This is Chloe, my lab/rottie mix. Like most of the animals I've had, she's an SPCA rescue. She loves the snow! The moment you let her out, she plants her head in it.

Here she is using the maze of paths we created in the back yard with the snowblower. The snow is well over her head here.

Here's Chloe chilling with one of our rats, Barack. Alas, Barack is no longer with us.

Chloe playing with her buddie, Porkchop. Yes, playing, though it doesn't really look like it!

Here's a picture of our current colony of rats. From left to right, meet Dexter, Nathaniel, Whitest Mouse U Know (riffing off Whitest Kids U Know), and their mom, Ruth. They were also rescues. Ruth was a pet store rat who was pregnant when she was purchased, along with another female who turned out to be pregnant also. The poor young lady wound up with two large litters of rats and no idea what to do with them. The local rat rescue folks helped place them all. We took Ruth and three of her babies. Ruth has been spayed and the males have been neutered, which radically decreases the incidence of mammary, pituitary and testicular tumors that plague the poor critters.

Here's a snapshot of our last colony (RIP, guys). From left to right: Darwin, Marx, Bhutto & Barack.

While we're honoring dead pets, here is a photo of my beloved Bandicoot. He was my constant shadow and I still grieve him. I gave him a cameo in GUARDING SUZANNAH and I swear none of his eccentricies were exaggerated. He would bite my kids' ankles if they hugged me, and woe betide my husband or any other male who dared put an arm around me.

Here's Bandicoot again with my daughter Lindsay.

Last but not least is Bandy demolishing a life-sized stuffed toy dog. He hated that dog - saw it as competition! - and eviscerated it every time he got the chance. We just kept putting the stuffing back in and letting him have another go at it.


Here are some shots of my back yard garden. They're all spring shots, so everything is a little underdeveloped. Except the clematis, which is in full bloom.