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Saturday, May 26, 2012

Memorial Day Memories

As a dog lover, I have known many people whose lives were changed by the addition and the loss of a beloved pet and that's what I am writing about today.

In doing research for a future book, I've spent the last few years talking to anyone and everyone about their relationships with their dogs.  Most of the time, we are discussing their current best friend but every once in a while, I see a change come over the person.  Their eyes go a little distant, their voices get lower and quieter, and they begin to tell me about a dog in the past - one who is long gone but always remembered.

For me, it's my one and only Deanna Troi - my lab/aussie, beautiful, perfect (ha ha) dog that graced all of my ads, flyers, newsletters, and mailers for 8 years. 

She came to me one Easter weekend in 1993 - I had left my million hours a week job and finally had the time to care for a dog.  I knew someone that had an Australian shepard named Shasta who was one of the smartest dogs I had ever met.  Shasta's parents came to me one day and asked me if I knew anyone 'that would want a puppy'....seems that they hadn't gotten around to fixing her yet and during a Super Bowl party, Shasta had dug her way out of the yard to visit her boyfriend next door and voila - the deed was done.  I immediately said YES and then went about doing research on dogs.  

Shasta gave birth to ten puppies - I could not wait to get over and see them.  On the day they were ready to be adopted, I was the first to pick.  It was like a "Kodak" moment when the door opened and all 10 black puppies came running out at me sitting on the yard.

I knew I wanted a block-headed big male and found one in the crowd - what a doll he was and of course I did all the temperment testing that I read about.....not - just picked him up, smelled puppy breath, and that was it.  I had found him.

Before I could leave, the friend that was with me came in to the yard carrying a small black pup with some white on its nose and paws.  "What about this one?"....Well - up to my face with her sweet nose and still blue eyes and I heard myself say "Sure, I want them both.   As a Star Trek fan - they were now Lt. Worf and Deanna Troi.... Worf ended up with a couple at Reed College (a story for another day) and Deanna with me.

List of names:
Whirly Girl
Marjorie the Majorette
Mamma's Girl
Twirlin Around
and of course: Deanna Troi

Once past the terrible twos, there has never been a more perfect dog (except for yours I know).  Deanna was a talker who made a variety of sounds.  She did not beg, she did not disobey, she did not chew, she had perfect recall, and she loved me as much as I loved her.

I got a portrait of her one Christmas made by a local Florida artist:

Deanna became my assistant in my Real Estate career - by my side in every ad, flyer, newsletter, fax, you name it.  I was the dog whisperer and still am.  She has been gone for 4 years now - I love my current friend with all my heart but in some quiet times, I long to see my Whirly Girl again.

Happy Memorial Day - feel free to send me your greatest memories

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Solar Bliss - here in Oregon

Another reason to be proud of living here in Oregon is our environmental consciousness that has created a state that recycles more than any other --- by a mile.  We were the first state to pass a bottle bill back in 1972 --- this law keeps more than 120 million containers out of Oregon landfills, (that's about 1700 garbage trucks work per year). 

Now we have reached a huge landmark that we should be proud of - 50% recovery of waste generated in our state.  According to the Oregon Material Recovery and Waste Generation Report (whew that was a mouthfull), through recycling, composting, and energy recovery, our state had a 50% recovery rate in 2010.

Now let's talk about solar - you know the thing that a lot of us want but we always say is too expensive?  Here's a breakdown of true cost of just the installation when factoring in tax incentives and more:

Example #1:  3 kilowatt PV system

$16,000.00 -  Installed cost at $5.33 a watt
   -3750.00 - Energy Trust Incentive
$12,250.00 - Amount paid to contractor

Now for the GOOD news

  -3675.00 - Federal Tax Credit (30% of $12,250.00)
  -6000.00 - Oregon Tax Credit ($2.10/watt, capped at $6,000.00)
$2575.00 - Final cost to homeowner

To learn more about solar, call the wonderful folks at Energy Trust of Oregon: 1-866-368-7878 or visit Solar Oregon

It's much more affordable now so take advantage of these great rebates and tax credits to upgrade your home with Solar.  Makes a great selling feature when it's time to sell.

Visit my website and register if you have more questions about solar or other real estate needs:

Saturday, April 21, 2012

I am in a Penthouse

Come and visit me tomorrow - Saturday, April 7th from 1:00 - 4:00 and see this beautiful penthouse condo right on the Willamette river.  1830 NW Riverscape - top floor (of course) See you there -  I can show you where the dogs are around this place!

Saturday, April 14, 2012

Put a smile or belly laugh in your day!

Sometimes here in Portland, the weather is grey and cloudy and a person can find themselves off in dreamland thinking about sunshine.  For me, I admit that I can spend a bit too much time on YouTube watching dog and cat videos, but who doesn't?  These have a way of sucking you in because you can't help but feel better after seeing some of our four legged friends on video.

I wanted to share a small compilation of my personal favorites - send me some of yours too!

Dog's Eye View:

Oh No You Didn't:

Who Let the Dogs Out?  Classic

Another classic:

Guilty Dog:


Printer issues

Bully Kitty

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Renovation Dogs

Forget all the stage your home for sale or look for a home or million dollar listings shows on HGTV - how about a new show entitled - Pet Renovation!!!

The concept is simple - we all have our own stories of dogs and cats helping us in our renovation and decorating or know people who do.  From the simple things like dog beds scattered throughout and multi-storied cat 'condos' to the elegant blanket as slipcover, us pet owners know a thing or two about doggie renovation. 

How about showcasing this wonderful and under reported aspect of our four legged friends?  Why not feature some of the wonderful work that can be accomplished in a short afternoon --- and even done all by themselves!  The hard work!  The artistry!  The magic of doggie renovation is sure to be a huge hit. 

Here are some examples for you to enjoy

Dog Training for Dummies - PRICELESS

This busy dog didn't let a cone hamper his work!

I may be small, but I can renovate with the best of them

See, a new dog door is EASY

We are helping with the recycling

A cat bowl is not needed in this house

My Own Special renovater

Thursday, March 22, 2012

"Pit Bull" love

So I admit a bit of fear of certain dog breeds - snapping poodles, snarling chihiuahuas, tiny little toy breeds that I am afraid of inadvertenly hurting.

What I am not afraid of is the media image of out of control breed known now as the Pit Bull.   I do admit that any dog can be dangerous, I am not crazy or naive but what I do NOT accept is that all Pit Bulls (a misnomer at best) or "rotties" or Chow Chows need special legislation.

This Breed Specific Legislation or BSL as it's known is rampant across America and is usually aimed at the Pit Bull - Staffordshire Bull Terrier (Target, Spudz MaKenzie),  and in some cases just the appearance or characteristics of pit bull.  There are over 200 counties in US that ban these breeds all together.

Insurance companies have a boon-town because owners must often purchase huge liability insurance policies, home owner insurance companies dictate to home owner what kind of pet they can have and threaten cancelation if a 'pit bull' or other breed they have determined as dangerous lives in the home.

These laws have unintended consequences with thousands of dogs being confiscated from owners and euthenized, owners being served eviction papers if they don't relinquish their dog, and mass populations of "pit" type dogs being abandoned to shelters and put down by the ten of thousannds across America every year.

A must see documentary - Beyond the Myth will be showing on April 1st at the Hollywood Theatre - 4120 NE Sandy Blvd

For more Info:

Come show your support!  See you there

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

I want a family - the joys of adopting

We are lucky to live here in the Great NW for a variety of reasons - big trees, lots of green space, cool neighborhoods and coffee shops, and for me the political landscape.

One thing that is not so great, is the large number of pets without a home.  If you want to get a pet, and who doesn't, there are a plenty of places you can find them. There are rescue groups for almost any breed you would want, foster programs, adopt-a-thons and so much more. You can get breed education, training tips, and a friend for life.  Here are a few places for you to check out before you go out looking for that new family member

For overall resources, this is a FANTASTIC site:

Family Dogs New Life (No Kill Shelter)
9101 SE Stanley Ave
Portland, Oregon 97206
Web Site:
e-mail them at

Greyhound Rescue - you will not be sorry you brought one of these lovelies home:

Oregon Humane Society - 143 years young and going strong with a goal of 11,000 adoptions this year - check them out:

Oregon Dog Rescue (simple and easy to understand huh!) These folks do great work and have a lot of resources to help your new kiddo fit right in:

This is just a partial list of places to look at.  Not ready to get a pet?  How about volunteering or donating?  These places do a great service for the animals and our souls.  They are always in need help of one kind or another from adopt-a-thons and cat-nip spay clinics to fostering in your home to food and money!

Here is my 'sammy'

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

sh*T my dog does

Okay - I couldn't come up with a creative title for todays musing of the dogs in my world but there it is.  I wanted to share some of the strange things my lab mix does.

Picture this, it's dinner time at home - or breakfast or snack-time, or any time there is kibble in the bowl and the mood strikes him.  My 3 year old baby boy - bommalomma (after my fabulous President) starts eating.  He takes exactly one mouthful, chews it and swallows, he then fills his mouth a second time and walks away from his food bowl....Where does he go?  To find me - crunching and chewing and slowly walking - down the hall, in to the living room, in to my bedroom or office or whereever I happen to be.

I can hear him crunching and his collar jangling.  He finds me - he walks over to me and just looks at me.  I have to say - "good boy, eat your dinner" before he walks back to his food bowl and starts all over again.  Always the same rountine - first bite; chewed and swallowed, second bite - crunch crunch crunch-jingle jingle jingle....

He has done this since he was a puppy and I know that it started with me probably cooing and rubbing his tiny ears and talking to him the first few times it happened.  It's just so odd and endearing to me I had to share.

Second - he loves to remodel and help around the house....I will put together a list of items he has helped me decide to replace.  Let's just say that I would have to wear a disguise or send friends in to cable company with my chewed up remotes (about 15 of them - they were his favorite for about 2 years)

Third (and I do know dogs do this) when he wants to lay down in his bed he has a compulsive dance/act that he has to do before he can lay down.  It's a quick circling (in one direction) round and round several times, then he digs at the bed, then he circles round and round the OTHER direction then back to digging.  He does this several times and I am like - "BOMMA - lay down already".

This of course causes him to walk over to me to see what I need - and therefore starts the whole thing over. 
Send me some sh*T your dog does!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's day other holiday musings

While I would not describe myself as the scrooge of all holidays, I must finally admit that I am not a big participant.  I am more likely to say ... "whoa - it's Valentine's day????" usually around 4:00 on the fateful day and when I discover that my love has decorated the porch with hearts and there is chocolate hidden in my bed.

I remember my first Valentine with my beloved where I received a perfectly darling white teddy bear with a box of candy and a sweet card.  This given to me with the expectant look of "where is my present" and I had to confess that I was really like a Jehovah Witness when it comes to all holidays.  Of course I also asked "please don't buy me any more stuffed animals"  they creep me out (or some such statement in my defense)  Lucky for me we are still together and today I got a nice note with 'happy valentine's day' written on a piece of paper and left on the counter for me this morning.  PERFECT!

Somehow, I block out the shamrocks, ghosts and costumes, the red white and blue streamers and firecrackers, and other 'stuff' that is out on display when I shop.  What this means that I do sometimes disappoint those I love.  Is this terrible?  No easter baskets, no green beer or special treats....Is there something wrong with me or do others have this same issue?
Maybe I spend too much time at the dog park and not enough with actual human friends.  

So today is Valentine's all my friends and family - I love you 365 days a year - didn't buy you anything!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Head out the window and other observations

Please take me with you
Planning a weekend at the beach should invlove at least a minimum of thinking and list making.  I am a prolific list maker but I rarely use much less remember what I wrote on them.

Ususally, I am grabbing up a bunch of stuff the night before and scrambling around in the morning.  One time I ended up with a neatly folded stack of dish towels that were underneath a single t-shirt.  I had just scooped up the pile and threw it in the bag. 

My sister has a bitchen' house at the coast and I am lucky enough to be able to go there sometimes when I need a break.   She is also a dog-aholic so this means we get to bring our hounds with us.  I was pretty sure my Bomma-Lomma's first trip to the coast here would be amazing and he did not disappoint.   

So I did my usual - sat at the dining room table writing a packing list that I wasn't going to use...kong, peanut butter, dog bed, dog food, dog treats, leash....see the pattern here?  We are going to the coast....

The magic morning arrives - up at 5:15, coffee on, and the schlepping to the car begins.  Meanwhile, my boy is about to come out of his skin.  Scrambling around, jumping, paw, and overall mayhem from him.  The other 'child' is a dignified 14 year old so she just sort of ran back and forth from the dining room to the back door....somewhat confused by everything that was going on.

An uneventful drive down with both of the dogs sleeping most of the way until we let them out in Astoria.  Then it was windows down and nose out.  When we got to the beach house, I decided  to just open the car door and let him out to run around and get rid of some pent up energy.....

Let's just say that hindsight is 20/20 and I will never do that again.  He took off like a shot - straight down the trail leading over the dunes to the beach.  I am not as agile as I used to be so the sight of me 'running' after him was probably not the best.  He did come back to me a few times but not close enough for me to grab him and put his leash on.  Continuing my slow 'jog' I heard the first of many screams of "NO",....Get away......G*D D**N DOG"....I got over the last low dune and there he was happily playing with a family - well he was happy anyway...the family wasn't.  He was diving around one young man on a floaty - trying to either hop on with him or tip him over.  The mother and father were trying to grab him as he ran past them and I was screaming his name at the top of my lungs like a fish wife.  He looked my way a couple of times with a "who are you?" look - he had never seen me before, never heard my voice, nothing!

WOW - I did not know that one could feel the death ray of looks from that far away - but if looks could kill or maim, I would have dropped over.  I scrambled over and said 'sorry sorry sorry' about a million times with them standing there with arms crossed fuming.  Meanwhile, my pooch has discovered the ocean and this is all I needed. 

I have see a lot of videos of joyful dogs and wished like crazy that I had a video camera to tape him on that day.  I forgot all about the crabby people and even they warmed up and managed a smile watching him. 

So glad I took him - so much fun - he ran and ran and made friends for hours then slept like a baby all night.  Going to buy a camera for next time for sure!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

What to do when it won't stop raining.....

I wish I could shout to the world that I am someone who diligently takes their pups for long walks and adventures in a dog park, regardless of the weather.  Sadly, I am not.  When the temp drops below 50 degrees and it's pouring the rain, I find myself standing at the open back door with my best friends looking out on the yard...trying to get them to go outside for a minute.

Then by the second day, I am watching my 3 year old lab mix race around the house like his butt is on fire, listening to the cats yowling constantly as he tries to get their attention....(nothing like a lab nose scooting you around the living room) and even my older dog barking her head off at his bad behaviour.  I knew I had to do something for some stimulation and excericise before much more time went by or I was going to have my couch further modified.  (pictures to be posted later today) What to do....what to do...

I decided I would spend the day baking up dog treats - they could lick the bowl, sample the wares, and overall help me out in the kitchen. We all piled in to the car and off to the grocery store we went.

**Another bit of advice, select the treats you will make, and actually LOOK around to make sure you have everything you need before you start whipping stuff up.... just sayin

Here's a link to a great list of recipes:
Treat Recipes

First Up:

LIVER BROWNIES - Beware!!!! My dogs were thrilled with the smell - this was not the same for me but it gave me the opportunity to open the front and back door to air out the house.

1 1/4 lbs chicken liver
1 Cup wheat germ
2 Tablespoons wheat flour
2 Cups oatmeal (quick cook kind - not instant)
2 eggs
2 Tablespoons peanut butter
2 cloves garlic (optional)
1 Tablespoons of olive oil

Preheat oven 350°F. Liquefy liver and garlic in blender or processor. When smooth add eggs (shells also) and peanut butter. Blend until smooth. In a separate bowl combine dry ingredients. Add liver mixture and olive oil to dry mixture and mix well. Spread into a greased 9×9 baking dish. Bake 30 minutes. Let cool and cut into pieces.

Second in the oven: Super easy and really pretty good for not having sugar or chocolate
2 cups whole wheat-flour
1 cup skim milk
1 cup peanut butter
1 teaspoon Baking POWDER

Preheat 375°F. Mix ingredients together and knead heavy dough a bit. Roll out to 1/4 inch and use cookie cutters to cut out shapes. Place on cookie sheet and bake for 20 minutes.

I will post pictures of us making these and you will see for yourself how helpful everyone was.  It even stopped raining long enough for me to grab the miracle toy - "chuck-it" and the glowing yellow priceless diamond that is his tennis ball and off to the park we went!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Driving, Walking, Babysitting

There are so many things to love about living here in the NW but I recently discovered one more thing....The Yeller Cab Pet Taxi. This is one of those ideas I put in my "why didn't I think of this?" category.

Here are a group of folks that saw a need - transportation for your pet when you are not able to drive them yourself and filled it beautifully. However, they didn't stop there - They offer a wide variety of walks, off leash runs, quick 'pit stops' and more. This service is wonderful for us who work a lot of hours and perhaps don't give our best friends the excercise and stimulation we really want them to have.

You can visit them on line at and register your pet for their passport and see all the different services they offer.

How about day care? We are really blessed here in Portland to have doggie day care in just about every neighborhood. I take my Boma-Lomma to several day cares in town and here are some things to note;

1) Your baby must be current in their vaccinations - always a good thing anyway but required for day care (if you visit a day care facility and they don't require this, walk away!!!)

2) Bordetella (kennel cough) is another vaccine you will need - this is a highly contagious disease and you should have your dog vaccinated for this if they are going to be with other dogs. The most common way to administer is through a mist sprayed in their nose. Trust me, they really don't appreciate this much but a treat and 15 minutes and all is forgiven!

3) Visit the day care and check it out thoroughly. See where the dogs spend most of their time, meet the handlers and folks who will be interacting with the dogs. Some places have web cams you can log in to and watch what happens. This is your best friend. Make sure your trust is warranted and that the people who work there not only love dogs but have a good understanding of behaviour and meaning.

Most day cares will or should require some sort of temperment test to make sure that the experience will be good for your pet and the others at the facility. This usually requires you to drop Fido off for a visit of 30 minutes to an hour to see how everyone gets along.

It's not free and many of us can't afford to take our dogs every day but I highly recommend giving your pooch the opportunity a few times a month if you can swing it. Lots of socialization (which helps when you go to the dog park), plenty of playing, and a stimulating environment which goes a long way to having a satisfied and relaxed best friend.

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

A Dog's life in the great NW

My mom works for Keller Williams Realty Professionals in Portland. One thing we do is visit our local coffee shop - is Portland amazing or what - and talk about what we are going to do (if my mom isn't showing houses) There are so many fabulous places to go around here:

* If I want to hang with my buddies. So many choices - here's a partial list of some of my favorites;

North Portland

  • Chimney Park; 9360 N Columbia Blvd

  • Overlook Park; N. Fremont and Interstate Ave

NE Portland

  • Argay Park; NE 141st Ave. and Failing St

  • Grant Park; NE 33rd Ave and US Grant Pl

  • Irving Park; NE 7th Ave and Fremont

  • Sacajawea Park; This one is hard to say-NE 75th St and Roselawn
SE Portland:

  • Cherry Park; SE 110th Ave and Stevens

  • Laurelhurst Park; SE 39th Ave and Stark

  • Sellwood Riverfront Park - Talk about SMELLS - this place ROCKS; SE Spokane St and Oaks Parkway

  • Woodstock Park; All I can say is "far out man"; SE 47th Ave and Steele
SW Portland:

  • Gabriel Park - DUDE, check out those skateboarders; SW 45th and Vermont

  • Council Crest Park; SW Council Crest Drive

  • Hillsdale Park; SW 27th and Hillsdale Hwy

  • Summerdale Park Dog Park - kinda small but what the heck, it's outside!; 11450 SW Winterlake, Tigard

Rooster Rock State Park - not by the nudies!! Swim your heart out but be careful!

There are others so for the complete list, check out:

* I want to be dropped off in the morning - NO messy kisses, it's embarrassing don't ya know?

* Sometimes I want to wander among the briars and the brambles.

HUGE and wonderful Forest Park: - Trails, adventures and smells in this 5000 acre place we are so lucky to have - even the Pittock Mansion offers a doggie drinking fountain. Great place for you and your best friend to get some excercise, smell some really cool stuff, and bond with nature.

Just a few miles and a few minutes from Portland is Hagg Lake; 50250 SW Scoggins Valley Road, Gaston, OR 97119 - I have to stay like a good boy on my leash, but THIS place is fantastic fun - elk smells (doo doo if you must know), squirrels, birds, more poo,

* Let's party like it's 1999

  • The Lucky Lab? Does it get any better I ask you? 915 SE Hawthorne - hang out and enjoy a Lucky Lab Stout: and don't forget to check out all the cool 'lab' stuff!

  • How about a schnitzel? or a 'wurst? Visit the Berlin Inn with your human and sit on the outdoor deck - maybe you'll get a bite or two:

  • Old Market Pub and Brewery...hmmm do I see a pattern here? 6959 SW Multnomah Blvd

  • Did you say Pizza? Did you say Pizza? Pizzacato Northwest, 505 NW 23rd Ave

  • Tin Shed Garden Cafe, 1438 NE Alberta St

    I am a LUCKY dog to live in Portland. Don't I know it. Whatever you and your best friend want to do today, here are some things to do before you go out:

    DO make sure you have safe and secure collar with identification tag - gives us a chance to call home without a cell phone. Better yet, get a micro-chipped if you can. This is like a mini-GPS for dogs (not a government conspiracy to track us on the remote chance we have nefarious intentions)

    DO bring water for us. We do a lot of drinking - Here's a few links for you but you can just visit your local pet store provided they don't "sell" purebred puppies - more on that much much later

    DO make sure we are up to date on their vaccinations particularly Parvo and Distemper. If you are an annoying, well darling puppy, have a talk with your veternarian for advise on when it will be safe for to begin your big adventure in the great outdoors.

    DO make sure you have the basics down - COME when called - even if you have a big wonderful huge stick or you are chasing after that super duper interesting critter or attempting to greet the small thing in the stoller. (this will really get your mom and dad riled up so don't try it! nobody will find it funny)

    If you are going on a longer trip, remember your medications and basic safety kit with local veternarian information (god forbid you would have to use this but you know how we are - will eat or drink anything - we are dogs after all). It's also good to travel with a current photo of us - preferably NOT the one with me in my Darth Dogger costume that you took last Halloween.

    Finally, Oregon does have a slightly higher risk of Lyme's disease than some other states so unfortunately, someone - not my mother that's for sure - has to check for ticks when you leave the forest! If they find them (and here's the icky part) you have to remove them. For me, don't want to use tick powder or other chemicals, just some good old fashioned vaseline and tweezers it is.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Walking your dog

Taking your best friend for a walk is one of the great joys of living. So many places to see, so much to smell and the SQUIRRELS -- Oh My!

Here are a few tips to making your trips more enjoyable:

**Thanks to one reader - forgot important item - CARRY those plastic bags and clean up your pets' business! This is non-negotiable and creates happy neighbors and fellow walkers.

1) Get out for daily walks - at least 30 minutes and you will have a pet that is calmer and less bored at home (think about your shoes, furniture, etc)

2) Get an appropriate collar and make sure it fits and has a tag with your contact information - this is the equivilant of a cell phone 'just in case' your hound takes a road trip without you. I am not a fan of 'choke' style collars at all.

3) Your dog pulls? So does mine - he is a very strong lab/pit mix and our walks were not too much fun at first. Buy a halter or harness that fits over their chest and attach your leash to it. These often discourage pulling - just have someone at the pet store help you fit it.

4) Vary your route - even small changes will keep your friend interested in where you are going and what will happen next.