Alan and I said goodbye to our beloved 14 year old Australian Cattle Dog, Sydney,  on Monday morning. We knew the time was close, but as he was peaceful and not in pain, we allowed nature to take its course and he passed at home.

Sydney Collage

Sydney came to us in 2000 as a six week old puppy. Even though we purchased him from a so-called breeder, we always considered that we rescued him from illness and possible death. After we brought him home and took him to the vet for shots and a check up, he was found to have worms so badly that they could have killed him if he hadn’t been treated. And in all likelihood, based on where he came from, he probably wouldn’t have been.

We named him Sydney because we got him right after the Sydney Olympics. Olympics, Australian Cattle Dog…just seemed like the right fit.

Cattle dogs are known for their intelligence, and Sydney was no exception. He was bright and he learned quickly. They only thing we had a hard time training out of him was his penchant for biting ankles and calves when we (or our guests) left the house. We lost a least one dog sitter that way.

Sydney love to play catch. He was really good at catching the ball, and could play for hours (if we could last that long).

Sydney was never a cuddly dog, but he was very social. He had routines that he remembered and loved. He used to like to squeeze under our legs when we sat on the couch, and “bridge boy” was born. We’d say it, he’d do it, and vice versa. On the walk, we’d tickle his tummy a little, and he’d get excited and jump around. We’d say “Bronco Billy,” and soon we didn’t have to tickle, he would just love to leap around playfully with the verbal cue.

In 2005, when Sydney was only five years old, he began to have problems with this eyes. It was diagnosed as a luxated lens, where the lens actually becomes dislocated and falls forward and can cause blindness and glaucoma. He had surgery to have both lenses removed (once a dog has it in one eye, it is almost 100% that they will have it in the other). For a while, he could still see, but his near-vision was not good. That meant we had to say goodbye to ball catching, though he sure gave it a try.

About a year later we noticed that he seemed to be bumping into things more often. Sure enough, over time he had gone completely blind. He was so smart though, and knew the house so well that this was not much of a problem for him. Most people watching him wouldn’t have realized that he couldn’t see. On walks, he stayed even closer than before, but had no problem. He even seemed to remember where the curbs were on our regular route!

While Sydney would run with us when he was younger, he was just as happy walking. He was always well behaved, though, following his Heeler instincts, and never running off, even when we were in the trails near our home.

SydneyOne of my all time favorite pictures. When we adopted Sydney, Morena, who was bereft over the loss of our precious Lulu (as were we), adopted him too. He was her baby, and I just love this shot of him resting his head on her.

 Over the last few years, Sydney seemed to have a few aches and pains (don’t we all!), but nothing major. He was still active and happy, enjoyed his walks, and was still a little grumpy when he bumped into one of the dogs that he couldn’t see.

Then, he started losing weight, and while he was still eating, it wasn’t much. Though we knew that this probably heading toward the end for him, we were still hopeful, trying different foods that he might like. During this time though, he still loved to go on walks and get around the house. Until the last few days, he still got up to eat, drink, and he would use the doggy door when he had to go out.

We hated leaving him last weekend, but we trusted our dog sitter to take care of him, and to let us know if anything happened. She did call once, to let us know that he wasn’t eating, but was able to take a little water.

When we got home on Sunday, Sydney had obviously deteriorated. While he had taken water if I held it for him the day we left, now he showed no interest. He seemed to be semiconscious at times, but mostly he lay on the cool tile and slept. Before bed, Alan cleaned him up and moved him to a soft rug. In the morning, Alan told him that it was time. That we would let him go and he could join Morena and Sassy, so he wouldn’t be lonely.

Before I left for work, Alan encouraged me to pet Syd, and to say goodbye. As I did, I noticed that his breathing was erratic with long pauses between breaths. He’d had his first accident since he was a puppy, so I knew the time was very close. As I got into my car, I told Alan to call me if Sydney passed. At first he didn’t want to, knowing I’d be at work, but I insisted. I was only a few blocks from my house when my phone rang. Sydney died almost as soon as Alan had got back in the house.

Today has been rough. I made it through work and a doctor’s appointment, but just didn’t feel right. Alan too, just felt off all day. I was pleased that my son David called to see how we were doing after he saw Alan’s post on Facebook. I knew I raised him right!

The rest of the pack has been pretty sensitive too, especially the older dogs. Penny and Goldie each took a moment to check him out and say their goodbyes, and everyone (well, with the exception of Johnny) has been a little subdued.

Sydney Tags

I’m having a hard time wrapping up this post. My mind wanders. So, I’ll just finish it and say: Goodbye Sydney. You were our special boy.

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Family Fun, Vegan Eats, Johnny, and the Bondi Band Winners

Bondi Band Winners

First off, since I know you’ve been waiting anxiously for the announcement, the Bondi Band winners!

Bondi Band

Congratulations to Tessie B., Birdiebee, and Deborah N. Your Bondi Bands are already on their way! Thanks for entering.

Family Fun

Last weekend we drove to San Clemente to see our twin grandsons play in a soccer tournament. They’re playing club soccer now, which is apparently much more serious business that it was when my boys were playing AYSO (of course that was about 25 years ago).

It was a two and a half hour drive to Orange County, made more fun as always by heavy traffic. There was also an accident that stopped traffic completely for a while. When we passed the scene, it looked like everyone was okay. I hope that was the case.


We thought their game (match?) was at 11:30, but when we arrived at 11, they were already playing. We found out though, that they actually had two games that day. We enjoyed the second half of their first match (they won!), then we went to a long lunch because their second game wasn’t until 3:20.


Cash had to tough out a bad sunburn. He even had a blister break toward the end of the second game. That’s not his soda by the way. Or telephone :-)


My stepson. His soda. And phone.

The second game was more evenly matched and exciting than the first. Both the boys (and the whole team) played very well. At nine years old, their ball handling skills are quite good, so it’s fun to watch them play. Unfortunately, they lost by one goal, but they did well enough to go back the next day.

Alan and I did not go back the next day. We took our long drive home, thinking that, yes, five hours of driving is fine to watch your grandsons play in a soccer tournament, but doing that two days in a row, um, not so much. We usually would stay overnight with the family in Huntington Beach, but our dog sitter wasn’t available, so we had to make adjustments.

Speaking of dogs…


Johnny 5Johnny is settling in quite nicely. He is a puppy, so he tends to drive the older dogs a little crazy with his enthusiasm sometimes, but he obviously is a sweet dog. He is a “mouther” though, which not only has left Alan and me with a few “love bites,” it also causes the other dogs to yelp every now and then when they’re playing with him.

He obviously spent some time on the street and is mildly aggressive about food. He gobbles his own down, then we have to watch that he doesn’t steal from the others. He has already put on a little weight, which is good. He was so skinny when we got him.


He wears himself out. And he wears out the older dogs too.

There are still many reminders of Sassy in his look and his behavior. He is a high energy dog, always on the go, until he runs out of gas and falls deeply asleep in seconds. On the walk he travels back and forth just like Sassy used to do, anxious to see everything there is to see. If he ever stands on his front legs to pee (something that Sassy always did that I unfortunately never photographed), I will truly believe she has been reincarnated.

Vegan Eats

I had hoped while we were in Orange County to stop at the Veggie Grill, a fun vegan fast food chain that has several locations nearby. Not only do I enjoy the food, I had a Father’s Day weekend coupon that was good for a free entree when you purchased one entree. We didn’t make it though. With the second soccer game lasting until after 4:00, we just wanted to get home, so we shared a hummus wrap and quinoa salad from Trader Joes.

That being said, we did eat well during our lunch break between games. We ate at Pizza Port, which didn’t have a whole lot of vegan choices, so we ordered the veggie pizza without cheese. It was pretty tasty!


Last week one of my Facebook friends shared that she’d tried the new Fishless Filets that Gardein was making now. I had mixed feelings, because I’m really not into a fishy taste in food (definitely something I don’t miss as a vegan), but I still thought it would be fun to try. She said they had it at Clark’s Nutrition Center, so I stopped by and picked some up (along with some vegan tartar sauce).

fishThe Fishless Filets are baked, not fried, but they were still very crispy on the outside. Now it’s been a long time since I had a real fish filet, but I thought these were very tasty. The inside somehow managed to be flaky, and taste like fish, but it wasn’t fishy. It had a light, fresh taste. They also provide Omega 3s from a plant based source! Alan liked them too. I think they are great for an occasional change of pace. I will buy them again, probably soon because I now have a jar of vegan tartar sauce to use up!

You can usually tell how busy I am by how many of my home cooked meals include a faux meat. I’ve been really busy lately, so in addition to the Fishless Filets above, I also bought a package of Gardein Chick’n Scallopini. I made two easy and delicious cruelty-free versions of Chicken Piccata and Chicken Marsala.  I kept the recipes simple and served them with rice (leftover rice on the second day), so both meals were done in a flash.


By the way, for my gluten free friends, Gardein has added a few gluten free options to their line up!

Other Stuff (like Running)

So, all is pretty quiet on the running front. I definitely took my recovery to heart, probably more than I needed to. What with one thing and another (like traveling to the OC), I only ran about three miles on Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday I did take all the dogs out running (in separate groups). Even Johnny got to run a little, his first time running with the pack. No pictures though, I would have needed a couple extra hands for that!

I’m planning to up the intensity a little bit this week, as well as the mileage, three weeks out from the marathon. Now I just need to pick another event and start training!


Alan and I also spent way too much time fixing our kitchen faucet. It’s pretty old and we had a heck of a time finding parts. We thought we were going to have to replace the whole thing. But finally one Sunday and five hardware store trips later, we got it done and we have running water in the kitchen again!

Have you ever tried to repair your own plumbing before? Do you play (or understand) soccer? If so, will you explain “Off Sides” to me? I just don’t get it.

Johnny! Be Good! A Dog Rescuer Story

Okay, so we did it again.

It is true. Alan and I have a large family pack. We don’t ever really intend to get more dogs. In fact, we say, no, we have enough dogs.  It’s not even the cost of the food or their care. It more being able to walk from point A to point B in our house without tripping over a dog. We don’t want more dogs.

But then, a dog rescuer moment happens, where one or both of us are called into action, we save a dog from the middle of the desert, or from mistreatment, or from being hit by a car, and suddenly we have one more dog in the family.

This time it was a little different.

After our terrier mix Sassy died, almost three years ago, we were both heartbroken. While we adore all of our dogs, Sassy was special. She was a hugger. She would actually wrap her arms around you when you held her. And she died way too young. We knew she was one of a kind, but we also knew that if we ever ran across a dog who resembled her, we really wouldn’t have any choice. We’d have to have that dog.

A Dog Rescuer Story

Last week I happened to go to the Pet Smart in Rancho Mirage for the first time ever. I’d usually stop at the one in La Quinta, but I was close by, and it was easier to go there. They had about 10 adoptable dogs in the front part of the store. I stopped (I always stop) to pet them. Then I noticed this little guy:

Johnny3I stopped short and took this picture. And emailed it to my husband.

Johnny8And my dear, sweet husband emailed back, “Why did you?”

Well, because we have a lot of dogs, because we were leaving for the weekend to run the Rock and Roll Marathon. Because I believe a couple should make these decisions together. But Alan saw the same thing that I did. Sassy.

Sassy10This dog was a lot smaller, and his coloring is slightly different. But those eyes. That expression. The look. Pure Sassy. Enough that both of us would tear up at first. Enough so that when we got home from San Diego, we found out the rescue organization and arranged to meet.

Johnny5I went after work on Wednesday. Alan couldn’t be there, so I sent him a couple pictures.

Johnny4I think he kind of liked me.

Still, it was a big decision that I didn’t want to make alone. Currently, our oldest dog, Sydney, is not doing very well, and we were worried about upsetting his world. I told JJ, who runs Bandits Resort, that I just couldn’t take the dog (who they were calling Branson) right then. I told him the situation, that I needed more time. Though as I left, with tears in my eyes, I told him, I might just be calling tomorrow.

I was almost home, stopping at the store, when Alan got the photos and messaged me back.


We called the next day. This time Alan and I both went to meet the dog. By then it was pretty much a done deal. We paid our adoption fee and he was ours. He was a little scared of Alan at first. Who knows what happened in the first seven months of his life? He was found on the streets in Redlands. He was in danger of running into traffic, so they used a dart on him. He was thrown in a cage, so scared that he wouldn’t eat (he’s still very skinny), and destined for death. Fortunately, Bandit’s Rescue stepped in, and now he’s ours. It took him about the length of the drive home to warm up to Alan.

JohnnyAfter a lot of thought, we decided to name him Johnny. That was my dad’s name, and though we didn’t name him after my father, I like the sound of it. Two minutes after we decided on the name, he was barking at our cats and I said, “Johnny! Be good!” I cracked myself up, and we decided that Johnny B. Goode was the perfect name for the dog of a couple rock and rollers.

Things have settled down in the last couple days. While the bed is a little more crowded, there is less growling and obvious jealousy. Johnny is very sweet and loving, not only with us, but with all of the other dogs too (though a couple of them don’t appreciate that yet). He is a puppy, so he can be very excitable, tends to jump up on the table, and walks over or under anything that gets in his way. Not a lot of training in his past life, but we’re working on it.

Johnny7He is chipped, but we bought him a tag on Sunday. He looks pretty settled in, doesn’t he?

Johnny10Alan thinks, and I believe him, that this was meant to be. This little boy who needed a home, my unusual stopping at that Pet Smart at that particular time. Johnny not only looks like Sassy, he moves like her, sleeps in the same position (on his back legs spread), and has her “sassy” attitude.

And don’t worry. I realize that Johnny is a different dog. I won’t just love him because he is “like Sassy.” He will have a personality and charm all his own. He already does.

Meet the Pack, Part 2: The Little Dogs

If you had asked me five years ago if I was a “little” or “big” dog person, I would definitely have said that I preferred big dogs. I love their more laid back personalities, the security of having a big dog at your side, and frankly, their lack of a yippy bark.

All that changed permanently one day in August almost five years ago. (Click here if you missed Meet the Pack, Part 1: The Big Dogs.)

Little Dogs

Because all the little dogs arrived after I started blogging, they all have their own “about me” page, which I’ve linked to in each section.


We first met Olivia on a hot morning in August 2009. Alan and I were out for a bike ride, pretty early to beat the heat. Even though we were riding our regular 50 mile route, we decided to take a different road home because I wanted to show Alan some calves that I’d seen a few days before (you know us, we love all animals).

Olivia CollageAs we were riding past the cows, I noticed Alan start to slow down. I first thought he had a flat tire, so I turned around. I realized that he had stopped because he’d seen a little black dog on the side of the road. We were miles from anywhere, she had no collar and no water and it was already getting close to 100 degrees.

Amazingly, she didn’t run away from him. Instead, she creeped toward him, then allowed me to pick her up. She was filthy, yet adorable. We decided that Alan would ride home to get the car since he was the fastest cyclist. I waited with her, and by the time Alan returned I’d named her Olivia. I’d also given her some of my Clifbar and sips of my Cytomax, which was all I had to offer out there.

When we took her with us to pick up a collar and leash, the folks at Pet Co said that she was a Brussels Griffon and about a year old.

Even after all this time Olivia is:

  • Still afraid of a lot of things and will cower and piddle a little if you walk to her to pick her up.
  • She’s also afraid of old man Sydney, my 13 year old blind cattle dog, who is a little grumpy.
  • She hates cars and would chase them if she weren’t on a leash.
  • Instead, she will go after Lily when a car passes us while we’re on a walk.
  • She sleeps on my lap, and under my covers, and hangs with me when I don’t feel good.


Almost exactly a week later, Alan and I were driving home when a little black and white doge tore across the street in front of us. We followed her in our car, trying to lure her to us, but she kept running away until finally she turned a corner, ran up onto someone’s lawn, and lay down right there.

Lily Collage

We thought that we’d found her home, but it turned out that this was the home of a neighbor who felt that the dog was not treated properly by the children of the owner, who lived across the street. This woman fed the little dog, but since she already had two of her own, that was her only commitment.

While I was talking to the woman and getting this information, Alan had knocked on the door of the owner’s house. Everything just felt wrong, as this man showed no concern for the dog, and the dog didn’t even bother to look at the man. After hearing of the mistreatment by his children, the man basically shrugged and didn’t seem to care. He even said, it’s not really my dog.

That was our chance! Alan replied, then if it’s not your dog you won’t mind if we take her, right? The man agreed. So, Lily was ours.

She was so scared that first night! The rest of the pack, us, the new situation. I put her down by the water bowl and we left her alone. She was still there when we went to bed.

We got a big surprise when we woke up. Lily had moved to the couch, where she was sleeping snuggled into a little ball. From that point on, she was happy, confident, bossy with the other dogs, but very loving with us. We believe she’s at least part Toy Fox Terrier and she weighs about eight pounds. She and Olivia have a special bond, probably because they came to us so close together, and still snuggle together sometimes.

Olivia and Lily


It’s hard for me to believe that it’s been a year and a half since Buddy became a part of our family. Alan always wanted a dog to name Buddy, and boy has he lived up to his name. From the moment that Alan found him on the street in front of our house, he has been the most loving, cuddliest, sweetest dog ever.

Buddy CollageWhile his entry into our pack wasn’t as dramatic as Lily’s or Olivia’s, he has made a huge impact on our hearts. Buddy is the dog that snuggles with you when you don’t feel good, gives you kisses that revive you when you’re tired, and loves to run (up to about five miles in spite of the short legs). He get’s along with all of the dogs, though he was a little put out for the brief period we brought another male into the house.


Finally, the most recent member of our pack, Coco. Since we rescued her only six months ago, you may remember her story. I was out for a run in the morning last July (have you noticed that all these rescues happened in the middle of the summer? Interesting). It was just Penny and me and were around the corner from our house when I spotted this little dog in the middle of the road, right by the center divider. Fortunately, it was early, so there wasn’t much traffic.

Coco CollageI was afraid the dog would run if I tried to pick her up, so I let Penny pave the way. She loves little dogs, so she just walked up, sniffed a few times, then I was able to pick the little dog up.

I called Alan and he came and picked us up. No run that morning! Even though she had no collar, I was sure that someone would claim Coco. She was so cute and she was groomed! I was even surprised that she wasn’t chipped.

We hung up the posters and really assumed that it was just a matter of time. Days passed, though, and no response. It was a good thing though, because we were really starting to get attached to this little dog, in spite of her penchant for chasing after all the other dogs and biting their butts (which she still does, by the way).

Another reason that I thought she came from another family is that it took her a little while to completely warm up to Alan and me. She was a little standoffish at first, though sweet, but after a month we noticed quite a turnaround. She became much more cuddly and loving, and now just loves to sit on our laps, snuggle at night, and greet us in the morning like long lost loves.

She still hasn’t completely bonded with the rest of the pack, though Penny loves her and likes to groom her. That butt biting thing could be, well, biting her in the butt. She get’s really mad with Olivia when we’re on our walks. When Olivia barks at the cars, Coco barks at Olivia.  Funny but annoying. And challenging when I take the three girls on a run, which they love. We usually go about a mile, sometime a mile and a half, which is perfect for their little legs. We make quite a parade!

little dogs

So that’s my pack. Tell me about yours. Are you “big” or “little” dog person. Or maybe a cat person?

Meet the Pack, Part One

I recently realized that we’ve had some changes in our pack dynamics since the last time I wrote about our dogs. While I frequently include them in my posts, I haven’t talked about their backgrounds in a long time. It’s time to meet the pack.


I thought that for this first post, I’d feature our older dogs, who also happen to be our bigger dogs. We have three dogs who are 10 years or older.


Sydney CollageAt 13, Sydney is the grand old man of our pack. He joined our family as a scared little pup, adopted from a bad situation in Valley Center. We had been searching for a cattle dog, and when we found him we fell in love immediately, but the condition of the place from which we adopted him was dirty, even dangerous, with trash piled around the large yard. When we had him checked out by our vet, we found that he had worms that were so bad they probably would have killed him if we hadn’t intervened!

Naming him was easy. We were adopting an Australian Cattle Dog in the fall of 2000, right after the Sydney Olympics. We decided to name him Sydney during the ride home.

As a herding dog, Sydney is very smart and was very active when he was younger. He loved to run with us (of course!). His bad genes started to show when he was about five years old. His eye started swelling and seemed to hurt. We were told that he had a luxated lens, which meant that the lens in his right eye was pressing forward against his pupil, causing the swelling and could potentially cause glaucoma and blindness. We took him to an ophthalmologist who removed the lenses in both eyes (there is almost a 100% chance that it will happen to both eyes eventually). While he could still see, his close-up vision was bad, so sadly this dog who loved to catch tennis balls could no longer see them as they approached his face. As time went on, we noticed that he seemed to be bumping into things more frequently, and we learned that in spite of the surgery, he had completely lost his eyesight.

Don’t feel sorry for Sydney though. If you were a visitor to our house, you might not even guess that he was blind. He knows the way around the house so well that he can navigate without problems, find the food and water, go through the doggy door, do his business and find his way back in.

Now, at 13, he is amazingly healthy. Yes, he has slowed down and no longer runs with us, has a little arthritis, and can be a grumpy old man when one of the other dogs startles him. But, between a vegetarian diet and the recent addition of glucosamine and chondroitin, his coat is sleek, he moves without pain, and happily takes moderate walks with us, secure in his faith in us that we will lead him safely.



Penny CollageAh, Penny, my 12 year old running partner. You see many pictures of her because, well, she is my running partner. She still can run up to about five miles once or twice a week, plus a couple of shorter runs. She loves it so much, and even though she has slowed down dramatically, I still love running with her.

I can still remember the day that we first saw Penny. We were at an Animal Samaritan’s 5k race (it’s been too long, I can’t remember the name). The proceeds benefited Animal Samaritans, and there were about 10 volunteers there with dogs wearing vests that said “adopt me.” Alan and I certainly weren’t looking for another dog. We had two, Sydney, and our bloodhound Morena, and we thought that was enough. It had only been two months since we’d had to put down our Dalmatian Dixie because of her brain cancer. We really didn’t want another dog. Really.

And then we saw, among the volunteers with dogs, a skinny, untrained, Dalmatian puppy. She was about nine months old, and when the volunteers walked her through the 5k, basically walked on her hind legs as she pulled them along. Alan and I looked at each other and it was done. We knew that we would adopt her. And we did.

Penny became our Alpha. She feels it is her duty to take care of the pack, supervise everything that they do, intervene in fights. and generally rule over everyone. We call her the queen, and she pretty much lives up to that nickname. At 12, she still loves to run, and follows me through the house when I’m dressed in my running clothes. I couldn’t leave her behind even if I wanted to, so as time goes on we will still head out for our runs, even when they become short walks. She is my running partner.


Goldie CollageGoldie’s is the hardest story to tell. Even after eight years I carry a lot of guilt…

You see, I always tell people that Goldie is handicapped. She has a compressed disk, and at one point we were told that she would never walk again. The thing is, I caused it to happen. I hurt Goldie.

We found Goldie wandering the streets. We were actually out walking our own dogs, and she started following us. You know us, we took her home.

The problem was our other dog Sassy. She was very jealous, and she would growl or posture. Goldie, who was a street dog, wouldn’t put up with any guff and they would end up fighting. Not wanting to give up, we kept them separate, while we decided what our long term solution would be.

It was Thanksgiving morning. Of course, that is the day of the Turkey Trot, so Alan was up extra early to set up the course, while I would feed the dogs, pack up my car with registration and volunteer supplies and head over later.

Sassy was in our bedroom with the door closed, while I let Goldie out to pee and eat. Instead of heading toward the doggy door, though, Goldie charged to the bedroom door, hit it full force, and it opened! She went after Sassy and they started fighting viciously. I (stupidly) tried to intervene by diving on top of them. I hit my head so hard on the bedside table that I gouged it open. I grabbed Goldie, pulled her off Sassy, carried her to the door and tossed her outside. All the while blood was pouring down my face and I was shaking like a leaf.

After cleaning up and settling Sassy down, I went to feed and check on Goldie. She was lying in the back yard, pretty much where I’d left her. She couldn’t move. She didn’t seem to be in pain, but she couldn’t move her back legs.

Thank goodness my sister was staying with us. She ended up taking Goldie to the vet, while I went to help Alan with the Turkey Trot. I dreaded telling him because I knew that he would be devastated. He was. We somehow struggled through the race, then Alan went to pick up Goldie from the vet to take her to the specialty vet in Rancho Santa Fe.

As it turned out, Goldie had a compressed disk, which probably happened when I dived on the dogs to separate them. They said that she’d probably never walk again, but suggested a $6,000 surgery, that even they admitted would probably not help. They told Alan that he should put her down. He said no way.

He brought her home and started his version of physical therapy. Several times a day he would move her legs through their full range of motion. He took her for multiple walks a day, using a strap under her belly to support her hind end.

I will never forget the day we knew she would recover. Alan and I were standing together, looking at Goldie, when suddenly she wagged her tail! From that day forward, she just did better and better. She can walk, run, and jump, though her back end tends to swing wildly. As she ages, she has been getting weaker, though the same regimen of glucosamine and chondroitin that Sydney takes has helped. I worry though.

Logically, I know that I did what I had to do to stop the dogs from fighting. Maybe it was stupid to dive in, but I didn’t do it to hurt, I did it to help. Yet I still feel pangs of guilt. Could I have handled it differently? I don’t know.

I don’t want to end this on a sad note. Goldie is a happy, healthy dog. She is loving, sweet, and an important part of our pack. Aside from a little arthritis, she doesn’t seem to suffer any pain. If her condition deteriorates, well, we’ve already looked into those little carts so that she can still get around.

So you have met the big dogs. If you want to meet the little ones, (in order of adoption) Olivia, Lily, Buddy, and Coco, click here.

Tell me about your “pack.” Dogs? Cats? Kids?

Marathon Base Training, Ignite Naturals, and the Dog Rescuer

If you follow me on Instagram, you already know what’s been going on this weekend.

Uh oh, here we go again! Spent an hour trying to lure this guy from under a car. He finally came to Alan. No tag, no chip. Making posters now. #dogrescuer

Posters are up. He’s met the pack. He isn’t scared of us anymore. We’ve thought about naming him Ocho. :-) Hopefully we’ll get a call soon.

Someone's nose is a little out of joint about our "guest" rescue dog. We still love you Buddy. #dogrescuer #dogs

A photo posted by Debbe Woodruff (@coachdebbieruns) on

Someone’s nose is a little out of joint about our “guest” rescue dog. We still love you Buddy. #dogrescuer #dogs

Yes, Alan and I played Dog Rescuer again. After I finished my short run with “the girls,” Olivia, Lily, and Coco, I returned home to find it empty. Well, not empty, but with no human presence.  I checked in the back and front yards, but no Alan. Just as I’d started my stretching, though, Alan pops in the door and says,  I’m right in the middle of a dog rescue!

When Alan had returned from his walk with our “challenged doggy athletes,” he had seen a little dog in our front yard “playing” with the cats (you know we feed the feral cats in the neighborhood). The dog had run from him, but Alan had followed. The dog eventually took cover under a parked car around the corner from our house, which is unfortunately a much busier street. When I arrived, with a can of cat food for luring purposes, another woman was helping Alan.

The poor dog was scared to death. He cowered under the car, sneaking forward occasionally to grab a bit of the cat food. If we tried to touch him, he snapped at us. It took about an hour, and it looked like we weren’t going to be able to get him. I even tried Animal Control (my last option), but couldn’t reach anyone on the weekend.

And then suddenly. he came out and let Alan snap on the leash (he was wearing a collar, but no tags). From that point on, he was a different dog. Loving, bright, and friendly, and very young, I guess he figured out he’d been rescued by the right people.

The first thing we did was take him down to the closest vet to see if he was chipped. No such luck. Then we took him home, took a few pictures, and introduced him to the pack. It was interesting.

Dr2After everyone settled down a little (except Buddy who is definitely not happy about a new male, even a puppy, in the house), I made up some posters, which we then posted around the neighborhood, Starbucks, and a few other locations.

As of now, the following day, we haven’t heard a peep from his family.

Which frankly surprises me. He is so sweet, young, and clean, plus his collar is brand new. Why isn’t someone doing what I would be doing…driving up and down the streets of La Quinta searching for their dog?

At least the dogs, including Buddy, have come to some level of acceptance. As for Alan and me, we know we really can’t have another dog. His temporary name, Ocho, says it all. We’re now calling him Ollie, and he is definitely bonding with us. Boy, I hope those people call soon!

In other news, like training…

While I haven’t actually signed up yet (still looking for discounts), I have started my training for my first marathon in about seven years (my 2014 BHAG), Rock and Roll San Diego. Right now I’m still in my base building period, and planning on running the Palm Springs Half Marathon in a few weeks. The two goals fit together nicely. I’m increasing my mileage, adding some type of speed work once a week, and just generally trying to get stronger for the big increase in mileage that will be coming next month.

Here’s what I accomplished last week:

Tuesday:  Three miles before work, just an easy run with Alan and the dogs.

Wednesday: Five miles total with two at half marathon pace. I wanted three or four at pace, but my legs (and my brain apparently) didn’t agree. Still, after a blah December of running, this was my first speed workout of any kind for over a month, so I am happy.

Saturday: A little over five miles total, starting with four on the trail with Alan, Buddy, and Penny. Trails are always good for hills and general strength building. Then, as I mentioned above, I took Lily, Olivia, and Coco out for another 1.2 miles.

Everyone got to run today, even the little girls. #runswithdogs #dogs #runchat

A photo posted by Debbe Woodruff (@coachdebbieruns) on

Everyone got to run today, even the little girls. #runswithdogs #dogs #runchat

Sunday: I ran nine miles! I was my longest run in ages! Even though I was supposedly training for my half marathon in December, I just couldn’t get much going. I pleased that I’m feeling much better and excited about my running (I knew it would come back!). I started with two warm up miles with Alan and the dogs, then took off alone for the last seven. My legs were a little tired (probably because my stretching had been interrupted the day before!), but I got it done.


Ignite Naturals

I’ve mentioned here before that I am a Team Ignite Athlete for Ignite Naturals. I’m happy that I am finally running long enough distances that I can start using my favorite hydration and energy products again.


A few days ago I received supply of InRefresh Electrolytes in the new Kona Blend flavor. While I was a little concerned by the word Zesty on the label, I loved it. It was very tropical tasting and is made with all natural ingredients like dragonfruit, cranberry, coconut water, and prickly pear, and I really thought I detected an undertone of plumeria, my favorite Hawaiian flower. Now that individual servings are available, and are easy to carry, it makes it much easier to fill up for long runs.

Ignite NaturalsI also had a chance to (finally) use my Reload Energy Gels. I love this stuff. It’s made with organic fig paste, and it tastes good, goes down easily, and contains no processed sugars. Both the InRefresh Electrolytes and the Reload Energy Gels are vegan, gluten free, and are non-GMO.

Update on “Ollie/Ocho!”

We just had a call from a woman who said he was hers (and his name was Julian). After she described him, and he responded to the name, we told her how to find us. Still made her show a picture though. He is hers, sigh. I am very happy that he is returning to his real home, but I’m also a little sad. He was a very good, sweet dog. Alan and I will miss him (though the rest of the pack seem to be a little less concerned). She did receive the standard lecture: Get a tag for your dog (or chip him)!

I hope that you had a great weekend! Are you training for anything special? How’s it going?