Three, Again


My heart was broken this past August. I was gutted by Tucker‘s death. He was my heart dog, one very special soul whom I will miss until I depart this earth. I have been grieving for him since his diagnosis back in March.

With my sweet terrier gone, there was a dog-shaped hole in my life. And while I can never replace Tucker—nor any of the other animals I’ve lived with—I feel his absence loudly and viscerally. 

As do the rest of my family. Lilah and Jasper often sit in Tucker’s favorite spot in the back yard. And while Lilah doesn’t look for him as often as  did the first few weeks, both she and Jasper seem so much more subdued these days. 

Three out of my four cats probably don’t care, but Calvin misses his buddy. He comes into my bedroom and wanders around, wondering where his Tucker is and why he’s not on the bed.

So, it’s not surprising, really, that I did some window shopping on and I wasn’t really intending to “buy.” But in my free moments, instead of scrolling through Facebook or mindlessly turning virtual cards over in the solitaire app on my iPhone, I would hop onto one of those adoption sites, and sort for a dog that was small or medium in size, good with other dogs and cats, and that was a puppy, young, or an adult.

I half-heartedly applied for a few. At first, it was just to see if I could do it, if I could fill out the application and not collapse into a ball of sobbing heartbreak. Then, I began to be invested in a couple dogs that seemed like a good fit.

One was a supposedly bonded pair of a male Border Collie and female Chihuahua mix. I thought it’s like buy one, get a half of one for free—and I know that two dogs are harder to place than just one. Besides, I have a habit of adopting pets in twos: Lilah and Jasper, Dawn and Athena, Calvin and Elsa Clair. But the rescue organization split the pair, aftering deciding they weren’t really bonded, and adopted out the Border Collie. And while they offered me the Chihuahua, I didn’t think she’d be what I thought Lilah and Jasper needed. 

I applied for a beagle / corgi mix from a different agency. She was adorable. Never heard back. 

Even though I’m a sucker for a scruffy face, I was not looking for a terrier. My first terrier, Rosie, died of cancer when she was four. Tucker died of cancer when he was eight. Too. Damn. Young. I was not going to do that again. 

But, as I kept applying, I realized I wanted a dog who could bring some joy into our lives. I was drawn to breeds and breed mixes that are known for that. Lilah is part Border Collie; I thought maybe another dog something like her, but with less of her fears, would be fun.

I also wanted a smaller dog. I hated the fact that I couldn’t carry Tucker by myself. At 63 pounds, he was too heavy. When he wasn’t feeling well and needed to be carried, I had to turn to someone else to help, and I felt horrible that I couldn’t do that one thing for him. I worry about that with my 74-pound princess moosehound, Jasper.

A posting from the Big Dog Rescue Project for a Border Collie / terrier mix caught my interest. Her foster name was “Bessie” and she looked like a Border Collie, with long black and white fur—and just a touch of scruff. I applied for her, and when I hadn’t heard back in a while, I wrote her off. 



That’s when I began to realize that you had to be fast—first in line to get the dog you really wanted. And I wasn’t sure about what dog I really wanted, and if I really wanted a dog, and if now was a good time to adopt a dog and if there would ever be a good time to adopt a dog, and maybe I should accept the quiet, somber, less complicated life my husband and I were leading and not even bother looking. 

Then I received an email from Leslie from the Big Dog Rescue Project. Bessie had been adopted, she wrote, but her siblings Lynda and Miss Piggy were still available if I was interested. They were friendly and affectionate and according to the foster in Texas, they were good with cats, having ignored her kitty.

Leslie sent pictures.



Miss Piggy

Miss Piggy

That week I wasn’t feeling well. I grind my teeth at night when I’m stressed, and the cumulative stress of the past several months—including my grief—combined to not only break a temporary cap, but someone I managed to bite my tongue so hard in my sleep that the dentist thought it looked like what happens when people almost bite through their tongues in a car accident. It was exceptionally painful, and I could barely eat or to talk. Words that begin with T or J (like Jasper) nearly made me cry.

I looked at the pictures Leslie sent and thought, nope. Piggy looked like a lab. She was going to be too big. And Lynda? (Strange name for a puppy, am I right?) She looked like a terrier. 

And I did not want to go down that path again.

So I replied to Leslie, telling her I wasn’t feeling well and it wasn’t the right time, and Brian and I were in the middle of things (It’s VNA Rummage sale time again!) and I just didn’t think it would work out. I told her what I was looking for in a dog in case she encountered one like I was looking for—not just the physical characteristics but a dog who would bring a bouyancy, a playful spark of life, to our home. But as for Bessie’s two sisters, I don’t think now is the right time. Thanks!

That night, I couldn’t get Lynda out of my mind. 

Because, you see, she looked like so many of my past and present dogs all rolled up into one: Twinkle, the beagle / poodle mix of my childhood; Rosie, my first terrier, Tucker (that face, that beard, those eyes), and Lilah.

Dogs of yesterday from Life with Dogs and Cats: Twinkle (1969-1980)

Twinkle, dog of my childhood, a beagle poodle mix.

Rosie in box with ducky spring 2007

Rosie. She loved to go in boxes. Check out the white on her chest.

Tucker as a puppy, first day home.

Tucker as a puppy, first day home.

Young Lilah

Young Lilah

By morning, I was a mess.

Then I looked on Facebook, where Leslie had posted more pictures of the puppy.

"Lynda" running in her foster family's yard. ©Joseph Frazz photography

“Lynda” running in her foster family’s yard. ©Joseph Frazz photography

"Lynda" being cute. ©Joseph Frazz photography

“Lynda” being cute. ©Joseph Frazz photography

"Lynda" peeking around a tree.

“Lynda” peeking around a tree. ©Joseph Frazz photography

I wrote Leslie, telling her that I couldn’t sleep with thinking about the puppy, and maybe I do need to meet her after all, and here are pictures of the dogs she reminds me of.

And when can I see her?

The rest is, as they say, history. Or her story. 

At Leslie’s house that day—to no surprise—I fell in love with “Lynda.” (First thing Leslie’s husband said to me when I came to meet the puppy was, “You gotta change her name.”) Leslie told me that when she read my description of what I was looking for in a dog, she thought “Lynda” would be perfect. We set up a time where Brian could meet the puppy the following Monday—and of course I went along. 

By the end of that visit, both my husband and I were head over paws. 

We arranged with Leslie to bring “Lynda”—yes, we were changing her name—to our home. If Lilah and Jasper were good with her, the puppy would stay; she’d join our family. I knew the cats would take time; even if Temporarily Lynda was good with another cat, I know my kitties would take some time getting used to her.

I have no pictures or videos of those first moments between Lilah and Jasper and our new puppy; I was too focused on making sure it went well. Priorities.

And of course it did. Both Lilah and Jasper had some explaining to do about whose house it was, and what the rules were (don’t jump), and the little one pleasantly agreed by showing some sweet belly. 

All was good. 

Leslie spent some time with us, as I asked her about the dog’s health, and what she knew about her background. I wondered if whoever adopted the other two puppies would be amenable to getting together; I’ve never been able to do that with my previous dogs, and I thought it would be fun. 

I signed some papers. Then Leslie gave the puppy a pet and a kiss. 

And she left.

And the puppy was ours. 

I felt like her name should somehow reflect at least some of the dogs she reminded me of. Think Twinkle, Twinkle little star (our beagle / poodle). My sweet Tucker was portended by a comet, and Lilah means “night” in Hebrew.  In my mind, our newest family member should relate to something celestial, like stars or planets or constellations. 

So let me introduce Halley—after Halley’s Comet. (I’ll admit I had to look up to confirm the pronunciation. Halley rhymes with “alley” not “daily.”) 

More will come about her first days here and how everyone is acclimating to the puppy comet’s arrival. (Hint: the cats haven’t signed off on it yet, but we’re making progress.)

In the meantime, get ready for some capital C Cute.



Hally on her bed looking cute

Hally on her bed looking cute

Halley posing by the petunias.

Halley posing by the petunias.

Halley and me

Halley and me

Halley and Brian

Halley and Brian

Jasper and Halley sharing a bed outside

Jasper and Halley sharing a bed outside

Halley and Lilah share a sniff

Halley and Lilah share a sniff.

Look how small she is compared to Lilah and Jasper.

Look how small she is compared to Lilah and Jasper.

No, she's not spoiled. Not at all.

No, she’s not spoiled. Not at all.

I lost track of Halley for a moment, and then I found her on one of the chairs.

I lost track of Halley for a moment, and then I found her on one of the chairs.

That face.

That face.


This is her "I don't feel like moving" passive resistance pose. Cuteness work

This is her “I don’t feel like moving” passive resistance pose. Cuteness works.

She's so small. Those are my boots.

She’s so small. Those are my boots.

She knows how to turn up the adorability factor. To 11.

She knows how to turn up the adorability factor. To 11.

Look into these eyes

Look into these eyes.

Halley, the newest member of the Life with Dogs and Cats family.

Halley, the newest member of the Life with Dogs and Cats family.

16 Comments on "Three, Again"

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  1. OMC – she is adorable!! Congrats and welcome Halley. We know the cats (or maybe at least Calvin) will come around eventually.

  2. Brian Frum says:

    Such a totally adorable cutie, welcome home sweet Halley!!!

  3. databbiesotrouttowne says:

    oh em dawg !!! happee gotcha day halley N welcome knot onlee ta yur for everz home but ta blog land az well !!! we iz buzzed happee for yur mom N dad….♥♥♥♥♥♥♥☺☺☺☺☺☺☺ we look for werd ta heerin bout all de trubull yur gonna get in two !!!

    signed: sum catz =^,.^=

  4. Welcome Halley! We know you’ll never replace Tucker, but you will help ease the sadness that your new mom and dad are feeling.

  5. Chirpy Cats says:

    I sooooo enjoy reading your posts! I hope Calvin will find some comfort soon and take to having a new buddy. And I hope that Hally will fill even just a little bit of that dog shaped hole in your heart. Sending hugs. xx

  6. Edith Chase says:

    Welcome Halley! You have found a great forever home. 💕

  7. suzanprincess says:

    Congratulations Susan and Brian on your so-cute new daughter! The celestial spark Halley surely is the perfect joyful addition to your grieving family. (I was sure you wouldn’t wait long before offering your love to another dog in need of a good home. It doesn’t diminish your loss, but opens another avenue for love.)

  8. The photo of Halley curled up on the chair made me smile. When Cupcake came home to be adopted, I lost track of her and that’s where I found her, on a chair cushion in our kitchen, just like that.

  9. Joy says:

    Congratulations on the new addition. I know it is bittersweet but our Emma and Tucker would want us to have happiness. Everything comes along for a reason which means Olivia and Lynda were meant for us. I cry over Olivia a lot, but she doesn’t mind. I wouldn’t trade her for the world, but she doesn’t do much to take away my sadness over losing Emma. Enjoy your sweet new baby! I’m truly happy for you!

  10. Charles Huss says:

    I am glad Linda/Hallie found a great home with loving pawrents.

  11. Welcome, Halley! I didn’t realize how tiny she was until I saw her next to Jasper. Maybe Calvin will make a new best friend? Not that any dog could replace Tucker … but different is pretty awesome too when it comes to best friends. Halley certainly looks like she owns the place already!

  12. Mary McNeil says:

    We are sure Tucker is smiling !

  13. meowmeowmans says:

    Welcome home, sweet and adorable Halley. You are a special girl, and you totally found the most special family.

  14. I could not resist that face. No way!

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