Sophie Stella Early Days

The questionnaire asked me about the best dog I ever had and what could be improved. That felt a little like someone asking me to choose my favorite kid. My favorite dog and what would make him better? I listed my dogs and what I loved best about them. Each was a miracle in their own way. All simply wonderful, beautiful, extraordinary, and loving. Continue reading


Sophie Stella Arrives in the Microcosm!

Knowing what I knew yesterday when I posted for NaNoWriMo, I should have guessed that after 4 pm yesterday, there would be no more writing, reading, or arithmetic (hahahaha 😉 ) around here because that’s when I picked up Sophie Stella formerly known as Stella who may drop the Stella at some point in the future.

sophie stella night one

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W is for Weary #AtoZchallenge #amwriting



Today a driver saw a laundry bag moving in the middle of route 7 and stopped to investigate. Two small dogs were inside. Someone had tossed them in the road to get rid of them instead of taking them to a shelter.

At the rescue the pup looked up at me with big eyes, and I cried. She put her paws on my chest and licked at my tears, demonstrating a huge capacity for forgiveness.

Weariness has tainted my ability to forgive people who don’t comprehend that the sanctity of life extends to all creatures.

I wonder, will they ever understand?


end 4/27/2017

S. Darlington

Anger #AtoZChallenge #AMWRITING


Rachel walked by this chain link fence five days a week morning and evening on her way to and from the metro. Never fail, the German Shepherd mix chained to the dogwood tree barked and wagged its tail. The bowl, supposed to be providing water, was upside down.

This was enough. The temperature was already below freezing with snow predicted tonight. The dog had no protection.

She seethed as she opened the gate, but tamped down the anger before carefully approaching the dog at an angle the way the rescue group had instructed. She held out her hand. The dog licked it and then play-bowed.

The house door opened.

“Get out of my yard,” the balding man with a paunch yelled. He caught a glimpse of her face. “You again. I told you to leave the dog alone. She’s my dog and none of your business.”

“It’s too cold out here for her. If you can’t be bothered taking her inside, I’ll take her.”

“That’s stealing.”

“This is abuse.”

“I’m calling the cops.”

Rachel seethed. “Go ahead. I’ve documented the abuse. I have pictures.”

The man thundered toward her. For a moment, Rachel felt fear. She didn’t think the dog would ever hurt her, but this man, probably a bully all of his life, could.

Immediately the dog growled and bared its teeth. Rachel glanced down, expecting a bite, despite her previous self-reassurances. Instead, the dog was focused on the man who instantly halted. She saw his fear. This was why the dog was outside.

“It’s stealing,” he said again.

Rachel opened her wallet and removed all of the cash, roughly eighty dollars and thrust the bills at the man.

“The dog will attack you,” he said.

“I don’t think so, but consider it no longer your problem.”

“Don’t say I didn’t warn you.”

“Yeah, yeah.”

And, the dog, realizing she was starting on a new path, also leveled two barks at her former master before following the woman to whom she pledged immediate loyalty. The liver treat in the woman’s pocket didn’t hurt either.


end 4/1/2017

S. Darlington




Without Trust, One Cannot Flourish

In a previous post, I alluded to the resilience of dogs, how they can be mistreated and still give love. I think though that first they must know love.


Puppy came into the world around nine years ago. He would have been a cute puppy with a white streak down his nose and white paws with little black freckles on them. And like all puppies, he probably wanted to play with his siblings and explore the world around him and chase critters and make different inanimate, and perhaps animate, objects toys. He probably wanted to follow the humans around the farm and learn as much as he could, because Puppy was a herding dog and when dogs acquired intelligence, herding dogs acquired most of it.

Fate and people played a bad trick on Puppy. He didn’t find a home as a puppy so he was tossed into a shed with other unchosens. Sometimes he had food, mostly he didn’t. Sometimes he had water, mostly he didn’t. For two years he survived, by being the wallflower, the one who slunk away rather than being noticed. He learned how to play the game of waiting and watching and choosing when to sneak some food or water.scout toy

Weeks before Christmas, people came to the farm and rescued the 150+ dogs and other assorted animals. Puppy, who had been found in this shed with dead companions, discovered that another world existed. In this one, there were baths and food and water and neutering and dental work and training.

“J” sat with him, and he began to trust. When you’ve been found in a shed with your fur matted with muck and little food and little water, you don’t have any trust of people. They’re the ones who have made you afraid of doors being slammed on you or of feet being kicked out at you. But “J” spoke to him quietly. She didn’t slap him or kick him or close doors on him. For nine months, “J” was his friend. He acquired a name: Scout.

In September of that year, Scout and some friends were taken aboard a big yellow bus that eventually was directed east and he came to a new state, Virginia. To be frank, it was frightening as hell. He wasn’t happy. But he wasn’t as unhappy as he could have been either.scout close

He had new dog friends: an old man named Shevy, who became his favorite playmate, a bossy lady named Cha, who told him what to do, and a cool laid back dude named Kasey, who he walked with in the woods every Sunday.

There was always more than enough to eat. And, when no one was looking at him and no one was at the water bowl, he drank as much as he could because there was always the fear that there would be no more water.

Scout learned and tried not to be afraid, but being unafraid to him was new and there were some things like fireworks and the washing machine on rinse cycle and little screaming kids and thunderstorms that would always frighten him and make him hide in the bedroom.

He learned to trust the two humans he lived with who bathed him and brushed him and cooed to him and gave him cheese.

Also, he learned a new word: flourish. It’s what you do when there is enough–enough love, enough food, enough trust, enough respect, enough bellyrubs. Enough of so many things that you never knew before in your life, but you know now and which make you tail-wagging happy.IMG_1950