My Porch Buddy

Our dog Ellie sleeps on the concrete beside her dog bed on our porch at our house in Scottsdale, Arizona in April 2019

We developed a ritual, the pup and I, during our year in Arizona. I’d go hiking in the morning on my days off and when I got back I’d heat up a breakfast sandwich, grab my laptop bag, and we’d go out onto the porch for a little rest & relaxation as I wrote in my hiking journal about my experiences that morning. Ellie would eagerly watch me eat as I always gave her a little bit of cheese and egg and bacon/sausage at the end. Only a sliver as her kidneys couldn’t take too much protein but she always appreciated the gesture. After she died it became hard to continue the ritual, I forced myself out onto the porch at first but it took longer before I could eat a breakfast sandwich, even now it is a little difficult sometimes. Because she was deaf in her senior years I could sometimes sneak past her when I got home from the hike so I could wake her when my hands were free and I could help her up, for I knew as soon as I started heating the sandwich she’d wake as nothing got past that nose.

Also, as you can see from this picture and the previous one, though we got her these shoes to help her get up and move about the house, the pup was pretty good about getting out of them so you’d find them scattered about the house once she woke up.

All That is Good

A side view of our young black-and-white cat snuggling up against our black lab Ellie as she slept on her dog bed in October 2013

When we adopted Boo in the summer of 2013 we knew he was a sensitive fellow who was stressed by his time at the shelter and would need a slow introduction to the other cats. Despite the long history of cats and dogs he took to Ellie quickly, here curled up tight beside her as she slept on her dog bed. He especially loved taking her spot when she got up, reveling in the warmth left behind, and if she came back and found the bed occupied she’d quietly lay down beside the bed rather than try to get Boo to move. She was all that is good.


Our cat Sam sleeps on one of the dog beds on a sunny afternoon at our new house in Scottsdale, Arizona

I brought one of Ellie’s dog beds over from the rental house to help her get adjusted to the new house. She had to wait a bit to use it. I’ve been rather surprised by how well Sam has adapted to the move, at the moment he and Trixie are snuggled side-by-side on my legs. Ellie just moved to her bed and has joined them in sweet slumber.

What Do You Mean This Is the Dog’s Bed?

Our cat Boo plays with a string in our dog Ellie's bed

Boo in 2013 about a month after we adopted him. Shy as he was, he was never afraid of Ellie and enjoyed sleeping in her beds right from the start, especially if she warmed them up for him. He’d slink in underneath her as she got up which almost got him sat on once when she was just shifting her position.

The Furry Philosopher

Our cat Boo watches me while stretched out on the dog bed with his arms sticking out in front of him

My wife and I were discussing how we’d love to know what Boo is thinking. Like Scout, the black-and-white cat that preceded him, Boo is clever, but more than that he seems to ponder, to wonder, to want to understand not just the what of the world but the why. We’ve had other curious cats but there is a depth to Boo’s curiosity that is unique, so much so that it sometimes takes me aback when he plays with all the joy and enthusiasm of the other cats, even though we’ve had him since he was a kitten and we’ve played together countless hours.

Would that all so desired to understand the unknown, rather than fear it.


Our dog Ellie is curled up asleep in her dog bed

When my team got laid off at the start of November, one nice thing the company did was set us up with another company that gives advice to people in our position in starting the job search and updating resumes and online profiles. They gave a lot of good advice which genuinely helped on the job search, but one piece of advice I deliberately didn’t take, even though I think it is a good idea, is to treat the job search like a job and take the weekends off to recuperate. I didn’t do it because I was looking at different industries and different cities and had a lot of research to do. I don’t regret it, pursuing even the long shots as long as they interested me is how I got the job I accepted. But there’s also no question it left me mentally worn out.

And physically worn out as well, the past four months I’ve a hard time getting back to sleep once I wake up in the morning. In the early days it was because the reality of what happened would hit me after being blissfully unaware of it while sleeping, then it was because I started thinking about everything that needed to be done that day while I was searching for a job, and now I think about everything that needs to be done as we prepare for our move. For all that, once I accepted the job my mood became much more upbeat as I’m excited about both the new job and the new place where we’ll be living. This afternoon I even felt a strange sense of euphoria about it, despite so much being unsettled and how much needs to be done before I start. I suppose it’s a mix of being over-tired and legitimately excited about the new adventure we’re about to undertake.

The pup, though, she’s still sleeping like a champ. I prefer when she sleeps in one of her beds as, if she starts running in her sleep, it keeps her leg kicks from getting too violent. In her younger years they were adorable little leg kicks but these days, either from old age or side effects of medicines, she can get into a full-on gallup. Perhaps it led to her injuring herself a couple of weeks ago, but we’ll never know.