about me

    Emily Malone

    culinary arts grad. nutrition facts lover. vegetarian chef. marathon runner. country music maniac. failed dog trainer. barre fanatic. loving mama.

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    A Look Back.

The Old Brown Dog.

I don’t have any idea how to write this post, and yet I know that for my own sense of closure, I need to.  On Thursday, we lost our beloved Huey dog.


We learned that he had cancer about six months ago, so while his death is not a total surprise, somehow it still is.  How can you ever be ready to say goodbye to someone you love this much?

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There is so much I want to write and say, and yet every time I think about it, I know there is no way I could ever capture life with Huey in a silly blog post.  I’ve spent hours and hours finding every picture I can of him (and wow, there are a lot!) and the only thing that brings me any comfort at all is looking at his face, and remembering his smell while I still can. 


And while I know that words are pretty pointless right now, I think it might make me feel better if I take the time to tell you guys all about the joy that was our sweet Huey.


It began 12.5 years ago.  Casey was 23 and had just gotten married (not to me).  He drove way out into the country to find a puppy out on a farm, and he knew he wanted Huey as soon as he saw him.  Something about those giant crazy eyes just looked right through him.

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A year later, Casey was divorced and his world had fallen apart.  It was literally just him and Huey.  He has told me many times that he never would have survived those hard times without Huey curled up beside him. 

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Another year later, Casey and I met and the rest was history.  We became a part of each other’s daily life pretty quickly, and so my love affair with Huey began.


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In March of 2005 – about five months later – Casey decided to get another dog.  I was just a new girlfriend at the time, and little did I know I’d be helping choose the other love of my life.  Along came Indy.

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Our dogs were best buds from the beginning.  They were completely wild and crazy, and they went for a million walks and played fetch all day long, and we just adored them.  We moved in together not long after that, and so we were a family of four.  It’s impossible to talk about Huey without talking about Indy, because for so long they were such a team.

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We got up early to walk them in the dark before work, and we took them on all sorts of adventures.  And after a few years of living in Cincinnati together, we headed out on our biggest adventure yet.  I loaded up the dogs into the back of my Honda, and we all drove to North Carolina together.

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The dogs loved Charlotte.  Casey and I were both super busy with work and school, but we were in and out of the house all the time.  We took advantage of the wonderful weather in Charlotte, and walked them for hours each day.  Our backyard was a huge wooded area that they loved, with endless sticks and room to run.


In Charlotte they both also got super sick – they found some turtle friends to play with who had salmonella, and both dogs almost died.  I remember spending a very scary night at the emergency vet, not sure if either of them would come home.  Thankfully they did, and eventually they were back to their usual wild selves.


Charlotte days also brought our first trip to the beach.  I will never forget showing the dogs the ocean for the first time.  Indy was cautious, but Huey couldn’t get enough.  He loved leaping the waves and trying to eat the surf, and we had to keep him on his leash for fear that he’d try to swim out to sea.  It was magical. 

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A year later, we loaded up the cars again and headed north to Alexandria, Virginia – the next place we would call home. 

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I will never forget the very first walk we took them on there.  I was so excited about our new neighborhood, and getting to show them the waterfront and all the beautiful sights in DC. 


We lived in a tiny row house with only a patio for a yard, but Casey and I worked from home, so we were together pretty much all the time. 


The dogs got lots and lots of walks, and I think they loved walking along the waterfront almost as much as I did. 



We did a lot of runs together down the Mt. Vernon trail.  Huey truly could have run forever – he was a wonder dog.  It was hard for me to run with him because I wasn’t fast enough!


While we were in Virginia, I found out I was pregnant with Cullen, and we knew life would change for all of us pretty soon.


Little did we know about the other big change coming, but a few months later we were packing up again.  Casey drove the dogs all the way across the country – from Virginia to Washington, and they had many hotel room adventures along the way.



I flew to Seattle and can remember it all feeling so real when I opened the front door and saw Casey and the dogs ready to head into their new home.  It didn’t matter where we lived – when we were together, we were home.


The dogs and I adjusted to life at home in the big city, while Casey headed back to an office job for the first time in years.  We trekked up the giant hills in Fremont, all the while my belly grew bigger and bigger.  They watched with nervous anticipation as we set up the nursery and got ready for baby.


We explored our new city.  We hiked, we walked, we found a great doggie daycare.  We adjusted to life on the West Coast. 


And in October of 2011, their baby brother came home.  They were both terrified.  Huey hated the sound of Cullen’s high-pitched cry, and he’d jump and run away any time he made a noise.  He was very cautious, and required a lot of extra snuggles and love.


Indy quickly figured out that being near the baby meant getting lots of attention.  Huey took a lot longer, as he was always very skittish and quirky.

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We all slowly adjusted to life with kids.  Casey and I worked hard to get them their walks, but of course it was different.  They learned to walk with a stroller, and even though we couldn’t walk them for hours each day anymore, I am still really proud of how committed we stayed to their exercise and happiness. 

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Two years later, baby Graham entered the mix, and the dogs seemed a lot less phased the second time around.  Just a few short weeks later, after growing tension between the dogs (that had existed for years on some level), shit finally hit the fan and we had to make some major decisions.  We considered rehoming Indy.  We were really worried about safety with young kids in the house.  After a few days of hard talks and researching options, we decided to stick it out and make it work.


I dug my heels in hard.  Casey started traveling almost all the time right around then, and I committed to working with the dogs and getting them their walks and attention regardless.  I had an elaborate system for dog walking that included carabineers, short leashes, one kid in an Ergo, and the other in a stroller.  We were a walking circus, but we did it. 




After eight years of being together all the time, we had to start keeping the dogs mostly separated.  It was hard work.  It was a huge daily commitment, but it was worth it.  Everyone still got walks, and snuggles, and sunny spots to curl up in, but there were no safety threats – and honestly the dogs seemed more relaxed once they weren’t competing for attention anymore.  


In September of 2015, I noticed a small lump on Huey’s side.  I took him to the vet who confirmed our worst fear – he had cancer.  We spoiled him rotten, and loved on him any chance we could.





Somehow, even knowing he was sick, I didn’t really believe he was going to die any time soon.  He was slowing down, but in a typical old man type of way, and certainly did not act like a sick dog.  He was just as mischievous as he ever was, and he still yanked his leash on his daily walks just like he did as a pup. 


And then suddenly, he really was sick.  And it was time to say goodbye.  And it was absolutely positively the worst day of my entire life. 


I have lost people in my life before that I’ve cared about, but never anyone in my core unit.  Like MY PEOPLE.  And Huey was undoubtedly one of those. 


It’s so cliché, but he was truly the first baby.  And while I knew he wouldn’t live forever, I think part of me might have believed that he would. 


He had already lived through so much.  He was Huey the destroyer.  In his first year he ate a staircase of carpet that kinked around his insides and required an extensive surgery to save his life.  But he made it.


In his earlier years, he ate everything toxic that a dog shouldn’t eat, including an entire tub of pure cocoa powder.  And it was ugly, but he made it.


He escaped our backyard so many times, and somehow (thankfully) never got hit by a car or truly lost.  We always, always found him.   And when he escaped with Indy, we found them together every time.  The dynamic due until the end.


If you can’t tell already, I’m having a really, really hard time with this.  And while I never thought losing a beloved bet would be easy, I didn’t know it would be this crushing. 


I cannot stop crying.  I don’t want to talk to anyone.  I don’t really want to do anything other than lay on the couch with Indy, look at Huey’s picture, hold his collar, lay on his favorite step and smell the carpet, and close my eyes and imagine I can feel his soft ears being rubbed in my hands. 

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I don’t really like feeling super vulnerable and personal in this space anymore, but I needed to write all of this.  For a long, long time I shared so much of our lives here.  The dogs were a big part of that.  I know a lot of you followed Huey’s journey along with ours, and I thank you for that.


My hope is that with each passing day, this starts to feel a little better.  So far, each day has felt worse.  Because the rest of the world has kept going, and I’m not totally sure how to.  But if I learned anything from Huey, it is to always keep going.  Because lord knows, that dog never stopped. 


The only light I can find from all of this is that I’ve been doing a lot of deep, personal reflection.  Losing Huey feels like closing the door on a 12.5 year chapter that I wasn’t ready to finish just yet. 

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Death puts life into perspective very quickly, and I feel fiercely (even alarmingly) protective and connected to the people (and dogs) that I love so deeply.  I don’t want to waste time or energy on silly daily stresses anymore.  Life is just too short for all of that.


And so with that – I miss you Huey dog.  So much.  So so so very much.  I never ever knew I could miss you so much.  I wish just one more time you’d rip up the tissue paper in the bathroom.  I wish I could find the snack cups you’d pulled out of the sink, or the crayons you had chewed up in the playroom.  I wish I could feel your warm body snuggled under the covers with me just one more time. 


We are planting a tree for you.  We were going to plant it in the front yard, but then I panicked and realized that I didn’t want to ever have to leave you again.  So we’re going to get a nice planter, and put all your favorite things inside.  And wherever we go, you’ll always come with us. 

Because you are our first baby – today, tomorrow, and forever.



Are you ready for the longest post ever?

It’s my favorite month of the year!  February brings the promise of spring, (slightly) warmer temperatures, lots of birthdays (including my own!), and plenty more.  This year, I’ve been looking forward to February more than ever. 

I’m not gonna lie – January was kind of a doozy.  Our year started off pretty rocky, and the whole month was just…tough.  It started with some major issues between our dogs.  I’m not going to get into the whole story here (because I could type for days!), but since many of you have asked about it, I’m happy to provide some details.

Long story short – Indy has always been dominant of Huey.  They have just naturally fallen into those roles, and for the most part it has never been an issue.  They still cuddled together and spent all of their time together, and seemed to be the best of friends.  However, there have been times – going back as far as when we lived in Cincinnati – that Indy has acted aggressive toward Huey, and has growled and snarled in a protective way (mostly over food or toys).  But like I said, it never really amounted to much, and wasn’t a huge concern.  He has also always showed aggression and dominant behavior toward other dogs (that he doesn’t know). 

When Cullen arrived, we worked really hard to incorporate the dogs into life with a little guy, and we were appropriately cautious with their level of interaction with him.  There were no issues, and as he got older I felt more and more comfortable that the dogs were very gentle and careful with him.  Honestly, it was surprising how well Indy in particular did with him. 

Fast forward two years.  I spent the summer super pregnant and then Graham arrived in October.  Over Thanksgiving, my inlaws were visiting and Indy decided to get territorial over the attention he was getting from our new visitors.  He turned on Huey and ended up giving him a big cut on the leg.  Even more upsetting than that, Cullen and Graham were both in the room, and while the dogs showed no intention to harm the kids, Cullen was (understandably) petrified.  We have been working for months now to overcome this fear.

A few weeks later there was another incident that resulted in no injuries, but I still didn’t like that the aggression seemed to be escalating.  And finally, right after Christmas there was a major fight in our living room that left Huey in a cone for a week.  This was our tipping point.


Like I said, Indy has never, ever shown any aggression toward kids or adults, but he has always been slightly aggressive toward other dogs (doesn’t do well at dog parks, kennels, etc.).  In the past, this seemed to exclude Huey, but perhaps as attention in the house became more constrained and he felt more competitive for it, and that changed. 

With emotions very high and the safety of our children being our top priority, we considered re-homing Indy.  We looked into a lot of different options and ultimately decided that for now – we will make it work with both dogs.  The thing is – he’s not great with other dogs, but this pup is unbelievably sweet with the kids, and he is the world’s biggest cuddle monster. 


And so we spent much of January finding a new rhythm and system that would work for everyone.  Within the house, our dogs are now separated from each other.  We have various baby gates and spaces in the house to give everyone enough room to roam, and I rotate them around all day long so that each dog gets to spend plenty of time with us.  Turns out, they actually seem much happier this way.  Without the need to compete for attention and worry about the other dog, they are both much more relaxed and well-behaved.  It makes me sad that they spent eight years glued to each other’s side, and now their contact is relatively limited, but it is what it is. 

The time that they do spend together is their chance for exercise and fresh air.  I have let them out in the backyard together a bit (as neutral ground seems to be the safest), and I’ve started taking them for daily walks together again.  With all the excitement of going for a walk, who has time to start a fight?

I’ve made the commitment to getting them more exercise and stimulation, and so far I’ve been able to stick to it.  I either walk them during the day with both boys (which is a circus, let me tell you).  Or I wait for Casey to come home and I walk them by myself in the dark – whatever it takes.

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I don’t think all of this is because of our recent life changes, but I’m sure some of it is.  Like I said, the issue of Indy being dog-aggressive has always been there.  It just seems to be escalating a bit now that he’s getting older and our situation has changed a bit.  We also might look into some behaviorist training soon.  I don’t know if it’s sustainable over the very, very long term, but our dogs are also sort of old (sniff – they are 8 and 10), so I’m willing to do it as long as we can.  So that’s my short (but actually long) update on the dogs.  Whew!

So our year started off on a pretty sour note, with dog drama taking center stage.  Luckily, we have the world’s best dog sitter, and also had the opportunity to spend a few days out of town, which we desperately needed!

We drove down to Government Camp at the base of Mt. Hood in Oregon to spend three glorious days with some friends.  This was the view we woke up to every morning – pretty amazing!

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Cullen was really scared of Huey’s cone, and was still feeling very anxious around the dogs at that point, so it was a nice relief to take him away for a few days and to go have some fun.  We went with one of his best buddy’s families, and they had a blast playing together.  There was tubing and sledding…

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And mini snowman-making with the paltry inch or two of snow we had.  Toddlers didn’t seem to mind though. 

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It was our first road trip (4 hours) with both boys, and they were total champs.  Our car was packed to the gills with baby gear, and Graham was a very flexible traveler.  He spent much of the trip zipped inside my coat!

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The Mt. Hood area was absolutely gorgeous, and I want to make it a yearly tradition to take some sort of family New Year’s trip now.  So many wonderful memories made, and the perfect way to wind down from the holidays.

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As soon as we got back from our trip, Casey had to leave to work in Cincinnati for a week.  Being alone with the two boys is tough, and a week is a long time!  Thankfully, my best friend from home flew out and spent half of the week with us which was amazing.  She hadn’t been out here in almost two years, and it was so fun for her to see how Cullen has grown and to finally meet Graham.

Just as soon as Casey got back into town, I picked up and left a few days later!  Graham and I traveled all the way across the country to Connecticut.  I got to spend a few days catching up with this guy – my precious nephew, Jonah, who suddenly seems way, way too old. 

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And for us to get to meet his new baby brother – little Levi!  Graham and Levi are just 18 days apart – so amazing.  It was so wonderful to finally see and hold him, and I loved seeing the little guys together. 

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Even more fun – my mom and Sarah joined us too!  Grandma was in heaven with two little babies and a happy toddler. 

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We hung around the house all weekend just talking, playing with the kids, and relaxing.  I have to admit – four days with just a 3 month old felt like a breeze compared to my usual day to day.  It was wonderful. 

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That said, we really, really missed Casey and Cullen.  It felt so strange to be with Jonah and not have Cullen there to play with him!  But it was also nice to get some extra one-on-one time with him that I don’t typically get. 

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Our journey home was kind of a disaster.  One small runway delay led to a (narrowly) missed connection, and a downhill spiral from there.  Graham and I spent 15 hours traveling home through four different airports! 


He was a superstar traveler, but it was a lot even for him.  I was starving, dehydrated, and so sore from carrying him for so long.  Silver lining though – at least I didn’t have a toddler instead (can you even imagine??), and one of the many perks of breastfeeding is that you never run out of baby food.  Also, our trip home ended up being so late into the night that he slept through a lot of it.  We made it home eventually!

Two days after our trip, Casey left to go to London for another week-long trip.  Major sad face.  It was a tough week and we missed him desperately.  The weekdays are typically okay, since we have a regular schedule and lots of social (kid) things planned, but being alone for the weekend was brutal.  It felt like Christmas morning when he came home!

And THAT – my friends – finally catches us up to…February!  Everyone is home, no one is traveling, the sun has been shining for a week, and the Seahawks just won the Super Bowl.  Life is good right now.

We spent our first weekend all together in a month (!) just laying low and enjoying the sunshine.  Indy and I went for a four mile run together, and I feel like I’m starting to finally get back into a good groove.  (Huey ran with Casey after I got back!)

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We went to our friends’ house to watch the Super Bowl, and I’m pretty sure we had the world’s cutest mascots.  The Seahawks homecoming parade is today, and this city is INSANE right now. 


I’m getting back to my Barre3 classes regularly now, and it feels great.  More on that to come soon!


And so where January brought some growing pains, February is already shaping up to be a great month.  I’m working really hard to get back into regular fitness, get organized professionally, and to just get a better handle on things in general.  So far so good!  Thanks for hanging in there with me. 

Two quick links!

  1. Last day to enter the rockaRoo giveaway!
  2. And, finally – today’s Babble

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