Yes, I know I write about dogs too much.

Yes, I know I write about dogs too much, but my dog is the only person I see lately (don’t even try to tell me Peanut isn’t a person).

This story is about another dog that was in my life. Millie a regal black labradoodle who reminded me of the wonder of dogs, kind people, and we’re all in this together. This being all of it.

It was a busy day for me teaching at the University. I taught four classes, advised students, attended meetings, and gave a talk to student athletes. I had to depend on a lot of help to get the family through the day alive and fed. Meggie was to be picked up from school by friends, Julie stayed later to watch basketball, my three-year-old labradoodle Millie needed to be let out and I had to pick up my friend’s daughter from day care. During all the drop-offs, pick-ups, and letting outs Millie went rogue. Like a flash, she squeezed out the side door and took off. For a mostly quiet, sleepy dog she was a dark horse. You didn’t think she had it in her, but all I can say is, still waters, baby. Still waters.

Millie, free, was like watching electricity fly. She was seventy pounds of fast black dog and it was dark outside. The one thing we had going for us was that she was wearing a Life Is Good t-shirt. I can’t even remember why, but it’s true. What was against us was busy Highway 51. It bustles and hums at the end of our block and as far as Millie knew, cars meant a trip to the dog park, cars were her friend. (No, worried dog lovers, nothing bad happens to Millie in this story.)

I was in turn frantic and hopeless, already in tears. It was all a giddy, happy game to Millie. She was at Doggie Great America and every ride was free-plus. Not only that, it was all you can eat night in the neighborhood because the next day was garbage day. She’ wasn’t coming home on her own.

As we ran through neighborhoods, calling her name, begging, and pleading for Millie to come home, people came out of their houses. A man put his dog out for Millie to play with hoping to nab her if she got close. One man, driving by, went home for dog treats, came back and cased the neighborhoods calling my dog’s name. One young girl walked with me, probably a mile, until splitting off to look in another direction. At one time, there must have been twelve individuals calling Millie’s name. All people I have never seen before. All the best kind of people. Crazy animal lovers.

We finally got Millie because one of these kind, caring, people  – a bearded, tattooed, pierced man – across the street, called her name sweetly, opened the front door to his house as she ran by, and offered her a hot dog. Millie walked right in.

It was the most beautiful capture of a wild and wonderful thing I’d ever seen. All the cliches worked that night: Life is Good, still waters run deep, don’t let sleeping dogs nap next to the door (that’s a new one).

[Tweet “It was the most beautiful capture of a wild and wonderful thing I’d ever seen.”]

As if the day wasn’t fine enough, my daughter Meghan, 7 years old at the time, brought home her assignment. She had been asked to write about Christmas from an angel’s point of view. I give to you this slightly disgruntled, a bit annoyed angel:

Hi my name is Meghan I am an angles (yes angles). I told the shepherds about baby Jesus with 2 other angles. I went back to the stable, and saw Jesus get born! It was hard to see with all of the animals and more than 5 other angles and people. Joseph had his arm around Marry. Us angles were singing “glory to god in the highest and peace to god’s people on earth” over and over. Our best friend, Star, lead the 3 kings to the stable. They brought gold, mur and frankness. It smelled bad. I got to hold Jesus.



  1. Cate on December 21, 2020 at 4:22 pm

    As a dog lover (who, because of adult onset asthma cannot be around dogs now) this is such a beautiful story AND a happy ending! Thank you and thanks to for sharing Meghan’s angel story. Both brought huge smiles to my face. Thanks for your delightful blog!

    • Ann Garvin on February 23, 2021 at 10:41 pm

      Wow, I don’t know how I missed this comment. But, thank you! I’m so glad you enjoy this blog. And Meghan’s angel story is a happy ending. 🙂

  2. Jeanne Felfe on December 23, 2020 at 4:05 pm

    hahaha – LMAO at your daughter’s story. I’m glad those angles got frankness.

    Also glad Millie made it home. When my dog Maisie gets out (rarely now that we know she’s a bolter) she runs to the “pee pole” at the end of the street and stops to sniff at all the amazing signatures. If I move quickly enough before she’s on to the next smell, I can catch her.

    • Ann Garvin on December 24, 2020 at 9:30 pm

      Thank God for the pee pole. That’s quick thinking on your part.

  3. rita Dragonette on December 23, 2020 at 4:15 pm

    “…they brought…and frankness. It smelled bad. ” laughing my head off.

    thank you.

    And for learning that hot dogs work better than bacon.

    • mlaiuppa on December 24, 2020 at 12:56 am

      Hot dogs are high value treats. Also cheese. Right now I have some pepperoni that got a bit furry. Diana pawPrints will do anything for it, including coming down off the wood pile where she is hunting the evil hated mice. She will target and sit patiently for every slice. At 100 lbs it doesn’t really fill her at all so it must be what flavor she gets as it is quickly snapped up. I also have some cheddar in the refrigerator to cut into small cubes for training.

      • Ann Garvin on December 24, 2020 at 9:22 pm

        Haha the mice hunting!! I wish peanut would do that!
        So much!!

    • Ann Garvin on December 24, 2020 at 9:30 pm

      No on had more trouble getting that frankness out more than I did with this little email. UGH. I would think bacon would be better but a hot dog is easier to really toss and get your shoulder into it.

  4. Marla on December 23, 2020 at 4:15 pm

    I needed that today. Thank you. Merry Christmas!

    • Ann Garvin on December 24, 2020 at 9:28 pm

      Glad that I (finally) made it work. 🙂

  5. Bill Gilliland on December 23, 2020 at 5:03 pm

    What a sweet story! Years ago my family had the all-white version of Millie. And Meg is now my favorite all-time angle. Thanks for your persistence.

    Hope you and your family have a fantastic Christmas and a joyous and healthy New Year.

  6. Christine Adler on December 23, 2020 at 5:24 pm

    What a wonderful story. Thank you for sharing, and Merry Christmas!

    • Ann Garvin on December 24, 2020 at 9:28 pm

      Thank you so much for reading 🙂 Merry Christmas!!

  7. ANNA on December 23, 2020 at 5:32 pm

    Frankness smelling bad…sounds like a writing prompt…thanks for a wonderful Christmas essay; you’ve made my day.

    • Ann Garvin on December 24, 2020 at 9:27 pm

      Yes. Write a story where the frankness at the dinner table stunk. hahaha

  8. Bonnie on December 23, 2020 at 6:00 pm

    Third time was the charm I loved both the Millie story and Meg’s angle story.
    Merry Christmas!

    • Ann Garvin on December 24, 2020 at 9:27 pm

      UGH I wanted to die. I couldn’t believe I was having so much trouble. Ah well, that’s how it goes sometimes.
      At least for me
      Thanks for hanging in there.

  9. Susan Gromis on December 23, 2020 at 6:09 pm

    This is beautiful!! ❤️ I love Millie (my mom’s name) and the angles and the mur and frankness! Just adorable!!!

    • Ann Garvin on December 24, 2020 at 9:26 pm

      Your mom’s name. AWWWW. Meg’s angles are my favorite Christmas story for sure. 🙂

  10. Jacquie on December 23, 2020 at 6:19 pm

    Loved how everyone came together for Millie! I plan to remind everyone at our next family gathering that frankness is an appropriate side dish!

    • Ann Garvin on December 24, 2020 at 9:26 pm

      Frankness IS an appropriate side dish. EVeryone should serve it with a side of kindness. xoxox

  11. Michele A Brown on December 23, 2020 at 6:34 pm

    Love these stories. Only sad today because I just finished my third AG book this week and have to wait for spring. Happy to have made this Tall Poppy discovery though!! (On Wisconsin.)

    • Ann Garvin on December 24, 2020 at 9:25 pm

      OHHHH you are adorable!!
      Another one is on the way!
      AND, I’m deep into the next one. Thank you so much for reading. We can do more together soon. 🙂

  12. Susan Nordstrom on December 24, 2020 at 12:48 am

    Thank you for this sweet story. It brought back sweet memories of our beautiful Allie McBeagle who crossed over the rainbow bridge this year. And your daughter’s assignment was precious. How very fortunate we are to have dogs and children in our lives.

    • Ann Garvin on December 24, 2020 at 9:23 pm

      We don’t deserve our dogs and children. Well, some of us do :). I’ sorry to hear of Allie’s passing. What a terrible thing after a terrible year. You have e-hugs from me.

  13. denise on December 24, 2020 at 7:53 am

    My son and his wife recently adopted a rescue dog, and her name is Millie.

    I enjoy reading all the stories you write. Write on, include dogs, I’m here for them.

    • Ann Garvin on December 24, 2020 at 9:21 pm

      You are one of my favorite people. I love seeing your name here and there.
      Thank you!!

  14. Brenda P on December 27, 2020 at 3:32 pm

    LOL! Love this story! I enjoy your stories and don’t worry, I talk to my dogs all the time. Working from home for the past 14 years, sometimes that’s all you have. 🙂
    Hope 2021 brings much happiness and laughter for you and your family!

    • Ann Garvin on December 29, 2020 at 1:29 am

      I think they talk to us too. 🙂 So glad you are here to read. So nice to know you

  15. Terry Maloney on December 28, 2020 at 12:40 am

    Joseph had his arm around Marry and Meghan got to hold Jesus!
    I’ve got tears in my eyes.
    I’m getting sucked into the obsessive building of a puzzle of the moon that our daughter bought her dad (who is ALL about the moon). It’s the most difficult 1000 piece puzzle ever! It makes my head hurt.
    We will be getting together at 6PM via Zoom with my in-laws because we’ve always celebrated Christmas on Holy Family Sunday. My husband has eleven siblings and it will be chaotic but, I have wine.

    • Ann Garvin on December 29, 2020 at 1:28 am

      Eleven siblings. Holy cow.
      I’m so glad you write and liked Meg’s story.
      It was easier than a 1000 piece puzzle that’s for sure!

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