite “Carol Posts” are listed here (click on the titles to read each post):

Carol and my friendship dates back more than a dozen years. Back then, our children were enrolled in the same Montessori preschool, but it was rare for parents to interact as many were dropping and picking up children on the way to and from work.

In early 2000, Carol’s third child attended my third son’s birthday party at a local play space. She approached me and said, “Everyone keeps telling me we need to get to know each other. I see you’re pregnant with your fourth child [due four months later], and I just found out I’m pregnant with my fourth.”

We immediately understood each other.

Since our kids are roughly the same ages, we started crossing paths more and more – at first-grade basketball games (her daughter was the only girl on the team), T-ball practices, PTA meetings, swim club events and while pushing full carts down supermarket aisles.

Our families became fast friends. After all, who else would invite a family of five or six to dinner?

And then, we started taking “Girlfriend Getaways” together (click here to read about one of our trips). This photo was taken on our Blog carol linda paris2005 trip to Paris, when I had my “mommy braces” (friends from Paris and London are at the photo’s right side).

After our third getaway, in response to friends who kept asking, “How do you do it?” we conceived of a book promoting and explaining the concept.

We attended a publishing conference in New York, secured an agent and met for hours each week to write our book proposal and sample chapters.

While our proposal was well received, publishers told us the timing wasn’t right – in the midst of a depressed economy – for a book about non-essential travel with friends.

So, we retooled our idea several times, and eventually decided to write a blog about frazzled women like us. We fine-tuned the blog’s concept as the time passed, and decided to keep it going as long as we were having fun and had something to say.

Three and a half years later, I’m still not sure where PermissionSlips is headed. We have a stable base of readers, get great feedback (mostly through emails and live conversations, not necessarily in the blog’s comments section) and seem to come up with fresh ideas each week. But I’m not sure if it’s worth the effort to expand the readership or try to turn the posts into a book.

Nevertheless, since I have made a career out of writing, I’m not ready to stop blogging. At the same time, I do get tired of hearing myself “talk” every week, so would really welcome submissions from others. If you’re interested in guest blogging, please let me know. The only requirement? Clear, concise writing that promotes some kind of “permission” (usually relating to the idea, “Give yourself a break.”).

And, please, if you have ideas for future posts, but don’t want to write them yourself, let me know. My goal is to make PermissionSlips as “user-friendly” and interactive as possible, for as long as I have the energy to keep it going.

– Linda Williams Rorem, 21 April 2014
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Slow-Motion Re-Entry

Few adults would argue the benefits of taking vacations, but whether you’re taking a break from a hectic job or running off with your family, the preparations can be grueling.

Beforehand, it’s a race against the clock to check-off pre-trip duties in time: confirming reservations, paying bills, returning emails, canceling newspapers, filling prescriptions, washing and folding clothes, arranging pet care, straightening the house, making packing lists and fitting necessities into suitcases.

We find solace, in those harried days or hours before departure, knowing that a true break lies ahead.

photo-2Returning home is a different story. We’re exhausted from travel, the teens are bristling from too much “family time,” our suitcases brim with dirty clothes, a mountain of mail awaits and, most likely, a strong smell of past-date food fills the fridge.

We are overwhelmed, and feel our bodies start to tense up again.

Late last night, when we returned from the airport after 10 days away, I was determined to slow-down the re-entry process, and to try to maintain the vacation calm.

The teenage boys rushed out, and I lifted their curfews for the night. I didn’t even wait up for them.

Friends of my kids had left a welcome-home cake on our front porch. Despite the late hour, I allowed my daughter to dig in.

My email inbox stretched on for pages, and I decided to attack it later. (Of course, modern technology allowed me to deal with any critical messages while out of town.)

I knew the bread was growing mold, the yogurts were past-date and the milk had soured, and vowed to deal with it later.

My husband, daughter and I emptied our suitcases, and I decided to let the piles of laundry sit.

I didn’t open the Sunday newspapers, turn on the TV or play the answering-machine messages.

Instead, I took a tip from Scarlett O’Hara, and said to myself, “I’ll think about that tomorrow.” I washed up, climbed into bed, and allowed myself time to reflect on the trip:

For most of 10 days, my teenage boys got along, and even smiled occasionally. (I have photo documentation!)

We sampled new foods, went to museums and experienced cultures different from ours.

We walked, together, in the bright sunshine, absorbing sights and much-needed vitamin D.

The kids gave their thumbs a rest from constant texting. They read books and talked to each other…and even to their parents.

My husband “un-plugged” from work, and didn’t once mention issues with clients.

For more than a week, I didn’t get behind the wheel, didn’t rush a child to a lesson or practice, didn’t scurry to the grocery store for milk, cereal or bread.

I didn’t cook, clean or do laundry.photo-1

While on vacation, I didn’t remind anyone to put dishes in the dishwasher, pick up dirty towels, turn down music or turn off lights.

I went to sleep every night knowing where my children were, who they were with and what they were doing.

This morning, I still sense the quiet and calm. The kids will sleep in. My husband will soon rise and head back to the airport, but hopefully with lower blood pressure than usual.

The cat is purring on my daughter’s bed, relishing in her warm body and rhythmic breathing.  The dogs are resting at the Tails-a-Waggin’ pet hotel, where I will fetch them later today.

For now, I will spend time on Facebook, enjoying photos of friends’ July 4 adventures. I will load my own photos into the computer, and look at them over and over. I will make another cup of decaf, and sip it slowly.

I give myself permission to slow down the re-entry process, and make my vacation last just a little longer. And, maybe, I can take some of the lessons learned, and apply them to “real life” here. 

– Linda Williams Rorem, 8 July 2013
PermissionSlips1@gmail.com

Permission to Skip Mother’s Day

I hate Mother’s Day.

Don’t get me wrong; I love the idea of celebrating all that we moms do for our families. I’m glad that on one day each year, children are urged to consider their mothers’ value, and husbands must acknowledge our role in the household machine.

I love flowers and chocolate and the notion that I can take one out of every 365 days off.

photo (5)I adore my kids’ homemade cards and, when they were younger, teacher-driven art projects. I absolutely treasure my four ladybug paperweights (rocks painted red and black), four beautiful “What My Mother Means to Me” poems paired with watercolor irises, four sunflower pins, four Native American pinch bowls and ceramic kimonos.

I’m glad for the reminder to reach out to my own mother. But also, I’m reminded that I could be a better daughter. I should call more often. I should visit more than once or twice a year. I should try to improve my kids’ connections with her…

Every year, as the big day approaches, my emotions mount. I tear up during Johnson & Johnson commercials, feel overwhelmed in the Walgreen’s cards section (should I go funny or thoughtful this year?) and start to feel regret for my failures as a daughter and a mother.

I hate the pressure that Mother’s Day carries. If we moms only get one day in the sun, it had better be spectacular, right?

I try to envision the warm feeling I will experience on Sunday morning, as my adoring husband and perfectly behaved four children, two large dogs and ginger tabby gather around.

And then, I remember.

Breakfast in bed is always a disaster. I am an early riser, and like to set the household wheels in motion while my energy surges. Laundry, email and writing or editing projects need attention. The sink brims with evidence of the boys’ late-night snacks: cups caked with fruit-smoothie residue, bowls with drying chunks of salsa and knives smeared with peanut butter. The dishwasher must be emptied. The garbage stinks of last night’s salmon dinner.

The dogs are hungry and nudge me for a walk. The cat wants fresh food and water.

The New York Times Style section awaits.

However, if tradition holds, my daughter will saunter into the kitchen when she hears the silverware clanging, and order me back in bed. She will rouse my husband, and, from my bedroom above the kitchen, I will listen to 30 minutes of mayhem as they prepare my “breakfast in bed.”

Of course, I love the thought behind this breakfast, and it is always delivered with love. But in that half-hour confined to my bed, I can’t help considering all the chores left undone, and the mess that awaits below.

Perhaps worst of all, I can’t keep my expectations in check.

I expect my husband to deliver the perfect gift. He is incredibly thoughtful and generous, and I know he would get me anything I wanted. And yet, I believe that if he loves me enough, he should inherently know what I want. He should have been paying attention to my hints. He should be able to put the right words into a card. Right?

Wrong.

I expect the kids to be kind to me, and to each other, all day long. When they were younger, I would often yell, on that most glorious of all Sundays, “Can’t we all just get along?” (Rodney King, RIP.)

With that kind of pressure, who wouldn’t crack?

Yes, dear readers, I fully acknowledge that this is my problem. I should look at the glass half-full. I should appreciate every gesture from my husband and kids. I should value their efforts and know they love me, despite the messes, the fussing and the fighting.

I am working on it.

And so, this year, I chose to give everyone a break on Mother’s Day.

I heard the mountains calling, and decided to grab the dogs and get out of Dodge.

My sweet daughter (who has yet to roll her eyes at me, although I know that day will come soon), asked if she could come along. “I really don’t want to spend Mother’s Day without you,” she pleaded.

I knew the others would be fine. The oldest has work, the second has sports and parties and the third has homework, friends and “car stuff” to occupy them this weekend. My husband can catch up on work emails, watch Mariner’s games and celebrate the holiday with his parents and siblings later on.

I knew that removing myself from the mix would ease the pressure on the men in my life. More importantly, heading for the hills would lower my own expectations for the day.

Right now, on a quiet, calm, Mother’s Day morning, the rain drips steadily from the eves outside my window. Fog lifts slowly from the evergreens. The dogs rest lazily at my feet. I hear the rhythmic breathing of my sleeping 13-year-old. I am savoring a cup of decaf, and will soon enjoy a bowl of yogurt and fruit.

I have no great plans for the day, other than to walk the dogs through the woods, catch up on a few episodes of “Downton Abbey” and dig into the latest book-club selection.

Happy Mother’s Day to all who are, or have, cherished moms. It’s your day, so live it your way.

Linda Williams Rorem, Mother’s Day, 2013

Of Dogs and Men

Friends frantically inquired about the health of the patient who had suddenly and unexpectedly been diagnosed with cancer. “Had it spread?” “What were the medical options?” “Who were the best doctors?” “Anything we can do for you?”

Calls came at all hours and emails were heartfelt.  My husband is not prone to outward emotional expression, but in this case he needed and appreciated the support of his friends.  However, the inquiries were not about my husband’s health but that of his loyal hunting dog, Rugby.

Rugby is a field golden, bred to be adept at flushing birds and playing with children. He is a spoiled indoor-dwelling dog who sleeps in our room and has cushy beds throughout the house. He would perhaps be a little embarrassed if dogs could actually suffer from peer pressure. After all, he is a working breed not a poodle.

Rugbyfield

The outpouring of emotion came as a bit of a surprise to me. Men stopped by to comfort Rugby after his heart tumor surgery and retold their own stories of lost canine companions. Rugby and his human friends have spent time together road-tripping to Eastern Washington, shivering in duck blinds and hunting pheasant.  They spoke about their own deep grief and shed tears unashamed. It really made me think about the incredible bond between dogs and men.

I came to understand that for many, Rugby was an old friend in his twilight year. The bond between men and dogs is ancient and transcendent.  Homer composed The Odyssey nearly 28 centuries ago.  One of the more memorable passages in the epic is when Odysseus returns from 10 years in battle after being presumed dead. His loyal dog, Argos, immediately recognizes him as he enters his land. At this point in the story Argos is old and failing yet he still wags his tail at the site of his master. Even more telling, the great warrior Odysseus sheds a tear for Argos.  If my memory serves me right, it is the only outward display of sorrow from Odysseus in the entire story.

More recently there is President Nixon’s famous “Checkers speech,” notable for the emotional mention of a little black and white dog named Checkers . Finally, there was a famous orator from the 19th century, George Graham Vest. In a closing argument to a jury in 1855 he said, “The one absolutely unselfish friend that man can have in this selfish world, the one that never deserts him, the one that never proves ungrateful or treacherous is his dog. A man’s dog stands by him in prosperity and in poverty, in health and in sickness. He will sleep on the cold ground, where the wintry winds blow and the snow drives fiercely, if only he may be near his master’s side. He will kiss the hand that has no food to offer. He will lick the wounds and sores that come in encounters with the roughness of the world. He guards the sleep of his pauper master as if he were a prince. When all other friends desert, he remains. When riches take wings, and reputation falls to pieces, he is as constant in his love as the sun in its journey through the heavens.”

IMG_3083

I watched in amazement as the profound human-animal connection emerged over the weekend in the next generation of our family. While it had not occurred to me, the possibility that yesterday was Rugby’s last hunt was not lost on my 18-year-old son who is off to college next fall. He scrambled to find time to spend with Rugby in the field in the closing hours of sunlight. My son returned home with a picture of he and Rugby with a look of deep satisfaction and a bit wistful. Clearly there is a special closeness between dogs and men with permission to lay emotions bare. Man’s best friend indeed.

Carol Lewis Gullstad January 28, 2013

permissionslips1@gmail.com

Dog is Good

 

Last month I wandered around the national trade show for pet retailers, SuperZoo.  I was there to scope out new items to sell at Positive Approach, a dog-training, day-care, pet boarding and retail store in Tacoma. I saw an eclectic array of goods including pet furniture worthy of an 18th -century English manor, homeopathic meds for Fido and the Furminator pet hair elimination tool. But mostly I saw real entrepreneurship, vendors and buyers in real-time, not the mythical ones that politicians like to pander toward.

I loved talking to the entrepreneurs about how they got their idea, why they were passionate about it and what prompted them to start it. The essence of small business is relationships built on trust. I can’t even count the number of vendors who told me that they like to know who they are dealing with and look them in the eye. I was struck by the high number of women at this event who were the product creators as well as the buyers.

 

One of the businesses that intrigued me the most was Dog is Good . I had long been a fan of the company’s irreverent, humorous products such as my teenage son’s t-shirt that reads, “It’s all fun and games until someone ends up in a cone.”  It put a punctuation mark on my enthusiasm once I met Gila Kurtz, the tour de force behind Dog is Good.  Gila is a tiny woman and a bundle of dynamite. Within five minutes of meeting each other we were talking about the challenges of being a mother, wife and entrepreneur.

 

As stated by Natalie MacNeil in Forbes magazine in June 8, 2012,Many women start businesses that align with personal values and offer freedom and flexibility when it comes to things like scheduling.” I asked Gila about the back-story on her business and she confirmed the assertion of MacNeil.  Kurtz told me that she had wanted to create a clothing line that was fashionable and expressed her love of dogs. In addition Gila and her husband Jon, after moving around for his 27 year career in the Navy, were craving a place to “anchor” with their daughter. They liked the idea of not only producing products they would buy for themselves but also the freedom and control to conduct business in a principled way. Jon and designer Nichole Smith are the other partners in this family enterprise.

 

It was clear from talking to both Jon and Gila that they are highly ethical and value social responsibility. Their booth was constantly busy as they not only had good stuff but were easy to do business with and cared about their customers. They embodied the ideal of risk-taking, exhaustion –inducing, optimism-encouraging entrepreneurship.

 

Women are expected to create nearly half of the new jobs through small businesses in the next decade and I left the trade show feeling buoyant about these vibrant purveyors of pet products.  Gila’s personal motto is “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth overdoing.” However, she is also leading the way for other women to give themselves permission to pursue a doggone good idea from their store, “Always leave your mark.”

 

Carol Lewis Gullstad, permissionslips1@gmail.com

October 15, 2012

Dog is My Co-pilot

In the B.D. era (“Before Dog”), I thought the bumper sticker “Dog is My Co-pilot” was really corny. Not that I preferred the original one (a different arrangement of the letters in “dog”), but I just didn’t understand the whole canine-adoration thing.

Okay, right now I can hear laughter from my fellow community members, who see me driving around town with an 85-pound Golden-doodle (half Golden Retriever, half Standard Poodle). He rides shot-gun while my kids are at school and waits in the driver’s seat while I’m in the grocery store or Starbucks.

This was especially striking when I drove a Smart Car; I often returned to that little blue machine to see strangers taking photos of Bauer behind the wheel.

In our three years together, Bauer has become my best friend and constant companion. He sleeps on a large pillow in the bedroom, and when my husband is away (which is often, as he’s a management consultant), I am comforted by the rhythmic breathing of another being.

During the day, Bauer spends most of his time in my home office, where I work as a writer and editor. He has a special place under my desk, in a corner, and literally warms my feet for hours on end. I also teach part-time at a private academy, and while he doesn’t go to school with me, he has made a few very welcome appearances there.

When I’m out and about, Bauer is always by my side—for walks in the park, drives to the store and even trips to Whistler.

Two weeks ago, while the kids vacationed with their grandparents and cousins, Bauer traveled to British Columbia with me. (My husband prefers to use his kid-free time off fly-fishing with buddies in Montana.) Sometime during the week, I realized that because of Bauer, I never felt lonely or afraid.

So, in this post I’ll permit myself to appreciate all that he provides:

Constant Companionship – My teens have great friends and full schedules, so they rarely prioritize time with me. My dog, however, is always game. No matter what he’s doing, he will drop everything to join me if I just ask, “Car?” “Walk?” or “Beach?” (Of course, the range of what he “drops” is quite limited: napping, eating, chasing flies or trying to engage the cat in play.) So, when I’m “alone,” I never feel lonely.

Fresh Air – I love exercise and really don’t need motivation for trips to the gym. Spending time outside in the fall, winter and spring is another story, though; you may have heard that Seattle experiences constant drizzle and low clouds from November through March. Because Bauer needs long walks and loves seeing his “friends,” I force myself to don the rain boots and slicker and head to the dog park several times a week. Yesterday, it was uncharacteristically hot in Seattle, and I would have loved to “chill” in our basement, reading or watching a movie. Instead, I took Bauer down to the beach, so he could cool off and tire out retrieving balls from the lake.

Protection – Although he’s quite friendly and views every human, dog and squirrel he encounters as a potential pal, I do believe that Bauer would protect me against harm. He has alerted us to cars in the driveway in the middle of the night (fortunately, that was just our college-age son), raccoons on the porch (they love cat food) and bears near our condo in Whistler. In fact, he tracks bear scents with his nose to the ground; recently, Bauer was obviously trailing a bear when a passerby said we had missed a sighting by about 30 seconds. When I’m walking with Bauer through the woods, I appreciate this advance warning.

Popularity by Association – Having a cute, friendly dog provides me with a certain social status. In the dog park, other canines run up to greet him and their “parents” always stop to chat with me. Friends call for dog walks because their dogs like mine. In our local dog park and anywhere in Whistler, strangers start conversations because of Bauer. Many encounters never would have occurred without my canine companion:

–       Last summer, a young woman who appeared to visiting British Columbia with her parents, approached me while pointing to her camera. I assumed she wanted me to take a photo of her family. Instead, she explained in very broken English that her mom wanted to pose with my dog.

–       Just a few days later, when my daughter was checking out a playground, another foreign lady signaled that she wanted a picture of her toddler sitting on Bauer. Of course, he was happy to comply.

–       A woman with a wheelchair-bound son struck up a conversation one day, saying she had watched me and Bauer outside the coffee shop several days in a row. After pumping me for information about the Golden-doodle breed, she said, “I have decided that a dog like yours would make a great companion for my son.”

–       During my recent trip, I was walking Bauer home from Whistler Village when a woman passing by on a bicycle hollered, “Hey, is that the dog I saw swimming yesterday?” I replied that yes, I had been tossing a ball off the dock at Rainbow Park. “Oh, I took a brilliant photo of him in the water, with a tennis ball in his mouth. Hey, Troy, look – it’s that dog!”

Right about now, some of you may be thinking, “That woman needs more friends.” In truth, I am blessed with many good friends. However, perhaps I need better ones. Or, maybe we should all give ourselves permission to love and value our four-legged friends.

A while back, Carol wrote about her dog, and that post resonated with moms who agree that dogs can be easier to manage and more pleasant than teenagers. I recently wrote about the similarities between raising boys and dogs. However, my emotions run deeper than that. I now realize that those of us with loyal dogs in our lives are truly fortunate.

–       Linda Williams Rorem, 13 Aug. 2012
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