Category Archives: Purl (formerly Burro)

The Reindogs

Back in November, Dr. Cathy King (founder of WorldVets), posted this photo on my Facebook page. This adorable and funny dogs-wearing-reindeer-hats photo was subsequently posted eleventy more times by other friends.

I loved it, and took it on as a personal challenge — to knit reindeer hats for my two Greyhounds, Argos and Purl.

It started out innocently enough.


Purl wasn’t so sure.


I did the neck part first, followed by the hood, then the ears, and finally the tiny reindeer horns.


At last they were ready! A reindeer hat for Purl, and one for Argos too.


Argos remembered back in the pre-Purl days of 2010, when he had a different reindeer costume.


Purl came around soon enough though, realizing that this could be fun.




They took their new roles seriously. Flying around the world, they added a little Greyhound speed and power to Santa’s sleigh.

And then, in a blink of an eye, it was all over. Back to regular life.


Reindogs10-2013-12-25-08.53.54Sniffing sniffs, lazy dog stretches, and just laying around.

Until next year…


Fiery Fall

I live in a four-season climate. I am probably in the minority here, but I’ll say it: Fall is my least favorite season of all. It is usually marked by cold winds and rain, the leaves turning quickly from green to brown. Mud everywhere.

One year, the green leaves froze ON the trees then cracked off to the ground. Nothing pretty about that. Fall is tough around here.

This year has been different though. Summer is leaving quietly, with many blue-sky sunny days and mild temperatures, allowing the leaves to turn several shades of beautiful this year. If it wasn’t for the frosty mornings and the sun setting at 6 pm-ish(!), you could almost still think “summer.”

While at a friend’s house recently, I was swallowed up in trees and the fiery colors of fall.

Look at that! Beautiful!


I was inspired. I was moved. Moved even to steal some of that fiery beauty (sorry, Heather) and bring some of those leaves home to my farm out in the rolling wheat field country.


Hmmm. Not quite the same.


Shep the rooster, who is always “around” and in everyone’s business, spied me taking the ‘leaves and barn’ photo. As per his usual, he pretends to be busily pecking and scratching at the ground. If you let your guard down or appear “threatening,” even for a second, he is there, ready to pounce on you, beautiful leaves or not.

I decide to go in the house. Quincy is first on the scene.


Nothing but nothing gets past Quincy. He greets me at the door and demands to sniff out this new… what are these things, anyway?

He decides to check out Purl, who came to check out what was so interesting.



I was especially dreading fall this year, knowing that our family would be saying goodbye to Sophie at some point. These more-beautiful-than-the-usual-fall-season days have helped ease our transition.

Farewell, my Sweet Sophie

It has taken me all day to write this post, and it will be short. At least until I have a little time to let things settle.

Our family had to say goodbye to Sophie this week, and it has broken our hearts. I first noticed something amiss in August, very subtle, but not quite right. After an extensive workup, cancer was the likely culprit. I say ‘likely’ because other findings (low platelets and bleeding) made some diagnostic tests not possible at the time. I will be writing this all up from a more medical perspective on my site soon, but I still need some time.

Sophie was one of many pets in this household, but in her sweet quiet way, she ruled the roost.

We adopted her from the shelter in 2002. She raised our two kids and countless other pets; showing them how to behave and at the same time, protecting them and teaching them the ways of the world. Some pets – like the Greyhounds Purl and Argos – needed more help than others.

Sophie had to teach the Greyhounds LOTS of things, like how to be “normal” dogs in a home environment, how fun walks are (Sophie’s all-time favorite activity), greeting people on walks, and playful things, like digging in the sand.


Always more fun with a friend.

Sophie was also our alert dog. For everything and everybody. The Greyhounds got to where they just watched her, then looked off into the distance to see what she was looking at. Here Sophie spies an Oystercatcher on the beach.


Check this out guys!

Sophie had to be the leader. All the time, everywhere we went. The first out the door, the first in the car, the leader on every walk and hike. This was mostly good, except when she ignored me… doing whatever she pleased, on her own timeframe. But I am probably just a poor dog trainer.


Always in the lead. Luckily the Greyhounds like to follow.

Earlier this year, I posted this photo (reposted below). I didn’t realize until after I took it that a rainbow was right over Sophie’s head! She was a pot o’ gold, for sure.

Sophie is my pot of gold!

Sophie is my pot of gold!

The one thing I did NOT want – any suffering or lingering in a compromised state. We all want that of course, and I’ll be honest… it is hard to “know” that time, isn’t it? The lines are very blurry. And then those lines get blurrier, as the disease progresses. The new benchmarks are different than what we see in their previously healthy state.

But I knew. That light had left her eyes. She had other signs too, like not wanting to eat, and breathing that had become labored. Such a change from a few months ago, hiking for miles and miles in July. No one believed me when I said she was almost 12. Young and energetic, she lived a healthy life. And a very happy one.

It has been stormy and rainy here, fall ushered in by cold winds. But… on my sad drive home after saying goodbye, everything changed. The skies were on fire in that time photographers call “the golden hour.” I had to pull over several times, it was so beautiful.

Can you see the rainbow?

Do you see the rainbow?

And then lovely purples and pinks.

And then lovely purples and pinks.

The grand finale looking west. The ocean is over there...

The grand finale looking west. The ocean is over there. Way over there.

Thirty minutes later, it was all over. Back to gray. Coincidence? You can decide, but I like to think it was a final goodbye from a really great dog.

Farewell, Sweet Sophie.

We will miss you always.

We will miss you always.