Adopting an Older Dog


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This week Rascal is here hanging as one of the crew while his family is on vacation. And Rascal has a great story.

Rascal with his fuzzy terrier type face begging for some food

A few years back I met with a family who were considering getting a dog for an adoption counseling consult. In those sessions, I worked with families, couples and individuals who were considering the plunge into dog ownership on the realities of said lifestyle. Helping them assess considerations of their life, family dynamics, wants and needs and so on, so they could then make more informed decisions on dog ownership and what type of dog they might be most successful with.

During sessions with what is now Rascal’s family they realized mum and dad had totally different ideas on what type of dog they should consider. One was thinking large, active, puppy, the other small and not puppy. Which helped to then open the way for better communication, discussions about the realities of their daily lives, and the family looking at dogs they hadn’t previously considered: medium sized older dogs.

Enter Rascal. Who at age 8 was in the shelter having lived his entire life in 1 home, if I recall correctly his situation involved his owner either passing away or needing significant medical care and no one to care for Rascal. Being 8, he was considered an older dog and those can often be such a challenge to place as many people aren’t interested in adopting a middle aged fellow. They do often sit in the shelter system homeless. But for Rascal’s family who worked, had 2 soon to be teenage kids, who wanted a dog but would be in college in 4-5yrs, and enjoyed walking and being outdoors but weren’t wanting a super active dog, a middle age dog like Rascal would be a perfect fit. He was house broken, comfortable and used to being home alone for periods each day, enjoyed the company of people and going on walks, just what they were wanting!

Rascal has now been in his home for 4 years and is coming up on 12 this fall. A hound terrier type cross he’s still got plenty of spunk and energy, loves his daily walks, hunting for rouge snacks, and belting out the occasional Arooooooo! Aroooooo! Howl when the urge takes him. But he’s also a great laid back happy to snooze and hang out dignified old fellow. He loves his family and they love him.

Adopting an older dog can be a great fit for so many people and families. Don’t let the number of years scare you when you’re considering adding a new dog to your family. Fellas like Rascal have lots of loving and living still to do!


Outside the Envelope


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This is this approach to thinking of life with fibromyalgia or chronic fatigue or other chronic illness that impacts energy of working to live within your own personal energy envelope.

spaniel & corgi sleeping on a bed with a stripped blanket, yellow lab sleeping on the floor & black lab mix sleeping belly up on the floor

these dogs sure know how to live in the envelope! 

It’s hard living in the energy envelope.  Or at least what is hard is getting into the envelope and then staying in the envelope.  When I’m actually in the envelope, the beauty of it is things get way easier.  Once in the envelope things become deceptively much improved.  In the envelope I feel really pretty damn good.  Especially compared to life outside the envelope.

So why is it so hard to stay in there for me?

Because when I’m in the envelope it’s easy to pretend I have energy to spare.  I really don’t.  The reason life is going so well when I’m in the envelope is I’M IN THE FRIGGING ENVELOPE!  It doesn’t mean I have any more energy.  It doesn’t mean I’m magically cured of fibromyalgia (I wish!).  There is no cumulative effect to living in the envelope.  But there is so much more I want to do, so when I’m feeling good it’s so damn easy to delude myself that “Oh yea absolutely!  I can do x,y,z, why not?  I feel pretty good!”

Yea no.

Reminder to my dear self: teaching a 3hr workshop will absolutely put you so far out of the envelope.

Any yet the feeling good me of a few months ago when I organized these things, put another 2 workshops to teach in July and 1 in August.  The living in the envelope me is a saboteur!  I need to remember to not listen to her!  Unless it’s her saying “No, bad idea” to something.  Then of course I can listen to her.

In the envelope is good.  Out of the envelope is painful.  Be in the envelope.



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Zora is perturbed. She’s more than perturbed quite frankly. See, I put a bell on her.

The bell is on her CoyoteVest that she wears on our woods walks. And it means she can no longer chase chipmunks. I’ve spoiled all her fun.

Ding-a-ling, ding-a-ling. The chipmunks all know she’s coming.

Black and white corgi in a spiked yellow vest standing on a muddy creek bed

Zora in her yellow coyote vest on the creek bank

More importantly it’s now much easier for me to keep track of her when she’s off leash. The foiling of her chipmunk chasing is just a nice (for the chipmunks) side benefit. Hopefully it keeps the coyotes away too!



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Tom, Zora, Rosie Poodle and Dulce Spaniel. All we need is Rock-It Lab to complete the crew.

Black lab cross, black standard poodle, back and white English springer spaniel and black and white cardigan corgi sit next to each other on the lawn

I love that my dogs have friends. And that these dogs in particular are all friends. Happy to walk together, happy to hang together, happy to see each other. Makes me happy

What else makes me happy? How easy it was to get this photo. Seriously. They posed themselves when I asked them all to collectively “sit”. Such good dogs!

Send a Puppy a Bone



The program that trained and matched Tom and I, the Guide Dog Foundation, recently posted an Amazon Wishlist for the puppies and guide dogs in training in their kennel. If you’re looking to make a future guide dog’s day, take a look!

Tom and I will be sending those hard working pups some nylabones, Tom’s favorite (well second to his squeaky plush KONG Wubba but those aren’t a kennel approved toy, so we will stick to the nylabones on the wishlist)

Guide Dog Foundation’s Amazon Wishlist

A yellow lab x golden retriever puppy in a yellow and silver future guide dog puppy coat

This little yellow lab x golden cross future guide dog puppy is named Thomy. Doesn’t he make you’re heart melt? Sooooo cute!!

Oh Danny Boy…


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the pipes the pipes are calling

from glen to glen, and down the mountain side…

Been singing this tune all week because we have Danny visiting!


Danny the lab lying on a dog bed in the house

Isn’t he adorable?!  His family has been doing an awesome job with him, making my job as easy as can be this week.  Which is wonderful.

Danny is a 3m old lab pup.  His owners say he’s a “silver” lab, but really as silver is just a genetically dilute form of the chocolate coat coloration in labs, he’s a chocolate labrador retriever.


Zora and Danny lying side by side in the grass

As most lab pups who have come through my door for training or boarding, Danny has benefited from learning about balanced reciprocal play and that dogs don’t enjoy having their heads jumped on as a way of greeting.  Zora is, thankfully, a great puppy teacher and has been enjoying making Danny her minion.  She tells him what he can and can’t do with her, and with some consistent reminder’s he’s steadily grasping the realities of dog social interactions.  Just yesterday, for the first time, I saw him actually ask her politely if she would play with him, and it worked!  She obliged.  This morning, on the other hand, he forgot and tried the classic lab jump on her head, which yea dude, that’s a no go, she no like that.


Zora lying in the grass ignoring Danny as he flops around belly up teeth chomping the air

He is a sweet moose of a pup.  And a labrador in every sense.  Sweet, a bit slow on the uptake, needs loads of consistent repetition, and is currently a puppy version of Jaws.  Seriously, he tried to eat my concrete garden statue, ignoring the antler lying right next to it.  He is for sure all lab.


Danny sniffing Zora’s face outside in the grass

NAE NADAC Trial recap


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With Zora now recovered from her injury, we headed to VT for 1 day of a NADAC trial hosted by Northeast Agility Enthusiasts.  A good friend of mine happened to have the weekend off, and wanted to get out of town, so she and I along with Tom and Zora were off to Vermont!

Despite the thatch like grass that my dog gets gummed up in and the blistering migraine on the ride home, it was a good day.  7 out of 8 qualifiers, 2 near misses on the regular distance challenges (which were awesome, great way to end the day!), and some bobbles overall related to our lack of practice over the past month due to Zora’s foot.  It was great to go with my friend, I’m so glad she had the weekend off work.  She and I used to travel the country doing fun dog and sight seeing stuff, then adult life has gotten in the way (she pointed out it’s been about 10yrs since she and I last took a road trip. Can that be, 10 years?! Where has time gone!), so it was fun to reminisce and have a small road trip like old times.

 Regular Rd 1 distance challenge attempt:

Regular Rd 2 distance challenge attempt:

Corgi and…


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“Your dog, it’s a corgi and…”

“Is that a border collie corgi mix?”

“The queen has those dogs!”

“I’ve never seen a black and white one, are you sure she’s a corgi?”

“A korki?”

And so many more. So to clear up any further confusion, here’s the what for on Cardigan Welsh Corgis.

1. There are 2 breeds of corgi. Both have Welsh in their name. Pembroke Welsh Corgi and Cardigan Welsh Corgi. Pembrokes are sometimes referred to as PWC or Pems. Cardigans are referred to as CWC or Cardis. Saying “oh my friend has one of those Welsh Corgis” doesn’t help clarify if your friend has a cardi or pem, except by the fact that you are saying it I know you mean your friend has a PWC, because people who understand there are 2 different breeds, know how to clarify correctly.

2. The Queen used to have Pembroke Welsh Corgis. Last I heard, they have all since passed away and the line of queens Corgis is now deceased.

3. Easy way to remember, at least here in the states where docking of tails is still the norm. Pembroke Corgis have no tail, the tail “broke” off (it didn’t really, it was surgically removed at age 3 days old). Cardigan Corgis have a tail, like long sleeve cardigan sweaters.

4. Pembrokes come in a variety of colors, red and white most common. Also sable, and black tri. Cardigans come in even more colors than Pems, in addition to red and white, in Cardis there is black and white with tan points, black and white with brindle points (Zora’s color), blue Merle (with tan or brindle points), and brindle. There is no “brown” corgi. Ok that’s a lie, there is but it’s uncommon and not a showable color last I read the breed standards, and I forget the genetics of it, but comes with a brown nose. I can’t remember if people call it liver or chocolate or brown. There is no Merle color in Pembrokes, only in Cardigans. So a Merle being sold as a Pem, is either a mix breed, or not a Pem.

4. Pembrokes usually have a rather fox type look to them. Their ears are usually set more Fox like and their facial feature angles are rather Fox like. Cardis have softer facial angles and larger rounder ears on average. Their front end assemblies are also very different.

5. Cardigans are larger than Pembrokes. Even Zora who is tiny for a female cardigan is larger than a comparable female Pembroke. For example Zora is 10.75″ at the withers and a very svelte in shape 23#. My friends Pem who was about Zora’s height, at her fittest agility weight was 19#.

6. Both breeds usually have a short dense, fairly water resistant top coat, with thick undercoat. But in either breed, there is a coat type that can occur called “Fluff”. Which is a long feathery often cottony coat type. It’s a cute look, but at least to my knowledge, a bear to take care of and maintain.

7. Both breeds of corgi are herding dogs. They are not terriers. Or dogs of leisure. They are active tough little dogs. Originally Bred long and low to herd Welsh cattle. Short so if a cow kicked, it missed the dog, kicking right over the dog. And as an all purpose farm dog, so though not true terriers, many would make fine vermin hunting dogs. As herding dogs, they are active, enjoy a good chase, controlling, motion sensitive, environmentally aware, and can be barky. They usually need a job. Once mentally and physically satiated, well then they can be quite the dog of leisure

Zora sleeping on a pillow

Zora snoozing on a pillow, the princess that she is.

And there you have it, some base similarities and differences in Corgis, Pembroke and Cardigan. And Zora will have you know, she’s all corgi. Cardigan Welsh Corgi. Not like the Queen’s. She is The Queen. Now where’s her crown?