Annie, Louie, and Sparky on the porch of the cabin in Munds Park

I finally got a new photo for my column that shows both of my dogs.  Some friends thought I was slighting Louie because he wasn’t in the other photo. I assure you Louie never had a clue.

Sparky, the larger dog, is a shitzu-poodle and almost twelve years old. I’ve had him since he was a puppy. He grew up with other dogs, both large and small. Louie is a bichon-poodle mix, nine years old, and I’ve had him a year. He was rescued twice in his life. I love my dogs BUT. . .

I know that they are dogs and treat them as pets, not people. Among my friends with dogs, I am definitely in the minority. Most of them treat their dogs as people. The distinguishing factor is that I do not plan my life around my dogs. I feed my dogs dry food. They’re on “free feed” which means the food is always out. They don’t abuse this. They do get dog treats, but sparingly. Many of my friends feed their dogs people food. A few actually cook the dogs’ meals!

When I’m in Scottsdale, my dogs are very easy to manage. I have a doggie door onto my back patio. If I’m away all day, they don’t have to wait for me to relieve themselves. My job is mostly cuddling and petting them. In return they are deliriously happy whenever I get home. We give each other unconditional love.

In Munds Park I don’t have a doggie door so I give them two long walks a day, with added pee breaks during the day. These long walks are scheduled in the morning by them, usually about 6 a.m. The afternoon walk is scheduled according to my activities. Many of my friends plan their days around their dogs’ meals and walks.

In 2007, when I went to teach in China for ten weeks, I left Sparky with my trusted friend Elissa, who lives in Sun City. Sparky is a great dog but he has a talent that I do not appreciate. His nickname is “Houdini” because he is a great escape artist. After a week or two, the Sun City Posse was acquainted with Sparky and knew where to return him, sometimes before Elissa ever knew he was gone.

I’m currently dog-sitting for Elissa’s dog, Lila, a two and a half year-old schnoodle. Her hair is so soft, it feels like velour. She definitely gets enough petting from me in her owner’s absence. We worked on house-training the last time she visited and I’m proud to announce that she’s finally got it. She gets along and plays well with Sparky and Louie. I’m trying to break both her and Louie from barking at people and dogs we pass, but I can’t manage a squirting water bottle with the three leashes and a poop bag,

By the way, what’s the etiquette of waving while dog walking? Is it impolite to use the hand that’s holding the poop bag to give the Munds Park wave to people in passing cars?


Check out Annie’s website at  Her novel, Reinvented Lives, is available

Annie, Louie, and Sparky on the porch of the cabin in Munds Park

d on .



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