Just Shoot Me Now

Momma and I continue our frenzied preparations for my sequel to Lina Unleashed.  I think I’ve settled on a title, but want to “chew” it over for awhile before making a final decision.  (Actually, “Just Shoot Me Now” sounds perfect at the moment.)

Along with our other new book tasks — submitting the manuscript to our publisher, hiring a publicist and a reviewer, and begging for endorsements (see Pawscript) — there was the dreaded photo shoot.  (For a refresher on my past disastrous photo shoots, check out https://wordpress.com/post/linasdogblog.com/4328 and https://wordpress.com/post/linasdogblog.com/6202.)

This time it was not the shoot itself, but the preparation that was the problem.  Momma had decided that the best place for our photos would be on the beach.  Yes, the beach.  Where dogs are not allowed.  As this sign clearly states.


IMG_6260Despite the sign (and the law), Momma led me down to the beach for a few “preliminary” photos.  (“I don’t think anyone will mind us taking a few cheesecake shots for your next book, Lina.”)  Now, I’m not a lawyer, but I have never heard of the cheesecake photo exception and sensed that this was not going to end well.  Here I am, wondering where Uncle Chuck, Esq. is when I need him.

I was right to be concerned.  When Momma finally gathered me up to go home, a very angry man marched over to us and demanded to know if Momma was aware that dogs are not allowed on the beach.  Momma allowed that she did know that, and Angry Man retorted, “Oh, and I suppose the law doesn’t apply to you?”  (I wisely offered no comment.)

Knowing she had been busted, Momma tried to keep her cool and explained that she was just taking some pictures of me.  This did not placate Angry Man at all, and he followed up with, “Well I have grandchildren that I need to protect.”

Momma was by now furious and snarled, “well, thank you very much for policing the area.”

“That’s my job!”  countered Angry Man, whose anger, even I thought, was all out of proportion with our crime.  (Momma:  “Alleged crime, Lina.”)

Despite our little fracas, Momma decided she had found the perfect setting for our photos.

The shoot itself went well, and we weren’t arrested or even yelled at.  Turns out our photographer, Frank Steiger, is a retired Marco Island police officer who kept us in line (and my paws off the sand).

Frank did a terrific job and was gentle and kind and gave me treats.  Here’s a sneak peek of his photos for my book.



Lina, Still Dodging Bullets


Pawscript:  By the way, Garth Stein (The Art of Racing in the Rain), was a little “overwhelmed” at the moment and had to decline writing a testimonial about my book.  Won’t he be sorry when it’s a runaway best seller.  Just woofin’.





Happy National Puppy Day & Preview of Things to Come

Greetings dog lovers and dogs everywhere!  To be honest I had to look up National Puppy Day to find out what it is all about.  Here’s the scoop:  It was founded in 2006 by dog lover and pet lifestyle expert, Colleen Paige.  The focus for the Day, as the motto — Love, Rescue, Adopt — suggests is finding forever homes for puppies.  I hope all puppies out there find just the right home — and human to care for!

On another note, I apologize for not keeping you, my loyal readers, up to date on my crazy life.  It’s not that nothing is happening — it’s just that Momma and I have a lot of balls in the air (especially me) these days.

First there’s the book — my sequel to Lina Unleashed.  I am working like a dog, trying to get it out by summer and doing all the marketing stuff our publicist suggests.  Yes, we have a publicist.  Can you stand it?

Then there’s the DNA and relative thing.  As I mentioned earlier, I have a close relative named Bandit.  We have been in contact and there are exciting developments on that front.

Finally, Momma is doing her own DNA/ancestry testing.  She always says she is 100% Norwegian.  I am bracing myself in case she finds out she is a mutt.

More on all this later.  Must go eat my dinner and go potty.  (Momma:  “Yes, Lina, apparently the other twelve potties today were not enough.”)

Oh, and one more thing — what do you think of my new hoodie?  I wonder if Dogs of MSP (the merchant) needs a model, considering they are using my signature sign off and all.  Just woofin’.


Lina, Future Model?



Aussie Or Mutt? The Results Are In!

Yesterday, we received the results of my DNA test from Embark.  Momma and I were both quivering with excitement and curiosity.  Although the results also covered health and ancestry, we were mostly curious about my breed.  Would I be a purebred or a hybrid?  She was hoping I was all Aussie, but I didn’t care.  As with humans, I am a big proponent of doggie diversity.  (Momma:  “Whatever.”)   Anyway, here goes!

My Health

The health section of the report covered diseases for which I may be at risk, a carrier or clear.  First, I am thrilled to report that I did not test positive for any of the “at risk” diseases screened for.

Next, I learned I am a “carrier” for only one, a recessive genetic trait called progressive retinol atrophy.  Luckily, I will not suffer any symptoms, but must be mindful of the gene if I “should have children,” as Embark refers to my possible puppies.

Finally, I tested “clear” for eight diseases common to my breed, and “clear” of the 163 others included in the test.

Yay!  All great news!  Doesn’t this just “beg” the question, though – why am I always at the vet?

My Breed

And now, the result we’d been waiting for.  What am I really?  This may come as no surprise, with my sheep herding skills and all, but I am 100% Miniature Australian Shepherd!  (Apparently Embark’s test results do not differentiate between minis and toys.)  And this is their description of my breed:

“Miniature American Shepherds have the trainability, intelligence and energy of the larger Aussie cousins, and excel at outdoors activities and agility competitions.”

Well, I couldn’t woofed it better myself.  So far I’d have to give Embark an A+ on their work.

My maternal ancestors can be traced back to South Asia (looks like China according to the map) and Europe.  Dogs with which I have genetic commonality include English Setters, English Bulldogs and American Eskimo Dogs.

My paternal ancestors cannot be traced because I do not have the Y chromosome (girls have XX makeup) necessary for that research.  And speaking of chromosomes, did you know dogs have 38, while humans have only 23.  Sounds to me like we might be a tad superior to our human companions, after all.  Just woofin’.

And here’s the most interesting thing of all about my genetics.  My makeup includes 1.8% “wolfiness.”  This is considered high as most dogs score 1% or less on the wolfy scale!  This does not mean that my recent ancestors are wolves, but that I carry ancient wolf genes that go back thousands of years.  Embark ends its summary by saying the genes “are bits of a wild past that survive in your dog.”  Maybe I really am my Momma’s daughter.

Here I am with my Valentines Day gift from her.  Look a little wolfy, don’t you think?


My genetic results also predicted that my adult weight will be 25 pounds, and that I am currently 39 years old (one of Momma’s past fake ages).  Excuse me.  First, I weigh 11 1/2 pounds, and Momma will NEVER let me get to 25 — even if she has to limit me to one morsel of food per day for the rest of my life.  And second, I know I have the maturity of a 39 year-old, but if that age is accurate chronologically, I’ll be older than Moses when I die.  May have to lower that grade to an A-!

My Relatives/Ancestry

This was a bit of a disappointment as I expected a family tree showing my greats, parents, siblings, aunts, uncles and cousins.  Instead, all I found out was that (in addition to some more distant relatives) I share 39% of my DNA makeup with an Aussie named Bandit.  Frankly, this Bandit is kind of cute.  The site says he has been a member of Embark since February 15, 2018.  Actually, now that I think about it – this is a bit like on-line dating.  I’m going to drop him a line.  Momma, are you paying attention?

In closing, I’m going to share a couple of doggie fun facts that Embark passed on:  Compared to humans, we have twice the amount of muscles in their ears, hearing that goes four times the distance, but only one-fifth of the taste buds.

Lina, Pure Aussie










This Doggie DNA Testing Thing Has Legs!

Dear Readers,

While I await my DNA test results, I thought I’d share two articles with you about the fast growing practice of genetic testing for dogs.  You really should take a look.  You never know what you’re going to find when you start digging!


Thank you to Auntie Rita and Uncle Roy for the articles.  And, by the way, feel free to share any you find.  You can include them in a comment on this post, or you can email Momma at robink822@gmail.com.  Then I’ll post them.  This will be fun.  Kind of a Pinterest for doggie DNA.

In the meantime, I invite you all to guess what kind of dog I am (other than adorable).

Lina, Archivist



Guess the breed!



The DNA Test

So the other day Momma decided that she was finally going to get my DNA tested.  She had wanted to do this ever since some folks questioned whether I was a full blooded Australian Shepherd.  In fact, one friend had suggested that – because of my huge ears – maybe I was part Pomeranian or Papillon.  Momma rejected the notion that she had paid a king’s ransom for a dog that wasn’t a purebred, and she hoped to prove them wrong.

After some in-depth research (translation:  she ran across an article in People magazine), Momma decided on a testing kit made by Embark.  It seemed legit and the website stated that the product would provide insight on breed, health, ancestry and more – with a simple cheek swab (a bit of exaggeration if I do woof so myself).  Anyway, that was all Momma needed to know and promptly placed her order.

img_5600The very next day we received our little testing kit in the mail!  Momma was excited and read the instructions over and over again.  She also watched a couple of online tutorials.  She really wanted to get this right.

I, on the other paw, was skeptical and dreading what was to come.  In fact, it would not be an overstatement to say that I was terrified.  I tend to know how these things go down for me when Momma gets some new gadget or product.  Remember the dog tweeting device, for example?


Here I am wondering what’s in store for me this time

Thankfully, Momma didn’t perform the test right on the spot because she was busy packing for a weekend getaway with the girls.  She didn’t want to rush into things and make mistakes.  She also knew she might need some help.  There is a God.

Luckily, Momma’s good friend, Lori, came over and stayed with me while Momma was away.  By the way, Lori and I had our own girlfriends’ weekend.  We kicked back, played fetch, took fun walks and had plenty of treats.  Lori even came up with a great new nickname for me:  Lina Bean!

When Momma got home from her shopping and wining and dining extravaganza, she asked Lori if she would stick around for my DNA test, in case she needed some help.  Lori graciously agreed and took some pictures while Momma gave it a go.   Knowing that I wouldn’t put up with too much poking and prodding, Momma quickly and clumsily plunged right in.

As you can see, it didn’t take long for me to panic (especially knowing that these Republicans aren’t opposed to a little torture) and make a run for it.


After Lori had calmed me down and provided some distraction, Momma was able to get animg_5785 adequate sample.  She hopes.  Desperately.  After all, the test set her back almost $200.00.  Here I am clinging to Lori after the ordeal.

The next day Momma took my kit to the local post office for mailing.  There she might not have been exactly truthful when asked if there was any liquid or anything potentially hazardous in the package.  After all, she really didn’t know if that mysterious blue fluid in the test tube was technically a liquid – or if it might be hazardous – did she??  So, suffice it to woof, the package is now somewhere in the U.S. postal system.

Meanwhile, we are anxiously awaiting our results.  Stay tuned – you’ll be among the first to know!

Lina, Hopefully Still An Australian Shepherd




Back in Florida

Momma and I flew to Florida the day after Christmas.  Talla, Momma’s step-daughter, kindly took us to the airport which helped reduce our pre-travel stress.  Actually things went smoothly from there, but Momma had her wine and I had my calming tablets – just in case.  You can never be too prepared.

The Norgaards

Almost from the minute we got to Marco, we were busy.  Crazy busy.  Momma’s nephew, Chris, his wife Jenny, and kids, Adeline and Gunnar, arrived the next day.  By the way, here’s a fun fact:  Adeline’s nickname is Lina which was also Momma’s mother’s father’s nickname for her mother.  Following me so far?  And as one might expect, this led to no small amount of confusion during the Norgaard stay.  How did this come about, you might wonder.

It seems when Momma adopted me, she wanted to name me Lina, too, but thought she better get Jenny’s approval since Momma’s dog and Jenny’s daughter would be called the same name.  Kinda “begs” the question, doesn’t it?  Were there no names to pick from that weren’t already used by a family member?  Very “this is my brother, Darryl, and this is my other brother, Darryl” in my mind.  Maybe this should have been a sign of things to come with Momma.

I love having the Norgaards around, but there is something about them.  Not sure if it’s genetic or what, but they sure like to toy with this little Toy Aussie.  They often tease me by fake-throwing a ball or withholding treats after coaxing me to perform tricks.  They also tease Momma by pretending to give me chocolate or telling her I’ve just fallen off the balcony.  Needless to say, this is not a good idea because Momma is crazy enough as it is already.  Here I am having some “fun” with the other Lina and Gunnar ~


I  enjoy the Norgaards, though – they take me out to go potty and give me lots of attention.  Both Momma and I hated to see them go.

The Solar Plunge

Just before they left, Momma took part in the Veracruz “Solar Plunge.”   The img_5354Plunge (organized by my good buddy and fellow Dem, Rita) was a huge success this year with more people then ever participating.  Actually, though, how challenging could it be to jump in the 75 degree Gulf?  Momma’s on the far left, by the way.

I was left behind, of course, because dogs are still not allowed on the beach or in the Gulf here.  If this is not a blatant example of #doggiediscrimination, I don’t know what is.  (Momma:  “Maybe you should learn to swim before you lodge any complaints.  Just saying.”)


A few days after Momma and I arrived in Florida, I had another nice surprise – my BFF Gracie came back!  Her momma, Anne, invited us down and here we are enjoying our reunion!




No sooner had we settled in, than Momma was on another mission – this one up to Naples.  She had recently visited a cutesy gift shop, BR Uno (Uno for short), up there – right next to all the glitzy restaurants and overpriced clothing stores – and snow making machines on the streetlights.  I know, right?  I bet the place is crawling with Republicans.

Jenny and (her daughter) Lina had been with Momma on a previous trip to Uno and saw a doggie book sitting right on the counter called, Living with Humans.  Well, you can imagine Momma’s reaction.  Her dog’s book should be the one displayed on that counter!  Jenny, always the diplomat, gently suggested to Momma that she give Bruno, the guy behind the counter, one of my cards.  As it turned out, Bruno was the owner and Momma’s brain promptly went into overdrive.  She told him that her dog had also written a book and would it be okay to drop one off?  Bruno, feeling ambushed if not falsely imprisoned at this point, quickly agreed.

Knowing she should capitalize on this opportunity before Bruno forgot about us, a couple of days later she loaded me (her secret weapon) and a bunch of my books in the car, and we headed up to Uno.

And guess what, folks?  Bruno and the rest of the staff (Kathleen and Jerry) took an immediate liking to me and gave me water and treats!  Bruno agreed to carry the book and Jerry put them on the counter right by the other doggie book.


Jerry minding the store . . .

Momma was overjoyed!  This was the big time in her book (although, of course this wasn’t her book) – a prominent display of Lina Unleashed in an upscale shop on historic Third Street in Naples.  We had arrived.

Before leaving, Momma insisted we pawdograph the books.  Then she assured the staff that we would be back in a few days to “check on things.”  I’m sure they were pleased.

Lina, The New Face of Naples




Letter to Santa & Momma’s Request


“Santa’s Little Yelper” scarf from Auntie Linda Rogers

Dear Readers,

Yappy Holidays to my human and furry friends!  Thank you for your faithful readership of my blog.  Each of my posts are paw-crafted with you in mind and it means the world to me when you enjoy them.

This year, for the first time, I wrote a letter to Santa Paws, I mean Claus.  As you will see, most of my requests are about Momma. As you can imagine – there is good reason.  Read on . . .

Mr. Santa Claus                                                                                                                                  The North Pole

Dear Santa,

Greetings from just south of you – Minnesota.  I’m sure you’ve heard of our state – one of our towns, International Falls, is known as the “Ice Box of the Nation,” so I bet it’s just as cold here as it is at the North Pole!  Lucky me, for part of the year I get to go potty in the ice and snow where I freeze my little paws – and tush – off.  Okay, admittedly, Momma and I go back to my home state of Florida for part of the winter, but still – you get the (snow) drift.

I am writing to let you know I have been very good this year.   I obey Momma – unless I know better.  I alert her when some governmental official is at the front door so we can hide.   I clean up the kitchen floor whenever a crumb drops.  I share my toys with others.  I rarely have a potty accident or throw up in the house – and when I do, it’s brought on by stress.  I don’t bark much, and I don’t bite or bully.  Like any good liberal, I treat all the dogs at Camp Bow Wow with respect and friendship, regardless of their breed or gender identification.

Santa, you will see that most of my list revolves around Momma and her issues.  She tries hard to be a good doggie parent, but, to be honest, she doesn’t really know how.  Plus, she seems a little unstable, and we are always on the brink of another embarrassing moment, if not all-out crisis.  I am hoping you can help.  Here are my wishes ~ 

  • For Momma not to make me attend any more Holiday Boutiques.  I know she likes to socialize, using me as a tool to make friends, and to try make some money on my products, but I’m not sure we come out ahead, and I hate these excursions.
  • For Momma to give up on trying to make me swim.  If God had wanted me to dog-paddle, he (or she) would have given me webbed paws.
  • For Momma not to hold any more Republican funders.  Unless Leader Kevin McCarthy brings his dog, Mac, next time – then it would be okay.  By the way, Santa, I hope you leave a nice present for @Leaderofthepack_mac!
  • For Momma not to help set off any fireworks at The Point next summer.  This is a great danger to all lake residents, and hurts my ears.
  • For Momma not to set off the house alarm on accident.  (This also hurts my ears.)
  • For Momma not to set the house on fire again – also apparently on accident.
  • For Momma not to say embarrassing things to me in front of the staff at Bow Wow when dropping me off, like:  “No flirting with the boy dogs today, Lina!” or when picking me up, like:  “Is Lina still here?”  Where, pray tell, does she think I would be?

So, as you can see, Santa, my requests are reasonable.  They won’t even take up any room in your sleigh.  Thank you for listening.

Hi to your reindeer!  I’ll leave some treats out for you on Christmas Eve.


Special Request

While I am busy writing my blog (I am all about the creativity and intellectual honesty of my craft), Momma is busy scheming to get more readers.  For example this year, she went to a marketing class, and now she’s throwing around terms like “strategic brand message” and “networking currency.”  She has no idea what they mean, but thinks they sound good.  She also says we need to “find our tribe,” and told me we must augment our reach on social media.

Ever since then, Momma has been “hounding” me to ask a favor of you.  So in the spirit of the Christmas and in an attempt to expand my pawprint – here goes.  If you like a post, would you please share with your friends on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram and whatever social media you use?  Big time thanks!

Finally, I want to give a special woof out to the Animal Humane Society and thank them for all the work they do throughout the year.  Once again this year, we will be making a donation to them for Lina Unleashed proceeds.

May you have a pawsitively wonderful 2019!

Lina, Thankful & Hopeful