Posts Tagged ‘Doga’

The wild wind sweeps through the river bottom

May 19, 2014

Posted May 19, 2014—Written November 13, 2013

The wild wind sweeps through the river bottom . . . Honey is crazy with joy, and her canine exuberance is contagious! She runs with the wind like a whirling dog-dervish. She dances and prances and follows a thousand invisible scents. Little Chico scrambles to keep up. His whole Chihuahua being trembles with excitement! For a moment the wind is so intense that it kicks up the dry dirt and we pass through a cloud of dust. I’m aware that wind can blind us, can destroy all in its path. But here, so far, it’s a joyous, cleansing, healing wind that just blows the past right out of you and lifts you into the present . . .



Be careful what kind of dog you get

May 14, 2014

Saturday, May 10, 2014, a perfect day in Ojai

Be careful what kind of dog you get—apparently it’s true that people start to look more and more like their dog!

Photo Credit: David E. Moody — in Ojai, California


The purpose of life: Finding a place to put your stuff

January 25, 2014

January 24, 2014

I must have looked somewhat out of character driving a U-Haul truck down Shady Lane, because, when I stopped at Ojai Valley Imports auto repair to pick up my friend David, he started clapping his hands and practically rolling down Ojai Avenue, laughing his head off.

I had called him the night before to see if he could help me unload the heavy stuff into my new “apartment.”

“Well,” he said, “it all depends on what time. I’m taking my car in for an oil change at 8 a.m.”

When I found out that where he was dropping his car was right on the way to where I’d be unloading the U-Haul, I exclaimed, “That’s perfect! While they’re doing the oil change, you can help me unload the shelves, my oak desk, the filing cabinet, and other heavy stuff.”

David hoisted himself up into the cab, and through the whole short drive over to my new “gated community,” he kept laughing about seeing me behind the wheel of a truck. I didn’t mind; it always gives me great joy to be the source of someone else’s amusement.

It’s true that I had needed convincing from another male friend that I was perfectly capable of driving one of the smaller trucks. I had driven it tentatively around Bryant Circle before heading down Ojai Avenue, getting used to no view in the back and the big side-view mirrors. My daughter and her husband had helped me load all the heavy stuff, making me realize that I’d better line up a helper at the other end.

I punched in the code and the gates opened wide. I swung the truck around to my new temporary digs, apartment #26.

Then I jumped out of the cab and unlocked the back of the U-Haul. Learning to unlock and secure the lock contraption at the bottom of the door had first required all my powers of concentration, but now I did it like a pro. David, who knows how hard mechanical things are for me, was visibly impressed. We both jumped out of the way as the door flew up, obeying the “Caution: Objects May Shift and Fall Out” sign. Only my bicycle, the last thing I’d put in, was leaning precariously over the edge. Everything else, including my yoga backbender, was miraculously still in its place.

Next I opened the door to my “apartment.” David let out a whoop and promptly declared, “There’s no room for any more stuff.” He saw with a sweep of his eye all the journals, photo albums, pots and pans, boxes of books, my collection of Utne Readers, and all the little things I’m still attached to, taking up every inch of floor space.

“There’s no room for any more stuff,” he kept repeating.

“There’s plenty of room,” I declared with equal vigor. “Just help me unload everything and then you can walk back to your car.”

“You’ll be here all day,” he protested.

“I know what I’m doing! I’ll have everything put away in half an hour.”

I had to get it done in record time because my hands and bare feet were freezing cold. I’d forgotten how cold Ojai mornings can be in the shade.

I hoisted myself into the truck and started lowering the filing cabinet down to David, who was still regarding me with an incredulous look on his face.

“How much are you paying for this place?” he asked as he placed the filing cabinet on the ground.

“$230 a month,” I replied. “And I found a coupon online for half off the first month. I was lucky to get the last one. Every large unit here is rented! Where else in downtown Ojai can you find a clean place with high ceilings and 24-hour security cameras for that low price?”

“Right,” he agreed. “Plus the neighbors are quiet and hardly ever home.”

While we unloaded the truck, I explained to my friend that I would be living in a tiny guest room, high on a hill, with a panoramic view of the mountains and valley below, plus trails nearby where I could hike with Honey and Chico.

I told David that when I’d found out I had to move from the river bottom, I’d started house hunting. The last house I looked at, on the corner of Canada and Oak, had just been REDUCED to $2,300. And, as usual, SORRY, NO PETS! I probably won’t know till my life flashes before me whether or not I’ve made the right decision hanging on to my dogs, even if it means having to put all my stuff into storage and taking along only what I absolutely need to keep body and soul together.

It’s now been almost five years since my landlord died and I lost the wonderful country house I’d leased for 14 years. During these past few years of communal living and various shared-house situations, I’ve had many opportunities to rent quiet condos, apartments, or guest houses within walking distance of town, in nice, park-like settings. But they’ve all stipulated NO DOGS–especially not a large dog.

At one point in this looking-for-a house-that will-take dogs saga, I met a wonderful couple on the trail who were looking for a companion for their large collie-type dog. Honey and their dog got along great, and when they learned of my predicament they offered to adopt Honey. At the time, it seemed a cosmic blessing–like the Universe was stepping in to help! This couple had a spacious home, with plenty of fenced property for the dogs to roam and play in. In a moment of desperation, I agreed, realizing how much easier my life would be without a dog. (This was before I adopted Chico.) I gave Honey away with the understanding that, if things didn’t work out, they would give her back. I couldn’t risk having her end up back at the shelter.

For about two weeks, I got daily phone calls with glowing reports on how happy Honey was and how well everyone was getting along. But in the third week I got this message: “We love your dog and she loves us, but we sense she’s still waiting for you to come back and pick her up. Maybe you’d better come over for a visit so we can talk . . . she’s just not bonding with us like we’re her family.”



I’ll never forget how my heart turned over when I heard that Honey was still waiting for me! And she practically flew through the ceiling with pure joy when she saw me again.

As George Carlin says in his classic standup routine about the importance of Stuff in our lives, “What is a house but a place to store your stuff?” So that’s why my stuff is in storage and I stick with Honey. As I told my friend as we unloaded the last of the industrial-strength steel shelves that hold 3,000 pounds, “This is a great place. Not only is my stuff totally secure–they can see everything that goes on here on the big, flat surveillance screen in the office. Plus, if I die, they’ll auction off my stuff and that will be the end of it.” — in Ojai, CA.




I’ve never seen such a lack of enthusiasm in my life!

December 16, 2013

December 11, 2013

I handed Honey a heart-shaped Newman’s Own Organic Peanut Butter Premium Dog Treat. I’ve never seen such a lack of enthusiasm in my life! Whereas Chico leaped up and swiped his out of my hand with all the Chihuahua gratitude his spirit could muster. So then, of course, Honey reluctantly nibbled her rejected biscuit, rather than let Chico nab it . . . — in Ojai, CA.





Good dog!

November 25, 2013

Saturday night, November 23, 2013

I was in my nice warm bed, burrowing deep under the covers, my weary head sinking into the pillow, cats sacked out on top of the comforter, dogs crashed out on the floor–every body settled in for the night and accounted for. Just as I was fading away, in the stillness of the house, I distinctly heard running water, like a faucet trickling, followed by the sound of water splashing. It lasted only a few seconds, but long enough that I wondered, “What could that be?”

I couldn’t fall asleep, and, since I knew I’d have to fly out of the house at dawn, I thought I’d get up and do my ablutions early. As I was about to step into the shower, I noticed that the cat’s water bowl that sits near the shower was all yellow and filled to the brim. And then I remembered that odd running water sound I’d heard.  Chico, out of consideration for his mistress, had thoughtfully peed into the water bowl instead of on the floor, where I might have stepped in it. I had to hand it to him–his aim was perfect!

Time to get on my hands and knees and pick up the pieces

July 27, 2013

It’s hopeless! I gathered up all the dirty cat and dog dishes (including human dishes from letting Honey and Chico lick the plates) and stacked them neatly in a plastic dishwashing tub. Set the tub down on the steps by the kitchen sink, thinking I’d soak the animal dishes and scrub them last. As luck would have it, a few moments later Honey exploded with a bark that would wake the dead, knocking the tub off the steps as she bolted out the door to chase a band of raccoons. Plates and bowls flew through the air and hit the tile floor with a loud clatter, breaking into a zillion pieces . . . And now all is quiet again. She sleeps peacefully, totally oblivious. Only the two stainless steel bowls are intact.

Time to get on my hands and knees and pick up the pieces.



Stick with Honey: A Doga Writing Memoir

December 23, 2012

Four years ago, on the Friday before Christmas . . .

“Against the assault of laughter, nothing can stand.”
–Mark Twain

Suza_book_cover_size   The last Chapter in my dating memoir, “Fishing on Facebook: A Writing Yoga Memoir,” is entitled, “Stick with Honey.” As many of you know, Honey is the Australian Shepherd rescue dog who appears on the cover. When I told my friend Dale Hanson the truth about “Adam,” the antagonist in my memoir, she offered this simple advice, “Stick with Honey!”

Well, I have stuck with Honey, through thick and thin! Truth be told, like most other relationships, it has not always been easy. We’ve had enough adventures to fill a book. Here’s the beginning of the story:

Four years ago, on the Thursday before Christmas, I got a call from a local dog rescuer who said she heard I was looking to adopt a Queensland Heeler or Australian Shepherd. She asked if she could bring an Aussie rescue over on Friday, “Just so you can meet her.”

I thought to myself, “What a coincidence that I would get this call today.” My previous dog, Queenie, a Queensland Heeler (Australian Cattle Dog), had died exactly one year ago, on the Friday before Christmas.  003_103_8005

I tried not to take this as a sign from God!


Honey, Australian Shepherd rescue dog Photo Credit: Janeson Rayne

For a moment I hesitated. I already had plenty of other animals — four cats, two rescue pigs, and a dear mouse named Whitey. Life was so much easier without the responsibility of a dog. I knew very well that if this Aussie arrived on my doorstep it would probably be case closed.

The clever, determined rescuer softened me up by explaining how her organization goes into the animal shelter on a regular basis to save as many dogs as they can from death row. They already had as many dogs as they could handle in one trip and she almost didn’t notice this beautiful Aussie. She described how this little girl dog came up and gently licked her hand.
I imagined the other dogs desperately barking, “Save me! Save me!” while this Aussie girl wisely distinguished herself by quietly licking the rescuer’s hand.

So the next day, on the Friday night before Christmas, a truck stopped in front of my house. The back of the truck had several crates, each holding a yapping dog. The driver took out a beautiful, fluffy Aussie dog. She didn’t bark. It all happened very fast and I felt like I was adopting an unknown orphan child.

The unknown Aussie stood beside me on the street, appearing very calm. We watched the truck with barking dogs drive away. After the truck disappeared, Aussie girl looked up at me as if to assess this human being who fate had delivered her to. At that moment I think she saw right through me –she picked up that I was easy and that she had nothing to fear. She willingly followed me into the house.

What I remember from our first night together is that this Aussie, who I named Honey a few days later, not only did not chase my cats (at least not while I was looking), she licked Leo’s face. Possibly because Leo’s lips taste like cat food, but it looked like a sign of affection and scored big points in her favor.

Late that night, while we were in the kitchen, a band of raccoons that had gotten way too tame during the year that I had no dog, came looking in the cat door, to see if it was safe to come in. I noticed Honey staring intently at the door, well aware of the intruders peering in. Suddenly she let loose an explosive bark that would shatter the ear drums of the dead. That was the end of the raccoons sneaking into the kitchen and stealing cat food.

For the first few days, as is the case in most new relationships, Honey was on her sweetest, best behavior. She smiled at everyone and sat still during my yoga classes with her front paws crossed, observing my students like a flock of sheep. But gradually, as she felt more secure, the reality of her true nature emerged.

Another day I will tell more about “Sunny” Honey. She is the world’s most loyal and lovable dog, but there is good reason why friends have dubbed her, “Buffalo Girl,” “Thunder Girl,” and other nicknames that reflect her energetic, exuberant, spirit!
Happy Fourth Anniversary Honey! (Honey hopes her story inspires more humans to give a dog waiting at the shelter a forever home.)

Southern California Australian Shepherd Rescue

Please spay and neuter your dogs and cats –thousands of animals are waiting on death row, hoping to be adopted before it’s too late.


Stick with Honey! Photo Credit: David E. Moody

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