Firewood.  n.

Definition: Perfectly good chewable sticks your designated human will perversely insist on throwing into a metal box which will then eat them.

Clarification: All pieces of wood are yours, of course.  Do not try to reinforce this concept with your human; it is a waste of time.  She will simply look at you, raise an eyebrow, calmly say some nonsense about all sticks in this house being hers, and laugh in a disturbing cackle.  She is human and cannot be expected to understand the nuances of the relationships between dogs and sticks.  Besides, she is the source of all food and treats (treats!), throws the ball (treats!), takes you for walks (treats!), and otherwise entertains you (treats!).  She should be forgiven her ignorance.

Prescribed response: Bark at the metal box while the bright light is going. It won’t respond, but it will then know of your displeasure.

Warning: Don’t touch the box when it is bright and warm. It bites.  Wait until it is asleep and cold.

Energizer pup

Puppies have bizarre energy.  Like the Energizer Bunny on hopped up liver treats.  It comes in spurts, though, which is a good thing or else we’d never survive them.  But they are entertained by surprising things.  Everyone knows that if you give a child a large toy, the box is liable to be just as fascinating as the gift.  Sometimes pups aren’t much different.  (Click the image for the video… and remember to turn on the sound.)


The game got more energetic after I shut off the video and had to take away the bowl to keep her from turning into the equivalent of a 2-year-old on both a caffeine and sugar high.


Coming full circle

When I was a kid, I fell in love with German Shepherd Dogs (GSDs).  We were living in Germany, and I saw a number of examples of the breed, and for some reason they made a massive impression.  It wasn’t as if I was in real contact with any, and we can’t blame Rin Tin Tin or any of the other programs which glamorized GSDs in the same way that collies were made popular with Lassie.  I can’t explain why I was so struck with the breed, but those dogs resonated with me; the first picture I remember buying (or being gifted) was a small 3×5 framed head-and-shoulders portrait of a GSD.

That fascination with and passion for GSDs did not fade with the years, but it wasn’t until the late 1980s that I was able to get my first shepherd.


John(ny) (Johan von something-or-other) came from a kennel which had no good reason to breed dogs.  The parents were registered, but there was nothing notable enough about them that they should have been used in a breeding program of any sort.  And yes, I was both dumb enough to not know that, and naive enough to believe that all breeders of registered dogs were actually—oh, you know—responsible.

I really was an idiot.

But, John was a lovely dog.  He developed hip dysplasia before he was even a year old, and underwent surgery to correct the worst of the sockets.  It was successful enough that while we had to adjust his activities, he managed pretty well until the last year.  He crossed the Bridge at home, a few days before my wedding in May of 1997.

He was a mellow fellow.  He had his own opinions, but he was faithful, curious, and interested in pretty much anything.  His hips wouldn’t let him do agility, but he thought the little he could do was fun.  He jogged with me while he could, enjoyed playing with tracking, and gained a massive amount of confidence in an introduction to defense work.

He was a friend and a companion, and I learned a lot from him—both in general and about the breed.  He became a part of who I am, and was a part of some of the most important events in my life.

He was the reason I was involved in a GSD community, and therefore how I met my husband.  He was the element which brought us together and, in a way, I give him credit a very large portion of the joy I was granted over the next 18 years.

He was followed by Trond’s GSDs, and the last one crossed several years ago.  Our schedules didn’t exactly allow for a new dog, especially given the travel schedule.  Over Christmas, however, I decided it was time to change that.

Meet To-Se-Ta’s Erla, aka Evy. She comes from Toke Vadum of Kennel To-Se-Ta, in Denmark via a referral from Loni Løgstrup Pedersen of Smedebakken Kennel.  She is out of Cherry z Vodnanske doliny by Smedebakken’s Fero, and you’ll find her pedigree here:

At 7 weeks.

(photo courtesy of Toke Vadum)

About 9 weeks.

(photo courtesy of Toke Vadum)

At 16 weeks.

(photo courtesy of Toke Vadum)



And just a few days ago . . .


She is the present, and a part of who I have yet to become. And in a way, she brings me full circle.


It feels rather like coming home again.