Princess’ Team: A Tribute to LOVE

Etiquette suggests that we place the person before the situation. However, I do not know of a pet person that would not want the pet to come first.

My pet people see veterinarians as super heroes. Veterinarians are real people with super powers that live among us. Often we don’t see their capes until action is required.


In fact, we claim our veterinarians. My veterinarian is Dr. Carl Prior at the Park City Animal Clinic. That having been said, the Hooker Horde has a whole team of superhero veterinarians and technicians ready and willing to jump in for extreme vetting.


Last November, Dr. Prior met Princess.

When I think of a princess, I think of Princess Diana, the people’s princess.


It took a team to make Princess Diana a princess. She had stylists, speech writers, and security. But, it was her heart that made her a real princess.

It took a team, led by Dr. Prior, to make our Princess, Princess Hooker.

First, Dr. Prior saw in this girl something too special to let go. So, after finding her in a neglectful situation, Dr. Prior gave his time, his talent and his treasure to save her life. Princess’ team included sweet Susan, Nikki and Moe at the Park City Animal Clinic. In addition, Dr. Hopper and Dr. Nazzaro stepped up and in to make sure Princess was ready for a new life.

Then, he trusted me to follow through and love her.

At home, Dr. Keri Bogardus met me. I wasn’t sure how I’d get Princess in the house and comfortable with everyone. But, with Keri (also a superhero vet), it was easy. It was as if Princess had been a Hooker her whole life.IMG_5061.jpg

Back in Pennsylvania, Dr. Toby Erlichman answered my questions via Facebook message.

On a few mornings, Princess cried out in pain. Dr. Keri Bogardus came right over.

We had some ups and downs.  On December 21st, Dr. Prior found another mass. He removed it. We biopsied it. It was sarcoma, but the margins were clear.

From November 26th, 2016 – February 24th, 2017, just 3 short months, Princess Hooker was a true Princess.

Princess had a family. She even had a grandma.

For Christmas, a Facebook friend sent her a BARKBOX.

Another friend, Cousin Nikko, Faith’s nephew, sent Princess $100! He was her Secret Santa. We thought about what to spend it on  . . . a new collar? Cousin Nikko’s gift paid for Princess’ portrait painted by a Berner buddy.

She spent Christmas Day helping clear snow in Grandma’s driveway with Uncle Jeff and eating ham.

From the moment Princess came home, she ate slow-cooked chicken mixed over vegetables.


Princess enjoyed the snow, hiking at Run-a-Muck, snuggling in her very own bed, and listening to stories.

For Princess’ 10th birthday, we had a party. She drank some CharDOGnay from my wedding glasses and enjoyed a cake with mashed potato frosting. (I drank the Veuve Clicquot.) Everyone PAW-tied.

For a moment, I was optimistic. What if the clear margins from the second surgery meant that the cancer was gone?

When Princess started panting, licking her paws and her bed, and stopped going up the stairs, I knew.

So, we made a cake.


Following are a few thoughts from our pet communicator:

She is trying to get your attention.  She isn’t feeling at all well and knows that soon she will feel very badly.  She doesn’t want to go through too much discomfort.  She likes that you are willing to send her home before it gets too bad. 

So any time now?  Party first?  Maybe?  She’s hoping.   In a week or so?  Sooner?  She’s ready.

So sorry to hear about Faith but, you do have enormous gratitude coming from her wonderful energy.  She’s barking and running around the house.  Tearing around the house is more apt.  I’m surprised her happy little soul hasn’t tripped you up on the steps.  She says she spent a goodly amount of time just jumping up and down.  Nice to not have the body impeding us.  She is a little rapscallion right now.  Just soo filled with joy.  She’s just going on and on like that.  Very nice to connect with.

The day Princess decided to leave, she woke up and BARKED at Faith’s portrait.


After adventuring outside in the snow, I poured myself a glass of liquid easy courage and sat next to my girl on her bed.  Lost in the feel of her fur, I heard the slurp before I realized she was sipping, too.

With Dr. Prior, tears in his eyes, he wondered, “Did we do the right thing? Did we put her through too much for just three months?”

No question. He and all of his superhero angels did the right thing. Princess Hooker had 3 months of unconditional love and pampering.

Our pet communicator wrote this on January 7th, 2016:

Well, look at that.  Never mind, she’s just fine and wanting to stick around and all the dogs love her and she loves them….And, You.  Not kidding one bit.  This is working.  I’d like to offer for you to send her picture every once in awhile and we’ll do a check in and keep her where she wants to be.  But, honestly, at this point I believe you would hear her very well.

She’s lovely, so are you.   No charge.  Apparently, you are hearing them loud and clear.  Many hugs, 

She continued.

She’s tired and not feeling 100%, but this is the happiest she’s ever been.  Just to clarify.  We’ll keep an eye on her and that will be my contribution. 

January 21st

We’re very close.  Maybe even next week?  We’ll see.  She adores you to pieces and all the dogs are helping you help her.  Really very sweet.  

January 23rd

Thank you for listening to these lovely animals.  She knows she will go home soon but she is treasuring every second with you and your wonderful dog family. 

February 23rd:

She can’t stand to be without you.  Sunday or earlier would work for her.  Sigh, have to go get a kleenex.  This is hard on all of us silly humans.  Many, many hugs to you.  thank you so much from her, and from me, for taking such good care of her.   February 25th:

Boy, for some reason I’m having a hard time with this passing.  Luckily, I can see how happy and loving and grateful she is, but boy, this one really, really touched my heart.  Thank you again for providing such a safe haven for her. 

So, at the end of the day, the superpower, for veterinarians and everyone who made Princess, Princess Hooker is 4 letters.  It is love. LOVE from so many.
When I left the clinic, I opened my phone to find that Shonda and Mike had shipped Princess’ portrait that very afternoon.
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Life Lessons from the Horde

  1.  Wear your coat when you go outside in inclement weather.

    2. Snuggle.


3.  Gramma’s are awesome. Love them while you can.


4.  It’s okay to be inquisitive.


5.  Eat, drink and be merry.

6. If you have Faith, you are safe.


7. In a way, all of us have an El Guapo to face.

Lucky Day: In a way, all of us has an El Guapo to face. For some, shyness might be their El Guapo. For others, a lack of education might be their El Guapo. For us, El Guapo is a big, dangerous man who wants to kill us. But as sure as my name is Lucky Day, the people of Santa Poco can conquer their own personal El Guapo, who also happens to be *the actual* El Guapo!

8. It’s never too early for cake.


9. LOVE.  Love is the answer.


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The Little Things, My Big Girl

Faith’s Auntie T used to ask, “Where’s Faith? I didn’t see her.”

Since Faith was so petite, that was our in-joke.

Now, when I look, she’s everywhere and nowhere.

These moments hurt my heart today.

1.Finding a big clump of fur in the powder room. I vacuum, but . . . there’s still a lot of fur around here.  Everything, from the sofa to the floor, has a thin layer.

2.Making chicken and vegetables for the week. Faith would have been in her spot and I would’ve said, “Excuse the momma.” Then, she would have licked the bowl. Dwight’s son, Tommy, used to tell me, “It’s not a meal without a little dog fur.”  How will I ever eat again?

3. Picking up poop in the backyard . . . I pick up every single day. But, in the winter, sometimes a layer of snow falls and I miss bits. So, every day we have without snow, I may find and pick up a little bit. What will happen when there is no more to pick up?

4. Washing out the water bowls . . . I don’t have words. When she drank, she drank with gusto. “Having a little happy hour?” I’d ask.

5. Maybe the reason I’m crying while I type is because I can’t sleep without the sound of her snoring.

When I called Dwight to tell him I was getting a Bernese, he said, “Don’t do it.  It will break your heart. They live so short a time.

Dwight, you were right.  Please take care of my big girl for me.  I imagine her running with Tank and Samantha. I see her next to you. I see you feeding her from your fork. I see you looking into her eyes and saying, “Oh, look at those pretty brown eyes.  You are your momma’s girl.”  

Then, I look up and see this. . . and I know she’ll keep watch over us.



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Having Faith


From the day my girl, Faith, arrived, she claimed this spot in the corner of the kitchen. Her spot, next to sink in front of the drawers that hold silverware, towels, and measuring spoons. (You know, the drawers that one opens all the time.)

I cannot count the number of times I said, “Excuse the momma.”  She would push herself up, move for a moment, and return to her spot.

Today, after breakfast, her sissy, Princess leaned against me in Faith’s spot. I sunk to floor. I fell into her spot. I felt the coolness of the slate floor. And, I felt the warmth of Faith.

Faith moved into our home and my heart almost eight years ago. At eight months, this big ball of fluff and love came home.

In eight years, she changed the world. She made it better.

Unlike her litter mates, she did not win ribbons in the ring; she won hearts.

Sherry told me, “When I wrapped my arms around her, I could feel my blood pressure go down.”

Faith let people cry into her fur, listened to their stories, and healed hearts.

Over and over, Faith healed mine. My heart was never broken for long with my big girl snuggled next to me.

A few months after Faith arrived, Gus came home. Gus started in puppy mill and landed at the local rescue. When I picked him up, his entire body went rigid in my arms. The shelter director said, “He may never be a real dog.”

But, Faith took him under her paw. She gave him a safe place. She made a safe space in her heart.

Wherever they went, they were in it together.

Now, because of Faith, Gus barks, runs, plays and smiles. He is “a real dog.”

Faith is generous. She is generous with her time, her talents, and her treasure.  Faith shares.

While not the most senior dog in our home, Faith was our pack leader. The size of her heart was mirrored in the size of her body.

On Wednesday morning, Faith’s back legs gave out. Walking on the yoga mats, her back paws slid out.

She made her way to her spot in the kitchen.

I gave her medicine, said a prayer, and worried all day long.

After school, Faith did not greet me at the door. She was still in her spot.

She tried. She tried to get up to come to me. But, she couldn’t.

Somehow, we made it to the garage and into the car. The vet techs carried her into a room.

With tears in his eyes, Dr. Prior told us, “Her ACL ruptured.”

My sweet Faith was in pain.

For months, Faith was slowing down. She panted all the time, even when she was in her cool spot on the slate floor. On walks, she struggled.

Faith is my heart walking around outside my body.

Now, she has my heart, on the other side.

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We Will Not “LOOSE” Our Uniqueness


Someone I considered a friend posted this on her Facebook page last week. Her daughter, college student, replied, “There are a lot of things I could say about this ludicrous statement. But since you are my mother, I’m just going to say it’s archaic and that it’s sad you can’t see the value of the change taking place right outside your front door, because it is pretty incredible to be a part of.”

Another friend, replied with this:


I was horrified.

Then, a man that seemed interested in me asked me, via text, about my day.


Apparently, Siri was writing for me. I’d actually blown my driveway twice and the neighbor’s once.

The troubling comment was “You need a man to do that for you.”

I don’t.

I do not need anyone to do anything for me.

Would it be nice to have someone help? Sure.

On two separate occasions, two different young women told me, “I need to marry someone rich.”

Both times I replied, “No. No you don’t. You need to make enough money to take care of yourself.”

Full disclosure requires me to note that I expect my date, my partner, to open my door. I expect my date, my partner to walk on the outside of the street.

Having a partner is nice. It’s good to have backup.

But, to my friend that believes women “were created to do everything a man can’t do,” well, sugarplum, my ability to take care of myself does not come at the price of my uniqueness.







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My BROmance is Better Than a Romance

On Saturday, I had a BRO-versation.

ME:  Do you remember that guy I dated that you thought was creepy?

JEFF:  Which one?

ME: The one with the really bad eyebrows.

JEFF: I need a little more to go on.

ME:  You met him when I first moved to Park City at my house and said, “he’s really creepy.”

JEFF:  Which one?


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Mom is a MOPTIMIST When It Come to Trump


ME:  Did you hear that Kelly Anne Conway made up a terrorist attack? I’m terrified of Trump.

MOM:  Well, we can hope for the best.

ME: The best is that we’re still around a year from now.

MOM:  Well, if it is the end of the world, we’ll all be together in the next.


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