five years of Blizzard

Five years ago yesterday, we had a late spring blizzard. Wind howled, snow swirled, and cold reigned. I opened the front door to shovel off the collecting snow before it got too deep. My backdoor was already buried under a wall of drifting snow. When I opened the door, I glanced up and locked eyes with a cat taking shelter in our shed. It was white with gray splotches and it shivered in the cruel wind.


I  opened the door wider. “You’d better get inside,” I said and, as if he understood, he bounded across the snow and into the house.


My dog, Kira, and cat, Crookshanks, handled this situation admirably well. I think they knew. The new cat had frostbite on his ears and his nose but was otherwise healthy. He spent his first hour with us rubbing himself against my delighted then-toddler and me, purring happily.

There was no question of keeping him. He’d adopted us and that was that. We named him Blizzard and considered ourselves lucky.


Rescued pets are devoted pets and Blizzard is no exception. He’s wonderful with the girls. They snuggle him and pull his tail more than I’d like, but he remains calm and loving. He plays with them.


He is silly. He likes to follow us around and bound up trees, couches, and across seas of toys. And sometimes, he pretends he’s a lobster. Or maybe he just likes to explore strange places which smell like fish.

FYI this is a lobster trap

Happy anniversary, Blizzard-the-Wizard. I don’t know what happened in your life to put you inside our shed that day, but I’m glad you found us.

Shadow, the poacher’s dog


The family got Shadow from the SPCA. She seemed like a fine dog for a young and growing family, barking at squirrels, night noises, and investigating scurrying sounds in the woods. Accompanying the children as they played in the forest proved to be her favorite job as family dog.

Little did any of the family members know their shelter dog’s first owner had been a poacher of the worst kind. The kind who hunted mythical beasts by using his dog to sniff them out in their houses. Once caught, he sold the poor creatures to the highest bidder. His career ended when he tried catch a fairy-goblin hybrid (also known as a fairlyn) and she used her hybrid magic to turn him into a mosquito. Rumor has it he was swatted years ago.

The fairlyn considered Shadow to be innocent of any crimes, and dropped her off at the SPCA for safekeeping. Just the same, Shadow’s early training stayed with her all her life.

The children regaled their parents with tales of the goblin feasts and weddings they crashed thanks to Shadow, the fairies she rooted out to show them, and the boggarts that rode clinging to her collar as she charged through the woods. Their parents gave indulgent smiles at their children’s imaginative tales and wondered if they weren’t spending too much time in the woods.

It is a testament to their own lack of imagination that it never once occurred to them the stories might be true.