Daddy is a Softie


It’s after the holidays, and Daddy is taking a break from packing lights from the Christmas tree. Mommy is catching up with housework since Stephen went back to college. She had a lot of cleaning up to do! Luckily she left her computer in the library so I could sneak in a post.

You may not know this, but my daddy is a softie. Oh yes, some may think he has a rough exterior, because he doesn’t say much, but I get him. He’s a sucker for big eyes. So when he was taking a break and eating some pretzel rods, I knew it was my moment.

I sat in front of him, not too close while he chomped on a pretzel. He ignored me as he watched a show. I sat all prim and proper, good posture, my tail curled cutely to the side. And then I stared. And I stared. And I stared.

OK. Nothing happened, but no one has ever said that Zoena Maria Cucina was a quitter!


I inched a little closer and opened my eyes a bit more to give him that “Oh poor me” look. “I’m so hungry and destitute!”

I can be patient. It’s in my DNA. I watch birds for hours, silently waiting for them to get closer and closer. I lull them into a false sense of security and then I pounce! But I can’t do that with Daddy. He’s not prey of course! Just the pretzel in his hand. I’m such a good girl! Notice me!


Suddenly he does! I wag my tail and shift a little closer. Daddy has the pretzel held out to me. I think he wants me to take it. I come close enough so that I could take it right from him. I latch on, he looks at me, smiles, and then lets go.

Yes! The pretzel is mine!


I could have stayed there all day, but in reality Daddy is such a softie with all the gals in his life that this was a piece of cake (or should I say pretzel!)

Some of my favorite things…

As I languorously soak in the heat of the roaring fire, I revel in the warmth and joy of having Stephen home. 

Mommy has been very busy this fall. She has been coming and going so much. I’m not too shy to say that I miss her. You would think that I’d have more chances to write, but I’ve had a dry period. 

Today she is at a yoga class. But before I could sneak away to her computer, Stephen lounged in the library and turned on the gas stove. I was drawn by the fire and lulled into a state of euphoria as I cozied up to Stephen. 

I didn’t worry about what I would write or whether Dakota was chewing on my favorite bone. Rather I enjoyed my quiet time with my human brother. It had been almost three months since Stephen came home. Sleeping in his room when he was gone felt cold and lonely. 

When he came home, Dakota shot out first and enjoyed his reunion with his best bud. I know DK has a special place in Stephen’s heart, but something happened this time that brought us closer together. 

Stephen and I connected, and it didn’t stop at our reunion. We have been sleeping in late and cuddling more. So when Stephen sat on the floor with me, I was encased in a warm cocoon of love. How lucky am I to be surrounded by so much love and recognize it?

Having Stephen home has also slowed Mommy down so that she is soaking in these moments, these heart-growing memories that  get us through the times of separation. 

So my favorite things–warm fires or the hot sun on my fur, cuddling up with my loved ones, and yes, tricking Dakota into giving up a bone so I can eat it–keep me in the moments when I feel the love of my family. That’s a lot to be thankful for, and I hope that everyone takes the time to not only spend time with those you love, but also recognize the gift. 

How sweet it is!!

Smarter Than I Knew!

Summertime, Summertime! It’s so difficult to keep up with my writing when I want to bask in the hot July sun. But I always have to take any opportunity to get on the computer. Mommy is outside and although she isn’t basking in the sun, she is enjoying the warmth while pruning her tomatoes. Nanny would be so proud!

I joke about Dakota (DK) and how he leads a simple life and sometimes can appear to be simpler than we think. This photo reflects his inability to learn as Dakota will salivate and try to bite a brick when he sees a shadow. No matter how many times Mommy tells him to stop, he just can’t help himself.


As you know, DK absolutely loves balls. He will chase balls for hours and as I blogged before, he is relentless trying to get people to throw balls for him. A couple years ago Daddy bought a GoDogGo Remote Fetch system so DK could have balls tossed his way over and over and over again. It was a great idea, but no matter how hard he tried, DK could not learn to put the ball back into the bucket.

Remember how DK always places the ball behind someone sitting outside? Read my last blog for that one. Well, Daddy in his infinite wisdom decided to place his chair next to the fetch system so that instead of placing the ball behind Daddy, he would place them in the bucket. Guess what? He did it! At least for a few times. Then instead of putting the ball in the bucket, he put it in the front where the ball shoots out. Hey, whatever works right! What a happy dog he is now and I’ll give him credit for being smart!

Relentless Passion

Happy Summer! 

Momma is lounging on her new swing outside. Now is my chance to use her computer. 

Passion. It’s what moves us to action, gets us off our dog bed, and inspires us to try. People may look at me and laughing say, “Ha! There’s Zoey wasting her life away watching the grass grow. There’s nothing out there.” 

They don’t know what’s inside me. I am meant to hunt and protect. Our backyard is my territory. It’s where my family relaxes and enjoys life. I have their back. 

You may think I’m twiddling my paws (really how can I even do that). But I’m observing the movements in the trees and the grass. I scent changes in the air: a bonfire, food on the grill, or a neighbor’s cologne. I feel the vibrations in the earth. I hear the teeniest tiniest swish of a tail or the wiggle of whiskers. This is my passion. This is who I am. 

Everyone has their own passion; as unique as they are. 

Take Dakota. He leads a simple and happy life. He is relentless and tenacious in his pursuit of . . . his ball. 

He will sneak that slimy, gross, and poop-covered ball behind an unsuspecting visitor and wait until the ooze seeps into the back of their pants. Today he was putting his ball in Nanny’s plant bin. 

They don’t really want to throw it. They just want to get it away from them. 
But then the ever determined DK has them in his four paws. He brings it back knowing that eventually they will break down again. 

Now that is true passion! Embrace yours!


Hey there, readers! Zoey is in the house and  Momma is not! She is teaching her kids’s writing class at the library. 

I was basking in the warm spring sun when she left. I reluctantly popped upstairs to her office. Luckily she left her computer on her chair. She has copies of her latest book on the floor because she is doing her final edits before sending it to editors. 

Made it easy for me to type! Well now to the exciting stuff! Daddy was home with me and Dakota this weekend. Mommy was away. It was beautiful out. Nutmeg, the ginger brown puppy next door, was barking at me and wagging her tail. 

She is 9 months old and we have met close up a couple times, but haven’t played together yet.

Daddy took off my electric collar and tried to get me to walk over to her. No way! I wasn’t getting zapped! Then he put on my leash and led me to the front lawn to cross over. I pressed my paws into the ground in desperation. No!!!!

Finally he walked me onto the road and up their drive. Then he removed my leash. Nutmeg was excited. I growled a little just to let her know who was boss. Kind of like I did when we first got Dakota. 

When she ran into her yard I followed. I thought I may as well enjoy myself and ran with her. We actually had a great time! 

She’s little so I had to be careful. She didn’t jump on me like Dakota does.

Finally we were exhausted and lay on the floor in their garage. 

I came home and of course Dakota was all over me, sniffing here and there. He wasn’t happy, and I don’t blame him. I hope he can eventually chill and be nice to other dogs. We could have so many play dates!

When Mommy came home, daddy told her all about it, and she was so happy. They took the three of us for a walk. Dakota kept a wary eye on Nutmeg but behaved. 

I can’t wait for another day to hang with Nutmeg! Some day she’ll be able to come to my yard!

They’re Back!

Oh my nails are tapping on the keyboard this morn! I didn’t get a chance to write because Mommy took her laptop and phone with her to Miami! Who does that?

Mommy is upstairs getting ready for a Books and Lunch event through the library and guess what they are talking about?! Blogging! I think I should have been invited! But I know she’s got this!


I always know when Mommy and Daddy are going on a trip. The clothes fly out of the closet. Mommy is extremely focused on getting her work done. The house gets really cleaned!

It’s hard for Dakota and me to know how long they will be gone. We don’t have that human concept of time. They walk out the door, we play, sleep, and eat. 

When someone else comes to let us out, we know for sure they are away. Then each time that garage door goes up, we hope that it’s our family coming home. 

I admit there is always this fear that I have been deserted once again. Not deemed good enough to be loved. But it’s a fleeting wisp of self-doubt. 

When Mommy and Daddy come home, I wiggle and flash my biggest smile again. All is right in my world. I know without a doubt, Dakota and I are loved. 

Just next time leave the computer home!!