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Rosie the Basset Hound

Because I Said I Would

Rosie's Dog Beach

Rosie’s Dog Beach

Happy Puppy by the Sea

Happy Puppy

Earlier this year, Rosie’s lost an eye to glaucoma. When the vet told me that it was only a matter of time before she went completely blind, I decided to make sure her life is awesome. I’ve always wanted to take Rosie to the beach and see how she reacts to the crashing waves. Now that the weather is getting cooler, I started looking for off-leash dog beaches in southern California. When I discovered Rosie’s Dog Beach in Long Beach, I took that as a sign and made a reservation at a dog-friendly hotel to celebrate her upcoming birthday. (My baby girl is turning 8 this month.)

Rosie and I spent two days at Rosie’s Dog Beach and she loved it. She loved laying on the sand and walking up to strangers to request pets and belly rubs. She wasn’t too keen on the water at first. I think the crashing of the waves scared her a bit, and there’s was so way she was going to go swimming like some of the other dogs. By the end of the second day, she was happily running along the water’s edge with my friends’ dog and didn’t seem too upset when incoming waves brushed her paws and undercarriage.

Long Beach is a remarkably dog-friendly city. Several businesses on 2nd Street had water bowls next to their doors and many restaurants had dog-friendly patios. One restaurant, The Attic, even had a dog menu so Rosie enjoyed some sliced sausage while I had a veggie burger. We also stopped by Pussy and Pooch where Rosie was treated to a birthday paw bowl of duck with pumpkin sauce and chia seeds.

Sleepy Puppy

Sleepy Puppy

The main downside of Long Beach is its lack of parking. Rosie was so tired from playing at the beach that I put her in her utility wagon and pulled her the three blocks to Eggs Etc. from our parking spot because she seemed too tired to walk. (She had the spring back in her step after downing two bowls of water, resting at my feet, and eating the bacon from my combo meal.)

This was a wonderful trip to give Rosie. Every night when we got back to our room, she fell into her bed for a long deep sleep after the day’s excitement. (Yes, I brought her big plushy bed with us. I swear traveling with a dog requires almost as much stuff as traveling with a toddler.) It was so cute to watch her crash out after having so many adventures.

Day 81/90 – Simple Pleasures

Day 81 of the 90 Days of Awesome is in the bank! What made today awesome? I didn’t hurt myself when I kicked Rosie’s bone.

Rosie Loves her Rawhide Bone!

Rosie Loves her Rawhide Bone!

Today was pretty unremarkable. I’ve been really tired of this week so I opted not to torture myself by going for a run this morning. I went to the office and cranked on client work all morning before attending a CLE for women lawyers about having “true grit.” I don’t consider myself to be someone who has any issues in this area, but I went to the CLE (1) to meet other cool lawyers and (2) because it was free. I will admit, I was underwhelmed by the program but the more neophyte lawyers seem to appreciate it.

So what made today awesome? To be honest, the best thing that happened today was the fact that something didn’t happen. After taking Rosie for her evening walk, I was walking through the bedroom when I kicked one of her rawhide bones. Thankfully, I was still wearing my sneakers so it didn’t hurt. Have you ever stepped on or kicked a rawhide bone with bare feet after it’s gnarled from your dog chewing on it? It hurts like a bitch! I was relieved when my sneakers spared me from that pain and annoyance.

In case you missed it: Day 80 of the 90 Days of Awesome – I got to talk about my non-traditional legal career with prospective law students.

Day 68/90 – Walking Rosie on Mill

Day 68 of the 90 Days of Awesome is in the bank! What made today awesome? I took Rosie for a walk on Mill Avenue tonight.

Rosie on Mill Ave. - Patiently waiting for her share of my ice cream.

Rosie on Mill Ave. – Patiently waiting for her share of my ice cream.

Rosie and I both seemed to be a bit antsy tonight. It had been raining off and on for a few hours but the weather had cleared a bit. I wasn’t in the mood to be super social so I grabbed Rosie’s leash, loaded her into the car, and took her to Mill Avenue for a walk.

(For readers who are unfamiliar with the Phoenix area, Mill Avenue borders Arizona State University and is where many people in the area go to hang out and drink.)

I love taking Rosie to Mill – lots of interesting smells and people who are excited to see and pet her. Rosie is the bell of the ball when we walk on Mill. It’s so cute to see everyone gush over her. Rosie and I also stopped at Sparky’s Creamery and shared a cup of French vanilla ice cream with raspberries in it. I tried to snap a picture of her sitting in anticipation of ice cream goodness, but you can’t expect a pup to hold still when ice cream is imminent.

Rosie was so tired by the time we finished our hour-long walk up and down Mill. When she got back in the car she laid down immediately and stayed there for the entire drive home. Now she’s sacked out on the cool tiles in the condo. She’s going to sleep well tonight.

In case you missed it: Day 67 of the 90 Days of Awesome – I celebrated 11 years of sobriety!

Day 58/90 – Playing Hooky

Day 58 of the 90 Days of Awesome is in the bank! What made today awesome? I got to play hooky from work . . . sort of.

IP16 cropped

This is how playing hooky feels! Photo by Patrick McLeod from Ignite Phoenix 16 (Creative Commons License)

It’s probably more accurate to say work played hooky from me.

Today had a good start. I got to the office early and cranked on some client work, had a few networking meetings, . . . and then our file server went down.

No worries. As long as I have the internet I can get work done.

And then the internet went down.

I looked over at Rosie the basset hound and said, “Well, we’re out of here.” I loaded her up and headed for home. The internet was still working at home so I could still get some work done. It reminded me of how I worked when I was running my solo shop – I only went to my office a few days a week and I often got to leave by early afternoon when my work was done.

My therapist suggested that I need a vacation. I snickered sarcastically at that. He’s probably right. Rosie and I got out of dodge for a night last summer and it was immensely helpful for recharging my batteries. I think I might work from home tomorrow, have a more unstructured day, especially if the file server at work is still down. I can go for a run, do some errands, and work in pajamas if I feel like it. I think breaking up the monotony would be good for me.

I’ve actually been thinking about the concepts of time and how we as a society divide our time. How did we decide that we would have a 7-day week where we have a 5-day work week and a 2-day weekend? Why do we work 9am-5pm? I’m not sure this norm is necessarily the best thing for me. Don’t get me wrong – I need some structure to keep me on task, but it might be time to re-think my schedule a bit.

In case you missed it: Day 57 of the 90 Days of Awesome – I love when my work brings me joy.

Day 41/90 – Rosie goes to the Vet

If you want to feel small, walk across the Golden Gate Bridge and look down at the water and see how big all the cables are compared to you. If you want to feel helpless, get a sick dog.

I didn’t have anything planned for Day 41 of the 90 Days of Awesome, which turned out to be a good thing since Rosie and I spent over two hours at the vet this afternoon.

Poor Rosie Doesn't Feel Well Today

Poor Rosie Doesn’t Feel Well Today

This morning Rosie didn’t have much of an appetite and she was panting and peeing like it was her job. I thought she might have a urinary tract infection. I hate seeing her uncomfortable. I don’t think she slept all morning.

Thankfully our vet was able to get us in the same day. I love that they’re open seven days a week. The vet diagnosed her with an ear infection in both ears and they collected samples of her blood and urine for additional testing. They are testing her for a urinary tract infection, diabetes, and Cushing’s disease (which can result from her glaucoma meds). We could have results from those tests as early as tomorrow.

They sent us home with two different ear drops which are making her significantly more comfortable. She still has no appetite, but she isn’t peeing as often, and she’s sleeping comfortably on the floor of my office as I write.

Was today awesome? No. However, the part that was awesome was I was able to see that my baby needed help and I was able to provide it with the help of her medical team. I thought it was very sweet when they took her in the back to draw blood and urine, I could hear another vet and I think some techs gushing over Rosie. They remember Rosie from earlier this year when she was in a lot for her glaucoma and eventual eye removal.

In case you missed it: Day 40 of the 90 Days of Awesome – AA Meeting Under the Stars.

Day 21/90 – Resetting my Priorities

Day 21 of the 90 Days of Awesome is in the bank! What made today awesome? Resetting my priorities after watching Saving Mr. Banks!

I love this dog.

I love this dog.

I thought I was going to tell you about my hyper-productive day. I often call Sunday “Susie Housewife Day” because it’s when I do laundry, clean house, and do prep cooking for the week. Today was it clearly productive; I went running, finished grades for the class I taught this past semester, and washed Rosie’s car seat cover on top of my regular Sunday tasks. (I’ve been accused of being a “human doing” rather than a human being.)

At dinner time, I popped Saving Mr. Banks into the DVD player, thinking I would watch it for maybe an hour before getting back to work. Based on a true story, the interactions between Tom Hanks and Emma Thompson as Walt Disney and P.L. Travers was captivating. In their own ways, they each used the story of Mary Poppins to process their own life experiences with their respective fathers. How apropos that I watch this on Father’s Day.

At the end of the movie, Rosie started poking her nose into the blinds by the sliding glass door. This is her way of saying she wants to go outside to lay out and smell the smells of the neighborhood. I looked at my dog adoringly and said, “I can do one better.” I grabbed her leash and took her out for a bonus walk. I sat on the grass and she plopped down next to me, rolling onto her side for a belly rub. Watching Saving Mr. Banks reminded me of my priorities, including my promise to make Rosie’s life awesome.

Following this story was mesmerizing, even though I knew the ending. Their separate but mutual love of Mary Poppins was enchanting. I had to watch the whole thing.

Here’s a random thought I had while walking Rosie: My nurse says I have a touch of ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder); my friend Peter Shankman has ADOS (Attention Deficit – Oh Shiny); Rosie has ADWTS (Attention Deficit – What’s That Smell?).

In case you missed it: Day 20 of the 90 Days of Awesome – I Love to Ride my Bike!

Day 7/90 – Sleep

Day 7 of the 90 Days of Awesome is in the bank! What made today awesome? Getting some much-needed rest!

Rosie's my role model when it comes to the importance of naps.

Rosie’s my role model when it comes to the importance of naps.

Due to nightmares and evening activities, I haven’t slept well for the last few nights. When I crashed last night, I didn’t set an alarm for the morning. It was glorious.

Of course, Rosie the basset hound had other ideas. She jumped up on my bed at 5:24am. (She can’t get all the way on my bed but she can get her front paws up there.) I shuffled outside with her for a few minutes before crawling back into bed until 7am. Usually my alarm clock goes off at 5:15, so 7am is sleeping late for me.

Still groggy, I poured myself a cup of coffee and spent most of the morning on the couch watching Jerry Maguire. I needed a mellow half-day to recharge my batteries.

Eventually I got my act together, took a shower, and did some chores to prep for the week ahead. I have a lot of client work and networking activities on my calendar this week. I’m especially excited for The Minimalists to come to town on Tuesday – love those guys, looking forward to reading their next book.

Sometimes the best thing you can do is a whole lot of nothing. Today was one of those days; I needed to rest up for what’s to come this week.

In case you missed it: Day 6 of the 90 Days of Awesome – Michael McDonald!

Day 2/90 – Rosie Goes Where I Go

Day 2 of the 90 Days of Awesome is in the bank! What made today awesome? Taking my dog everywhere with me!

Typical Day for Rosie at the Office

Typical Day for Rosie at the Office

I adopted Rosie from the Arizona Basset Hound Rescue a little over three years ago. She completely changed my life. My schedule is based on her needs – especially now that she has glaucoma. I smile every time she wags her tail or puts her head on my knee. I love this dog.

Rosie goes where I go. The backseat of my car has a washable seat cover for her and she has a car harness so she can be secure on the road. When I joined Venjuris, I negotiated her into my contract so she can come to work with me. I have to make sure the baby gate across my door stays closed otherwise she’ll get curious and start wandering around the office.

Rosie went to work with me today. She spent most of the day sacked out on her plushy bed while I worked on clients’ projects. One of the challenges with taking her to work in the summer is the hot parking lot at the office. She doesn’t like wearing or walking in her booties. Instead of making Rosie wear her booties, at the end of the day I’ll pack up my stuff, put her in her car harness, load up my stuff into the front seat, open the door to the backseat, and then carry her 65-pound body the fifteen feet from the front door of the office and load her into the car without her feet ever touching the black top.

We stopped by the Toyota dealership on our way home today. I forgot to bring my coupon yesterday and I wanted to see if they’d apply it retroactively. I parked near the dealership door and before I let Rosie out of the car, I stepped out of my sandals to test how hot the ground was. The rule of thumb I heard is if you can stand barefooted on the ground for seven seconds with being uncomfortable, then it’s safe for your dog. One of the sales people saw me do this and said he liked me just for that.

It was so cute to see the Toyota employees gush over Rosie. She plopped herself down on the cool tile and graciously let them rub her belly.

Now that it’s getting warmer, I’ve been brushing Rosie every night with her Zoom Groom brush to help her shed her winter coat faster. She loves it.

In case you missed it: Day 1 of the 90 Days of Awesome – New Engine Mounts!

I Wish I had a more Walkable City


One of the things I love doing during The Undeniable Tour was taking walks. I often spent my first evening in a new city getting my bearings by walking around the neighborhood. In many cities (Los Angeles, San Francisco, Portland, and Seattle) I could easily find a grocery store, drug store, coffee shops, things to do, and plenty of people watching within a mile of my hostel. I loved it. I barely drove when I was in the cities because it was more convenient and more fun to walk. My friend to relocated to Seattle from Gilbert, AZ said they gave up their car because they could walk to most of the places they needed to go. For everything else, there’s public transportation, taxis, Uber, and rental cars.

Phoenix Arizona Downtown Night Aerial Photo from Helicopter by Jerry Ferguson from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

Phoenix Arizona Downtown Night Aerial Photo from Helicopter by Jerry Ferguson from Flickr (Creative Commons License)

I didn’t have any plans last Friday night and I decided I wanted to get out and take a walk around 7 p.m. And then I thought about what’s in my neighborhood within walking distance and there really isn’t much, so I loaded up Rosie the basset hound and we drove a few miles to Tempe to walk along Mill Ave. She loved all the new smells and letting everyone love on her. (My apologies to the staff at The Handlebar. I let her walk into the bar when a group of patrons near the door was excited to see her.) I enjoyed getting out to relax in the warm night air.

It’s ironic that Phoenix, a desert city, is so spread out. You would think that the hot weather would inspire builders and people to want to stay close to work and day-to-day conveniences. With a walkability score of 38 (out of 100), that is definitely not the case. (Phoenix’s bikeability score is 52.) The walk scores for my home and work zip codes aren’t that much better, at 49 and 54 respectively. I looked up Tempe since I lived near the Phoenix/Tempe border and they fared better with a walk score of 50 and a bike score of 75.

I think there is hope for Phoenix. It appears that more people are moving closer to the city and there seems to be a higher demand for conveniences within walking distance and effective public transportation. I’m lucky than I’m not as dependent on my car as others since I lived right next to a bus stop and I’m close to two light rail stations, one of which that has a park and ride. I’m starting to consider what I would have to do to be able to bike to work, especially on the days when I don’t see clients and I’m just working in my office. I friends gave me some recommendations about the best way to transport my laptop with me.

One of the things that’s missing from many neighborhoods is having grocery stores, drug stores, and similar conveniences close to home. Even downtown Phoenix and many places along the light rail lack these essential businesses. Our transit system is doing a great job at getting us to major venues and town, but they’re not necessarily getting us to where we need to go on an everyday basis.

For now, I will have to drive most of the times that I need to go somewhere but I hope that will shift and Phoenix will become a place where transit lines and bike-friendly routes will become the most desirable locations for day-to-day conveniences.

Dedicated to Making Rosie’s Life Awesome

Pirate Puppy - March 2015

Pirate Puppy – March 2015

Rosie and I had a follow up appointment with her doggie ophthalmologist a few days ago. It was mostly good news. On the upside, the pressure in Rosie’s remaining eye is well within normal range. Rosie will still be on 3 medications but we were able to reduce the frequency of some of her doses. I was encouraging; Rosie is such a trooper when it comes to taking her medications.

On the down side, our doctor reiterated that it will only be a matter of time until Rosie gets glaucoma in her left eye and she will go completely blind. I also learned that the medication that keeps the pressure in her eye down also gives her tunnel vision. The vet tech said the way Rosie views the world is like looking through a straw.

I didn’t realize Rosie’s vision was so limited, but that makes certain things make more sense. When my friend came over a few weeks ago, Rosie took longer than I expected to react to his presence. It wasn’t just that she had to see him with her good eye, she also had to get him within her limited field of vision.

Knowing that Rosie has limited vision and that she will eventually go blind makes me want to dedicate more energy towards making her life awesome. Staying within familiar places and making sure people and things are in front of her good eye probably gives her security but I also want to make sure she can experience all she can while she can. I hope I get the chance in the near-ish future to take her on a trip to the west coast so she can go to a dog beach.

I suspect if I knew I was going blind, that I would make it a priority to see and do certain things. I don’t know if Rosie knows she is going blind and she can’t tell me what’s on her “visual bucket list,” so the only things I can do is love her, be mindful of her limitations, and do my best to guess at what a basset hound would enjoy.