dianne salerni author
dianne salerni author

Since the death of my dog Sorcia in January, I’ve been volunteering at CompAnimals, a no-kill, all-volunteer pet rescue shelter in Landenberg, PA. Although they take in all animals in need, they specialize in hard-to-place cases — animals missing fur, missing limbs or eyes, needing surgery, etc.

Take SAM, for instance. Picked up by animal control on the streets of Baltimore, Sam was discovered to have multiple broken ribs and vertebrae in various stages of healing, indicating long-term abuse. My family temporarily fostered Sam, giving him some much needed pampering before CompAnimals sponsored his FHO surgery to remove the crumbling ball of his hip joint which was  causing him pain with every movement.


Charlie, Casper (now adopted!), and Brick

The beginning of 2019 was a hard time for us. Thank you to everyone who extended their condolences on our loss of Sorcia, our beloved GSD of nine years. We still miss her every day. I look for her when I go to bed late at night, thinking I need to let her out to pee, and I still expect her to appear when we pull into the driveway and press the garage door button—wriggling out from underneath the door as soon as she can fit.

But she’s not there.

At some point in late January, with both daughters back at college and my husband away on a business trip, I missed my dog enough to fill out a volunteer application for the local animal shelter. Best decision ever. (more…)

Good-Bye to 2018. An okay year for me. Not a great one. Not the worst. But sadly, it’s ending on a very down note.

After exhibiting weird symptoms over the past few months — such as facial swelling that looked like a reaction to a bee sting or spider bite, but wasn’t — my sweet dog, Sorcia, has been diagnosed with an advanced case of lymphoma. The mysterious swelling, as it turns out, was an auto-immune response related to the cancer. Although blood tests in September showed no signs of an elevated white blood cell count, x-rays taken two days ago indicate a large tumorous mass in her chest and other small masses spread throughout her organs.

Sorcia is 11 years old. The disease is greatly advanced. We have elected not to put her through traumatic surgeries and chemo therapy in the hopes of dragging this out for months. Instead, she’s under sedation, and we’re saying a gentle good-bye.

Until this past week, Sorcia suffered no pain. There was that weird facial swelling, but it bothered us more than it did her. (more…)

I wasn’t …


hanging from the artwork

drinking milk out of Bob’s cereal bowl

climbing the curtains

knocking  books off the shelf

rubbing my butt on Gina’s homework

licking the plates in the sink.


I didn’t …luna-in-the-bookshelves

walk across Dianne’s laptop and delete a page of her manuscript

stick my whole head in Marie’s glass of soda water (the bubbles were startling, but then I kind of liked them)

unlock the front door

steal Bob’s sunglasses

take the drain stopper out of the sink and carry it down the hall

photobomb Dianne’s Skype visit with a classroom

sneak into Sorcia’s Cone of Shame while she was sleeping and terrorize her.





Yes, she did.

Yes, she did.

Having shared the useful function of the dog last week, I feel obligated to give the cat credit for her role in the household:


Yeah, I know that moth was on the outside of the glass. However, she makes some pretty amazing leaps to catch insects inside the house, too — moths, mosquitoes, flies.

And she is determined. Nothing, nothing gets in her way … lamps, glasses full of water, people …

Once Luna has managed to smash the winged creature against a wall or window and it falls to the floor, she pads at it gently, sniffs it, and then down the hatch it goes. No need to treat the cat. The act is its own reward.

Got Raw MeatDING DONG.


Sorcia rushes the door like a guided missile, throwing herself up on her hind legs and planting her front paws on the glass window. She bares her huge, sharp teeth and snarls. Saliva drips from her canines.

By the time I get to the door, the bell ringer is standing halfway down the walk. He is obviously poised to run for his life, but he still manages to give me a cheerful wave.

I crack open the door. Sorcia pushes past me and gets her head outside before I manage to pin her body against the door with my leg. She is barking and snarling and snapping. “Yeah, hello?” I say to the man.

“Hello, ma’am. That is a beautiful dog!”

Note: Sorcia is a beautiful dog, but every single one of ’em says this, so I assume it must be part of their door-to-door salesman training.

“What do you want?” Sorcia and I are having a battle in the doorway. She slips out a little more.

The man takes a step back, swallows hard, and says, “I’d like to talk to you about windows/siding/driveway sealant/the kingdom of heaven.”

“Uh, no,” I say bluntly, grabbing Sorcia by the collar and heaving backward with all my strength.

“Okay!” He doesn’t argue. He bolts.

I close the door and turn around.

Sorcia has stopped barking. She sits and watches me with big brown eyes. Her wagging tail makes a swishing sound against the floor.

I give her a biscuit.