The View From Here

For Mrs. Shirley Wiley


Last Saturday I suddenly found myself flat on my back on our gravel driveway.   The events leading up to this are all too familiar to my fellow deerhound owners—sometimes even walking with bent knees doesn’t work if you don’t see it coming—“it” in this instance being an 85 pound seven month old deerhound puppy who has absolutely no sense of personal space.  At least not MY personal space.  He came around the corner of the garage at a hard gallop, his six month old borzoi “brother” in hot pursuit.  And quite literally knocked me off my feet.  As I gazed up at the sky, I thought to myself, “What the HELL was I thinking?”  When I went to shower Saturday night, I caught a glimpse of a bruise the size of Texas on my derriere.

When good old Magic died a year ago in January, I was down to only three dogs.  Practically “dogless”—at least for me.  The girls, Queen and Quicksilver, were aging themselves and little Yoda has never really caused any trouble.  There was a time when my household contained (well, contained is hardly the right word, but you know what I mean) three kids, eight horses, five Scottish deerhounds, a toy dog, two cats and a couple of guinea pigs.  I drew the line at birds. They required far too much attention.   My friends say I thrive on chaos.  But that has been true only at home.  Work has always been a quiet haven, a place of order and even relaxation.  It’s all relative.

People have been wondering where I’ve been, and why I haven’t been writing.  The reason is two-fold and can be summed up by two names:  Pibb and Cole. Pibb is the six month old borzoi–his “fancy” show name is Russian and unpronounceable.  Cole is the seven month old Scottish deerhound, registered as Jaraluv Unforgettable.  They are very busy boys, and even under constant supervision the casualty count is rising—a favorite antique trunk…the inlaid veneered Italian cabinet, the coffee table books, the lawn, the television remote control, and various and sundry shredded dog beds.  And judging from past experience, they’ve only just begun.

When I was a senior in high school, I had an English teacher, Mrs. Wiley, who changed my life by teaching me how to paint a picture with words.  When I started this blog, I decided after much deliberation–because I love photographs and photography–that it would be words only and no pictures—that I would force myself to be descriptive enough so that my readers wouldn’t need the photographs to accompany the stories.  So picture this:  two nights ago I left the kitchen/family room area to go to the study to find a calculator so I could run some numbers. I was gone maybe 20 seconds when I heard a loud THUMP!  I ran back into the kitchen to discover the source of the noise—Pibb, standing on his hind legs, had shredded a 4 pound FROZEN and wrapped package of hamburger meat meant for a lasagna. Whole Foods free range grass fed expensive hamburger meat. The sound came when he inadvertently pushed the now gnawed and bloody meat into the sink from the countertop. The lasagna never happened.

Years of experience tell me that this too shall pass. I am working with an excellent trainer. Someday people will admire my elegant and well behaved hounds as we walk across the Plaza.  Children will stop to pet them and I daresay they will both have a few titles to add to their names.  In the meantime, I’m going back to work where it’s quiet and the patients are well behaved and none of them knock me down or steal my dinner.  You’ll be hearing from me more often now!


    1. Royal, I’ve been writing this blog for nearly 4 years. Work, dogs, horses, and hospital administrators–depending on my mood. Welcome.

  1. You’ve done Mrs. Wiley proud, Miranda. And Hippocrates is no doubt smiling as well.
    We, your readers, are the benefactors. Patients, too. Just one bit of advice as you go–watch a little more Ellen DeGeneris and notice the way she gets ready to receive a happy guest running down at her from the studio audience. Bent knees aren’t enough. You have to get your feet shoulder width apart, blade your stance, and then crouch. We need many more Crab Diaries like this one!

  2. And you thought retirement might be boring???

    I can’t tell you how happy Michelle and I are that we decided to share two puppies and raise them out together – weeks on and off at each other’s house.

    I just had three lovely weeks with the 5-month-olds. My neighbor and I loved them up and leash-trained them (something neither Michelle nor I had done in the craziness of raising 13 pups and sending 11 off to new homes). Michelle was luxuriating in her quiet puppy-less life.

    Just as I was tiring of the constant “ON” necessary in puppy care, Michelle was starting to finally miss the pups. So our puppy exchange yesterday came at a perfect time. This morning, as I sit on my deck typing, I may miss the cavorting pups (a bit) but I can safely relax in the peaceful presence of just old dogs.

  3. I saw that barely scraped package of frozen hamburger meat, Miranda. I would have cleaned it up & made the lasagna. I hope you at least mixed it into the dogs’ dinner!
    But I know only too well, whereof you speak and feel your pain.

    1. There was a lot of Pavlovian saliva involved so it just didn’t look appetizing anymore! Yes, it was cooked and added to their kibble. But THEIR hamburger meat usually comes from Costco!

  4. Children have never been enough for us, either. We decided we wouldn’t replace our aging pets as they left so the two cats and two parakeets are gone. We now only live with a 13 yr old adorable terrier mix dog, Ginger, a five year old 4 1/2 ft iguana, EZ, and a 7 year old nanday conure, Freckles, who will most likely outlive us. Luckily, Ginger is too short to reach the counter. Although they are older now and not a problem, my favorite home messer-uppers you haven’t yet experienced were grandchildren! Your wonderful blogs will be even better when those stories are added. Until then, I enjoy your beautiful writing and the smiles it brings. Thank you!

  5. There is nothing that adds to the joy of life than a dog or two or three. Wonderful story!

  6. If you email me the Russian name of your dog, I would be happy to transliterate it for you. Gotta love sight hounds. If you want obedient, switch to the herding group. 😉
    I was flipping channels on tv the other night and saw what I thought were Irish Wolfhounds being used on a show called The Vikings. I think it’s on Amazon or Netflix…Just an FYI…

    1. Thanks Stacey! His registered name is Oxota Molodezovich Betelgeux. Oxota is the kennel name which I believe is Russian for hunt. Molodezovich refers to his father’s name and I think means “son of Molodez” but I’m not sure. He is Betelgeux (Beatlejuice, Beatlejuice!!) because it’s the breeder’s Stars of Orion litter and loving the movie, I couldn’t resist!

      1. ah yes… Of the hunters… put plenty of phlegm into that pronunciation of that “x”.
        As for Molodezovich.. The word Molodetz looslely means “good job or well done”, so probably … all together.. The good hunters…
        The “Patronomic” or “middle” name for Russians is generally the father’s first name in genitive case, thus “ownership/belong to”. So, if Peter’s dad was named Ivan, Peter’s name will be Peter Ivanovich (masculine form, son of Ivan) + surname If Ludmilla’s dad is Ivan she will be Ludmilla Ivanova (daughter of Ivan-feminine) + surname
        Hope that’s some fun trivia for you.
        You obviously have some good hunters that can get the job done!

        1. P.S. The dog that is my avatar is my Australian Shepherd, “Teek”. Short for the word Tikvah, in Hebrew, which means “hope”. He is named for a friend who passed away from breast cancer, and also, for what I needed a bit of, at the time, since I had just finished my treatment for the same. He is 6 mo. old in this pic.
          He’s over 14 now, and I’m 16 years out…
          Yee haa!

          1. Stacey, thanks for the translation. Pibb’s sire was (now deceased) Russkaja Volnitsa Molodez II so you’re right on the Molodez part. Want to take a stab at the sire’s name? Congratulations on your sixteen years out from breast cancer, and on your boy’s advanced age!

  7. Oh my, I too, have suffered the Texas sized butt bruise–but that was thirty years ago.
    My mother took to defrosting meat on top of the refrigerator. The large dogs never managed to get the meet from there, but the refrigerator top eventually rusted through!
    Heal fast, and enjoy those critters.

  8. Ah, yes. Many of us share the experience of bruises (hate the public stares when visible!), concussion(s) and one of my personal “best”, in which an unrelated CT scan, several years later, mentioned “evidence of old nasal injury”.
    Sighthound puppies = danger!

  9. Hmmm.. Volnitsa sounds like a Russified version of a Polish word/name “Wolnica”
    So that launched me on a search about the word Wolnica- or… Wolny

    (I almost thought vilnius as in Lithuania… something or other) but I did some research and “Wolnica” means “market square” in Polish. I wonder if it has connotations of “free market”

    Because I found this…

    and this:,get,id,2066,t,Wolnica-Square-and-the-City-Hall-of-Kazimierz.html

    wolny is polish equiv to russian Svoboda… Freedom.
    Go figure… I guess the dogs run free!

    Sorry.. Linguistics fascinates me. As does the origin of dog breeds… follow the dogs find the language… for instance… The Hungarian language is one of the 4 in Europe that is more closely related to Asiatic/Uralic languages than it is to Indo-european languages (like Basque, Finnish, Estonian).. and the…Tibetan Komondor… Hungarian Puli.. Corded coats came from… Tibet…….”Komondors were brought to Hungary by Cumans, the Turkic speaking, nomadic people who settled in Hungary during the 12th and 13th century. The name Komondor derives from Koman-dor, meaning “Cuman dog”. The breed descends from Tibetan dogs and came from Asia with the Cumans, whose homeland might have been near the Yellow River. In the late 10th century, Mongols began to expand their territories at the expense of the Cumans, forcing them to move westwards. Fleeing from the Mongols, they reached the borders of Hungary in the 12th century. Cumans were granted asylum and settled in Hungary in 1239 under Köten Khan.[3] Komondor remains have been found in Cuman gravesites. The name “quman-dur” means “belonging to the Cumans” or “the dog of the Cumans,” thus distinguishing it from a similar Hungarian sheepdog breed which later merged with the Komondor. The name Komondor is found for the first time written in 1544 in the History of King Astiagis by Kákonyi Péter, in Hungarian. Later in 1673 Amos Comenius mentions the Komondor in one of his works.[5] Today the Komondor is a fairly common breed in Hungary, its country of origin. Many Komondors were killed during World War II and local stories say that this is because when the Germans (and then the Russians) invaded, they had to kill the dog before they could capture a farm or house that it guarded.”

    Maybe more than you wanted to know, but when it comes to languages and dogs… they follow each other in interesting patterns.

    1. Fascinating about the origin of the Komondor, Stacey. When it comes to dogs, there is NEVER more than I want to know.

        1. And….the Australian Shepherd, is not Australian…lol They hearded the Merino sheep, that came from Australia to the west coast… Like Duck Sauce I guess. Goes on duck, not made of duck…

          Would it surprise you to learn that the Australian Shepherd is the only livestock working breed developed in America? Contrary to his name, the Australian Shepherd is not an Australian breed at all. We can trace his early ancestors to sheep herds, many of which were brought from Australia. Basque shepherds on the west coast were known to have “little blue dogs with bob tails” in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. Sheep were imported from France, Spain, England, New Zealand, and Australia along with shepherds with dogs. In the western United States the Basque shepherd and his little blue dogs came to represent shepherding as much as the Scotsman and his Collie in Britain

          1. I do know that, and find it very interesting that the AKC has now admitted “miniature” Aussies but is calling them American Shepherds. Bout time!

  10. American is nice, yes…but I always cringe when something is “miniaturized”. sad face.

    I have a few personal rules about dogs that I will own:
    1. toy or miniature must not be in the name(even if partial/mutt etc…)
    2. I must be able to see their eyes without special grooming
    3. No fuzzy mouth yucky stuff (I could not handle having a Briard)
    4. No excessive slobberers.
    5. Less than 25 lbs is not a dog. Anything smaller than that should be a cat, which are cool for their own reasons.
    6. No dog can be higher maint. than me. IF they require more than an occasional bath or brushing… too high maint.
    7. No brachycephalic faces, shortened legs, etc.. or other human engineered handicaps/defects (bassets, bulldogs, daschunds etc…)
    8. Must be able to run 6-13 miles with me
    9…. trainable
    So you see why I end up with Aussies? (a border collie would be fine, most herding dogs and so forth. I wouldn’t mind a Rhodesian, I hear they would tolerate our Alabama heat…etc.. yadda…)

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