Archive for Dogs Posts

published in Animals, Change, Decision Making, Dogs, Home, Inspiration, Travel, Uncategorized by Maryanne | February 27, 2019 | 12 Comments

Gypsy Caravan Slows to Halt


Loading up the CRV (then unloading it again & leaving half of it behind at my bro’s, of course, because it wouldn’t all FIT), preparing to leave AB, Jan 2019

“Silence isn’t empty. It’s full of answers.”

– Anon

Well…it had to happen eventually, I suppose.

The Pink Gazelle Gypsy Bohemian Road Trip Warrior & her Fearless and Furry (but rather lame at the moment) Retriever Sidekick are having to, dare I say…put down roots.

Here’s how it all went down:

Sadie and I left Alberta at the end of January. I loaded up my 2001 CRV (yes, the one with 350,000 km) and staggered across multiple mountain passes. And I do mean staggered…the CRV did fine; the retriever not so much. She literally WAS staggering along on three legs, trying to keep weight off her injured shoulder. Being held captive in the back of the vehicle for a few days was probably the best thing for her.

We arrived in our VRBO in Qualicum Bay on Vancouver Island in early Feb and I promptly got into a spectacular argument with one of the neighbours. This decidedly unwelcome welcome to the neighbourhood was countered by another neighbour arriving at my door with a plate of sandwiches and goodies. Life in a nutshell, right there 🙂

Then the snowstorm hit:

And I got to thinking…it might be time to revise my plans?

What the plan had been was that I was going to Australia for 2 weeks in March to visit family. Then Sadie & I were going to head to Eastern Canada to house sit for family in Ottawa.

But as the snow piled up outside my window and my wounded retriever softly snored, I admitted to myself that she was not going to be sufficiently healed by March, to be left in the care of others. Nor was she was likely going to be up to a cross-continent road trip in April.

So what did I do? I sighed, reached over and picked up a quote card from my “Intuitive Insights” quote card sets. This is what it said:

Ahhh…yes. I smiled, leaned back and had another sip of hot chocolate. And it hit me: I was exactly where I was supposed to be. The snowstorm and subsequent road conditions were forcing me to sit STILL (very difficult for a gypsy gazelle), be quiet, listen to what my soul was trying to tell me…and then act accordingly.

Two days later, I calmly made the decision to postpone my Australia trip to the fall. I then found and booked another inexpensive little VRBO for the month of March (just north of Qualicum Bay). Then I contacted the bank about a mortgage, called a realtor and started to look at homes & neighbourhoods in the Qualicum Beach area.

Within a week, I’d found our adorable new home AND a new (to me) CRV with low kilometres!

Sadie and I move in to our new digs at the end of March. No muss, no fuss…it all just clicked into place when the time was right.

Here are 5 lessons I’m taking from these transformational past 3 weeks:

1. Sometimes we just have to STOP, be quiet and make the decisions we need to make.

2. We know what we need to do. We just need to be quiet and listen to what our soul is trying to tell us what the next step needs to be.

3. Sometimes all that is needed is to make one decision or change…and then everything else just clicks into place. It’s almost like the Universe is waiting for us to take that first step.

4. The time comes when we reach an age (15 for some, 50 for others) where we finally realize that listening to the chatter of other people’s well-meaning advice & opinions may do more to confuse than clarify.

5. The only thing worse than making a bad decision is making no decision.

I hope there is something in this blog & lessons learned that resonates with you.

I will share pics of my new home & vehicle in the weeks to come. In the meantime, here are a few photos from my time here in Qualicum Bay:

Sadie (left) & her look-alike friend, Belle

P.S. Sadie is doing much better! She continues to improve, slowly but surely, and is going for longer and longer walks. Why…it’s almost as if her shoulder injury was part of the plan 🙂

Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. Maryanne is CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive her regular weekly blog, please sign up here

If you would like to order the (dare I say magic?) “Intuitive Insights for Soul-Inspired Living” Quote Cards ($7.95 per set), please visit our new store on Etsy!


published in Beauty, Dogs, Inspiration, Nell Shipman, Pets, Travel by Maryanne | October 16, 2018 | 6 Comments

Pilgrimage to Priest Lake


“Many a trip continues long after movement in time and space have ceased.”

– John Steinbeck

Howdy from Okotoks!

I hope you’ve had a grand week. Sadie and I made it, safe & sound, to where we will be house-sitting (for my brother Doug and his wife Tracey) in Okotoks, Alberta. We will be staying put here (more or less) for three months.

Here’s a quick recap of our recent travels: after Sedona, I returned to Victoria, BC to retrieve the retriever.

MA & Sadie, on the road again

We took the ferry Sidney, BC to Anacortes, WA then went for a wee hike at Mt Washington Park:


We stayed the night at the McMenamin’s Anderson School Hotel (very cool) near Seattle.  Then we headed east towards Spokane with a pit stop at Easton Lake, WA:

In Spokane, we stayed two nights at the ever-so-lovely historic Davenport Hotel (Momma Pope loved it there!):

Then we made a pilgrimage to Priest Lake, Idaho – Nell Shipman’s old stomping grounds. As you may recall, Nell Shipman is the silent screen star I have been writing a screenplay about (God’s Country) over the past decade. This gorgeous beach is very close to where Nell and her filmmaking team built Lionhead Lodge back in the 1920’s:

And this is you-know-who testing the sand quality:

This is another shot of stunning Priest Lake…I can see why Nell was so smitten (but boy oh boy, is it ever remote, even today):

After Priest Lake, Sadie and I headed north to Canada and stayed the night in Cranbrook, BC. The next morning, I went to check the oil in my CRV…and the dipstick tube came out again! Yes, it’s a great way to meet guys 🙂 but back I go to yet another Honda dealership to get it FIXED, once and for all.

We received a very warm welcome in Okotoks from the neighbourhood kids (within an hour of arriving, both Sadie and I were playing back-to-back games of hide & seek) and are happy to be hunkered down in one place again…with a freezer full of yummy food, thanks to Doug & Tracey!

Take care and have a wonderful week.

Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. Maryanne is CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive her regular weekly blog, please sign up here. As a thank you, you’ll receive a short but saucy e-book entitled, Dive into this Chicago Deep Dish – Ten Bite-Sized Steps for a Yummier Slice of Life.

published in Activity, Animals, Dogs, Nature, Safety by Maryanne | July 31, 2018 | 4 Comments

Tip: If You Are Going to Hold Onto Something for Dear Life, Make Sure It Has ROOTS


“A tree with strong roots laughs at storms.”

– Malay proverb

Hallo…hope you are having a super summer!

If you look closely at the above photo, you will see an orange & blue Chuck-it ball precariously perched on a ledge at the bottom of a small ravine. That ball was (I suspect) strategically dropped there by a certain retriever, just to test how good MY retrieving skills were.

But I didn’t fall for THAT trap…oh no, no! I knew better than to clamber down a steep and slippery embankment in the middle of the woods with no one around (other than Sadie) to pick up the pieces, should things happen to go awry.

So home we went.

But I have hung out with this particular retriever far too much to be able to actually forget about the ball. So when big brother came to visit two weeks later, I took him on the hike and showed him the ball (which, of course, was still on the ledge because who in their right mind would go down and get it?).

Big brother looked around and did a quick risk assessment. He shook his head. “Not worth it. Leave it there.”

But as I mentioned, I have hung out too long with a ball-obsessed retriever…and now, apparently, have become one myself.

I shook my head. “I think I can do it,” I said, then told him my strategy.

He sighed and gave me the big brother look. But before embarking on my descent, I gave him a second orange & blue Chuck-it ball and told him to hold it in front of Sadie – but not give it to her. That way, she would remain with him and not follow me down.

So big brother did exactly as he was told and all went according to plan. Sadie stayed with him, her eyes unflinchingly fixed on the Chuck-it ball on his hand. I made it safely down the embankment, stepped over the creek, retrieved the ball, proudly put it in my back pocket…and then made a last-minute decision to go up that side of the riverbed – instead of stepping back over the creek and going back up the same side I came down.

All was going well until I reached out to grab onto a big rock – instead of the little tree – and the next thing I knew, the rock gave way and came crashing down onto my shin. Ouch! The rock was actually a large slab of shale that was just waiting for a good excuse to release itself from the dirt of the eroding riverbank.

And along came the human retriever.

On the bridge above my head, big brother calls out in alarm, “Googie, are you okay?”

“Yeah,” I reply sheepishly, crawling up the embankment to the bridge. “But just out of curiosity, what did Sadie do when I fell?”

There is an awkward silence then: “Uh, nothing. She didn’t even blink. I knew this dog was ball-obsessed but I have never seen such intense focus. It’s extraordinary.”

It’s also humbling. But at least I know where I stand in relation to a Chuck-it ball 🙂

There are several morals to this story – the most obvious one being to never risk one’s safety for a silly $7 ball. Another one might be: if you are going to hold onto something for support, you better make sure it has roots.

In this photo from a week ago, you can see the wound on my shin:

Thankfully, it is healing up beautifully.

Other than that, I have been having a lovely summer! I am taking full advantage of my quiet rental home in Mill Bay and am making tremendous headway on some writing projects.

I also took a road trip down to the Oregon Coast and Portland for a few days. Here are some photos:

On the Coho Ferry, leaving Victoria and heading to Port Angeles, WA

Gearhart, Oregon Beach


Ruby beer (with a hint of raspberry…yum!) at McMenamin’s Gearhart


Gearhart, Oregon Coast

Back home, Sadie is making like-minded friends at the local swimming hole:

Sadie & Trevor the Retriever

Take care, stay safe and I shall smarten up and do the same!

Maryanne Pope is the author of A Widow’s Awakening, the playwright of Saviour and the screenwriter of God’s Country. She is the executive producer of the documentary, Whatever Floats Your Boat…Perspectives on Motherhood. Maryanne is the CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions and Chair of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund. If you would like to receive her weekly blog, please sign up here. Maryanne lives on Vancouver Island, British Columbia.