Tag Archives: pepper

BLOG – GIFT DAY 321 :: a month of inspiration :: new leash on life

17 Nov

Today, in my month-long nod to inspiration, I share the love of books and dogs. 
As in the book, and movie and now the sequel of MUST LOVE DOGS.

Check out what Claire Cook, author, posted on her facebook page today:


6 hours ago

Just in case you missed it over on my author page, Must Love Dogs is going to be a series!!! Book 2, Must Love Dogs: New Leash on Life, will be out in February and I can’t wait for you to read it! To celebrate, I’m giving away a signed and personalized copy of the original book (which contains an excerpt of Book 2) and a DVD of the movie, plus movie-watching treats for you and your dog (or cat!). To enter: 1) Post a comment below. 2) Share this post. 3) Go to www.ClaireCook.com to enter. Good luck, everybody!


Claire, all I can say is… woof! woof!

Of course, by now, you know I get much inspiration from dogs. Ever since my first dog, Pepper, was sent to my room to protect me and take aware my nightmares from a scary movie that I stayed up way too late with the older kids to watch.

Pepper saved me from King Kong that night and slept on my bed every day after.

Until he could no longer make the jump up to the mattress. (That is exactly when I would get down on the floor with him just to give him a little comfort.)

I should have known my first marriage was destined for ruin. The man didn’t like dogs, didn’t want a dog, didn’t understand dogs.

For me to live without a dog in my life is like walking around without my shadow. I guess that’s why I’m so gaga about our dogs. I lived too long without one. I’m like a convert to a religion… the most outspoken, the most passionate, and probably the most annoying too.

But I can live with that.
I just can’t live without dogs.
Dog gone it.

To enter Claire’s contest, click here.
Good luck!

More tomorrow.
Lovemore {fearless!}

{what can you not live without?}

Day 30: lovemore mondays :: dog food

30 Jan

As you know, I entered this year determined to be fearless. But, I don’t want more fear or less in my life.  I want more love.  So I made up a new word, lovemore!   That’s why Lovemore Mondays are here.

Last week I shared a love story about Words.

Today’s Lovemore Monday is a love story about Dog Food.

As in, feeding the soul.

My first dog, Pepper, followed me everywhere I went.

After I stayed up too late watching Godzilla on television with my older cousins, my parents came up with a grand master plan to calm my freaked out young child nerves — they sent in the dog.

From that night on, Pepper slept on my bed until old age took all the leap from his legs.  When he could no longer make the jump to my bed, I crawled my teenage body down to the floor to snuggle with him instead.

When Pepper died, I was heartbroken.
I missed my shadow.

I begged for another dog.  My parents refused.  According to their thinking, I was too close to college age and once I flew, the nest would empty.

I wanted another dog, they didn’t.
As it turned out, I would be the one to get my way.

My begging was half-comical, the other half high-pitched-whiny serious.  It began with,  “I want a puppy!” proceeded to, “Why not?” and ended with my parents conversation stopper of all time “Because.”

Then, everything changed.
At seventeen, I was diagnosed with cancer.  One month later, my mom was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Through the terror and turbulence of treatments, hospital stays, needles, never ending hair loss and uncontrollable vomit, I could always lighten the mood in the room by saying those magic words.

“I have cancer and … I. Want. A. Puppy.”
Sometimes I would change it around to:
“Can I have a puppy?  You know I have cancer…”

It always made my Mom laugh.  It became an ongoing joke.  And, it seemed like such a small request against the health care hurdle we were climbing.

So, on my eighteenth birthday, a big fluffy dog named Balou came into my life.

Balou was a gift.
She was a birthday present from Justin, as a tiny little fur ball of a puppy just as I finished radiation treatment  — and a short eight months before I left for college.

My mother once told me that when Balou came into my life, my sparkle came back.  After all the treatments, all the terror, all the unknown, she told me, “that dog brought back your smile” and she swore Balou took on my personality.

In a roundabout unexpected way, I got my way.
And, my parents inherited a dog.

Once I left for college, that dog never left my mother’s side. When I couldn’t be there, Balou was.  When I couldn’t hug my mamma, my dog did.  She was with her everyday that I couldn’t be, even on the day my mother passed away.

In a way, I think dogs are like guardian angels — with paws instead of wings.

While I sit here typing this post with our beloved Pup next to my side, I know somewhere, up there, is a Pepper and Balou watching over me.  Maybe their spirits are just in my heart, and that’s okay…

Because dogs are food for the soul.

That is why, when it comes to dog food…
I. Love. It.

Day 317: feeding your dog

13 Nov

We met our neighbor yesterday.
And with him was a sixteen-year old dog named Buddy, a tiny, somewhat ragged looking dog who was as cute as a new puppy.

We were informed Buddy was not doing well, suffering and headed to the vet.

Today, while I was out on the lanai painting the the dumpster diving treasure we found — a thrown out dining room table (before and after photos coming soon) — our new neighbor walked by and we talked about Buddy.

Then he asked me if I ever put down a dog.

I answered no.
I have never been there to say goodbye.

My first dog, Pepper, was my buddy.  He slept on my bed every night of my childhood beginning when I was three.

I ran into my parents room at some early morning hour crying because I was terrified from staying up too late watching Godzilla with my older sister and cousin. My parents ingenious solution to my nightmare was to send Pepper in to protect me.

And, he did, standing right by my side, following me wherever I went, sleeping on my bed every night.  In exchange for this companionship and adoration all I had to do was feed Pepper and love Pepper.

When I was a teenager and Pepper could no longer jump up on my bed at night, I would get down on the floor next to him.  Just to make sure he was okay before I would crawl back into my bed to go to sleep.

On one hot summer day while I was away at camp and granted my time slot to call home, my parents informed me that they lost Pepper.

I couldn’t believe it!
How could they lose my dog? 

I spoke clearly into the pay phone and pleaded with my parents. Please. Go. Find. Pepper!

My father spoke softer and clearer.  “The vet put him down.”

To this day I think my parents let Pepper stay on long enough to get me off to summer camp. Through his cataracts and gimpy legs, they let him follow me around the house until the day came that I wasn’t there for that drive to see the vet.

Today, while I painted the dumpster treasure out on our lanai, attempting to give it a new life with a new coat of paint, my neighbor got a phone call.

Tears streamed down his eyes as he told me Buddy’s fate — he wasn’t going to make it through the night, he could no longer breathe. They had to put him down.

As he fumbled for his car keys, he sobbed and opened the door to his car to start that drive to the vet. Before he got in he looked over at me and said, “Buddy’s been good to me.”

And, I agreed.
Even though I only met Buddy once I knew this as truth.

Because when you’re a dog person, you understand: dogs feed us more than we feed them.

And, that is a treasure meant for the soul.
Rest in peace dear Buddy.

Day 118: a royal treat you can make at home

28 Apr

In honor of Kate & William, on the night before the wedding phenomenon, I share this:

A Royal Recipe in three easy steps:

1) Make your favorite salad, pile on all the yummy goodness you crave, tuna on spinach is my top choice.

2) Make sure you are starving. Like really starving, stomach growling with hunger pains echoing off the walls.

3) Twist off pepper top. Forget pepper top is really a “pop top” and not a “twist top”. Watch a whole bottle of pepper flakes fall onto your beautiful salad creation.

It’s what I had for dinner.
Okay, so the only royal part about this recipe was the royal pain in the you-know-what to remove all the clumps of pepper from all the pieces of buried spinach.

Warning: do not attempt at home.
The pepper treatment turned my tuna salad into blackened tuna. “Pop”arazzi surprise!

I think champagne and crumpets may be more appropriate for tomorrow morning’s global soiree.

Hitting the sack early tonight to make the 4am wake up call.

It will be a Party Of Two over here.
Pup and me, designated wedding crashers.

I don’t think it animal cruelty forcing Pup to watch the royal wedding. In fact, I think he appreciates the gravity of this occasion.

It’s hard to remember the last time it felt like the whole world was rooting for the same team, and speculating about the uniforms they will wear to the big event.

Yeah, I know there are naysayers and party-poopers out there bringing on the buzz kill around this spectacular event.

But, I think a world-wide wedding is just what we need right now. More love story.
Less loss.
More celebration.
Less competition.

It’s a new beginning, a new era, a new milestone in our life and times.
It’s more than a good party. It’s good for the heart.

I think a little pomp and circumstance can go a long way.
After all, aren’t these moments the spice of life?

So dear Kate and William, I say pepper it on!
(just watch out for the “pop”arazzi!)

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