For the Love of Dogs, Part III

In Memoriam Remembering those went before and were dearly loved.
The Canyon ChronicleBy The Canyon Chronicle      September 2, 2022

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For the Love of Dogs, Part III
Suki knows how to greet the day
Suki “I am Suki,” a princess but a very sweet princess. I never do anything wrong. I am always a pleasure to be around. When I meet anyone I like to hug their leg. Sometimes I like to hug their leg so long that they have to tell me to stop, please. I am a Cocker Spaniel and Poodle and I really am adorable. Everyone tells me that. About three years ago I came into the wonderful home where I live now. My first five years were spent in a mansion in Montecito so you can understand why I am a princess. My mom and dad love me so much. They are always telling me how beautiful, sweet and intelligent I am. I am very happy here in Topanga with them. I wake up happy every morning, wagging my tail, fetching my favorite old toy that is falling apart, and can’t wait to greet the day, my neighbors, and the other dogs on Waveview Drive. —Toni Colvin


Remington—The Little Prince

Remington—The Little Prince
Remi enjoys a life of comfort with cozy laps and lesiurely walks to check his P-mail.
I was working at the Topanga Messenger in the Old Center in 2012 when our editor, Flavia Potenza, began fostering this sturdy little guy called Reemo. Word was he had been a stray, hiding behind grocery stores up in Santa Maria, CA. He was finally caught and placed in Papillon Rescue due to his Papillon/King Charles Spaniel looks. Reemo needed a forever home and I seriously considered adoption while walking him around the office each day. By Thanksgiving, he was mine. After I took him home, my husband, Jim, and I pondered on his name. Jim said he would find his own name and one day it happened—his name was Remington, Remi for short, due to his royal lines and regal bearing. Remington is now a 20-pound dog in a 28-pound body, living in air-conditioned comfort and not out on the streets. We know he’s at least 12 years old. Still, his greatest joy is acting big and yapping at coyotes in the Arroyo behind our house who gaze up at him hungrily. He also loves barking at Max, our neighbor’s German Shepherd. Alas, Remington is sleeping more these days; tomorrow we’ll go for another leisurely walk so he can check on his “P-mail.”

—Annemarie Donkin


Dottie

Dottie
The new kid in town


Nine-month-old Great Pyrenees mix, Dottie, and her family just moved to Topanga. She’s enjoying all the new smells on her walks and in her big back yard, friendly neighbors, and potential playmates she’s meeting. When she’s not all bouncy and wagging her tail off, her job for now is keeping the adults fit and the kids entertained. We couldn’t be more happy to have her in our lives.


—Amber Lincoln


Maggie of Topanga

Maggie of Topanga
Maggie of Topanga came to us in the summer of 2006. She was a Fathers Day gift to me from my family. It took me 10 years to get over the loss of our Daphne, an Olde English Sheepdog, who had been my companion and best friend so getting another dog was a huge deal but that’s another story. Thanks to the internet I fell in love with her before we ever met. A wonderful woman named Karen Keller in Buellton raises Miniature Australian Shepherds and offers a few a year to folks like us so I had my eye on the puppy that we would adopt. Maggie was bred for great disposition, health, intelligence, stamina and good looks. She never disappointed but most of all she and I shared a special bond. The next 16 years were filled with many outdoor adventures and the joy of having her with us as a cherished family member and travel companion from the Sierra Nevada to the Pacific.
Maggie crossed over the Rainbow Bridge on May 31st, 2022.


—Gary Dannenbaum


DEVOTED

DEVOTED
Miles Malick-Erickson—2010-2022
He sleeps outside my door. He is in tune with my every move. When I put on my running shoes, he does a dance of such exuberance, such joy, it never ceases to take me aback…for this boy is all love. And that love, that devotion is 98% mine. I have often questioned whether this is healthy; for him to love me so exclusively. I mean, he is fond of others: my husband, my daughter, Ray, Gemma…but when I’m around, Miles only has eyes (and nose) for me. And if I’m completely honest, that both delights and terrifies me.
How to handle that depth of devotion? I can make the sun rise in his eyes, but what if I don’t show up? Does he suffer? Can he transfer his joy and affection to the next in line when I’m not around.

There was a summer, which still haunts me. Years ago, during a” Just Shoot Me” hiatus, when I was offered an episode of “Frasier” (‘The Man Who Came To Dinner”) with John Mahoney, to be directed by Jimmy Burroughs, with four weeks at Steppenwolf in Chicago, and four weeks in the West End, I passed.
I passed because Richard and I had moved to a ranch, where we had a three-month-old puppy and a high-strung thoroughbred, and the thought of leaving them for nearly four months was unthinkable.
There have been many times I have chosen my domestic life over my professional one. My dear friend and fellow actor, Dan Lauria, has been miffed by many of my choices, being utterly committed to his craft. But for me, it is not clear. Not clear at all. I am split in two on this one.

A part of my heart belongs to New York City, but the rest is deeply rooted on this land, with these companions. There have been many over the years, as the various gravesites bear out. Each one was a unique friend, who taught me something about my own strengths and shortcomings.
We recently brought a three-year-old rescue pup into the mix. Phoebe Roo is part shepherd/part kangaroo. She leaps and bounds with such abandon, it is a thrill to witness. But her arrival has been a real challenge for dear old Miles.

Having been our only boy since we lost Zoe, he is unaccustomed to sharing my affection. At first, he growled whenever she came near, but became resigned to the fact she’s here to stay. When we went out for our first early morning hike together, I was shocked by how old he looked. Of course, it was relative. Here was my sweet 10-year old lab, trying to keep up with Phoebe, the picture of youth. Miles can still move, but now it’s more of a lope. His muzzle and brows have grayed, and his soulful eyes droop balefully…big paw on my heart.

I believe our dogs are here to show us the way…the way we were and the way we will be. They live their lives in compressed stages. We used to think it was like seven years for every one of our own. We now know that’s not exactly how it works, but it’s close enough. I have learned that at three, Phoebe Roo is 28. And Miles’ upcoming tenth birthday will make him 66. No wonder he and I connect even more deeply at this juncture.

Each day he can still sniff, run and play is a gift. I look into that face and still see the funny puppy who looked like a black pollywog with a tiny body, and a huge head and paws. I have in my heart a thousand memories of the fast-forward life we’ve shared. And I know that when his time comes, I will have to release the purest embodiment of love I have ever known.


—Wendie Malick

NOTE: Our ranch is “sacred burial ground” to dozens of four-legged friends we’ve shared this land with for almost 30 years. I wrote this piece a couple of years ago for my beloved Black Lab, who left this world in June. Sweetest dog I’ve ever known.
The Canyon Chronicle
      September 2, 2022

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