Laying Down on the Job

Laying Down on the Job
The Santa Monica Easy

Sunday, March 2, 2014


(Photo credit Elena Gerli)
Today marks the second year I've shared my life with my rescued Jindo dog, Dory. In previous posts I've detailed the saga that converged our lives to this point. Sharing life with a timid yet happy, quiet, gentle creature has been uplifting, joyful and challenging in ways that have made me a better human. Making life better for my canine companion has brightened life for me. 

Every morning Dory greets me with a wagging tail and Jindo smile. He eagerly goes with me on trips to parts unknown to him yet he jumps into the back seat when ever the car door is open, trusting that when the door opens again he will be greeted with new and interesting scents to stimulate and excite his mind.  He has sat in the passenger seat, nobly relinquishing his usual back seat, ignoring the rescued dog in the back seat who's being transported by me to another foster home.


He patiently waits when strangers, who see us on our twice daily walks, question me about Dory's breed and ask to pet him.  Interactions I'd never have had if this sweet-looking dog wasn't walking with me. Interactions that allow me to meet new people, hone my people skills and share the story of the remarkable Jindo ("They rarely bark, are clean like cats and can hold their pee & poo for 8 hours or more --  the perfect apartment dog").

Dory makes me laugh when he springs, Tigger-like, into the front yard, eager to play "chase me" in the morning or when he looks over his shoulder at me, in case I'm ready to go for a walk.  

While I've always loved and cared for a variety of animals, the sheer sparkling brilliance of Dory's existence has moved me to do more for the remarkable creatures with whom we share this breathtakingly beautiful planet. I volunteer with the Jindo rescue group, Two Dog Farms, who rescued Dory from certain death at a municipal animal control facility when his time expired. I volunteer at my local animal shelter, help transport rescued Jindos to fosters, help find fosters, assist adoption events, continue to learn about Jindos and dog behavior and other elements of animal rescue.  One action flowed into another and then another until a whole new segment of life carved out a place in my life with Dory.  With every dog rescued, starting with Dory, there is a sense that this activity makes a positive difference to the lives of others who, like me, take on the care and safety of a neglected, abandoned but ever-so amazing dog. The blossoming of dogs who go from the frightening, unsure existence in a kennel to life in a home is its own compensation. In fact, it's priceless. 

Thinking Outside the Lack of Bike Racks

Today in Santa Monica, a clever bike parking option when there's no bike rack available.

Walking Santa Monica

Today and every day for the past 5 years this kind of impediment to Santa Monica pedestrians in the targeted "redevelopment" area of Santa Monica (where most of the pedestrian traffic ambulates) pop up and stay up for weeks. The signs are not at intersections, they are in the middle of the block and -- in my opinion -- are probably controlled by the construction company which is under no obligation to assure pedestrians -- who've walked three-quarters of a block by the time they've reached the sign -- safe passage to the intersection. For someone in a wheelchair or using a walker, this is a real inconvenience for them as well as the unaided pedestrian.  Just another example of how pedestrian traffic is disenfranchised and disregarded by the Santa Monica decision makers. 

Thursday, September 5, 2013

I'm participating in Srutt Your Mutt to raise money for my favorite charity, Two Dog Farms , the Jindo rescue that saved Dory. The event is on Sept. 15, 2013, in Woodley Hills, where we humans will strut our respective rescued dogs to raise money.  No donation amount is too small or too large.  ;-)  I'm asking all my friends, family, blog followers and strangers I meet on the street to donate. Each donation is tax deductible and I will send each donor an adorable photo of adorable Dory.  If you're not inclined, no worries. If you would like to help raise funds (for which I will be eternally grateful), please donate at the link in this blog entry or go to . For more information on how to adopt or foster a Jindo dog like Dory, check out the information at

Adorable Dory as seen on the streets of Santa Monica.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Today at the Santa Monica Pier...

upon closer inspection...

These are photos of an example of the best of human endeavours and I'm so happy the good ship Endeavour has come to spend her retirement years in Los Angeles where she can inspire and delight untold numbers of future scientists, explorers, astronomers, teachers, artists and people like me who are just proud of what was achieved through her existence. 

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Sunday At the Beach with Dori

In a continuing episode of Adventures with Dori - scared, adorable Jindo dog extraordinaire -- currently being fostered by this Santa Monica resident, this photo essay is submitted. 
"I'm the best dog I know how to be..."
Sunday, March 4th, having made impressive progress facing fear and flinching in Santa Monica, I journeyed with bright-eyed and eager Dori through the loudest part of Santa Monica to its most congested and attractive part -- the beach.  Actually we only went to the Pacific Palisades park which overlooks the beach near Wilshire Blvd. 
Regardless of the beautiful day, clear sky, low surf, Dori Dog was none too impressed, clearly turning his back on the ocean so it wouldn't scare him.  Earlier he had been seriously startled by his shadow so the ocean scene was a bit beyond his ability to face new fears for the day. 

Walks with Dori are studded with full-body flinches and crouching plus the occasional attempt to avoid or escape.  Dogs and those on the other end of the leash are supposed to enjoy and bond during walks but walking with a hyper-vigilant and nervous dog who turtles his tail with every city sound is challenging work (to be fair, for a dog whose previous 5 years was spent alone on the end of a long leash staked in a back yard in the quite Pasadena mountains, Santa Monica must sound like he's in the midst of blunderbuss hunting season for Jindo dogs). I thought a back pack would help Dori feel more confident on his walks. So, with the help of one of Mr. BoJindo's back packs, which arrived today, Dori got a new red bag! 
"Now what?"
Dori accepted the back pack (which, empty, is about the weight of a bath towel) without fear even though it required some fiddling under his chest where the straps connect with clasps that can sometimes pinch. Nevertheless, Dori stood still while I lowered the shoulder straps over his head, the bags across his back and clicked the chest straps together.  I had to cinch the chest straps a bit since Dori is probably 10 to 15 pounds lighter than Mr. BoJindo but Dori patiently tolerated -- or perhaps enjoyed -- all the handling and physical fuss.  The pockets are filled with his poop pick-up bags and some handi-wipes or me.  When he gets some of his weight back I may add a water bottle so he'll have water on longer walks.

The back pack seemed to help Mr. BoJindo focus when he walked or hiked so he wouldn't ramble and charge off to the end of his leash after a squirrel as much as he did without it  I hope it'll help Dori feel more secure when we walk.  We'll soon find out!

Once outside with his back pack, Dori met my neighbors who patiently introduced themselves and offered a gentle hand to scratch his neck. 
To be continued... 


There's always something new to be found while walking Santa Monica and sometimes it's under my feet. During a recent walk along one of Santa Monica's oldest boulevards I took the time to notice the lovely art work in the sidewalk.  These mosaics take public art to a whole new level.  Ground level. 

And then there's this. 
This isn't art but it's history. I found it thanks to one of our awesome librarians at the Santa Monica Public Library familiar with Santa Monica history who gave me a rough idea where to find this street sign that's been in place since sometime prior to 1912.   Santa Monica residents might scratch their collective heads wondering where in the city is Oregon Ave.? "Oregon Ave." can be found on early maps of Santa Monica (also available online through the Santa Monica Library).  Most residents know where Colorado, California, Idaho, Washington, Montana, Pennsylvania, Arizona -- even Ohio -- avenues are -- but Oregon? Not so much. That's because Oregon Ave. was changed to the now world famous Santa Monica Blvd. in 1912.  This faded street sign is on the north west corner of 5th and Santa Monica Blvd.  

With all the countless pairs of feet crossing and scuffling across this street sign every day, eventually it'll be worn away and forgotten -- or at least illegible.   Wouldn't it be nice if the Santa Monica City Council could initiate some action that would preserve this piece of under foot history?

Mysterious Door

1660 Ninth St.
On my most recent trip to the Santa Monica Animal Shelter, intent on dropping off the last of my paperwork so I can eventually volunteer there, I noticed this intriguing door with the seemingly ominous door knocker.  I have no idea what's behind the door, but it's kind of spooky -- or perhaps intriguingly compelling.  I was tempted to use the knocker just to find out who would open the door and/or hear what sound would issue forth (perhaps Frau Blucher from "Young Frankenstein"?) -- but I'm not THAT fearless nor nosy -- just curious tinged with touch of drama. I'll leave it up to my imagination and conjure up my own visions of mystery, demons and Daniel Webster behind the mysterious door. 

Friday, March 2, 2012

Fostering in Santa Monica

Adventures with Dori begin!  Dori, the 5 year old, neutered male Jindo dog I volunteered to foster arrived today around noon.
My first visit with Dori at the Pasadena Humane Society
It all started on January 21st, when I read an email sent by Adopt A Pet looking for a volunteer to foster Dori. Not really knowing what "foster" meant, my immediate reaction was, "I know about the Jindo breed, I could probably foster this dog." immediately followed by, "I'm not allowed to have pets. I live in a single bungalow without much room. I'd have to change my daily routine.  I've house-sat for dogs but I don't know anything about being a foster. What if I mess up? I probably won't be able to help." Nevertheless, I responded to the email and later called the contact person listed on the email.  

I won't detail Dori's life before today -- because nothing exemplifies "Today is the first day of the rest of your life" better than dogs -- who always seem to live in the present.  Their behavior may be influenced by human treatment, but animals don't hold a grudge, don't feel sorry for themselves and they don't plot revenge.  They do know how to be loyal, to demonstrate total acceptance of humans no matter how worthy we may or may not be. They can be fearful and untrusting but I believe they're all creatures with undeniable, inestimable worth.  

Dori is nervous but curious and very sweet.  He takes food from my hand very gently, loves to have his neck and behind his ears scratched. He's "hand" shy -- his whole body flinches when I put up my hand to indicate "stay".  We had two walks so far today and he did very well both times. Although he didn't eat breakfast before he made the trip to my place, this afternoon he ate his "Taste of the Wild" kibble enthusiastically (provided by Two Dog Farms).  He is afraid/unsure/wary (?) of the kennel (also provided by Two Dog Farms) so we'll have to work on that.  I don't want to leave him here, on his own, right now.  In a crate he'll be less likely to eat my couch or claw his way through a window in an explosion of canine separation anxiety. With consistent effort on my part, I believe it won't take him long to be balanced and happy.  
The lovely and impressive Pasadena Humane Society
Dori has a second chance through the efforts of real life, terrestrial angels like Rosalind Behenna who runs Two Dog Farms, Inc. Non-Profit Jindo Rescue, a Korean Dog Rescue, Rehabilitation and Rehoming organization. One has only to read my May 20, 2010 post, "The Zen of Mr. BoJindo Sitting" to know that Jindos are very near and dear to my heart. I'm sure that's got a lot to do with my plunging into the unknown of fostering a dog. Step by step, starting with getting my landlord's permission (thank you Victor!), the groundwork was laid through Rosalind, Lorna Campbell at the Pasadena Humane Society and dog trainer Rebecca Setler to get Dori out of harms way and into my foster home care where he can evolve blossom into a self-confident, balanced dog ready for his forever home.  I'll probably make some mistakes along the way -- although I have seriously studied Cesar Millan's "Cesar's Way" which taught me a lot -- especially how to be a good pack leader -- so maybe the mistakes will be less than catastrophic. 
Memorial wall in the Pasadena Humane Society's courtyard 
After a long day, Dori is asleep on the floor right now, dreaming of something that makes his legs move like he's running. I hope it's a good dream and not an escape nightmare. It occurs to me that it might be interesting to make a movie or a computer game based on a dog's dream from the dog's point of view -- or what we humans think is a dog's point of view when they dream -- where every player is the embodiment of a dog having to deal with real canine issues.  Hmmm.  I LIKE it!
Dori scopes out the front yard.
Being able to foster this lovely creature would not have been possible if my landlord had not given me permission.  He's a dog lover and knows I've treated his property with respect for the past 20 years -- as if it belonged to me. I'm just glad I had the determination to ask him. Without his support this dear dog would probably not be alive right now due to overcrowding in the shelter that offered him for adoption and provided a short-term home -- and the world would be a little bit sadder, smaller and miserable.  I know -- how does saving one dog in a world where human beasts slaughter each other and their children make the world better?  I can't save the human beasts but right here, right now, there's the possibility that this dog has something to teach me and other people about being a better human being and I will do my best to help him on the way to a fulfilled doggie life.  

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Swinger's in Santa Monica

I love Swingers.  It's been one of my favorite Santa Monica eateries since the first time I ate there, shortly after it opened.  It's fun (there's a juke box and 60's-70's ambiance), the wait staff are always awesome (chatty, hip and always seem to get my order right), the food is lucious and fresh and the menu is lengthy. 

Friendly dogs are welcome -- they're not allowed inside but the long, narrow patio affords responsible dog owners the opportunity to have their dogs stay by them while they eat, talk, drink, laugh, meet and enjoy the experience of including their dog(s) through the day.  The wait staff will even bring a container of water for your beloved pooch. It's wonderful seeing several dogs curled up on the sidewalk by the patio tables where their humans are seated.  Recently, new bike posts have been installed on  Broadway next to the patio area so cyclists can secure their bikes to something sturdy rather than a parking meter. 

I stopped at Swingers Saturday afternoon after a couple hours of walk-about errands.  I was super hungry and I had to pass Swingers on the way home. I ordered my "usual": a burrito from the breakfast portion of the menu.  I sat at a patio table and within 15 seconds I was asked what I'd like to drink. Coffee and a glass of iceless water (that's the way I like it) were delivered in less than a minute.  BTW: their coffee is really good; I drink it black.  Minutes later I placed my order and settled in to read the "Santa Monica Daily Press".  By the time I was ready to read page two, the burrito arrived.  I'll admit the place wasn't that busy but even so -- that's fast.  I snapped the photo below and sent it with a text message via Loopt then dug into the warm, flavorful burrito awesomeness.  

Buried inside the whole wheat burrito are quinoa, spinach, black beans, some tomato-based sauce and really interesting flavorful spices.  There're probably more ingredients inside but I don't know what they are -- other than divine. The topping is the most delicious chipotle sauce I've ever tasted (garnish of spring onion tops). 

Swingers offers breakfast, lunch, dinner and late night nosh. The menu has plenty of interesting and delicious food for omnivores, vegetarians and vegans.  Many of my non-vegan/non-vegetarian friends now love Swingers.  If you live or work in Santa Monica and haven't eaten at Swingers... you really should.  Bring your out-of-town guests -- they won't forget the place and they'll probably want to go back every time they visit. 

The only drawback eating there, right now, is this view of the building across the street (NE corner of Broadway and Lincoln Blvd.)

Yep.  Another of the too-many, look-alike boxes being built in Santa Monica.  Fortunately, it  rained earlier so there was no construction cacophony and I could enjoy my burrito in relative quiet.