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Softening my life

After our dog Ginger died, my brother James and his wife Jeany sent us a card with these words: “Dogs love us unconditionally, softening our lives with sweetness and affection.” I love those words “softening our lives.” It’s easier to feel calm when you’re sitting next to a dog. It’s lovely when your dog runs […]

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Good-bye, Ginger

Our dog Ginger died. She had a tumor in her bladder in the worst spot possible. Our vet told us last summer that surgery was not an option. We took good care of Ginger. We took her outside frequently when she had to pee more and more frequently. My husband Jerry did most of the […]

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Want to live to be 200?

If you want to live longer, you might follow the example of the Greenland shark. A new study in Science reported on 28 Greenland sharks that are 200 years or older, making them the planet’s longest-lived vertebrate. These sharks don’t eat every day. In fact, they might just have a big meal once or twice […]

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Lessons from Ginger, my canine friend

Ginger, my faithful companion, who is sleeping now on the dog bed next to my desk, turned 11 last month. Despite her old age, she bolted out the back door yesterday, sure that this would finally be her lucky day and she would catch a squirrel. “She’s still frisky,” Dr. Allison Merrill, our veterinarian, told […]

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Thanks for animal friends

I just read a good dog book—the heartwarming story about Haatchi and Little B. Haatchi is a big dog—an Anatolian shepherd—that was abused and then left for dead on railroad tracks. Little B., whose real name is Owen, is a boy who lives in England and has a rare genetic disorder. He had become anxious […]

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We’re thankful for family

We’re thankful for our families—including the canine members of our families. We like the words of poet Mary Oliver, Pulitzer Prize winner and author of a new book Dog Songs. “Because of the dog’s joyfulness, our own is increased. It is no small gift. It is not the least reason why we should honor as […]

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A tribute to Roxie

Fayteen and her family are still grieving for their beloved dog, Roxie. Since Roxie died recently, we have been thinking about how much our animals teach us about life and love. They are always eager to greet us in the morning, always ready to sit quietly by our side, always ready to comfort us when […]

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Advice from Emerson

It’s August in Dallas. Ginger, my faithful canine companion, is fairly perky when she wakes up, and she’s eager for an early morning walk. But, as the day progresses and the heat increases, Ginger walks slowly to the shade of the bushes by the fence. She is not planning to chase the squirrels today. As […]

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Playing well with others

When one rat is imprisoned in a tiny restrainer, a free rat circles and circles, scraping his teeth against the restrainer and poking his whiskers through its small openings. After five days, the free rat finally pushes a door with his head and frees the imprisoned rat. Stunned at first, the liberator jumps on the […]

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Calm and chaos

I am proud to report that it’s peaceful at our house. All three of our dogs usually remain calm. Gracie Girl, a five-pound apricot-red poodle is the smallest, but she reigns as head of the pack. Roxie Ravin, at seven pounds, is always the gentle caretaker staying close to her human and nonhuman friends when […]

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