Puppy love


This January marks six years since this wily beast came into my life.

She’s curled up in a ball at my feet as I write this and I just love the little bugger. I know everyone says their dog is awesome, but I’m going to go ahead and insist that she’s really is the best. I mean, look at that face.

Her foster dog family named her “Lady Mellow,” and she truly is one chill pup. Originally I’d wanted to small dog, a carry-on. But even though I can’t take her on the subway, I love all 50 lbs of her every day. Here are some of my favorite “Daily Kaylee” shots from the last year.


I got it, I got it, I don’t got it.

[photo by
MasTaPiannisat AshtangaNews]

I’ve been a little stuck. But you probably knew that. It happens. Cyclically. I get inspired, leap, hit my stride, get in a groove, then get in a rut, get bored. Then stuck.

But something happened the other night. I got home from work and whipped out the yoga mat. I did a 45 minute practice where I tried new things and shocked myself with my accomplishments. (Yes, I know yoga is not a contest but, c’mon! It feels good to do things you didn’t know you could do.)

This time it was Utthita Hasta Padangusthasana. Well, sort of extended, but definitely hand-to-big-toe. Not perfect, by any means, but still! I’d never done that before and I was so surprised I actually started laughing mid-pose and fell out of it.

Inspired, I got up the next day and went to my first in-studio class in about six months. My brain was not at all accustomed to being on the mat for so long, but my body welcomed it. I feel the groove coming on. I can hear the beat.

And then yesterday, bam, I missed class. This morning? The dog was whining to go out mid-Namaskar B (I’ve learned not to ignore her). So tonight I’ll go to class – and, cue sad trombone – I have a last-minute call for a project I’m volunteering on.

I feel like I’m ready to leap, ready to hit my stride. Weeeee! I am so close to getting my groove on I can hardly sit still in this office chair all day. I just don’t want to lose the momentum, you know? The wheels are turning. The plane is picking up speed and I’m ready to take off and soooaar. And I want to catch this updraft before I crash and want to do nothing but nap.

Snow Salutations

Last night I came home late and maybe just a tiny bit warm and fuzzy from a glass or two (or three?) of bubbly at dinner.

As I got out of the cab, there was thunder and lightning. There was at least half a foot of snow on the ground and more coming down in fat, wet, playful flakes.

The dog and I geared up, and made our way to the park. We climbed through the snow, we ran and ran. We had a snowball fight. Well, I threw snow at the dog. But still.

It can only be called a romp. My form of a series of snow salutations.

I took these photos this morning on our a.m. romp. If you want to see them slightly larger, just click on one.

Update: Chicken Dog

The universe is laughing at how dramatic I was about that whole thing. I thanked the chicken. I almost gagged. But when it was done, the house smelled like chicken soup, and I was really very proud of myself. And SO excited to feed Kaylee.

Well, kids, guess what? My dog don’t like chicken.

She ate the rice, she ate the vegetables, she spit the chicken on the floor and looked at me like I was nuts.

Seriously? Did I create a vegetarian dog? We’ll try again tomorrow. But if this dog doesn’t even like chicken, I may have to get her checked out.

The Dog Food Dilemma

When I was a little girl, and I wanted to help my mom in the kitchen, she pulled up a chair for me, pointed at a pile of raw chicken cutlets and told me to first dunk it in the egg flour, then the flour egg, then the breadcrumbs.

I remember the slimy chicken threatening to slip through my fingers, the cloying egg – I don’t think I could take a deep breath until it was floured and breaded. Then the next piece. And the next.

Nothing much has changed; I haven’t eaten meat in ten years, nor have I ever prepared my own.

So why was I picking out chicken at the grocery store this morning?

When Kaylee first came to us, we fed her dry, “healthy” (read: expensive) dog food. If she ever grabbed a pizza crust off the curb during a walk and upset her stomach, we’d phone in an extra order of rice when we got take out, and that was about it.

And when I moved back to NY with her, I was on a strict budget. One of the things I sacrificed was her pricey dog food. But after reading a little bit more about what’s in dog food, I was completely turned off. I re-budgeted, switched her back to the natural stuff – slowly, over a period of a week. For some reason, it wasn’t sitting well with her.

To cut this potentially long story a bit shorter, I’ve been cooking her food for about a month now. Rice, carrots, sweet potatoes and whatever veggies I had on hand that she liked.

The girl was hungry. Really hungry. At first I chalked up her dinner-time enthusiasm to sheer enjoyment. But then I started to worry about her protein intake.

After much reading, I’m still not sure what I believe. Some sources say that dogs can thrive on a completely vegetarian diet. But others disagree. I’m still not sure I want to turn my dog into a guinea pig. But I don’t want to feed her one, either.

Here’s where the chicken comes in. If I am going to feed my animal another animal, I want to be completely comfortable with it. If it’s a natural process, I want to be in on it. I don’t want to repudiate factory meat for myself, but feed my dog canned, cubed, disguised meat product. If I’m feeding her meat, I’m going to have to touch it.

So, tonight, I’m pouring myself a glass of wine, turning on the boiling water, and putting my hands on a store-bought carcass. I’ll pick around the bones and give her some meat – along with her now-usual rice, carrots and veggies. I’ll save the broth (on the recommendation of a friend), and pour it over the dry food I’m still mixing in to her diet. And I will try to remember to breathe while I do it.

Warrior One

[photo used without permission, from the extremely serious-looking ANTM Great Wall of China shoot]

I set the water to boil, hussled over to the yoga mat and pressed play on my trusty Yoga Download podcast. As I stood in Tadasana, Kaylee came and sat behind me, keeping guard close enough that I had to straddle her as I lunged, and step over her into my own down dog – bringing my nose to touch hers. She made it impossible to take myself too seriously.

As I flowed from utkatasana back to a lunge and up to warrior one, I felt the power of the pose running through me. But at the same time, I felt completely goofy and myself. I felt the burn in my forward leg, my solar plexus reaching up to the sky and I actually growled. I made some kind of play-angry face and let out a noise. And then laughed, and breathed, and laughed some more into forward fold letting it all go, pour out of me back onto the mat.

In those moments and the ones following, as I finished making breakfast and danced with the dog, I really felt the power of play. God, it just helps to laugh. And to not take things too seriously. I think I have the dog to thank for that lesson today, and yoga, of course.

Dog Walk

We set off a daisy chain of dogs barking as we walk up the hill, across, past the Dairy Barn and back. Looking into suburban windows, front porch smokers silhouetted by the big silver paper moon. We walk in and out of tree shadows. My flip flops flapping, her four paws clicking against the concrete over the sound of roaring crickets and buzzing cicadas. The big dipper looms and that, if you turn around and look, is a great moon.