Shared Hearts

My memory of the day is quite clear.  It was a bright, sunny February day and my spirit was lifted because I could actually feel the warmth of the sun again, even though my body was covered head to toe with ‘Nanook from the North’ clothing.  It’s the kind of day that the sun and leafless trees create strong shadows against the white snow.  What a time of year for new beginnings!  

We’d lost 2 dogs in 3 months at the end of the previous year and we were looking forward to hearing paws on the floor again.  The fact that it was around Valentine’s Day was icing on the cake!

I’d first met her briefly at her foster family’s home but it was the photos posted on her Facebook page that showed her athletic gait and strong carriage that caught my eye.  Besides being energetic, focused, and muscular, Hellie showed she was good with children and new adventures.  So the new adventure began – for all of us!

In a few days we celebrate the one year anniversary that Helen Jane came home with to live with Kathy and I and become our Hellie.  Since it’s around Valentine’s Day I asked her to model a favorite necklace that’s really an exterior symbol for the big, common heart we share.  

Never mind that she seems less than enthusiastic about the camera pointed at her.  A year ago she wouldn’t even look us in the eye, even with a treat at the ready!  Seems as though we had to wait until we measured up to her expectations.  Three walks/runs a day – check.  Comfy doggy beds – check.  Good things to chew on – check.  A dog sitter that gives me massages – double check!


As we celebrate a year together, I encourage others considering a dog or cat to check out the adoptable pets a local Humane Society or a breed-specific rescue.   From puppies to seniors, there’s a heart out there that’s more than ready to let you in.  It’s a gift that keeps on giving all year round!



The Book Is Done!!

Over two years ago I had an idea.  While looking at some old slides that my 92 year old friend had, I discovered an image of her with one of her many Schnauzers that she cared for during her long life.  The image was tightly focused and of the Kodachrome 25 variety.  A stunning, vibrant film that no longer is made.  Anne, my friend, sits with her Schnauzer on her lap.  No smile, just the serious look that Anne often displayed.  But her eyes told a different story.  They were soft, as if to say, “I have everything I need in this world as long as my dog is with me.”  The dog’s eyes had that same quality of contentment.  I couldn’t look away from this image on my light box because I felt the emotions I saw in the image.  This thought came to me – “I need to dig into the relationships that women have with their dogs.”  On that day the concept for the book, Dogs and Their Women was born and the purpose was to help homeless dogs find “forever homes”.

Dogs and Their Women is 75 pages filled with the wonderful stories and moving photographs of 29 women who share the stories of their lives with dogs.  From the moment they met at a dog rescue/Humane Society to their walks on the beach, and playful, mischievous moments, you’ll laugh and cry as they bring you into their intimate lives with their dogs.  From 5 years to 85 years old, these girls/women open up and share what it is about dogs that makes their lives together so interwoven and precious.  In everyone of their stories, I see the familiar bonds with my dogs.  You will too!

Georgeanne, at 85 is still learning from her dog Nile:  “I thinks he’s still trying to teach me patience and that life is lived one moment at a time.  The other day I got up and went into the kitchen to get more coffee and when I came back my muffin was gone.”

Nile, the muffin thief

You’ll surely howl when you read about Rebecca and Hudson.  If there ever was a “Marley and Me” dog, Hudson is it!   Here’s an excerpt of his great adventure when he got loose and followed a man through the door into Home Depot. “Let’s face it, Home Depot is NO place for a dog.  Well, unless you’re Hudson.  The concrete floors make it super fun to skid across, and the acoustics make the shrieking of innocent bystanders like rocket fuel to REALLY REV YOU UP.  If I was in a better mood, I’d have been clapping and screaming and singing my own rendition of “GO GREASE LIGHTN’IN. . . GO GO GO” but instead, I was standing there, mouth open, tears streaming down my face, just watching, as my dog was flying over displays of light bulbs stacked like a pyramid, jumping over riding lawn mowers, zipping past paint displays, knocking over small children, racing past plates of glass, shower stalls, laundry detergent, plumbing hoses, hardware, light fixtures, toilets, fencing, lumber, out into the garden area, through the sprinklers, back into lawn furniture.  “Excuse me miss.”  It was the Store Manager– he’s holding my missing dog’s leash and attached collar.  “Miss. . .Miss. . . there are city ordinances against this.”   To read the rest of this story and more, go to and order the book.  You won’t want to miss the last Hudson story with the lilac tree!!

He Looks So Innocent in That Tie!

When I met Sharon and Laila Ali (Bug), I knew a special bond existed between them and Bug was only 6 months old.  She was the first dog adopted out from the new Ozaukee Humane Society. As a Besenji mix, Sharon explained that African bush hunters would carry their dogs across the back of their necks, to and from the hunting grounds.  She told me that the first time she tried this with Laila Ali, she immediately relaxed.  But don’t let that calm demeanor fool you!  “When my son’s Pit Bull, Beverly, visits, Laila believe she should have all of the food and toys.  She very sweetly, coyly, slyly approaches Beverly with smiles and puppy bows, gently licks the toy/bone in Beverly’s possession, and then slowly pulls it away.  Luckily, Beverly is very good-natured and allows this repeatedly.”  Or imagine this:  “I am always catching her in some odd act and then she freezes in place staring at me; for instance, one she had her back feet on the seat of the exercise bike and her front paws on the handles bars.  For me and my personality, an obedient dog is great, but one that is also mischievous–so that I have to be clever, observant and patient enough to understand and relate to–is fascinating and fun!”

The View Is Better From Here Mom!

If you’re enjoying these little snippets from the book, you’re sure to love the book in it’s entirety!  ALL PROCEEDS from the sale of this book will benefit dog rescue organizations.  So whether it’s a softcover, hardcover or ebook, you’ll be helping the mission of dog rescue organizations – from small breed specific rescues to rural Humane Societies.  Over 5 million dogs are euthanized each year.  Let’s put a big dent in that number!  Please pass this blog URL onto all the dog lovers you know, or those who would love to buy a dog gift for their loved one.  You can also follow the progress of this book and the subsequent distributions of money, on my Facebook page:  Peggy Morsch – Dogs and Their Women

Save the date: February 4. 2012 for The Great Lakes Pet Expo at State Fair Park, where I’ll be selling signed books at my booth, near the entrance.

In 2012, I’ll begin working on Men and Their Dogs, Volume One and Dogs and Their Women, Volume Two.  If you or someone you know would like to be included in these volumes, please contact me on Facebook (Peggy Morsch) or through my website,