I am Walter and this is my World.

I am Walter and this is my World.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Walter is WALKING! Is it a Miracle?

PUG PEOPLE! something unbelievabe has happened....As many of you know, My pug walter, was hit by a car in 2009. He lived, but lost the use of his rear passenger leg. They said he'd never walk right again - so I built him a shoe, which he's worn all these years and helps him get around. He c...an't really walk without it. So year one was awful, and year two got a bit better and year three and four we hit a stride (pun) and year five I don't even notice the shoe. we just get up in the morning - put on the shoe and Go!

The WEIRD thing is for the last two weeks he's been furiously licking that bad foot, like its bothering him. .... THEN, three days ago I noticed he was walking on his foot.... without the shoe! Like, holding his foot normally! YESTERDAY for the first time ever we went around the entire block... with NO SHOE! I watched him carefully the whole time... and he didnt knuckle once!

I think... I think maybe his foot was tingling, as sensation was coming back and thats why he was licking his foot? I don't know if this progress is permanent.... I'm holding my breath. Is it possible, after 5 years of being crippled, his nerves have regrown? Is this happening? Can Walter really walk again???

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Wonderful Pug People of Minneapolis and beyond!

The tornado in Oklahoma City destroyed over 30,000 homes, leaving hundreds of pets who were at home at the time wounded, lost and needing rescue.  Local animal shelters need blankets, leashes, collars, dogfood and medical supplies. (Gauze, bandages, athetic tape, Neosporin with pain reliever etc...)  So I'm driving a load of supplies down to: Safe Haven Rescue, One Day Ranch and the OK Humane Society.

If you live in the Minneapolis metro area and  can donate any of these items (no donation too large or too small...) just let me know and I'll take them down there with me. If you live in another metro area, I encourage you to reach out to your local community and ask for donations. Time to pull together Pug People.  Let's do what we do best.... Lets help.

Sunday, December 11, 2011


Hi there! We are okay!  We've been on a long hiatus due to travelling and writing, but I must give you an update. Wally-boy is doing SWELL! This is a photo I just took of his sleepinks, only 4 mins ago....He's a world class traveller now, and while he is still wearing his shoe, there has also been marked improvement in his foot since the car accident. He can "clench" his foot now, where as before it was "dead" and he couldn't feel anything.

I have to say I look back at earlier posts, at how overwhelmed I was after the car hit him...at how truly awful everything became and I'm just so grateful to be on the other side. I think I took Walter for granted before the accident. I loved him, but I didn't know how much until he came so close to not being here anymore.

By far my FAVORITE comment about Walter came from a perfect stranger in Key West. A huge lady sitting on her balcony porch, who shouted at us as we walked by...."Hey!" she said  "Whats wrong with that dog?" and I explained he'd been hit by a car and now he wears a shoe, and the woman just grinned at him and said  "uh-huh, but nobody can tell him nuthin' now! He got a style now!"

And so he does. Walter definitely has style...and not just because of his little shoe. I think we both understand life more now...in that we grasp how little we understand at all. The beauty of it, the strangeness, the unpredictability. How kind and wise strangers can be.
We are spending winter in Key West again...this time we left the car at home. My brother and his new wife got a bulldog (big pug) and they're using the car, as well as walters travel cage and gear. We're going to get some kind of new vehicle down here! (Golf cart)

I hope you're all well, and we miss every one of you wonderful, amazing, unbeliveable pug lovers out there! Can you believe how far we've come??

Heather and Walter

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Warhol Wally

Key West is chock-a-block with artists, writers, musicians and other various creative scamps. One talented resident made this great picture of our man, Walter. Whaddya think, should I make t-shirts?

I apologize for being so woefully behind on reading your blogs, and also posting. I took a serious cyber diet there for awhile and just enjoyed human contact. no emails, facebooking or anything requiring a computer. Heaven! Still, we missed our friends and will be back around shortly to see whats new in your worlds!!

Monday, February 14, 2011

Happy Valentines Day

Hello Darlings!  No excuse for the length of time since the last post, an unexpected move to a new (but most excellent) location sent us into a small tumult. We are settled now and loving life in Key West. So much has happened and yet of course everything is the same. Walter is well, we had to make some adjustments to his shoe, as its so humid down here, the leather and velcro get damp, soft and shift more easily. Also, his vet thinks he needs another surgery for his knee. Of course this sends me into paroxysms of fear...but if it means he'll walk better, then maybe its not so bad. I will of course, need all of you to get through it. As of right now its unscheduled, but I will keep you posted.

For now we spend our days in lovely tranquility. We wake up, make coffee, go out onto the deck, water the plants, take a little walk and then I write for 5 hours or so. Then we break for dinner, sometimes mama goes out for a dinner party or a boat ride and then I come home and we take a night walk, which are more fun because its cooler out. Then sleepy-byes. In this manner I've managed to turn in one manuscript already, and working on another.

We just wanted to say WE LOVE YOU on this day and remind everyone reading this blog they are loved. By us. Big Time.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

My darling, wonderful, most wanted, loved and adored peeps.

This is a picture I took from my Key West desk, while writing (my very important) manuscript #4. I ask you - what are my chances of putting the writing first? Um....none? Pug first (note his mournful, disdainful, corrective gaze) and book  - far second (even though it will be here after we're both long gone)  Even my editor suspects the lineup.

So this is to say, we made it to Key West again, which as you know became out PUG HAVEN last year, when I had the movie-worthy freak-out and shouted (to no one)  "ENOUGH! I CAN'T WATCH THAT PUG SLIP ONE MORE TIME ON THE FREAKING ICE! WE'RE DRIVING TO KEY WEST! WEATHER, LOGIC AND COMMON SENSE BE DAMNED!"

And then I politely, with a remarkable amount of poise, graciousness and finesse (otherwise known as fear and loathing) high-tailed it through every hideous ice storm, blizzard, freezing rain storm an un-nameable yet very real weather condition the universe saw to throw at us. It was a bad idea, coupled with a nervous driver, a for-the-moment crippled pug and an excessive amount of luggage.


As we made it again this year despite a freakish throat infection that required sudden medical treatment. WHY do I look at these various challenges as taunts from a bully universe? Each unpredictable, strange and uncomfortable element appears to me as a dare. "What if we make your car emit weird noises? During an ice storm? What if we remove all non-scary hotels and chuck hail AND snow at you simultaneously? What if we put a tailgater on your butt for fifty miles, and you're in Arkansans, where you could kill him and get away with it?"

I say to each and every..."Oh yeah? Is that all you got?"

 I look at the above photo - a picture of walter watching me work and I stop. I think about what a miracle, what a stupid, strange, unlikely  miracle, sheer FREAKING MIRACLE it is that this dog is even alive, let alone with me. Traveled twice now all the way to Florida. Bad foot? You bet. Limps? All the time. Were we unlucky? In spades. Did a miracle happen? You God Damn bet it did. Is the shoe permanent? No. Maybe. I don't know.  I don't care. He's here. We can live with a shoe. Take the look of pity somewhere else. We're the luckiest people we know.

Shoe goes on, shoe comes off. I answer concerned passerby's constantly. To the point of exhaustion.
"He got hit by a Lexus SUV. Now he wears a shoe. But he's doing really good. He's a trooper. A soldier. He's okay. He made it. We're just glad he's here. He made it. " And I see these people, strangers, who maybe now number in the thousands, and who look at him and smile. They go on, they go off. They take the idea of perseverance with them. It is always, always, always a look of recognition.

Tonight I looked at Walter and I thanked him. I said, "If we're all sentient beings here on planet earth and we're all connected,and weaving our own destinies,  then thank you. For picking me. If it's all random and you're just a dog, well hell. You're still one good egg. Here's to you and me and the lemon balm plant. We rock." (I bought a lemon balm plant a few days ago, which suffered greatly in the sun, and I revived it this morning with soothing words and distilled water...identifying with it's fragile nature and weak constitution, making me absurdly attached to it.)

I'm starting to believe humans are at the bottom end of the evolutionary ladder. The self-centered rung caught up with worry. When we're done with that...when we're ready to turn our lives over to the healing of others...we become animals. Cats, dogs, canary's, pugs....creatures with an unlimited supply of unconditional love. True powerhouses. Limitless understanding, Creatures who have dedicated themselves to giving. To the rest of us. To you. To me. What else explains it?

From becoming dogs I don't know what happens. I drank some tequila to find out - and thought maybe we move to plants and then soil and then stone...and then I don't know, because it's outside my intelligence, but I believe as we progress we become more and more able to love, to care for, to heal. SO. My twitter tonight was this:

I just realized. It's all backwards. Intelligence is only ego. True power is unconditional Love. Upshot? The dogs win.

It's the best I could do, in a small effort to say thank you to you  - the wonderful souls out there in the dark, Who we think of daily, and love always and who are never ever far from our thoughts. And to Walter, A spirit I can never properly thank, to whom I will always be grateful. Why I was shown such grace, I do not know. Why the universe chose to bring this odd/beautiful experience into our lives, I'll never quite grasp.
Love, love LOVE to each of you. Viva el Pug, el girl and el Lemon Balm Plant. Screw you, bad luck. You don't even know where we live anymore.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Packing the Pug

Wally and I were home for Thanksgiving - and here's a shot of me packing up afterwards to go back to Key West. Walter wanted to make darn sure he didn't get left behind, so climbed into my suitcase. (and included a forlorn orphan look just in case the act of getting into the suitcase wasn't cute enough.)  Oh these pugs have such remarkable strategy skills!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Pug Ugg Site is almost complete!


I have been so quiet, because I have been fiendishly working on my gift for the world ( rather, for anyone who wants to build a shoe for their dog...) You guys know what we've been through with these blasted orthotic shoes, and how much we LOVE the otter pelt shoe...the Pug Ugg!  Well, I decided that this information needs to be out there, all the materials needed, the steps to take...where any dog owner (or cat owner, or rabbit etc..) can get it!

Nobody should have to go through what we did finding a shoe solution and NOBODY should have to put one of those cruel ouchie orthotic shoes on their dogs! SO! I give you a work in progress...but a masterpiece of insanity NONETHELESS. (...drum roll....)

I was going to wait for it to be completely finished, but I realized I need your help. Can you please look at this and tell me if you think I should include not just the directions to make the shoe, but possibly tips for a recently injured dog? And if so, what tips or, what links should I post? Medical tips? Community resources? Let me know what you think. Also - SPREAD THE WORD! Anybody who needs a dog shoe...here it is!

Maybe this can be a real resource for people going through what we all have gone through. (I say we, because lets face it, y'all have been there every step of the way!) WE LOVE YOU BIG TIME!!!!

  Oh, my friend, it's not what they take away from you that counts.  It's what you do with what you have left.  
~Hubert Humphrey

Defeat is not bitter unless you swallow it.  ~Joe Clark

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Winter's Coming...Let's Keep the wee Beloveds Warm!

Hey guys, We're headed to Key West again this winter...it's so good for Wally's foot and for Mama's psyche!

 This is a picture of Walter in a Kentuckiana Pug Rescue scarf, they sent it to him along with a care package filled with amazing, lovely things when he was hit last year.  (He is opening that very package in the picture. Nom Nom Nom!) I really don't know what we would have done without KPR's ongoing support, love and concern. It's an amazing group of folks with families and jobs, who help pugs in multiple states in the Midwest.

They've been hit themselves recently, with a big wave of incoming pugs who need HELP, like little Lazarus here, who was found half-dead by animal control and brought to KPR. This picture might make you sad, but it shouldn't! Lazarus us alive and recovering because of  the warm hearts at  Kentuckia Pug Rescue.

In fact, Kentuckiana Pug Rescue has had so many new arrivals, they just announced they'll have to close their doors temporarily until they get more funds for medical treatment and foster home care.


Kentuckiana Pug Rescue were there for us - Now, Walter and I want to be there for them. I'm sending them all the nickles and dimes I can find,  and a bunch of signed books they can use for fundraising.  I want our 11th hour angels to have their doors wide open and stay in flight!

Many of us would take care of additional pugs if we could, but time and obligations prevent us. We rely on pug rescues to be 11th hour angels, and so they are, but even angels get tired. We owe it to the small beloveds, we owe it to the rescue groups, we owe it to ourselves to keep these doors open. We need rescue groups. We need our angels. If you can send them any nickles and dimes, please do. Every little bit helps.

Lets use the community's pug power to get 'em up and running again!  Walter and I will never forget their good works and we say THANK YOU!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Kentuckiana Pug Rescue • PO Box 22697 • Louisville, KY 40252-0697 
 • 877-784-7988

Friday, October 1, 2010

Love ya Indy!

We tried SO HARD to come to the Indianapolis Pug Meet up. Man! It was close, and then due to all this travelling I'm doing for the book tour, I got walloped by a bug. No way could I come, not just because I couldn't make the drive, but I couldn't bear it if anybody caught this thing!! Maybe it's the last time I'll get sick this winter! Bah-hahahahaha!!! Anyway, we love you guys and we're thinking of you!!!!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

much better pug

 UPDATE: Smudge is doing much better. A food allergy was the most likely cause, they're monitoring her and  she's doing much MUCH better. Thank you for all the great SMART suggestions!! XOXOXOXO

You guys, medical advice is needed for my friend who has an elderly pug she rescued from a mill. "Smudge." My friend is going to her regular vet in the morning, but if this reminds you of anything, or you have any ideas what she should ask the vet to look for/check/test, please let me know. I don't think a sudden change in behavior is indicative of weight trouble. I also don't think now is necessarily the time to change her diet...
  xoxoxoxoxo H =

Here's what she posted:

So Smudge and I have been at the emergency vet for 3 hours. She is acting lethargic and not her usual...She kind of cowers from me at first. and won't use the stairs. The emergency vet checked her paws, hips, legs, neck for pain and said she didn't have any discomfort. Smudge weighs 20 lbs and this broad said she should weigh 14lbs! I almost s...wallowed my own tongue when she said that.
She started a new diet today so we'll see if dropping a few lbs helps her breathing. But it really doesn't address the rest of her odd behavior which started on Friday.

She ate today I fed her a 1/3 of a cup instead of a half. She won't go outside to pee. It's like while I was at work on Friday she suffered something traumatic that has her all out of sorts. She still hasn't used the stairs to get to the second floor though emergency vet checked her paws legs hips etc and said sometimes if a dog has a stiff neck they don't want to go down stairs head first which was about the only thing she said that made sense.

I'm not entirely opposed to the idea of the palette surgery but this woman was so clinical and unfeeling. Plus 20 lbs doesn't seem "MORBIDLY OBESE" I know she's a barrel but I give her diet food in measured doses and no people food and walk her everyday so wtf??

I realize when it's hot smudge gets less exercize than usual.
I'm watching her like a hawk from the corner of my eye so she won't feel observed. She's eating, drinking, peed on her pad etc it seems behavioral. But won't go outside on her own.
My god I wish she would just tell me what is wrong. 

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Pug in a Yurt

We are off to Chicago again for a reading at Columbia. Before the big trip (driving) Wally and I got some heavenly rest in our new Writing Yurt. Now, I am patently opposed to becoming a hippie (as per walters request) BUT a Yurt, which is not a "yacht on dirt" as my ever-posh brother guessed,  but a fancy tent with hardwood floors -  is a very wonderful thing. In this photo it looks a bit like a wedding tent prison with the gate...but its more of a vaulted circular room, and that crossed wood gate is the wall. There's screen behind it and canvas flaps that drop down outside for bad weather. Anyway, Walter really liked the Yurt and snored away as I wrote and finished making his NEW super streamlined and utterly AWESOME new Otter Pelt shoe.  It makes the old one look like a meatball. pics soon!!!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Breaking News

 Okay Indy Bloggers. Now it's serious. I need to know where you will be and when. Is there a schedule? How best to fit a reading in? Anyone know any cool local booksellers who'd bring books to the event? (Independents are easier to work with) also, anyone happen to know/or are able to contact members of the press? Something like: WORLDS MOST GRATEFUL PUG MOM COMES TO INDY or WALLY COMES HOME!

Monday, September 6, 2010

We got to meet Peta and Gen (but not the Foo!)

Okay, nobody told me someone might bring a pug to my reading...if thats possible then maybe this reading thing isn't so awful after all. I mean, who else was there to greet us at the reading in Chicago but Peta and Gen the pug? I was so psyched/relived/happy!!!!

Heres the only pic I was able to snap of my one and only and FIRST Pug attendee.

Oh I was sooo happy! So when I read Harry Pugalicious's comment that I should come to Indy, where we basically have a big old fat pug-rampant reading, I thought YES!!!

So I'm working on it. Whaddya think Indy bloggers? Would you be up for me coming in early october? Are you ready to meet walter? To see my lip quiver, tremble and then the torrent of grateful tears when I break down thanking you all?

Where could we even h'ave a reading that would allow dogs? Actually, doesn't have to be a vookstore...could be a petstore/coffee shop/wine bar etc thats cool with dogs in the store! Any ideas?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Photo Shoot with Walter on the Stone Arch bridge!

Here's what I posted on Facebook today:

Heather McElhatton Photoshoot on the stone arch bridge for MSP Mag = $5K. White couch from Ikea for Walter and I to sit on while bicyclists whiz by = $200. Slice of heavenly pink and white cake from Buttercream bakery which I hold on delicate plate and pretend to eat = $7. Dropping entire frosty slice on my lap = priceless.

I WISH you could have seen this photoshoot! It was so fun, even though it was laden with obstacles. It was a terribly hot day and we (Walter and I) were sitting on a big white IKEA couch the Msp/St. Paul Magazine crew hauled out right onto the Stone Arch Bridge (above). I was scared walter would get hot so I actually drove my car out onto the bridge (normally peds only) where I ran the AC, had battery operated fans set up in the back seat, a big bowl of drinking water with ice.

I ALSO had a "plunge tank" set up in the back of my car, a big tub filled with ice water, which I could plunge walter into in case he overheated. Everyone must have thought I was insane...but we ALL know what its like when our pugs get too hot and start "wheezing." Scary. I knew if anything happened up on that bridge, there was no where to go quickly enough, so the plunge tank, while seemingly excessive was actually an easy way to have peace of mind. I highly suggest it.

I was supposed to be eating a piece of cake from the award-winning wedding cake bakery, Buttercream but I dumped it on my shirt! Luckily the smart talented kids over there brought multiple slices. whew. After the shoot I got this gift:

This little cutie is made by "Tapas" and I named him JoJo Potato. How did I know it was a "he?"

CUTE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Wally likes JoJo Potato too. I think.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Introducing the Otter Pelt Shoe

Hi Guys!!!!! How is everybody?
We have been super wonderful great! I am weeks behind in blogging, but I finally got this years cabin photos uploaded. Check out Wally up at the lake! It was the first time he's been back there since the accident, and I was quite worried about how he'd get around - what he'd be able to do etc... The good thing is he's very cautious these days, he knows he can't jump or climb, and doesn't try.(Did I even tell you guys we found another BIG PIG in Key West? Auntie Meredith gave it to Walter!)
On the other hand there were a few things we both thought Walter would be able to do up north, i.e. walking on the pebble beach, which turned out to be far harder than expected. You can really tell his bad leg is still quite a bit weaker than the others when he walks on the beach, sort of like jogging on sand, he got tired quickly, so we ended up having short adventures. Then a long nap on the flat rocks.
Walters shoe has been really irritating his foot lately. I don't know exactly why, but it seems we're always trying to heal a new hotspot, bloody cut or seepy pad. its been awful and it reached a new low when Walter got a little bit of moisture in his shoe on the third day at the cabin. Oh man, trouble. His poor foot looked like hamburger just after an hour. I luckily had brought antibiotics with me and materials for a portable scamperland (fencing, yoga mats) so he had a place to mend, but I was SICK of this darn shoe! Metal grommets, hard seams, unforgiving materials...the shoe, while holding his foot correctly was also causing him topical injuries and days on end incarcerated!
I showed the shoe to a local trapper and he didn't even tease me about my high maintenence pet, he just turned the shoe inside and out...hemmed, hawed and said, "What he needs, is a moccasin."   He suggested I use fur turned inside out, hand-stitched with no metal parts. Specifically, waterproof fur that would stay soft even after getting wet, such as otter pelt.

It made so much sense! I spent the remainder of my north woods vacation acquiring scraps of an otter pelt and remnants of tanned deer hide (I KNOW! I have never in my life purchased fur/hide etc...shows you how far the maternal instinct will take you.) I made Walter a little moccasin. I stitched up a fur pouch, using velcro tabs to cinch the top around his ankle. Then I sewed four buttons (removed from one of my sundresses) on the toes. These are what the elastic bits on the ankle cuff (velcro backed with chamois) attach to.

 It's not the most durable creation, clearly he will wear through the bottom quickly, but I have to say, I am amazed at how well it works. Walter is more sure-footed in it and he has not had ONE SINGLE cut, owie, sore spot or weeping pad the entire time he's been wearing it. Not that pretty...but miracles are packed in tiny packages these days. Some, no bigger than an otter pelt shoe.

In other news my book, Million Little Mistakes, is out Tuesday. I did my first radio interview today and the host spent the first twenty minutes talking about....Walter! He said (and I quote) "Heather, I think the thing I like about you most is...your relationship with Walter."


 I laughed out loud. Sometimes that's what I like best about me too. I just posted a link in the sidebar - so you can peruse the book for free. If you have the ability/inclination to post the link anywhere, it really helps get the word out about the book...which really helps pay for otter pelts.

Glad to be back my friends. We don't always blog, but we always think of you. Every day.

“Sometimes you've got to let everything go - purge yourself. If you are unhappy with anything . . . whatever is bringing you down, get rid of it. Because you'll find that when you're free, your true creativity, your true self comes out.”   - Tina Turner

Saturday, July 10, 2010


Hello all you loveable wonderful pee-po's! I am so sorry we have been out of communication. Lots of traveling and one book coming out while another is due has put blogging on the back burner. I am going to catch up with everyone's blogs now and respond, I shudder to think what I've missed!! I will attempt to load some photos here shortly, been having lots of trouble with uploading!


I feel like celebrating because he's HERE. He's inspired so many people, who can't believe his gut, determination and his love for life. He is still wearing the shoe one year later, and we still don't know if he will ever walk without it again, BUT, he's here and so are you and so, this my friends, is a good day.

May I take a moment to remind you all how much we've been through with this little one? (By WE I mean, YOU, who all have so lovingly been keeping track of our story!!!) Remember when we prayed and sent white healing light minute-by-minute, through each operation? And how I wept all the time, sure I could never make it through all this?

Now FLASH FORWARD to today! We moved to Key West, then the UK, all in search of a better life. This little guy has made me make changes in my life that were so good for me, and I made them solely b/c they were good for him! (Trickster) I've learned healing comes slow, and that it has to, or you would'nt have time to recognize the miracles. That there are more good people than bad, more love and concern in the world than darkness. Also, there is one hell of a group of people in the world called PUG PEOPLE. Bestest in the world.

Walter has helped so many people and so many people have helped him. The little bruiser has taken so many steps without his shoe...granted they are months apart and we're not sure if its nerve growth or dumb luck, but gosh darn it. He made it, I made it and you all came along with us for the ride.

We continue various forms of therapy and are always quick to try new things. Walter is not a candidate for nerve surgery at the current moment, but we have our lives down to a system now. Get up, baby powder between toesies, baby sock, new improved anklet (mom made it with velcro we got during our breakdown in Georgia!) and we're off and running! By 9pm we take shoe off, soak toesies in epsom salts/warm water than a quick massage and nighty-night.


So obviously I have to get this whole experience down on paper. If any of you want to contribute thoughts or observations, from the moment you learned of walter's accident to the ongoing saga to today, I would love to have your thoughts and try to include them in any manuscript I manage to put together. You can email me anything you want to at prettylittlemistakes a-t gmail. We love you all so much!!!!

Thursday, June 10, 2010


1.) Name and Age: Walter! 3 years old.
2.) Breed: King Pug
3.) Nickname(s): Wally, Wee-wo, pickle butt, angel, kissy face, pooder-pie, peanut.
4.) Where'd ya come from? A house not too far from the one he lives in now. Mompug and Dadpug are near!


1.) Toy:  Stuffed Pig
2.) Snack: Chicken strips
3.) Human person: A hotly contested topic. Too politically sensitive to post (obvious to me but not to everyone else) answer here.


1.) Worst habit: pooping on shoe.

2.) Most embarrassing moment: When people take pictures of him whilst peeing

3.) Family dynamic (this is a question for those of you with more than one animal in the house. i.e. who is alpha? who is the cuddler? who is the naughty one? etc. I just want to know how you fit into the family!) Solos Lord and master of Universe. Thenk yoo.

4.) Your humans' FAVORITE thing about you!: Feet that smell like Fritos, Sounds he makes when sleeping, indomitable, unstoppable spirit.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Happy Birthday Anakin!

It's Anakin's birthday, and the poor baby has been going through a hard time lately. He had a surgery that's been difficult and we want him to know how much we love him!!!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Goodbye for now, we love you and will be checking in!

We're off across the ocean on our next great adventure! Email/internet will be tough for a bit, so I wanted to tell you all not to worry, we will be reading your blogs and keeping in touch as often as we can!

Also, Walter and I opened a big box of NEW BOOKS! My third novel, MILLION LITTLE MISTAKES will unbelievably be out Aug 1, and if any of you want to reserve a copy, just call your favorite bookstore or go to Amazon.com to preorder/buy a copy As always, your support makes me (and Walter!) incredibly grateful.

If you're able to tell a friend about Million Little Mistakes or even post a link to the book on your blog, it's always the BEST way to spread the word. A recommendation from a friend is better than anything else! These book sales will help pay for Walters ongoing treatments, which as you know are pricey, but worth it. (The vet says it will likely take a year or more, but if we're able to keep with the treatments, those nerves will keep growing in the right direction!)

MLM is a choose-your-own-adventure book for adults, just like the ones we had when we were kids with multiple endings. Only in this book, you win twenty-two million dollars in the lottery and you can spend it any way you want. You can buy a private island in the Caribbean, or an antebellum mansion in New Orleans, or an underwater hotel. You can take a luxury cruise around the world, bet on horses, give all the money to charity, and a whole bunch of other ideas that many of YOU gave me. You might remember me polling y'all for ideas! (Okay, the really crazy/naughty threads, like going to "Sex Island" and/or where you buy descend into a gluttonous pit of debauchery, those might have been more my ideas...)

The premise behind the book is that eternal question, can money buy us true happiness? Possible answer? Sometimes it can and sometimes it can't! (Does that antebellum mansion turn out to be haunted? Do pirates attempt to hijack your luxury cruise? Will a charitable organization just buy paperclips with your contribution? How will you know who loves you?)

Since I wrote Million Little Mistakes during Walter's accident, injury and treatment, there are a lot of animal thoughts/threads in the book and of course, one ending is creating the perfect animal sanctuary. My personal favorite. You also may notice a WHOLE lot of threads where strangers help each other, where uncommon grace and random acts of stunning kindness are common. What can I say? Writers write what they know, and you all have made those things a part of my daily experience.

Wally and Heath

Wednesday, May 12, 2010


Walter is so glad to be home, even though we're only staying a short while. He made a new friend, a Pembroke Corgi named MILTON!! I know he's not a pug...but wow. Cute butt award!!

Meanwhile, even though Walter still rolls on his ankle and "knuckles" when he walks without his shoe, I am noticing a definite improvement in how often he walks "correctly" too. (Not on Dorsal side.) He will stand and eat food now with leg held the right way. Could he be feeling more? His leg is still very weak and we're working on new exercises to strengthen the upper "hock" part of his leg. We've also increased his glucosamine and chondrotin, which promote joint health. I'm using "vibration therapy" on his pads, where I massage them with a vibrating massage gizmo.I also massage his hindquarters and back, by the nerve roots.

I'm also looking into a possible nerve grafting procedure using the cutaneous saphenous nerve (Yes, I've learned a little bit about neural anatomy during this time!) Basically, it's where a neurosurgeon takes a part of another, healthy nerve and grafts it to the injured site. The nerves, which grow like coral, will branch out and hopefully reconnect.

one problem, the only surgeon who has done this procedure is in England. So, naturally, I'm going to England.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Home Again

So long since we last blogged! Lots has happened. Wally and I did the long drive back to MN and made it safely home, where it's cool and comfortable. Key West gets mighty hot! Walter has been keeping up with his therapy and the BIG news around here is he took another ten steps without his shoe on!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Another Star for Wallymon

Jeff Baenen's Associated Press photo of me and Walter the Pug won the MN Society of Professional Journalists "Page One" award for news portrait! We all know why this photo won...and it ain't the redhead. I remember when Jeff came to my house to take this shot. I told him to make a strange noise, so walter would look at him, and he made a high-pitched sound, like a tea kettle, causing me to smile and walter to tilt his head, "ba-roo?" Way to go Jeff!

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

workin on it

Walter has been walking a little pigeon-toed in his shoe lately. I was afraid a bone had shifted, but a second set of xrays shows that all the pins are holding, and that this difference in walking could be due to....wait for it...NERVE GROWTH! Thats what we hope anyway. That those thin strands of nerves are weaving their way down to his toes. I really hope so - even though his foot has compensated for being walked on "upside down" (On the dorsal side) in an amazing way. He has actually developed pads on the top side of his foot. While it looks weird - as though he has truffles stuck on his foot, it's brilliant, because wherever there are pads, he doesn't get scraped up or bleed. It's the body's way of counterbalancing a new behavior. (walking on topside of foot!)Nevertheless, we're maintaining water therapy and accupuncture, as well as fish oil in the food and joint supplements. Pigeon toed looks like progress!

Nothing reduces the odds against you like ignoring them. ~Robert Brault,

I am not afraid of storms for I am learning how to sail my ship. ~Louisa May Alcott

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Blackouts, spring storms, spring breakers and NO INTERNET!

HELLLLLLLLLLLLO! So so sorry we've been incommunicado for so long. Living on a tiny island 100 miles out to sea has it's perks, but it has its drawbacks too. Intermittent electricity for one. Also, hella ferocious storms, where torrential rain flies sideways and stings like needles and I think maybe we should lash ourselves to a palm tree, even tho everyone else takes it in stride.

The spring break kids also flood the island and careen around in rented electric golf carts, frequently banging into parked cars, and VERY frequently banging into my car, which is so uniformly dented at this point it almost looks like post modernist design. I'm told every year these youthful party people bring diseases from up north, and sure enough two weeks after spring break started, everyone in Key West started coming down with killer colds and a particularly nasty stomach bug.

The hardest part for us however has been the complete lack of internet access. Whatever dime store router we had went out, and upon calling the office for repair, we learned a little more about "island time." Many businesses here have a captive audience and little or no competition, so getting service can take weeks. I've never gone this long without connection and that combined with all the storm sponsored candlelight and old timey mustard plasters, I almost thought we'd turned Amish.

Then they fixed the internet! Back to civilization! We instantly forgot any of our piddly gripes and refocused our gaze on all things paradisey. Our tranquil backyard (see Walter above refusing to come out of palm grove), the aquamarine ocean, the fact we've made friends with people who have boats and have gotten to spend lots of time on said aquamarine water.

Not Wally tho. I don't want him trying to keep his balance on a speeding boat. He gets to bask in the air conditioning with a butcher bone whilst I play. I've adopted the Hemingway schedule, writing in the morning until 3-4 pm, then heading out for cocktails and sunset. Then I go back home and write some more. Wally gets 2 walks a day, and a long leg massage at night.

We still haven't seen the miracle walking again, but I'm convinced the nerves are growing. I can tell he feels more when I put his shoe on now, and he licks his foot intensely after a full day of wearing his shoes, which means he can feel something. Soaking his foot in warm water and epsom salts really gets the swelling down and seems to sooth the urge to lick, so we do that at least once a night now.

I have to catch up on all your blogs now, I'm terrified you've all moved on, moved away, or decided to forgo pugs for parakeets. Alas, I know I have nothing to worry about really - as it just so happens that pug people are some of the most wonderful and reliable in the world.

“When you get into a tight place and everything goes against you, till it seems as though you could not hold on a minute longer, never give up then, for that is just the place and time that the tide will turn.”
-Harriet Beecher Stowe

"The older I get, the greater power I seem to have to help the world; I am like a snowball -- the further I am rolled the more I gain."
- Susan B. Anthony