i’ve spent a good deal of time with my dog lately, and i’ve noticed that we communicate differently . . .

me: i need to start walking.
phoebe: what’s wrong with right now?

me: time to cook supper.
phoebe: 4 of my favorite words.

me: i can’t explain it, but i kinda’ want to take apart an old piano to harvest the keyboard.
phoebe: count me in. that means we can spend more time in the shop.

me: time to pay the bills.
phoebe: sweet – that means time in the jeanneararium. hope the turkeys come by to say hey.

me: okay. time to change the beds.
phoebe: funny things come out of your mouth when you can’t get the bottom sheets stretched over the last corner.


me: how does my hair look?
phoebe: what hair? oh, i hadn’t noticed you had any.

me: i know it sounds crazy, but i’d sure love to crochet a little dress and attach these broken shards. . .
phoebe: cool. the cats are so cute when they play with string.

me: i’m tired.
phoebe: let’s nap.

me: do these pants make me look fat?
phoebe: what’s fat?

we go on a walk, and there’s nary a smell she doesn’t notice. she is totally there in the walk.


when her back itches, she rolls around on the grass or the carpet, she walks under your foot or the chair to scratch it – and she never once apologizes or whines or complains, she simply scratches her back. period.

i look out the window and see limbs that need to be picked up, leaves that need to be raked, mulch that needs to be topped off. phoebe looks out the window – the same one, mind you – and sees deer and turkeys and woodpeckers and squirrels and possums and raccoons and owls and cats and bats and sometimes even a wandering bovine.

i see squirrels on the birdfeeder and mutter “pesky, thieving squirrels.” phoebe sees squirrels feasting uninvited on the birdfeeder and chases them away then stands guard so the birds can eat.

notice anything?

phoebe never once says “yes, but” or “are you sure?” or “say what?”

she’s grounded in the present, content wherever she is, and lives in a state of constant readiness.

and she has a keen sense of right and wrong and doesn’t hesitate to address wrongdoing.

me: i miss blogging, but there are toilets to clean, weeds to pluck, houses to get on the market.
phoebe: sit. write. i’ll lay on your feet to keep you in the chair.


i think my dog is my best teacher.