Frankie Goes to School

Frankie’s going to school!


After searching high and low, I finally settled on a dog-training school that seemed to offer the most options, a solid reputation, and a reasonable price.

Before we could sign up for classes, we first had to attend a free orientation. This seemed like a great idea because of 1) Free! And 2) a chance to see how Frankie would react to the other students and 3) an opportunity to meet the trainers before shelling out any bucks.

Everything was looking stellar until Continue reading Frankie Goes to School


Open Letter to My Pitbull-Owning Neighbor

Monday morning Gala and I set off on a run, well, with my sore hamstring more a runnish.


We’d gone about a mile and ¼ when we came to a lone farm house that sits nearly on the road. Most of the old farmhouses in Pennsylvania do, since the roads are really paved cow paths and mail routes.

A young brown dog with a friendly face lives at this house chained in the side yard on a wire that allows him to nearly meet the road. On the days when he is outside early, he charges down the hill at us until the chain hangs him and his feet are yanked into a skidding stop. He barks ferociously, but his tail is usually wagging.

One time he was loose, about a year ago, he was still mostly a puppy. It was a rare day when I was running dogless. He leapt at me, nipping at my elbows, desperately wanting attention. I tried to pet him, but he dove at my face, most likely in the hopes of licking it. I continued on and he followed for a dozen yards or so before a voice from the porch called him back.

The dog is fullgrown now. A pitbull/bulldog mix of some sort – broad and squat and muscled with an enormous head. His regular charge always makes Gala nervous and she’ll bark back at him a time or two before pulling hard to get away from the house and his noise as we run past.

Monday, I heard the dog but didn’t see him as we approached the house. Odd, I thought, since by now he would usually be halfway down the short slope after us. We were nearly to the house when he came charging across the grass; a few inches of broken chain hung from his collar. I pulled Gala to the opposite side of the road, but he ran across the road after us, lunging at her. I yelled, she returned fire and he backed off, only to come at us again and again and again. Continue reading Open Letter to My Pitbull-Owning Neighbor

My One and Only Amstaff


I read the labels below the puppies in the puppy bowl bios and asked, “What’s an Amstaff?”

I thought maybe this was some new designer breed I’d never heard of, when in fact, my very own Amstaff was lying beside me. Or rather, at that particular moment, careening around Nancy’s living room.

Frankie, Nick, and I watched the Puppy Bowl on Sunday with Nancy and Matt, who adopted Edith Wharton. While we sampled some excellent beers, Edith and Frankie wrestled and played with abandon. Frankie was thrilled to discover the huge cache of toys Edith had – many with squeakers intact! (There are very few of those at our house, as Gala considers it her job to keep the squeakers silent.)

We arrived just in the nick of time to see Frankie and Buford on the television. Unbeknownst to me, the pregame show started earlier than three, and Frankie and Buford turned up larger than lifesize around 2:40. (I apologize to any of you who had hoped to catch it. You can see it here. Forward to minute 30 and then wait through a batch of forced-commercials and you’ll see their segment.)

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The game was fun to watch, but what was more fun was watching Frankie watch the game: Continue reading My One and Only Amstaff

The Ridiculous Nature of a Label

Can’t a dog just be a dog?

A happy dog? An energetic dog? A lazy dog? A funny dog? A best-friend dog? A dog who runs-thru-the-invisible-fence-and-rolls-in-horse-poop dog?

Why do we insist on labeling a dog as a particular breed? I’ve been thinking about this way too much of late. Partly, this is because of my new puppy, Frankie, but mostly this is because of my foster dog, Gala.

Frankie is, allegedly, a Catahoula Leopard Dog. Which only means that the vet who inspected him in South Carolina Continue reading The Ridiculous Nature of a Label

Frankie and OGGA

This time adoption day was a little weird for me. After all the puppies were adopted…..

Instead of cleaning out the puppy room, putting my feet up and opening a bottle of wine…. Continue reading Frankie and OGGA

Record Breaking Dog

Gala has broken the record.

Longest foster dog we’ve ever had.

At nearly five months here, Gala easily surpassed  Whoopi, Ginger, and Carla,  our other longest fosters.

She’s also the dog with fewest applications. (Currently that would be zero applications.)


In the past five months, she’s only had four interested potential adopters. All changed their minds. None ever met her in person. Continue reading Record Breaking Dog

The Other Foster Dog

So, you may have noticed that I haven’t written very much about my other foster dog. Vera Bradley has been with us for a month now, and in that time her presence has been eclipsed by puppies leaving, Estelle leaving, and then Darlin’ giving birth. That’s my official excuse.

My unofficial excuse for not mentioning Vera often is that my family is in love with her. All of them.

Well, except the cats.

The cats are beyond terrified of her. One has even taken to living up the hill with the barn cat. There is good reason for this fear. I have little doubt that Vera would (best case) run them out of town or (worst case) shred them into little bitty pieces, if given the opportunity.

In fact, it is this very threat to the cats that keeps my family from kicking me out and keeping Vera instead.

And Vera, for her part, loves them. Every one of them. Even Gracie…. Continue reading The Other Foster Dog