Mille the ranch pug

Millie the Ranch Dog
Forum Communication

I think it’s time for a little update on Millie the Christmas puppy. Remember her?

The tiny black pug Santa dropped on our doorstep for the girls to love on and put in the baby doll stroller? Well, she’s grown into a fine addition to what is looking more and more like the Veeder Ranch petting zoo every day. Add a couple goats and a llama to our collection of ponies, dogs, cows and kittens and we could take this show on the road.

But don’t book us for any early appearances. Millie doesn’t wake up for the day until about 10 or 11. I know because she barks at us from her pillow fortress on the end of our 4-year-old’s bed.

Why does she bark at us? The jump down is too high, of course. Same as the jump up to the couch when anyone in this house thinks they’re going to be relaxing alone. Oh, the pug hates to see it. At the first sign of feet up and arms stretched behind a head, the little dog flees her pink fluffy bed to rescue you from loneliness on the couch. If only you could just give her a little boost…

And that’s what pugs are supposed to do. Lounge. And snuggle. And snore. But Millie’s multifaceted. Versatile. Complex. Put her in a box? She will shred it. Give her a squeaky toy, she prefers horse poop.

Seriously. Lord help us, it’s one of her favorite treasures. Good thing there’s plenty around the ranch for her collection by the front door, along with the dead snake, mouse guts and Barbie Doll head. Such a welcome site for visitors and the UPS man. Bonus, it makes her breath and farts completely intolerable.

Now that I think of it, Millie’s taste for dried up road apples could be her way of roughing up her fluffy edges so that she can properly fit in around here as a bona fide cattle dog.

If you’ve ever wondered if there’s a way to stop a pug chasing a trail of cattle over the hill toward your poor, unsuspecting mother, the answer is no. There’s not. At least I haven’t found the command yet, and boy have we practiced.

So we have some work to do on this cow dog thing for sure, but do you know what ranch pugs are really good at? Picking up cactuses and getting lost in the long grass. They’re perfectly low to the ground for things like that.

Millie proved it on our walk across the home pasture to admire the changing leaves the other day. One minute she was frolicking with the big dogs, the next, she’s nowhere to be found, turning my half-hour stroll into a one-hour search to find out what hole she might have fallen into.

Turns out she didn’t fall in a hole, but she did pick up a few little cactuses. And so she gave up on walking for the evening of course, and there she was, waiting for someone to rescue her by the fence post.

I don’t blame her. There’ve been plenty of times in my life out here that I’ve wanted to just wait by a fence post for someone to carry me home.

And so I scooped her up, Baywatch style, and we made the half-mile trek back to the house. If she were a true cow dog, she’d be humiliated, but she relaxed right into the role she was made for. Snuggling, owning us all and being heavier than she looks.

If you need us, we’ll be wrangling the cats, feeding the ponies and shopping for llamas to add to the Veeder Ranch petting zoo.

Peace, Love and Pugs,


Oh Christmas Pug, Oh Christmas Pug…

The Christmas pug
Forum Communications


Holiday magic. It’s 6:30 a.m. the day after Christmas and I’m in it up to my ankles here at the ranch, dodging unwrapped boxes, doll strollers, toy kitchen utensils and half-eaten candy canes, bleary eyed and still full from last night’s supper on my way to the coffeepot.

And now, holiday magic is chewing on the slipper that’s attached to my foot. And although it tickles, it’s a better plan than the doll-sized plastic sunglasses I just extracted from her tiny jaws while the rest of the house sleeps.

Because, OK, OK, I’m up, I’m up. And, you guessed it, holiday magic is a puppy.


Actually, her name is Millie Sunny Elizabeth Scofield. She’s a tiny 8-week-old pug, and I am officially insane.

But I figure, at this point, with a 2-year-old and a 4-year-old taking turns strapping her into the doll stroller, I’m surrounded by so much cute and chaos that maybe no one will notice. And if they do, I’ll just tell them that she was cuter than a Roomba.


And there’s no turning back now. Because, oh I had to do it.


In my other life, I had a pug. His name was Chug. My husband brought him home to me at a pretty low time in our infertility journey, and Chug lifted my spirits by incessantly licking my face and peeing in my husband’s boots.


When we moved to the ranch, Chug, being the furthest creature from a ranch dog there is, tried his paw at it anyway. I once watched him fiercely chase a bull out of our yard at my husband’s command and retrieve a pheasant out of a field, so you could say he was confident.


So confident he even took on a porcupine, which took out one of his eyes. I think that’s what convinced the rig worker that took him that he was homeless or pathetic enough to need rescuing the day he went missing. I guess most people don’t expect a one-eyed pug to be wandering around 30 miles from town, but Chug the pug always knew how to pull at the heartstrings.


ARCHIVE: Read more of Jessie Veeder’s Coming Home columns

Almost three years after his mysterious disappearance, I heard through the grapevine that our one-eyed pug was living in Dickinson, 60 miles from the ranch. He’d found himself living with another couple trying to start a family.They called him Captain, made him wear a life jacket on their boat and kept him full of love, affection and plenty of treats.

I went to see him when I was pregnant with my first daughter and judging by his healthy waistline, it was clear he was just fine in his new home. By that time, I had processed his absence, and so I thought perhaps it was sweet serendipity that he found his way to a family that needed him the same way we needed him all those years ago.

But I couldn’t help but wonder if he ever peed in their boots…

Chug 3

Anyway, that’s the saga of Chug the pug. And as for Millie Sunny Elizabeth Scofield? Well, you can tell by her name that her story with us is already quite a bit different in all the same ways our lives have changed since Chug came into our lives.

And so she’s fitting in just fine so far, in her bed under the Christmas tree and the seat of the doll stroller and in the arms of my children who will have her as a lesson in responsibility and tenderness, patience and poop-scooping and from now on I will never know if they ate all their supper of if it was the pug.

Now I’ve gotta run. The kids are stirring and the tiny pug is dragging a Christmas shoe that is three times her size across the floor.

Sending you love and a wish to keep the warm, snuggly feeling of Christmas on into the new year.

From Lost to Found: A Pug Story


Search “Chug the Pug” on this blog and you will find countless entries on this little black bean of a dog that came into our lives to help us through a rough patch, and then continued on his merry way,

peeing in my husband’s shoes, losing an eye to a porcupine, snuggling up with the kittens,

chasing bulls out of the yard, showing up the bird dogs with his pheasant retrieval skills, snoring, snorting, howling and just all around creating hilarious chaos and merriment wherever he went.

He was a character in our lives out here at the ranch, one I loved to torture by dressing him up in a Santa suit and making him pose for countless photos.

A lap dog by breeding, Chug the Pug hated to miss out on an opportunity for adventure, proving time and time again that there are no limits, just mind-set.

Dogs on the boat

Chug the Pug, my search partner

My new readers may not have heard about our chubby little one-eyed pet because about a year and a half ago Chug decided to make his rounds to the nearest rigs and oil sites around our ranch to meet his neighbors, get his belly scratched and feast on table scraps and the occasional steak while he waited for us to come and find him.

It was a problem for us, all the kindness he was shown on these rigs, because it meant more wandering for an animal who could previously be trusted to stay within the safe limits of the farm yard.

And it meant that one day, when we went to retrieve him, he was nowhere to be found.

After a couple months of my husband taking daily trips up and down the highway, passing our name around to oil field workers who move in and off site by the days and hours, and checking with neighbors, I finally decided that Chug the Pug had likely hitched a ride with a lonely trucker and was sitting shot gun with a bandana around his head an his tongue hanging out the window, off to find a bigger adventure.

I liked that story better than any alternative. It helped me come to terms with the fact that I’d never see him again. 

And that’s the way that it was… that was the story I’d tell…

Until a couple weeks ago when I found out the rest of the story….


Coming Home: Lost dog finds his way to the right home
by Jessie Veeder
Forum Communications

I sat behind the desk at my office and picked up the ringing phone. Young and determined, we were in our third year of marriage, had just moved back to our home state, just lost our first pregnancy and were chin deep in renovating our first home in an attempt to get our grown-up story on track. 

For two years our lives were covered in sawdust, paint and power tools. We worked during the day and in the evening we re-seeded the lawn, built a new staircase, laid carpet and lost two more pregnancies along the way.

You need to take out a wall? Get your hammer and break it down.

You want a baby? There wasn’t a doctor in the state at the time that could give us the blueprint for that.

When I picked up the phone that day, I heard my husband say, “I just saw a poster. There are pug puppies for sale. Little black ones,” he said. “I’m going to call.”

So he called. And two weeks later he brought home a little black smush of a puppy with a pink tongue and curly, wiggly tail.

Because we needed a distraction. Something else to love.

Fast-forward through six years filled with home renovations, new jobs, three more lost pregnancies, and a move out to the ranch, and that little pug became the star of our lives and the stories on my blog, his cow-chasing, raccoon-wrangling, porcupine-fighting adventures winning over the hearts of my readers across the country.

Until a year and a half ago when he decided to explore a rig over the hill from our house and didn’t come home. When my husband’s nightly searches didn’t yield any answers, I came to terms with the fact that I would never see Chug the pug again.

Until last week when I looked down at my phone and found a message from a stranger staring back at me.

“I think we have your dog Chug. Our friend found him on a rig and brought him home. It selfishly breaks my heart to message you but I just read your blog and I knew I had to … you can call me …”

I couldn’t believe my eyes.

I dialed the number.

“He just loves cats,” she said.

“I know,” I said.

“And he loves to go out on the boat and swim … We bought him a life jacket … The neighbors adore him. He sleeps in our bed with us … he’s well loved …”

And then the line went quiet. Two strangers, 60 miles apart, connected by an animal, each with her own bond, not knowing where to go from here.

So we made plans to meet up the next day. I would be through Dickinson on my way home from my 20-week ultrasound, halfway through a pregnancy we never thought we’d know with the chance to see the dog that helped us through the worst of things.

I anxiously knocked on the door and was greeted by a woman about my age, a tiny little yorkie and a one-eyed, barrel-chested black pug with a little extra squish around the middle.

I reached down to scratch his chin and pull on his soft ears, and he looked up at me, as well-loved as a dog could be.

I looked at the woman with her clasped hands and nervous smile. She invited me in, introduced me to her friends who had gathered for moral support or to be witness to this uncommon story, and we all started gushing about this small world, missed opportunities and how my online documentation of Chug led her friend to help find me.

And then there was that silence again.

She spoke.

“I contacted you because if it was my dog I would want to know what happened to him. This is a tough situation, but …. we can’t have children, and these dogs are like our kids.”

I looked at Chug rolling around with the yorkie on the floor, then down at my growing belly and back at the woman whose struggle for a family was all too familiar and fresh in my mind.

“Maybe he came into your life for a reason,” I said.

Judging by the sighs in the room and the tears in my eyes, I think we all agreed.

And so the decision was made. I said my goodbyes and pointed my car toward a life we could only dream of when we first called that little dog ours.

A girl needs a dog

So off you go, Pug…

Some of you have asked what has become of the pug, noticing his absence from the spotlight on these pages.

The truth is, I have been wondering the same thing for a few months now.

Because a few months ago, the pug went missing.

And I’m afraid that this time it’s for good.

Now, you’ve heard the stories of Chug the Pug’s tendencies to hike to Mom and Pops’ to visit his girlfriend, or to the nearest oil rig to see what the guys have cooking in terms of food and a warm cushy spot in the campers for him to lay and receive an unlimited amount of belly rubs from nice guys who think he’s been orphaned.

The pug, with his one eye and all, was really good at convincing those who didn’t know better that he was pathetic. But he wasn’t. He was self-sufficient. A big dog in a compact body, tortured by the limitations of his physique.

He was a pooch on a mission to sucker you into letting him on the couch, right after you witnessed him dragging a dead squirrel into the yard.

He was a wish granted to me from my husband after a particularly tough year where things appeared to be coming together, but I was falling apart.

And so he found a flyer on the bulletin board of the gas station in a small town as he was passing through. A picture of a dozen tiny black pugs in the arms of woman.

For Sale.

He was sold.

And so he brought him home to a woman under a quilt on the couch, recovering from a surgery that was meant to help her become a mother, the first of many experiments that have dissected and disappointed.

The pug was a way to take the edge off.

And he did.

Get home from a shit day at work? Watch the pug steal the stick from the lab.

Sick on the couch with the flu? The pug’ll keep your feet warm.

Grumpy because the world is annoying? Laugh at the pug barking at the dogs on TV.

Frustrated on how some things just don’t go as planned? Howl it out.

When I was a little girl we had a cow dog who had puppies and I rescued the runt. And then the runt went missing right as winter set in. I was a kid fresh out of Bible Camp and so I prayed every night that the tiny puppy would come back.

I searched for her in every culvert, old building, tall grass and hole on the place.

I cried and worried and wondered where she could be

And then one day the snow kicked in and I had sort of given up hope, dragging my sled to the hill up the road, and that little puppy jumped out from behind a rock, right toward me. A prayer answered.

Now, that puppy was sick from the start, so a week or so on her own didn’t do her any favors and she didn’t make it much longer, no matter how hard my dad tried to warm her and medicate and bring her back to life. But regardless, I sort of held on to the memory of that little border collie running back to me for the first month of our search for the damn pug, because, well, you just never know.

Every night on his way home from work, Husband would stop at a rig asking about the little black dog. We called the neighbors to keep an eye out. We drove around, up and down the roads, checked the ditches, hollered his name.

I would come down the drive expecting that one of these days he would decide his adventure was done and it was time to take his place on the rug on the floor by my chair.

He hasn’t come home yet.

And I don’t think he will now. It’s just been too long.

The pug is no longer mine. I say that, but I don’t suppose he ever really was. A creature is his own creature, we just take care of them the best we can when we decide on the job.

I’m glad I had the job. I wish I had done better.

I miss the little guy, but I can’t help but think of him tucked under the arm of a tender hearted roughneck, a guy who found a stray and took him home to lay at the foot of his daughter’s bed.

Or maybe he’s running with a pack of coyotes, howling at the moon at night, being wild inside that block of an unfortunate body.

Or he could be riding shotgun with a trucker along these backroads hauling water or crude, a bandana around his neck, his head hanging out the window, ears flapping in the breeze.

Or maybe he’s out saving stray and wandering cats. He’s always been good with cats.

Pug and Kitten

There’s no evidence to the contrary on any of these scenarios, so I’ll just leave it at that and say goodbye now pug.

You helped me through. I’m gonna be fine now.

So off you go…

The Pug: A Christmas Montage

Well, it’s official.

Chug the Pug has outgrown his Santa Suit.

He’s full grown now after all.

An old man.

Five years old.

As you can see it hasn’t stopped me from forcing him to wear it.


For all of the times I’ve chased his ass out into Prairie Dog Town, down the road to a rig, over to Mom and Pops where he’s visiting his girlfriend, for all the barf I’ve cleaned up and farts I’ve endured, and for that unmentionable time, you know, with the cat… this is his yearly penance.

Oh, take it like a man…

That and the Halloween Pirate Hat.

So I suppose it’s no wonder his chest got a little too broad, his belly a solid barrel of meaty muscle pushing the hem of that funny little suit I bought when he was much younger, cuter, had two whole eyeballs and was less defiant.

It’s all that damn running around. Those hills and coulees.  All that death defying has created quite a physique.

So stand still pug. Don’t look at me like that. This is the least you can do for me for all the trouble you’ve caused.

For all the leftover bacon I fed you.

For pug sized muddy footprints you leave on my newly mopped floor, miraculously in the middle of winter where there’s no mud in sight.

For that weird, unidentifiable animal you drug to my doorstep just in time for the UPS man’s delivery.

So smile.

Because this is your Christmas suit montage.

Christmas Pug

Pug in glasses

You’re welcome world.

Peace, Love and Christmas Pugs!



I’ve been meaning to tell you some things about the pug. You’re all so supportive of him, the dog who, despite his sins and misadventures, still somehow finds a way to sleep on the couch.

Anyway, I figured you might be wondering how he’s been adjusting to this new life in his new home over the hill.

I’ll tell you, at times, it hasn’t been pretty…

And sometimes, his ear does this.

I’m guessing it’s probably due to the wind whipping through his fur as his short, stubby legs take his barrel shaped body across the pasture to try his luck at hunting down this guy:

Nope, not much has changed. Despite the new four walls the pudgy canine is still shitting on floors, hitchhiking to the nearest oil sites to see what’s cooking, working on taming the new feline in his life and exercising his delusions of grandeur.

And every year those delusions get, well, grander.

Don’t tell him he’s not a horse. He won’t believe you.

He will also not accept that he is not a cat.

Or a 110 pound cow dog.

Which is working out really well, now that Husband is on board with the idea that this dog could actually become something… well…helpful.

And so Husband has decided to work on it, you know, making the pug the best cow dog on our place. Which I realize doesn’t say much for the other dogs at the Veeder Ranch, but based on what we have to choose from, I’ll tell you, it could be true.

But it’s definitely weird.

Because the pug’s newly-honed talent has allowed for a fat little pug-shaped space in the corner of my husband’s heart.

A bond 4 years in the making…

Now I wasn’t aware this new role and relationship was occurring until I witnessed the pug stare down a small herd of cattle that had found their way to our front yard, pleasantly munching on what was left of the green grass poking out from under the fallen oak leaves and acorns.

Anticipating that damn dog’s next move, I hollered his name.
I hollered “no.”
I hollered “get back here!”

The pug turned his good eye toward me in confusion while Husband came up behind me, scolding me for yelling at the pooch.


He then proceeded to inform me that lately he had been working with the pug on the whole cow-chasing thing, because, well he seemed he was brave enough, and when told to “sick ’em”  the lab just runs for the first big stick.

So it’s either Husband or the pug who is destined to perform the task of getting those cows out of the yard.

And it seems the pair have found their common ground.


If you give a pug a home…

If you give a pug a home he will probably want full reign of your couch to go with it. So you will move over to clear the area for that smooshy nosed,  squishy, cuddly animal to lie down next to you. When you’ve helped him to his spot and sufficiently scratched his ears, he will circle and sniff and roll around to get comfortable. And when he finally finds an adequate spot under your arm, sprawled out along your body, nose three inches from your face, he will sigh, blink and ask you for a blanket.

Slowly, so as not to disturb his rest, you will move off of the couch to fetch your favorite fluffy blanket from the closet. As you close the closet door you will turn around to find him staring up at you from the floor with those adorable eyes. He will ask you, since you are up, if you happen to have a hamburger or a steak  or something in the meat family in the house. He could really use a snack after that rest.

As you dig in the refrigerator to find some leftover sausage or some sandwich meat to satisfy him you will offer him a piece of jerky and notice then that you have a little refrigerator cleaning to accomplish. While your pet enjoys his snack you will decide to take a look at the contents of an unidentifiable specimen that is growing in a Tupperware in the back of the fridge. You will pull off the lid and promptly fling the container across the room, an understandable reaction to the stench of decaying meat.

The pug, who has remained in the kitchen, not quite satisfied by the slice of dry jerky he inhaled, will investigate the stench coming from the steaming brown splatters on the floor. And while you’re gagging and writhing and scrubbing your hands in the sink, your back will be turned to the pet who has decided that the contents of the smelly Tupperware are really quite satisfying.


Hearing the snorting and slurping behind you, you will turn around, horrified at the thought of your adorable pet consuming the poison that somehow developed over time as a result of your refrigerator negligence. To keep him away from the danger you’ve created, you will place his fat little body outside.

Still hungry and with the taste of rotting meat on his tongue, the pug will decide to go on a mission for more stinky culinary experiences, following his nose to a nearby coulee where an unfortunate deer lost his life in the cold snap of the previous month and is now thawing out nice and fast and stinky in the unseasonably warm late winter weather. Catching sight of his small and weird-looking companion and wind of the stench coming from the direction he’s heading, the big brown dog who lives outside will follow in his friend’s path.

Meanwhile, inside the house, you will pull out your best mop to clean up the mess you made on the floor. While you are mopping you will decide that you might as well scrub the cupboards. And once the cupboards are clean, you will notice that your oven might as well get a polishing. And if you’re going to clean the oven, you ought to do the stove and the microwave. It’s been a while since they have seen a good disinfectant spray. Speaking of ovens and microwaves, you will decide that you had better put supper on the stove, but not before you clean out that ghastly refrigerator that sent you on this mission in the first place.

You will open the fridge and remember the pug.

Realizing he’s been away for hours, you will step outside and call his name.

You will hear silence and then catch sight of big brown dog running towards you from over the hill. You will stand in the doorway, waiting for the black dot of a dog to come running on his trail. And as the big brown dog get’s closer you will notice that he has something large and furry in his mouth.

A rabbit?


A cat?


A giant furry hat?


The brown dog will come closer with no sign of the pug behind him. Bringing the mystery item toward you he will drop it at your feet. You will screech as you identify his proud find as nothing other than the head of a deer, ears flapping, eyeballs missing.

A familiar gag reflex will again be engaged as you run inside the house for the bathroom.

And while you collect yourself, again scrubbing your hands under the sink, you will light your favorite lovely smelling candle to help cleanse your palate and your husband will walk through the door. His presence will remind you about the supper that didn’t quite make it to the now-shiney stove. So you will ask for his assistance in the process and the two of you will whip up something that resembles a noodle hot-dish that needs to bake in the oven for a good hour.

When you pull the hot dish out of the oven you will be reminded of the pug again and you will inform your husband about the missing pet.

He will suggest that the pug more than likely made his way over to his girlfriend’s house down the road at my mom’s and pops and that since it is so late he is certain they won’t mind keeping him overnight.

Meanwhile, at mom’s and pop’s, the pug, who indeed did make his way to his girlfriend’s house down the road, will be  jostled out of his snoring sleep on the fluffy dog pillow under the heat lamp in my parent’s garage by the howling of a nearby pack of coyotes. Not to be outdone by their wild calls into the night, the pug will feel compelled to throw his head back and take a shot at the howling thing. After a weak start, the pug will get his rhythm and be so pleased with his performance that he will have no intentions of letting those coyotes take the solo.

The obnoxious whining and screeching coming from the garage will awake your pops who had been sleeping soundly on the couch inside of the house. Curious about the creature responsible for the chaos, your pops will open the door of the house to find your pet putting on his best performance. Realizing that the ruckus was not about to end as long as the pug can hear the competition, your pops will let him in the house to spend the night.

Once in the house the pug will spot the couch. Understanding that this is not his home and getting the vibe that he might not be welcome on the furniture, the pug will wait until your pops starts snoring and then assume his position under his arm, sprawled out along his body, nose three inches from his face. The pug will sigh, close his eyes and ask him for a blanket.

At the sight of that adorable smooshy face, your pops will decide that he likes the company and slowly, so as not to disturb his new companion, he will move off of the couch to fetch his favorite fluffy blanket from the closet. As he closes the closet door he will turn around to find that the pug (who suddenly realized his mighty dead deer feast may not have been the best food choice) mid-squat, mid-diarrhea, squirting shit in the middle of my momma’s favorite leather rug.

And that’s what happens if you give a pug a home.

The pug situation…

Recently one of my lovable bloggy-mcblog visitors inquired about the one-eyed pug. He said he wondered where he’s been. He wondered how he’s been doing and how he’s handling all the changes around here.

He noticed there haven’t been many updates lately. Not many photos. Not many references to his quirky and cute habits.

Well, I’ll tell you, it’s been rough, but I suppose it’s time to address the situation.

A situation that has been brewing around here for a few months. One I don’t like to talk about.

It’s too painful.

And awkward.

See, the pug and I, yeah….well…we’re in a fight.

I’m not sure when it all started, but somewhere between the Santa Suit, the porcupine incident of 2011, the cone, the Frankenstein/Pirate jokes and the eye stitches that finally disintegrated, the pug started sporting an attitude. He showed up after a night MIA minus one collar and plus a swagger that sends the songbirds flying from his path.

He started barfing on the floor with no remorse, finding hidden spots to leave smelly surprises, dragging dead things to the porch while casually licking his paws, watching them disintegrate and smell up the barnyard. Rolling his eyeball when he hears me open the door and screech.

And he’s started sleeping in. Like really sleeping in. Like 2:00 in the afternoon unless he is literally picked up and pushed out the door. Yup, that’s going on, which is really annoying and inconvenient when I am trying to get myself out the door and to work on time.

You know what else is annoying? Having to drive to mom and pop’s house every day to pick his hitchhiking ass up.

Because he’s started doing that too. Yup. He ties on his little bandana, puts a pity patch on the spot where his eye used to be, throws his duffle bag over his shoulder, finds his best pathetic face and strolls on out of the yard, thumbing his way over to his girlfriend’s house as soon as my tail lights are out of sight.

Yeah, he has a girlfriend.

how could he resist?

She lives at mom and pop’s place. And the two of them like to go on day trips up the highway to the neighbors. They also like to bark into the night at the moon or the wind or a rustling leaf. He likes to show off, show her he’s tough.

You know how he does that? He howls. He howls loudly. At 2 am. While he’s still in mom and pop’s garage because I “forgot” to go and get him before bed.


Pops hasn’t slept through the night for three months.

And on the nights that Chug the Pug is on lockdown and is forced to sleep in his rightful place on the floor in the entryway in the house like he was meant, the ballsy little bugger not only sneaks on the couch immediately after husband and I turn out the lights..he lays on husband’s favorite blanket…

leaving behind the scent of disobedience and betrayal.

All of these things are not good. They are rebellious. They are irresponsible.

They are not cute.

And I am pissed.

Don’t get me wrong, I have let some of this slide. I have let him sleep in my bed when husband was gone on business trips. I’ve let him sleep even when his snoring has disrupted phone conversations (yeah, that’s an embarrassing noise to try to explain). I have laughed when I hear him howl. It is hilarious.

But it is also loud.

Like his snoring.

And his farting.

What the hell? What has gotten into this once sweet, once cuddly, once cute and innocent and smooshy faced little animal who used to fit so sweetly in the crook of my arm? Where did I go wrong?

Was it the Santa Suit?

Maybe, but he’s had a year to get over it.

Maybe it was all the pressure I put on him to tame the wild cats.

Or could he be trying to fit in on the ranch by making up for his lack of size in attitude?

Or, could it be?

No, it couldn’t…

Could it.

Could it be the eye?

Do you think that little shit caught a glimpse of himself in the mirror and decided, well, he looks tough? Do you think he walked in the closet one day to plop down and wait for me to come out of the bathroom and noticed this sexy, masculine, muscular canine with one eye looking back at him and thought to himself “Hell, I’m a stud. S. T. U. D. It’s prime time I started acting like one.” ?

Do you think?


I don’t know. I don’t know anything anymore.

I am out of options.

He won’t even look at me. He just hangs out under the heat-lamp with the cats.

Or on the couch that he just jumped on when my back was turned.

He glares at me from there.

I glare back.

Then I tell him he stinks.

He tells me my hair is frizzy.

I ask him if he just ran into a wall or if his face is supposed to look that way.

He asks me if the zit on my face has its own mailing address.

I say no, it gets its mail at our home address, thanks very much.

This is getting ugly.

So you ask how the pug is handling the changes around here friend?  To that question I have another one…

Anyone have a number for a good therapist?

Quick, change your season!

So I hope yer termaters were covered last night, because there was a frost.

whimper, whimper…sigh…sniff.


There was a frost. I saw it with my own eyes when I woke up, rubbed out the crusties and scrounged around for the dog food only to collapse in a heap when I noticed that the water in the dog dish had a little crust of ice on the top.


How do I get the defrost button to work on, you know, the earth?

Anyway, I suppose it is about that time. It seems like it went too fast didn’t it? I mean, I hear Texas is still feeling 100 degree weather. It’s weird how quickly the season’s change around here. Just last Saturday I had on my swimming suit and was splashing in the big lake.

Just last week I was using my little window air conditioner while husband and I screamed casual conversation over its rumble! Just last month I was cussing the rain and the cows who ruined my lawn. And just like that, the lawn really doesn’t matter much anymore.

Oh, but it’s not so bad really, when considering last year at this time we had SNOW!

Oh, North Dakota and your weather games. No matter how many tricks you play we always wonder where the hell we put our sweaters.

Anyway, I’m not complaining. (Does it sound like I’m complaining?) Fall is a sweet time of year, even though it’s a bit short. Fall means hunting and camouflage beer, colors changing in the trees, cute sweaters, pumpkins, being able to ride horse and jog in the middle of the day…you know, if I were the type of woman to exercise on purpose.

But I am going to miss summer, just like I do every year. I am going to miss my summer skin that makes me look more human and less pasty white alien. I am going to miss my cutoff jeans and bare feet, my horse’s slick coat, husband’s t-shirt sleeves that hug his arms perfectly, vodka tonics, and wildflower hunting, brats on the grill for supper once a week, not having to plan my outfit around a jacket  and sunshine that lasts past 10 pm.

However, the snow will be a good disguise for my destroyed yard, it will also send these mosquitos into hibernation as well as the necessity to shave my legs every other day.

Yeah. I guess a part of me, perhaps a large part of me, is looking forward to snuggling down in my sweaters and traipsing around in my boots. That will be good.

As for the pug? Well, I think he’s kinda pissed about the whole colder weather thing…

Anyway, I can almost taste the soups that will be boiling in cowboy’s kitchen. Oh how I’ve missed you dumplings. Maybe this winter I will find myself a free weekend to enjoy a blizzard under the blankets while I watch a good girly movie. The happy hot summer sunshine doesn’t allow for such excuses.

A blizzard? Well, that’s a perfect reason to do nothing but eat Red Vines and cry at Sandra Bullock movies.

But it seems like just yesterday I was hunting out crocuses and now I have a few tubs of chokecherry juice waiting for my domestic side to come and make it into something delicious. Wasn’t I just sleeping on top of the covers with the fan blowing on me and the windows open? Didn’t I just document the first buds of spring only to wake up to find the leaves kinda droopy?

Man time flies when you’re trying to find a way to stop it. It changes right before our eyes every day out here. We know it’s bound to happen, yet it seems we never expect it. It seems the seasons, with the exception of the North Dakota winters, leave us all too quickly.  So I’d like to do something fun here. As you have probably noticed, I have been keeping up with a photo a day for about a year now. And the point of that endeavor was to help me open my eyes to something beautiful, something interesting, every day. But you will notice when you visit the Daily Photo page and scroll through the pictures that it also does something more. It documents the subtle changes around here, not only in weather and season, but in the animals, the vegetation, the mood and feelings of each day. It’s amazing how that in one spot there is so much to see, so much to document, so many different perspectives constantly shifting and moving with the spin of the earth, the rise and set of the sun, the changes of the moon. So I invite you to take a moment to visit the Daily Photos page for a quick recap of the past year in photos.

Because we can’t stop time, we can’t change the weather or make our favorite season stay, but we can keep our eyes and hearts open to the beauty, subtle strength and mystery nature displays every day of the year.

In the horses:

In the pastures:

In the vegetation:

And even in the pug:

Wasn’t that fun? Now pull on your sweaters and hunker down for fall weather North Dakotans. It’s going to be a beautiful day.

Now where’d I put my earmuffs?