Meet Henry!

I’d like to introduce you to the newest member of the Tharp household: Henry!


My son is an eight-and-a-half-week-old Jack Russell, and the sweetest puppy imaginable.

He is still too small to get up on my bed (if he fell it would be a Henry pancake!) but you would think he had epilepsy the way he clamors to reach me when my parents come into my room.

Henry does tons of sleeping. Actually I’m looking at him right now, and he’s out. Anyone with kids, be it human or canine, knows how dangerous a baby sleeping in the daytime can be.

It’s gonna be a long night.

Room, Sweet Room

According to, a sanctuary is “a safe place where someone or something is safe and protected.” My bedroom has become a sanctuary.

Who is being protected? Maggie, from a certain black puppy.

My room is what we call “the Pippa-free zone.” Maggie is free to chew bones or take naps undisturbed. Occasionally the runt sneaks in, heading right for Maggie’s grimy stuffed animals, but she is promptly ushered out. Maggie always looks grateful.


Doesn’t Maggie look happy?

Maggie and Pippa have fun playing, but for my canine daughter, sometimes enough is enough. She is eleven, after all. It makes me sad because she doesn’t act like an eleven-year old dog. Ever since Miss Pippa entered our lives, Mag just seems old. I guess it’s the same with people: Maggie will enjoy her senior years. The walks my aide and I take her on to get her out of the house, the part of our backyard where Pippa isn’t allowed to go (there’s a swimming pool)—these are Maggie’s greatest pleasures right now.

These, and time in her sanctuary with me. Away from Pippa.

I know exactly how Maggie feels. After all, I have two younger sisters.

Why Can’t We Be Friends?

When you think of buddies, you think of human friends. The Ricardos and the Mertzes, Doug and Deacon from “The King of Queens.” The cast of “Friends.”

But do all buddies need to be human? Not even a week ago (oh my gosh) our family got another dog since we lost Wayne in December and Maggie is technically mine. The new puppy is a mutt, although a cute mutt. I forgot about how mutts could be. And how, let’s say, exuberant, all puppies are.

Pippa (named after Kate Middleton’s sister; my sister who absolutely loves the Royals) is definitely into absolutely everything and finds entertainment in anything. Anything that isn’t a dog toy is fair game for one. This could be my shoes (more than once I have felt sharp puppy teeth on my toes) or the tassels of my backpack.

On imagining how the two dogs would get along, I thought being 11, Maggie would have no patience for a puppy. But I was wrong. I’m sure Pippa presses her buttons because she just doesn’t take “no” for an answer. Although Maggie takes it and takes it, you can sure tell when she has had enough. There is a warning bark and Pippa calms right down.


What I imagined. Courtesy


What we got. Courtesy

Here’s a sample of their thoughts about the situation:

Maggie: One question: When does she go back? I thought I would spend my senior years in peace and relaxation. I don’t ask for much; naps in my favorite corners. My ratty stuffed animals. My people.

Pippa: I LOVE IT HERE…. Wait… I see something fun….a sort of jug. It says “MILK”. It’s empty so I beg my parents to toss it here. They do. That’s some fun. For now. Wait! I didn’t see that rug by the front door! Let’s go see…

Stay tuned. Hopefully Pippa and Maggie can reach a middle ground.

The Elder Statesman

You already know that I am the mother of a ten-year-old Corgi named Maggie. But we also have a family dog—Wayne, also a Corgi. You didn’t read his name wrong. His name is actually Wayne. The name is courtesy of my middle sister, Sarah, which really explains some things.

When I got Maggie, the breeder said that though Wayne was older, when she grew up, my dog would rule the roost. He said females are just more dominant. Dad said that was just like people. And there was a huge eye roll, probably, and an Oh please from Mom.

But what Bill, the breeder, said is completely true. Of the two dogs, Maggie is definitely in charge. As they got older, Wayne spent more and more time sunning himself in the Southern California sunshine. Coincidence? I think not.

Wayne is now thirteen. He is now thirteen and a half, actually. My jaw drops whenever I see this saint of a dog. He is now elderly. When I look at him now I see a dog who limps and is extremely slow moving because of a bad foot.

I can hardly talk about it, but when he is in doggie heaven I hope I remember him as the rambunctious little puppy amusing himself by tossing pebbles to himself, not a deaf dog who has a hard time walking. He is my daily reminder that time marches on. That, and what unconditional love looks like: Maybe not perfect, but just right.