I got another turn!

Hi, everybody! It’s me, Luther.

I asked Mom if I could blog again because I’ve been here about nine months now and I’ve learned a lot of new things. (Mom is still in charge of spelling!)

First, I wanted you to know that I’m not nearly as scared as I used to be!

It’s kind of surprising, but pretty much everybody likes me. They pet me and rub my ears, which feels good. If they’re really nice, I let them rub my belly.

I’ve gotten to be an expert at treats and am usually the first one to sit.

I’m also really good at our new food, which I love. (Though it makes a lot of noise!)

Being brushed is awesome but I’m still not real excited about the things called scissors.

I learned that it’s ok to sleep when people walk around, especially if they’re my people.

I also learned that things change and that’s ok, too.

We’ve been playing the game Mom calls Furniture Yahtzee again. I’m not really sure what the point is but Mom carries things from one place to another and then Dad pushes furniture around. Sometimes our friend, Harry, comes to help. He gives good belly rubs!

The house feels different when we play that game, but I always know how to find my bed.

In fact, I know how to find most things now.

Mom says I don’t see too well. I heard her tell one of our friends that it’s probably because I was raised in the dark when I was a tiny puppy and some things in my eyes didn’t grow right.

I hear really well, though, and I can smell supper as soon as it comes out of the refrigerator. (We’re working on a thing called waiting!)

Lately, it’s dark more often than it used to be. Mom seems to wish for more light but somehow it all works out.

I think there are a lot of things going on around here right now.

New smells and those things Mom calls boxes on the carport, waiting for the recycling people. (I’m not sure the recycling people want to meet me!)

And lots of nights Mom gets up and helps me watch the house. She does the things called reading and writing and drinks a lot of the stuff she calls tea.

My sisters usually sleep.

Mom says progress is messy. I don’t know what that means.

We’ve also been busy making lots of bone broth. It makes the house smell really good!

Some of our friends come and sit in the rocking chair and tell us stories. Sometimes they cry.

I know about how that feels.

Sarah and Phoebe and I are in charge of something Mom calls non-anxious presence. I’m not sure what that means but apparently I’m getting better at it because now I can go cuddle, too, when somebody cries.

I’ve gotten really good at car riding. Today, we all got to go in the taxi to Camp for a quick visit because Mom had to go to a meeting. I think we had more fun than she did!

I’m still working on towels. (I think there are still a few other things on Mom and Dad’s list of things to work on, like the time we tore up the kitchen when nobody was home.)

Mom says a lot of the things we’re all learning are about something called expectations. That’s a pretty big word. I think it means that we’re just supposed to see how things turn out instead of thinking we know ahead of time how they’re supposed to be.

I used to expect that people touching me would be very scary and might hurt a lot.

Now, Mom and Dad remind me that there’s a lot of better in the world, even though there are not-better things, too.

Sometimes water leaks from Mom’s face when she says things like that, which happened this week. Something about a place called Texas.

I know my job.

I’m in charge of licking up the water.

For now, though, it’s time to get ready for supper.

Thanks for being here!

Love, Luther

P.S. – I’m supposed to say to our new friend Kim that, if Gumby and Pokey come to visit, I probably won’t eat them!


Three Tiny Words

The miracle is happening just in this moment! All three of the big, hairy beasties are busy blanketing the worn hardwood floors and snoring gently at my feet. The light in the garden is clear and sparkly. The weeds, after their morning encounter with absolutely organic, heavy-duty vinegar spray, are passing on to a place that will very shortly be known as compost. Peace reigns and it’s great!

Of course, it isn’t always that way. Especially since our latest Newfoundland rescue dog joined the family. We’ve all had lots of learning to do!

Luther arrived just four and a half months ago from a traumatic and developmentally limiting situation with, shall we say, a lot of baggage. Despite the love and care of some awesome foster parents in the couple of weeks before he joined us, when he went through yet another transition to our home he didn’t understand cuddles, or even petting. He didn’t understand treats. He didn’t understand house!

The thing that struck me most, though, was that he had only two options for communication.

The first was to absolutely melt into the floor and try to disappear in the face of anything he perceived as frightening. And everything was frightening at first.

Friends thought he was well-behaved. Actually, he was terrified and experiencing what psychiatrists might refer to as dissociative states.

I cried a lot in those first weeks. And believed, with every fiber of my being, that he would learn to feel safe, perhaps for the first time..

Luther’s second strategy for communication was to bark. Sharply. Loudly. Insistently.

He had no working vocabulary. No mellow Newfie sense of the word, “Wait.” No certainty that I would appear because I always did. And so he barked.

It reminded me of when Dave was new and I was still learning the different baby cries.

There were days when I wanted to run away from home. (Then and now.)

In time, the days decreased but the moments lingered. It seemed that as he melted less often into the floor, he barked all the more incessantly.

And, more often than I would like to admit, I barked back… usually when he was way ready to get out of his crate after meals and I was otherwise engaged.

“Wait just a #@%* minute!”

“Shut the %!*& up!”

Well, you get the point. Not my finest moments. And not at all effective.

Then, one day, I had a thought. Or, rather, one of those magical, mental connections when two things that are true in very distant corners of your brain suddenly discover each other.

Inspired mostly, I think, by the amazing author and teacher, SARK, who helps wannabe writers and real people deal with the voices of their inner critics,  I discovered a new plan.

The next time Luther barked in that particular demanding, nails on the chalkboard tone, I responded, “I hear you.”

Three tiny words.

The energy of our encounter totally shifted.

I felt better.

I could hear the difference in my tone.

And, since changing me was a whole lot more in my control than changing him, I persisted.

You want out of your crate after dinner and you want out immediately, despite the fact that I am, just this moment, in the bathroom.

“I hear you.”

You want to go out NOW, despite the fact that I am in my chair, buried under a laptop, a journal, 62 index cards, a phone and at least two pens.

“I hear you.”

It’s hard to describe the miracle of these three tiny words.

Admittedly, Luther still wants what he wants, when he wants it.

So do I.

We’re working hard, though, on this whole safe and heard thing.

Luther’s working on his communication skills. He’s gotten the hang of enthusiastic tail wagging.

Nudging my hand for a head rub is a new favorite.

And, if you look really closely at his recent portrait, he’s even mastered my Mom’s infamous one eyebrow up, “What are you thinking?” move.

Oh, there are still vocabulary issues.

We’re still working on the notion that “Come” means now and not when he’s in the mood.

“Stay” may take a good while longer.

Not ready for “Down” yet.

We’ve gotten really good at saving dog hair for our weaving auntie.

One of these days, perhaps, we’ll get the hang of face washing!

One of these days.

It’s a wonder, when you think about it, that any of us can communicate at all. I’m beginning to suspect that it really is all about energy and creating reality.

What we can do with three tiny words!




Things That Are Better!

Hi! It’s me, again. Luther. I asked Mom if I could tell you some new things I’m learning and she said I could, so here goes!

I’m not too sure I like bicycles. One snuck up on me while I was out walking the other day and I wanted to leave. Fast.

Of course, I couldn’t. It has something to do with the thing called a lead. There’s always somebody who loves me holding on to the other end, telling me they think it’s all ok.

Just between us, there are a lot of things in the world that I think are pretty scary.

And some that don’t feel quite so scary anymore.

The other day, a new Auntie I’d heard lots about, but hadn’t met before, came to visit. Her name is Kate. She and Mom talked about me a lot. Not in a bad way.

They talked about Sarah and Phoebe, too, but I didn’t pay so much attention to that! I guess we’re all connected.

What I think they said was that there are some more things I need to learn. There was something about balance-whatever that is-and not wanting to push me beyond what I’m ready for and not wanting to hold me back from all the great stuff in life.

Apparently it’s a lot like those cool people puppies everybody gets so excited about! Mom seems to know lots about them! (The tall ones, too.)

I could tell by their voices that they both love me. And they made a long list of things that are better for me than they were before.

I can ride in the car now.

The other day, I survived when the top, noisy part of the thing called a salad spinner leaped out of the dish drainer and crashed on the floor about four feet from me.

Mom said it was ok and brought it to me to sniff.

I know it was ok because I’m still here!

Mom told me how brave I was and then went back to washing dishes. I went back to sleep.

I actually like being brushed now. I used to think a brush was just another thing to use for hitting dogs.

Nobody here hits and the brush feels really good, especially when I’m itchy.

Mom and Auntie Kate needed some of that fluffy stuff called Kleenex (which I’m not supposed to eat) when they were talking about my old life. Then they decided that the best thing for me is to help me stretch a little bit at a time and cheer me on.

My Auntie Alli says things like that, too.

They also said some stuff about insisting that Sarah sits, which I don’t think she’ll like so much, so she doesn’t think she’s in charge.

And they said Phoebe is not as sweet and innocent as she looks, but I’m not sure what that means.

Auntie Kate says she feels a lot like Mom does, with the people puppies at her house. I guess everybody needs what they need and a lot of that seems to be about things called comfort and confidence.

IMG_1187I’m glad I don’t have to figure all of that out. I’m still trying to learn to sit!

And I’m still not sure about bicycles. I do know that it helps to have somebody close by who believes you can do the new stuff. I have even more Aunties who help with that!

Mom says maybe I can help people by believing for them. Apparently that’s an important job!

Right now, I think it’s nap time. Blogging is hard, but I like telling my stories. Who knew?

Love, Luther




Lots of things got different!

Hi! I’m Luther. The new kid.

I’ve been here about four weeks now. My new sister, Sarah, has been coaching me on the blogging thing. This is not something I knew about before.

There are lots of things I didn’t know about before.

Sarah says just say the things I’m comfortable with. I guess Mom will take care of something called spelling.

I came from a place called a puppy mill. It was a sad place. I think I missed out on a lot.

I didn’t know how to live in a house. I was hungry all the time but didn’t know how to let people give me treats. (Now I like treats a lot!)

I like people but I haven’t always been sure they’d like me. Or take care of me.

Then, lots of things got different. I rode in a van with some more dogs and a really nice man driving. We rode and rode and rode. We got to a place that wasn’t so cold. I stayed with some nice people in two different places called foster care. They loved me and fed me and started to teach me things and were patient with me.

One day, Mom and Dad came and got me. I didn’t want to get in the car because cars are scary but I got used to it pretty soon. And it smelled like other Newfies, which was nice.

I have a house. And a deck. A bed all my own. Something called aromatherapy that smells like outside and is supposed to help me relax. And two sisters. I like them both a lot. Phoebe has been getting better from something called surgery so she hasn’t been able to play much but I know she will soon. Sarah and I like to lay on the deck. (And bark at the dogs next door!)

There’s a lot to learn! Mom has a plan.

They love me, even though I can’t see very well. Mom has nice friends called Vets who will help figure out what I need.

Here’s what I know so far: Love is a good thing. I’m safe, here. They really will keep feeding me. Sometimes I’m still scared, and that’s ok. I can walk on a lead. And wag my tail. Those toys like big ropes with knots last better. My stuffed animals keep falling apart. I think Mom does something magic when I’m outside to make all the fluffy pieces disappear!

There’s a thing here called a TV. Sometimes, Mom laughs when she watches it. Sometimes, she cries. The other day, she cried when they were talking about something called refugees. She asked me to come closer and rubbed my ears that special way she does. Then she gave me a very gentle hug. Not too tight. Just nice. I wagged more.

Sometimes, all this new stuff makes me really tired. I just go take a nap when I’m tired, though sometimes I have to snap my teeth like I’m catching bugs and bark first. Mom says that’s ok, too.

I think everybody likes me just the way I am! And Sarah says I’m a good blogger. I think that’s part of my new job. Helping to talk about the things that matter.

I hope you’ll talk about the things that matter, too, wherever you are. You never know who’s counting on you!

Thanks for being here…

Love, Luther 


Do You See It?

The photo, above, is of a folk art piece I’ve had for years, by an artist named Paul Flack. I have quite the collection. Or fetish, if you prefer.

This piece hung, for 10 years, or so, high on a wall in my studio space, kind of out of the way. Until just recently.

I’ve been moving things around. Furniture. Art. Quilts. All in a Feng shui inspired sense of what’s next in my journey. A few weeks ago, these particular angels moved to the north wall of my studio space. The wall of the future. Lower on the wall. Closer to the traffic pattern.

And then I saw it. Just to the left of the lower angel’s head.

Do you see it? The navy blue blob. It’s a Newfoundland dog.


In the future.

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Sue Boardman, Certified Intentional Creativity®
Color of Woman Teacher & Coach