Dusty T. Dog and His Scary Bark


Dusty loves Bear

Everyone who gets to know Dusty T. Dog realizes he’s an exceptional being. Sure, other dogs are big, black and barky, but how many of them are also incredibly sweet, can jump six fee straight into the air and do yoga?


Which is the REAL Dusty?

In the three years I’ve lived here, Dusty has blossomed. His true nature has been allowed to flourish because people here like dogs, big dogs, and know how to be around them. Last week — the day Dusty wore his hunting vest for the first time on our walk — we encountered a dad with his son and his son’s friend. The dad was teaching the boys to fly-fish. Dusty, of course, started barking as if they were deeply violating everything he held dear. I said to the man, “He only sounds mean. He’s not.”


The man smiled!!! Then he said, “You want to run, boy?” (Dusty was leashed). I took that to mean I could unleash my dog. The man held out his hands in welcome and Dusty ran to him for pats. The man loved on Dusty and Dusty ate it up. Honestly, Dusty’s wonder is often eclipsed by Bear’s beauty. Then the man said, “Your other dog is pretty, too.” ❤

So Dusty made a friend. On our return trip (it’s a loop) Dusty didn’t bark at all or run over to meet them. He’d checked them out, found them safe to be around me and all was well with the world.


Dusty and K at the Sand Dunes

Dusty’s job (as he sees it) is to make sure nothing bad happens to me. He really likes people. He loves my neighbor, K, and I think she’s fond of him, but sometimes I think of all the times she and her husband walked past my house before I had a fence to keep Dusty out of the front yard. He must have terrified them.



Dusty’s De-Cloaking Device

It is now hunting season out here in the Wild West, and on our walks, Dusty T. Dog wears his hunting vest. Most of the year, Dusty looks like a moving shadow, but between now and March next year, Dusty will have heightened visibility — day or night. This vest has reflective strips so if we were EVER to go out walking in the dark where there are headlights, Dusty would shine.

He also wears a little LED light on his leash for that purpose. It’s great because it lights up the ground where we’re walking.


It’s been said that Dusty is not the brightest dog on the planet, but I think that depends on the time of year.


Electric Collar

Obedient dogs?

When it matters. But I try to give them orders only when it matters or I’m simulating a time when it matters. I’ve never had a dog from a breed that really liked doing tricks or lived to please its owner. Most of my dogs have been working dogs which means they have a brain already wired for a job. Only Dusty T. Dog gets joy from obeying me. But there was an exception.

Cheyenne T. Wolf (the husky in front in the photo above) was a completely untrained and very stubborn Siberian husky. Lucky for me, she was also friendly. When she came to live with me, she knew NOTHING. When she jumped up on the kitchen counter and opened the door to the cupboard, I knew I had a problem.

I found a professional trainer. She was reluctant to take on a husky saying, “They can’t be taught. I don’t even like the breed that much.” Well, what trainer would? Finally she agreed and Cheyenne went to live with Lisa for a month. Lisa got NO where with that dog for the first three weeks then, out of a kind of rebellious desperation, she put an electric collar on her. She had to work at that, getting the pointy-zappy things to the skin through Cheyenne’s thick ruff of fur. And out they went.

Cheyenne responded not just WELL to the E-collar, but happily! She LOVED it. She really GOT it. She walked at heel and got treats. She sat and got a treat. She did tricks and got treats. When Lisa brought her up to my house to show me how to work with her, Cheyenne was a happy dog. I realized she WANTED to do things right but somehow voice commands weren’t penetrating her Siberian husky skull.

She did tricks. All I had to do from then on to make my stubborn wild girl obey was put the collar around her neck. She didn’t even need to be zapped, in fact, I never even brought out the hand device that was my end of the training program. If the collar was on her, she started showing off and obeying like it was the greatest thing in the world. She LOVED that collar. It occurred to me that Cheyenne was just not an aural learner.

Dusty T. Dog went to the same trainer, but not so much for obedience training as to have a shot at becoming a well socialized and less fearful canine companion. He LOVES obeying. It makes him so happy to do what he learned to do. Bear is another creature completely from any dogs I’ve had before. She learned everything I had to teach her pretty much the first time. She does what I ask about 90% of the time. If she doesn’t, she has a reason. Sometimes her reasons are good and sometimes they’re pure whimsy like, “C’mon, Martha, I want to run around out here and hide behind this lilac bush just a little longer.” What matters to me is that the time she ran off, she came to me the moment she saw Dusty and me, before I even called her.

I don’t think I’d like an obedient dog or a dog who depended on me to know what to do. I have always enjoyed being surprised by some of the really wonderful things my dogs have done because they wanted to. ❤


Quotidian Tedium, Verse 7

I had to elevate myself from a reclining position earlier this morning because Mindy T. Dog has to go to the vet for an exam.

The fires all over the west have colored our sunrise and sunset. I’m sorry about the terrible floods in Texas and Louisiana, but Montana has been burning for months now. People have lost everything — never mind what WE have lost in natural beauty, or what the ANIMALS have lost (like their lives and homes). It was only at the end of July that the Feds decided to give Montana FEMA aid. “Nobody lives there,” right? Maybe, even, “Where IS Montana?”

Had a burst of rock painting fervor over the weekend. I’d started a rock that was gong to be a fox, and I also primed three or four other rocks for something. Then my neighbor’s triplet grandchildren (3 years old? 4?) showed up so I gave them painted rocks to go hide.

I experienced a wonderful vindication for representational art.


I held them out. One little girl said, “I want the red one! I like red!”

Her grandma goes, “What is it?”

The little girl said, “It’s a STRAWBERRY!” The little girl LOVED it.

The second little girl said, “Oh! It’s a smiley face! I love it!”

And the little boy took the blue one. Grandma said, “What is it?”

“It’s a blue sky, with clouds and birds flying in it!” And he hugged it.

It happened that the strawberry girl wore a pink shirt; the smiley face girl wore a yellow shirt, and the little boy had a blue shirt. Off they went to the park to hide the rocks. So far, to my knowledge, only the yellow and blue one have been found.

After the park, they went to the local extended care facility and they FOUND a rock.

In other news, when I moved in there was an avocado green electric stove and a recliner from the same era (broken) in my garage. They hadn’t been there when I looked at the house. I guess someone thought, “Great, she bought it. Put ’em back.” Earlier this summer, one of my neighbors, who was having a metal recycling company here in town (new!) take stuff from her garage, sent them over to my house to take the stove. I was so happy. That left the chair. I arranged last week with the trash company to haul the chair away. I just had to get it 1/3 of a block down the alley and out to the curb.

Using the clever engineering techniques perfected by the Egyptians in building the Pyramids, I got the HUGE chair, covered in the rare Hyde of Nauga, with the heavy metal mechanics underneath, on to my Worx Wheelbarrow (now converted to a wagon). I tied the chair to the front of the wagon so it wouldn’t slide off the back and using the ancient Egyptian transportation techniques, known as slowly and steadily pulling the wagon, I got it to the curb.

Sometime this week, I’ll be able to put my bicycle in the garage so it’ll be a lot easier to get to when I want to go for a ride.

In national news, it’s nice to have the Cold War back. I’ve had a lot of trouble adjusting to the idea that it was over, I mean it’s not like the nukes were GONE right? Only that people had decided to avoid using them? This morning I read that Old 45 is going to “allow” Japan and S. Korea to buy more sophisticated warheads from us.

Well, it’s money, right?

Makes me feel like bringing out the old songs from the sixties, those great chart toppers that warmed our hearts with a cozy nuclear frisson. And young people have never heard them! Doubtless they’ll be writing their own, but in the meantime this was my dad’s and my favorite. 🙂


Educate? Ha ha ha ha ha ha, OMG! Ha ha! Laugh Emoticon

Been there. Done that. 38 years. Made a difference. (Ha ha ha ha ha ha, OMG! Ha ha! Laugh Emoticon.) Moved on.

Still working on the hiking with dogs book. I decided to include photos of dogs. Who doesn’t like photos of dogs? No one. Everyone yearns — secretly or openly — for more photos of dogs.

The white dog is Ariel Punky, she was a Siberian Husky/low content wolf. Her sidekick is Mathilda, a sheltie chow mix I had only for a short time. I found her another home. She was an awesome dog, but too feisty to live with four old dogs (Truffle, Molly, Kelly and Lupo). Ariel was unlike any other dog I’ve lived with. To find out how, you’ll have to read the book 😉

Ariel and Matilda in the Laguna Mountains! copy



Boring Quotidian Post # 42

Not the morning I planned… I actually WOKE up and it was already nearly 10. That’s 2 HOURS later than usual. What??? Then…

Mindy’s been under the weather for two days. I don’t know if it’s the stress of the moved furniture or something more critical… But I spent a good part of (it wasn’t all that good) yesterday cleaning, and I had to clean this morning before breakfast (coffee).

If it’s just the moved furniture? I don’t want to move the furniture back where it was. I LIKE it this way, but…

I might have slept so late because Dusty and Mindy got into a fracas this morning at 1. I think Mindy jumped (relative term) off the sofa, landed on Dusty in his sleep and his first reaction was to bite her head. That resulted in a lot of noise, woke me up, sprang me out of bed (relative term) and into the living room. Mindy was sad and scared. Dusty was repentant, Bear wondered what she had done wrong.

This left me so discombobulated this morning that after I put my coffee together I opened the fridge to put the coffee pot inside.

I had plans this morning but as there is no longer a morning, I’ll have to figure something out.

In other news, I decided to put all my hiking stories together in a book. I worked on it yesterday 🙂 I like it but I also saw that they are ordinary stories about hiking in an ordinary place in which I acquired extraordinary vision and had a lot of fun. ❤


The Dogs Don’t Like It

The dogs don’t like the rearrangement of the living room. I think they find it unlivable. Mindy in particular is having a very hard time with it. Now I see how much she doesn’t see because with things in unfamiliar places plus she has to “make do” with the other end of the sofa. She is no longer able to get to the front door in the same way, either and she LOVES the front door where she can go out to the lawn and visit all the people who come by in the morning. She could still go out the front door, but the floor freaks her out. She’s not a happy dog. She had clearly memorized her route. The wood floors are slippery and someone ( dum dee dum dee dum, who?) needs to clip her nails. I don’t mind clipping them. SHE minds me clipping them. We’ll probably go see uncle vet next week and someone will do that for us…

Uncle Vet hasn’t seen Mindy in three years. Last time I called for a refill of her meds I was told, “Uncle Vet says you should bring in your dogs for a check up. We haven’t seen them in a while and they all need shots.”

“OK. How about today?”

“We’re booked solid.”

My vet treats large animals, even bigger than Dusty and Bear. Sometimes people bring their bull, cow or horse to the vet in a livestock trailer. I’ve been there when the vet was outside in the parking lot checking out four sheep in a trailer. I like my vet very, very much. The first visit was in September 2014 and the “patient” was Mindy. The vet lifted her up on the examining table, checked out her musculoskeletal structure and said, “This poor pup was born with one leg longer than the other.” Mindy’s limp explained, and an explanation of why she’s always had a hard time getting around and why she was not an old dog when my friend adopted her, just gimpy.

In other news, though you cannot tell it from where you are, I am writing on a new laptop. I’ve had it for months, but as the other one was working mostly OK, I didn’t feel the need to switch. Yesterday the track pad on the old computer began acting as if it had a mind of its own and the “e” key decided it was done.

This MacBook Pro looks very like the old one (one wants more change when one invests a lot of money) but it is different. It’s lighter. the on/off switch is now a key. The trackpad is more responsive than the old one ever was. I’m sure in time the keys will wear down as they have on all my laptops (and desk tops). It’s faster than the old one ever was. I plan to use it differently, too.


Canine Magnetism

I love dogs. It’s no secret. They have a magnetic attraction for me. Last week I made a zucchini delivery in the nearby city of Alamosa. I would be seeing a friend — Cynthia Stone — whom I hadn’t seen in a while. She has gotten married in the interval. She’s an artist and I would be seeing her studio and her new counseling practice. This is all worthy of my interest and attention but the whole thing was compromised because…

…she had her dog with her, a young border collie, Baloo, and HE got all of my attention, at least until he and I had made friends, shared stories and knew each other. Then I turned my attention to my human friend. I think she understood; she has three dogs of her own.


I have always been like this. I have no idea why. I like animals in general and dogs in particular and have a VERY special place in my heart for horses. It tends to be mutual. Dogs I don’t even know have been known to bound across the room to meet me. This happened with a friend’s new puppy — a little pug — who, when I came into the living room of their new house LEAPT 10 feet, basically she FLEW into my arms. Not just dogs. For a period of time in the late 80s, several cats moved in with me and my ex. How or why or where they all came from remains a mystery for the most part, though some were dumped on us by my international students who’d adopted a cat and then had to return to their home countries.

I’ve taken aptitude tests that say I should be an animal trainer. I don’t know. I think I should probably be an animal, but there’s no result like, “You would be happy as a forest ranger, educator, artist, writer or coyote.” Given that list I would definitely choose coyote.

Bear with a bit of paint across her nose

(The featured photo is Satchmo and Shoe — two of my friend L’s dogs — and Polar Bear Yeti T. Dog of song and story)


Quotidian News from the Back of Beyond

Twice a day Dusty T. Dog and Polar Bear Yeti T. Dog unfurl their inner-puppy and they wrestle and play. Never in the yard, always in the living room.

Since she ran away, Bear has been odd. I think she scared herself. She’s been more needy, more attention seeking, more destructive. It’s a situation where I wish I could have a one-to-one conversation with her, but she’s a dog. She’s a dog that clings strongly to a routine, too. And now that summer is FINALLY here (my subjective summer) and I’m doing different things, spending time with humans, painting rocks, trimming dead-heads off flowers, taking her for walks at random times, she’s uncomfortable, too.

But my neighbor is going to help me put up a fence in the side yard so Bear can no longer dive through the lilac hedge and that will be a very positive change in both our lives.

That’s the dog report for today…

Night before last and yesterday I hid my first few rocks and waited to see what would happen. The woman who found the tiger was THRILLED. Lots of people WANTED to find it which made me happy.

I hid the two cute ones at the playground in the park near my house — the bluebird and the turtle — and this was my reward.

I love giving away my art and this is really, really sweet. ❤ I have a couple to hide today.


On the side is a verse from Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, the poem “O Me! O Life!” The scene is the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and Sand Dunes ❤

Running Bunny with Carrot

Country Mouse


Dogs x 6

It’s a beautiful morning here in Colorado Springs where I am hanging out until tomorrow. My friend L plays in a little band and tonight they’re performing so I came up (north) to see the show and see my friends.

Among my friends are three dog friends — Shoe, Satchmo and Coda. My dogs love them and they make a very cute extended pack. Shoe (the black and white one) hurt her paw on some garden edging so she’s not quite herself but as she is a dog, she is putting a good face on the fact that her foot is bandaged, has a sock on it, and a plastic boot.

Shoe and her boot and her bestie, Bear

To get here is a 3 hour drive, the first half over the mountains. La Veta Pass is nothing now, but in winter it can be a nightmare. The long, straight road through the big empty that leads to the pass is one of the deadliest in the United States, and now the Colorado Department of Transportation and posted this on the lit-up sign that normally warns of elk and avalanche ahead, “313 Deaths in 2016. Don’t meet by accident.” People are careless on that stretch of road; most deaths result from illegal passing. I think a lot of drivers look at that landscape and feel oppressed by the emptiness and eager to get it over, or they think, “Let’s GO!!!” or they want to make time before the get to the pass. I have no idea. I’ve seen a couple bad accidents and I’m extremely cautious when I drive it. An example of driver stupidity, I was tailgated yesterday by a gas truck… Why? I just don’t play. I pulled over and let him get WAY ahead…

Yesterday was beautiful, and as I got to the top of the pass, Jimi Hendrix started singing “Voodoo Child” — one of his two songs that I actually like  — and I thought that was cool.

It’s probably glaringly obvious from this post that I don’t have anything to write but that’s the way it goes. 🙂