Living with My 4-Legged Family


All artists should have a companion of the feline persuasion.

This photo reminds me of a poem by Karla Kuskin. “If you, like me, were made of fur and sun warmed you, like me, you’d purr.”



This is Opie Taylor, AKA Opie Tatee, AKA Opie Tay-tay, AKA Tatie or Tater.¬†Opie has lived with me since 1997. He was once a King-of-the-Jungle type kitty but these days he spends most of his time in my lap. Opie came to live with me after I found him under an abandoned mobile home. He was just a wee little kitten but wild as a jack rabbit. I managed to trap him with a Hav-A-Heart trap and he literally climbed the walls of my bedroom for the first few days. But it didn’t take long for him to realize life could be good if he would just stop fighting .



This is so me.



It’s December 23rd….I couldn’t resist…and anyway, you KNOW they have these discussions!


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This is my little Junebug…or Junebuggywuggyinaruggyruggyruggy ūüôā ¬†Junebug came to live with me in 1999, so she is 15 years old. Except for a little arthritis, she is feisty as ever and THE boss lady of the pack. I found Junebug and her 2 litter mates while driving down a very curvy mountain road near Boone, NC. The 3 were gathered around a dead animal in the middle of the road that had surely been there for a long time. They were obviously very hungry. I picked them up, put them in the truck and looked for the mother but she was nowhere in sight. I placed her two siblings and kept junebug. She has been such a joy and continues to be. We have a very strong bond. Everyday that I can, I take her for a short walk in the woods behind my house. While she can’t walk very fast, she pushes along like a granny on a mission : ) .



3 Black Dogs.



Sugarmama hoping to improve her vocabulary via osmosis…



This is India or Indibindi. Her name is derived¬†from one of my favorite mediums: ¬†beautiful, rich, black¬†India Ink. She’s such a sweet little baby. She’s timid much of the time but loves to play tug-o-war with her buddy, Brownie. India came to live with me about 6 years ago. At the time, I had a pup named Crispy. He was a terror! One day I came home to find him devouring the insides of my mattress. After that, I decided I needed to get him a puppy. At the time, all my other dogs were older and didn’t want to play with him. So coincidentally, a friend of mine told me of a puppy at the local shelter that had been found on the side of the interstate. When you held her, she would put her paws around your neck and stare at you straight in the eyes. I went to the shelter and adopted her. She and Crispy became fast friends. One of my funniest memories of the two was when I looked out my french doors to see them playing tug-o-war with a pair of my underwear. Needless to say, they were granny panties by the time those two got done with them!





This is Maggie, or Magpie. Maggie tests my patience EVERY day but I do love her. She barks all the time for everything and anything and is constantly on a mission to find food. As a result, all of my kitchen cabinets are equipped with bungee cords. When I lived in TN, the people who lived next door to me, had Maggie chained up 24/7. I used to lie in bed at night and here her barking, barking, barking. I would too if I were chained up like that. They had a sofa outside next to a shed and on sunny days I would see Maggie lounging on the sofa and rainy days she would be hidden in the shed.¬†Well, one day, the lady who lived there had to move into a nursing home. At that point, they moved out and left Maggie. I decided to steal her, so I dressed in black one night and snuck down there and stuffed her into my truck and flew back home! Maggie enjoyed her new life of leisure but a few days later the lady’s daughter came knocking on my door looking for her. I explained that I thought she had been abandoned and they said no, that they had arranged for someone to take care of her. Anyway, Maggie did NOT want to leave but they eventually coaxed her into the car and took her back and chained her back to the same spot. I was so sad but just didn’t know what to do. Thankfully, though, they called me a few days later and asked if I would like to keep her. Maggie has rarely left the bed since…that is unless it is time to eat.



So… where do i sit???



In my opinion, this is the face of joy. Brownie loving life.



In many paintings you can find dogs as symbols of loyalty. Well, this photo illustrates that so well. This is the view I had when I left for work everyday when I lived in TN. Rocky, Junebug, Brownie and India. (Maggie is still in bed.)



I told you about Brownie’s story and how he came to live with me when I posted a colored pencil drawing of him but that drawing does not capture the mischievous nature of this little booger! He, like the aforementioned Crispy, took to eating not my bed but my pillows and look how proud he is!



This is Mookie, AKA Mookie-da-Turtle or Turtle. Mookie came to live with me 14 years ago as a little kitten. I was driving down 421 in NC and he and his litter mates were hanging out in a parking lot next to a very busy intersection. They were very tiny, maybe 6 weeks old. Of course, I had to stop and see if they had just been dumped off or if they belonged to someone. Apparently, there was a house behind the building where I parked and all but Mookie ran to the house. Relieved to know they had a home, I climbed back in my truck and got ready to leave but Mookie informed me that I was not leaving without him. He cried and followed the truck like a dog! I was so afraid I would run over him. I got out, took him to the house, ran back to the truck and he followed me. Well, of course, I had to take him. At the time I was reading Barbara Kingsolver’s book, The Bean Trees¬†and there is a baby in the book named Turtle because, like the snapping turtle, she clings and never lets go. That is where Turtle’s nickname came from. To this day, Turtle is one of the most persistent, hard-headed beings I have ever known and I love him for it.


This is Tiggy-Tom-Tom. Isn’t he handsome? This boy has won my heart. He’s a hunter during the day but every night he announces his arrival as soon as he enters the door, expecting a heapin’ helpin’ of lovin! He is brother to Dingo whose story I told when I posted his portrait on my home page. Tiggy is one of the 5 born to Sugar Mama. He is a love.



OMG…this just gets me every time I see it!!!!



They look like twins don’t they? Sugar Mama on the left and HIssy Fit on the right. Hissy Fit is from Sugar Mama’s ¬†first litter and was feral when I adopted her. This cat has lived with me for about 8 years now and STILL hisses at me and runs for her life when I get near her. The only time she acknowledges me is when it’s time to eat. GEEZ!



Bird watching.



This is Jake or Jakewakey. You may have read the story about Rocky on my Home Page. Well, Jakey is Rocky’s buddy. They came to live with me about 3 years ago after they had been abandoned at a local shelter. Jakey is one of those little dogs that wants to be near you EVERY minute. Here’s the catch though; when a man comes in the house, he deserts me and runs to the man and even threatens to bite me if I come anywhere near. Yes, i have considered renaming him Traitor Joe or possibly Benedict or even Judas but I suppose I’m being too sensitive….still urks me, though. But when that occasional man leaves, Jakey remains and goes back to loving me, alone.



Old age IS beautiful.


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This is little Sophie. She came to live with me nearly 16 years ago with her mama, Sadie. Sadie has since passed on, but Sophie is hanging on. She is definitely experiencing dementia at times but she’s ok. She is very skittish and has never recovered from the abuse she suffered as a pup. When I adopted her and Sadie, they had come from a shelter that was being shut down. All the animals there were in danger of being euthanized. She and Sadie had been brought there because they belonged to an animal “collector” who had been arrested for animal cruelty. ¬†There was no doubt they had both been abused. To this day, Sophie acts as if I’m going to harm her if I move too fast when I’m near her. She is very fragile but finds her peace in quiet places and the outdoors. She is a best friends with Junebug. When she goes outside to the woods, she runs with abandon.



Pretty much says it all.



Yes, when possible, I go to the chiropractor.


Then…sometimes, I just sleep on the floor.



Need I say more??


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Dogs and snow….they go together so well.



My Crispy.