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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Autumn came bright and early that year. My toddler and I wandered down the sidewalk over a carpet of leaves, one that created a riot of color crackling under our feet. I held his hand as he balanced himself, precariously, on a low stone wall. Periodically pain streaked, low and mean, through my belly. For…

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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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For the first time in a long time, children dressed in costumes and shrieking “Trick or Treat” will clamor at the stoop of my house on October 31st. In California, we lived at the end of a long and dark street where no child ever ventured; over the course of the past sixteen years, I…

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Last week, I received many responses to my last newsletter essay, the one about losing the ones we love. Many people agreed that we all need to pay more attention to the way we try and help those we care about as they grieve.  This week, I find myself dealing with a strong sort of…

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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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Dogs will be dogs–and skunks will be skunks. One night two weeks ago, our family of black and white spotted Dalmatians introduced themselves to a family of black and white striped skunks, under the pine trees in our backyard. Not surprisingly, none of the six were interested in making friends with each other. After some…

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So, it’s Thursday at 5:00 in the morning and I’m speeding along at eighty miles an hour, in the pitch black, to a burg called Vallejo, which is about an hour and a half from my house. I’m keeping watch in my rear view mirror for “CHIPies,” (California Highway Patrol), who will pull me over…

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