Coconut: Our Good Deed For Today

“Hello,” I called out. “I have your dog.”

No answer.



I was outside with Doppler a few minutes ago when another dog walked up to us and started sniffing. He was white, a Maltese like Doppler, freshly groomed and around twice her size.

“Hello,” I called out. “I have your dog.”

No answer.

I took a look at his collar. There was a phone number and his name, Coconut. We went inside.

Helaine called the number, but it went to voicemail. A few minutes later I sent a text. That’s when Coconut’s mom called.

She had been unloading groceries. Coconut must have walked out without being noticed. She’d meet us in the street in front of our house.

We’d never seen Coconut before even though he only lives a few hundred feet away. He is lucky we found him. There are coyotes who live in the farmland adjacent to our development. They are also dog lovers.

Good deed for the day. Mission accomplished. Cute doggie. Aren’t they all?

Doppler’s Birthaversary

We still can’t understand how anyone abandoned this dog–but someone surely did.

She arrived at the pound with her nails curling inward, her coat matted with poop and mud. She was left in a baseball dugout with her brother (or father–we don’t know), Bentley.


Three years ago today a very apprehensive Helaine and I drove to the pound in Wallingford to get Doppler. A few days earlier Doppler chose me when I came to look at their ‘special case.’

We still can’t understand how anyone abandoned this dog–but someone surely did.

She was left in a baseball dugout with her brother (or father–we don’t know), Bentley. They arrived at the pound with their nails curling inward, their coats matted with poop and mud.

Doppler get her hair cut-IMG_7871-05262012-h700We’ve heard stories. Sometimes people become sick, or die. Their relatives don’t know what to do with the dog. Sometimes people lose jobs and can no longer afford the upkeep.

A dog discarded is the end of what’s already a tragic story.

We took a chance adopting. We got lucky!

May262013_3798She came trained. She came polite. She came laid back. She fit in perfectly starting on day one.

Doppler has seen a lot in the past three years. And now, after a coast-to-coast ride on Helaine’s lap, she’s a Cali girl.

A few hours after we brought Doppler home our friends Cheryl and Steve adopted Bentley. Another “happily ever after” story.

doppler-doesn't-want-to-be-recycledWe don’t really know how old Doppler is. She’s very puppyesque, but our Connecticut vet’s estimation (based on her teeth) is six or seven.

Who got luckier? Doppler or us?

Where’s Doppler?


“Where’s Doppler?” Helaine was asking.

We’d just come upstairs after dinner. Sometimes Doppler straggles, staying in her bed in the kitchen. She wasn’t there.

“Is she is your room,” Helaine continued?

There’s a blanket behind my chair where Doppler lounges. Not this time.

IMG_1047_0644I ended up finding her in a spot she’s only recently claimed as her own. She was alongside the toilet in the guest bathroom.

Why? You’ll have to ask Doppler.

We have no objection. She does have run of the house.

Tail Tales

Doppler, Roxie and I are holding down the fort this afternoon. Helaine, Stef and my Cousin Melissa have disappeared to points unknown leaving us to fend for ourselves.

We’ve been in SoCal long enough they know each now. Doppler still doesn’t want to be cornered, but other than that they’re cordial. At one point this afternoon they were both licking my left hand. Cool moment.

I was down in the kitchen a little while ago. Quietly, I asked Doppler if she needed to go out. From the floor above I could hear Roxie jumping from the couch. Take one, take all! She was waiting when we got to the door.

They dart out of the house and up the grassy strip at the curb.

Shhhh. I carry a leash, but they’re never on it during daylight hours. We’re only a few feet apart. Both respond to my voice when needed.

Roxie needs to be in the middle of the action. Doppler favors her bed in a corner of the kitchen.

Roxie plays with toys. Doppler can’t be bothered.

They are different as the color of their fur. And yet, like children, I’d be hard pressed to consider picking a favorite.

Doppler Update: Haircut Day

A few days ago we realized Doppler’s fur had grown so long, she probably couldn’t see!

My opinion is Doppler’s prettiest when her fur is long and shaggy. I don’t get a vote.

Madi came by this afternoon with her salon-on-wheels. It was time for an afternoon of beauty. Here’s the result.


Doppler: This Shot Captures Her Essence


If Doppler ever learns to talk, her first words will be, “Turn off the damn camera!” I’m taking advantage of the situation. She can’t say no. She’s been my photographic subject thousands of times.

Every once in a while a single photo will stand out. This one does to me.

Helaine was drying Doppler after her shower. The blow dryer was farther down her back. Doppler was prone with her snout flat on a towel.

I was flat on my belly and on the other side of the bedroom when I snapped away. It wass a 300mm F/4 lens, a telephoto. I shot at 1/200th, slow for this focal length but OK because of image stabilization.

The ISO was 4000. Very high. You get tiny noise specs on the photo. It’s the price you pay for sharpness in low light.

This lens, configured this way, produces a shallow depth of field. On shots like this you try and get the eyes in focus and forget everything else. That wasn’t happening. Her bangs worked fine. Doppler’s nose is slightly out-of-focus while most of her body is softly blurred.

I like this shot in part because of the incredible contrast in her fur. Bright white to shadowy dark grey are represented. Each cluster of strands lies a different length from the lens, so not only is there contrast in luminance, there’s contrast in sharpness.

When Doppler speaks, after she tells me to stop, she’ll let me know this photo captures her essence.

How Doppler Gets Fluffy

“Oh,” Helaine said as she returned from shopping. “I didn’t expect you to take a shower yet.”

She had shower plans for me… and Doppler.

Recently, dog wash time has meant Doppler joining me in the master bathroom’s shower. When I’m done Helaine wields the blow dryer.

Doppler is nonchalant about the whole thing. She doesn’t enjoy showers, but she does nothing to fight them. No squirming or yelping. She doesn’t cower. She just lets it happen!

I use the shower’s wand to soak her, then apply the dog shampoo and rub. Helaine is in charge of the brush/blow dryer combo. We keep the blow dryer at its lowest setting.

The result is one fluffy dog–a lamb cloud!





Doppler Learns Her First Trick


Doppler has few responsibilities. This week I changed that. Doppler learned her first trick. She can shake hands.

It wasn’t difficult to do. Just a few tiny treats when she’d normally get rewarded anyway, like when returning from a trip to the lawn. She caught on quickly.

At this point I’m worried because she’s offering up her paw before I ask!

If I had my way (and had the persistence) I’d teach her to jump through my hands or into them. Are there enough treats?

Doppler’s Only Job: Be Cute


Helaine’s at the dentist. I’m doing some things around the house. I left Doppler to her own devices.

Doppler has her favorite spots. She likes her bed in a corner in the kitchen. She likes the blanket we leave on the floor behind my desk in my office. She LOVES the sofa in the loft. That’s where she went today.

I didn’t see her for at least a half hour, but when I did she was quietly enjoying a freshly constructed blanket and pillow fort.

Doppler’s only job is to be cute. She gets an excellent employee review every time!

We’re The Dogsitters (With Photos)

Cheryl and Steve had plans this afternoon. Unfortunately, humans only!

Bentley’s loss is our gain. We’re the dogsitters!

My first remembrance of Bentley and Doppler was at the Wallingford Animal Shelter. They were in the midst of some sort of family feud. Bentley was the aggressor, which seemed strange because Doppler was much larger and more powerful.

They had about 30 seconds of that today, then settled down. At the moment they’re both on the sofa taking it easy.

I love these family reunions.







Doppler Notes: Do I Taste Like Liver?

Once in a while, for reasons beyond my ability to explain, Doppler will start licking my arm. Fresh out of the shower or after working up a sweat, it makes no diff. She is driven.

Take a look for yourself!

My Little Dog Is A Little Hoarse


Doppler leads the good life. Her biggest daily decision is stay asleep or roll on her back for a belly rub? She barks sparingly.

That probably hasn’t been the case the past few days. After spending time couchsurfing with Bentley at Steve and Cheryl’s, Doppler moved on to sleepover camp. Camp features daily (and probably nightly) concerts with all the pups.

Doppler came home hoarse! This is a new one for me. Helaine caught on first when we got her around 7:00 AM. I heard it distinctly this afternoon as Doppler announced a neighbor at our door.

“Do you think she wants a lozenge,” Helaine asked this evening?

A few days rest and Doppler will be good as new. She’s working on that right now.

If Dogs Could Speak

If dogs could speak they’d let you know they never want to leave your side… even when traveling.

IMG_2648-Doppler Wants To Travel

IMG_2652-Doppler Wants To Travel

IMG_2658-Doppler Wants To Travel

Doppler Didn’t Want To Be Recycled

I’m not sure what was going through Doppler’s mind when we drove to the transfer station, but she did look a little worried!


Doppler In Stealth Mode

We had a bunch of people stop by the house over the last few days. That really messed up Doppler’s schedule.

She says she needs at least 20 hours a day prone. Why argue with success?

Today, with just the three of us around, Doppler became invisible. Consider this catch-up day.

At one point I asked Helaine where Doppler was, though she was in the room with us! She’s that good.