a peek inside the fishbowl

17 Mar, 2011

A year with Piper

Posted by andrea tomkins in: dog stuff

My head is thick with a cold and I am hearing everything through a veil today. It’s not the best day for writing, but I figure the best way to deal with it is to just get up and move… and try to ignore what’s going on inside my body.

I spent most of yesterday curled up on the couch with a friend. This girl right here:

Piper - March 2011

I’m pretty sure she knew that something was amiss. She was happy to just hang out, only occasionally pressing a rubber chicken against the backs of my knees while I walked or playfully shoving her ratty “foxy” in my face.

Piper and Foxy

I’ve been thinking a lot about how our lives have changed now that we have a four-legged family member. I can’t believe I was ever unsure.

This is what she looked like when she first came into our lives, almost a year ago:

Piper, just over 3 months

It was a lot of work at first. But without a doubt, dog ownership (or should I say, companionship), has made me a happier person. There is no question that people who own dogs are healthier, and have lower stress and lower blood-pressure. I know this to be true because I feel it in myself.

When I come in the door, or I stroke her wiry fur I can feel everything falling away. God she makes me laugh. That little face is so funny, and so full of expression. I always know what she’s thinking:

Gettin' a brushin'

Piper can also be infuriating. She’s as stubborn as they come. She has a one-track mind as it pertains to other dogs. She wants nothing but to sniff and say hello, which is fine, most of the time, but I don’t think she’ll ever become an “off leash” kind of dog. She’d see a dog in the distance and never come back.

It’s not like she’s stupid. Quite the opposite. She’s a little too smart. She knows all kinds of tricks now. She’s recently learned to ring a bell if she needs to go out. She can sit, sit up (beg), do a dance (go up on her hind legs), shake a paw, roll over, stay, and lie on her back (“show me your tummy”). Problem is, she only listens if you have a treat in you hand. In fact, “cookie” is the first word she learned.

I don’t think she’ll do ANYTHING if there wasn’t anything in it for her. See? Smart.

What else?

She loves to steal your warm spot on the couch.
She tries to sneak into our bed when she thinks we don’t know.
She loves tuna fish, and comes running when a can is opened.
She’s crazy about popcorn. Watch out if you drop a kernel.
She loves squeak toys. I think it’s because she thinks she’s killing something.
She loves her family. Sarah, as the youngest puppy, gets all of the kisses.
She loves to play. And get fresh air in her snoot.
She hates puddles.
She’s never turned on anyone or reacted in anger.
She loves to sleep in a sunny spot.

I count my doggy blessing every day and am so grateful that she’s come into our lives. The house would be so sad and empty without her.


9 Responses to "A year with Piper"

1 | Valerie

March 17th, 2011 at 11:08 am


love the pic with the ratty foxy. Glad it worked out better than you expected.

2 | J.

March 17th, 2011 at 11:34 am


Awwww… now you make me want my own pup. We’re also ‘sort of’ looking. Nothing until after May, but would love to see a furry animal in our house soon.

3 | Sherry

March 17th, 2011 at 12:25 pm


She’s such a sweetheart. :) I love that picture of her staring down the popcorn and when I showed it to my youngest she thought it was hilarious.

I love having a dog. There are times – when it’s raining, really cold, or really hot and I have to take her out – that I wonder what I was thinking but I love her.

4 | Rae

March 17th, 2011 at 1:07 pm


Aura has the same fox! It’s the best thing we’ve ever bought for her!

5 | Trish

March 17th, 2011 at 4:05 pm


As Piper was entering your life, we were losing the ‘spark’ in ours: we lost our beloved Jack Russell almost a year ago (mar. 15) and miss him every day (though there are things I don’t miss like the 2am bark to go out to pee). I enjoy the posts about Piper as it allows me to live vicariously as a dog owner.

6 | Pauline

March 18th, 2011 at 1:16 pm


Awww, Piper’s a cutie! Dogs and domestic animals in general add so much love and humor to a household!
Our Selena can also be stubborn too and eats anything and everything, but she is such a wonderful dog and we love her to bits! Our cats a little less so…but they “tolerate” her most of the time! ;)

7 | FireMom

March 20th, 2011 at 8:20 am


Oh man. This post makes me want a dog now. But I don’t think we’re ready yet. Sigh.

8 | Chantal

March 20th, 2011 at 9:32 pm


Oh that is so sweet. It almost makes me rethink the whole dog thing…

9 | andrea

March 21st, 2011 at 8:59 am


Thanks everyone.
Piper is an awesome dog. We totally lucked out!

Trish, you can borrow her anytime you like. :)

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My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our two daughters Emma (16) and Sarah (14). I am the managing editor of our community newspaper, the Kitchissippi Times, and a regular contributor to MediaSmarts.ca. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger, and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999... which makes me either a total dinosaur or a veteran, I'm not sure which! The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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