The Belly Rub Panacea: A Dog Sonnet

I'm sooooo sorry.

I’m sooooo sorry.

Barking all night at the moon,
An awakened neighbor at the front door,
The situation could balloon
If I ever do that anymore.

Digging a hole in the landscaper’s prize,
He is pounding at the back door.
I wag my tail and bat my eyes.
Staying out of trouble is a chore.

I chased a bunny into the street.
A driver had to swerve to avoid it.
My master was angry and really did Tweet
That I was for sale for one minute.

So, I was scolded for being naughty today and rightfully so, I admit.
But, I rolled over and showed my pink tummy, and a belly rub I did get.

Dog Haiku

Belly rub at dawn,
Breakfast, potty, walk and play …
Nap until bedtime.

Lizard, quail, bunny —
Chase them all morning and day.
What if I catch one?

Teeth again
Treats: chicken, lamb, beef,
Salmon, peanut butter, beets –-
Toothbrush and diet.

Bark at dogs walking
Past my bedroom window. Bark!
My workday is done.

Charlee’s Boarding Pass Diet

Charlee's Boarding Pass

Charlee’s Boarding Pass

Charlee is a foodie. She loves food, lots of food. One day, Charlee woke up about eight pounds too heavy. With an upcoming airplane trip on the calendar, we had to diet aggressively. The vet recommended some expensive diet food. Charlee did not like the expensive diet food, however. In fact, Charlee would not eat the expensive diet food.
Poster Dog for "Diet Drama"

Poster Dog for “Diet Drama”

Fortunately, a colleague told me about canned green beans. Her dog had lost 40 pounds eating canned green beans. So, I substituted unsalted green beans for the expensive diet food, cut her kibble in half and supplemented the “hungries” with roasted beets, red quinoa and baked sweet potatoes (including the skins, but sans butter and other toppings). Voila! The weight peeled off in two weeks.

Today, “diet” is no longer in Charlee’s vocabulary. There is no need. She enjoys delicious, nutritious food (plenty of beets and green beans) and maintains a healthy and “airline-friendly” weight. Charlee, of course, could care less about a healthy weight as long as she gets to eat good food and fly.

Spa Day: A Dog’s Perspective

In the “About” section of this LoveMyDogHateMyElbows blog, you may have read how Charlee loves spa day. It all begins with my simple question to her: “Does Charlee want a bath?” Her whole backend seems to wag as she walks into the bathroom for a soak in the tub. She sits patiently as the tub fills with water. Once the water is just the right temperature and depth, off comes her collar, and in his tub she goes.


Charlee seems to thoroughly enjoy the lavender-infused organic dog shampoo with natural skin and coat conditioners and thick, foamy suds. She tilts her head to one side as I massage the suds around her neck and on her spotted back.  She lifts each paw, allowing me to work the suds between her pink and black toes where all sorts of small gravel, flowers, grass and other debris seem to accumulate. Once she is pristine and smelling heavenly, it is time to rinse away the thick suds and enjoy no less than 15 minutes of lying-in-Mommy’s-lap time, snuggled in a cozy towel.

Mmm. Can you just imagine … an organic bath with rich, lavender-scented suds, a 15-minute snuggle, a paw mini-pedi? From my perspective, it’s a dog’s “spa day” dream. (No doubt you have already deduced that “from my perspective” is the key phrase here.)

Today, we skip the blow dry (which is part of our fall/winter regimen) and sit outside to dry naturally in the sunshine. Charlee suns herself for about five minutes before something white and gooey on the pavement in front of our condo catches her eye. Still a bit damp, she decides to check it out.

What is this? Mmm. Interesting.

What is this? Mmm. Interesting.

This smells great!

This smells great … so much better than the stuff Mom puts on me.

I am going to smell great.

I am going to smell great!

Ah, birdie turdie perfume.  Now that’s a dog’s spa day.

Ahh! Birdie turdie perfume. Now that’s a spa day.

My reality check for the day: Charlee really is a dog.

Not All Spots Are Blemishes


Did anyone else experience breakouts on school picture day? Since I was 16 years old, I have had a blemish for picture day (even for re-takes). Yesterday (Sunday) was no different. Yes, several years (okay, decades) later, knowing a photographer from church was scheduled to take my photograph, I was riddled with skin issues. Let’s add to this the fact that I needed to visit the Christian Dior counter at Nordstrom after Sunday morning worship service. Even my 5-inch heels, really quite breathtaking, could not upstage what seemed to be a 5-inch-in-diameter pimple on my left cheekbone.

“Have you been helped?” asked a beautiful woman with flawless skin who was representing Christian Dior.

“I have not,” I smiled, dropping my car keys strategically near my right foot so I could bend down, hoping my shoes would grab her attention. “I am here to pick up my pre-order.” I gave her my name, and she whisked away to collect my sack of goodies.

Upon her return and NOT noticing my shoes, of course, she asked way too nonchalantly, “Do you use our skincare line?”

“I do not,” I smiled in reply, my head tilted to the side with a look that translated, “You must have spotted the white elephant.”

“We have a product that clears the skin right up,” she said with a kindly look of pity.

Sigh. “Thank you, but I actually do see a dermatologist’s office regularly, where I buy wonderful skincare products. I even visit a plastic surgeon’s office for monthly chemical peels.” (I was experiencing shortness of breath by this time.) “If it helps at all, I know I look terrible today. I’m having my picture made this afternoon,” I explained matter-of-factly as though Mount Everest happened to everyone systematically on picture day. She frowned as much as the Botox would allow, clearly (no pun intended) not understanding the connection.

“Not at all, Madam. You have beautiful skin.” (This did not even qualify as a white lie. She needed to repent after that statement. In all fairness, she was the epitome of everything I love about Nordstrom … outstanding customer service, knowledgable, professional. I just had a zit large enough for a birth announcement.)

And oh goodie, why not, this had to be the day the computer system was running painfully slowly. (When does this ever happen at Nordstrom? On picture day, of course.) “Let’s move to this counter. The system is usually much faster over here,” she explained, moving us to the glitzy Hollywood counter with unforgiving lighting. Sigh again.

Yes, there is more to the story, but the humble pie is choking me. Needless to say, I was glad to get home to my photogenic Charlee, whose brown and black spots would not be considered imperfections even in the world of Christian Dior.

Passengers Traveling with Pets DO NOT BOARD FIRST

Charlee loves to travel via air. Here she is pictured underneath the seat in front of me on Southwest Airlines in her Sherpa pet carrier, which I highly recommend. Sherpa offers what the company calls “Guaranteed On-Board” for peace of mind. (See their website at for details.)

Charlee was a bit skeptical about being wheeled around in a confined bag at first. I trained her by putting a salmon jerky treat inside; saying, “Let’s go on the airplane!”; and zipping her inside the Sherpa bag to eat her treat while wheeling her around our home. After a few days, she would get excited whenever she heard me get her Sherpa from the closet. (Pavlov was a genius.)

Despite “fitting” in the Sherpa bag, Charlee was 7 pounds overweight (and over the maximum airline-approved pet weight) when I made the purchase. We had dieted to no avail. By chance, a colleague mentioned her dog had lost a lot of weight eating green beans. That night for dinner, I introduced Charlee to unsalted green beans with 1/4 of what kibble she normally ate. Within 8 days, she had slimmed down to a healthier (and airline-approved) weight. (I later discovered how much more pleasant this made the ticketing/boarding process, as the airlines DO NOT APPRECIATE if you try to sneak an over-the-weight-limit dog or cat aboard.)

Charlee and I do attract a lot of attention when we travel together. Being a very social and loving dog, Charlee has soothed crying children, evoked dog stories from fellow pet lovers and even offered solace on several occasions to those who have lost pets. Despite all of the smiles she has brought, never once have we gotten to board first. But, after sitting on the tarmac a few times in sweltering cabin temperatures, I think not boarding first has been quite the blessing, too.