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Thanks Giving, 2022 – The Different Finish of the Leash

The downhill holiday slide has begun: Cook everything you can think of for Thanksgiving dinner! Get an early start on Christmas cards to get them on sale! Order Christmas presents that have to be mailed soon! Decide what to give to everyone else, including the dogs! Start Christmas cooking! Work on future blogs about good Christmas books for dog lovers, and avoiding canine stress over the holidays! Be joyous and full of cheer!

Or, the only important thing: Give thanks. Be thankful. Celebrate Thanks Giving. That’s my focus today, and I’ll keep the warm light of gratitude shining within me throughout the end of the year. I hope you’ll join me to celebrate the true and beautiful spirit of this week’s holiday: Giving Thanks.

First, and always, I am thankful for my husband, partner, friend, lover, and man with the greatest eyebrows ever, Jim Billings. Here’s a photo recently taken a few weeks ago by Steve Dahlgren, a great local photographer who specializes in dogs, but is not so bad at using us two-legs as subjects either:

We just turned 74 together, (Born on the same day, same year. Yup, really.), and I am thankful every day of my life that we found each other, twenty-two years ago.

I am thankful for family. Just a few days ago I made last-minute decision to fly to San Antonio to be at my eldest sister’s new book launch and 80th birthday celebration. Wendy Barker is a celebrated poet and creative writing teacher, and I am over the moon proud to be her sister. I left at 6:30 AM Friday morning, met my niece, Wendy Piatt (and singer Sweetlove), who also came (from LA, also at the last minute, no small thing), flew home  Saturday morning at 5:31 AM. It was magical. Here they both are, before Wendy’s reading:

And from Jim’s side of the family, here’s granddaughter Quinne at a Halloween party, who we got to visit in upstate New York, along with son Shane, daughter-in-law Rachael, and grand kids Taylor and Quinne:

And, of course, the family members who represent why I began this blog in 2008, Skip and Maggie (photo also by Steve Dahlgren):

Watching them play is the best part of my day. (Okay, getting in bed at night–did I mention I’m 74?–is a close second.) I don’t have words to say how much I love Maggie’s expressive face. If any dog had a sense of humor, she does.

There’s so much more. So, so much. But I need to move on today, to working on my novel, to getting some boring but important techie stuff dealt with, to working the dogs, and to interviewing someone for my post coming up on December 12th. Although it’s hard to stop, I am going to leave you with only two more photographs.

You may recall that we rehomed Nellie, the perfect cat, because we couldn’t provide her with the life she deserved. I miss her every day. Every single day. And, I am thankful that she is in such a perfect home, and is so happy. I will be grateful to friends Bonita and Fredericka for taking her back as long as I live.

Here’s what we get in return: A stream of beautiful birds at our feeders all day long. They are going to bankrupt me, but they bring me joy throughout the day. Chickadees, Nuthatches, Tufted Titmice, Downy WPs, Hairy WPs, Red-bellied WPs, Doves, Finches, Bluejays, Sparrows, and who knows else will surprise us over the winter. Here’s a White-Breasted Nuthatch and a Downy Female at their favorite feeding station.

There is time, always, for one more statement of gratitude: It’s to you, dear readers, who inspire and challenge and delight me every week. I wish I had a photo of you all!!!

I hope you have the time to join me, and let our international, dog-loving village know what you are grateful for. Even just one little thing. I will read every thing you write, over and over again.

With love and gratitude,





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