communication gone to the dogs


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.


  1. Kira

    so cute!! mine is also a good writing companion. she's a pretty nervous dog. i think some days, she lives in her shelter past. but she is quick to cheer up and always curious. maybe you'll inspire me to blog again….i keep abandoning it….

  2. susanreep

    You are just the best most interesting writer. Just think, without twitter, I'd never know you were there. Glad you are and glad to know it.

  3. emma

    Om my god, I had no idea Phoebe was so utterly edible! And houses on the market, what houses on the market?!? Are you moving to L.A. by any chance? Say yes, say yes!

    Animals and toddlers are far wiser than we adults. It's a fact.

  4. parkridgedds

    I loved this post. First of all, we must live on similar types of property…we, too, look out of our window at wild turkey (the reason that we bought our place…but that is another story) deer, raccoons, squirrels, opposums and many more wonderful critters. AND one of our dogs is also named Phoebe. I have always loved that animals live in the moment and because of that gift, they have no self doubt, no need to judge, no harboring of ill feelings….everything for animals is just an “is”. It is just that gift that makes an animal a most superb teacher….if only we would listen!

  5. whollyjeanne

    i can't tell you how many times i say a big thank you to twitter for connecting me with such magnificent women like you, women who enrich my life immeasurably.

  6. whollyjeanne

    kira, don't make me send phoebe over cause there's no way you can resist 2 dogs.

  7. faerian

    what a fabulous post

  8. whollyjeanne

    not la, though wouldn't we be something as neighbors? you. me. the phoebes. gonna' get you over this way before long and you two can meet each other in person.

  9. whollyjeanne

    get outta here. we could be twins. i tell you, i love the wild turkeys. don't they have the prettiest coloring? they have a tendency to tear up the yard when phoebes spooks em, but hey. and exactly: if only we would listen and learn.

  10. whollyjeanne

    thank you.

  11. Alma

    They are good teachers–even when they hiss and scratch you for no reason. I've thought about writing a blog from the perspectives of my cats. It makes me happy just thinking about it. No matter how cranky they are sometimes, they are absolute joys. I wish I could be more like them.

  12. whollyjeanne

    i hope you will write a post from the perspective of your cats. it makes me happy just thinking about it, too. but then, the mere thought of reading anything of yours makes me happy. your blog is one i've missed terribly in my time away from the internet. plan to get over there and catch up tomorrow night, and i can't wait.

  13. Susie Kline

    I think I love Phoebe!

  14. Jennifer Prentice

    This post is an adorable showcase of your sense of humor and lighthearted side. I'm sorry that I didn't see it when you initially posted it, but I'm so glad I kept scrolling down today and stumbled upon it! Hope you are doing well! Miss chatting with you via the “internets.” =)

  15. whollyjeanne

    Susie, Phoebe is an easy one to love. It's just hard not to.

  16. whollyjeanne

    I'm missing you, too, Sugar. Will try to change that. And soon.

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