Thursday, February 23, 2017


My dear dog, Willow, passed away over a week ago. I raised her from a puppy that could fit into a shoebox, to a 110-pound beauty of a Rottweiler.

I’d barely had time to mourn the loss of my furry child when, on Valentine’s Day, through the help of my friend who works for the NHSPCA, another Rottweiler came into my life.

“We never get Rottweilers!” my friend said excitedly. “And this one is a really beautiful young female that’s friendly with everyone. It has to be fate!”

The dog sounded wonderful. But was I ready for another dog so soon? I didn’t think so. Still, how could I pass up the opportunity to get a purebred dog for one-sixth of the price one would cost if I bought it from a breeder?

What finally convinced me I should check out the Rottie was my other dog, Eden, a Boxer/Rhodesian Ridgeback mix. Eden is only two, and for the year I’ve had her, she’s always wanted another dog to play with. I used to watch her out in the yard as she futilely attempted to encourage Willow to play with her. But Willow was nine, and in Rottweiler years, that’s about 120, because the breed ages faster than most smaller breeds. I figured Eden would love to finally have another dog close to her own age to romp with.

So I made an appointment to go see the Rottie on Valentine’s Day. I was told to bring Eden with me for a “meet and greet” to determine whether or not they would make good housemates. Before we left the house, I gave Eden a pep talk.

“Be sure to be on your best behavior today!” I told her. “You could make or break this adoption. So be really nice to this new dog when we meet her, OK?”

Eden looked at me as if to say, “Blah, blah, blah! That’s all I hear when your lips move.”

The Rottie, whose name was Rosie, was indeed a beautiful dog – solid and muscular with shiny jet-black fur and the typically large Rottweiler head…which was surrounded by one of those cone-shaped Elizabethan collars.

“She was just recently spayed,” I was informed. “You will have to keep an eye on the incision and try to keep her as quiet as possible.”

For me, it was love and first sight. For Eden, it was “Come near me, Fur Face, and I’ll rip out your jugular!”

Rosie liked Eden. She wagged and tried to sniff her. In response, Eden growled and snapped at her. Rosie tried to get near Eden again. Eden bared her teeth at her.

“Call me a pessimist, but this is not going very well,” I thought defeatedly.

A behavior specialist was brought in to assess the dogs’ actions. She told me she thought Eden was uncomfortable with her surroundings more than she was uncomfortable with Rosie. That made sense to me because Eden had been in four different shelters before I adopted her, and here we were…at another shelter. She must have been thinking she was about to be dumped once again.

So after a lot of paperwork and interviews with different SPCA counselors, Eden and I headed home with a giant cage in the back of my car. And in that cage was Rosie, whining incessantly.

The first thing I decided to do was change her name. I wanted to call her something that pertained to what was going on at the time. It had snowed the day before and was going to snow again the next day, so various names ran through my mind, from “Nor’Easter” to “Stormy.” I finally decided I would call her “Winter,” but spell it creatively as “Wynter.”

The first thing I did when I got home was sit down and study Wynter’s paperwork. One section contained a questionnaire that had been filled out by her previous owner. According to her, the dog could do everything but tap dance and cook my breakfast. She said Wynter was obedience trained and knew every basic command from “heel” to “leave it!” She was housebroken, she didn’t chew or climb on furniture, she loved cats, kids and other dogs; she didn’t bark needlessly, she ignored other people and animals when out being walked, she didn’t dig holes, she slept all night…and the list went on. I, I thought smugly, had just adopted the world’s most perfect dog. But I also found myself wondering why on earth her previous owner had put up such an obvious gem for adoption.

Wynter’s first night in my house taught me a valuable lesson…not to believe everything I read.

Within two hours, she had peed 11 times on the rug (my house has all laminate flooring, with the exception of only one 5’ by 7’ rug in the living room).

She rolled a ball underneath my big wing-back chair, so she moved the entire
chair away from the wall to get the ball.  Then she stood and stared unblinkingly at me.

I don’t know which intimidated me more – the fact she had moved a big chair as easily as if it were made of cardboard…or the relentless staring. I began to fear she was picturing me smothered in gravy.  

That first night, I was doing some work on my laptop when Wynter got upset because I wasn’t paying attention to her. She walked over, grabbed the laptop by its cord, ripped it off my lap and flung it onto the floor.

She definitely got my attention.

And then there was Wynter’s fixation with poor Eden. For some reason, Wynter wanted to sit on Eden’s head – about 20 times an hour. Every time I looked over at the two dogs, Eden was flat on the floor and Wynter was sitting on her head.

“Why does Eden allow her to do that?” I complained to my friend Barbara, who happened to call that night. ‘Why doesn’t Eden just bite her and make her get off?”

“Well,” Barbara said very matter-of-factly, “maybe Eden can’t bite her because she is too busy being smothered by a big, hairy butt!”

For some reason, her words struck me funny and I burst out laughing.

Eden, however, finally did decide to fight back – in a totally disastrous way.

The incident began when I decided to get rid of the huge “conehead” collar Wynter was wearing and switch it for a new state-of-the-art collar that works just as well as the cone in preventing dogs from biting at their incisions, but allows them full vision and the ability to move about freely. It’s like a blow-up donut that goes around the dog’s neck. I happened to have one, which had cost me close to $40.  But over the years, I had learned it had been worth every penny, because my previous dogs loved it.

I inflated the collar and put it on Wynter. She was thrilled to be rid of the cone, and I felt better knowing she was more comfortable. She rushed right over to Eden and, as usual, knocked her over and sat on her head. Eden struggled and managed to slip out from underneath the “horse” on top of her.

 And then she bit Wynter…right on the inflatable collar. All I heard was a loud, “hisssssssssss.”  I tried to duct-tape the holes, but the collar also had holes in the liner, so I was left with a $40 pile of rubble.

The first night, as I tried to sleep, Wynter barked for six hours straight. And it was a bark so loud, it practically shook the walls – kind of like the sound the offspring of Godzilla and King Kong would
make (if one of them were a female). The second night, she barked for five hours. I ended up with such dark circles under my eyes, I looked like Tom Brady on game day.

And I don’t think the dog ever had been given a treat, such as a dog biscuit or a chew bone. When I gave them to her, hoping to keep her occupied for a while so I could get some work done, she looked at them as if they had just been beamed down from outer space. She batted them across the floor, She flung them into the air. She rolled on top of them.

And then Eden stole them from her and ate them.

The next night, Wynter decided to jump up on the sofa and sit next to me. I was flattered, but I’ve never allowed any of my dogs to jump on the furniture, so I told her, “no,” then took her by the collar and led her back down to the floor, where I told her to sit (the ONE command she actually does know), and praised her for being on the floor.

This procedure was repeated close to 100 times that night, yet it still didn’t seem to penetrate. The minute I praised Wynter for being on the floor, she jumped right back onto the sofa. I tried every command the owner claimed she had been taught – “Off!”  “Down!” “Leave it!”  If I had been speaking in ancient Egyptian, Wynter couldn’t have been less responsive. She finally got tired of jumping on the sofa…and walked over to the end table and chewed off a corner of it in practically one bite.

The trouble with having an 83-lb. puppy is I can’t lift her. In fact, I can’t make her do much of anything she doesn’t want to do. So after she had run around the house for over two hours without pausing for a breather, I figured I’d take her for a long walk to tire her out. After all, the vet had told me to try to keep her quiet until her spaying incision healed, and there was no way she was going to be quiet unless I somehow could make her relax.

According to her paperwork, Wynter loved walks and didn’t pay attention to other dogs or people she passed while on a leash, so I simply attached a leash to her collar. I have all sorts of other walking devices, left over from my previous dogs – harnesses, non-pull collars, retractable leashes and more – but I figured a simple leash would suffice.

Wynter enjoyed the walk and was great on the leash, so I felt encouraged. Finally, there was something in the report about her that was true! Then a couple walking a Boxer came around the bend and headed toward us. The next thing I knew, I was flat on the ground and Wynter was gleefully jumping all over them and their dog.

“Ohmigod!” the woman called out to me. “Are you all right?”

I felt a stabbing pain in my left knee, but managed to say I was fine. Then I apologized profusely for Wynter jumping on them. When I stood, my knee protested, but I managed to walk over and grab Wynter’s leash and then head back home. Aside from a nasty scrape and a big bruise, my knee was okay.

The next day, I tried a test drive in the car with Wynter. The only time she had been in my car was in a cage in the back seat. So I wanted to see how she acted when not caged. According to the paperwork, she “loved to ride.” 

She eagerly jumped into the back seat, and off we went, but just around the block. My road is lucky if it sees three cars a day, so I thought it would be a good place for the test run. All I can say is it’s a good thing I hadn’t chosen a busier road because I’m pretty sure I would have been the cause of a head-on collision. Within 30 seconds, Wynter had leapt over the seat and was trying to sit on my lap. In the process, she moved the steering wheel to the left, which nearly caused me to have an intimate relationship with a snowbank. Seeing that I couldn’t budge her, I had to drive home with her climbing all over me and sticking her tongue into my ear.

Thankfully, in the week I’ve had Wynter, there have been some small improvements. She sleeps through the night. She hasn’t jumped on the sofa again (but she did grab a throw-pillow that was on it and rip it to shreds while I was in the bathroom). She hasn’t peed in the house for three days.

But she’s still sitting on Eden’s head.    

It has taken me five days to write this because Wynter insists upon constantly dropping her spitty toys onto my keyboard.

I think I’m now beginning to understand why this “perfect” dog was put up for adoption.

Pray for us.

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Saturday, February 11, 2017


If you’re wondering why I have failed to publish anything on my blog this past week, blame it on the weather. Even now, as I am writing this, I’m holding my breath and typing as fast as my arthritic little fingers will allow, because I am rushing to finish it before the next snowstorm strikes…and causes me to lose my Internet connection for 110th time this week.

You have to understand that I live out in the wildnerness. I am talking about hawks and coyotes eyeing the guests at my bird feeder, and having to wait for the deer to move out of my driveway before I can drive up it.

When I first moved here, I called the cable company I’d had at my former residence, only five miles from here, and asked if they could come over and install the same cable set-up here. The representative promptly arrived to check out my property. He then informed me I would have to pay for a half-mile of cable, plus the labor, to connect the nearest cable-using house on my road with mine. The cost? Well, let’s just say that for the price he quoted me, I wouldn’t even need cable. I could just visit everyone on my Facebook friends’ list and all of the actors on my favorite TV shows in person…and fly first-class.

So I ended up with two satellite dishes, side by side on my roof - one for TV and the other for the Internet. They constantly wage battles with each other to see which one will stop working first whenever there is more than one flake of snow or two drops of rain, both of which wreak havoc on the signals.

And forget it when a really bad snowstorm strikes and covers the dishes with snow, and they end up looking like two giant, white Mickey-Mouse ears perched on my roof. At that point, I would get better reception using a wire coat-hanger wrapped in aluminum foil.

Unfortunately, after a blizzard, my satellite dishes are destined to remain buried until the spring thaw. Call me a pessimist, but climbing a ladder that’s standing in 18 inches of snow while I also have snow on my boots, pretty much sounds like a recipe for disaster to me. I can just picture myself clinging to an icy ladder and then falling backwards with the ladder landing on top of me. The imprint in the snow would end up looking like a giant snow-angel with railroad tracks running up the length of her body.

A couple years ago, when my Internet satellite company went out of business and I had to find a new one, the technician who came over to assess my situation said, “We don’t install satellite dishes on the roof any more. It’s more convenient to put them on the sides of the houses or even on the ground, where people can reach them to clean them off in the winter.”

I was pleased to hear that bit of good news. Finally, I thought, I would have a reliable Internet connection throughout the winter because I would be able to clean the snow off the dish without risking the need for any of my body parts to be surgically pinned back together.

The day of the installation, I was in the house when the technician came in, smiling. “All done!” he said. “Your new dish is installed. And guess what? I decided to bend the rules a bit and put the new dish exactly where your old one was, on the roof!  No sense drilling any new holes in your house when there were already some ready-made ones right there.”

At that moment, I wanted to drill a few new holes in the guy’s head.

So I'm still plagued with “lost signal” messages every time I’m using my computer or trying to watch TV during a storm. Just prior to losing the signal, however, my computer is kind enough to warn me it’s about to happen…by completely locking me out. And my TV will freeze a program right in the middle of the action…before the screen goes blank.

I’m pretty sure that at those moments, I’m lucky it’s winter and the windows are closed, because people in the next county probably would be able to hear me having a loud “conversation” with my TV and computer, where every other word should be bleeped.

The bad winter weather not only has caused headaches at home, it’s also prevented me from seeing my dentist. Every time I’ve made an appointment during the past month, there has been either a blizzard or an ice storm, where officials have ordered everyone to stay off the roads.  So I’ve had to cancel. 

Finally, the TV meteorologist said, “Cold and sunny all week,” so I rushed to the phone to book another dental appointment while the weather was cooperating. But the day after I booked it, the weather report suddenly changed to: “The blizzard that was 100 miles out to sea is now about to circle back and head straight here for New Hampshire!  The snow will start falling heavily at 2:00 on Tuesday afternoon, the exact time of Sally Breslin’s dental appointment!”

So by the time spring arrives, I’m pretty sure I’ll either have destroyed my computer out of sheer frustration, or pegged a big rock at my satellite dish to “dislodge” the snow from it.

And I’ll also probably be on a liquid diet because my teeth will have fallen out from a lack of dental care.

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                                     REST IN PEACE, WILLOW, MY SWEET GIRL.
                                              I'M REALLY GOING TO MISS YOU...

CLICK HERE ======>

Wednesday, February 1, 2017


Everyone tells me I have a knack for attracting trouble – that they don’t know anyone else who has more bizarre experiences than I do. Well, yesterday, I added another new one to my list! 

I usually hibernate in the winter. By that, I mean I don’t venture out in my car. I love to take walks in the cold weather because it’s invigorating, but I hate driving on anything that can produce ice and send my car skidding someplace where no one will find it (or me) until the spring thaw. So every January, I usually stock up on enough food, dog food and toilet paper to last me until July.

But yesterday, I decided that unless I wanted my car to turn into a petrified blob with four square tires from sitting in one spot for months without being driven, I probably should drive it somewhere.

Ironically, the first thing I noticed when I got into the car was it needed gas, which surprised me because it hadn’t been anywhere to burn gas. I figured all of the gas probably had evaporated…either that, or a really cold deer or coyote had siphoned it to burn for heat.

I hate to admit it, but there’s something I’ve done only once (and fully intend never to do again), and that’s pump my own gas. The problem is, 99 percent of the gas stations in the state are self-serve. But as luck would have it, I just happen to live in an area where one of the rare full-service stations still exists. So I headed over there.

The attendant, who looked as if he were on the verge of suffering from a bad case of frostbite (and made me really glad I wasn’t the one out there pumping my own gas) filled the tank. I then ran a few local errands and headed home.

The main road to my house, Deerfield Road, has so many hills and curves on it, I think the town could make extra money if it put a couple roller-coaster cars at the top of it and then charged people to ride down it, for the thrill of a lifetime. Not only is the road steep and curvy, it has absolutely no place to pull off to the side – not unless you want to become intimately acquainted with a tree. And the most ironic part is it climbs up to an area called Mount Delight. All I can say is the guy who named it Mount “Delight” must have been playing a marathon game of beer pong right before he did.

Anyway, I was a couple miles up the road, driving 38 mph in a 35-mph zone, when this car came up behind me and got close, too close. I practically could see the color of the driver’s eyes when I looked in my rearview mirror.

“This guy’s in a big hurry.” I muttered to my two dogs, who were in the back seat, as if they could understand me. “But I’m already going faster than the speed limit, so he can just back off!”

But he didn’t back off.  And for the next three miles, he practically was welded to my bumper. If, for any reason, I’d have had to slam on my brakes, he would have ended up sitting in my dog Willow’s lap – if she had a lap.

Finally, to my relief, the road where I had to make a left turn loomed just up ahead, so I put on my turn signal.  When I did, the guy behind me pulled out from behind me and passed me – on a hill.

“There is no excuse for driving like that!” I again huffed at the dogs. “I don’t care how much of a hurry he’s in!  I don’t even care if he has a bad case of diarrhea! There’s no excuse for driving like a maniac!”

That’s when something very strange…and very scary…suddenly happened. The guy stopped his car…and blocked the road where I was going to make my turn.

I just sat there, not knowing what to do or what was happening. As I watched, my eyes widening, his car door flew open and he stepped out. He was a big guy – like a linebacker for The Patriots – with long, dark hair. He started walking toward my car – leaving his car sitting in the middle of the wrong side of the road…on a curve.

Every horror movie I’d ever seen suddenly flashed through my mind. Was this a case of road rage? Was he ticked off that I hadn’t been driving faster and I’d made him late for an important event? Or had my dogs been making something he might have misinterpreted as rude gestures at him through the back window? I sat there, frozen, afraid to move.

The guy walked right up to my car…then right over to the passenger side, where he closed the little door on my gas tank. He then smiled at me, got back into his car and drove off.

At first, I was too stunned to even understand what had just happened. But then I felt grateful – grateful to be alive with all of my body parts still attached. I also felt grateful to the guy for being so chivalrous. However, once I got home and had more time to think about all of the dangerous moves he’d pulled just to close my gas-tank door, I started to realize he’d really gone overboard. Maybe I could have understood him passing me on a hill, blocking my way and parking in the middle of the road if I were, for example, dragging a pedestrian’s body underneath my car…but just to close the door on my gas tank?  Definitely overkill.

So now I’m thinking that maybe it will be a while before I drive my car again. I mean, who knows, the next time I do go out for a ride, a guy on a white horse might come galloping up alongside my car to rescue me from a burned-out taillight.

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