… on the premature greying of a princess


HRH The Princess Bunny-Blaze

Blaze has had some white on her muzzle for a while now, and she insists it’s premature.

That her royal lineage is pre-disposed to it showing up early.

She was so insistent that I went to her records just to double-check, and she is right. Blaze will turn five in March, which is not even really middle age for a shepHerd as far as I am concerned. But, more importantly, as far as she is concerned.

Once and a while I remember a moment so clearly, and so seemingly insignificant, that I’m surprised it keeps showing up in my brain’s periphery.

I can still remember heading to the vet’s with one of my all time great dogs, Ripley, a gorgeous sable German shepHerd.  My first.

When was it… maybe…. 2005?

I think it was.

She was beautiful, my ‘Nanny Dog’.

The one who was my partner in bringing up my kids.  She actually welcomed Gabe home from the hospital, adding him to her already full schedule.

She watched over all three of my children from her place by my side (and even Half-Kid Jack, for a little while), until she left us in 2011.  I like to think she now has a better view.

But I remember, some time in 2005ish, when our vet was leading Ripley through her annual exam. He finished with a sweeping pronouncement that she was in great shape. And then he checked her chart and, almost as an afterthought, pronounced her “Six years old. Solidly in middle age.”

And I was all outraged.


Not my dog.

Of course, it turns out, he was right.  She was actually a little beyond what turned out to be her ‘middle age’ on that day. Who knew? Not me.

This dog that Sam wanted to name “Arnold Schwarzenegger’ (and was devastated that she was a girl, so went to his second choice – the character Sigourney Weaver played in his favorite movie, Aliens).

This dog was a superhero.

Middle age, shmiddle age.

I still smile when I think of her.  My heart holding my girl in a special place of fondness and awe.

She was just that kind of dog.

I’ve got a thing for female shepHerds.

Working girls.

And even though Blaze’s main work is not me, at least not now, I love her devotion.  I love how she drops all royal airs and goes absolutely jello-ish in the presence of young men.

I love that, without a speck of training, she proved herself to be a welcomed, regular guest at a hospital, helping Grampa transition to his own ‘better view’ back in May.

So, when she ambled by this morning (as much as a true Royal ambles), and glanced at the camera sitting on the counter to my left, I pushed my chair back.

This was a clear sign that she required a photo shoot and, as her Royal Photographer, I loyally took up my post.

Marshal Dillon Dingle was nowhere to be found, which was good, because as we have found out from our past experiences with Blaze’s photo shoots, Marshal has the tendency to photobomb… which has led to a few near death experiences.

His, not hers.

So I asked Blaze what sort of photos she needed, and she said she needed to update her passport pic, because she’s been getting a lot of appearance requests from overseas…


Blaze Dingle

It only says ‘Blaze Dingle’ on that pic because she reminded me that her name needs to be exactly the same on her passport as it is on her license or else TSA won’t allow her through security.

Then we went for the artistic shot because she is thinking that it is about time she has a Royal Portrait done, and she needs some ideas.

Luckily, she is rather excellent at the “okay, look up and to your right… like gazing into the distance” command.


Royal Portrait potential pose

And then she said that I should make sure that, when I put these up on the blog, I include a photo of her and The Boy Who Sometimes Comes Back from last week, because she likes to remember Sam, who is in New Orleans most of the time now for school.  Blaze adopted him as her own when his boy Monty died last year.

Sure, she already has a boy (Gabe) but Princesses are all about doing charitable work and Blaze wasn’t about to allow a Dog Orphan in the house.


Good Morning Sam.

And we were just about to do one more regal portrait when we heard, according to Blaze, ‘the irritating tap-tap-tap of peasant paws‘ coming down the hall.  I promised her that I would not include pics of Marshal Dillon Dingle in this post, and I am keeping to that.

But I thought you would like to see how  I know that Marshal Dillon Dingle is getting close to one of Blaze’s photo shoots.


‘The kid is coming…’


The Look.

It’s been more than two years since we brought a wiggly, twelve week old Marshal Dingle Dillon home.

And Blaze still isn’t over it.

Thanks for readin’.


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