Showing posts with label dogs. Show all posts
Showing posts with label dogs. Show all posts

some small attempt

Many thanks to those of you that have sent messages of condolences about Chaucer.

It's been three months and I still don't really know how to talk about him. What he meant to me and the ways in which he truly saved my life. I originally had this idea that I would create something about him, write a story or make a video or something--anything that would get all of my feelings funneled into one place so that I could let go and move on.

But I know now that's impossible. I'll always have more to say and think and feel about him.

The visuals have been the hardest; it took me ages to sit down and attempt even this short video. And it could have been an hour long, easily. But it's something. Some small attempt at cathartic expression.

I can't tell you how much it has meant to me to share his funny, sweet, goofy, amazingly loving self with you, all these years. Thank you.

house grief

When your dog dies, you will find yourself hating your home. There is nothing emptier than a house that has lost a dog. Nothing in the world as quiet, as lacking in joy. You won't want to be anywhere near it. You certainly won't want to be alone with it.

But if you can, spare a thought for that house. You think you miss your dog? How do you think the house feels? At least you get to leave each morning, be out and about in the world. Your poor house just has to sit there by itself, having lost the best friend it has ever known, wondering if it will ever have another.

Spare a thought for the walls, which kept him safe while every day he waited for you.
Spare a thought for the floor, warmed by his body and tickled by his fur.
Spare a thought for the fridge, and all the mischief the two of them caused.
Spare a thought for the bed, cold now, and entirely too clean.
Spare a thought for the bath, and all it endured for the sake of the house.
Spare a thought for the table, who taught your dog to sit as much as you did.
Spare a thought for the yard, the grass and trees and flowers who've lost a playmate.

Spare a thought for the vacuum, who probably feels really fucking shitty right about now.

DOG, by Nat Johnson

Well, I found it. A video about a dog that slays me even harder than Denali. I've got a bit of the ol' serotonin depletion today, so this was just what I needed to push me over the edge into a full-on cathartic cry.

Naturally I wanted to inflict similar suffering on the one person I know who loves his dog as much as I love Chaucer: Cameron. But he got his vengeance, oh boy. He sent me back a video of him and his Rhodeagle mix Bailey--both of whom I miss achingly--watching the video.

Good luck, dog lovers!

(via Brain Pickings)


I first watched the video below this past Friday, in a resort in Las Vegas. I was sitting next to Mason, both of us trying to recover from the previous night's celebration (his birthday), when I got a push notification that a mutual friend of ours had just shared it on Twitter. This friend doesn't post much online, so when he does, I make a point of checking out whatever it is.

"Here, you have to watch this video with me. Steve just tweeted it. I read the description and I can tell it's gonna make me cry."

And it did. And afterward, as I snuffled and wiped my wet cheeks with a sweatshirt sleeve, Mason laughed. "Well if you had any serotonin at all left this morning, that certainly took care of it."

I just watched it once more, and I'll probably watch it again every time I'm feeling weepy and sentimental about Chaucer, which is a circumstance I find myself in a lot more often than post-partying recovery in Vegas. You certainly don't need to have dogs to be moved by this seven minute film, but if you do, hold on to your heart.

A few weeks ago, Chaucer had a limp when he got up in the morning. He walked it off pretty quickly, as he always does, but it unsettled me. I fretted about it to Terence and coddled Chaucer especially hard for the rest of the day. That evening Terence suggested we take Chauc for a super long walk, the kind of epic walk he hasn't been up to in several months.

"He can't," I said. "He's just getting too old. He can't do that kind of distance anymore. I'm scared that we'll get across town and he'll lay down and refuse to move. Then what?"

Terence disagreed. "He needs the exercise. His leg is probably freezing up because he's not getting as much as he used to." We asked Chaucer how he felt, and as soon as we said the "w" word his tail went nuts. So we grabbed his leash and the next thing we knew, we were walking further than we had with him in ages.

And then even further. And further. Chaucer just charged ahead, full of verve and not slowing down a bit despite some heavy panting. Soon we were at his old stomping grounds: City Hall and Grand Park. Places he hasn't been up to trekking to in a heartbreakingly long time.

"You know what this is, right?" Terence looked at me meaningfully. "He knows. He knows you're worried about him, and he wants to reassure you. He's proving to you that he's still strong, baby."

The more I insist I don't go in for magical thinking, the less convincing it sounds, I know. So I'll just stop there.

If there's anything better in this world than being loved by a dog, I've yet to find out what that is. Probably couldn't handle it if I did.

lake hollywood park

Chaucer sidled up to Terence and I towards the end of last week, pushed his big, velvety head into the space between us and said, "Yo. I heard you guys talking. I know you've got friends coming to town this weekend. I know you'll be busy and I won't get as much attention as usual. So I was thinking: maybe you should take me on an adventure before they get here? Maybe even today, because it's so nice out? Someplace new. A park I've never been to. That's what I think should happen. Also, burgers."

It's amazing what dogs can say with just their eyes, right??

We agreed that he was right about the park, if not the burgers. Terence - who says he feels like a good step dad whenever he takes Chaucer and I on an outing - had been wanting to check out Lake Hollywood Park for a while anyway, so that's what we did. And oh man were we glad Chaucer suggested it. The area is so pretty, and the park itself is a doggy field of dreams.

Getting there is a wee bit tricky: winding roads with lots of sharp turns. But just sat nav that baby and you're good to go.

It's an off-leash park, but seems roomy enough for everyone to have plenty of space. Lots of big, sporty dogs playing but other than some light sparring we didn't see any fights break out. Hooray for attentive dog owners!

Chaucer himself did me proud and was a total gentleman. We kept mostly to the perimeter, watching, getting the lay of the land for our first visit. Chauc is hit or miss when it comes to getting along with other large breeds, so I have to be careful about when and where and with whom he gets full freedom. We kept him close and didn't let him go into the fray this time, but we'll definitely go back and let him socialize when it's a little emptier. A few dogs did wander over to check him out but he was super chill.

A few notes in case you take your pup: there's a water fountain, but you'll need to bring a bowl. The hill running alongside the park (with free street parking) is pretty steep; it might be a challenge for older dogs if you can't get a spot close by. And lastly: beware of mosquitos.

There is nothing quite like the feeling of seeing your city dog sink his paws into some soft, green grass. I'm terrible about anthropomorphizing Chaucer but I swear at moments like this I read gratitude in his eyes. I didn't give him a rural life, he didn't quite win the canine lottery...but I do my best to give him nature on the regular.

And this guy? He jokes about feeling step-daddish but he has no idea the points he scores, loading me and my boy up in the car and spending an hour in the sun with us. Means the world.

Chaucer is always exceptionally patient about our selfie-taking, even when it's his day.

The bugs chased us off before it got too dark, but it was the sunset that chased us down the freeway a few minutes later.

We should definitely let Chaucer plan the day more often.


We found an awesome new spot to take Chaucer on Monday, near the Western Canyon entrance of Griffith Park. It's called Ferndell (though I'm calling it Fern Gully). Poor guy definitely deserved an adventure after being cooped up while we ran around town all weekend.

It's my new favorite city park (still a long list to get through). Lush, shady, with a winding path that runs along a creek with mini waterfalls, ponds, and lots of sniffable plantlife. The trails open up into a wider area for picnics and play. Lots of pups there; we even saw a couple of gorgeous black and white Borzois.

I'd give it a 4/10 on a scale of strenuousness for dogs. Chaucer's getting up there (he'll be eight this year), so he was huffing and puffing a bit as we jumped around on the creek beds. But the trails are generally flat with mild inclines, and I don't think any dog would have trouble keeping up.

That last pic is actually from Barnsdall Park, which we checked out as well. I don't particularly recommend it for dogs. Not much space, steep inclines, and mostly buildings. Feels more like a community college than a park.


Oh hi there! How was your day? Yeah, it was good? What's that? You saw something cute on the internet? A basket of kittens on Reddit?

That's nice.


But hey, I'm sure that kitten gif was really cute too.

**drops mic**


* not AKC-recognized


Beloved Family Pet Toppled in Newborn Power Grab

BROOKLYN, NY -- Area couple Thom and Joy Oswald disclosed today their intention to transfer all affection and attention previously enjoyed by their eight year old terrier mix Fitz to a seven pound, four ounce human newborn with whom they share a measure of deoxyribonucleic acid. Effective immediately, sources say Fitz's cuddling privileges and fetch sessions have been suspended indefinitely, while daughter Berkeley will be showered twenty-four hours a day with kisses and tummy tickles.

"I mean, he can't complain. He's had a good run," stated Thom, who until Berkeley's arrival at St. Joseph General at 8:34 a.m. on December 7, where she obtained an Apgar score of 9 and delighted the nursing staff with her itty bitty fingers and toes, used to walk Fitz twice daily without fail. "I'm sure he understands. This is just how it goes."

Citing her infant child's complete and utter helplessness as the primary factor in the decision to henceforth all but ignore a once-treasured pet, Joy relocated Fitz's bed, bowls, and toys from the kitchen to the laundry room. "The high chair has to go somewhere," she explained. "And I don't need him underfoot when I'm cooing at Berkeley the way I used to coo at him."

Officials say Fitz plans to live out his emotional banishment curled up beside an empty water dish, dreaming of frisbee with Thom, and patiently waiting for his new sister to learn compassion. 

george and cc - epilogue

Tragedy strikes; George is devoured, and CC is claimed as trophy.

Incidentally, that's what Chaucer's last bed looked like when it was clean. The light blue crib mattress cover was impossible to keep, uh, light blue. The dog tracks in a lot of dirt; his paw pads are enormous. I just got him a new mattress with dark grey sheets. So h's not on that nasty thing anymore. No need to call PETA.

doxie side eye

This is Duncan (first seen here). He met Chaucer the other day for the first time, at a three-dog play date at W.'s. Tiny, fragile Dachshund puppy + bumbling, clumsy 145lb Mastiff = Duncan saying, "Uh, I'll just watch from here, thanks."

In fact, they hit it off quite well (full-contact butt sniffing and lip kisses). Duncan is actually cowering in fear of me in these pics. He's a super shy little guy around humans he doesn't know. Good instincts, Dunc, because I'd be lying if I said I didn't have designs on you. I want to stuff you under my shirt and steal you like a dirty magazine from 7-Eleven.


Chaucer wakes up early and starts begging for breakfast immediately. I'd love another two hours of sleep, I'm sore from work last night, but I'm up.

A friend calls, wanting to know if I'd like to do some paid creative work for him. I'm game, and we set a time for tomorrow to figure out the details. After we hang up, I remember that it's Wednesday and text him back: Buy you lunch at the farmer's market? He says sure, and ten minutes later I meet him at Pershing Square, where the market is in full swing with vendors selling locally grown/made fruits, vegetables, nuts, eggs, soaps, candles, pies, and more.

We make a quick refill run to 7-11 (he's addicted to Diet Coke) before returning to the market and getting kebabs with rice and grilled vegetables. We eat at a table in the sun, curiously watching a group nearby. It's a seated circle of six or seven demographically diverse people, in the center of which play some dogs. It looks like some kind of therapy session, but we can't figure out why the dogs are there. We guess at the conversation: Coco, it's good to see you back at group; it's been a long time....Now, Rex, it's Muffy's turn to talk. Please wait until she's finished, and then you can speak.

Over lunch, he tells me about his latest idea for a creative business. He's already decided to buy the main piece of equipment he'd need. We talk about three of our favorite subjects: puppies, ex-boyfriends, and the shortsightedness of Republicans. He's a font freak like me, and I tell him about the awesome, name-your-own-price foundry I just discovered.

I mention I'm in the market for a road bike, and he suggests we walk over and check out the selection at a nearby shop where he's had some work done on his own. He doesn't yet know it, but he's just signed on to an hour ordeal involving me looking at and test-riding bikes, and ultimately falling in love with this beauty:

While I'm kicking tires, he reads to me from the events section of the local paper. We make plans to try out a new restaurant, and possibly attend the upcoming Beerathon.

Somehow, the nearby Bradbury Building comes up, and when he finds out I've never seen it, insists on taking me. It's an architectural and historical landmark downtown, and he's flabbergasted I've not yet been inside of it. He's right; it's incredible:

The Bradbury is where, among other films, Blade Runner was shot. Being inside of it is like stepping into a time machine. I'd never seen an exposed mail chute before.

The space is beautifully maintained. I couldn't find a speck of dust on any of the intricate wrought ironwork. I couldn't get over the elevator cages.

We walk back to his apartment, where we bring his dog downstairs to visit with two others in the building, on the faux grassed patio of a neighbor he's become friends with. The small-town girl in me with a still-strong tendency to be starstruck, despite my constant exposure to The Industry, is tickled to learn that this neighbor is the director of an extremely popular, award winning television show. He's not home when we go downstairs, but my friend has a key. We let ourselves into his loft to allow the dogs some play time together.

Love is a longhaired doxie puppy named Duncan.

As I step carefully around this stranger's home, I mentally inventory the pieces I recognize: Eames Lounge Chair, Arco lamp, Eames molded plywood dining chairs. I glance curiously at the two huge monitors on his desktop, thinking dorky, provincial thoughts like, Neat stuff happens there.

I leave soon afterward, feeling inspired and upbeat.


I'm pretty sure that the best way to classify time is, days on which you don't see a Neopolitan Mastiff puppy vs. days on which you do.

This is Hedwig. I first met Hedwig one night a few weeks ago while I was walking Chaucer, and it took a while for the street crew to clean me off of the sidewalk. I had melted into a puddle of useless goo, because he's just more than my weak heart can handle.

Today Upstairs and I met for coffee, and Hedwig and his mom/owner came walking by our table outside. M/O asked if His Wrinkliness could say hello to Chaucer again, who was with us. I was all, Uh, forget Chaucer. I'm about to lay down on the sidewalk and have a freakin' cuddle session with your dog, lady.

Having a Neo someday is a dream of mine. They're my second favorite dog breed after Irish Wolfhounds. So getting to see one as a pup pretty much makes my day week month.

They sat with us for a little bit. While the humans compared Mastiff notes, the canines checked one another out until they both lay down, exhausted from the effort of being so adored.

My blog is fast devolving into Downtown Dog of the Day, but hello. Neopolitan Mastiff. Named Hedwig. Gah.

cone of shame

At least one of you is having a bad day, I know, because statistics. To you, I say this: It could be worse. You could be a pink Maltese trapped in the cone of shame.

"Hi, I'm Lu. I'm wearing the CoS because I won't stop licking my butt. I can't help myself. It tastes as delicious as I look."

It's vegetable dye, and it's harmless, so please don't go ringing the ASPCA. My girlfriend does this to her dog occasionally, and it's nothing to freak out about. If anything, the dog probably likes it, since she gets twice as much attention and cuddling from it. Frivolous and silly, yes. Abusive, not at all.

My girlfriend threw a small dinner party last night, cuz she wanted her visiting mum to meet some of her LA friends. She recently moved, and I hadn't seen her new place since she'd gotten settled in with new furniture, paint, etc. It looks incredible:

It's a three story loft with a rooftop terrace, smack in the middle of downtown. One of our friends is a furniture designer (he made my bed), so much of this was custom made with extra love and attention. I love, love, love the couch and the whole color scheme: grey, slate blue, taupe. And check out the vintage TVs in the bottom left pic. She picked those up at HD Buttercup.

We had salmon her mom had brought down from Washington, rice, steamed green beans, and lots of wine. Afterward, orange meringue sponge cake! It was so good to get together with everyone. It had been a while. A lot of us have been in transition - personally, professionally, and geographically. But we pledged to make 2012 our closest year yet, and Imma hold those bitches to it. I showed them the videos I made last month, in which they feature prominently. They were a hit. :)

In other non-news, yesterday an ex (the one referred to here) did something bizarre to either impress me or make me jealous, I'm not sure which. Both, probably? But it's the second time since I fled his Crazytown that he's gone to such elaborately spiteful lengths to try and bait me. Both these gestures (I don't know what else to call them, though maybe "attacks" is the better word) were delivered via text message. Both times I responded with as minimal and dry a reply as I could.

When I forwarded this latest piece of weirdness to my closest friend, his response was OMFG. That's so fucked up. Jeebus. Which is basically what he said when he heard about the first bit of weirdness. Then last night after dinner, we were talking about this dude's over-the-top attempts to suck me into engaging. He shook his head in wonder and said, "That must be some magical pussy you have, my god. And I'm a gay man, so it feels really weird to have 'magical pussy' come out of my mouth." He looked at me. "But not as weird as it would feel going in to it."

I almost dropped to the sidewalk.

I told another friend who works in internet security. He has the coolest job, actually. He's the guy corporations call when they get hacked. Told me one story about doing what was essentially hand-to-hand combat with Anonymous. Crazy cool shit.

ANYWAY. When I told him about the text from my ex, he hit the roof. He insisted that I immediately sign into my AT&T account to block Crazypants's number, and then email him a screenshot to prove it. I did. His email reply: In accordance with our strict terms and conditions as friends, I will be randomly conducting checkins to the AT&T portal. Upon request you must submit a new screenshot within 5 minutes of request. All requests will come when I know you're near a computer hooked up to the interweb.

The point of this lame story is that I have rockstar friends who took what was an otherwise ugly thing and made something awesome out of it. Dude sets out to crap on my day, and instead ends up reminding me how lucky I am I have to such hilarious, cool, and supportive people in my corner.

I think someone else needs a cone of shame, too.