A Morning Like No Other

So, you won’t believe what happened on my morning walk.
I’m a reasonable pup.  I do my best and abide by my humans (stupid) rules, so it seems only fair that my humans do their best and abide by my simple rules.  Rules such as haul your lazy self out of bed so you can feed me on time, scratch my belly when I turn over, give me two cheese snacks when you crate me, and tell me how awesome I am at least 10 times a day – you know - the basics.
There is one rule that cannot be broken. I must have an absolutely quiet, audience free moment with my favorite spot (determined daily) to accomplish my morning business.  This really isn’t too much to ask…or so I thought…
Bear with me while I support my unbreakable rule up with facts and evidence.
According to AmericanHumane.org:

It is not instinctive for dogs to relieve themselves outside; it is only natural for them to not go where they sleep. Everyplace else is fair game!

Additionally, The Lewiston Vet Clinic, Lewiston, MN, suggests:

Praise the good: While your pup is doing the right thing in the right place, PRAISE her abundantly! After she goes potty outside, give her a treat to teach her she did the right thing. If you do catch her going in the house, startle her, by saying “NO!” loudly, or stomping your feet while she is in the act. At the same time, pick her up and bring her outside. (A puppy will usually stop urinating when you pick her up.) Imagine how uncomfortable it would be if you were constantly interrupted when you went to the bathroom. They will learn that when they go outside, they won’t be interrupted.

!!! It’s right there in the Potty Training Manual !!!

Teach me to go outside, even though it’s not natural, and in return I learn I can go without being interrupted. Simple, easy and a win-win for all.

Except this morning.
Ready and raring to greet the day with my morning routine, I drag a bleary eyed Diana down the street, bark my, “Good morning to you, Mr. Gray Stripey Cat” at the cat on the corner house’s porch, round the corner, take a moment to read the latest news on the tree trunk, and head straight for the grass strip along the park.
Diana knows to stop, turn her back for privacy, and let me pace back and forth in a tighter circle until I am satisfied and take my moment.  Just when I’d begun, my mind wandering to whether I would get cheese shreds or rice on my kibble this morning, disaster struck!!!


What the devil?  There, in mid-moment, out of the darkness sprang my archenemy (Diana calls him a neighbor…she is more lenient in her definitions than I am…).  Chi-Weenie irritant extraordinaire, the only dog in a 2 mile radius that barks more than me…


Can you say embarrassed and hopping mad?  Well, I can and did.  I was done – but not finished - and really, really mad.  Diana and Arthur’s mom casually waived hands at each other and tried not to notice each other’s nightgowns under their coats.  How can they be so blasé? Uncaring, I tell you.
We moved on in a vain attempt to find another “perfect” spot.  No go – literally.  I was so mad I couldn’t stop barking.  I’d walk 10 feet, stop, turn and bark my furor at Arthur, legs so stiff with indignation that I bounced down the street. 

“Find your own spot, Arthur!
You attention hog!
You stole my
Most Proficient Barker crown!
Now you want MY SPOT!
!!!MY SPOT!!!”

It really think I am scarred, permanently, damaged beyond repair, unable to ever accomplish my morning routine ever again.
Diana says to relax, time will heal my furor. And cheese.  Definitely cheese.


How To Deal With Being Watched

Diana and Michael went to a neighborhood Christmas party without me the other day. A set back in my “always go in the car with you” resolution, but what can you do, right?
At the party, Diana met a little girl. This beautiful little girl is so painfully shy she was unable to speak with anyone at the party. When the neighbors that live right behind us and across the back alley asked how I was and started chatting about dog stuff, the little girl kept staring at Diana and looking away when Diana saw her.
The little girl kept getting closer and closer to Diana and eventually sat as close as she could next to her.  She kept looking at Diana and looking away.  Diana kept quietly talking about how amazing I am, how much I look forward to my evening walk, how we’ve met lots of neighbors and how “everyone knows Sasha.”  (I asked Diana to tell me that part of the story a couple of times…)
The little girl bundled up all her courage and said, in a near whisper, to Diana, “I know you.  You are the Dog Lady.  I like your dog.  She is funny, always barking and sniffing the trees and wagging her tail.”
Well, needless to say (but I will anyway – that’s how I do stuff) the little girl’s Mom was surprised and pleased that her child was actually chatting with Diana.  Diana winked at the Mom and kept telling funny stories about me and asking gentle questions.  Soon, the little girl was happily chatting away.
Later on, the Mom came up to Diana and said that every night they watch us walk and explore the neighborhood.  The little girl waits for us to pass by their kitchen window.  Once we’ve passed she goes back to what she is doing.
The Mom said she’s been doing that for nearly a year and has been talking about maybe one day she will rescue a dog too.  As a family, they have been talking about how much responsibility it is to take care of a dog. You have to do stuff you might not want to do – like walk them every night, even if you don’t feel well, or you have other things you want to do, or it’s rainy or snowy.
Diana said if they decide to adopt a rescue dog she would refer them to the groups that I bark about.
So here I am, doing my daily neighborhood check, barking at whatever catches my fancy, sniffing my way around the park, you know, minding my on bees-wax.  Little did I know I was making an impact on someone. 

In a week filled with sadness and bittersweet loses of pals on Twitter, I savor the gentle sweetness of this story even more than usual. I’m sure going to stop at their house and bark a little louder and wag my tail a little faster just to say, “Hi.”


Legacy for Marley Terrier

When a pal passes, it can be so easy to say a few words of condolence and move on. For me, each pal leaves a piece of themselves within me for safekeeping.  I can not easily move on as I was.  I become forever changed by the grace of having known them.  The honor of this duty is a solemn one for me.  Yet, I know it is important to carry on.
I don’t know if I am barking into the vast wilderness, unheard.
I don’t know how to make a difference except by being true to myself.
I do know it is important to stop and grieve, to remember and to be thankful for having met.
I do know that, for me, the only way forward through grief is a formula of
time + action.

Time will settle itself.

Action I can accomplish by:

Vowing to always be gentle, kind, encouraging and tireless in my efforts to raise money for animal related charities.

Laughing when I can, giving a hug when it is needed and sitting quietly beside those that need silent support.

Pledging to keep Marley’s legacy alive by:
  1. accepting the duty to continue in his pawprints, not as he would, but as I can;
  2. be guided by the vastness of his compassion and generosity of legacy;
  3. guide myself, and hopefully others, in a way forward by shining a light into the darkness of the reality of animals in need.
I can only do what I can do.  I comfort myself with the hope that it will be enough – even for just one.

 Until we meet again and thank you, Marley.


Did You Say "Go For A Walk?"

Thought you did...was just making sure...
Yo Yo Lets Go!


Am I Really Asleep?

Mom took this picture a little while back.  All is not what it seems… Can you find the 3 signs that I'm faking and not really asleep?
1.  Only one ear back
     Other ear up and listening
2.  My eyes are really scrunched together
     I’m pretending so I don’t have to go to the vet
3.  You can see me
     When “really” asleep, I’m deep under the blankets


Denied A Mansion

Diana read this article to me today:


My opinion, you ask?

Why, of course, I’ll share it.
Expensive, highly elaborate and detailed dog houses are nice if all your taste is in your mouth and you can’t figure out any better way to spend your money.

Deprived of my own mansion, my own diamonds and my own custom made food, I am still:
  • Loving
  • Playful
  • Sure of my own importance in the world
  • In excellent health (so says the vet on numerous occasions)
  • Happy digging in my small box of toys to find the Himilayan Chew I buried there last week
  • Working hard on my leash aggression issues

  • Convinced that the living room recliner chair was purchased just for me

  • Blessed with humans who saw my potential, pulled me from a kill shelter and saved my life
  • Blissfully unaware that I am deprived of such unimaginable luxuries
Diana and Michael, after comparing our available resources against all the ways we could help, decided that I would still be me without all the elaborate trappings of modern dogdom.

It has also been decided that our economic and time resources would be more beneficially spent helping selected rescue groups & individuals with cash donations, providing handmade Sasha Snuggle blankets for fundraising auctions and focusing on Diana’s new pet loss grief coaching business, Four Paws Coaching.

As with most things in life, we all make decisions – some good and some not so good.  All I humbly (hmmm…this might be the first time I’ve ever used this word…BOL) ask is that you make decisions that help rescue animals live lives of dignity a priority. 

Do what you can to emotionally support or provide economic resources (read: money) to the angels on earth who work hard every day so animals in need can live lives free of fear, physical and emotional abuse, constant hunger and eliminate the shockingly high probability of staring up at the notice of “T.B.D. Tomorrow” taped to our cage in a kill shelter.

If you need any assistance with deciding on a rescue group to help, just ask.  I know a ton that are doing magnificent work and could use a helping hand.

Ok, jumping off my soap box now and returning to other pressing duties…napping...

^ . .^


Divaness Is Not Rudeness

On my recent visit to Diana’s office in search of the noms she says come from there, I didn’t interact well and opted out of acknowledging the accolades that came my way about how cute I am, how beautiful my fur is and how wonderful it is that I have my own blog, my own YouTube Channel and my own Twitter account. In fact, I wasn’t very nice. At all.

I suppose, if one only gave a cursory review of the situation, one could say I was stressed from the car ride into town.

I suppose, if one was feeling generous, one could say I was stressed by the elevator ride.

I even suppose, if one was feeling magnanimous, one could say I was stressed by entering a new space with new people and smells.

There is another highly probable answer, however. This picture, dug from the vast pictorial archive of my life, gives an indication. The princess from The Princess and the Pea has nothing on me…

Me, resting upon my bed, resting upon my blanket, resting upon my chair

I am a Diva – with a capital D.  In a moment of true diva like self-indulgence, I did not feel like interacting with the strangers clamoring for my attention at that moment.


Why is Diana shaking her head up and down and agreeing with this last statement?

^ . . ^



My Mom - Pet Loss Grief Coach

My name is Diana Lund. I would like to tell you why I decided to become a Pet Loss Grief Coach.


On September 11, 2001, I lost my best friend. On one of the most tragic days in our nation’s history, I suffered my own personal tragedy. I didn’t feel I could share my story with anyone because the significance of world events dwarfed my story. Only my family knew how broken I was.


On September 10th, I rushed Miss Amanda Mousington (“Mindy”), to the vet. Mindy was having trouble breathing. I had no idea what was wrong. She was only 6 years old, extremely active and never had a bad check-up with the vet. NEVER. I left Mindy with them to keep an eye on her and run a few tests.

Late on the afternoon of September 11th, Mindy’s vet called. A heart specialist was visiting the clinic and had just completed a full exam. Mindy was near death from Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy - a condition that causes the walls of her heart to thicken. Her condition was too advanced for successful treatment. They were sorry.

Strangely, the vet hesitated at that point. She went on to say that the heart specialist would like to take Mindy to his university clinic in another state. He wanted to perform heart transplant surgery. Did I give my consent?

My horrible choices were to euthanize my best friend or subject her to a high risk, research oriented surgery that was certain to cause her extensive, long term pain, offered no guarantees for her future but promised learning benefits for the surgeon.

I said no, I did not give my consent. I was a flawed pet parent - I had missed the signs leading to her condition, but I wasn’t going to continue causing her pain. Heart replacement surgery could never in a million years be considered in Mindy’s best interest. The vet thanked me, said she was relieved by my decision and had hoped I would say no.

I drove by myself the few miles to the clinic, on completely deserted roads, and spent Mindy’s last moments before traveling to Rainbow Bridge with her on my lap. Before long her huge green eyes closed forever.


I was emotionally frozen. I didn’t believe I could openly grieve for Mindy because of 9/11 and was gripped with fear on many levels. How had I missed that my friend was dying? Would Mindy still be alive if I’d known about or seen the subtle signs earlier? How could I ever adopt another animal if I was so bad at taking care of the one I’d just lost? Was the world safe enough for me to care for another animal friend?

Hard Work

It took me nearly nine long years to work through my grief and feel safe enough to adopt another animal family member. Nine years is a long time to live with grief and fear. Way to long.

I learned that I was aware of having made mistakes, learned that animals hide signs of illness for their own safety, found the ability to forgive myself for making mistakes and began to get excited to share my future with another pet. After months of searching for a new friend and family member that needed me as much as I needed her, I found Sasha.

There are no words to describe how wonderful Sasha is. Wonderful for me and wonderful in her own right. In November 2011, Sasha became very ill. I thought, “Oh, no, no. Not again.” It was touch and go for a month or so, but thankfully Sasha recovered.

While talking with the vet about our options if Sasha didn’t respond to treatment, I realized I was a different, perhaps stronger, person than I had been nine years ago. I realized:

  • I responded to this crisis with more balance and awareness.
  • I’d spent years dealing with the lengthy, emotionally punishing loss of my Dad to vascular dementia.
  • I really had absorbed the information about grief recovery I’d learned after losing Mindy and my Dad.
  • I had skills and perspective I could share with others.
Sasha’s vet mentioned that some people don’t have anyone to talk with about how they are feeling and may not have the skills to move through processing grief. She said this is especially true for older people, who are often alone. She also said that vets aren’t well trained on dealing with grief, even though they are confronted with loss almost every day.

For a few months, I thought about how I might be able to help others who were dealing with loss of their animal family members. Maybe someone else wouldn’t have to struggle as much as I had if they were to work with me during such terrible times. I began training on how guide people to finding answers for themselves and positive solutions when they are feeling lost.

The loss of an animal family member -a friend – is one of life’s most difficult times. It is not easy to live through the swirling emotions of loss and it’s never going to be.

If you or anyone you know is lost and needs help, please talk with me. Let me help build a bridge from where you are and where you would like to be. The ideas, tasks & opportunities I will share as a Pet Loss Grief Coach can help successfully navigate the grief process.

I am a coach. I am not a licensed counselor or therapist. I will only be coaching people with living in a forward motion. If someone needs more specific care than am trained with, I will refer them to someone who is trained and licensed to deal with their issues in depth.

When you have worked through your grief with me hopefully you will be more capable of Loving Forward because you will be:

     A. aware of your options;
     B. able to have another companion animal in your life;
     C. excited about your future.

If you know anyone that could use my services, please consider referring me. I can be found at:


Puppy Service Announcement #3

Today's PSA asks you to consider the following:
Admit your mistakes before someone exaggerates the story!

My previous home and life was filled with extreme rules to control me and my behavior. I was forced to live 24/7 inside a cat sized travel crate.

Hi, Kitteh!

Yes, I agree, this mode of crating is humane if you intend it for traveling or for trips to the vet and back – not 24/7). I also had to endure surgical adjustments (twice because I have two scars on my neck) made to accommodate the humans desire to not hear me bark (Google devocalization here Google (Devocalization Surgery) – go ahead – I’ll wait...) rather than invest in appropriate and positive behavior retraining. I live with the consequences of their choices every day.
Yes, yes, I know – you know all that stuff about me…so, having said that:
I admit it may have been a mistake to try to bury my Himalayan Dog Chew  
 under the box in the closet, thus causing injury to my nose and removal of the above mentioned chew from my presence.

 Now, please, don’t anyone (read Diana or Michael) exaggerate the story and research the following:
Obsessive–Compulsive Disorder (OCD)

An anxiety disorder characterized by intrusive thoughts that produce uneasiness, apprehension, fear, or worry, by repetitive behaviors aimed at reducing the associated anxiety, or by a combination of such obsessions and compulsions.

Symptoms of the disorder include…repeated checking; extreme hoarding…and nervous rituals.

These symptoms can be alienating and time-consuming, and often cause severe emotional and financial distress.

The acts of those who have OCD may appear paranoid and potentially psychotic. However, OCD sufferers generally recognize their obsessions and compulsions as irrational…

Finally, OCD…is diagnosed nearly as often as asthma and diabetes.
…Ahem…well…yes…there may be a few similarities between my behavior regarding my Himalayan Dog Chew and with the symptoms for OCD. There may also have been a few times when the outcome of the symptoms may have manifested economically, such as Diana bought me more treats when I couldn’t remember where I buried the ones she’d recently given me…

However, I avoid a more complex diagnosis of my behaviors by admitting just how irrational it is to attempt to bury my Himalyan Dog Chew under a box in the closet.

As we will never actually know the root cause of my anxiety and OCD tendencies, I am left with coping with the resultant behavior as best I can, with Diana and Michael’s help.

Thus, I firmly believe that the availability of an overabundance of Himalyan Dog Chews will go a long way to curbing my anxiety and OCD tendencies.
Who’s with me on this?
P.S. - While this post may seem lightlearted and could possible appear as if I'm making fun of OCD and those that suffer from it, I am not.  Diana and Michael, with the help of an animal trainer, are working with me to reduce the symptoms of this condition and reduce my anxiety in general.  We are making some progress.


Are Real Life Pals Better than Twitter Pals?

Please meet my pal Stanley (doing his best sad eyed - look how cute I am impression).

Stanley visited with me for a long weekend recently.  During that visit, it "may" have been brought to my attention that I have issues (human code for neutotic).

Hmmm....Well, after much careful consideration, I have come to the realization that I "may" have some issues all right...with territory (all mine), food (Stanley tried to push me out of the way and eat my dinner the first night. We discussed his incorrect assumption loudly until Diana "ahemed" us and put us each in our corner of the kitchn to finish), possesive opinions about my toys (I repeat, mine) and the overwhelming desire to sleep in the big bed with Diana and Michael alone (again, all mine).

All this questioning of my right of ownership to space, noms and laps got me wondering and debating the relative merits of Real Life Pals v. Twitter pals.

So, in the spirit of fun, I came up with the following Pro/Con lists:

 Real Life Pals - Pro
  1. You visit with them in the fur
  2. You get treats from them
  3. You get gifts on your Gotcha Day & Christmas
  4. You can bark at them when you want
Real Life Pals - Con
  1. They visit you in the fur
  2. They eat your treats
  3. They eat your stuffed toy treats
  4. They can bark back when they want
  5. Rare, but not unusual, to be friends with a kitty
  6. Not likely to friends with a zombie bear
  7. Not recommended to chat with a real bear
  8. They want to sit with Diana in my chair
  9. They want to sleep in my bed 
Twitter Pals - Pro
  1. You can virtual visit with them anytime  
  2. They can virtual visit with you anytime 
  3. You get to enjoy many success stories
  4. You can chat with a bear, or two, or three 
  5. You get treats and cards from them in the mail
  6. You taste test treats to send to them
  7. You can block them
  8. Can be friends with bears, a rabbit or a finger puppet
  9. When something bad happens there is a whole community to help you feel better
  10. All the amazing pictures
  11. You get more Christmas Cards than Diana & Michael do
 Twitter Pals - Con
  1. Rarely visit or get visited by them in real life
  2. Spam Bots and naughty girls will want to be “friends”
  3. You can’t thank them in person for thinking of you and sending cards
  4. You can get blocked
  5. The more pals you have the greater the odds of something bad happening to one of them
  6. Diana learned she’s a terrible photographer
Hmmm....Yap....so, after reviewing the data, I've come to a few conclusions. 
  1. Better is not the right word after all - fullfilled is
  2. Judging between the two is arbitrary and adds nothing of value to life 
  3. What can seem like a pro can actually have a flip side con
  4. I'm an a-ok puppy blessed with many wonderful friends
 Life is grander for all of us by having pals of all kinds in your life.  Having Twitter Pals feels more like the whipped cream on top of my rescue life strawberry sundae. What do you guys think?

^ . . ^



3 Signs Car Ride Is A Fake-Out

For many pups, a car ride is just about the best thing on earth. A car ride is the gateway to adventures, special treats and visiting with friends. For me, a car ride is on my top 5 list of favorite things to do. As you can see, it can be a valuable job too. In this picture, I am the navigator. We were going to the beach and I seriously knew the way.

Yes, you are right. I should have been buckled into my seatbelt harness in the backseat. I had been while we were driving. We’d made it to the beach (after a few wrong turns and back and forth along the beach road…sheesh…wouldn’t have happened if I had been actually navigating.). Michael let me loose to help select the right parking spot.

All is not rosy though. For this installment in my Public Service Announcement series, I present to you the following warning signs that an invitation to ride in the car may not be all you hope it will be…

Warning Sign #1
Invited into car but garage door doesnt open

Uhm…yeah, sorry to say but I’ve been victimized by this little trick. End result: You will get stuck in the car so human can do stuff in garage without you getting “into trouble” in the house by yourself or in the garage while they are occupied searching for their useless stuff in the big clear boxes on the shelves. Phew, long sentence but you get the point. Ask questions first.

Warning Sign #2
Human doesn't put on their coat, yet its cold outside

This is a subtle sign to be sure. What does it mean? Most likely the car ride will only be to the mail box or, if lucky, the drive through.

Now, there can be benefits to going through the drive through such as a fries or your own ice cream cone from DQ, but it pays to be aware that it could be a dead-end, around the block fake out just to the stupid mailbox. Require trips to be at least 1 mile so you get enough energizing “car time”.

Warning Sign #3
Not allowed to visit the facilities prior to getting in car

This is a biggie and one I just learned about myself. Tough answer: You are going to the vet.
Biggest fun killer out there. A trip to the vet is the worst Fake Out known! Don’t fall for it.

Resist and make them show their hand before you jump in the car. If you can’t persuade them to not go to the vet, bark at everyone and everything you see all the way there, threaten to wet in the backseat - or if those don’t work - make them drag you out of the car and into the vet’s office when you get there. Humans hate it when you make them look mean.

I hope these tips come in handy for you and good luck getting only car rides filled with adventures, treats and visits.

If you have any other tips and suggestions, please share them with us.


2nd Gotcha Day Celebration

Last year I made a big deal over my 1st Gotcha Day. Diana and Michael had the family over, along with my doggie pals, Katey and Hank. The house was decorated with balloons and we all shared cake. Real vanilla birthday cake with sprinkles!

Really, wouldn’t you throw yourself a great big, barkingly wonderful party if you’d just spent 365 days recovering from being thrown out of your home into a horrifying shelter during the holidays, had the date of your death marked on a calendar, then miraculously rescued by angels on earth from Northwest International Pet Rescue?
Darn betcha you would
Yeah, I thought so

A Gotcha Day is an extremely important day for a rescue dog. I can’t tell anyone what my real birthday is so a Gotcha Day is all we have to celebrate with.

This year I celebrated more on the down low with those who made transitioning from the rejected, unloved mixed breed into the wanted, loved unique MinscherHuahua success story you see before you today.

Diana and Michael made me a pup sized grilled cheese sandwich, granted my wish to sit on the sofa (just once, please, I won't beg anymore, please, please, please), showered me with treats and most importantly, love and respect.

Celebrating success and love never goes out of style.

Hat’s off to all the styling rescue pups working their magic in the world and a hopeful prayer for those waiting their turn to be rescued so they can shine as brightly as they should.

^ . . ^


Almost Wordless Wednesday

Nom Nom - Peanut Butter Chew - Nom Nom

^ . . ^



Almost Wordless Wednesday

This is wrong - wrong - wrong!

^ . . ^



Open Letter to @Cricket1230

Diana asked to use my blog to post the following letter she mailed to the Dad of a Twitter pal that passed away in June of 2011.  I am happy to allow Diana this forum to share her letter.

Dear Cricket's Dad:

We’ve never met. I, however, had the great pleasure of tweeting with Cricket's Mom many, many times through our dogs. I can only simply say how sorry I am for your family’s loss. It was a blessing for me to meet her through darling Cricket.

Cricket's Mom had one of the best voices I’ve seen on Twitter. With just a few words she could make anyone feel welcome and happy. I am not alone when I say that I miss her and her brilliant voice as Cricket. I often wondered why her account had gone silent last spring/summer and was heartbroken to hear of her passing. @NoCrybabyDoGs/Daffy let us know as soon as she heard from you. Thank you for connecting with her for us.

@Cricket1230 was one of my first followers when I started on Twitter. Following @Cricket1230 and watching her Mom charm their followers will stay with me forever. She showed us all how to do things right – how to be caring, genuine, silly and valuable. If there was a way to thank her, I would. Since I am not able to thank her directly, I will thank you and hope that it helps you as you recover from your loss.

With love,

Diana & @MissPishPosh


Quote of 2011

This is my favorite quote from last year. 

It's not a big, it's not written by a grand person or someone special, and it's not earth shattering.

None of that matters anyway.  What matters, to me anyway, is I think it's true.

Be Strong when you can...
Cry when you need to...