About Us and Our Dogs

Comet, our GSD mix, with Jo on a mountain hikeComet was so photogenic that this website had to be centered around him!

Hello, my name is Jo, and I'd like to tell you a little about us and our dogs and how this site came to be.

My family started out in the Netherlands (Holland). When I was four, we moved to Africa.

During our twelve years there, we had a Boxer, a Rhodesian Ridgeback mix, and then a pedigreed Dachshund ("Mitsu").

Mitsu, a purebred Dachshund, posing on a picnic tableHow about that regal pose!
Mitsu the Dachshund digging for molesMitsu, my family's childhood pet, doing her favorite thing, digging

My hubby, Stan, grew up in the Midwest with a succession of beautiful pedigreed Collies.

After we got married, we tried out a few rescue dogs but didn't know how to handle their behavioral issues and returned them to their origins.

We finally decided on a puppy and acquired Fuzzy Bear ("F.B." for short), a cute black Lab mix who lived with us for thirteen years.


Our German Shepherd mix, Comet, was rescued from the pound during the last year of FB's life. Stan wanted a watch dog since FB was becoming deaf.

Comet was ill with kennel cough and whipworm when we got him.

Once he felt better, we saw why he'd been relinquished by his owners - if he didn't receive his quota of exercise, he'd start charging around, often directly at us, nipping at our feet if he could, and barking loudly. He was also insane regarding cats.

Stan with Comet, our GSD mix, on a desert hikeStan with Comet

We took him to an obedience training class where he was so difficult to handle that the instructor predicted we'd never be able to have him off leash anywhere. Luckily it turned out she was wrong... He spent many years hiking off leash in the mountains and other outdoor places with us. In town, he'd race me off leash in the park on my bicycle, or we'd play hide-and-seek.

Since he was a very high energy dog, and we didn't always feel like walking him, I came up with some different devices to give him exercise. One was the Whipwhir, and the other was the B-Loop. These two items, and the desire to share photos of Comet, were what got me started on this website...

Comet was healthy for years. However, a few months after he turned eleven, he had a severe bout of bleeding from his rectum and the vet was ready to put him down, telling us she suspected cancer.

We got ready to say our goodbyes, but Comet rallied. He moved slower after that experience but remained bright eyed and could still put in a good hike. Despite an optimum diet and supplements, he kept losing weight. On August 22, 2010, he had another bout of bleeding and passed away peacefully during the night. He is still missed...


Our Chiweenie, Pebble, on a mountain topWho says little dogs shouldn't go hiking?

The week before he died, we were feeling low because of Comet's continuing health issues, so acquired a four-year-old Chiweenie or Dachshund-Chihuahua mix, named Pebble. Her owners were giving her away at a garage sale to keep her out of the pound.

We think that Comet felt he had permission to go; he was leaving us in safe paws. She made Comet's loss easier to bear being a great little dog to have around.

Building This Dog Website

We've learned a ton and had many adventures building this website, which has been in operation in 2006 and still continues to draw around 1000 unique visitors a day.

Although it has mostly been a part-time thing and the income has not been huge, it gave us the confidence to opt for freedom out of the rat race, and the means to do so. Instead of being stuck in a city and job that we hated, we now live in the area we dreamed of and have much more time to hike/explore, develop our music and garden.

For more details, please see Our Solo Build It! Review.