Ziva’s 7, CG ’17 Calendars and Welcome Trooper

It has been a while….again.  I thought I would get better at updating this blog, but my good intentions have failed.  We have been busy with remodeling and projects with the house.  So far we have landscaped the front and back yard, renovated one bathroom, have painted the office, office built in desk, dining room, foyer, guest bedroom, the skylight area and the two guest bedrooms; and have begun prep work for our future screened in patio.  It has been a lot of work, but well worth it!!  We are so looking forward to the completion of the screened patio, especially since you can enjoy being outside for 9 out of 12 months here in Texas.

With all the business, we have also had some great  things to celebrate too.  On the 28th of September, Miss Ziva the Diva turned 7….officially a senior now, but not slowing down one bit.  She is still wild as ever, loves her squeaky toys and romps in the yard. She is doing fantastic!   I am so proud of the dog she has become.  It wasn’t always easy in the beginning, she had a bit of a rough start in her first forever home, but over the last year she has really blossomed into an amazing dog!!  She now tolerates Pippi’s antics in the yard and does not retaliate even though Pippi is in her face trying to nip.  She no longer needs to wear her muzzle when we are not here or while they play in the yard….I trust her now.  This took a long, long time but I am so glad we have got to this point.  I will never be able to trust her around small dogs, and I am perfectly okay with that.  We take her muzzle with us any time we go for a walk or any trips, including to the vet.  She will always be a Diva!  We are so fortunate she is part of our family, she truly has taught me so much and has rewarded us in so many ways.

She got two news toys for her Birthday and got an extended play in the yard with her toys.  That is the perfect Birthday for a girl who loves toys!  I just love the pure joy in her eyes when she sees a toy.


She is one pretty little girl.  We hope to share many more years to come and already have several great adventures planned over the next year.  Happy Birthday Zoot Toot!


We got the news in August that a few of my photos made it into the Wall and Desk Celebrating Greyhounds Calendars for 2017.  It is always so exciting to open those calendars every year and look at all the beautiful hounds.  Congrats to all who made it in.  I am very honored to have my photos selected.

Here are the ones I took that made it in.

And, on Sunday we welcomed our sixth Greyhound home!!  We were all missing having a male greyhound in the family so it was time to “chip” again.  His racing name was Pondas Trooper, we are calling him Trooper.  He is only two, but calm for a two year old.  He is a velcro dog, very sweet, loves people and the girls approved of him from day one!  He came in to our home and made himself right at home from the start, like this is where he belonged and where he has always meant to be.  He has already learned our routine, sleeps through the night, loves toys, loves going for walks and car rides.  He is tail wagging, happy and very handsome.  He loves to Roo and Roach and is protective of the house.  He barks and growls to alert us that someone is on our property. He is also our first fawn greyhound.  We were not looking for a particular color, age or size, we just wanted a male that was laid back and would get along well with the Diva.  They have all had no confrontation and are getting along great both inside the house and out in the yard.  Such a relief!  Welcome home Trooper!

Here are a few pictures of our handsome guy.  More to come.



Adventures in TX, Waxahachie, Waco and Gavelston Beach

In May, Mitch and I celebrated our 15th Wedding Anniversary.  I surprised Mitch with a weekend get away trip to Waxahchie and Waco, Texas.  Mitch is a huge fan of the HGTV show Fixer Upper, so part of my surprise was taking him to their store, Magnolia Farms, in Waco, Texas.

We headed South to Waxahachie on Saturday afternoon and spent the day in historic downtown Waxahachie.

The Courthouse is in the center of historic downtown and is one of the most photographed Courthouses in the Country.  I can see why. The architecture is amazing.

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On Sunday, we took the pups to a local park for a walk.  The weather was perfect and the park was very shady.

There was an old bridge (above) that looked really neat.  It led to nowhere, but people use it to fish.  There is a river right below it.  There use to be a path from the bridge, but it has long since been covered by tall overgrown brush.

After our nice long walk, we dropped the pups off a the hotel so they could enjoy a nice long nap.  We headed out to the Scarborough Renaissance Festival and met up with our good friends Ernie and Deb for the Cat and Fiddle Wine Tasting.  We were able to taste several wines from Spain and Portugal.  The tasting was hosted by a Sommelier so we gained a lot of knowledge too.

On Monday, we headed further South to Waco to check out Magnolia Farms. We did a bit of shopping, but did not stay long.  The pups had to stay in the car while we went in and I did not want to leave them out there for very long. We will be back at another time for a longer visit.

In July, we headed further South to Gavelston Beach, Texas.  It had been several years since we had a family vacation with Mitch’s family.  The last time we saw our niece, Breanna, was in 2007 when we visited Maine.  Her mom, Darcy, was not able to make the trip to Gavelston Beach, but we were glad that Breanna was able to.  She is all grown up now (age 15).  It was nice to spend quality time with my sister-in-laws, brother-in-law and nieces and nephews.

We rented a beach house for the week.  Mitch’s sister, Carol, had an upcoming Birthday in the month of July so this was part of her Birthday celebration.

Our location was perfect!  We basically had the whole beach to ourselves.  The house was located in Sea Isle, which is towards the end of the Island, and away from the public beach spots.  It was peaceful and relaxing.  We did spend a day in historic downtown Gavelston and went out to eat at local restaurants twice, in the above photo we are at The Spot. The rest of the time was spent hanging out with family at the beach enjoying the ocean breeze and soaking up lots of vitamin D.  The weather was perfect.  The pups were able to enjoy time on the beach too! I did not think it possible in July in Texas but we had an overcast day which was perfect for them. We enjoyed early morning sunrises, afternoons playing card games (we played PIT a lot, it is a family favorite) and evenings by the fire making smores.  The pups had lots of love all week long from all the family and spent early mornings and evenings walking along and playing in the ocean and spent their days napping on the couch.

This was our first beach trip without our Cueball.  Mitch wrote his name in sand and we watched the waves wash it away.  He always loved the beach, the sun, the breeze and the ocean, so it was a nice tribute to him. We miss our goofy boy so much.

We made it through the week without seeing one snake, yay! This was a bonus for me, as it was a bit of a worry with all the dunes.  Rattlesnakes are known for lying on the dunes.  Gavelston Beach was really nice.  I was not sure what to expect, as I had heard that Texas beaches are not pretty and some areas stink of seaweed.  None of this was the case for us.  The beach reminded me of VA and Myrtle Beach except for the water temp being a lot warmer, which was a bonus.

The really cool thing, I think at least, about Gavelston Beach is the farm land is on one side and the beach on the other.  So as you are driving along, on the right there are cows hanging out on their fields and directly to your left there are beach houses and the ocean.  I guess you really can have your cake and eat it too!  We did learn how Saltgrass Steak House acquired its name.  The story: Each winter, Longhorns were driven to the Texas Gulf Coast to graze on the rich coastal salt grass. And when they headed for market, they followed the legendary Salt Grass Trail, known far and wide for creating the best beef in the Lone Star State. I am not sure if they still do, but there are cows on the island nonetheless.

It was everything a vacation should be.  We came home relaxed and not feeling like we need a vacation from our vacation.  It is always a lot fun spending time with Mitch’s family.  We sure do miss them already!


South Padre is on our list to visit next. We hear this beach has clear blue water and white sand.  Sounds amazing.

We have already made plans for our next trips with family.  We have not yet made it out to California to visit Carol and Kathy so in 2017 (November), we and the pups are going to make the 20 hour drive from TX to CA and spend a week visiting.  In May of 2018, we will head to Florida to visit Mike, Ramona and my nieces and nephew (Corie, Katie-Beth and Carl). At some point in the near future, we hope to make it back east to Maine to visit Darcy and Breanna.

Pippi is 11!

On February 19th, we celebrated Pippi’s 11th Birthday and 6th Gotcha Day!  She spent most of her very special day getting extra snuggle time and lots of yummy treats.  She is still as sweet as the first time we welcomed her into our home.  Her favorite things in the world are snuggling, treats and basking in the warm sunshine.  She is still lively at age 11 and  plays with toys occasionally and still enjoys a good romp around the yard.

Below are some of my favorite pictures of Pippi from over the years.

A mix from 2009 – 2015…




Pippi is healthy and happy. Every day we have with her is a gift that we will continue to treasure.  We hope for many more special moments and memories with our sweet girl!!

Cueball (FKA Flying Eightball)

Our sweet boy is now at Rainbow Bridge.  Cueball, racing name Flying Eightball…. July 16, 2003 – January 20th, 2016.

We miss him tremendously.  He was Mitch’s heart dog.


It is never easy to say goodbye, but it is especially hard when you share such a strong bond.  Our hearts are broken.  Our home is sad.  It feels so very empty and it is so quiet without him.  He loved to roo and he would always bark when he needed to go out.  The girls are super quiet.  They are coping okay with the loss.  Pippi was depressed for a few days. She is doing better now.  Ziva did not seem to be depressed but she has not been rooing since he passed.  I hope at some point she will roo again. As they say, time heals your pain.  We are not there yet; it still hurts…. a lot.

His passing was sudden.  What we thought was LS turned out to be a tumor on his L4 vertebrae. He had a few good days since his diagnosis of LS and we thought the medicine regimen was working.  We were optimistic.  We had his pain under control and took him back in to the vet on Monday the 18th for his x-rays.  Things were looking up.  They did the x-rays with no sedation.  We thought we were heading in a good direction. It was a very fast progression from weakness and wobbling to inability to stand up or laydown/squat down on his own from that Monday to Wednesday morning.  He was in immense pain. By Wednesday mid-day, he could no longer walk and was crawling across the floor.  We were still awaiting the x-ray results, but new something was terribly wrong.  I called our vet immediately.  She gave me the heart wrenching news.  The radiologist had just notified her that there was a tumor on his vertebrae.  She said there was no need for a biopsy.  The radiologist had no hesitation in identifying it as a tumor, he was just unable to tell us if it was primary or metastatic.  Our options were very limited.  Radiation would kill vital tissue.  The tumor was not operable.  And his prognosis was very poor. With his diminishing health, we knew we had to make the awful decision. It was the best thing for him to let him go.

He went peacefully in Mitch’s arms on January 20th.

He was loved by so many and a very special greyhound.  This was evident by the number of people who expressed their deepest sympathies by email, text, phone calls, cards, facebook messages, flowers, and a very special decoupage piece of artwork that was sent to us from our dear friend Kerrie.  We had two paw prints made, the vet office did both. We were overwhelmed and touched by this. It was comforting in our time of deep sorrow. Mitch has his ID collar hanging on his rear view mirror in his truck.

He was such a good, sweet, goofy, handsome boy who will be loved and missed dearly by us.


He loved to go places and was well traveled. He traveled across the Country from VA to TX. He vacationed with us at the beach and the mountains, went to Florida to visit the adoption kennel he came from and to see family, went to multiple wineries, multiple greyhound events in Virginia, Pennsylvania, Delaware, and Myrtle Beach. He loved fleece blankets, the beach, laying in the sun, a good romp in the yard and in the snow, roaching and rooing.  His brother Booyah was his best friend. His daddy had his heart and he had his daddy wrapped around his paw.  As he aged, he black ticking became more and more apparent.  We teased that this is the only way we could tell he was getting older.



He was an amazing ambassadog for the breed.  He was a kind soul and always a gracious host to the many, many hounds who came through our home through fostering, adoption days, hound sitting.  He attended many, many meet and greets, home visits and adoption days.  He was the first greyhound many people had ever met.  He had a wonderful personality and the best ears we have ever seen.

We were so very fortunate to have him as part of our family from September of 2007 till he passed. He was part of the lucky dozen greyhounds that Virginia Greyhound Adoption brought up to Virginia when a kennel in Florida closed.  An email went out announcing the need for homes for these 12 and when I saw his picture, I knew we had to adopt him.  Mitch was convinced pretty quickly once we met Cueball.  We will be forever grateful to VAGA for allowing us to love and care for him.  We could not have loved him any more deeply.

We are awaiting our custom greyhound memory box, but for now he is resting in peace in a beautiful wooden one.  He will always be Mitch’s heart dog. He will forever remain in our hearts and his legacy will live on.

Run pain free our sweet, beautiful boy.  We love you dearly and miss you tremendously.


Cueball update and Catching Up

Cueball update:


It has been a long while since I have sat down to compose my thoughts and update our blog. Today, Cueball is 12 & 1/2 years old and still as handsome as the day we brought him home! At this age, we celebrate half Birthdays!!

I will start with the good news about Cueball first.  Since our last post, Cueball went in for a dental and repeat blood work.  His liver function has improved significantly and seemingly on its own.  This was very good news!  His dental procedure went well.  His teeth cleaned up nicely and he did not have to have any extractions.  He has also finally settled on eating a dry kibble consistently!  He has always been a picky eater and over the years we have tried multiple foods from Nutro to Costco’s brand to Blue Buffalo to Purina Sensitive Stomach to Merrick to finally Science Diet Chicken and Barley.

At 12 years old, he has been doing really, really well.  He started slowing down a bit over the last 5 months, but we assumed it was just due to his age.  He seemed to be healthy and happy until Sunday evening.  He began to walk with a wobble and started to pant heavily.  He was having difficulty in getting up and was dragging his back left foot.  We kept him as comfortable as we could Sunday night and then got him an appointment with our vet the following morning.

Our vet has diagnosed him with LS (Lumbosacral Stenosis).  She wanted to get x-rays on him, but he was exhibiting too much pain and she would have to sedate him for the x-rays and she thought it best to just wait.  We were sent home with Tramadol, Rimadyl and Joint Supplements to give him.  The combination of meds has helped him to be able to walk more easily.  He no longer drags his feet.  His gait is still wobbly and he favors his right side.  It is quite difficult for him to stand up, but once he is standing he can walk and move around fairly well.  He also has difficulty with trying to sit down.  He is not having any incontinence so that is good sign.  Maybe we have caught it in the early stages. We are hoping for the best.

We go back to the vet on Monday to get his x-rays done.  Our vet will then be able to tell us how far along the disease has progressed and if there are any tumors in the spinal region.  We will know at that point what the next step will be for treatment.  I am not sure if surgery is an option or what it entails.  For now, we are taking it day by day and are doing everything we can to keep him pain free and comfortable.  His quality of life is most important to us.

Catching up:

We had an awesome and busy 2015!  We are enjoying living in Texas and are very fortunate to have our family visit through the month of October.  Mitch’s sister Carol came to visit us in early October. While she was here, we went to the Texas Shootout game (Texas Tech v Baylor) at AT&T Stadium (Dallas Cowboys’ stadium), the State Fair and to Love and War Texas (a local restaurant with live music).

During the middle of the month, we got the opportunity to buy tickets to the Patriots v Cowboys game (10-11-15) at a very reduced price.  The offer was too good, we could not pass it up.  I had been wanting to try to do this for Mitch’s Birthday since the day we found out we were moving to Dallas.  It all fell into place.  Mitch’s twin brother Mike was able to fly in from FL and go with Mitch to the game and also spend a few days with us in Texas.  Our good friends Ernie and Josh also went to the game.  These four had a blast! So happy and grateful that the twins got to do this for their birthday!  Growing up in New England, they have been Patriots fans since birth. 🙂

Then in the end of October, my Mom flew out for a visit.  We took her to the Stockyards in Forth Worth walked around sight seeing, did some shopping, went to Billy Bob’s for a beer and had some Texas style brisket for lunch.  We showed her downtown Garland and ate at our favorite little restaurant, Main Street Cafe.  We visited our favorite Texas Winery, Landon Winery and walked around the quaint town of downtown McKinney.  The rest of the time we spent hanging out at our house. It was great to have her here!  I have missed her tremendously!!  We have always lived 20-30 minutes apart.  Now we are over 1,000 miles apart.  2015 was the first time I have not been able to spend Thanksgiving or Christmas with my Mom.  I am hoping to go back to VA to visit my Mom again very soon!


The pups got to visit Santa and have their picture taken in late November. Don’t they look cute in their sweaters?!

Pippi and Ziva are doing very well!  Ziva is still as playful and spunky as ever!

Mitch surprised me with a beautiful birthstone necklace for my Birthday in early December.  I am enjoying the remaining years of my late 30’s.

The pups got new toys, bully sticks and liver treats for Christmas from Santa Paws. Mitch and I had a quiet, but very nice Christmas with our good friends Ernie and Deb.  They are like our family and it is so nice having them live so close by!  We were also all very fortunate that the Tornadoes that occurred on 12-26 in Garland and Rowlett did not affect us.

For our New Years’ celebration, we went out for dinner with Ernie and Deb and Don and Kellie.  We shared a lot of laughs over a nice dinner.

We are off to a pretty good start in 2016; we have so much to be thankful for and hope to have another incredible year!


My Spot

If you have ever watched The Big Bang Theory, you will be familiar with the sentence “You are in my spot”.  Cueball has become a “Sheldon” in our house demanding his very own spot.  We can only rationalize this is a favored spot because it is beneath the constant air flow from the ceiling fan above that he has decided that this is the best seat in the house.  He will bark and throw a tantrum if his sisters are in his spot. He also sleeps in his spot most nights.  He would rather be in this spot than on a dog bed in our bedroom.  At the age of 12, he can have whatever makes him happy!

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In just a few days, we will be celebrating his 8th Gotcha Day!!

Then:                                                                       Now:

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Of all our hounds, he has been with us the longest!  He has always been our big goofy boy.  His personality has not changed one bit and because he is a white Greyhound, we can barely see that he has aged in his appearance.  He has always been a very healthy, happy boy!  He has had some minor liver issues of late, but is on daily meds now and goes back this week for a repeat blood check.  Hopefully, we will get good news.  He has already had an ultrasound, which showed no blockages and no masses.

And speaking of milestones, tomorrow marks Maggie’s (Twisted Stix) Gotcha Day (9-14-06).  Although she is no longer with us, she remains in our hearts and it is because of her that our lives were forever changed for the better!!  We can’t imagine life without Greyhounds and it is hard to recall what life was like before we adopted her!!

Below are a few of the last pictures I have of our sweet girl.  We had a photo shoot at the Grapehounds, Virginia event (photos by Balance Photography) and unexpectedly had to say goodbye the very next day (9/27/00 – 5/12/13)


We’re Back!!

I have been a major slacker in blogging over the last six months!  We have had a lot of things going on; big things; life changing events….and all for the better!  Now that life has slowed down and settled down, I can get back into the swing of blogging again and catching up with all the blogs I follow too!  I have tried to check in periodically to see how our blogging friends are doing and what they are up to, but have not been consistent and need to get better at doing so. I do enjoy reading your blogs!

In January, we took at trip to Dallas,Texas to visit our good friends Ernie and Deb. It was the first opportunity we had to visit them since they moved from Virginia back in 2010.  First to Colorado then in 2012 to Dallas.  We had a great trip!  When we got back to Virginia, we continued plugging away at our bathroom renovation.  We ran into quite a bit of issues with moisture in the walls, which delayed our progress and with Mitch working night shift (a different schedule every week), it became a drawn out project.  We called in contractors to help with plastering and tile work.  We learned that a bathroom renovation can be much more challenging when trying to save part of what is already existing. We finally got it all done and were thrilled with the results!

Full Bath 2(1)

Full Bath1


To the appreciate the after, you had to see the before.  This bathroom had not been updated since the house was built in 1965.  We did update the doors previous to starting the rest of the renovation.  Took hours for me to paint but the result was worth it.

bathroom 1 1965 house bathroom 2 1965 house

Demo is the fun part!

bathroom 3 1965 house

But can make a huge mess.

bathroom 4 1965 house

Putting it back together is the challenging part.  We tried to salvage the original cast iron tub but we had a rotten sub floor and the only way to get the tub out (it was extremely heavy!) was to break it into three pieces.  I did have a melt down that day when the old tub came out.

But the new tub was nice and fit perfectly so we soldiered on.

bathroom 5 1965 house

Bathroom 7 1965 houseBathroom 6 1965 house

At the same time as our bathroom renovation was coming to completion, we got the exciting and amazing news that Mitch had been offered a job at Texas Instruments!!

We finished the bathroom just in time to put the house on the market and prepare for our big move across the Country!  We had bought our little fixer upper house in February of 2012 and were on the market to sell it on March 12th, 2015.  We had four showings, with a fifth scheduled in the first 48 hours of the house being listed for sale.  Received three offers, selected the best one for us and were under contract in 72 hours!  It was a whirlwind weekend to say the least.  Our move date was April 28th, which meant we had a little bit over a month to find a house in Dallas, Texas, pack and move.  We got it all done in the nic of time!  The day the moving truck arrived, we were still hurriedly packing boxes to put on the truck!!

moving truck

And our small U-Haul for the items we would be devastated if lost during the move.  We had heard bad things about using moving companies and had never used one before so we were a bit nervous!  In the end, we only had one box go missing.

moving day

We are so happy in Texas!  It is a perfect fit for us!  We had been wanting to move to Florida for years, but Texas has won over our hearts.  I lucked out and got transferred with the company I worked for in Richmond to a Cardiac Surgery practice here in Dallas.  After a debacle with the first house we chose in Dallas falling through, we ended up finding the house of our dreams.  Everything fell into place almost perfectly!  We had two minor hiccups……we could not move into our new home until May 16th so we were living in a hotel for 2 weeks and our belongings had to go into storage, but outside of that, everything else worked out perfectly!

We have been in our home for a little over two months now and there are only 2 boxes remaining to unpack.  I think that is pretty good progress in that short of time. :)  I have had so much fun decorating this house!!  The pups have been incredible troopers!  They did amazingly well with the two day trip (driving nine hours) each day across Country, living in a hotel for two weeks, and then settling in to our new home!  Greyhounds are just awesome!!  So awesome!!  They adjusted so quickly and love their new home and yard.  We found the most amazing doggie sitter, Ms. Vicky, and the hounds and we love her!  She is awesome and I love getting her update every day along with pictures and occasionally videos of our pups and how they are doing.

And as me for me, I am loving the warm weather!!  It is warm here, but it is a dry heat with a constant breeze.  It is like the beach minus the water and sand.  Absolutely perfect for me!!

I have not taken many pictures with my good camera since we packed up and moved.  I am getting back into picking up my camera again.  It is still fairly new to me and I have so much to learn!!  But here are a few pics of our new house.  Not great quality, as they were taken with my phone.

new house 1 1978 new house 2 1978 new house 3 1978 new house 4 1978 new house 5 1978 new house 6 1978 new house 7 1978

Since our last post, Pippi celebrated her 10th Birthday and sixth Gotcha Day on February 19th!  Ziva celebrated her 2nd Gotcha Day on July 1st and Cueball celebrated his 12th Birthday on July 16th!

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We are having an awesome 2015, our best year yet!!

Our next post will have lots of hound pictures and some pics of our new home town!  We have a weekend outing planned to try some of the Texas wineries next weekend!!  So happy to be back to blogging again and looking forward to catching up on all your blogs!