Russell Blake started his online Pet Wall to honor his own wondrous dog, Lobo. The book, An Angel With Fur, came pouring out as the story of how Lobo adopted Russell, which began one fine day while visiting an animal shelter in Mexico. If you have ever loved a pet, and most of us have, I guarantee the story will lift and then break your heart in equal measure. The honest, raw, naturalistic writing of Russell Blake brought me right into Lobo’s story; the book shows Lobo as an equally strong influence on someone who had never imagined how taking care of a pet could be a life-changing event. Blake captures and puts this moment, and much more, on ePaper.
Zippy’s shot at stardom began with a spot on Russell Blake’s Pet Wall. Please go to the Pet Wall at Russell’s website and check out all the stories about pets and their owners posted there. There’s even a snake named Fluffy!
Zippy’s still on his journey. He remains a farm dog. He helps with the chores around the place by following the lawn mower; he runs up when I’m unloading grass, coming from acres away, for a treat. After a storm, he pulls wind-blown branches, some twice his size, out of the canals and the lake, and takes them to the burn pile. He doesn’t love the blue heron we’ve named Lyda Blue Heron — a shout-out to a wonderful niece of the same name — and when he startles Lyda Blue Heron he chases her, racing around the lake pathways. Lyda just flies, crying out with her tell-tale prehistoric shriek of irritation, up into a tall cedar or spruce tree to survey new territory.
A little over five years ago, while caring for my two senior mutts, Myrtle and Lucille, I spotted a long-haired German Shepherd at the vets and couldn’t stop thinking about how regal and bear-like the breed is. I went home, researched, and found Tracy’s website online. Tracy Bullinger’s been breeding top show and police/guard German Shepherds for going on three decades. Her compound was only an hour away from my San Juan Island home across the border in Canada. My partner and I adopted Zippy and he was skillfully trained to be calm and present by Myrtle and Lucille for the next two years before they passed on. He now herds our two cats Ajax the Gray and Eartha Kitt’n, who, possibly in cahoots with Lyda Blue Heron, annoy him to no end. Zippy is also the unofficial Anacortes Seahawks High School tennis team mascot going on five years now since he was a puppy. The kids think he’s a bear too. Zippy hates clowns. He steals their noses, and then runs far away. He loves children, deep massages, organic food, Vivaldi concertos, and long walks in the park.