What is a dogSpiration? In short, it’s a dog-inspired devotional story that contains little life lessons and big God glimpses.
This Monday, October 31,st I look forward to the sound of “Trick or Treat” as delighted children in costume and character, hold out open bags and grin. Sam loved to run and answer the door with me, thrilled to greet little visitors on his birthday.
When someone loves you,
they say your name different.
You just know your name
is safe in their mouth Billy age 4
Bless the Beasts and the Children for the memories and love they bring us adults, eh?
The joy, the … the forgiveness.
Love creates a relational space where we can overcome being wrong, survive being hurt, and forgiven for acting badly.
In some of my sour moments, disgruntled and fuming, I opened the door to our safe haven and Sam in joyful greeting met my rant. In these moments, when his tail continued to brush back and forth as far as the east from the west, and sweep the sin of my ill-expressed anger, I felt the divine forgiveness of God. As far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us. Psalm 103:12
During a recall moment, I wrote the dedication to Sam in dogSpirations. Even when the unfortunate receptor of my dour disposition, Sam continued to wag a smile and gaze for approval, even when it should have been the other way around. Such is the grace of a pet, of a child. Such is the legacy of a name. I never knew the warmth I would feel years after his
Such is the legacy of a name. I never knew the warmth I would feel saying Sam, even years after his passing, when I named my little orange puppy, born on Dogoween. And so my thanks, again, as I remember his dedication to me. I repeat my dedication to him.
When I look into your steadfast eyes,
I see the clearest bluest skies;
No brokenness from hammered earth,
Raised in our home from puppy-birth.
And God has covered my mistakes
When I’ve felt regretful aches,
From times I acted-immature,
Because I handled anger poor.
But always loving,
You are my closest glimpse of heaven.
Your patience and faithful love to me will always be a glimmer
of the divine nature of our Creator
Dog’s model the grace people need to offer people, grace for each other’s shortcomings.
COME to Placerville News Co. Saturday, Sept 17th 3-5 pm
MEET Cat Author, Elaine Faber
& Dog Author, Dee Aspin
409 Main Street (at the triangle where Main Street splits)
Placerville Oktoberfest, 3-8 pm
Dee Aspin shares not only her gigantic love for her dogs but also her life in this wonderful book of lessons titled, dogSpirations… BJ Taylor Nationally known speaker and author of Charlie Bear
dogSpirations is the best book I have read in a long time! Millie
Dee, author, speaker, coach lives with her husband and miniature schnauzer Benji. She enjoys listening to Steve and Benji howl together daily. Sam, their Lab, is sorely missed but his memory lives on.
Elaine author of three cozy cat mysteries, will present her latest WWII humorous mystery adventure, Mrs. Odboddy – Hometown Patriot. Set in small town California, eccentric, elderly Mrs. Odboddy fulfills her volunteer duties for the war effort all with gusto, all while identifying a ration book conspiracy and chasing down villains and spies. Elaine Faber’s short stories are published in magazines and multiple anthologies. She is an active member of Sisters in Crime, Inspire Christian Writers and Cat Writers Association.
I absolutely loved Hometown Patriot! It was so relaxing and enjoyable. It was well written and easy to read! The characters were pleasant and fun! And it was Laugh Out Loud funny from beginning to ending! Looking forward to reading book two in the Mrs. Odboddy series! New York Army Mom
The forward to dogSpirations_
I never thought I needed a dog until I grew up. As a child, German Shepherds were part of our household—but not a part of my heart. I fed them when reminded and jogged with them in high school. In college I brought home strays—but they never stuck around.
Hannah walked into my life one busy ER night shift, dumped off at the ambulance dock homeless. So began my love affair with Labs. Mickey, another homeless dog I was watching “temporarily” to help my friend’s son out, started my love affair with schnauzers.
By 2004 dog devotions tumbled from my heart and mind. Moments with my dogs, timed in a way God could get my attention, taught me lessons I needed to learn and felt compelled to share.
Most lessons were written as a single woman until God surprised me with a husband whose grey beard matches Benji’s, my current miniature-schnauzer. I affectionately call Steve my giant schnauzer.
Steve shot the cover picture of Sammy, who was our loving yellow Lab, holding his sand-covered tennis ball at Baker Beach. We picnicked there with the dogs one beautiful San Francisco afternoon. It was a special day we will always remember—almost as memorable as the day our dogs walked down the aisle with our wedding party ten months later.
Dogs are an amazing gift from God.
Ever-present furry angels,
they are loving and demanding, curious and understanding—
dawn to dawn, dusk to dusk—
except when they are sleeping,
under our safe keeping….
Yesterday I spoke with a friend, Elllen, whose cherished kitty is in that difficult end-stage of life. She eats and vomits and is down to skin and bones.
Everyday she whines to leave the house, Ellen opens the door and she saunters up to lay underneath the neighbors truck, where she posts her guard. The neighbor watches her closely in this heat- until my friend comes every afternoon to carry her back home and put her in the bedroom for the evening.
“I don’t know what to do, Ellen stated. Some days I struggle if I should take her in…and let her go to kitty heaven.”
It’s always hard to care for our pets at end of life. I found something I wrote when Mickey, my first mini-schnauzer, was an elder dog… with a little prayer for strength.
“Hi Honey” I looked up at my funny faced friend and patted him with one hand as I pressed the paper down onto the rug under my other hand-sponging up the 2nd of my series of odor removal treatments to the rug. I still hadn’t started devotions working on my carpets. Suddenly eyeing the floor behind Mick I saw them. Wet footprints.
“I can’t believe it!” I looked at my pups blank stare and followed the little series of wet prints around the corner to a terd and then yes, another pee pile. This is unbelievable, I exclaimed out loud carrying critter out the dining room past the papers I’d laid out and to the sliding glass door to the backyard. Moments later cleaning up the new messes. I looked up to that same blank face on the other side of the window.
I felt frustrated , but not angry at my pooch. After all, he couldn’t help it. And putting him out now is after the fact. He’s actually safest to be in the house now. My little housedog is no longer fit for the house… unless I get doggie diapers.
“Just leave him outside,” people tell me. But when I’m home I can’t. He spends so much time outside when I’m away. So I’ll choke up the money and Today is the day. I’m finally sick of cleaning up all the time- it’s doggie diaper time. A new stage in our lives together. Like it or not, it’s my only option to sanity if he can stay in. He is in the latter season of his life. And I just have to accept it and do what I can to make it easier for both of us.
So it will be uncomfortable for him and it will reach into my pocketbook but it is a viable option to spending every morning cleaning up. I am willing to pay the price. And I do want him to be in the house with me when I’m home… my old little companion.
Father, help me to accept these changing times and the changes in Mickey in the best way for both of us. We’re not ready to let go yet.
There is a time for every purpose under heaven…
Tonight (July 8th), from 6-8pm in Elk Grove, at the Gifts from the Heart of Elk Grove gift shop, I’ll be signing “3 minute devotions for the dog lovers heart” and “3 minute devotions for the cat lovers heart” gift books.
They are a collaboration I wrote for newly released Barbour Books, along with my own doggie devotional “dogSpirations” released last year. All devos are inspired by the special dogs God has blessed me through the last twenty years to nurture..
You will relate if you have been so loved, too, by the furry Angels …
Well, most of the time!!
Today I will post some of my favorite quotes on dogs…and one of my own that still makes me smile… my husband said he is not offended if I post it
My dog is the only male I’ve ever asked to …drop the ball. Dee Aspin
Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our lives whole. Roger Caras
If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you; that is the principal difference between a dog and a man. Mark Twain
If you think dogs can’t count, try putting three dog biscuits in your pocket and thengive him only two of them. Phil Pastoret
Ever consider what pets must think of us? I mean, here we come back from a grocery store with the most amazing haul- chicken, pork, half a cow They must think we’re the greatest hunters on earth! Anne Tyler
Money can buy you a fine dog, but only love can make him wag his tail. Kinky Friedman
Animals have a much better attitude to life and death than we do. They know when their time has come. We are the ones that suffer when they pass, but it’s a healing kind of grief that enables us to deal with other griefs that are not so easy to grab hold of. Emmylou Harris
Before you get a dog you can’t quite imagine what living with them might be like; afterward, you can‘t imagine living any other way. Caroline Knapp
Doggie Stains- When Begging Brought Regret… a dog devotion…(young Sam)
This morning I woke up to new dark brown stain on my white carpet, not the green throw rug, where it stuck out like a big black spider on a white wall..
I gave Sam, my yellow Lab, brown meat and a bone yesterday, so while I tensely steam- vacuumed the large brown 5×7 spot and the smaller 3×5 area, I couldn’t blame Sam curled quietly in the study. I gave him the wrong food. He didn’t choose it. I’m sticking to dog food and carrots I thought once again as usual in moments of regret. It’s only when he’s begging staring longingly, and dripping saliva while I enjoy a meal—that I give in, I thought. But that happens to be whenever food is around.
“Keep him away from the table,” my friends tell me. They’re right. But somehow if I start that way he creeps back in like a silent yellow vine.
“Don’t let him in the kitchen!” I’ve heard often…but he’s better than a mop and he’ll even eat the skins of vegetables or fruits I would otherwise throw in the disposal. Together, we’re better than the recycle team.
Benji, my mini-schnauzer is not included because he’s so picky often wiggling his nose about and then stepping back from fig skins, strawberry caps, lettuce shavings, etc.
I’m so glad God isn’t like that. He doesn’t give in to my woeful longings if he knows it isn’t good for me and I’ve been praying for him to “keep a door shut no man can open.”
Great prayer. Unfortunately it happens—I can’t shove the door open God has locked. If it’s not the right job, house, trip, expensive remodel, relationship, that I really want then he doesn’t give in to my pleadings.
How many of us can figure out how the country western singer came up with a song thanking God for unanswered prayer? Hopefully next time I’ll remember how my soft love doesn’t help Sam, and practice a bit more restraint. After all, I am the master. I need to make the best decisions.
“If a son shall ask bread of any of you that is a father, will he give him a stone? Or if he ask a fish, will he give him a serpent? If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children how then will your heavenly father” Luke 11:11
Lord help me to make the best decisions not only for Sam, but any children, coworkers, friends, family in my life when they are asking for something that I could give them, but it’s not the best choice for them… and I know it. Help me not soften by their persistence or pathetic pleas.
Book Signing Event in Placerville, California – On Friday, December 11th, 11am – 2pm, Dee Aspin will be at the Placerville News Co. signing her newest book, dogSpirations. Come to the Sierra foothills and enjoy this historical gold rush town and pick up your autographed copy of dogSpirations. Purchase extra copies as Christmas gifts for the holidays. Dee will be happy to sign those as well. Black Cat Mysteries author Elaine Faber will be there signing her books as well.
Friday, December 11th, 11am – 2pm
Placerville News Co.
409 Main St.
Placerville, CA 95667
A number of years ago, I wrote a poem when the world around me seemed to be changing too fast. incomprehensible. The peace only comes in knowing, He knows. He sees. All of it. All of me. All of us.
Following your footprints
I looked across my patio arch
Shadows cast across the street
Soon it would be getting dark
Time to walk the dogs… and me.
Time and again, these moments come
Somehow life keeps moving on
Sammy’s grown and Benji’s young,
No longer a puppy− I’m no longer a yuppy.
How many more nights will we walk these streets?
Smile at these neighbors, water these trees,
Cross these sidewalks, smell those roses,
Moments passing, into hours.
How many corners yet unturned?
How many pasts to yet move on?
Dreams still brim, still brew inside,
In spite of time and age and pride.
Again, around us Spring has sprung,
Again, the flowers bloom, they’ve come,
And I have never moved a thumb.
I’m just watching feeling numb.
Again, I need your grace,
Accepting changes in this place.
New songs my nephews play,
Old friend’s who’ve moved away,
New burdens that I shoulder,
In this body… I feel older.
And this house, I now call home,
How long here?
Am I to roam?
Lord, I’m searching for your face,
I reach to take your hand,
Each talk and new unraveling,
I seek to understand.
This time is it real? Is this coincidence or truth?
Enough’s been said , to turn my head,
I know you’ll give me proof.
You know that you’re my Man
The one who holds the plan
I’m willing if you take me
To walk those footprints in the sand.
BIG Trouble! – What did Benji and Sammy do? My simple cell phone video captured the moments after I discovered their deeds. Their reactions are priceless. My husband turned it into the following production. Enjoy!
Book Launch Event to benefit CANINE COMPANIONS FOR INDEPENDENCE!
On Saturday OCTOBER 3, 2015 from 11am to 2pm, Dee Aspin is having a book launch event for dogSpirations at Trends-N-Treats in Fair Oaks, California (8929 Madison Ave Ste 200 – Safeway shopping center – see map below). dogSpirations will be available to purchase and Dee will be happy to sign your book! Trends-N-Treats will have FREE TREAT TASTING for your dogs so be sure to bring them with you.
CANINE COMPANIONS FOR INDEPENDENCE will be there with their puppies, dogs, and handlers. Both Dee and Trends-N-Treats will donate a portion of all sales during the event to this wonderful non-profit organization!
THE DOGGIES NEXT DOOR – A Dee Aspin Blog
I loved the little greyhounds, Allie and Sammie, who lived next door. They both shook like leaves on a stormy day in their natural state. Their breed is specific. The closest match with human behavior would be Barney Fife, better known as Don Knotts, the eccentric police assistant to Andy Griffith in Andy of Mayberry—a series that would offer us classic characters we embraced as household names. Their stories represented American family and community at it’s finest.
Recently I learned that Don as a gangly teenager, plucked chicken feathers from a machinery belt—one degrading unsavory job. Allegedly, he was skinny and jumpy—bullied by a brother and father growing up. He saved his hard-earned money until he could invest in a mannequin to practice his passion as a ventriloquist.
He joined the military as soon as he could. Within weeks the army discovered his hidden talent —he could entertain a crowd of servicemen and make them laugh. What an asset! His popularity grew and launched a career. The attributes God gave him proved perfect for the roles he played before an even vaster audience on American television. Many of us boomers grew up in anticipation of hearing and watching the nervous little man who made us laugh simply by being himself— jerky and tremulous, unlike any other human personality most of us had ever encountered.
I had never been around tremorous, fragile Italian greyhounds, until I first met Allie and Sammie in my neighbor, Donna’s, kitchen. Curiously intrigued by their physical demeanor, their timid, sweet personalities soon won me over as they darted almost on tippy-claws, in and out, toward and away as I stood and watched—like a circling disappearing act.
It seemed they could be quickly overpowered and bullied by a big dog. I wasn’t worried about my fifteen pound mini schnauzer, Benji, but I was a bit concerned how they would fare around Sam, my rambunctious clumsy 120 pound Lab. Even one wrong step and he could crush their little legs.
The inevitable day came for their introductions. Since Allie was a rescue and mending from past abuse, Donna decided we would introduce her dog, Sammie, to my Sam. How would my Sam respond to her 8 pound Sammie? Would he dare to attempt to bully him as easy fare, just as young scrawny Don had experienced from older bigger males. Smiling, speaking softly to little Sammie, Donna carried him trembling out to our property line. I waited with my Jolly Red Giant.
What would they do?
Sam stood next to me, the top of his head at my diaphragm. His big pink nose sniffed Sammie’s tiny paws dangling from Donna’s arms.
Eyes bulging, face riveted toward my Sam, Sammie bent forward. A little red tongue appeared and swept over large pink nostrils. Friends. Laughter from us. Declarations and the same kind of pleasure we felt as children watching Mayberry episodes.
Even though we all live in a sprawling metropolis, maybe dogs with peculiarities as vast as their masters, still bring a wholesomeness to life and neighborhoods that remind us a little bit of a place we always wanted to live—a safe, pleasant community where people care and share— even through their fences—like Mayberry, USA.