I have wanted two dogs for a long time.  When we got Mocha in 1989, I had suffered a traumatic miscarriage and getting a puppy was an attempted remedy for our loss and sadness. We got her as a rescue from the Ottawa Humane Society.  Part hound and part beagle, with Gordon’s patient training she turned from a fearful puppy to a loved and trusted companion for sixteen years.  Through our two babies,then children and then teens. We cried when we had to let her go.

When I developed depression in 2006 I left work (see the recent post CBC and me) and I took a year off.  I did some yoga, started oil painting, and napped a lot as I figured out how to get better. We also adopted Annie.  She was a cute white fluffy mix of Shitzhu and mini Poodle from a breeder in Bancroft Ontario.  Annie was the lapdog I had never had…little enough to cuddle. Wasn’t she adorable? And I was the one who trained her and got up in the night, so we bonded really well.


Above is Annie as a pup in our old kitchen.  Cuteness overload.  Jonathan called her ‘the unnamed vessel of cuteness” for a few weeks as we tried to agree on her name. 🙂

Here she is with our grown kids Jonathan and Katie on their first visit to us in California!



As 2012 progressed into 2013 I am trying to adjust to lots of free time.  Gordon’s work visa rules mean I can’t legally work here.  At first this was an understandably difficult adjustment…I mean a lot of our self image and social life comes from our work.  But as time went on I slowly met more people, started auditioning for local productions, started painting again, and thought about a second dog.

Here are Annie and Gordon exploring our beautiful northern California coastline.


Annie is now 9..and slowing down.  She is alone sometimes for part of the day.  Ever since she was attacked by a loose Golden Retriever in our old Ottawa area neighborhood she had been afraid of other dogs.  We had tried going to the doggie park but she never enjoyed it.  I felt a little lonely during the day and knew both of us would benefit.

So I started quietly looking at rescue dogs online.  Mocha was a rescue, and I wanted to go that route again for obvious reasons. I found two puppy brothers who were going to be at an adoption fair in Tracy, in the East Bay (a bit of a trek from our home on the SF Peninsula).  Gordon and I were also planning to finally go skiing to Lake Tahoe, also in that general direction.  So I sent him the picture of the cute puppy and mentioned that it was kind of on our way to Tahoe so we wouldn’t be wasting time and gas for a whole separate trip.  He reluctantly agreed…knowing full well that no one ever goes to look at puppies and doesn’t adopt one…(He disagrees with this point of the story because he insists he didn’t know we were taking that detour…but I digress..)

So we kennel Annie for the weekend at Wag Hotel (a very cool kennel..) and get on our way. When we get to this mall in Tracy we find the little adoption set up and go in and meet these two brothers who are half pug and half something.  They are cute but kind of aggressive and funny looking. (Both were later adopted.)  But then the nice young volunteer asks if we want to meet the Miniature Pinscher pups who are nine weeks old; a litter of five.  Okay I say…well as soon as I saw them I picked out Thor (then called Joel) right away…his marking were beautiful, I knew I wanted to finally adopt a male dog, and it was love at first sight.  I filled out the paperwork then and there, including two of my CA girlfriends as my ‘puppy parent’ character references.

Here he is…weeks old, at our first meeting at the adoption fair.  They said the he and his four sibling pups were probably  half Miniature Pinscher, half Dachshund.


We still had to wait a few weeks as they were only 9 weeks old and still being weaned from their mother, who was also a rescue and had given birth to three litters in her three years of life.  I’m so happy to say that ALL the pups AND the mother were eventually adopted.  And she was spade too, thankfully, ready for a more relaxed life in her new forever home.

So fast forward to early March and the biggest rainstorm we had seen here…the wind was lashing at the house and rain was falling in sheets.   Kim from the Tracy rescue was on her way to bring Thor for a home visit, to make sure Annie would accept her and everything would be fine.  I was so impressed that they did a home visit, let alone for her to travel across SF Bay in such a storm with a pup who’d never been in a car before and made that journey an extra challenge. (I won’t go into details but you can imagine..)

So Kim comes with little Thor and Annie is aghast.  She won’t sniff him, won’t approach him and won’t even meet our gaze. Here is a pic of her from another day…

Annie in car carmel cute

Poor Annie.  So what to do?  Kim is very unsure, and ends up staying through the long rainy afternoon to help us decide if she leaves Thor with us for good now. She says that we know Annie best…so it is our decision.  (BTW stats show that older female dogs are more likely to accept a puppy than any other male/female dog combination..).  We hold our breath and decide that yes, Thor is staying and we will, Annie included, adjust.

Here he is on my lap in the kitchen the day of the home visit, and his first day with us.


Thankful to say that she for the most part, has done just that.  He still tries to play with her almost every day and she just barks at him and raises her lip.  But they walk together, they sleep in the same room, eat in the same kitchen, and stay together when we go out.  I think she tolerates him, but then other times I think she secretly is glad he is around.  She doesn’t totally ignore him anymore, so that is good.  Gordon says that Annie is now more attached to him and less to me because I added Thor to the mix.  He may be right.  She sleeps in her bed on his side of the room.  Thor sleeps in his bed on my side.  We love them both.

They loved coming back to Ontario with us for a week at the Mattawa cottage.  Here they are with Katie meeting my Dad.  He really enjoyed the visit, but the nurse sure jumped when she came in to give him his juice that afternoon and was met by two dogs barking!


Thor needs some obedience training.  He likes to pop up beside us on his hind legs at the kitchen table or jump up on us when we sit in the living room.  I missed the window on the puppy training, partly because I was in Mary Poppins the Musical in Pacifica and crazy busy.  But I don’t have that excuse anymore.

Oh, and I have got to mention how cute he was when we got him fixed and he had to wear the stupid vet cone around his neck for a week.  He still tried to play, was full of energy and joy, and kept bumping into walls. It was pitiful but funny.


His ears now go all the way up.  He puts them back when he is walking somewhere, and struts like he is very important and has places to go.  I am pretty sure he is 100 per cent Miniature Pinscher.  My sister Jennifer was visiting last week and we were watching a televised dog show.  The commentator said a Min Pin is like a two year old that never grows up.  We both said “Uh oh!!!”.  I guess time will tell.

He is very endearing and has a sweet personality.  I am not sure Annie will ever really forgive me, but I know I have room in my heart for both of them.

And the dog park, where Annie used to be afraid most of the time?  We now go regularly.   It is Thor’s favorite place in the world to meet his friends Wanda the beagle, Rocket the corgi pup, or even Stephanie the black great dane!  And Annie?  She stands around and barks at them playing with each other, even chases them for a spell.  So I figure that is progress.

***Update! Annie is the queen of the house, and the boss for sure. He does get her to chase him, and they run around the yard while she barks at him. They both love the dog park. And things are very happy. 🙂