Happy Birthday to our Tilly

Tilly as a pup

"People seem able to love their dogs with an unabashed acceptance that they rarely demonstrate with family or friends. The dogs do not disappoint them, or if they do, the owners manage to forget about it quickly. I want to learn to love like this, the way we love our dogs, with pride and enthusiasm and a complete amnesia for faults. In short, to love others the way our dogs love us." 

-  Ann Patchett (''This Dog's Life'')

Tilly's birthday is tomorrow, but we'll be away so I'm posting this today. She's eight years old, and continues to be the four-footed heart of our household.

Terri & Tilly Windling

Tilly  2017

Happy Birthday Tilly!

Reading with Tilly  2009

It's hard to believe that the little scrap of fur we brought home from a farm in Tiverton is six years old today, and utterly impossible to imagine our household without her intelligent, joyous, and goofy presence.

In honor of the occasion, here are links to some of my favorite poems about dogs...and I'd love to know yours.

Tilly at 10 weeks old"What the Dog Perhaps Hears" by Lisel Mueller

"Over and Over Tune" by Ionna Carlson

"Dog Music" by Paul Zimmer

"Dog Dreaming" by W.S. Merwin

"Dharma" by Billy Collins

"A Dog on His Master" by Billy Collins

"Walking the Dog" by Harold Nemerov

"The Dogs at Live Oak Beach, Santa Cruz" by Alice Ostriker

"If Feeling Isn't In It" by John Brehm

"Mongrel Heart" by David Baker

...and selections from Mary Oliver's "Dog Songs."

Howard and Tilly  2009

Howard and Tilly 2015

She's five years old today....


Birthday Portrait 2

"Dogs are minor angels, and I don't mean that facetiously. They love unconditionally, forgive immediately, are the truest of friends, willing to do anything that makes us happy, etcetera. If we attributed some of those qualities to a person we would say they are special. If they had all of them, we would call them angelic. But because it's 'only' a dog, we dismiss them as sweet or funny but little more. However when you think about it, what are the things that we most like in another human being? Many times those qualities are seen in our dogs every single day -- we're just so used to them that we pay no attention."   - Jonathan Carroll

Happy birthday to our minor angel.

Happy Birthday Tilly!

Tilly in 2009

Our pup is two years old today. In dog years, she is a teenager now: wavering between moments of solemn maturity and goofy bursts of pure puppyishness. She's reached her full growth -- which is smaller than full-blood labs (since she's half spaniel too, on her mother's side). Her dominant personality trait is an endless capacity for joy. And may that never change.

''No matter how close we are to another person, few human relationships are as free from strife, disagreement, and frustration as is the relationship you have with a good dog. Few human beings give of themselves to another as a dog gives of itself. I also suspect that we cherish dogs because their unblemished souls make us wish - consciously or unconsciously - that we were as innocent as they are, and make us yearn for a place where innocence is universal and where the meanness, the betrayals, and the cruelties of this world are unknown.''

- Dean Koontz (A Big Little Life)

Happy Birthday  dear girl!

Happy Birthday Tilly!

Tilly in Sept 2009

Today is Tilly's first birthday. She was born exactly a year ago on a farm in Tiverton, and came to live with us at Bumblehill just eight weeks later. I'm away from home at the moment, but I'm setting up this post in advance so that it will appear on the proper day -- to celebrate our lovely, goofy girl, who brings us so much joy and laughter.

So happy, happy birthday, Tilly! And thank you, dear Howard and Victoria, for talking me into the idea of adding a dog to the family. I remember just how reluctant I was...and I admit it, I was wrong and you were right....

Summer 2010