Happy First Day of Spring and Happy Persian New Year! by da-AL

For Persians, honoring the New Year is a happy two-week long event. Norooz 2018 starts Monday, March 20, at 9:15 a.m. Some go as far as beginning the Wednesday before, jumping over bonfires that represent life-sustaining sunlight burning away dark winter cold. Regardless of exact time or day when the northern hemisphere equinox occurs, many gather with family, friends, and food to welcome it. A flurry of brief cheerful teas ensues, with juniors visiting elders, then elders visiting back. Festivities culminate on the 13th day, when all gather for picnics to eat, dance, recite poetry, and sing.

Below is the photo I point at toward the end of the speech. It’s from an amazing book called, “Food of Life: Ancient Persian and Modern Iranian Cooking and Ceremonies,” by Najmieh Batmanglij.

Photo from book.

Do you do anything special for the First Day of Spring?…

Now We Are 3 (only) by da-AL

Pierre, da-AL, Lola, K-D
Pierre a few months ago, at about 14 years old.

This morning I stayed in bed till late. I was awake, but I didn’t want to get up to a house without Pierre in it.

Yesterday I had to put my dog down. Such a gentle euphemism for murder. To put one to sleep. My dear, dear dog-man trusted me, yet I tricked him. First by lulling him into thinking it was a normal day by asking my husband to roast a chicken at home that delighted his nose and soothed his belly. But afterward a vet arrived. She knotted a tourniquet at his rear thigh, shaved an area below it, and injected a sedative. His fitful gasping evened, his pain-blinded stare softened. Amid caresses and loving murmurs, the vet administered a second shot to finish him off.

My dear Pierre at 9 months old.

But Pierre lingered within his peaceful half-sleep. So another shave. Then a third shot to a different leg. That one finally killed him.

Nicer ways exist to frame this, but my heart won’t listen to the many fine arguments for how, whether, and when.

No, I don’t know of a better way to have done it. When his kidneys began to fail, and arthritis increasingly ravaged his days and nights, I promised us two things; he’d never take another trembling ride to a vet, and he’d never be wet again (he was a Labrador mix one-of-a-kind who hated water).

Fortunately, we could afford to have a vet to visit our home for those final injections. Fortunately, I could be with Pierre, my sweetest, most uncomplicated of friendships and loves. Fortunately, he’d lived a good long life, as dog lives go.

Pierre at 8 weeks old.

All the same, this was the awfullest decision I hope ever to make.

Life is beautiful, merciless, humbling.

Pierre (right) with his twin sister.

As much as our recent time together — these months of arranging throw rugs, moving furniture, closing doors so he wouldn’t get tangled among legs or be locked into rooms or slip and not be able to get back up, all which upset him to no end — these months of his hobbled struggle to follow me everywhere and to share walks with his sisters even though he’d fall within a few steps from home — this stoic period when, despite his waning appetite, he’d eat all that my family hand fed him while I experimented with healing remedies and weight gaining foods — this era when we set ramps and nudged him up and I learned the trick to gathering his 55 pounds into my arms to navigate down — these weeks of carrying him outside to pee in the middle of the night because the shame of soiling his diapers showed naked in his eyes (debilitated kidneys need volumes more water to compensate)…

Pierre (right) in better times.

and even though yesterday was the worst, today not a whole lot better…

I am thankful for every moment we shared. Hopefully, he knew he was loved…

Happy International Women’s Day by da-AL

Why isn’t this celebrated more in the U.S., the way it is in other countries?!

Here I offer a tribute to Sister Rosetta Tharpe, an amazing lesbian woman of color who influenced even Chuck Berry.

First a brilliant performance…

Now more about her…

Which woman has influenced you most for the good?

Guest Blog Post: “5 Tips for Greeting a Strange Dog,” in the exact words of Willie Mays

Love dogs but not getting bitten? Willie Mays blogs about cats and dogs. Here are her tips for meeting a brand new dog…

Brilliant photo courtesy of Ryan McGuire of Gratisography.com

As we all know that dogs are one of the most loved animals around the world. Like who doesn’t like dogs? When we see a dog, our very first instinct is to approach it and run our hands over it. But we forget that every dog is not same and each one possesses a different personality. So, approaching a dog impulsively can sometimes go very wrong. Dogs are not like humans, so they don’t know if the interaction is going to be a positive one or negative one.

But you don’t have to worry about it as given below are 5 tips that you can follow which will help you in greeting any dog.

1. Ask for Permission

The very first thing you should do is ask for permission. This tip can be generally applied on dogs with owners. If the owner is around then you should always ask him/her if you can greet their dog. This way you can avoid any future conflict and also make sure if it is safe to approach one.

Once the owner shows you the green flag and trusts you with the dog, only then approach it. If the owner denies you then you should respect that decision as there can be a number of reasons behind the owner not allowing you to approach his/her dog.

2. Wait for the dog to approach

Once you start to approach the dog after greeting the owner, walk towards the dog very slowly. This won’t panic the dog as dogs can act out of instinct when something fast approaches them. If you are meeting that dog for the first time then give it some time to get familiar with your face and also make it comfortable near you. So, the best you can do is let it approach you. If the dog already knows you then you can advance towards it as it will be more relaxed that way.

3. Avoid the eye-contact

In humans, eye-contact is considered as a sign of friendliness and confidence, but in dogs, it’s not really about getting familiar. If you make eye-contact with a dog for a long time, then the dog can take it as a sign of aggression and threat. So, try not to look at the dog straight in the eye while approaching it as it can become more about who is dominant than about friendliness.

4. Don’t overdo

Once the dog lets you touch it and play with it, try to be as gentle as possible and avoid touching the top of its head. Also, don’t forget that it is the dog who decides how long you can play with it. If the dog has met you for the first time, be ready for a small interaction. If the dog starts to walk away from you then don’t try to follow it to reach towards it desperately as it can trigger the dog’s anger or anxiety. Moreover, always keep an eye on the dog’s behavior while you’re petting it. If you think the dog is giving you some signs to stop then stop.

5. Be confident

One of the qualities of the dog is that they can easily sense emotions. If you are feeling scared then the dog will probably know. This can make them cautious and angry, which can affect your interaction in a very different way which you probably don’t want. So, try to be as confident as possible and smile if you can. This way you can assure the dog that it does not have anything to worry about.

About the author in her own words: Willie Mays is a housewife, good mother, pet lover and a blogger. Auxier  is her dog and Mimo is the name of her cat. She loves them very much. She has an aim to help other pet owners and that’s why she wrote about shiba inu husky mix in her blog.

Enchanting Espelette, France, by da-AL

After a weekend of beautiful Barcelona, we drove towards French Basque country. We lunched in wonderful Huesca and overnighted in pretty Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port.

The sun shone and we were back on the road. What better way to relax than to stop in the enchanting Basque town of Espelette?

We sipped hot chocolate at a sidewalk cafe…

We shopped for edible gifts from a kindly shopkeeper, including the special not-too-hot red pepper power the city is known for…

da-AL and her honey shopping in Espelette, France

And we strolled, admiring the town’s typically red-accented white buildings…

Everything, everyone, the weather — it was all so charming, that I could easily have stayed for a nap…

…but we had more places to visit!

Snuggle Dogs by da-AL

Our best friends are those who cheer us through our ups and cheer us up through our downs.

Mr. Gentleman Dog is aging. Growing older is a gift, but it extracts a price. For some of us, the cost is higher than for others.

In Mr. Gentleman Dog’s case, arthritis is wearing away his hips. And his kidneys don’t work as well. Rather than soil stuff, several times a night he rouses himself to ask to go out into the cold and pee.

But every day, he still has plenty of moments that he enjoys. He still loves treats, short walks, and cuddles.

And he loves the warmth of friendship…

Call for Guest Blog Posts!

Our latest family portrait! Should I dye my hair black to match theirs?

Got 1 to 3 great photos or illustrations, an article 300 words or less, that you’d like published on Happiness Between Tails?

Email them to me: ContactdaAL@gmail.com

Include a sentence or two about yourself and whatever links you’d like. I’ll publish them within a few weeks.

Subjects appropriate for Happiness Between Tails:




Equal Rights











Story Telling