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And yes, she sat like this every time she got into a chair. Where is her Dos Equis?

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Littleton, Colorado.

Quote of the Day: “I am one of the searchers. There are, I believe, millions of us. We are not unhappy, but neither are we really content. We continue to explore life, hoping to uncover its ultimate secret. We continue to explore ourselves, hoping to understand. We like to walk along the beach, we are drawn by the ocean, taken by its power, its unceasing motion, its mystery and unspeakable beauty. We like forests and mountains, deserts and hidden rivers, and the lonely cities as well. Our sadness is as much a part of our lives as is our laughter. To share our sadness with one we love is perhaps as great a joy as we can know – unless it be to share our laughter.” — James Kavanaugh

Daily gratitudes:
The homeless lady with the full-length, faux leopard coat
Ring shopping
Poignant tales of the past
Fans
Red Bull

I love pugs. Kelsea and I love pugs. Though we missed it this year, last year we went to Milwaukee to attend Pugfest, which was magnificent. I learned that I need a lot faster lens to capture these scrumptious little dogs in action, but I did get a few classic shots. Since I had a horrible day today, and was treated to some excellent puppy therapy from a stranger, I wanted to share a puppy (or two) (or three) with you tonight.

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Pugfest, Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

Quote of the day: “This is an important lesson to remember when you’re having a bad day, a bad month, or a shitty year. Things will change: you won’t feel this way forever. And anyway, sometimes the hardest lessons to learn are the ones your soul needs most. I believe you can’t feel real joy unless you’ve felt heartache. You can’t have a sense of victory unless you know what it means to fail. You can’t know what it’s like to feel holy until you know what it’s like to feel really fucking evil. And you can’t be birthed again until you’ve died.”  —  Kelly Cutrone

Daily gratitudes:
Shanti, the service Corgi
Tears
Determination
Fixing things
Christmas music
Strength
Not confronting the asslady who cut me off this morning
A temporary (?) computer fix

Lucy lived in the Abriendo Inn a few years back.  The inn went into foreclosure and Lucy and her owner vanished into the mists.  But I still have a few pictures of her.

Pueblo, Colorado.

Quote of the Day: “This is my simple religion. There is no need for temples; no need for complicated philosophy. Our own brain, our own heart is our temple; the philosophy is kindness.”   —  Tenzin Gyatso

Daily gratitudes:
A rainbow of roses
Choices and decisions
Seagulls in Colorado
Emerald green shoes (if I have to wear shoes)
Decluttering, little by little

Dear Unknown Lady,

I don’t know who you are, but I know you’re an angel.

At the height of rush hour heading towards Denver, just past the Church Ranch exit, there was a beautiful dog in the road.  I don’t know if he was your dog, but I know he was someone’s dog.  He was silvery and fluffy and looked like he had some husky and maybe some shepherd in him.  And he was trapped against the center median, with cars speeding by at 65 mph, no doubt missing him by only a hair or a miracle.

Other cars had stopped.  But you did it.  You pulled your truck over on the shoulder, and got out.  You called to him with happiness and enthusiasm, in just such a way that he wouldn’t panic any more than he already no doubt was.  The cars at the critical point decided that this dog’s life was more important than getting someplace two minutes sooner, and stopped, allowing him to gallop across the road to you. He looked absolutely joyful.  And you clapped and encouraged and praised him and he leapt easily into your truck.

And he lived.  Uninjured.

Maybe he had been in your truck and had jumped out somehow.  Maybe he was left behind by someone.  Maybe he was someone’s darling who got loose, like our Champ did once – he miraculously made it to the other side of the highway that time too, and another angel lady helped him.  (Those husky mixes can really be escape artists.)

Champ as a puppy.

But that doesn’t matter.  What does matter is that you took the time to save a beautiful dog.  One beautiful soul rescuing another.

It made my day.  I thank you.  And your fuzzy buddy thanks you.

One of the prices of divorce is the pets. When I left, I left our pets behind. Between my depression, moving out, leaving my ex practically everything, working two jobs, and trying to start over, I couldn’t handle the responsibility of two dogs and two cats. The cottage didn’t officially allow pets, and as much as I loved my boys, I needed to not have that extra responsibility. Pat wasn’t working, so he spent the most time with all the animals, and the dogs had a big fenced yard. I could see them whenever I wanted. I missed them, but it was best for everyone – though I feel guilty about it. They still love me. They all come to give kisses when I visit. Dusty, my darling kitty, always come straight to me, and I’m still the only one allowed to pick him up for cuddles. Mel never fails to give me a disdainful big yellow tomcat greeting. Champ, Kelsea’s dog, generally wants a belly rub and a kiss.  And Roscoe never fails to greet me with a toy in his mouth – I have always been his absolute favorite playmate.

So when Pat called last week to say that something was wrong with Roscoe, I was naturally worried. After all, even though I don’t live with him anymore, he’s still my last baby. We got him at the pound as a teeny tiny puppy only 4 1/2 years ago.  At the time, they thought he was Australian Shepard/Golden Retriever. As it turns out, he’s 9/10ths Great Pyrenees, gigantic, cuddly, and adorable, though not as good as he might be with other dogs, as he likes to play “I’m gonna eat your face” which is a game a lot of other dog owners don’t understand.

Roscoe was moving stiffly and wouldn’t sit or lay down. Pat found a hole in his back, like a puncture. At first, he thought it was a bullet hole (we went through that with our most beloved ever first dog, Tug), but the vet said no, he must have just poked a hole in himself. The x-rays showed no bullet. The vet cleaned up the wound and gave Pat antibiotics to fend off infection, along with instructions on bandage changing and some painkillers.

A few days passed, and Roscoe was no better. I wanted Pat to take him back to the vet, but he insisted on waiting until the course of antibiotics was gone. And the day the antibiotics wore off (yesterday), one of Roscoe’s back legs swelled up to three times its normal size. So Pat took him in. And they did surgery on him last night to remove a 9-inch wood spike that he had somehow driven into his body and broken off.  The surgery took two surgeons, and the incision is down a large part of his left side. It is badly infected. They have a pump pumping pus out of him and have him on massive antibiotics and painkillers.

They are not sure yet that he will survive.

So please set your prayers and intentions, send healing juju, and use any otherworldly powers you might have, to help my Roscoe get through this and get back to his old self, with no PTSD.  I just want my boy to greet me with a toy in his mouth again, and I promise him a good long game of “I’m gonna get you.”

I may not live with him anymore, but I still love my boy.

Photo title: Bichon Love

Swansboro, North Carolina.

Quote of the day: “Don’t smother each other. No one can grow in the shade.”  —  Leo Buscaglia

Daily gratitudes:
People flailing joyfully in public
Making new friends gradually
Chicken tortilla soup on cold days
Gary Cooper
Wind so sharp it brings tears to your eyes
Mule deer

Photo title: Pug Love

Milwaukee, Wisconsin.  (Kelsea’s hand and Queenie.)

Quote of the day: “The right time is any time that one is still so lucky as to have.”  —  Henry James

Daily gratitudes:
The sound of cars on rain-slick streets
My windchimes
Anniversaries
The cat sleeping in the crook of my knees
The compassion of my daughter

Photo title: Coconut Retriever

White Bay, Jost van Dyke, British Virgin Islands.

Quote of the day: “Even if we think we can see where we are headed, that still might not be where we end up.”  —  SuziCate from http://suzicate.wordpress.com/2011/09/20/across-a-clouded-dune/

Daily gratitudes:
The Thin Man movie (s)
Sleep when it comes
Sunshine
That the trees are still green
That there are parks and square designed with writers in mind
Closet space

Ready?  “A drunkard’s dream if I ever did see one….”

Since I am still under the weather with a stomach bug, we’ll take today as sort of an intermission for the trip.  I will share with you a brief photographic summary of the dog competition and some outtakes from the parade.

I love how mountain towns are so dog friendly – and how dogs in mountain towns are so friendly!  It’s like a giant dog park.

I know that dogs are 50/50 about being dressed up, but I know that owners are generally 80/20 in favor of doing the dressing.  So of course, the first thing on the docket was the costumed dog competition:

Adorable beagle as Underdog (my favorite childhood superhero)

Another adorable beagle as Snoopy, compete with Woodstock

Jailer and inmates (the littlest boxer was just rescued from a puppy mill)

Cutie-pie Butterfly

We then moved onto the Tricks Competition:

Ridgeback High-Five

Best try at a high-five!

Getting Luvs (the trick didn't work so well)

We had the smallest dog competition:

And the winner, weighing in at 5 pounds and 3 ounces of cuteness...

And the largest dog competition.  A word about this dog: he’s a Spanish Mastiff, and I WANT ONE.  He was so mellow and adorable.  His owner has 3 of them (there are only 100 in the US) and Kelsea and I speculated on if they have a van to ship all 3 around in.

Leon wins paws down (and they were the biggest paws I've ever seen), weighing in at 230 pounds of love.

And finally, the cutest dog competition – how can you possibly pick one?  In my opinion, Leon was the cutest dog, but there were others:

One Cool Dude

Gorgeous Husky

And the winner is ... Dustmop!

We also watched the Best Beard Competition, which was sparsely attended:

Bearded Contestants

This was another “touch it and judge it” competition.  And the winner is…

"Cowboy" - though that's not the name on his driver's license.

And I leave you this hot and chilly night with a random selection of fair photos and parade outtakes:

Pink Sunglasses

Walking the Goat

Bad-ass Firefighter-to-be

Blue Sky Bike

Ferrets Enfleeced

I was truly hoping that the Pug was the Mayor.

Psychotic clown - but really, is there any other kind?

Just another day with the sheriff

Charter member of the Red Hat Society

Mountain man and companions

Proud flagbearers

The Original Dogs Playing Poker

Some things are best not looked at too closely, so I wish she hadn't stood right in front of me.

Statuesque

Leon and his little mistress

And finally, proof that mountain people simply do not mince words:

Plain Speaking

Stay tuned for more tomorrow…

Photo Title: Pooch

The green dye is food coloring – he was dressed up for Halloween.

Quote of the Day:  “Our perfect companions never have fewer than four feet.”  —  Colette

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