Monday, February 25, 2013


Becky, with her rabbit from Grandma Jean.
April 17, 1998 - February 25, 2013

"... what we have enjoyed, we can never lose ... all that we love deeply becomes a part of us."
(Helen Keller) 

Today, my darling granddog Becky left this world, her mama and papa by her side.  She was at least fifteen  years old, a sweet, happy Australian Shepherd/Border Collie mix. 

Janice (my daughter) and Alex adopted her from Vancouver Animal Shelter April 17th, 2008.  The shelter thought she was 10-12 years old at that time. My daughter chose April 1998 as her birthdate.

She  wore a beautiful smile, loved to play fetch, to run on the beaches.  She could be seen frequenting downtown Vancouver bistros, sitting quietly at sidewalk tables while her mama or papa sipped coffee.  She visited me on several occasions and always got along with whatever mix of animals were in my care. 

Becky had a wonderful life for the past five years, thanks to two young people who weren't afraid to adopt a senior dog and who believed in giving her the best life possible. She was very deeply loved and will be very much missed. 

Becky on the beach at Parksville

Her intense border-collie stare

Christmas at Grandma Jean's house, 2011

On the trails at Osborne Bay Park

Where else?  Crofton Sea Walk, of course!

"Grandma Jean got me my own flying squirrel!" 

You. Will. Feed. Me. Cookies.

On Saltspring Island

Run free, sweet Becky.   Hugs, Janice and Alex.  Her spirit is always with you.

Calling readers in the Qualicum area

There is a very good chance Levi, the missing Aussie cross I reported a couple of days ago,  is in your area. A very scared little dog fitting his description has been hanging around in the bush for a few days, dragging a piece of rope where a leash would be.  Last spotted on Boorman Road near Island Highway.  However, he bolted back into the bush when someone tried to get close.  

The owner is coming over by ferry this morning, and will be blanketing the area with posters.  If you can help, please text her (Tracy) on her cell at   778-847-7045 .  If you can't help today , please watch for him in your area.  Carry the info with you and call her the second you spot the dog.  A photo would be great, so Tracy can confirm his identity. 

Please share this information with others in the area!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

I just love that moment when......

.....I come home from some activity that didn't include the dogs,  and my newly adopted furbuddy hurtles to the door and practically throws himself or herself in my arms for the very first time.  I vividly remember the first time Caleb did that, and Sadie, and Belle and Oliver and Eddie.

It is that moment which tells me the dog has successfully managed the transition from a previous caregiver to me.

And today, little Mitzi did just that.

I had just finished a volunteer shift at the theatre.   When I've returned from previous absences,  Eddie gives me a most effusive greeting, but Mitzi has remained in her open-doored crate in the mudroom until I invite her out for a cookie.  Not so, today.

I had no sooner turned the key and opened the door a crack than an eight pound white fluffball came flying through the air and tackled me just below the knees.  Then she stood on her back tippy-toes and reached up my leg as hiiiiiigh as she could to make sure I saw her there.  Then she spun in circles, barked happy hellos, tried to climb up my leg again, and bounced around like a kid on a pogo stick.

Mitzi has claimed me as her Very Own Person.  Her Mama Jean.  The centre of her world.

And I couldn't be happier.

Actually, it was just because you were late with mah dinner!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Vancouver Islanders, please watch for Levi!

May be with transient male on Vancouver Island

Sometime ago, I posted about a blue merle Australian shepherd who disappeared from his caregiver on Dec. 18th  in the west end of Vancouver, when his owners were away  for Christmas on the other side of the country.  They immediately flew home, and despite a thorough search effort, Levi has not yet been found.

There have been numerous sightings, each one reporting him to be with a scruffy looking male, possibly transient/homeless person.

On Saturday February16th, a dog fitting Levi's description was seen with a scruffy looking male in the Steveston/Tsawwassen area of the lower mainland.  On Tuesday February 19th, a similar sighting was made in Duncan, on Vancouver Island.  Assuming it is the same person and dog being sighted, this suggests they got the ferry on or about the 16th from Tsawwassen to either Schwartz Bay (Victoria) or Duke Point (Nanaimo).

If you noticed them on the ferry, or if you have seen them since, please contact the owners.  If you live on the island, PLEASE keep an eye out for them.

Should you see them, please follow these instructions from Levi's owners:

.....We don't know if it is our dog with him, WE NEED A PICTURE TO KNOW FOR SURE!!! Please keep your eyes peeled!

If you think you see him, take a photo. I need to know if it is my Levi.

- Approach the person he is with, get close enough to see him well.
- Is he Small, 12-14" high body, Head maybe to your knee ~18"?
- Look at his face, Levi's markings are very unique!
- Does he have 2 Brown Eyes? Does he have a Full Curly White-ish Tail?
- Is he Mostly Black and White?

Then CALL 778-847-7045 IMMEDIATELY! Put this number in your phone! Tracy Myerson and Anita Komonski are his moms.

Levi is VERY SHY! so if he is with someone do NOT just grab him and take him, he will run and bad things will happen. Just call me RIGHT AWAY! We will get the reward [$2000]  to you after he is safely back with us, we PROMISE!

He is small, 17 lbs, has 2 Brown Eyes and a Full Fluffy Tail (white-ish color). He is a Blue Merle, which means mottled Black and White, with Brown only in his face and back legs. He is crossed with something from the Spitz family, maybe a Pom? He is microchipped and registered with 24 hour Pet Watch

If you can post this on your facebook page and print out to post in your office too, that would be hugely appreciated!

You can also Re-Share the original Levi Posting on your work or personal page:, and ASK YOU FRIENDS TO RE-SHARE! We need more eyes! And Ask friends to join the Find Levi group too:

Me again.  PLEASE share this information with anyone on Vancouver Island.   Feel free to copy and post, to put up posters, etc.  Let's get Levi safely home. 

Edited to add:  checking out the links above, I see there is some contradictory info, and the dog may have been seen in Duncan with a woman twice in the past two weeks, as well as with a man on the 19th.  So focus on the description of the dog, and please report any possible sightings to the owners.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Mitzi gets Busted

This weekend, I took Mitzi with me to the green space by the ferry dock where I was planning to photograph, for the paper,  an event related to a Crofton Community Planning meeting. One of the issues under discussion is a height restriction for buildings - currently no building in Crofton is more than three stories high, and a majority of residents have some sort of ocean view from somewhere on their property. However, a variance was granted for a four story building to be built  by the green space, a building which will, ironically, block much of my own ocean view. Construction is expected to begin shortly.

The event involved launching a cluster of helium balloons to a height of 15 meters (the height of a four story building), providing residents with a visual demonstration of the height, and an opportunity to see how it might   impede their view - those who can see the balloons from their property, would also see waterfront buildings at that height.  While the wind made keeping the balloons aloft at that height somewhat problematic, the colourful orbs certainly attracted attention.

Preparing the balloons

As did a certain mischievous moppet.

I had Mitzi on a six-foot leash attached to my belt as I focused the camera, with its long lens, skyward trying to capture the balloons as they tossed and bobbed in the breeze.  Needless to say, my attention wasn't on Mitzi.

Ready to launch

Fifteen meters high

Suddenly I heard a little child's voice innocently say "Excuse me, what is that doggy doing?"

I looked down to find Mitzi, nose deep in someone's bag, rapidly gulping down their breakfast muffin.


Busted, Mitzi.  You are sooooo busted!

But it waz wirth every second!  Yum!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Allie's Revenge

Mitzi and Allie have been my primary source of entertainment ever since Mitzi's arrival.  First Mitzi took Allie's favourite spot - a  living room armchair on which Allie's favourite bed sits.  At first, Mitzi lay on the cat bed.  Last week, however, she took things one step further - she now jumps into the chair and with one grandiose swipe of her paw, flips the cat's bed onto the floor before curling up in the chair.

Who wants Cat Cooties?  Not me!

Allie responded by stealing Mitzi's dogbed on the couch.

Damn Dog.  I'll fix her!
She steals my place, I'll steal hers.
And leave some cooties behind. 

One of Allie's favourite forms of exercise is to race up and down the hallway, batting around catnip mouse.  Mitzi tried to join in the fun - by chasing Allie.

Allie invariably ends the game by racing under a piece of furniture where Mitzi can't find her.  Then she bides her time.  When Mitzi gives up on hide-and-seek and wanders back to her armchair, Allie sneaks up onto the top of the couch and launches herself right in Mitzi's path, scaring the biscuits out of Mitzi and sometimes taking a swipe at her fur.  Mitzi is developing a healthy respect for the cat.

About ten days ago, Allie stepped it up a notch.  While the dogs went outside to do their business, Allie positioned herself just to the inside right of the backdoor.  When unsuspecting Mitzi stepped back into the house, Allie pounced into her path, all four feet firmly planted.  Mitzi stopped dead in her tracks.  Allie has done this on several occasions since, and either Allie runs down the hall with Mitzi in hot pursuit, or Mitzi runs down the hall with Allie in hot pursuit.  It is a toss up which one cries "Uncle" first.

But I think Allie is getting the upper hand paw - literally.   [A bit of background:  When I go out without the dogs, they are left in the mudroom, which is separated from the rest of the house by a baby gate.  This keeps them out of trouble and also ensures they can be quickly located in an emergency.  Both dogs have crates in that room, and both love their crates - often choosing to go nap in the crates even when I am home.]  Initially when I went out without Mitzi, I closed her inside her crate, as Allie can jump the baby gate.  The other day, I decided Allie was no longer a danger to Mitzi or vice versa, so I left Mitzi's crate door open, just as I do Eddie's.  

When I returned to the house thirty minutes later, this is what I found.

And Allie has done that almost every time I've gone out since then.  I'm not sure if they are becoming best buddies, or if it is Allie's way of making sure Mitzi stays put.  I have flashbacks of old Peanuts comic strips with Snoopy the Vulture.

This image from:'s_alter_egos

Stay tuned for more stories of Life with Mitzi. 

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Love comes in unexpected packages

I’d hoped my next love would be big and strong, with short straight reddish or blond hair. A generous smile, affectionate, a good cuddler and kisser.  My love would enjoy hiking and swimming, have a long easy stride, a passion for the outdoors, and youthful enough to stay active for years to come.  A country-lovin’ best friend who would consider me the centre of the world.  A yellow lab, I thought, or a pitbull cross, like the ones I’ve loved before. Maybe five or six years old. 

So when my terminally ill cousin asked me to become Mitzi’s next mama, I confess I felt a twinge of sadness that didn’t just stem from her impending death.  Mitzi was a little frou-frou dog – all of eight pounds, with white curly hair, a twelve year old rather independent dog who didn’t care for cuddles and kisses and was quite happy left at home napping on her dainty little pillow. A purebred Bichon Frise – even the name sounded prissy. 

But family is family, and my love of dogs is legend, and so I welcomed Mitzi into my home.

And promptly fell head over heels in love.

Not since Lucy have I met a dog with such a big personality, full of silliness and spunk and infinite energy.  She is funny and expressive, boisterous and playful, and yet she also chooses to snuggle tightly against me all night long. 

There isn't a day goes by that some antic or another doesn't make me think  “Oh I must blog about this!”  or that I try, in vain, to capture her personality with the camera – her little upraised chin, her penetrating dark eyes,  staring at me as if to say “And just WHAT have you done with my real mama?”.  I wish I could share with you her many wonderful vocalizations  - she has finally stopped whining and now  expresses herself in little barks and growls and grumbles and squeeks.  I’d like to show you her wild zoomies around the house as she playbows to me, to the cat, to Eddie, and insists – INSISTS – we chase her.  Around and around and around I go, as she hides around corners, flies across furniture, and does a slider into the homebase mat that would be the envy of every Little League player in Canada.

In the next few days, I will try to share a few stories and pictures of Mitzi, the tiny white furball that took my heart by storm. 

Life around here will never be the same. 

You can say that again!  Ah'm in charge now!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

My Sweethearts

Well, I've spent two hours trying to figure out how to do this, and it still isn't quite right as the top photos got cut off a bit, but enough is enough - sometimes it's the thought that counts!

Happy Valentine's Day, from me and my critters past and present.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

For Karen in the Cariboo...

And for my friends digging out of three feet of snow back east, too.
*insert evil grin here*



The chives are up!

And primulas are blooming again.

The swiss chard and kale have been growing all winter

And soon the daffodils and tulips will  show their faces.

In fact......

Okay, I cheated on that last photo - I couldn't resist adding a container of forced bulbs to my patio pots!

But still........spring is in the air!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Update - FOUND!

Harriet and Friday, two of the dogs posted in the blog below, have been found!  The RCMP located the stolen truck, abandoned in the Fraser Valley, this morning with the dogs still safely inside!

Now, if only the missing mini Australian Shepherd, Levi, could be found - missing since before Christmas:

Missing Dogs BC

Readers in the lower mainland of British Columbia, and possibly further afield, please be on the lookout for Harriet, a spaniel/basset hound cross and Friday, a liver-coloured flat-coated retriever.  They were in the back of a truck that was stolen from a dog-walking company yesterday afternoon in East Vancouver.  Two dogs who were in the front of the truck were released by the thieves and have been located.
The truck is a black 2006 Ford Ranger with a red canopy, and licence number DV0744.  The dogs may be in the truck, or could have been released anywhere.  

Harriet was adopted from a rescue and is much loved - she is best friends with Nutmeg, who we met a few years ago on an adventure with Belle.  Nutmeg's owner says Harriet is her third favourite dog ever (presumably after Nutmeg and her other dog Spratley), and describes her as 'silly and sweet'.  Harriet is blind in one eye.  Friday belongs to the owner of the dog-walking company.  You can read more about the theft, and see photos of Friday and Harriet,  here:  
Vancouver Sun:  Two canines missing.

Also, please be on the lookout for a small Australian Shepherd named Levi who went missing in Vancouver December 18th.  My daughter tells me the owners are still frantic with worry and still handing out posters and scouring downtown every day.  Here's the newspaper article on their search and with a photo of Levi:  Vancouver Sun: Couple Pulls out all stops

There are always many dogs being lost or stolen, and I could blog about new ones every single day.  Generally I only post them when I have a personal connection to them - either knowing the owner or a friend of the owner, or engaged in the search myself.  The BC SPCA website has pages where lost and found pets can be posted, and there are several facebook pages dedicated to bringing lost pets home.  Two that are particularly relevant for blog readers in British Columbia are Bring Lost Pets Home and Missing Pets in BC

There are few things more heartbreaking than having a beloved pet go missing.  Thefts of vehicles containing pets, and thefts of pets from back yards, are not uncommon, and nor are missing dogs who have bolted in unfamiliar environments.  

If your dog should go missing, pull out all the stops to find him/her, just as the owners of Harriet, Friday, and Levi are doing.  Too many owners of missing pets give up too soon or do not go far enough in their search.  Just sticking up a poster or two in your neighbourhood won't do it - post everywhere you can think of, on line and on paper, contact shelters and vets and petstores and keep going back to them, and get out there and search search search. Dedicated owners have been reunited with their dogs weeks, even months, after the dog went missing.  

Paws and fingers crossed here for Harriet's, Friday's, and Levi's safe return home. 

Edited to add:  please feel free to copy this post's material or link to this page, and share as widely as possible.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Come Back Soon, Riley!

Riley's mom is back from her winter hiatus and came to pick up her precious pooch today.  Riley was so happy to see Deb - she leaned into her and, I'm sure, said something like "At last!  I thought you were never coming back for me!  Auntie Jean is nice, but she's not YOU!"

Mom!  You came back!

But I was touched that Riley then came over and leaned into me as well.  I swear she whispered "Thank you Auntie Jean, I've had a nice visit."

Before she left for her mainland home, we took the dogs for a walk along the beach so Deb could see the new seawalk extension.  Deb's friend Lydia walked Mitzi for me, and was quite taken with her (as is most of Crofton - she's such a cute little gaffer!).

Checking out the beaches one last time

Eddie enjoyed the walk too, and was proud to show off "his" beach to our friends.

Then lunch out for Deb, Lydia and me while the dogs had a little snooze.  And soon it was time to say goodbye.  I felt decidedly teary-eyed as I hugged my very special collie guest goodbye before she climbed up the ramp to Deb's car and into her travel crate (which she was less-than-enthusiastic about).

And then stuck her head out the top for one last "Good bye, Auntie Jean!  See you again sometime!"

Bye, Auntie Jean!

Come back any time, Riley.  You were a wonderful house guest and we loved having you here.  We're gonna miss you.

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Another long-legged Lucy pup!

What a wonderful surprise - an update on another of Lucy's pups - Deli, now called Ruby!  I can't get over how big the long-legged pups have become, and how similar in appearance when they were really quite different at birth - some fuzzy, some smooth, all different shades and shapes.

Here's Deli/Ruby as a pup:

And here she is today!

Sharon and Jamie, Ruby's humans, tell me that Ruby is a sweet girl, quite submissive and loves to play.  She gets lots of love from their two sons, and is active and 'very spoiled' - what a lucky dog.  She is a bit of a princess, and doesn't like going outside in the rain.  Ah yes - I've had many a princess dog standing at the back door looking at me like I'm crazy to expect them to get their precious fur wet!

I think she looks most like Hubbard - but clearly, Fitz (Nugget), Zuke and Major Bo Jangles all have similar body types.  I'm dying to know what the little short legged ones turned out like, but haven't had any updates from them.

I really see Lucy's face in the photo of Deli/Ruby - she has the exact same squarish end to her nose/mouth, and the expression in her eyes reminds me of Lucy-Loo so much.

Thanks for the pupdate, Sharon and Jamie - it's so good to know she's doing well.