Wednesday, December 5, 2012


Satchel  Taylor-Ward
April 21, 2000 – November  20, 2012

Satchel was my best friend.  He got me through many personal trials, health issues and bad days.  He was the perfect study buddy, the best road trip companion and very good at reminding you that just because he was a dog, it didn’t mean that he wanted to do things like “fetch” or “play in that water falling from the sky.”   He helped me meet Aaron, the love of my life and helped turn Aaron into a lifelong dog lover as well.  
Dogs are special.  Dalmatians, on the other hand, are extra special – which is sometimes difficult and sometimes wonderful - Satchel was no exception.  He was loving, kind and at times he was sometimes a little “too” human.   He required a coat to wear when it was raining and would not go outside without it.  He would get offended if he wasn’t allowed to sleep on the bed and he learned how to open doors – which Aaron and I had discovered when he ate some of the food we had recently bought while we were at work.   When I found him at the Seattle Animal Shelter, he was thin, missing patches of hair and scared.  I was scared as well, painfully shy and sad.  I had recently gone through a rough break-up.  I needed him, probably more than he needed me.  He changed from a distant, unsocial creature to one who would great every person that would walk by and force me to do the same.  He helped me come out of my shell and be less afraid of the world.  To Aaron and I,  he is our “spotted baby boy” and we will always love him.
Satchel crossed over with our love and help after struggling with a long illness.  We agonized over the decision and want to thank everyone we have met and talked to over the years who offered support, advice, laughs and comfort.  Satchel is survived by his “wife” Dixie, who we know will also miss him very much.  In lieu of flowers or cards, we are requesting that donations be made in his memory to the Dalmatian Rescue of Puget Sound ( . ) They arewonderful organization that serves a wonderful breed.     Thank you, Sabrina & Aaron

Monday, November 26, 2012


Jackson was given to me for Christmas as a tiny little Boxer pup, the size and color of a loaf of bread, by my fiancé Larry, a New York City Firefighter. We had been living together for a few years and were ready to take the next step of commitment: raising a hyperactive, crazy-powerful young dog. Together we took Jackson running in Central Park, threw balls for him on the Rockaway beaches, and tried unsuccessfully to teach this growing powerhouse to heel and stay out of our bed at night. He grew into such an elegant, regal dog that on more than one occasion a stranger would stop their car, back it up, and offer a compliment.
Jackson was a constant presence at the Squad 18 firehouse. He accompanied the men on the rig on several runs when he was too young to be trusted not to fall down the pole hole if left alone at the squad. No one who knew Larry well can think of him now without thinking of Jackson. When 9-11 claimed Larry’s life, emptiness consumed me as one thing after another fell away—my partner, my house, my car, my job, my life. It was my responsibility to Jackson and his limitless devotion to me that kept me going and saw me through the pain, moment by moment. He was all I had, but he became my everything: My running buddy, my bed warmer, my travel partner, my reason to get up in the morning and leave the house, my enthusiastic ever-loving supporter at the end of a rotten day, of which there were many back then.
Over time I reluctantly found my footing again, a new place in the city, a better job, sanity. But my work hours in advertising were horrendous, and they took their toll on myself and Jackson, who spent many long lonely days on his own. For a while I took him to a doggy daycare facility. And one stormy night I turned the corner after work to retrieve my companion to find the building he was in engulfed in flames. In a city of thousands of firefighters, it was one of Larry’s close friends who went in and got Jackson out safely. The daycare facility gone, I switched to a dog walker who became so smitten with him that he began to take Jack and keep him for the day, bringing him on on his dog-walking rounds, to his house, to his son’s little league games. After a while I noticed Jackson was putting on weight. I was perplexed until my dog walker inadvertently revealed the reason why: “You wouldn’t believe how many hot dogs that dog can eat!” So much for Jackson’s carefully regulated diet.
In time the work hours wore me down, the solitude of Jackson’s days were weighing on me, and the realization came over me that I was now the same age as Larry was when he died. I shut down my life, bought an XXL dog crate, and moved with Jackson to Europe—that canine paradise where dogs gnaw on marrowbones presented by white-gloved waiters on little silver trays while their human companions enjoy canard confit on the table above.
Jackson and I roamed the back roads of Europe: He ran unleashed on the invasion beaches of Normandy, lapped water from the Fountain of Youth in Brittany, ate pommes frites on the streets of Belgium, went shoe-shopping in Saint-Tropez, splashed in the Mediterranean Sea in Nice, and kept my feet warm under bistro tables on busy Parisian sidewalks. He rode the U-Bahn in Munich and scrounged pretzels and bits of weisswurst off the floor of German beer halls. At Christmas, Jackson and I traveled in a sleeper car on the Orient Express to Austria where we spent the holidays in the wintery Tyrolean Alps. There we ate giant wiener schnitzels and apfelstrudel in alpine chalets after long snowy walks. The chamber maids would watch him if I wanted to do a bit of skiing, and in the evening, Jackson and I would make our way to the bar, where he would make a nest in a pile of discarded coats and I would enjoy a nightcap with my fellow travelers and newfound friends.
In the spring we headed to the south of France, where we were ogled in Avignon, befriended by a truffle-sniffing dog in a cave in Chateauneuf du Pape, sunbaked in the Roman arena in Arles, and cooled by a shared lavender ice cream in Nice.
After Paris we returned to New York and spent a few months in the small town of Kismet on Fire Island, a place where we had enjoyed many of our summers together. On Fire Island, Jackson was something of a minor celebrity and was doted on by many. His dramatic collapse on a Kismet beach and the successful CPR efforts of a resident (which included chest compressions and mouth-to-mouth) earned him a role as himself in a book published by a local writer. On Fire Island, Jackson roamed the beaches at sunrise, disappeared over many a dune in hot pursuit of a deer, and refreshed himself in the rolling surf on hot humid days. In the windswept fall evenings, he would crawl awkwardly but determined into the lap of me or my housemates (or anyone else who would have him).
In time I found love again, and Jackson welcomed my new partner with the same enthusiasm he showed for all things wondrous in his life. Jackson was the ring bearer at my wedding in Central Park. And he suffered a cardiac collapse in the middle of the ceremony (from which he thankfully recovered). On the first day of my honeymoon, he had a bout of explosive diarrhea all over the back seat of the car. Too much wedding cake, I guess. Bless my new husband Charlie for his tolerance. 
Jackson, Charlie, and I moved back to Manhattan, this time to an apartment right off Central Park so every walk was filled with grass and trees and birds and squirrels and other doggy friends. He welcomed our first son Ben into the world with an inquisitive and thorough sniffing. He was as intoxicated by that new baby smell as we were. Two years later, he welcomed interloper number two, my second son Graham. Through the years he patiently put up with the pokes, pushes and pinches of toddlers, and never balked at the little fingers that were always in his ear or up his nose or grabbing at his tail or paw.
People who didn’t know better were often afraid of Jackson because they mistook him for a pit-bull, of which there are many in Manhattan. But the truth, while he was intimidating in his muscularity, he was as gentle a dog as ever there was. Our apartment was burglarized one night when we were out. The thief came in off the fire escape and tore the apartment apart, taking jewelry, my computer and my camera. Jackson was there the whole time and clearly did nothing to deter the burglar—he probably just gave him a happy snort and showed him where the good stuff was.
When our growing family outgrew our apartment we traveled west. Jackson rode between the two boys’ car seats as we took a leisurely 3-week drive across the continent. Together we explored the Great Lakes in Canada, the wind farms of Iowa, the Badlands of South Dakota, and the cowboy hats of Montana.
For the last couple of years we’ve called Seattle home. Time and disease have worn Jackson down: Cardiomyopathy, arrhythmia, seizures, Cushings disease, hypothyroidism, ruptured spleen, liver cancer, two torn ACLs, arthritis. He was slowing down but still had a spring in his step and enjoyed his daily walks around Volunteer Park and the antics of our two young boys, especially their sloppy eating: every toddler meal was a banquet of spilled yogurt, runaway peas, and splats of oatmeal for dear old Jack.
In the last year his walks became shorter and his time sleeping become longer. But he was in reasonably good shape when his 14th birthday arrived at the end of September. Still perky-eared, bright-eyed, and eager to greet anyone and everyone with a wriggling body and happy tail. In November he declined rapidly over a period of weeks, in the final days losing muscle control, the ability to stand, walk and eat. In the end he was trembling and restless despite a daily cocktail of three different pain medications. The last sleepless night was the worst, and the time had come. On November 15, at the age of 14, our sweet old dog passed on.
With Dr. Rickman’s kind support, we let him go at home, in the grass, in the sunshine, with my body wrapped around him and my face pressed close to his while I rubbed his supple neck. Those who knew him well will be warmed to hear he was snoring like a bear when he passed, adrift in the deepest, most contented sleep he has known in months.
When he was gone, I stroked is puppy-soft fur for the last time; it was so warm and glossy in the late afternoon sun. And I was overwhelmed by a deep sense of gratitude. Thank you for giving him to me. Thank you for giving me this beautiful, strong dog who kept the candle burning in my soul through the bitter, dark days and months after 9-11. This friend who touched the lives of so, so many people during his 14 years. How many Fire Island laps did he warm over the course of all those summers? Probably as many as the trains he boarded on our months of travels through Europe. He had an insatiable appetite for affection, always the 80-pound lapdog, always at the center of everything.
After Dr. Rickman had taken him away, I sat quietly on the sofa with a stiff single malt in my hand. So still. Just breathing. And I swear in that silent moment I felt his paws thunder across my chest with the vigor of a joyous young pup on a spring-loaded energy tear. 
Here are some photos of his time with us.  Please hold him in your heart for a moment. And thank you for permitting me this measure of release.

With Larry, the night we brought him home from his Brooklyn breeder. 1998.


A shoe-chewing baby-gate escape artist.


A young dog snorting around in new-fallen snow.

Fetch with Larry in the Rockaways.

My triathlon training partner in his early years. 2001.

With Shake, a couple of Vermont mountain lions…beware little bunny rabbits.

Tearing up the beach with me on Fire Island. Sabrina calls this picture "Free".

Etretat, Normandy, France: Jackson 2006… 


… and Monet 1885.

Stepping out in St Tropez with the yachts and the glitterati.

A rendezvous with Sabrina in the City of Light.

At the Christmas dinner table in Wildschonau, the Tyrolean Alps, Austria.

Ogled in Avignon.

Back home in Paris, blogging FroggyDoggy.

Daybreak on Fire Island…the grey is setting in after our EU sojourn.

With newborn baby Ben, happy for a warm body to snuggle with.

Greeting the sunrise with Charlie on Fire Island.


Patient as ever with growing Ben. 

With Charlie, enjoying his last summer on the beach.

Putting up with interloper #2, Graham. 2010.

Good friends now, my three boys.

November 15, 2012. Goodbye dear friend.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Salem and Cocoa

Salem – adopted on June 25, 2000 at age 3
Cocoa – adopted on June 15, 2006 at age 9

…both laid to rest on Friday, April 6, 2012 in Seattle, WA…

Celebration Ceremony at The Red Pine Retreat on September 29, 2012 in Barnes, WI

Dear Salem & Cocoa “The Bunnies” – our sweet furbabymuffins,

What fun we had over the years, so many funny and sweet memories. You were both such good girls – we really got lucky when we adopted each of you! The love an owner has for its pets is indescribable. You were two of the cutest and sweetest springer spaniels and we love you very much, you will never be forgotten. Thank you for making our lives a little bit brighter.

All our love and snuggles forever,
Mama & Papa
(Jamie Thorn and Matthew Dodd)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

August 10, 2012

Dear Caesar,
It's hard to believe it's been 14 years already.  I still remember that summer day in Grandpa & Grandma's back yard.  I heard a squeaking noise in the garden.  I went toward the apple tree by the fence and there you were: a beautifully marked little kitten. It was like you found me.  I scooped you up and you melted in my arms.  You always loved being held like a baby.  I was reading Julius Caesar at the time.  At first I thought you were a girl so I named you 'Portia' after the female lead in the play.  But we soon figure out you were really a Caesar.  You sat on my lap the whole drive home.  You curled up on my chest and slept.  You always hated it when I left; I'd come home to sounds of you whining.  We started out in that tiny apartment with the fire escape, and then we moved all the way down to LA. You got to stay in motels.  You always found your food and litter box.  You adapted well to life in LA, but we were both lonely there.  You comforted me--my best friend--through those confusing and angsty years in my early-mid twenties.  You loved me no matter what I did, or how I looked.  You just wanted to curl up beside me and have your chin rubbed.  When Dan came into the picture, you were threatened.  It took you a long time to warm up to him, but when you did, it was a beautiful thing to watch.  The three of us would sleep soundly, all with the help of your purr lulling us to sleep every night.  Remember when your tail caught on fire from the candle?  We had a lot of fun memories in that apartment, didn't we?  Then you got to move into a house, which you loved.  So many new places for you to curl up and burrow.  We got you a harness and leash so you could go for walks in the backyard.  All you wanted to do was eat grass.  You loved grass so much!  The only human food you'd ever touch was yellow fin tuna.  Only the finest for you.  When we moved into our current house, you immediately made friends with the basement.  We decided to make the guest room off limits so guests with allergies could get a good night's sleep.  You were persistent, though.  And now, of course, it's your room, your oasis, your hospital.  You've always been a fiercely independent cat, an only child with particular tastes.  You taught me how to take care of something else, and to think less about my own needs.  You reminded me that staying in on a Friday night was just fine.  I'll always think of you hiding in cupboards, sleeping on your favorite round chair, walking on our heads at night, and swiping at the dog.  I'll never forget you, little guy. I love you so much.
Your daddy. 

Tuesday, June 19, 2012


Rest in Peace Dear Winnie
January 2, 1997 – June 9, 2012

Winnie was born and spent the first 5 years of her life in Pendleton, OR.
She was adopted by Jayde in March 2002, and began a life of new adventures
in Montana. Later, she moved with Jayde to Portland, OR and finally
In her younger years, she loved running (especially to chase squirrels),
playing, hiking, camping, and wading in the shallows of rivers. Her later
years in Seattle found her often at Greenlake, and exploring the many city
parks of Seattle.
While quiet by nature, Winnie was also a very social dog, always up for a
party, and loved having guests to greet and make welcome. Her love of food
and treats, especially salmon treats and carrots, is legendary. And in
her senior
years, a good treat always trumped arthritis pain and got her moving again.
Winnie was a wonderful companion and friend to many, but especially to
Jayde, whom she emotionally supported through graduate school, multiple
moves, and her first few professional jobs, and to Josh, to whom she
wholeheartedly gave approval as Jayde’s future husband. Her invariable
supervision of all cooking procedures and sweet, joyful presence will be

Sunday, June 10, 2012



June 8, 2012

Today my house is quiet and missing a major source of energy and joy.  Kenai passed away this morning.  We were grateful for several weeks of reprieve from the cancer but, inevitably, it caught up with us.  Kenai was my heart dog and I know she was the same for Vince.  She quite literally changed our lives when she charged in.  She was a girl filled with boundless love and enthusiasm which she happily shared with anyone in her vicinity.  Enjoy the photos of my best girl!  They should make you laugh — because that’s the kind of a girl she was! 

Monday, April 16, 2012


From Lisa's Family: We got Lisa when she was a puppy and she lived with us for 15+ years. She was happy, healthy and of course neurotic for most of he life. She slowed down some the past few years, her vision going a bit, her hearing going even more but her nose never failed her and that's what mattered to her. From a very young age we knew she was a "scent hound" with a singular focus, who has been here?
On Easter Sunday we needed to end her suffering. She was old and frail but the crisis came the night before when she was attacked by a pit bull. I don't believe pit bulls are inherently evil but they are unpredictable and more importantly; the damage they can cause with their strength and speed makes them dangerous.
Dr. Barry Rickman came to our rescue Sunday morning. We were desperate to end her suffering and Barry was willing to make a half hour drive on Easter morning to perform an in-home euthanasia. Lisa would have been terrified to be put in a car and taken to the emergency clinic, she always hated going to the vet. She passed away on her bed in our bedroom with her people and Elvis the cat surrounding her. We will be forever grateful to Dr. Rickman for his kindness, compassion and expertise and we want to thank his whole family for their sacrifice of his time on a Sunday morning.
Lisa, you will be missed for a very, very long time.
You were the best dog any family ever had and we are blessed to have been a part of your life. We will never forget you. Momma and Papa.

Sunday, April 8, 2012

Miss Lucy Mae

Elissa, her owner included the following:
She was approximately 20 years old and was definitely the princess of the house. She would meow at us until we did what she wanted or went where she wanted us to go. One of her favorite things was to be carried around the house. She especially liked it when I cradled her like a baby and she would touch my face with her paw. She was a sweet and gentle girl and was very connected to us. She had a perch on the window sill in the living room. About 10 minutes before I would get home from work my husband said that she would stop what she was doing and go sit on the perch and watch for me. When I would come through the door she would run over to me and meow to be petted. Her favorite place to be was under the covers in our bedroom and she would sleep there all night. I miss our little Lucy.


Cinnamon's family shared the following: Cinnamon was a very sweet, smart, and mellow dog. Here are a couple of pictures of Cinnamon in the snow with snowballs hanging from her.