I am loving the cooler mornings we are having.  It is still getting hot quickly, but, you can tell that autumn is coming.  I took Tippy out to get some exercise earlier today and spotted this garden spider’s web reflecting the morning sun.

spider web

It’s not the best picture in the world.  I was positioning to get a better picture when Tippy came running.  With one misplaced wag of her tail, half of the web was destroyed.

spider web post Tippy2
Web post-Tippy.

I have always had a mild fear of spiders, but also have been in awe of how they can spin such delicate, and yet very strong, webs.  In an effort to help me get over my fear, I did my college senior project on this particular species of spider, the Argiope aurantia.  I collected several, dissected them, and sketched the arrangement of their spinnerets. That was many years ago, but, to the best of my recollection, they have 7 spinnerets.  They also have 3 claws on their legs, one more than most spiders, which helps them to manipulate the silk as they spin their webs.  When I was young, I happened upon one that was in the process of making the zig-zag pattern.  It started by doing spider push-ups, which made the web vibrate, and then proceeded to make the design as it continued to vibrate the web.  This stuff if very interesting to me.  I guess that is why I majored in Biology. 

Argiope aurantia on its web.

Tippy was happy to be out running around and not dying from the heat. She took a couple of her puppy runs around the hill, grabbed a mouth full of grass, and did a little digging, just to get out some of her pent up energy.

tippy on the hill
I love these cooler mornings.

Here she is, sitting in front of the spider web, which you can’t really see.  A.C. tells me to make the elephant sound or click to get her to look at me for pictures.  None of that seems to work for me like it does for her.  I guess I just don’t do it right.  I have found my best bet is to sing.  When I do, she looks at me, wondering what in the world I am saying and why it sounds so funny.

tippy in front of the spider web
Mom, what are you saying, and why does it sound different?


I know most of you who read my blog have indoor pets and will probably think horrible things about me, but, when I first got Tippy, she was strictly an outside dog.  She did stay in my enclosed (heated and air conditioned) garage at night, in a crate, but was not allowed inside the house.  I never had indoor dogs as a child, so really didn’t even consider the possibility, especially since she had so much energy and was chewing everything she could get her mouth on.

When she was about a year old, my trainer (A.C.) kept her for a few days while I went on a trip.  She let Tippy stay inside her house, with her own dogs, and said she had no issues at all.  She didn’t get into anything and let A.C. know if she needed to go outside to potty.  So, I decided I would try it and see how she did.

A.C. talked me through how to introduce her to the house and how to let her know that she needed to be calm when she was inside.  She did great.  She never had an accident in the house and never chewed up or bothered anything.  Even though she loved to chew on twigs and logs, she didn’t touch the pile of  firewood I had beside the fireplace.  I only had to tell her to leave it alone once, and she never went back.  I believe she truly understands that there is a difference in what is allowed outside versus inside.

Still, I wanted my bedroom to be a “Tippy free” zone.  She quickly learned her boundaries and, for the most part, abided by them.  It took me another few months before I felt comfortable enough to leave her out of her crate when I wasn’t going to be in the same room, like when I took a shower or was asleep.  It turned out that I had nothing to worry about, but I did.  Eventually, I started letting her sleep wherever she wants to, within her boundaries.  Sometimes, she choses her crate, but it is more likely that she will be on the couch, loveseat, or living room floor.

Tippy sleeping on the couch
Yes, I am comfortable. Thanks for asking.

She is a little afraid of the vacuum cleaner, so, when she is inside and I am vacuuming the living room, she goes into the bedroom to “get away.”  I decided that was okay.  Of course, she took advantage of that, and now I let her sleep in there during the day.  For some reason, her favorite spot for an afternoon nap is under the bedroom window.

Tippy sleeping in the bedroom
Tippy’s happy place.

At night, she still sleeps in the living room and NEVER comes into the bedroom.  That is why this morning was so sweet.

I woke up about 6:30 am with a cramp in the calf of my leg.  My reaction was “Ow, ow, ow, ow, ow.” I didn’t say it very loudly, but Tippy heard and came in to check on me.  I told her thanks and gave her some lovin’ while I stretched out the muscle.   She moved down to my leg, which was hanging over the edge of the bed, rubbed up against it, and then laid down in the floor.  I was going to let her stay there until I got up, but, she voluntarily moved back into the living room in about 5 minutes.  I think she just wanted to make sure I was okay.  You can’t get much sweeter than that!




Today is National Dog Day – a day set aside to celebrate all dogs and encourage adoption.  There are so many dogs that are “discarded” everyday, simply because the owners decided they don’t want them anymore or because they didn’t have their dogs spayed or neutered and there are unwanted puppies.  If you are thinking about getting a dog, please consider adopting from your local humane society or rescue center.  You won’t be sorry you did.  I know I’m not.

Tippy then and now.  She has grown and changed so much, and, so have I, because I have her in my life.   Happy National Dog Day!


While out walking with Tippy yesterday, I saw another one of my favorite wildflowers, the Passion Flower.  The vine the flower grows on is at Tippy’s feet.  As you can see, she was more interested in whatever was up in the tree than she was in looking at the flora in front of her.

tippy and passion flowers
Is that a squirrel up in the tree?

The flower gets its name from how its parts relate to different aspects of the crucifixion of Christ:  10 petal-like parts represent the disciples, minus Peter and Judas; the 5 stamens represent the wounds Jesus received; the 3 knob-like stigmas, the nails; and the fringe, the crown of thorns.  I love the colorful details of this flower.

passion flower close up
Close up of the Passion Flower
passion flower
Passion Flower and vine

In my younger days, my brother and I would stomp on the seed pods that develop from the flower – they are hollow, so make a fairly loud popping noise if you stomped them just right.  Oh, the memories…..


Here is the fourth and final installment of Tippy Wisdom.  Hope you have enjoyed them.

Tippy Wisdom #11: Make sure your last word to anyone (or any dog) is a positive one. (My trainer told me this at our first training session. So, if I am working on something with Tippy and she is having a hard day,  I do my darndest to make sure she has a success before we quit so we can end on a positive note.)

Tippy Wisdom #12:  Sometimes you unintentionally hurt the ones you love.  When Tippy was a puppy, those little teeth and claws were sharp.  At the time, she was an outside dog, so I kept hydrogen peroxide, triple antibiotic ointment, and band aids by the door to doctor my scratches and accidental bites every time I came in the house.  I must have looked like I had been in a fight, and lost, most days.

Puppy with sharp teeth and claws
Sorry I hurt you mom. I didn’t mean to.

Tippy Wisdom #13: When dealing with a frustrating situation, getting upset just adds bad energy and makes things escalate. Calm assertiveness is the best way to handle things. Dogs (and I believe children) can sense your energy and will feed off of it – whether calm or excited.

Tippy Wisdom #14: A tired puppy is a good puppy! I think, for the most part, this goes for humans too.

A tired puppy
Sleeping like a baby.

Tippy Wisdom #15: Don’t worry about what other people think of you. Be your own unique person and do things your way.

Relaxing her way
Relaxing her own way.


Here is the third installment of Tippy Wisdom.  Again, sorry for taking so long between posts.

Tippy Wisdom #7: Things are not always as they appear on the surface.

turtle shell
Box turtle shell

One day I spied this turtle shell that Tippy had found and had been chewing on.  I only saw the white part and thought I had happened upon a rare albino turtle.  Upon closer inspection, I found out the truth.  The brown color of the turtle is just a veneer that can be peeled away.  Who knew?  Certainly not me!



Tippy Wisdom #8: Praise is much more effective than correction. (Correction is going to be necessary, but the more you praise the wanted behavior, the less often the unwanted behavior will show up.)

Tippy Wisdom #9: In order to have a stress free environment, the leader of the pack must be clearly established. This is true for the dog/person relationship, but also for the everyday life of humans: student/teacher, worker/boss, child/parent, etc.. When there is a clear leader, everyone is happy.

Tippy Wisdom #10: A treat doesn’t have to be something unhealthy. Tippy, for instance, loves carrots so I use them as a special treat for her. (Of course, she eats cow piles, so I’m not real sure this is the best analogy. LOL)

Tippy and her carrot
Yum! I love carrots!






Here is installment #2 of Tippy Wisdom.  Sorry I didn’t post earlier.  It’s been a busy week.

Tippy Wisdom #4: You shouldn’t run through every door that opens. Sometimes, you need to wait to be invited in (or out) and, sometimes, you don’t need to go through it at all. This is true both literally and metaphorically.


Tippy Wisdom #5: If you don’t understand something, it may help to look at it from a different perspective.



Tippy Wisdom #6: When you are trying really, really hard to learn something, sometimes you just need to take a break and run around the yard as fast as you can about 10 times. (For those of us who aren’t dogs, this applies to a hard day at work or school too. Taking a break and getting a little exercise does do a world of wonders for your concentration and greatly lowers your frustration levels.)

Hope you are enjoying these bits of wisdom.  Installment #3 will be coming soon.


Having Tippy in my life has taught me some things and reaffirmed others.  A couple of years ago, during the month of the first anniversary of her adoption, I posted a “Tippy Wisdom” on my Facebook page for 15 consecutive days.  I had forgotten about them until they popped up in my “memories” last month.  I decided to share them with you in a series of posts.  Hope you enjoy.

Tippy Wisdom #1: A chance encounter can change your life forever. Who would have thought that my nephew bringing a dog home for mom and dad would have resulted in me falling in love with her in just a week and being heartbroken when I had to give her up, which, of course, led to me looking for and adopting “Cartwheel,” now known as Tippy. My life will never be the same.  (See The Beginning: Prissy and The Search is On for the complete story on how I came to adopt Tippy.)


Tippy Wisdom #2: If you love someone, you’ll “jump through hoops” to make them happy.


Tippy Wisdom #3: God’s blessings are indeed new every morning. I watch Tippy when I first let her out in the morning and it’s like she is in a different world every day. Yes, it looks familiar, but things are different. There’s a bird chirping she hasn’t heard before. There are new and wonderful smells of all the animals that crossed the driveway or played in the yard overnight. A hawk may be flying overhead or a turkey calling. There’s just so many changes that we tend to not notice. I am trying to be more observant of the little things and thanking God for each and every one.

something new

(As hot as it has been here, in the 90 degrees Fahrenheit range every day, I just had to post a picture of Tippy sniffing something in the snow.)