Vet of the Year

Congratulations to our favorite vet and friend, Hilary Wheeler for winning PetPlan’s Veterinarian of the Year Award in early February. (I may, or may not have sent this photo to the judges with an “offer” to send the cracker to “speak” to them on your behalf of your outstanding qualities.) We’re so proud of you! Even Juno, who’s giving you the stink eye, actually appreciates you more than her face lets on.


What the What?

To me, in the world of blogging, there’s nothing more uninteresting than a post explaining why the writer hasn’t posted in a while. The point of a blog is to write something interesting, right? And nothing is more boring than how I spent the last 2 months battling a relapse of Babesiosis. To make a long story short: I basically stopped functioning, even through the holidays. I couldn’t get out of bed for days. Leading up to that, I slowly stopped doing my chores, cooking and the dog walks were hell for me. The only time I felt OK was when my body was horizontal. That’s Babesiosis for you: low blood pressure, high heart rate, difficulty staying vertical, weak muscles and difficulty breathing that is not asthma or allergy related. So going back on all the meds and herbs for Babesia, I made my way back to 50% functioning. The first half of my day is relatively OK but by 3:00 I have full blown headache and need to lay down the rest of the day. On one hand, I think it’s been lucky for me that the weather has been so bad, pouring down rain for days and weeks at a time,  that the dogs don’t want to walk in it. So I had a lot of passes on our daily walks during that time. On the other hand, California is in a state of emergency due to major roads and highways that are closed due to mudslides and road collapses. Like this little doo-hicky of a road within a mile from my house:

This is no drunk driver. This happened at night, on dark country road with no street lights. Poor driver didn’t see the road collapsed. The driver is fine, thankfully.

And now, the President of the United States is withholding federal emergency funding for CA because of its sanctuary cities for immigrants. Seriously. A child having a temper-tantrum and using emergency funds as a “weapon” against California (his words on the news, not mine).  I know this isn’t a political blog, and frankly, the beauty of American politics has been that no matter who is in the White House and what your personal politics are, people can pretty much go about their day without reading about politics or worrying about war or policies. Instead, many of us are finding ourselves waking up each day with anxiety over what the next clusterf*ck this administration will pick next. Between the blatant lies that come out of the administration, breaking ties with our allies, and losing our civil rights little by little, I’m frankly terrified for our country. It consumes and paralyzes me–because I’m still sick and feel quite helpless. It’s not just laws affecting our freedom of speech and rights but now laws that regulate the effect of toxins on our environment (from coal and oil) are being repealed, dismantling the EPA and turning back protection on wild life and animals. (Not to mention deregulating banks giving them free will to bring the economy back to the collapse we had in 2008.)  The earth and the rare animal species cannot speak for themselves. I don’t get it. If you wouldn’t stand in a room alone with a gas-powered car running with the door shut, why in the hell wouldn’t you want clean energy and better solutions to fossil fuels? You know fossil fuels pollute the air. Are people so lazy and so greedy that they care so little for their generations that come after them? Eighty, ninety, even one hundred years is not a long time to live on this earth. Of those eighty years, roughly 60 of them are working in a career. It’s unfathomable that people will choose 60 years of being a multi-millionaire or billionaire made from polluting the environment than doing something that contributes to the health of their own generations that follow. News flash: you are going to die. You cannot take your billions with you. And you won’t be remembered kindly by those you left behind with fewer natural resources and sicker populations. One thing studying nature has taught me: nature always wins. Nature doesn’t need humans. Humans need nature. Nature had no trouble taking out the dinosaurs who lived for millions of years, it will have no issues taking out humans who have no respect for consequences.

I bitched and moaned about coming back to California after living in Europe in a country setting with different values. I wanted to move out of the Bay area because I wanted a slower, quieter life than the Bay area provides. But now more than ever, I am so proud to live in this state, standing up to the administration for our civil rights, women’s rights and our environment. I am angry. I don’t apologize for politicizing my blog, because I am terrified that we have a psychopathic child with no moral compass leading our country. And that’s not just my opinion. Many psychiatrists and psychologists have broken their trade standard of not diagnosing a person without interviewing him/her multiple times. But apparently there is so much material on our president that it’s not hard to slap a psychiatric diagnosis or two on him.

I promise not to politicize this blog much. But I will leave you with this: if this country wants a Russian in the White House so badly, how about this one?



Cracker Versus Crow


It was a beautiful morning. The dogs and I made our rounds around the property doing our daily chores. I cleaned the dog yard while Juno hunted for moles. Loki ran his daily perimeter check and implemented his standard pre-emptive strike, barking along the fence line to warn away any critters creeping too closely. The birds were chirping, the humming birds were buzzing and the sun was shining. It was a lovely day to feel happy and at peace with the world.

Then a crow squawked. “Caw! Caw!”

“Woof! Woof,” replied the cracker, looking up. Continue reading “Cracker Versus Crow”

The Best Kind of Mess


Essscusuuuzzze me? What exactly did my pal Jim say about me?”

A few weeks ago, we ran into one of Loki’s biggest fans Jim, not once, but twice in one weekend. Jim was one of the first people who not only didn’t shriek or flee when he first met the cracker, but laughed and delighted in his energy and nuttiness.  Jim’s 4 huskies clicked well with Loki and they often met for play dates those early years. In fact, Jim is the person solely responsible for me harboring a criminal of my own now. But this post is about Loki, so I digress.

The first time I ran into him that weekend, I didn’t have the dogs with me and Jim was bummin’ not to have had the chance to say hello to Loki. “Boy he was some hero with saving your house from burning down,” said Jim. As we reminisced over all of Loki’s crackery, intensity and edginess, Jim just smiled and said “He’s such a mess,” he laughed, “but he’s the best kind of mess!” Continue reading “The Best Kind of Mess”

Some Kind of Cracker


I don’t say it often enough, but I love this dog more than words can say.

Last month, I lost the cracker and criminal on a forest run. Before you panic, I’ll just skip to the end and tell you both were found and everything is OK. And before readers claim “Never let a Sibe off-leash” note that I wrote that I lost both dogs, including my Velcro dog, Loki. And while that story is another post in itself, this one is purely about the gratitude I have for the cracker. Continue reading “Some Kind of Cracker”

Reluctant Roommate


“Princess, this crate’s not big enough for two dogs.”

About a  month or two ago, Loki suddenly developed a deep fear of his crate. He’s gone through highs and lows with his crate but for the most part, he loves his crate, because we played tons and tons of crate games before moving to Switzerland. He loves his crate so much, he will seek it out if it’s around and will go into it when he’s worried or stressed, like in a busy airport.  But something happened one day as he jumped into the car and straight into his crate: the bed moved. Continue reading “Reluctant Roommate”


Dog lovers generally like or love Loki when they first meet him. They’re fooled by his charm.  Even Bernard, our kennel keeper, had a mile-wide smile the first day he met him. “He’s well-trained,” he said. But that was before he chose to live with the whacka-cracker while we vacation. 

The last time we picked up the dogs after vacation, Bernard was so exhausted from Loki’s crackerdom, that he literally told us there wouldn’t be a kennel in all of Switzerland that would take him for 2,000 Swiss Francs per day.  Those were his exact words. He also said that putting him in a caged kennel would probably be the worst thing for him, so, he would make the sacrifice for us and all the other kennel keepers in Switzerland and take Loki again. I swear to Dog, Internet, those were his words. 

Continue reading “Probation”

Punked Out

“Talk to the jodhpurs, Punk. This Sibe’s not listening.”
Juno anticipates Loki’s punk move.

On our walks, if I’m not recalling Juno for straying too far, then the rest of my time is spent calling Loki off of Juno.  Their relationship is complicated. In the house, Juno rules supreme. On walks, Loki pulls out the punk in order to spur her into chasing him. But Juno is never interested in his shenanigans when we’re out on a walk and instead tries her best to ignore him. The video below is a small collection of Loki’s punk-ass moves. But don’t worry Internet. The movie is purely educational. I don’t allow him to pester her like this on an ongoing basis. Continue reading “Punked Out”

The Judge is in the House!

All Rise!
The Honorable Loki J. Starling
Judge of Cracker Critters, Mango Minster 2012

The winners of the Cracker Critter Category (say that 5 times fast, crackers) at Mango Minster 2012 are announced today. Loki had the honor of judging this year’s cracker critters. I don’t know what he liked best:  reading all those posts about other dogs exactly like him or wearing his Judge’s “Mad Hatter” cap and bow. One thing’s for sure, we both had to read these posts in stages. Remember, crackery is contagious!

Here’s a bit of Loki’s pre-show Judging speech: Continue reading “The Judge is in the House!”


“Everything’s fine here. Hope you’re having fun without us. Booo-wah-ha-ha-ha!”

Can someone call my neighbor and make sure the house is in one piece?