A Dog Named Lola

As many of you are probably aware, Lola the white German Shepherd passed away recently. She’s been living in Australia with her person for the last six years and I haven’t seen her since she moved, but she’s always going to be one of my dogs. I was incredibly happy when she bonded so deeply with Carolyn and even happier when she got to go off to live her best life in Australia. It made her so happy and I’m sure that it extended her life by several years at least.  As is my custom I’m going to post a photo blog memory for a beloved friend.

I’m going to start with the first picture I ever took of her, on what turned out to be a life changing day for me as it drew me into the Gaiman orbit. Neil’s assistant Lorraine had taken Cabal and Lola to the farmer’s market with her where they bumped into my wife Laura. We all knew each other a bit, but hadn’t really spent much time together. The two dogs were being something of a handful, so Laura offered to call me (I grew up with giant unruly dogs) to come and give her some help with managing 160lbs of enthusiastic dogs. So, I hurried over and managed dogs (a thing I’m quite good at) and I fell in love with both Cabal and Lola. Soon after that I was getting regular invites to come play with the dogs, who were delighted to have another person to walk with them and lavish love and affection on them, and from that basis of mutual affection for a couple of gigantic dogs, I developed a lasting friendship with Neil and a connection with the house and pets that lasts to this day despite the fact that with Lola’s departure, all of the dogs and cats of Castle Gaiman are now gone. Without Lola and Cabal being a handful at the farmer’s market, my life would likely be quite different.

This is how I usually saw her first on any given day, waiting for a walk.

Here she is running around like a maniac with Cabal which was the core of my experience with her when she was younger.

She loved to roll in the grass.

And to play in the stream.

Pictures like this are why I called her the great white fuzzygator.

She adored murdering stuffed animals.

And she loved Cabal.

She could look quite soulful.

And reproachful.

She always liked to keep me company when I came over to write.

After Cabal died she and I did quite a lot of running around in the snow like maniacs together.

We even talked my wife Laura into joining us from time to time.

Here she and Cabal are wrestling at the gates of Narnia.

And in the stream.

As Lola got older she got a bit more patient about waiting for walks.

She did not like groundhogs, who, fortunately, can climb surprisingly fast.

Despite the expression she really liked the security of her crate.

Here’s a picture of the pups with Neil trying to convince them to be photogenic for (I think; it’s been a while) Doctor Who Magazine.

I love the intelligence in her eyes in this picture.

When she wanted to she could look incredibly noble.

But wild exuberance was much more her thing.

Winter or summer.

I love this picture so much. It’s one of my absolute favorites because it looks like they’re about to star in a musical road movie of the Crosby and Hope variety.

I will end here with the last picture I took of Lola before she left for Australia. Goodbye, sweetie, I miss you.

Coconut Cat RIP

We have reached the end of an era with the passing of Coconut, the last of the cats of Castle Gaiman. Back in 2010, when I first became friends with Neil, I absolutely fell in love with the menagerie that lived at his house and spent many hours walking borrowed dogs, petting the resident cats, or simply writing in corners with feline companionship. Portions of ten novels were written in the castle, and whenever I worked there Coconut always found me and curled up on or near me. He was an incredibly social and loving cat; I am going to miss him enormously. He was a frequent guest on Friday Cat Blogging and I ended up with a lot of pictures of him over the years. As is my tradition when I lose a pet friend, I’m going to share a portion of them as a farewell.

My last shot of him. Old and thin but still himself to the end

And, this was my first.

Sitting with me while I was writing last fall.

Cuddling with Laura back around 2012.

He was often waiting at the door when I showed up.

Writing in the tower.

And in the kitchen.

He could be a goof.

Or the picture of dignity.

He kept the magnificent Princess close company in her final days.

Here they are sometime in that first year I made friends with them.

He was a but dubious about this interloper.

But he really loved people.

With Laura last winter.

And me that fall.

Here he is helping me with another book in the library.

My most common view was of him waiting for me to put the laptop down.

I just love this.

A champion sleeper.

Even when balancing precariously.

This is not a trap. He liked belly rubs.

And sun.

So much sun.

If I didn’t pick him up fast enough he got quite demanding.

Verbally too.

This is usually how he said goodbye.

He liked drinking from the sink while Princess was alive.

But mostly he liked people.

Damn, but I am going to miss this little guy.

Such a charmer.

And so sweet.

I’m going to end with this shot because I find it haunting.

 

Friday Cat Blogging! With Special Guest Neil Gaiman

She’s behind me, isn’t she?

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Yeperrrbit!

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What the hell is with the frog?

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I think something like this…

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Cats are sooooooo weird.

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She’s behind me again, I just know it.

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That’s it, I’m going to watch something really surreal…

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Like this Gratuitous Author Cream Pie Sequence:*

Pie with Neil (closed captioned version) from Matt Kuchta on Vimeo.

With thanks to Neil Gaiman, Matt Kuchta, and the ever game Laura McCullough,

Retro Friday Cat Blogging

My feets, I hugs dem!

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No, Mr Bond, I expect you to die.

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I playz dead gud, even got the bloating thing nailed

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I command you to bring me a…zzzzzzzz

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BONUS CATS*

My proud lion pose, you take pixure, yes?

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All shall love me and despair!

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(Originally published on the Wyrdsmiths blog January 21 2011, and original comments may be found there. Reposted and reedited as part of the reblogging project)

Retro Friday Cat Blogging

Rotating counts as moving, doesn’t it?

Still life with Kleenex

I can to hold my ligu-liq-booze!

Me too! Zzzzzzzzz

Invisible dogs aren’t doin’ nothin’. Honest.

(Originally published on the Wyrdsmiths blog December 10 2010, and original comments may be found there. Reposted and reedited as part of the reblogging project)

More Bee Antics

Post Hiving Addition of Pollen Patties

Lola and Laura, a vision in white?

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Laura’s first time in a bee suit IMG_3843

Lola thinks she should help

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Kelly getting ready to open the hive

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Pollen patty

 

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Placing the pollen patty

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For some reason there were still a LOT of bees in the box here—shook them into the hive

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Laura heading for the woods hives

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Laura placing a pollen patty—big step for someone as bee wary as she is

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Laura placing another patty

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Pollen patty in place

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Kelly placing a pollen patty

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Bee thinks we didn’t get its good side, requests retakes

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Failure in bee suit, discovered _after_ we were done

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Hiving Bees 2014

Bee Hiving at Castle Gaiman 2014 Edition:

Lola wants to help with the bees

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Bee Guys shot courtesy of Mary Edgeberg

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Bill and Hans prepping the bees

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Bill and Hans pulling the queen’s box out

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Bill has a queen bee in his pocket

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Shaking the bees into the hive 1

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Shaking the bees into the hive 2

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Shaking the bees into the hive 3

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Shaking the bees into the hive 4. Distance shot as I remember that I have neither hood nor gloves on at the moment when I get my ear bumped.

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Woods hives

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More bees ready to go

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Opening up a box of bees

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The last bee box

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Clearing out the losses of winter

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Feeding one of the two hives that made it through our Fimbulwinter

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