How did I get through the loss of Gulliver, the dog of my heart, to whom I dedicated Bespotted? How did I put away my grief and return to living and enjoying myself once again? The answer is a simple one: I bred a litter of puppies. Two years after Gulliver’s death, we sent our girl,…

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Writers keep bizarre schedules: some compose late at night, some early in the morning, some whenever the urge overwhelms them. I am a disciplined early riser–or should I say that my three Dalmatians are early risers who tromp all over me and my blankets until I get up and feed them at 6:45 a.m., just…

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Hope seemed out of the question. As we returned home from Long Island, where we had celebrated my grandson’s first birthday, we were mired in non-stop traffic when my cell phone rang. The call was from the dog sitter. While vying for a tennis ball thrown up high, Mac and Cody had collided mid-air, and…

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When I was a child, my parents held out to me the example of an excellent and dedicated writer, my great-grandfather, Arthur Gray Staples. My mother, a Pulitzer-Prize winning poet herself, told me many stories of his life in Maine, in the early 1900’s, as the editor-in-chief of the Lewiston Evening Journal, which was considered…

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All of us have daily challenges, and sometimes tackling them can be demoralizing. We try so hard, whether it is in climbing out of bed to face a routine that bores us, or in trekking off every day to a demanding job. Or maybe it’s in maintaining our patience with our whiny or needy children—whom…

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Every time I see an ASPCA ad on television for an abused dog or cat about to be put to sleep, I start to cry. Sometimes I get upset enough that I shut the TV off. I don’t want to look at their faces–even though I know I should face their reality. I suppose I…

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To be misunderstood is one of the more difficult experiences we all face. It happens to every one of us at one time or another. How one deals with it speaks to both our self-confidence, and our willingness to take a risk. Will we continue to reach out in a positive way, despite having been…

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It’s Sunday afternoon, and my dogs lie beside me on the couch, chewing on fresh bones, while my husband watches the 49’ers game. Because the weather is somewhat rainy (cause for celebration here in California) and because the 49’ers are winning (another miracle at which to marvel), I am happy just to hang out, even…

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Sometimes life sends us curveballs. Just when we are least expecting it, a new situation arises, be it good or bad, and we are left scrambling. Not so long ago, I was talking with a friend whose older sister had died suddenly quite some time ago, and who was having difficulty coming to terms with…

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I was born into a home filled with shelves stuffed full of books. When I was a child, my mother, the poet Anne Sexton, frequently read aloud to me, and the first book I would remember well was a dog-eared blue volume of Grimm’s Fairy Tales, full of all its macabre horrors. As I reached…

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