Orchidgate, Frisbeegate and a special gift

Dear Readers,

So far 2022 has been no different than any other year with Momma — it’s one thing after another.


Shortly after arriving in Florida this winter, Momma received a beautiful Christmas gift from Nanny (see photo right). It was a spectacular double-stemmed orchid from a nice shop called Marco Island Florist Home & Gifts. Momma who was known to overwater or underwater or otherwise destroy orchids, was determined to keep this one alive. It was from Nanny, after all.

Unfortunately, one week later it was dead. She had assumed its soil was properly moist upon delivery and she planned to wait seven days to water it. After only day five, though, Momma noticed that blossoms were drooping and the buds were falling off. Panicking, she gave it a good splash. The orchid, however, stayed dead.

The next day, Momma brought it back to the florist shop and they gave her another, almost exactly the same, except this one was purple and even prettier. Momma was relieved and excited — she would study the directions and do exactly as they said and give it tender loving care. Four days later, this orchid was also dead. (See photo left.)

Momma was crazed. The florist would never believe this story. Neither would Nanny, she feared. But she had to face the music, so later that day we made a stop at Marco Island Florist. She left me (briefly) in the car and ran in to explain her dilemma. After a couple of minutes she could tell that this “transaction” was not going well, and knew it was time to bring out her secret weapon — me. (“I need to run out to my car and get my dog; this is taking longer than I expected.”) Momma quickly deployed me into the shop and soon all was well. Here I am with the Marco Island Florist team ~

Nancy, the owner, told Momma to go home and get the orchid and they would replace it with a new one (Momma balked at this, fearing she was just not orchid owner material) or give her a credit. Even I was praying for a credit.

So off we went and Momma returned shortly with the wilted orchid and (almost needless to woof), copies of Lina Unleashed and Sit Stay Pray to give to Nancy “just in case you’d like to carry Lina’s books in your store!” By now, I think Nancy had had it with the orchid bit (really — who can kill an orchid a week?), yet graciously accepted the books and gave Momma a credit.


A few days later, Momma and I had another small crisis. This is what happened. After a little playtime outside, Momma was leading me back into the building and I was carrying a Frisbee in my mouth (upon advice of counsel, I will neither confirm nor deny if I had actually had been chasing it). The photo at right is a file copy for illustrative purposes only.

Passing through the garage, we walked into the lobby and waited for the elevator. Then the strangest thing happened. I entered the elevator with the Frisbee in my mouth and all of a sudden it disappeared. Momma couldn’t find it anywhere and quickly realized that I must have dropped it down the shaft between the elevator and the lobby floors. And, okay, for the first time ever, I might have been a tiny bit at fault.

Momma was horrified. Now what?, she thought. She feared she should immediately report it to the building manager in case the errant Frisbee caused a problem with the elevator. But how could she tell Kelly what had happened without him suspecting that I had been chasing the Frisbee off-leash outside — in violation of a new BOD rule? (A rule that Momma had fought against quite vocally.) And wasn’t this just the bite, thought Momma, that we would be the ones practically forced to turn ourselves in?

Nevertheless, once again, she knew she had to face the (elevator) music. So she dragged me to Kelly’s office and nervously explained that we might have a “little issue.” Trying to keep the facts to a minimum, Momma told him that she was bringing me up to our condo and I dropped my Frisbee down the elevator shaft. Really, Momma? Talk about throwing me under the bus. Do you see why I keep Uncle Chuck, Esq. on retainer?

Luckily, Kelly was busy running a high rise and didn’t ask for an explanation. Momma and I quickly turned tail and left the room.

A gift from Tierney

Now the good news! Last week I received a new toy (an aardvark!) from Nanny’s granddaughter, Tierney. Tierney, only nine years old, loves dogs and volunteers at Warrior Dog Rescue in Prior Lake, Minnesota, and she and I are special friends. Kudos and big time thanks, Tierney!

(The orchid behind me is fake in case in case you’re wondering.)

Lina, Anxiously awaiting my new Frisbee from Amazon



The dog puzzle, Rye, and the hardware store

Momma and I are back in Florida, and have already covered a lot of (snow-free) ground. I thought you might enjoy a little update from the Sunshine State, now that all the holiday festivities are over.

Let’s start with the dog puzzle — mainly because I’m pretty proud of my prowess in the puzzle department. The puzzle, a surprise from Momma, is called Dog Block, and I love it because it involves treats. The dog must pull off bones to uncover treats and flip open or slide blocks for treats in more hidden compartments! Here I am with a photo of my new puzzle. The string was for Momma to show me how to remove a block. Puh-lease.

And here I am on my first try to get to the treats. You should note that Momma mistakenly got me an intermediate rather than a beginner version, but not to worry. (Okay, I did have a little prodding from Momma, but still.) I just wonder if the Dog Block company might need a spokesdog.

My next surprise of the season was when Momma and I walked into Ruffgers for agility training last week. To our amazement, my half bro, Rye was there. You may remember that I’ve mentioned him before — he’s the one who is on a lot of Ruffgers’ promo materials, much to Momma’s annoyance because she thinks it should be me, of course. Rye was born at the same breeders’ in the same month and year, but on a different date. So he is apparently my brother from another mother. Here we are with Rye’s momma, Mary. Can you believe we are seven already!

But perhaps the biggest shocker of all is that Momma has become quite the Ace Hardware customer here on the Island. (“Don’t forget to mention that I am even a member of the Ace Reward’s Club, Lina.”) Eye roll. Anyway, the other day she visited her favorite store to buy a box cutter for her Amazon deliveries.

Before she even shopped though (they have clothing, too, she’s discovered), she used the restroom. Then the most puzzling thing happened. When Momma walked back into the main store, a woman stopped Momma and asked her if she knew where the mailboxes were. Mailboxes? thought Momma. Did the lady want to mail a letter? After further explanation, Momma realized the lady wanted to buy a mailbox and thought Momma would know where to find them. Now in your wildest dreams, could you ever mistake Momma for an Ace Hardware employee? Where she would actually tell you where to find a crescent wrench for example? When she was wearing a purple blouse and white shorts? No, I didn’t think so. Anyway, I guess she fits in even better that I thought she would.

So back to the box cutter. Momma bought what looked like a good sturdy one and easy to operate. However, upon opening the package, Momma found that the thing was not even loaded with a blade. She knew installing one was way over her head, and luckily brought it back before she hurt herself. There she got a young (real) employee to help her, but Momma had him so flustered with her explanations that he couldn’t get the blades loaded either. So to “cut” to the chase here, a more seasoned employee finally came along, and sold Momma one that was foolproof.

But the story doesn’t end there. When checking out, Momma noticed that there were all kinds of dog photos tacked to the protective plexiglass enclosure between her and the cashier. Upon inquiry, she learned that she, too, could have her dog’s picture displayed if she just brought her dog in for a photo op. Now Momma was even more sold on Ace. It really had become her go-to place.

So early this morning Momma loaded me in the car all excited about getting my picture taken at Ace Hardware. I was leery at first, but calmed down when Momma told me it was not a full blown photo shoot, my least favorite thing in the world. We had to do some pretend shopping first, of course, and get the lay of the land. In other words, find an employee willing to drop what she was doing and take my picture. After finding some envelopes for $2.99, Momma approached a friendly looking lady who, mercifully, agreed to take my picture so we could be on our way. Here I am being photographed by Cheryl. I am nominating her for Employee of the Month!

And here is the wall where my picture will eventually be posted. I can just about bet you Momma will be back there on Monday to check it out.

Lina, Rovering Reporter



2021 — All in all, it’s been a good ride!

As I sit here today watching Momma make last minute preparations for Christmas, my thoughts turn to the past year, which is almost in our rear view mirror, something even Smart Car has. Actually, 2021 has been quite good to us with little or no drama, save maybe for that car.

I experienced no fires, alarms (well, only one), wild animal scares (well, only a couple), potential poisonings, dog attacks, near arrests, or falling into the lake. I enjoyed playtime with my BFFs (best furry friends) Winnie, CoCoa, and Gracie. I trained and competed, enjoyed an occasional massage, had a very restorative chiro treatment from Dr. Becca, watched Doggie TV, relaxed at Pine Lake with friends and relatives and vegged. I also went to the vet way too many times, but Momma means well. One time, I really did have to go because I had seven teeth pulled. Here I am with my big swollen mouth. Ouch!

Momma also went out of town a few times, and I enjoyed the loving care of Nanny Becky (loved her glamper – pictured below with me on the deck!) and Dr. Becca (with Winnie!). And in Florida, Janice and Natalie from Nanny Paws took me on walks and played with me when Momma golfed. A big woof out to all of you — and Momma — for the treats, fun and adventure.

I have put together a little photolog of some of the year’s highlights. Can you spot the little Aussie that is not me? We met him at the agility center — so cute!

And to cap things off, here’s a short video of our trainer, Annelise, expertly running me through the weaves at Agile Canines Training Center last week.

I should also report that, once again, Momma has sent off a nice check to Helping Paws Minnesota and Minnesota Animal Humane Society, based on proceeds from my award-winning books, Lina Unleashed and Sit Stay Pray. Thanks to all of you who purchased them and made this donation possible. And just remember, we have more.

Well, time to sign off and pack for Florida. Momma and I hope you have wonderful holidays, and the new year is good to you. And if you see us on the road, remember to keep your ears peeled for the Santa music!

Lina, Holidog!



Taming the Tesla, part 3

Dear Readers,

I wasn’t going to woof about it again, but I can’t help it. It just continues to dog us. Momma actually did make some progress last week on what she thinks of as outsmarting the car. She religiously watched instructional videos, and, after a bit of a meltdown, even reached a Tesla rep by phone to work out a problem. She now knows how to turn on the interior lights, switch between low and high beams, turn on the windshield washer and charge Smart Car during non-peak hours.

In fact, Momma has been pretty proud of herself. Maybe she could be a cool Tesla owner after all. Part of the Tesla family as they say. Maybe she hadn’t bitten off more than she could chew.

And when her nephew and his family came over yesterday for Christmas, she couldn’t wait to take him for a ride. She was especially excited to show him Santa Mode where the car turns into a sleigh and plays Christmas music, and to demonstrate all the horn honking sounds. As a guy, he might even enjoy Fart Mode, she reasoned.

So after a few snacks and playtime with the kids, she led Charlie out to the car. (Happily I got to stay in the house and play with Lindsay and the kids!) Momma wanted this to go just right so Charlie could have the full experience of riding in such a high tech car. First, she just drove casually around side streets showing him some features and highlighting the world class sound system with a few Johnny Mathis Christmas tunes. Then she pulled back into her cul-de-sac, so she could cue Smart Car up for some of the special effects, like playing the Santa tune on the outside speaker of the car.

Just as she had (finally) found that feature on the computer screen, she noticed a car coming down the road in their direction. Oh good, thought Momma, maybe I can hurry up and punch in “Spread the Cheer” to show off how the car plays music on the outside! Before she got to that, though, the driver pulled up along side Smart Car and informed Momma that one of her taillights was out. Momma was almost a-pup-lectic. Was this some cruel joke? Apparently not because Charlie jumped out of the car and confirmed that the light was indeed not working.

Deflated, and despite the fact that her hero, Elon Musk, had been named Time Magazine’s Person of the Year, Momma was now a little disappointed in him. Was this car all it was cracked up to be? Was it just for people who really had all night and day to figure things out? And wouldn’t you think with all the electricity running through this car, an electric bulb would be the last thing to go?

Knowing she has little choice, Momma calmed down and resolved to remedy the situation. She made a service appointment (online, the only way possible). The only times they had available were after we leave for Florida. I just wonder how this is going to work out.

Meanwhile Smart Car is, once again, parked in our garage.

Lina, Trying to keep Momma grounded



Not giving up our land line yet . . .

Dear Readers,

I would not be exaggerating to woof that Momma is struggling a bit with what she now calls the smart car in our garage. And I emphasize in our garage because that’s where it usually stays. Momma still loves all the car’s cool features, but when she’s actually used it to drive her from point A to point B (the real point of a car, no?), she’s had some issues. In fact, she drives it so infrequently, she’s moved my car seat back into our “back up” car — the one she doesn’t dare give up. The one Momma’s friend, Lori, calls our “land-line.”

Why is Momma so freaked out by Smart Car? Well, it started out that she didn’t dare drive it at night because she doesn’t know if the brights or dims are on (there is no blue light on the dashboard to indicate this — in fact there is no dashboard). And now she’s had some trouble with it in the daytime, too.

First, she doesn’t really understand how the door locks work. She has gone into the computer that serves as a dashboard and clicked on a button that says “Walk-Away Door Lock.” But she doesn’t trust it will lock because, unlike Land-Line, it doesn’t immediately beep and flash. So now Momma — after walking away as instructed — stands looking at the car like someone who’s forgotten who she is, hoping she’ll get some signal that it’s locked. Usually the lights flash after about twenty seconds, but not always. (Especially after she tried to make some changes to the setup with her Tesla App.) She can’t even enjoy shopping, she’s so worried about it. At least a thief (very common in the Twin Cities these days she knows) couldn’t “hot wire” it, she comforts herself, because she’s pretty sure there are no wires. Or maybe there are? It is electrical after all.

And it’s even worse in Dog Mode. One day she drove it to Target with me along, smartly clicked on Dog Mode and exited the car. Then she shut the door and walked away. And then she stopped and looked at the car. For a long time. No light came on no matter how long she stood there. And she couldn’t just check to see if the little door lock buttons were up or down (like on Land-Line), because Smart Car did not have little buttons.

She knew people were starting to stare, so she thought she better move along. And really, she thought, Dog Mode wouldn’t be Dog Mode, would it, if the car was not locked? She really didn’t trust it though, and let’s just say it was a quick trip in and out of Target. In fact, I think I saw her looking out the window at me the whole time. Just woofin’.

And after another little shopping excursion she could not unlock the doors at all! She finally managed to get in using her App, but what if she couldn’t outfox the little smart aleck car next time? This is Minnesota! She could freeze to death!

Speaking of freezing to death, last week the temperature in Minneapolis dipped to -2. Then it snowed about six inches. Momma had heard tails that her new Smart Car was not good in low temps and in snow (especially if one did not have snow tires, which she did not). Therefore, we drove Land-Line to my agility training on Tuesday, during a blizzard. Smart Car was off the hook again.

Then on Thursday, Momma was going to drop off a urine sample of mine at the vet’s to check for a UTI (almost a weekly drill), and, mustering up all her courage, decided to drive Smart Car. However, just before she left, we got a freezing rain. She could barely take me outside to get a urine sample, much less drive a pretend car to the vet’s. Once again, the car stayed in the garage.

She was going to drive it to the dealership on Friday to get her new plates put on (really what choice did she have — she couldn’t very well put the new plates on Land-Line, could she?). Oh, and of course she did have to take Smart Car in for this because it takes an expert to attach the frame and plate to a front bumper when there is no front bumper. She didn’t have to worry about driving Smart Car that day, though; the plates didn’t arrive as promised, and it snowed seventeen inches. Here I am wondering what could happen next. And when we might take the car out again — at least to play Jingle Bells for the neighbors.

Lina, Just Shaking My Head


Pawscript: Just as this was going to press, the new plates were delivered to our front door. Alleluia, thought Momma! “Now we’re cooking with gas … er, I mean electricity, Lina! Tomorrow we’ll go over to that dealership, and have the plates put on, and get some answers to my questions.” I bet they’ll be happy to see us.


It’s a Real Live Wire

Dear Readers,

Well, we’ve taken delivery of the Tesla. Up until about a week before, Momma was still deluding herself into thinking she could just click a button to cancel her order and only be out her “downpayment” of $100. Then she paw-rused her agreement with Tesla and found it was a little more complicated and expensive than that. Shocker, I know.

So that was that. She now had little choice but to finish getting ready for the delivery. She hurriedly hired another electrician (number three? she really couldn’t remember) to complete the wiring for the Tesla Wall Connector and for the meter box to be placed on the wall outside the house so Dakota Electric could come by and install the meter (after the inspection by the city, of course). Would she ever be able to save enough money by using electricity to re “coupe” her costs, she wondered?

In any case, it’s ours now. Two cool-looking Tesla guys delivered the car last week, and one of them helped Momma get set up and explained all the features to her. And I know Momma — she was enjoying these guys and tried to act like she was really “with it” and understanding everything they said. (Not.) We were also joined by Nanny Becky and Uncle Tom, our EV support team, in case there was a melt down — literally or figuratively.

But some things about the car did stick in Momma’s mind. Like Santa Mode. You won’t believe this, but when you go to Toybox and click on the Santa button, the car plays Christmas music and becomes a sleigh on the screen (see photo right) and the other cars on the road become reindeer! (Clever, but couldn’t Mr. Musk have been a little more mindful of the Holidays of others? Just a thought.) And when you click on “Spread the Cheer,” the music plays from a speaker on the outside of the car as you drive through the ‘hood.

Oh, and when you put the blinker on in Santa Mode, it plays bells jingling! Take a listen . . .

As you can imagine, Momma was all lit up over this feature! I don’t think she knows how it works, though, because she says bells were still jingling later that night (no comment) when she opened the door to see if the car was still running. (Momma just can’t get used to the idea that she doesn’t have to “turn it off.”)

There were other unique features, too, like Boombox, where you could choose different horn honking sounds (La Cucaracha anyone?), Fart Mode (which Momma thought was childish), Caraoke (which she liked and embarrassingly tried out with Tesla guy in the car), Camp Mode (apparently in case you want to live in the car), and the aforementioned Dog Mode – the reason for this impulse purchase.

After Tesla guys left, Momma loaded up Nanny and Uncle Tom and me, and off we went for a little joy ride (I just hoped we wouldn’t run into one of the reindeer!). Momma was excited about all the fun gadgets and treated our neighbors to a little Christmas cheer and La Cucaracha. She also happily turned the blinker on and off to hear the bells — sometimes even when we were not turning. As you can see by the photo, I did not approve.

After we miraculously arrived home safely, Momma thought she would put our new plaything in the garage. There was only one teensy weensy little problem. She had forgotten to ask cool Tesla guys how to program the garage door opener to the car. (Actually, I’m pretty sure cool Tesla guys skedaddled before she could ask them about this item which, it turns out, costs an additional $325.) Long story short, Momma is now opening the door the old fashioned way — with a garage door opener clipped to the visor. She just hopes nobody spots it in her new space-age car.

There was literally an owners’ manual (online of course) full of information that Momma still did not understand — or even know about — when cool Tesla guys left, but she decided she would worry about it later. She had Santa Mode and Honk Mode and Caraoke Mode and Dog Mode, and she was pretty sure she could even drive the car, so it was all good. Here’s a picture of my driver and me posing with our new sleigh, er . . . car. Just for the record, I think I’d rather be going into space.

Lina – Unplugged



What? Another photo shoot? Just shoot me now.

Dear Readers,

Yes, loyal followers, it’s true — I have recently endured yet another photo shoot. I know many of you will recall, I hate them. I actually think I suffer from Paws Traumatic Stress Disorder because of them.

First, there was the disaster in Florida when we did a shoot for my (first award-winning) book, Lina Unleashed, when we almost got arrested for trespassing on private property. I will never forget the officer — who was with Animal Control Services — yelling that the dog (me!) was also trespassing and not on a leash.

Then there was the “funny farm” shoot in Minneapolis that Momma “won” because I was named doggie of the month at daycare (let me tell you, they saw us coming a mile away). The entire session was like a war zone, with so many honking loud noises and blindingly bright lights flashing that I finally crawled into a corner and hid. You can probably see the look of sheer terror on my face in the photo below (although, admittedly Momma likes the big eyes and uses it for my business cards as she shamelessly promotes me).

So I was dreading this shoot last Sunday. We were taking part because our agility trainer, Annelise, invited her students to a session at her facility with a photographer who specializes in dogs. Momma was especially excited about this one because it actually took place on November 7, the seventh anniversary of her abduction/adoption of me! She wanted the perfect photo that would reflect our enchanted life together.

Just as with all the other shoots, Momma spent an eternity getting ready. After hair and makeup, she tried on several tops, scarves and baubles trying to get just the right look — both for Christmas (Momma refuses to call it the Holidays) and our anniversary. Next, she brought out all of my Holiday toys and outfits, and made me try on each one (see photo right). Finally, giving up on which went best with her look, Momma threw them all in a bag and off we went.

And guess what — this shoot was almost fun! I loved Laurie Erickson, the photographer. She was very gentle with me and you could just tell she is a dog lover. In fact, you should check out her website at https://laurieerickson.photography.

Laurie also couldn’t have been nicer and more accommodating to Momma’s endless requests for backdrop, costume and prop changes (not to mention photo touchups). Here we are in our official joyous anniversary photo! Holiday photo to follow — Momma says we can’t let the cat out of the bag yet.

Has it really only been seven years?

Big time thanks to Annelise for arranging and to Laurie for the non-traumatic shoot! And thanks to Momma fur the memories.

Lina, Professional Poser



They had her at Dog Mode

Dear Readers,

It’s been a tumultuous few weeks. Momma has long felt she needed a new car and struggled with what kind she should get. She shopped around at her usual dealership, but none of their newer models tripped her trigger. Same old, same old. Boring almost. As she thought about other possible makes and models, the Tesla came to mind. She’d seen a lot of them around lately and heard they were selling like hotcakes. At first she ruled them out, believing electric vehicles were just for liberal-minded environmental wackos — an association she did not want to have. But curiosity got the best of her, and Momma actually started thinking outside the gas guzzling box.

She had recently been reading books about electricity, of all things, including The Last Days of Night by Graham Moore and Edison by Edmund Morris. Both talked about competition for electrical advancement between Westinghouse and Edison, both of whom employed a genius Serbian immigrant named Nikola Tesla. Elon Musk, of course, named his hot selling car after Mr. Tesla. Momma has long had a secret crush on Musk (loved him on Saturday Night Live, loves his space exploration, and loves the fact that he moved the Tesla headquarters from crazy California to oil and gun rich Texas). Based on little more, she decided to explore his electric car.

So one day a couple of months ago, Momma drove to the Tesla dealership in Eden Prairie to check things out. She was surprised and disappointed to learn that she, a potential customer, was not welcomed with open arms. In fact, a Tesla representative (they really didn’t seem to have salespeople), told her if she wanted to drive a car and explore matters further, she would need an appointment. Grudgingly, Momma made an appointment with a rep named Garrett for the next day, but only after being assured by him that EVs were not just for liberals anymore.

When Momma showed up for her test drive, Garrett told her she would have to go alone, and this frankly scared her. The car was so different. Where was the start button? The speedometer? The temperature gauge? The gas gauge (oh wait — never mind!)? The heater? The radio? The little clock? The engine for that matter? All the car had was a computer screen in the middle of the dashboard she was used to. Did she really dare drive it by herself? (At this point, she didn’t even know that the Tesla could indeed drive itself.)

Garrett reassured Momma that she could do this, asking her if she’d ever driven a golf cart. Well, duh, she said, of course she had. Is the Pope Catholic? He said the Tesla operates just like that. Go, drive it.

Turns out it was easy to drive and by the time Momma got back to the dealership, she was almost confident. When Garrett came out to meet her, he told her about a nifty feature on the computer screen called Dog Mode. As you might imagine, now he really had Momma’s attention. Garrett demonstrated by pressing the Dog Mode button and a depiction of a dog and this message took over the screen:

My driver
will be
back soon

Don’t worry!

The AC is on and it’s
72° F

Momma was positively electrified! Now she could leave me in the car while she ran errands and no one would call the police! And I would be in a controlled comfortable environment! The car would be almost a dogsitter for her! Sold, she thought. Out loud she said, “How much?”

After Momma gave Garrett the “downpayment” of $100.00 (yes, you read that right), she started wondering about the details. Could you give me a brochure? asked Momma, curious about the length of her new Model Y. No, said Garrett, Tesla doesn’t use paper advertising materials. Trying to be hip, she said, “Of course not.” She, after all, knew what a computer was. Later, when Momma foolishly asked him for a business card, she realized her faux paw and quickly added, “Oh yeah, right, that’s so yesterday, isn’t it?” Oh well, she thought, she really didn’t need all that clutter around the house, did she?

The deal done, Momma drove away observing all the old-fashioned, soon-to-be-obsolete, combustion engine cars on the road. She almost felt sorry for them. She was going to be so ahead of the game.

Then she started getting into the nuts and bolts of her new purchase.

First of all, she would need to plug the car in, so she hired an electrician to install a super duper 240 volt outlet in her garage to the tune of $750.00. Later, she desperately hoped they had installed the Nema 10-50p type that seemed to be required. Then she started worrying about the cost of the electricity she would burn (use?) so she looked up rebates and rates on the Tesla site. There she learned that Dakota Electric would give her a $500 rebate for installing its (really big) connector box to the outside of her house so she could take advantage of its off-peak rates.

She then called another(!) electrician who said he could install the box, but the rebate wouldn’t cover the entire cost (of course not, thought Momma, now quite grouchy about the whole thing). He also explained that the normal rate of electricity was about 12 cents per hour and offpeak could be as low as 7 cents, but with the program Momma had selected, “Time of Use,” the rate would be about 40 cents per hour if she plugged the (damned) car in before 10 p.m. But not to worry, the electrician said, she could program the car to start charging whenever. Momma’s head was now spinning. She knew she wouldn’t be able to program the Tesla, so she would have to set her alarm to get up and plug the car in at 10:00p every night. This Tesla thing was starting to take over her life.

Next, she learned online (it was almost impossible to speak with someone at Tesla to ask a question, she fumed) that the portable charger that came with the car did not give optimum charging. If she wanted that, she would have to order the futuristic looking $500 wall connector, which gave her a higher rate of charge and would save her from having to use the portable charger that she really should, apparently, just leave in the car in case of a depletion emergency. The slick wall connector would have to be hard wired to the 240 outlet, and she would have to hire an electrician — again! — to come out and do that, too.

What was Momma thinking, she wondered, when she irrationally plunked down $100 and ordered something she knew nothing about? She has spent many sleepless nights trying to figure out what to do about the car. Not that she doesn’t have time. Due to high demand, her estimated delivery date has been delayed to mid-November or December. Should she cancel? But then she wouldn’t have Dog Mode, she lamented, and she would have put an expensive new outlet in her garage for no reason (unless she wanted to move her dryer or oven out there).

In the end, Momma decided she would go ahead with the car. It helped that Tesla was nice to her when she payed them a surprise visit this week and they readily answered her questions. Oh, and she loved that they let me try out Dog Mode.

Momma just hopes she doesn’t have to pay for the car in Bitcoin.

Lina, Amped Aussie!



North to Bemidji

Dear Readers,

Last weekend, Momma and I drove “North” (I’ve adopted this term consistent with the current trend of simplifying phrases to sound more hip — no more “Up North” for us) to her home territory. It was all for fun — to “chill” (another with-it term) but with one stop for book marketing purposes. If you know Momma, we never quite chill.

Upon reaching Bemidji, the real home of Paul Bunyan and Babe, says Momma the historian, we found our way to the Bemidji Woolen Mills. The BWM has been a staple in Bemidji for over 100 years, and Momma had shopped there for her “Lumberjill” jacket when in college.

We were making a stop there to peddle our wares, so to woof. Momma’s nephew, Eric, who lives in Bemidji had noticed that, among other quality merchandise, BWM carries books of local authors and suggested we give them a try. Momma, always the optimist, had packed up six copies each of Lina Unleashed and Sit Stay Pray for this purpose.

Momma parked right in front of the store, and was greeted at the door by an employee named Mary. I watched from the car window as Momma told Mary that she was interested in selling her dog’s books at the store and asked to see Bill Batchelder, the owner. Mary, clearly taken aback and wondering if she should call security, nevertheless trotted off to Bill’s office. Much to Momma’s surprise and relief, Mary returned almost at once and brought her back to meet Bill.

Bill greeted Momma warmly (he didn’t seem to think this was a strange encounter at all — he probably meets all types is my guess) and Momma plopped down the books on his desk. Momma explained that my books were national award winners and that all the proceeds go to animal charities. Bill bought all twelve copies on the spot. While doing the paperwork, Bill gave Momma a little history lesson. He said that Mary is his aunt and the daughter of David Park, whose iconic Bemidji house is featured in Minnesota’s Own, Preserving Our Grand Homes, a coffee table book by Larry Millett. Momma had attended several meetings there in her work on the Bemidji State University Foundation board, and was thrilled to have met someone who grew up in the house! David Park had moved to Bemidji in the 1920s and ran a successful dairy business which included Luxury ice cream shops with outlets in five states. The David Park house, built in the Moderne style in the mid-1930s, is located right across the street from BSU. Here are photos of Mary (and me) and the house where she lived.

Bill then suggested we get some pictures of me in front of his poster size photo of Paul and the Blue Ox for the Bemidji Woolen Mills website. Momma, getting more excited by the moment, flew out to the car and brought me in.

I did my usual rounds, warming up the crowd with face licks while Momma pawdographed the books for me. Next Momma and I posed for some pictures, and as you can see, my books are now featured at the Bemidji Woolen Mills!

Bill explained that Paul and Babe’s statues were built in 1937 to attract tourists as part of that year’s winter carnival. The folks in Bemidji thought the American folk hero and lumberjack was a perfect fit for their logging industry and surrounding forests.

Later Momma did a little more research on the duo and here’s what she dug up. Minnesota’s lakes were created by the footprints of the humungous Paul. (You talk about your tall tails!) Babe is blue because when Paul found him, he was very cold. According to the Kodak Company, Paul and Babe are the second most photographed statues in the United States after Mount Rushmore. They are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. They stand 18′ and 10′ high respectively. Here they are in all their glory!

Pretty exciting, huh? So you should probably take a trip up there some summer (maybe not winter, or you’ll truly be chill and bluer that Babe the almost frozen ox), and visit beautiful Lake Bemidji and have your photo taken with the famous duo!

Oh, and while you’re at it, you should also stop at the Bemidji Woolen Mills (https://www.bemidjiwoolenmills.com/) and do some shopping. It is a fabulous store filled with woolen goods and gifts (and history), and they also carry my books!

Lina, Branching Out



Lucky Seven, Part Two

And just when I thought all the fun was over, Dr. Becca brought my BFF, Winnie, over on Sunday for a playdate/birthday cruise. It was so fantastic, I wrote my first poem:

Ode to a Pawntoon

Winnie and Lina went for a ride,
Dr. Becca and Momma by their side.

Watching their backs,
And giving them snacks.

Surrounded by sea,
Their hearts wild and free.

Wind whipping fur, gusts lifting ears,
Blue skies above, bountiful love.

Does it get any better?

Well, yes it does, because today Nanny Becky came over. That is always gift enough for me, but she also brought two cool presents — my very own stuffed puppy and a new ball. How did I ever get so lucky?

So much excitement, it was hard to take. Big time thanks to Momma, Dr. Becca (& Winnie) and Nanny Becky. Turning seven was definitely heavenly.

Lina, Ready for a Nap!