A place that was and a dog that just arrived and took over.


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Beck Chapel, the Campus of Indiana University. I loved this place when I was a student. I solved many of the world’s problems here, sitting and thinking in and around the Chapel. It was a place of quiet resolution for me.

My first marriage (the one that didn’t work) was held here. I won’t say more except that neither of us was ready to be married, but our relationship had reached that point of what do you do next. So we did what we thought we were supposed to and that isn’t always the best direction to take. Anyway, I love this campus. I have many memories of wandering this campus, of the preacher who would stand just down from Beck Chapel and assail us with our failings and the end of the world.

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Raven comes for comfort when she is unsure of either herself or the situation. She is an amazing dog. Dogs come into your house with their baggage. You have your baggage. The impact of the dog is how they work their way into your lives. I can’t remember the last time we watched a movie and Raven wasn’t curled up with one of us, snuggling and verging with us. She has the Alexander Haig “don’t worry I am in charge” personality of a female lab, but at the same time she loves snuggling more than she loves being in charge. I remember the day she joined our family. We were working with the incredible Maryland/Virginia Lab rescue group. They find labs that need to be rescued and well you get the idea. We had been looking for a second dog after Fran passed. Dylan was lonely, the kids were lonely and we needed a new dog.

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We had specific requirements. Dylan is so chill we needed a dog that was able to work with a chill Lab. We were looking for another female lab. There were a number we considered but in all cases they were adopted before we could decide or just didn’t fit. We drove down to Richmond Virginia to meet Raven. Funny that both our rescues are from the Richmond Virginia area. She bounded up to the boys greeting them as though they were long lost friends of hers. She and Dylan hit it off, so we decided to take her home with us. That was 20 months ago. We have learned that she doesn’t like thunderstorms. She isn’t as bad now, as she once when she first joined us, but she hates thunderstorms. She is a horrible food thief (if you leave food anywhere she can reach and leave the room the food is gone). But she loves her family. She adopted the boys right away as hers. She yells at them, snuggles with them and makes them do whatever she needs done. Shortly after arriving Raven decided that Barb belonged to her as well. She began making an effort to win Barb over. Barb grew up with small dogs, and throughout the reign of Fran was never really favored by Fran. Raven, however, has won her over. Now Barb even claims 1/3 of Raven as her dog. When she gets home at night after a long day, Raven hops on the couch and they put their heads together.  Her full name is Raven Marie Poe Andersen. We added the Marie because she needed a fourth name. Raven because she is Raven colored. Poe, because it continues our current author or literary character dog name theme (Dylan Thomas).

I watch the horrible stories of what people do to dogs. I cry and give money to the organizations that help rescue dogs in terrible places. But there are also many forever home stories that are touching and show that people do care, they do love dogs. Raven’s forever home is forever changed by Raven. I can’t remember life without her and I don’t want to!

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Raven’s blogger

The regularly scheduled blog is interrupted for Labrador propaganda…


109A2214There is something to be said for flowers of the tropics. I know I can find 1000 or more pictures dad took of various flowers in Thailand. Two huge differences being when Dad took them he thought scientific name of the flower first and then that it was pretty second. Me I think pretty flower first and in this case red second.

Dad spent years trying to teach me the various Latin names for flowers and plants. I learned early on to avoid poison ivy and poison oak, self preservation but the lessons in Latin failed. Ask me the components of a motherboard and the difference between PCI and EISA buses or E-Sate and I am happy to do so.

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This is Dylan. Dylan decided when he joined our family that he was my dog. That meant in the end that I had some behavioral issues that had to be addressed. The first issue was me yelling at the TV during IU Basketball games. He ended that by attacking my feet as I was yelling. So no more yelling. The second was walking. Dylan has long felt that we didn’t take enough walks in the house. So we walk every day now. The other complaint he has is that I put dumb pictures of people stuff on my blog. He wants me to dedicate more blog space to cute Labradors. In particular himself and his sister Raven.

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Raven agreed with her brother. Its funny, Raven joined our family in 2014. Fran passed away and there was a huge hole that she left. Dylan had adopted me as his primary person and Jakki as his second person. He is a mellow dude and he really doesn’t understand the energy of the boys. We decided a month after Fran died that waiting a year (which we had after Gwen had died) didn’t work. We reached out to lab rescue to see if they had any dogs that might work for us. They didn’t have any dogs but they did have a force of nature. Raven is personality plus. For whatever reason her first owners abandoned her or lost her and she was on her own for a bit. She came to the house and within a day she and Dylan were a bonded Lab pair. She also selected the boys as her people right away. Like Dylan Raven found there were many quirks of the humans that had to be adjusted. The first is that when it is time for something Raven wants she howls at her boys. Raven is a sweet girl who loves everyone. Dylan is more affectionate now that Raven is a new sheriff in town. I still miss Fran and I miss Gwen, but Raven changes the dog dynamic in our house.

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This blog lab tested and lab approved…

Dylan’s all time favorite walks. (he is tired of me posting family pictures he says they are boring).


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Today’s topic was requested by Dylan. He believes that I spend too much time talking about vacation and other things that he doesn’t always get to participate in (he is still angry about not being invited to Hawaii). So he requested that I write a blog called Dylan’s favorite walks.

The first image here is of the C&O canal walk. There are a number of trails (we’ve been on two of them there are probably another 30 more). Dylan loves this walk because of three factors. First of all it is the walk and above all things Dylan loves the walk. He kind of marched into our lives and took charge of the walk. The second factor is that the we were away from home and took a car-car ride to get to the walk-walk-walk. Double pleasure in Dylan’s eyes. Finally and perhaps most important and why he choose this picture-lots of Have That’s. This is Dylan’s all time favorite walk – along the C&O canal.

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This walk Dylan selected is from the Cabin John park. It has a wonderful dog park, Dylan loves meeting other dogs. You have to take a car-car ride to get to the park so that works in Dylan’s eyes. He really likes the long car-car rides where you stop at the box that talks for food as well. This walk also had a nice trail near the river.

Dylan’s only concern was that it was a Have That free zone. He felt that lessened the overall quality of the walk by not being able to at least threaten to catch a Have That.

He did like the dog park.  The car-car ride was good. Plus there was a walk-walk-walk so that was his second favorite walk. Cabin John.

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Dylan loves the beach. It is a long car-car ride. A stop at the box that talks and getting food and a walk-walk-walk along the beach. This is Dylan and Nick in North Carolina. Dylan loves to get in the water. He loves the ocean surf. Here is Dylan with Nick, Nick restraining Dylan from having run of any kind.

This was the first vacation with Raven. At the time Dylan and Raven were still settling into a routine. Now they are best buddies and both love the walk. Dylan and I make a point to take the occasional walk just the two of us still.

The only problem with the beach was the utter lack of Have That’s. Dylan thinks any creature he could catch and eat is a have that. Rabbits, deer and the most hated of all squirrels are considered potential snacks. Raven agrees. This is the beach at Oak Island North Carolina and Dylan’s all time third favorite walk.

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Dylan’s walk coordinator

The couch wars of 2015


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Raven came to stay a little over a year ago. That was the last time any of us got to sit on the couch in peace. She likes the two ends of the couch, her territory.

At night she blends into the couch and you can’t see her. Also early in the morning. I know because I have missed her sitting there several times. I wonder where she is and she is simply sleeping on the couch. Raven snores pretty loudly so in the end you just have to wait a couple of minutes and you will know where she is.

Dogs are funny, they can become part of the family or they can stay outside. When they are part of your family they make things so different. Sometimes you don’t get to sit on the couch and sometimes you do. You never get to eat a meal without eyes imploring you to share.

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I learned to type on a Royal Typewriter just like this. More than 40 years ago. This one is a little older than the one I learned on. It still types in fact the great American novel is started on this one. My dad had an old portable Royal typewriter I have that one as well. We had it on display in the dining room for awhile but for now I’ve moved it downstairs to my office.

I need to create some kind of collectable space. Just don’t quite know what that should look like. Not that we have much space in the basement. It is kind of a hodge-podge of stuff. We did try the idea paint on the walls – that works really nicely but I also have a large rolling whiteboard. I may need to get rid of that and just use the idea paint. Sometimes transitioning from what you are used to, to something new is difficult.

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Dylan likes to sleep on the other end of the couch. Its funny because they both (Raven and Dylan) race for the corner. The first one that gets it, the other goes to the other corner.

For the most part the first one in the right corner goes to sleep and stays there as long as possible. Once that dog gets up the humans and dogs all rush to that corner. I wonder if you can buy a couch with 6 corners. That way everyone gets a corner and no one feels cornered.

Dogs are funny. Typewriters you store and have to have a way to show them off (if they are antiques) dogs you don’t have to store and showing them off is easy. But then its more of a can I have space on the couch please I would like to sit down. Unless you have food. If you have food the two of them will vacate the space and give you all the room you need. Except for having them there, staring.

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Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.

In Order, Smart car, Seattle and then ending with Dog Park and Dogs.


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I first saw a Smart Car in Paris.  This one is from the Lake Washington shore in Seattle Washington about a 1/2 mile from the Pike Street Market.

I can now honestly say they are pretty fun to drive as well as eye catching.

I used to when I was staying in downtown Seattle take this walk all the time. It is about 3 miles along the shore of the lake from the residential into the shipping and manufacturing section of the city. I really enjoy the city of Seattle. It is one of the cleanest cities I’ve ever stayed in.

That is one thing I miss from the old days the occasional trip to Seattle.

I don’t miss the ever present nearly rain mist that started in November and didn’t end until April though.

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One of the nice things about where we live in Maryland – lots of dog parks and places you can take your dog for a walk. There are wonderful trails all over the area. Dylan’s favorites are the ones by the Potomac River and the old C&O canal.

My favorites are the ones that get you away from humans for a time. Out into the woods. The C&O trails are very nice but in the end they are very crowded. Most Saturdays or Sundays Spring – Fall they are full of people. That is completely fine its just that Dylan is a friend dog and likes to meet everyone. Not everyone likes dogs so he scares some people. Its kind of funny if you think about it, he is a big sweetie and I think it bothers him when he scares people on the walks.

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A year ago we used to have a couch. Now we have a Labrador resting area. Raven joined our family exactly one year ago. I am not sure I remember what it was like to sit on a couch and actually have room to sit.

Raven, Dylan and now Tamsyn all sleep on the couch. Their favorite family activity that isn’t the walk is family movie night. They each snuggle into the couch to watch movies with their humans. Each dog has a specific primary and secondary person. Tamsyn has Jakki and then she is willing to tolerate me. Dylan has me and is willing to tolerate Jakki. Raven took the other three. She bonded with Nick, Luke and Barb.

Its kind of scary because Barb hasn’t been enamored with the last few dogs we had. She will happily sit and pet a dog but Raven started getting literally in her face demanding more attention. So they bonded. Raven actually likes to tip her head back and yell at the boys when they are slow getting ready for her walk. For the first time last week she tipped her head back and yelled at Barb about being late for the walk. We all had a good laugh.

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Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.

Whose house is it, humans or dogs? That question is one I suspect I don’t want to know the answer to…


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Today’s featured photographer is Jacqueline Taylor Andersen. This photo is of the majestic and frankly greatest dog that ever lived, Dylan Thomas (pickle) the pickle was added by my sons. Not that it doesn’t fit him. Just that he is a Dylan. Dylan Thomas remains one of my three favorite poets and I’ve always wanted a Dylan. With a family restriction of a middle initial O for males Dylan is a name we cannot have however.

So the dog gets the name.

It fits him as well. He is an international dog of mystery. He is also the most mellow dog I have ever been around. Not that he isn’t smart, he is, just that nothing phases him.

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This is Dylan’s identical twin brother T-Rex. T-Rex appears when Dylan has something to complain about. That isn’t often that he has things to complain about but when he does he is T-Rex.

T-Rex loves nothing more than chomping on my feet. I don’t know why T-Rex started doing that but he has been doing that since the first week he lived with us.

Dogs add so much to the world around them. Dad liked Dylan – he was impressed by how mellow he was. At Christmas last year Dylan went with us to Indiana. We all stayed with mom and dad. Dylan was best friends with mom and dad’s dogs in minutes. He and Nelson (dad’s dog) were tight.

He is without a doubt spoiled.

I suspect in the end the spoiling is my fault.

He is also my walk buddy. Although when the walks don’t happen when he thinks they should there is the occasional appearance of T-Rex.

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In April Raven joined our family. She is a force of nature. One of those dogs that is always in the mix. She isn’t a dog that sits idly by while the world passes her. She leaps into the middle of everything announcing her presence with authority.

She picked the boys as her people when she arrived. When it is time for the walk she runs upstairs and yells at the boys to move it.

The newest member of our canine crew is Tamsyn. No pictures of her to share today but those will come. She is Jakki’s dog. I couldn’t imagine a more perfect fit for Jakki. Tamsyn is the most picky eater I have ever seen in a dog. Ever. But like Dylan and Raven, Tamsyn is ready for the walk now. After only being with us a short time she already knows that the walk is the best part of the day.

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Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.

Happy Thanksgiving–and the family history project marches on…


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Happy Thanksgiving to all who celebrate the day. Our dogs call this thanks for giving the Labradors turkey and stuffing.

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This picture is of my father’s Aunt Mart (Martha) who was my great Aunt. After my grandfather Andersen passed away Great Aunt Mart and Grandma Andersen lived together. Great Aunt Mart was my Grandmother’s sister.

Grandma and Great Aunt Mart always had dogs. For years they had a Scottie and a couple of other types of dogs. They always had smaller dogs rather than larger ones.

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My grandfather Andersen decked out in his finest 1968. Some of the pictures (as you can see above for Great Aunt Mart) are damaged. They were stored in tubs and slide holders for more than 40 years. So they have over time become a little damaged.

Still it is nice to have a great picture like this. I don’t remember much about my grandfather and in doing this family history project I am finding that he was around a lot more than is in my memory. He visited us a number of times and had pictures of me from about age 1 month to about age nine.

He came to see us in Bloomington, Ames Iowa, and came to see my parents when they were at the University of Michigan  (Ann Arbor).

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This is I suspect (based on year 1968) my cousins Ricky and Kristin. They were the children of my Aunt Dorothy. Kristin would be about the same age as Lynne. Ricky was younger than Lynne. I don’t remember much about either of them other than like Joey and Peter we visited them from time to time. Actually I only remember visiting Joey and Peter one time in Ann Arbor Michigan. I think I was maybe 5 or 6 years old. My father’s oldest sister (Barbara) was very ill so we went to say good bye) My Aunt Barb died in 1966.

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Scott Andersen

IASA Fellow.