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Author. Animal Lover. Writing humor these days because we all need it. For kids — Liz & Toby Adventures — Book 1: My Dog Sees Ghosts
This is Jasper on my chair. Photo by author.

Have you ever been stared at loudly?

If you have a cat, you know exactly what I am talking about. Pretty much every day while my wife and I cook lunch, Jasper joins us to see what he can enjoy from our latest display of culinary wizardry. (Thanks, Hello Fresh — see my review here.) Now and then, he gets a tasty tidbit of chicken or shrimp but more often, he gets his own treats. He sits and stares at us from different spots in the kitchen, depending on exactly what he wants.

Jasper’s desires are often loudly vocalized but…


Image by Steve Adcock from Pixabay

Is there anything more exciting than the idea of getting a new dog? Yes, the reality of it. However, for now, let’s talk about the whole selection process. How do you go about selecting the wonderful creature who will be your loyal companion for the next several years? In this story, I am going to provide some pro tips based on research, personal experience, and random ideas that came to me after eating cold pizza for breakfast.

Know and accept yourself

This isn’t meant to be therapy, but as far as amateur advice goes, this is a pretty good starting place for self-improvement. You’re…

Yup, this is our new baby. :) Photo by the author.

The Search

“I can show you this here RV but you’re not gonna like it.”

Not exactly a strong sales pitch but at least I was feeling zero pressure. He was right. The RV he showed us smelled like a locker room that had been closed up for a week mid-summer after someone threw a party featuring egg salad sandwiches. Plus, they had done a lot of DIY remodeling without the skill to pull it off. That was the best this guy could show us. Really? Next.

We left the lot uncertain as to whether this was truly representative of what we…

Image by JackieLou DL from Pixabay

It seems like no matter how hard I try, I often fail at delivering what our pets truly want. I research. I read articles and reviews. I painstakingly select products I think will be perfect for our furry ones or do “the thing” that is supposed to be best, and more often than not, I am left with an animal staring out me with a puzzled expression on his face. The look clearly says, “You don’t expect me to use that, do you?”

I can’t even tell you how many times this summer I have made sure the dog has…


Max on my desk. Photo by author.

Most conversations between family members are meant to be private. Truthfully, no one is that interested in hearing them, private or not. As humans, we mostly only care about things that impact us personally. We’re selfish that way. On the other hand, we also secretly, or not so secretly, enjoy good gossip. Our lives can get dull, and a little spice from someone else’s life can be entertaining. With that in mind, let me tell you about a conversation I recently had with our cat, Max.

My wife and I have two cats, Max and Jasper. Jasper is more of…

Photo by Ilse Orsel on Unsplash

I found an interesting tool online this morning that helps writers generate headlines. Given that it can be difficult to write headlines that compete favorably with all the exciting clickbait titles, I had to give this a go. After playing for a few minutes, I had a great title: 11 Ways to Make Better Cats. All I had to do next was come up with 11 ways to improve upon the basic cat.

Cats are all highly individual but let’s face it, many are weird. (How to Tell if Your Cat is “Normal.”) …

Photo by Lina Angelov on Unsplash

“I think there is something wrong with Max,” I said in a playful tone so my wife would know I was not serious. “Watch this.” I rubbed the thumb of my right hand against the first and second fingers of the same hand in what everyone knows is the classic “come here” gesture for cats. He simply stared at me, unblinking.

“Maybe he forgot to read the manual,” my wife suggested.

“That would explain a lot,” I said, thinking back on several “normal cat behaviors Max did not exhibit — enthusiasm for food, interest in the great outdoors, doing slow…

Photo by Cookie the Pom on Unsplash

“So, Ms. Shepherd, you’re looking for a new line of work?” Laura, the career counselor, glanced back and forth between the application in her hands and her client, a five-year-old German Shepherd.

“I am,” she confirmed nervously licking her lips with a tongue so dry it felt like a cat’s. “I’d like to do something more adventurous — dangerous even.” Blaze pictured herself running through a deep green forest in search of a missing person. She imagined work like that would make her feel truly alive and useful.

“Mmm, hmm….I hear that a lot,” Laura said. More and more dogs…


Image by FOTOKALDE from Pixabay

“Remember how things were before? Well, before, you know…” I hesitated to speak the words out loud.

“Before Covid?” my wife asks. I shake my head.

“Before you left your job? Before the kitchen remodel? Before Google searches, when we had to live with not knowing things?” Seeing my lack of a positive reaction, she looks stumped. “What then?”

“Before pets,” I gasp, guilt flavoring the message. I worried that merely uttering the words might cause our house to be struck by lightning or attacked by pet-loving extraterrestrials.

My wife and I got together in our early 40’s. We’d both…

Image by marker_photography from Pixabay

I hope this isn’t too blasphemous

I hope this isn’t too blasphemous, but I’m sick of reading about morning routines. It feels like everyone with even a tiny bit of influencer juice is eagerly peddling their “mind-blowing secret morning routine” guaranteed to make millions of readers click the headline.

I’ve read a lot of these articles and books and I think a more accurate title should include the words, “rob you of your precious sleep.” I’m 55 and sleep doesn’t come easy since menopause decided to take control of my life. It’s hard to get excited about any advice involving…

Dakota Duncan

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