So sorry for the delay in my getting this review posted. Upon returning from Gunflint Lodge and the Wagalot Dog Lover’s Weekend, I was greeted by a week’s worth of work assignments and then had to head out to Fargo for the Fantastic Fargo Film Festival/ValleyCon event to promote “Attack of the Moon Zombies”—winner of the Roger and Julie Corman Award for Intrepid Filmmaking!

Now, much delayed, is my chance to say a big THANK YOU to organizer Lisa Sellman of Aloha Pet Care Service and the owners and staff of Gunflint Lodge. We had a marvelous time at this fabulous, pet-friendly lodge. First off, the food was incredible!! Their chef at Justine’s Restaurant on-site at the lodge easily equaled the culinary skills of any 5-star chefs in the Twin Cities. And all the food, three huge meals per day, were included in the cost of the weekend package. All we paid for was taxes and tips.

Anthony (L) and I (R) are joined by friends Keith Davis and Lori Soyring at Justine's Restaurant at Gunflint Lodge

Then there were the fun activities Lisa arranged, such as the baking of holiday dog treats in our cabin, where nearly a dozen people and their dogs joined us. Here are some shots of the cabin itself and our pooches checking it out.

Oliver peeks down through the oar-shaped railing surrounding the second-floor loft space in our cabin.

Oliver decides to come down from his "loft-y" perch.

Keely and Blanche keep a keen eye out for squirrels.

Ambrose snoozes on the bed while Oliver takes a nap nearby

Later on, I gave a talk about Pet Loss as Disenfranchised Grief to a receptive audience in the Conference Center.

Audience members take their seats before the talk gets underway.

Then we topped off the full day of events with a viewing of “Attack of the Moon Zombies.” As it turned out, Dan Moore, the man who is standing in the photo above, was one of the best friends of our director Christopher R. Mihm’s father, George Mihm! He was able to give us some terrific “dirt” on Chris’s 5th-grade exploits, which would have given us fodder for blackmail but Chris said all I could get from him was his “boatload of debt, a cat that pees on everything, and excess grumpiness” and besides, he’s proud of his shameful deeds involving drawing pictures of an illicit nature and photocopying them into little magazines for his friends to purchase. He dad apparently called this Chris’s “Larry Flynt Phase.”

"Whistleblower" Dan Moore and Kodi.

Lori Soyring (L) and Lisa Sellman with Jasmine and my Westie Blanche

Anthony with Keith, Lori and their fur-kid, Fletcher

Lisa's husband Rick sits next to Kodi and Dan. I'm in my '50s sweater and cat-eye glasses on the right.

Enjoying the B-movie

Blanche considers everyone part of the furniture.

Jasmine snoozes on Lisa's lap.

Anthony and Keith take Oliver's place upstairs

On the last day of the retreat, I performed an animal blessing ceremony. Participants tried to hide from the high winds off Gunflint Lake. (When you look across the lake, you see Canada!)

Some of the pet blessing participants.

Though we had a bit of rain the first couple of days, there was still some great hiking to be enjoyed in the Superior National Forest. Here, we wander along a Moose-siting trail.

Walking my pack.

We saw no moose, but Anthony found a 1955 Desoto carcass

In Grand Marais, we stopped by Gunflint Mercantile, owned by Chelsea Lueck (daughter of our friends Cal and Suzie Lueck, of Dad’s Belgian Waffles fame). Her fudge and candy shop was quaint, charming and demanded we buy a whole bunch of yummy stuff. Chelsea kindly offered to carry my book, “Good Grief: Finding Peace After Pet Loss” for sale and is sewing me a fabulous Westie apron for my upcoming instructional video on preparing raw dog food diets. (More on this as the scheme develops.)

My hair was a permanent mess all windy weekend, but Chelsea looks lovely here!

Finally, on our way home, we take nourishment (and a potty break for the dogs) at famed Betty’s Pies in Two Harbors.

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