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Another Farewell

I feel like every time I promise a follow-up post or start a themed series on this blog, something happens and I end up leaving my readers hanging.

Thanks for putting up with me.

I promise to get back to sharing my late grandfather’s amazing collection of dogtiques very soon.

In the meantime, I need to share something else.

My beloved Uncle Bruce passed away this week.


That’s my dad on the left and his big brother Bruce on the right, circa 2011.

Bruce’s departure from this world was not unexpected. His big, old heart had been failing him for a while.

But it is never easy to say goodbye to someone forever. Bruce’s absence is felt profoundly by the family, his community and beyond. He was a legendary man, much like the son who beat him to heaven.

In the near future, I look forward to sharing a bit more about my dear uncle and his impact on my life.

For now, here’s a picture of his granddog Harv, who brought smiles and comfort in the final days.

Harv the silky terrier

A dog in the lap is great therapy.

I will always miss you, Uncle Bruce. 

The Beginning of a Spring Transformation

There’s a room in my house that the dogs are obsessed with.

creepy door

A ghost or a Charlie Machete wanted in.

Actually, I have long tried to keep them out of the room with a closed door that also helped me avoid thinking about the disorganized mess within.

Officially, the room is my office, but it has always been more of a repository for stuff I didn’t want to deal with. Like paperwork and mail I couldn’t decide if I should hold onto or toss and clothes I couldn’t cram into in my primary closet.

But last weekend, my friend Shelley came over with the sole purpose of helping me turn this cluttered room into a functional space that would bring me peace and inspiration – without spending any significant money.

Truth be told, I was a little scared and embarrassed that the room had gotten so out of control.

But Shelley has a way of bringing out the fun in life.


“Trust me,” she said. “We can fix this.”

Our project isn’t finished yet, but thanks to our progress so far, I’m now as eager as the dogs are to spend time in that room.

Every morning this week, I have even invited them to join me there as I get ready for work.

It is the very best way to start my day.


I think they just love carpet.

Do your pets supervise your morning routine?

Buck Lives on Forever

When I saw this tattoo, I had to know the story behind it.


The arm belongs to my friend Eric Fain, a Kansas City musician. Here’s the tale of his family dog Buck:

I was ten years old.

I had just arrived home after a week long Boy Scout Camp and my parents surprised me with a fluffy gold and white English Shepherd.

We decided to name him Buck, possibly because he was absolutely buck-wild and it just seemed to fit.

Until he was about a year and some change, he was just a ball of fur with a big head.

We moved to the Netherlands a year or so after and he made the trek with us overseas. Buck thrived in Holland. Every day my sisters and I would take him and our old Boxer, Cocoa, to the dog park, where he could run around free and play with other dogs and chase us while we tried to escape him on our Razor Scooters. His herding instinct was strong; he loved hovering around your feet. He also loved to sit on people, even if they were in a chair and he had to boost his butt onto your lap.

We returned to Kansas in 2003, and he was a great house dog for a while.

In 2008, he finally got to be the farm dog he always wanted to be when my folks bought seven acres in the countryside.


Buck’s final years were the best any dog could ask for. He adored my mother more than anyone else. When he started getting frail, my mom started to feed him hard boiled eggs in his food every night before she went to sleep. If she forgot, he barked until she brought it to him. She went so far as to have two separate cartons of eggs in the fridge; Buck’s Eggs and Human Eggs.

Every time I visited them, I always went down stairs to his room and gave him a big hug, except the night before he had to be put to sleep.

I’ll never forget hearing his bark from the basement. I left without even saying hello, not thinking it would be the last time I would hear him. I got a call from my sister as I was getting off work, and I could tell something was wrong.

She said he fell when he was outside and that Mom had to pick him up and bring him inside. ‘He’s bleeding internally and there isn’t much we can do’ the vet told my mom. She loved him so much and couldn’t bear to see him in any more pain. I told her to give him a kiss for me and tell him that I was sorry for not being there to say goodbye.

Buck was my best pal, and I decided to get a tattoo for his memory because I never want to forget the happiness he brought into my life.

Big thanks to Eric for sharing this story. 

To catch a glimpse of Eric’s tattoo of Buck in person, go see him play with his band Clairaudients.

Does anyone else out there have a tattoo memorial of a beloved pet? Tell your story in the comments.

Scooby Has a Question

Seven days from now is Valentine’s Day…


How would you respond?

Find something good for your valentine in my gift guide for dog lovers.

And don’t miss your chance to win some Rupert’s spray that will make your pooch more smoochable!

Sweet Sunday Faces

Are you having an awesome weekend?

three dogs beg

We are here at Wayward House!

We had a surprise visitor last night – little Roxy the jackeranian.


Of course, Charlie Machete is very concerned about getting his sweetheart the right gift for Valentine’s Day. I assured him the solution can be found in Wayward Hearts: A Valentine’s Day Gift Guide for Dogs and Dog Lovers.

Look out for more posts this week related to the products in the guide, including a new giveaway announcement tomorrow!

Happy Sunday!

This is What Saturday Morning Looks Like

“Do you think we can get them to bring us breakfast-on-couch?”

miniature pinscher and black lab mix snuggle

Scooby and Charlie Machete hope your final weekend of 2012 is starting off this comfortably.

If you would like to incorporate snuggling with Charlie Machete into your Saturday morning routine, check out his Midwest Adopt-a-Bull profile!

How will you and your dogs spend the last days of the year?

We Wish You a Merry Christmas


Our pack hopes you get everything you want this holiday season. Thanks for following our adventures on this blog. Your comments and readership make life a little sweeter.

Merry Christmas, everybody!

A Reindog’s Christmas Wish

Charlie Machete is so excited for Christmas that this year he agreed to put on a special holiday costume.



Same as last year, all he wants for Christmas is a forever family of his own.

If you or anyone you know would like to adopt Charlie Machete, check out his profile at

Merry Christmas!

A Perfect First Dog

When I think about the success stories related to this blog in 2012, helping to network Mia the beagle/husky mix into her forever home is near the top of the list. 

beagle husky mix

Through my animal advocate friend Nicole, Mia came to my attention at the perfect time – just days after my colleague Mike asked me to be on the lookout for a great family dog. Although he had dogs in the past, this would be the first dog ever for his wife Pam and their two children. Mia has been with them for several months, and I’m thrilled to report that the family is totally in love with her.

Mia has even put a spell on cat lover Pam, who answered the following questions.

How is living with a dog different from what you expected?

I didn’t know exactly what to expect, having never owned or lived with a dog. My expectations were based on what I’d been told by other dog owners, and what I’d observed of other dogs and owners over the years. I knew dogs were “a lot of work,” and required “a huge commitment.” In my mind, it was similar to bringing another child into the family. Truth be told…I was kind of nervous. However, living with Mia has been overall easier than what I expected. Very minor challenges early on, but nothing that ever made us question bringing her into our family (well, except that first day when she rolled around in poop and I had to give her a bath. Could’ve been a deal-breaker but we hung in there).

How did you know Mia was the dog for you?

We didn’t! We had a hunch she would be a good fit, but that was based on a few pictures and someone else’s opinion/description. She was described as “likes to keep to herself and acts more like a cat than a dog.” That definitely piqued my interest! Other than that, it just felt kind of meant to be.

What is Mia like?

Mia is a GREAT dog. Her “birth parents,” as I like to call them, did an amazing job training her, and she is extremely well-behaved and incredibly easy. She is calm, SO patient, loving, affectionate. She is also very ladylike and has wonderful manners.

From a physical standpoint, she has the softest, silkiest, most luxurious coat, and her coloring/markings are to die for. During our jaunts around our neighborhood, people often stop us and want to pet her, always commenting on her unusually soft coat and her unique “Husky” eyes. She has one clear blue eye, and one eye that is half-blue and half-brown. Super cool.

What is the best thing about Mia?

Of course I love the fact that she is so well behaved. I can’t help but feel proud, even though I had nothing to do with her formative years! But mostly, I love her sweet personality and her steadfast companionship. As a stay-at-home mom, I’m home by myself a lot, and I love knowing she’s here with me. And of course the kids adore her. I can tell, frankly, that SHE prefers adult company, but she is so patient and good with them, and of course she is rewarded by all the love and tummy rubs she wants.

Mia 3

What annoys you about Mia?

She can be very needy, and some days, she literally follows me up and down stairs, from room to room, out to the deck and back in again. Sheesh! And the guilt! Oh, the guilt. Never anticipated this, having always had a cat. The way she looks at me with those eyes, I instantly feel horrible for doing what I’m doing instead of petting/walking/playing with her. She’s also a little smelly sometimes…mostly around her face and mouth. This does not seem to deter my daughter, however, from planting kisses all over her face and head, and vice-versa.

What is a typical day like for Mia and your family?

Mia sleeps in our room (on HER big fluffy dog bed, not on our bed). She wakes and rises when we do, not a minute before. She likes to lie on her bed and make a big production of stretching and yawning, waiting for a belly rub. From there, she assists me in waking our son Toby (8), by propping her front paws up on his bed and licking any exposed body parts, usually an elbow. Then on to our daughter Iva’s room. Mia is HUGE help in getting Iva (6) out of bed in a happy, peaceful way…Iva would much rather see Mia than mean mom first thing in the morning.

Once the kids are awake and eating breakfast, Mia retires to her pillow where she waits patiently until it’s time for the kids to leave for school. She stands at the door to see everyone off, then seems mildly relieved that they’re gone and the noise level has dropped dramatically. At that point, she gives me a look that seems to say, “Ah, peace and quiet. Just you and me, Mom.”

The rest of the day is spent sunbathing on the deck (her, not me), going for a long walk through scenic Prairie Village, and waiting for the kids to come home from school, which means lots of hugs and tail wagging. Evenings are family time, and Mia is right there in the center of the action whether it’s Lego building or a riveting game of Uno. She’s usually pretty wiped out by 8:00 p.m.

How do you think living with a  dog is different for your kids than living with a cat?

Mia is a member of the family. She seems more like the kids’ sibling than our cat did. She is so engaged and eager to be with them, always so grateful for their attention. Cats are, in contrast, so aloof and become annoyed with too much attention. (Let the record show, however, that I still ADORE cats!)

Mia 2

A little bird (OK, your husband) told me that Mia became bonded to you pretty quickly. Do you feel like you are her favorite person?

Absolutely. No doubt about it. She loves Mike, too, but I’m THE ONE. Her world centers around me (and I don’t say this in a braggadocious way, it’s just a fact). Again, kind of like caring for a child.

What sage advice do you have for families who are considering getting their first dog?

Don’t know about sage, but I would just reiterate that, even with easy, well-behaved dogs, it’s a major deal. I’m talking about quality of life, for a creature that is 100% dependent on you not only for its basic needs, but for the intangibles, like happiness. Anyone can “have” a dog. But it’s a huge responsibility to make that dog’s life as good as it can be, for the long haul.

Thanks to Pam for taking the time to write this entertaining update on the life of Mia!

beagle husky mix

What did you learn from your first dog? Share your story in the comments.

Want more cute dog pictures and inspiring stories? Like Wayward Dogs on Facebook and follow me on Twitter.

Holiday Dog Date

We haven’t yet begun decorating our house for the holidays. But last Saturday, Scooby and I went on a tree-decorating date.

small dog with christmas tree

We didn’t tell Luke the date was with his sweetheart, former foster dog Minnie.

He doesn’t like it when others move in on his girl.

husky mix near christmas tree

She still loves belly rubs.

Minnie was happy to see her old friend Scooby, even though he leaked on the rug within five minutes of arriving.

He didn’t seem as embarrassed as I did 10 minutes later when I knocked over a wine glass. (For the record, it was my first glass of the evening.)

miniature pinscher under a blanket

Can’t promise it won’t happen again.

Lucky for us both, Minnie and her mama Holly are laid back, easygoing folks. They had recently entertained another canine houseguest – Minnie’s new cousin dog, a one-eyed Great Dane puppy named Baby.

I had a great time helping Holly decide where to put all of the pretty birds and other creature ornaments she bought for her tree.

christmas ornaments

In the end, the tree looked great, especially with the dogs in front of it.

dogs in front of xmas tree

What kind of holiday preparations happen at your house?

dog christmas meme

Do not actually give a dog egg nog.

I’m taking part in BlogHer’s December 2012 NaBloPoMo blogging challenge!

NaBloPoMo December 2012

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