A window sill or dozens at nose view

by Lorin Michel Friday, June 12, 2015 8:49 PM

Being able to look out our many windows at the vast and wild desert is one of our great pleasures these days. The back of our house is almost entirely glass and there is a view from every room. Even the dining room and kitchen, which technically are in the front of the house, have great views because they have windows that look to the north and up the great climbing and rocky hill behind us. They are also open to the southern windows. Those rooms might actually be the best because their views go on nearly infinitely to the north and to the south.

I sit in my office sometimes and I can’t help but stare outside. I can see other houses in the distance, I watch the birds swoop down and soar out to land atop one of the hundreds of saguaros. I see rabbits and desert squirrels, deer and lizards. The sun shifts, shadows change. In the distance, the sun glances off the downtown buildings. It’s quite something.

I know Kevin does the same in his office, though he faces more to the east which is a bit more sparse in the civilization department. There are several houses, dirt roads occasionally travelled by cars and delivery vehicles, dust storms trailing behind. Desert floral and fauna nearly as far as he can see. Two mountain ranges are in his view, one running to the east, from north to south, the other south, running east to west.

We see all of this without leaving our chairs.

Lately, we’ve also been noticing an interesting phenomenon. The windows have been fairly clean. Kevin cleaned them before his brother and sister-in-law came for Memorial Day weekend.  The glass was so clear it almost looked as if there was no glass. This is what, apparently, also confuses the birds who continue to try to fly through. We’ve actually had one fatality. One attempted to go through the bathroom window at what must have been warp speed. He crashed, and unfortunately didn’t make it. The other day it rained and some of that blew onto the glass so we now have some rain spots. Not too many; enough to show we had some weather.

But down below, just above the window sill, there are what can only be described as nose prints. These same prints also appear on the French doors, the ones leading from all of the bedrooms out onto the deck, and the ones in the great room. There are nose prints in the dining room, facing north, and in the breakfast nook facing south. There are nose prints in the master bedroom windows and in my office; in the guest room and Kevin’s office. The front door, our beautifully contemporary and custom iron door designed by Roy, is covered, too.

The culprit is one Mr. Riley Michel. It seems that he too enjoys a good view. He especially enjoys a good view of lizards and gila monsters and rabbits and bugs. Oh, how he loves bugs. He stands at the window, which is the perfect height for him. So much so that he often rests his head on the window sill. And when he rests his head, his nose presses up against the glass. Slobber ensues. When he stands close to the doors, he puts his nose against the glass there, too. More slobber. We have slobber from one end of the house to the other. Luckily the window slobber does nothing to obscure our views.

He has a window(s) to the world and a plethora of window sills at nose level, and he’s busy nose-printing and slobbering out loud.

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live out loud

A boy named Riley

by Lorin Michel Tuesday, April 28, 2015 8:02 PM

We have been lost since our precious Cooper left us over a month ago. This house was supposed to be for the three of us and as lovely as it is, as expansive the view, there has been a dog-sized hole. A hole in the shape of Cooper. Last night a new boy arrived to fill the hole.

We had started looking to adopt another. We had been to an adoption event, to the local shelter. Kevin really wanted another golden retriever mix so I went online and found Southern Arizona Golden Retriever Rescue, SAGRR. I contacted them and they did a home visit a couple of weeks ago. We passed.

On Friday, I got a call. There was a golden mix who had been living with a family and they wanted to surrender him, turn him in. A woman named Edie called me to see if we might be interested. He's not exactly what you were looking for, she said. He's a lot younger but given your other criteria, we thought we'd see if you might be interested.

The other criteria being male and able to go on long walks with us.

She proceeded to tell me about a dog who is just 15 months old, has lived with a family with three young kids but that one of the kids recently jumped on him when he was sleeping and he growled and snapped though didn't bite. I offered that I probably would have reacted similarly. He has had some obedience training, is house and crate trained, doesn't chew, isn't storm or fireworks afraid, loves to ride in the car and is actually very good in the car. They said he seemed small for a golden but didn't know his weight. He was current on his shots. I asked his name: Bernie.

Well, that definitely has to change.

I talked to Kevin when he returned from LA and we looked at the two not very good pictures that the SAGRR woman had sent. We decided to take the little guy and spent the better part of the weekend putting up temporary fencing on the side of the house, the area known as the “Cooper area,” since it was specifically designed for our lost boy. It hadn’t been finished because when we lost Cooper we also lost the urgency. We didn’t know when Bernie would be arriving as they had to arrange a volunteer transport; we only knew that if we didn’t get the fenced area done, he would definitely come over the weekend. I got an email on Sunday night from a woman named Jenny who would be bringing him to us on Monday afternoon.

SAGRR has a program they call foster to adopt. When they rescue a dog, they prefer to place him or her with a family who is looking to adopt. That way they don’t have to move the dog too many times. All that does is confuse them and make them anxious. That was one of the issues with Cooper. He had been moved too many times and was just nutty with anxiety.

Yesterday afternoon, it was Kevin and I who were anxious, pacing the house starting around 4:15. We worried if we were doing this too soon after losing Cooper, we wondered how the dog would even be. We were welcoming a dog into the house that we’d never met. We wondered if we were crazy, if we were doing the right thing.

At around 5, Jenny pulled in front of the house. We could see the dog in the back of her Subaru. Lying down, calm as could be. Good sign, we both mentally noted. She got out of the car and introduced herself. A lovely woman, a professor at the University. She opened the door, called to him. He got up so she could attach the leash, then stepped down onto the floor and out onto the motor court just as nice as you please. We welcomed him gently as he kissed our hands, our knees. His back legs were shaking, his tail was tucked as far under as it could be. He was terrified.

That lasted about 10 minutes. Kevin took the leash and inside we went. As I took care of paperwork with Jenny, he and the dog walked the house. Kevin showed him where his water bowl was, where his bed was, in and out of all the rooms. Then we let him off the leash and he proceeded to explore. Soon he came bounding out of the master bedroom with Wubba, Cooper’s Wubba, in his mouth, tail held high, pleased as he could be with himself.

Kevin had already told him he would have big paws to fill. It seemed like he was trying already.

He’s a boy now named Riley and he lives in a big house on a hill in Tucson with an incredible view. And Wubba. The hole in the house, though never the one in our hearts, has been filled, perhaps for us all.

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live out loud

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