Thursday, March 29, 2012

Letter from Palm Springs: Welcome to Our Family, Pixie! & A Dog-Friendly Oasis in the Desert

As many of you know, my 16-year-old Bichon gal, Casey Jane, passed away on December 19th, 2011. It was a very painful decision for me and one that I was not ready for, even though my gal was. It was very peaceful for her and although my heart shattered into a million pieces that day, nearly four months later it is very slowly starting to heal.

This leads me to my next topic: the introduction of Pixie to our little family. After Casey was gone, our home felt very empty with just Finnigan all by his lonesome, but I wasn’t ready to get another dog right away. At that time I felt like I was replacing Casey and couldn’t bear the thought of forgetting her.

As the weeks went by I realized that nothing would ever make me forget her and although I was broken-hearted, we had room in our home and our hearts to love another little Bichon Frise in need. Thus began my search for another “mature” Bichon gal to join our family. We put in an application with Small Paws Bichon Rescue and waited...

On February 7th, 9-year-old, Pixie flew all the way from Chicago, by herself, direct to Palm Springs where we were waiting to bring her home to her new life. It was very emotional for me to meet this Bichon girl for the first time. She was sweet and friendly and even after hour upon hour in a crate all by herself, her tail was wagging. We opened the door and out she popped, happy as could be!

Pixie became part of the family from the moment she arrived and has also started to steal a piece of my heart. I still cry over the loss of my Casey, sometimes every day, but Pixie is helping me heal and has become a wonderful companion to our boy, Finnigan who was lonely and anxious without Casey.

We are fortunate to spend our winters in Palm Springs which is extremely dog-friendly. Dogs are allowed in many restaurants which is wonderful. There are many events that are dog-friendly with the purpose of raising funds for causes from animal adoptions to guide dog services.

This past few weeks saw Pixie and Finnigan attend two such wonderful events with me:

The first was “Yappy Hour,” on the patio of the delightful Aqua Pazza Restaurant in Rancho Mirage. Leslie Kennedy, editor of B.C’s Pet Connection Magazine and her little dog, Baby Jazz, were our companions for the afternoon. Yappy Hour’s theme for March was The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party raising funds for the organization “Loving all Animals.”

Loving all Animal’s president, Lindi Biggi, works tirelessly encouraging people to adopt animals in order to decrease the number of homeless animal companions languishing in shelters. Sadly, thousands of adoptable animals are euthanized in local shelters here in the Palm Springs area alone. The mission of Loving all Animals is simple: To bring the beautiful shelter dogs and cats out of the shelters and into loving homes!

The afternoon was a delight for the people and dogs attending. An afternoon of socializing on a gorgeous patio, sipping wine and nibbling on great eats with your best pal at your feet, plus wonderful raffle prizes and fun gifts for the winners of the best “hat” contest.

Loving all Animals hosts “Yappy Hour” on the third Thursday of every month. We will be sure to attend and support April’s Yappy Hour at Augusta Restaurant on El Paseo Drive before heading home to Vancouver. Go to for further information as well as upcoming events on this amazing organization.

The second event we attended was the Grand Opening of Cold Nose Warm Heart, a fabulous gift store for pet lovers, which opened their second location on El Paseo. A portion of all purchases from their March 17th opening were generously donated to several animal rescue organizations. Naturally I had to buy these adorable his’n’hers sailor tees for the kidlets!

March 17th also marks the start of Fashion Week on El Paseo and Cold Nose Warm Heart got into the spirit of it all by sponsoring “Le Chien ~ A Celebration of Dogs and Fashion” under the big white tent. Pooch pampering, kibbles and champagne, runway fashion and special performances by stunt dog trainer and author Kyra Sundance were the big draws here.

The Grand Opening, within their lovely dog-friendly new store, saw Pixie, Finnigan and I entertained by glass artist, Janice Osborne, creating beautiful fused glass pet sculptures, animal communicator Terri Steuben, and chatting in great depth with author Maggie Espinosa about her book The Privileged Pooch: Luxury Travel with your Pet in Southern California. Maggie and her Bichon dog Marcel, personally signed a copy of their book for us. The Privileged Pooch is chock-full of tips on where to stay with your dog, as well as great dog-friendly places to eat and shop and fun things to do throughout Southern California. This little book will be part of all our future travel plans. You can follow Maggie and her dog Marcel at

Pixie, Finnigan and I do appreciate how truly dog-friendly it is here in warm, sunny Palm Springs and hope that some of our archaic rules and bylaws back home in Vancouver can be updated to allow our pets to accompany us on the many restaurant patios throughout our fair city.


  1. Soooooo happy to hear about the arrival of lucky little Pixie! And yes, here's to the creation of a friendlier Vancouver.

  2. It's heartbreaking to hear about your Casey--we met you guys some months back, walking past your house with our Bichon (mix?), Pippin, rescued from BC Poodle and Small Dog Rescue over 2 years ago. She is the light of our lives.
    But it's heartwarming you have made room in your family for another precious being! She's lovely.

    I have some links for future reference for anyone looking for a small dog to change their lives: (in the Victoria area) (in LA)
    These two groups work together and dogs are flown up here from B&B to be adopted out by Califi, and there are some really fantastic dogs to view online at this time. Check them out!

  3. I know exactly how you feel, our little Petey (bichon/shihtzu) passed away at 15 yrs on March 20/12.Like you, she was ready but I wasn't but I knew it had to be done. It was the hardest thing I have ever done in my life. The house was so empty & it seemed I had no reason to get out of bed in the morning. I started searching rescue sites with the greatest guilt, how could I be thinking of replacing her so soon. I somehow heard about califismalldogs & checked it out. Through their counter part bichonand buddies, this little face just seared my heart. For days I couldn't get him out of my mind. I know Petey would want me to save this little one & give him the love and attention that she enjoyed for 10 years, as she was a rescue also. Anyway, I pick up my 5 yr old little buddy tomorrow & I know there won't be much sleep tonight till he is safe with me.