Soul Companions

On June 19 of this year, just as our daughter and her family were starting their RV trip to Alaska—a military move—their beloved lab, Angel, became seriously ill and they made the heart-breaking decision to let her go humanely. It was devastating for their entire family.

I had no idea that in less than a month we would be traveling that same painful road with our own beloved Lady.

Angel and Lady came into our lives about the same time. My daughter and son-in-law were recently married and ready and anxious to bring a dog into their family. Angel was a rescue who had already been through a couple families. She was about two years old when they adopted her—but that is only an estimate.

Angel was a wonderful, loyal, loving dog. She welcomed and protected each of our grandchildren and she was devoted to her humans.

We had been without a dog for about seven years when Lady came to us as a puppy, six months before they adopted Angel.

And now those two well-loved dogs have crossed the Rainbow Bridge together.

Today, after writing in my office, I went into the kitchen and opened the refrigeration. There was no sound of scratchy paws on the laminate floor heading for the kitchen at the sound of the refrigerator opening.

I sat in the living eating my snack. There were no big brown eyes silently staring me down, trying to guilt me into giving her a bite.

This evening when I checked the slider I didn’t ask my husband if he was going to take Lady out one more time before locking the door.

I can see the copper bucket in the corner of the living room—it’s still filled with Lady’s toys. But the living room dog bed is gone—even though our cat Spooky sometimes used it. It was left at the vet’s. Lady was on it when she died, and I did not want to disturb her body just so I could take the bed.

It’s only been three days. This is going to take a while.

(Photo: Lady and Angel)






Goodbye Sweet Lady


October 5, 2008—July 15, 2018

Lady came to us on my birthday, November 22, 2008. It was then I officially started working in my home office, to be close to our new puppy.

For the next six years Lady was my constant companion. When I worked in my home office you could typically find her sleeping just a few feet from my office chair.

Her leg issues became apparent early on. Unstable, she didn’t have stamina or strength to do things other dogs do—such as take long walks, chase balls or rabbits, jump up on a bed, or get into a car unassisted. Of all those things I think the only one that bothered her was being unable to jump up on the bed.

In spite of her disabilities she was the perfect traveler, typically sleeping for most of the drive. It didn’t take her long to master the ramp for the RV and truck, and she also enjoyed cruising on our pontoon boat.

What made Lady happy was being with me and my husband. She wanted to be where ever we were. If we went outside to sit by the firepit and forgot to invite her, she would come to the door and let us know in no uncertain terms that she wanted to come outside with us.

Instead of jumping up on us she would nudge us with her body or give us gentle little Aussie nibbles. She rarely barked—and never at someone coming to our door—but she loved to talk. It’s one of the many things I will miss about her.

About four years ago my husband Don, who is in real estate, started working from home after recuperating from surgery. For a while we shared the home office, but when my mother-in-law passed away a few months later I started working in the cottage in the back of our property—where she had lived.

Don continued to work from home and Lady stayed with him. She became his constant companion as she had been mine. I admit I was somewhat jealous and missed having her with me while I wrote. But she preferred being in the main house.

For most of Lady’s life she has been plagued with health issues. In May she came down with what the vet believes was vestibule disease. It got progressively worse, and last week she was unable to stand unaided.  We took her to the vet on July 13th, and they ran some tests. But on July 14th she stopped eating and drinking water.

The next day Don and I had to make the heart wrenching decision to let Lady go humanely. I stayed by her side and held her as she was released from her pain.  This has devastated my husband and me.

I believe Lady was a special dog. She was different from any dog I have ever known—and I have known many special dogs.  When Lady looked at me it was as if she was trying to convey her thoughts to me. My heart aches just looking at her picture.

She will be dearly missed. I wish I had more than 9 ½ years with her. But I feel blessed that I had her in my life at all.







Trump, Elizabeth Warren and DNA

I’ve been trying to avoid politics but the amateur genealogist in me just can’t let this one slide.

President Trump has recently offered to give Elizabeth Warren a million dollars if she will take a DNA test. He wants to disprove her claim she has some Native American blood.

But here’s the thing, taking the DNA test may prove Ms. Warren has a Native American ancestor, but it won’t prove she doesn’t have one.

You see, we inherit half of our DNA from each parent. One might assume that if someone’s father is half Irish and half Chinese, and his mother is Norwegian, he will then be ¼ Irish, ¼ Chinese and ½ Norwegian. Simple math, right? It’s how our family tree has been explained to us for years. However, DNA does not work that way.

While we inherit half of our DNA from each parent, it is not necessarily an equal ratio of a parent’s total DNA.  That person in my example might get just the Irish DNA from his father and so, according to his DNA test, he doesn’t have any Chinese.

I had a DNA test, as did my mother and sister. Not everyone on my mother’s results are listed on mine or on my sister’s. And while my sister and I share the same parents, our DNA results are not identical.

I’ve been researching my family’s history since I was a teenager and my paternal grandmother gave me a copy of the detailed family tree her family had prepared. According to that tree, one of my ancestors was the Scottish poet, Robert Burns, author of the song we sing on New Year’s Eve, “Auld Lang Syne.”

However, I have since discovered that isn’t true. It doesn’t mean my grandmother lied—or that the person preparing the tree lied. It simply means it’s not uncommon for misinformation to be passed down in families when discussing lineage.

Elizabeth Warren might have some Native American ancestors, and maybe she doesn’t. I don’t believe for a moment there is anything devious or calculating in her claim. I see it as a rather typical response to someone embracing what she believes is her family’s story.

But the bottom line, I think this entire non-issue is petty and frankly, our country has real problems we need dealt with.