About

I’ve been a writer all my life. In fifth grade I wrote my first mystery. I started my first novel at eighteen. But, don’t bother to Google me. I’ve never had a thing published. Not to say I haven’t tried. I’ve sent out countless query letters, been bamboozled by agents and paid an enormous sum of money to a pretty useless editor. While I’ve learned from all of it, the truth is I’m tired of writing stories no one reads.

Blogging about dogs seemed the perfect fit. They’re my obsession. My very first dog, at ten, was an applesauce Poodle named Timmy. At thirty I got a little Chihuahua mix named Quincy from a student. She had been abused and was a biter, but with obedience training and socialization now, at eleven, she’s perfect. (All right, I know that there is no such thing as a perfect dog. She barks too much!)

Besides a couple of years of competitive obedience with Quincy, I’ve trained search dogs for close eight years. My current search dog is a yellow lab named Kinsey. She will be six this August. I’ve puppy raised a number of dogs, including a cadaver dog, a diabetic alert dog, a couple of live find search and rescue dog drop outs and a couple of live find search and rescue dog successes.

While I raise and train working dogs, they are a part of my family. They’re in my home. I hike with them. I travel with them. I love them. My experience with dogs has shown me that they are kind, intelligent and devoted companions. I couldn’t work a dog that wasn’t in my home, asleep at my feet while I typed up my blog.

puppy-raising
Sherlock out playing in the backyard on a rainy Saturday.

IMG_3312_2In order to pay for my dogs, I’m a middle school librarian. Before that, I taught for ten years. I joke that training kids isn’t much different than training dogs, except dogs listen better.

I love to read, cook and take pictures. I watch too many murder mysteries. I hike with my dogs a couple a times a week to keep them in shape, and take yoga classes to improve my balance for my weekend walks across rubble piles.

I was born in Long Beach, California, moved to Seattle at thirteen, moved back to Southern California at twenty-four. I wouldn’t want to live anywhere else. I love the sunshine and try my best not to complain when the temperature soars into the triple digits.

working dogs
My typical Saturday morning includes hanging out with a bunch of working dogs at a cement recycling plant.

The Dogs

Quincy
Quincy out at Huntington Dog Beach.
Quincy

Quincy’s a twelve-year-old mix of Chihuahua and terrier with terrible teeth. She trained herself to bark whenever the front door rattles. She only cares about toys when she’s keeping them from the other dogs, and loves to steal my socks.

I started taking Quincy to obedience classes because she liked to bite small children. When we competed in AKC Rally she won a number of ribbons, largely because she loves to be the center of attention and has incredible food drive.

Kinsey
Kinsey’s looking up at a toy at a training out in Las Vegas.
Kinsey

Kinsey’s a six-year-old yellow Labrador retriever. She’s tall and leggy because she’s bred to hunt ducks. At sixty pounds, she’s calm, sweet and gentle. She gets along with all dogs, big or small, and loves people, especially kids. I often wish I had her disposition, always happy, never a care in the world.

Kinsey is a certified therapy dog through Therapy Dogs International and a live find FEMA certified search and rescue dog.

crate-training
Sherlock at ten weeks old. He loves to have something in his mouth!
Sherlock

Sherlock is a one year old Golden retriever, with a stripe of white down his nose, a short tail and a deep love for people. He carries things around the house, shreds paper at every opportunity and will often hide my Crocs in the yard.

Sherlock hopes to become a diabetic alert dog.

Rook Vegas
Rook cooling off after training in Las Vegas. Temperatures reached 111!
Rook

Rook is a two-year-old Golden retriever, although he’s so red I’ve been asked if he’s an Irish Setter. I can’t keep him out of the water or away from the rabbits that hide under my shed. At eight-weeks-old, he tried to nurse on Kinsey. They’ve been best friends ever since. He follows me around the house, and is always underfoot when I’m cooking.

I trained Rook to be a live find search and rescue dog. He certified in November 2015 in Indianapolis at only 18 months old! He’s now at his forever home, and while I miss him, he’s very happy!

Nikko "The Superdog"
Nikko “The Superdog” enjoying a hike around Lake Arrowhead.
Nikko

Nikko’s an eleven-year-old Golden retriever, starting to get a bit gray around the muzzle. While he’s not actually mine, I adore him. He’s an all around exceptional search dog, and particularly excels at finding people in buildings. He loves hunting rabbits, flirting with Kinsey and cuddling.

Nikko is a FEMA certified live find search and rescue dog.

Lucy
Lucy out for a hike in Lake Arrowhead.
Lucy

Lucy’s an eleven-year-old mix my sister Sarah rescued from the pound. She is often at my house, and loves to sunbathe. Notorious for rolling in vile things while outdoors, she is bathed frequently. She loves hiking and patrolling in my backyard.

Isabella
Isabella gives me this look when it’s time to get out of bed.
Isabella

Isabella–yes, she’s named after the main character in Twilight–is a six-year-old ten pound Chihuahua my sister Sarah and I rescued after she was abandoned in a car and picked up by animal control. When we took her home, she couldn’t have been more than two pounds. She had terrible fear issues and barked constantly at strange dogs. While her fear has diminished with socialization, one of her favorite pass times is standing in the middle of the backyard and barking at the wind. She loves to hunt rabbits and snuggle under the covers on cold nights.

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