The Ballad of Kit and Rachel

Many of you know of this story, but I wrote it up for Voices, and it was published today.

Big Sur loves its dogs. Lost dogs have become sort of a specialty of mine on my blog. I am a sucker. Whether they are born here, brought here or dumped here, all are welcome. No bad dogs, sometimes bad owners. This is the story of three such dogs, but mostly the last of the three.

Feb. 4, 2013, was a warm, gorgeous winter day. I got up and opened the door to let out the four dogs I already owned. I left the door open, so I could go back to bed for a bit. Shortly after I closed my eyes, I heard the clinking of toenails on the hardwood floor. I rolled over to see which dog it was. “Oh, my! Who are you, Missy.” It was a stranger, making herself at home. I didn’t even know the sex at that point, but that is how she got her name. She is a smart border collie, probably McNab. She was skin and bones and covered with ticks. I took her into the bathroom, where I planned to keep her isolated from my own dogs until I could get her to the vet and have her checked, which I did. Seven years later, she never willingly leaves my side.

On Nov. 21, 2019, Elsa Rivera posted a photo of a German shepherd puppy that a couple had abandoned at the Loma Vista gas station. My other four dogs were all gone by then, having lived 14 to 16 years each, and Missy the Mystery Dog needed a high energy playmate that wasn’t me. That night, Lady was ours. That was two months ago, and today she is housebroken, knows basic commands and is highly entertaining.

Then, on Jan. 7 I got one of those emails I get way too often about a dog wandering the highway. No photo, not much of a description (looks like a fox, but not). Not much I could do with that. She was spotted near the vista point at Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park.

A couple days later, at the same vista point, Jon Knight spotted her and he and several state park rangers tried to capture this gal, but were unsuccessful. She was scared to death and ran away. There were sightings reported to me on and off, but no photos until Jan. 15. Rachel Fann spotted her near her place, three miles south of JP Burns.

You can read the rest of the story at

Hint: It has a happy ending.

State Park Volunteer Opportunities

Help Restore Soberanes Point at Garrapata State Park

February 15, Saturday, 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Do you love Garrapata State Park? Then join our efforts for one weekend day each month as we work to restore the native habitat of this beautiful state park’s Soberanes Point.

Monterey District State Parks is launching a monthly, volunteer program designed to educate and engage our coastal communities in an ongoing habitat restoration program at Garrapata State Park. You, your family and friends are invited to join our Natural Resources Team and fellow volunteers at SoberanesPoint where we will be working to preserve and restore the park’s natural resources. Volunteers and park staff will be removing non-native invasive plants such as cape ivy, mustard, sweet alyssum, and poison hemlock. Together we will be replanting native coastal scrub species, while realigning or removing unofficial trails that disturb sensitive habitat areas.

We will meet from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on the 3rd Saturday of every month. Our upcoming programs will be held on 2/15, 3/21, 4/18, and 5/9. Please Note: The program in May will be held on the second Saturday. As volunteers help us succeed at Soberanes Point, we will expand our work to other areas of Garrapata State Park in future weekend programs.• Please wear close-toed, sturdy shoes and appropriate clothing for physical work in rocky, uneven terrain, rain or shine, and breezy to windy conditions.• Please bring a hat, work gloves if you have them, sunscreen water and a snack.• We will provide tools, loaner gloves, if you don’t have them, water, and training.• All ages welcome. No experience or long-term commitment is necessary.

Can’t join us on Saturday? The California Native Plant Society leads a volunteer work day on the 3rd Sunday of the month. Click on the link for more information.

Contact us at or 831-574-9008 for more information about Garrapata State Park volunteer programs and additional opportunities throughout Monterey District State Parks.

Wind Advisory

In case you missed it, NOAA has put out a wind advisory: “Wind Advisory from 2/2/2020 4:00 AM to 2/3/2020 4:00 AM for Monterey County Strong winds are expected as a dry cold front moves through the region. Winds are expected to be out of the northwest around 15 to 30 mph with wind gusts forecast to range from 30 mph to 45 mph. Strongest wind gusts will be observed along the immediate Pacific Coastline with gusts ranging from 40 mph to 50 mph.”

Upcoming weather

Not good news for the summer fire season. From Daniel Swain, Weather West:

High likelihood of broad high pressure ridge over NE Pacific that will keep much of California mostly dry for the next 10-14 days, with well below average precip and well above average temperatures at what is typically wettest/coolest part of year.