Got some goodies this week I think.

There’s the sink and the pretty colors of everyday things.


The dogs love playing “the stairway game.” I think it’s because they are above me for a few minutes, but every dog we’ve had here has played this game. It’s the canine vs. human “king of the mountain.” I always let them win. And the prize is, of course … you guessed it … a biscuit!


And then, there are keys … hooked in plain sight so we can always find them as we come and go.


The coffee is ready and the sun is shining!


And so begins the day!



Our local grocery stores are not bad, but there’s stuff they just don’t have. Thin Oreos — any flavor — are among the things they do not stock. So, this evening, in a fit of rampant self-indulgence, I went online. To Amazon, my one-stop online shopping choice.

And sure enough, Amazon has them in pretty much every flavor, including some I didn’t know existed. But. Either the price is outrageously over-the-top or they are available only through PrimePantry. Despite how I love Amazon (I really love Amazon), I don’t love their grocery subscription services. They won’t let me choose when they will deliver or when they will bill me. Moreover, I don’t necessarily need or want a crate of stuff.

Today, all I wanted were cookies.


After maybe an hour of increasing frustration, I ordered 35-pounds of senior (Diamond Naturals) dog food — plus an economy-sized box of Teenie Greenies. And no cookies.

As Garry pointed out, it’s important to know what’s really important. The fur kids approve. They barked their approval when I pressed “Place Your Order.”



It was late. I was tired. Too tired to do anything more than see what I could do with using my Kindle as a camera without getting out of bed. I’m pretty sure these are odd. I’m not sure about the balls.



And a couple from Garry. Always trying to get pictures of our dogs and they never quite come out the way we hope. But … hey … at least they stayed in the picture!





I went to Los Angeles to visit my daughter and she treated me to a unique and fun experience. It involved puppies and you can’t get much better than that as far as I’m concerned! We spend the afternoon taking three pit bull puppies to a shoot for a live podcast at a local digital media company.

5 puppies

My daughter, Sarah, volunteers for a local dog rescue group called Angel City Pit Bulls ( Rescue groups pull dogs from shelters and place them in foster homes until they are adopted. This increases their chances of adoption because they are socialized and trained by the fosters and also have a chance to recover from the PTSD they suffer from being abused, abandoned, or caged in a shelter.

Sarah with puppies

Angel City is 100% volunteers and is very well-organized. They are also very hands on with their foster families and dogs. They cover all medical costs, pay for all food, and provide logistical help for the fosters. For example, they will get other volunteers to take foster dogs to vet appointments, obedience classes or just on walks when fosters can’t. Angel City also helps get the dogs adopted and follows up with adoptive families and their new pits.

Another part of Angel City’s mission is to counter the misinformation that has recently given pit bulls a bad reputation. Pits are actually smart, loyal, loving and eager to please. In fact, they are rated on a breed scale for aggressiveness in the middle range, between golden retrievers and yellow labs.

This shoot came about because one of Angel City’s fosters works at a digital media company that was looking for puppies for a live podcast. The foster knew that Angel City was working with a mother and her litter of eight puppies. It was a match made in heaven. Angel City uses themes to name its puppy litters and this was the Harry Potter Litter. So we had to go pick up Harry, Hermione and Dumbledore for their film debuts. The hard part was tearing ourselves away from the other adorable puppies!

We put the puppies into a crate and took them to the Awestruck TV office for the shoot. When we arrived, the office practically shut down as everyone crowded around to play with the puppies. The show is geared to Millennial Moms so the host and her actress guest were going to talk about taking care of young children and dogs. The guest even brought along her 2 ½ year old daughter to hang out with the puppies. The two women also talked about adopting puppies and specifically about Angel City. This was great PR for the group.

puppies in cage

When it was time for the live show, the puppies were ready for their close-ups. They played the classic “cute puppy” roles perfectly. Hermione found a giant stuffed raccoon and started dragging it around the room. Harry grabbed the raccoon too and they started an adorable tug of war. Meanwhile Dumbledore kept stepping in the water bowls and splashing water all around.

You can watch the podcast on Facebook

At the end of the day we were tired, but not as exhausted as the puppies!.

sleeping pups


I read an article the other day. It announced (with great solemnity and employing many big words and more than a few pie charts) that dogs — our dogs, your dogs, pet dogs — don’t like being hugged. Not merely do they not like being hugged and display measurable levels of stress when hugged, but they really totally hate being kissed and nuzzled.


The article suggest a pat on the head … and a treat … would be much more appreciated.

Not by Garry or me.

I know they don’t like being hugged. It’s obvious. They stiffen and put their ears back when we hug them. They also don’t like it when I grab their tail and refuse to let it go. That’s what all the growling and head butting is about. You can almost hear them sigh, wondering when you’ll be through with this nonsense and get on to the important stuff, namely distributing cookies.

I told Garry about the study. He said: “Tough. They’ll just have to cope. Because I like it.”

My thoughts exactly.


Our dogs are disrespectful. Messy. Flagrantly disobedient. They are masters and mistresses of selective hearing. Do I believe for a single moment when we tell them to go out and they stand there, in front of the doggy door, ignoring us, that it’s because they (a) don’t understand what we want from them, or (b) cannot hear us? That if I stand in the doorway calling them to come in that they can’t hear me or figure out that I want them to come inside? Of COURSE they hear me. They know. They’re just playing us.

If they can hear the click when we remove the top of the biscuit container from the other end of the yard, they hear us just fine. It’s a power play.


Since they persist in disrespecting us, they will have to deal with our periodic compulsion to give them hugs, nuzzling, and the occasional (“Yuck! Stop that you stupid human!”) kiss on their big moist noses. It’s the price they pay for sofa lounging, high-quality treats and silly humans getting down on the floor to play with them.

We put up with them? They will have to put up with us, too. That’s our deal.

It’s a Human v Canine Covenant. I’ve got their paw prints on file.



It’s been awhile since I did a “Gibbs” update. Time has passed very fast and it has now been slightly longer than five weeks since Special Agent Gibbs joined the family.


There’s not all that much to report, really. He’s less wary of us than he was at first, though he still has a bit of “approach-avoidance” in his dealings with humans  … which are usually overcome by the anything we might give him to eat. He is a bit food driven.


He had his first trip to the vet. Like us, she cannot believe that he’s 9-years-old. He’s the youngest-looking dog of that age any of us have seen. Even his teeth don’t show the amount of wear 9 years of use should produce.

Gibbs has started to (gently) throw his weight around. A little bit. Bonnie steals stuff from me and he steals it from her. They take it in stride. Apparently all is fair in love, cookie wrappers, and napkins.




I was 11 years old when I got my first dog, a dachshund named Schnitzel. He was my only sibling, human or canine. We grew up together and he was totally my dog.

ellin curley dachshund

My parents weren’t really “dog people” so they didn’t love him the way I did. Schnitzel and I were a team. He always knew when I was upset and was there for me. He lived to be 15, so I was 26 when he died. I left home at 22 to go to law school and then got married.

I never came back. I abandoned my buddy in his old age and to this day I feel guilty about it. At least I was with him at the end.


I didn’t get another dog until my kids were 5 and 10 years old. We got a Golden retriever mix rescue dog who was one of the most beautiful dogs I’ve ever known, inside and out. He was one of those once-in-a-lifetime dogs –- incredibly smart, uncannily sensitive, and intuitive. He was mellow, but bright and alert. And fun to be with.

Ellin Curley Sam dogs-2

Everyone loved him. The year I lived in New York City, I had to leave extra time when I walked him because people always came up to me to ask about him and pet him. But Sam belonged to the whole family. We each had a special, close relationship with him. That was his super power.

I still think about him all the time and miss him terribly, but he wasn’t my dog.

Ellin Curley Sam dog

Just 6 years ago I got another dog who connected to me in that special, intimate way. Her name is Lexie. Part Rhodesian Ridgeback, part Pomeranian, entirely gorgeous. She has a beautiful caramel face with hazel eyes and what looks like a permanent smile.

But she’s a rescue — incredibly anxious, skittish, and neurotic. She is on anxiety medication. Calmer now, but she is still frequently and easily spooked. Because of her anxiety, Lexie is not great at first meeting with new people. Not everyone “gets” her the way I do, which makes me feel more protective of her. Maybe that’s part of why I relate to her so well. I also have anxiety issues, but we are both cuddlers and we seem to calm each other.


Lexie follows me around and wants to do whatever I’m doing, even when that’s just sitting and reading or watching TV. She is wonderful with my husband and he adores her too, but our other dog, Lucky follows him around and is more HIS dog.

72-Ellin_02 lucky and lexie

My kids left home years ago, so it’s just me and Tom – and our two “shadows”. We each have our own special companion in addition to each other. Which is how it should be.

On “Grey’s Anatomy”, Meredith Grey refers to her BFF/soul mate as “My person”. Lexie is my canine “person” in my empty nest middle age years just as Schnitzel was while I was growing up.