Hike along with us. Four paws and four feet, out of the car, into the Mount Hood National Forest wilderness, near the Pacific Crest Trail. To feel the spray of a magnificent waterfall...Read More
We're Family. I'm yours. You're mine.
My mom and you and me and Grandma and Uncle Jerry and his wife and dogs and kids and the creatures in our backyards.
I look up to you, Grandpa. We all do.
You taught us how to live - you gave us our last name - Ayers.
You showed us all how to rock and roll and ride through life.
Even now, that you don't feel so well.
It's Grandpa Grrrrrrrr time!!!!
Whether you're having a good day or bad - nothing perks us all up, like a good grrrrrr.
Grandpa, you understand, without words, just what I need.
You get my priorities! First project upon visiting: creating total mayhem.
When it comes to play time - you can really last all day! No one is as patient as you, grandpa.
And you get my 2nd priority after play time: toy box inventory.
You're a rad dad.
You taught your girl to be a rad mom. My mom.
Here you and my mom are, camping and riding bikes in the desert. I love camping!
You taught us all, the whole family, the love of play time, love of nature, love of life.
And you've had the same grrrr friend for 64 years. Grandma Ayers. That's awesome. She's a lucky gal.
Here you are, horsing around on an anniversary, acting like kids. Yeah! That's the stuff!
I try to give back, Grandpa.
Here, I'm helping you with a brake job. On thanksgiving day. When I'd REALLY rather eat turkey.
What I wouldn't give for a good brake job right now. With turkey and mashers. I miss you. We live too far away...
For you, I jump into a carry-on bag, Grandpa.
Put up with all that airplane travel... just for you.
And do my carry-on bag dog thing.
You're totally worth it, Grandpa.
Because at the end of the bag - is your lap.
I can't imagine a day without you in it, Grandpa.
I love you, big guy. We all do.
Here was our family 14 years ago, on your 50th wedding anniversary.
I wasn't even born yet, but my fellow grandkids made the picture. And mom's on the left, the one that writes Surf Dog Diaries with me.
And then this spring, life changed.
We came back. I did the carry on bag thing. But it wasn't a happy visit - we came to see you in the hospital.
I did my best Therapy Dog thing. So did the rest of the family.
We tried to help you get your memory back after the stroke. By looking at old photos.
The ups and downs of life.
Whatever life brings, we're in it together.
When you were sick, we were trying to act normal. So, we went out on the deck and had a little fun.
We were cheating at cards. You know, like the famous painting?
My advice to grandma: don't over think it.
Just deal with the cards you're dealt.
We're all working on that.
Yeah!! That's it, grandma!! GO girl!
Now it's my turn....
Here's my best card shark look:
Woo hoooo! I'm top dog in the Ayers family card game!
Here's my winning hand, grandpa. Can you believe it?
I call it "Super Jack."
Cuz that's your name.
HAPPY FATHER'S DAY, Grandpa Jack Ayers!
Who knows what lies ahead?
All that matters is today.
Any good dog could tell you that....
With love from your grand dog - your dinky doxie BFF - your Pen Pal.....
Surf Dog Diaries
Left and right. Red and blue. Us and them... the baggage of humans.
Dogs don’t do politics. That’s what we love most about them.
They don't take sides - nor do they care about all that human psycho babble.
They do care about whose in charge.
They don’t debate. Or criticize.
They're too busy chasing life, chasing tails, romping trails. Getting blow dried on the road trip of life.
They aren’t hung up on news or Twitter, reading the latest titillating story about a porn star and a US President.
They love you unconditionally, even when you don't deserve it.
They may be smarter than humans, despite what scientists say. They're way more intuitive.
You think you can hide your feelings, but they just know. And love you anyway.
They don’t press your buttons. They stand by you until you get outside yourself. For some of us, that could take a lifetime.
Dogs don’t do Twitter. Well, maybe they do. This is dog Twitter:
“soft warm body pressed up against yours – no words necessary.”
You think you can stay away long hours on trips out of town when the dog sitter takes over. You think they won’t notice. They reward you with a bounce up and down welcome home ceremony. And the top-secret mini poo pile, just this side of the dog door.
I went from four dogs to two. One is a fake dog.
Tia the kitty would be really catty on Twitter. But she’s dropping the cat act and turning into a dog.
These days, the cat and the dog are ascending breed restrictions. Ignoring their owner’s manuals, and politics, or lack thereof. They are fast becoming (admittedly tentatively, perhaps warily) pack partners.
They are the last two remaining dog pack members after a rough year, losing two aging bassets of the family.
The cat has arisen to the role of Alpha. Or co-alpha.
She is first to take possession, within 30 seconds of me sitting or lying down. She always beats the doxie to my lap. She does it effortlessly. Strategically.
At best now, Doodle snuggles up alongside, his butt up against her chest. His curly cue tail spirally wrapping around my leg. Or carefully nosing up near the stiletto nails of Tia. Some random body part of dog splayed over my leg. Or inching closer, under covers, as if the cat won’t notice.
Sometimes she rubs her head against his… like she really loves him… but none of us totally trusts that. Sometimes I wonder if that head rub isn’t some subtle game of kitty bumper car. She is a politician.
Doodle has that wild-eyed look like, please don’t throw a sucker punch at me. But he persists. And that has, in turn, softened the cat.
She snuggles up under covers as quickly as Doodle does. Maybe even with him.
She has descended from cat throne to dog behavior. Fuzzy lovingness.
She has evolved into a dog.
Just when I was looking for a lap basset online at the shelter, the lap basset appeared.
I would say there’s a war going on for my attention but it’s more like detente. Fragile, hesitant teamwork. Like long-warring parties coming together to pass some really important legislation, creating social change. Like banning assault rifles or ending the war on immigration. Or some other Hatfield and McCoy thing that’s gone on for years.
People stuck in the middle. Two sides. No one winning.
Here, the two “dogs” aren’t entirely trusting each other, but are actually trying to work together - and meet in the middle.
Sharing goals. Getting more love. Figuring out that working together, they both get what they really want – they just don’t exclude the other partner. They may make some critter concessions, but on the grand scale, nothing worth quibbling over.
Maybe this is a long, ugly custody battle over me, that just took a positive turn?
The cat, unlike the dog, is a much more political animal.
She’s into power and isn’t always soft and fuzzy – or is, but usually with a purpose. She likes the Alpha role. She likes being on top. Pole position. Lap cat. But she wasn’t always in charge.
The dog just wants to be there. Be lap dog. He’s into power, but in an effusive, gimme some luvin' hippy-yippee kinda way.
Doodle bumbles in as if to take over the lap and the house and the pack. Guess what? He thought he was Alpha too. There’s an absence of clear power without someone in charge.
It’s the two party system. Dog vs. Cat. Balance of power.
Neither has veto power. But they both flex themselves periodically, when it’s really important.
I feel like I am the prize. At the same time, a voter stuck between sides. Like an average everyday citizen that two parties are fighting for. Two parents fighting over a kid.
And when the dog and cat drop their breed restrictions and put down their owner's manuals, they blend into one. One species. Curled up, yin and yang. Spooning, with me underneath. Me, in between. Everyone wins. No one’s in charge. Just the three of us as one.
Being in charge is so over rated. There’s nothing we wouldn’t do for each other. And funny thing - this wasn't possible, not for this cat and this dog, with a full pack of dogs in the house.
Elvis, my dearly departed Alpha Basset, Big Man on Campus, was always in charge.
He loved the cat and together, they were one. They snuggled together - but not over me. They were total bff’s. No war for top dog between them. Everyone got along.
Now that Elvis is gone, and his twin basset brother too, the little pain-in-the-butt Dennis the Menace doxie, my Doodle, wanted so badly to lead our pack. To assume Alpha. One and only dog of the family. But he hasn’t earned the cred that Elvis had.
Elvis was king, without even trying.
Dude was the same age and might have challenged Elvis for top dog. Instead, he went blind. And became a lap basset. He gave up on Alpha long ago. We miss him with all of our hearts, but he never made it to top dog. He easily could have.
He was top dog years ago, back when he still had eyes. He won awards in surf dog contests. He competed - and won - against other dogs, but never his own pack.
Dude was bff’s with Elvis. Everyone was. Alpha Elvis wasn’t kingly. He was a love buddy.
Now that the sweet and strong and loving basset brothers are surfing the heavens, we’re down to two “dogs” and those two have expanded to fill the void. The calico and the doxie.
The 50% smaller pack allows the two remaining dogs to grow into themselves. They’ve expanded into me. And just maybe, they've expanded into each other. Even though they’d never admit it.
Number two and number three try harder. Now together, they share #1.
They seem to be co-Alphas.
Parents. Partners. The third, neutral party.
It’s a whole new era in our home in the absence of basset hounds.
The two remaining dogs may not be tri-colored low rider bassets, with silly-sad faces. Stand-up comedians with basset-hound-hearts-on-sleeves (which we all terribly miss.) But the remaining animals are surprisingly able to evolve.