Category Archives: Animals – especially dogs

A Fine Little Fellow Comes for a Visit

This darling puppy’s name is Murphy, and Judy, his person and our neighbor, stopped by yesterday for a visit. We went into the backyard, which is fenced in, so Murphy could safely sniff and explore. And chew on a plant pot.

While Murphy and Judy visited, Liam slept in my office, and he didn’t even know there was a dog in the yard. Sad, because in his younger years, Liam would have been romping with Murphy. But as our dog buddy is now old and blind, it is probably just as well he didn’t know there was a puppy in his backyard.

Seeing the adorable Murphy reminded me of the time Clif and I took Liam, when he was a puppy, to visit a woman called Lovedy, the mother of a friend. Lovedy, known as Aunt Love to everyone, was originally from England and still had a delightful accent. Aunt Love was also wild about dogs, which is why we took Liam to see her.

Aunt Love took one look at Liam and said, “Oh, what a fine little fellow.”

Our hearts swelled with pride.

I told Judy this story and said of Murphy, “Oh, what a fine little fellow.”

Judging from the bright smile on her face, I would have to say Judy’s heart swelled with pride, too.

Welcome to the neighborhood, Murphy, you fine little fellow!


To Railroad Square Cinema to See Kedi, a Lovely, Soulful Movie about Cats

Yesterday,  as part of our week-long celebration of our fortieth wedding anniversary, Clif and I went to Railroad Square Cinema to see Kedi, a Turkish documentary about the street cats of Istanbul. As the title of this post indicates, I absolutely loved the movie.

However, before I get into a brief description of Kedi, I do want to establish I am more of a dog person than a cat person. Not that I don’t like cats. I most certainly do. At present there are two resident felines at the little house in the big woods, and I am very fond of both of them. But for me, dogs rank number one. That’s just the way it is.

Nevertheless, Kedi struck me to the core with its soulfulness and beauty. And unlike many documentaries, it didn’t seem a minute too long. (My husband Clif felt otherwise, and I’m wondering if all the cute kitten videos I watch on YouTube has built up my cat-watching stamina.)

Here is a blurb from the movie’s website:  “Cats, all kinds of cats, roam the city, free, without a human master. Some fend for themselves…others are cared for by communities of people, pampered with the best cat food and given shelter for the cold months. Cats have been a part of the city for thousands of years, and so, everyone who grows up in Istanbul or lives in Istanbul has a story about a cat….Street cats are such a big part of the culture that when US president Barack Obama visited Istanbul, part of his tour included a stop at the Hagia Sophia to visit its famous cat. Cats are as integral to the identity of Istanbul as its monuments, the Bosporus, tea, raki and fish restaurants.”

Kedi, which means cat in Turkish, follows seven cats and the people with whom they have bonded, including an artist, a deli owner, and a depressed man who finds meaning by feeding some of the street cats. From these people, there are lovely ruminations about cats and what they bring to the city.  One woman notes that how we treat animals is a reflection of how we treat people in general. So true! The people, while taking care of the cats, admire their Independence and let them come and go as they please.

Another cat lover says, “Dogs think that people are God but cats don’t. Cats know that people act as middlemen to God’s will. They’re not ungrateful. They just know better.” (This, no doubt, will bring howls of objections from dog lovers.)

Then there are the cats themselves—Sari, Duman, Bengü, Aslan, Gamsiz, Psikopat, and Deniz. The cinematography is nothing short of amazing as the cameras catch what cats do: prowl, climb, jump, leap, stalk mice, lovingly tend their kittens, fight, and show deep affection toward the humans who love them.

Kedi is a more a meditation about the street cats of Istanbul than a traditional documentary with an arc. For me, it worked so well that not only would I like to see this movie again, but I would also like to own the movie on DVD.

And there are not many movies I feel this way about.


Liam Is Twelve

Today is Liam’s twelfth birthday. Happy birthday to our dog buddy! With Liam going blind, it’s been a hard year not only for him but also for his people. However, he has adapted really well, and so have we. Other than being blind, Liam is in excellent health and still a very handsome dog, if I do say so myself.

And maybe, just maybe, there will be a birthday treat for one of the sweetest dogs in Winthrop.


The Day Before the Election

I normally don’t write about politics—the focus of this blog is on nature, community, family, books, and food—but on this day before the election, I can hardly think of anything else. To say that I am anxious about the outcome is a big, big understatement.

In walking around my yard this morning, I took some pictures to cheer myself up.




And finally I took one of my garden Buddha, a serene reminder to extend compassion to everyone.


May we be filled with loving kindness,
May we be well.
May we be peaceful and at ease,
May we be happy.

Looking Up

On our daily walks, Liam, in his blindness, is the perfect companion for me, with my creaky knees.  We both go at about the same slow pace, and we are never impatient with each other. Liam frequently stops to sniff, and I wait for him. I frequently stop to take pictures, and he waits for me.

On our walk the other day, my eyes were drawn upwards. (Some days, I like to look down.) I saw red berries against a cerulean sky,


little brown cones,


and a tangle of yellow and brown leaves.


As always, there is something to notice and admire on our little stretch of country road.

Puppy Magic

Two days ago, I went to visit Magic, the new puppy in the neighborhood. Although he has indeed grown in a week, he is still at that adorable, plump puppy stage. So cute, so sweet!

The day was sunny and warm, which meant we could go outside and watch him play in the backyard. It wasn’t easy to get a picture of romping Magic, but I snapped away and even got a few good ones.




I have always loved babies of all sorts, but somehow as I get older, I find it especially heartening to see new life.  On the cycle goes—spring, summer, fall, winter, and back to spring. We are all a part of it, whatever stage we are in.


Pure Magic: A New Puppy in the Neighborhood

As the title of this post indicates, there is a new puppy in the neighborhood, and yesterday, Clif and I met him.  His name is Magic, and what a sweet bundle of black fluff and puppy smell.

The minute I saw him, I fell in love. We brought Magic a toy, as we would any new baby, and he immediately started chewing on it with a vengeance. When Magic was done with the toy, he allowed me to cuddle him, and already he has the open, affectionate nature so common to black Labs.

I took some pictures of this darling puppy, but none of them came out very well. Here is the best of the bunch.


You can bet I’ll be taking more pictures of this little guy.

Welcome, welcome, little Magic!