Sasha and Malia finally get their dog. Congrats to all involved. More to come after I wake up.
I may be the last person with a pulse to have seen this video. On the off chance I'n not, I'm sharing it with whatever reader I have left. Sorry for the long disappearance. I've been struggling with sundry disorders, most of them not my own.
Meanwhile, watch this astounding and very funny display of human-dog-sheep-LED interaction.
ESPN.com Page 2 columnist Bill Simmons, aka "The Sports Guy", has a wonderful appreciation of his Golden Retriever, Daisy, aka "The Dooze", here.
Anybody who's loved a dog knows they always die too soon, but The Dooze died way too soon. This sweet story tells why.
When Slick, who looks kind of like a long, tall, thin Border Collie, was rescued, he got so excited he had a heart attack. The nice lady who serves as Slick's communications director told me he was taken to Angell Animal Medical Center in Boston, where he was equipped with a pacemaker. He goes back once a year for a checkup. He's going in for his third checkup in January.
For Slick and his communcations director, every day is Christmas. He was wearing the collar shown when I met him.
My beagle, Leo, loves to eat Halls Mentholyptus Cough Drops. The cherry ones especially; we share a craving for those and I keep a couple of bags on hand. He will attack me to try to get cough drops if I have one in my pocket. Being a beagle, he can catch the scent from the other end of our house ( a whole six feet away!).
One night when I had a legitimate sore throat and had put several Halls in my pajama pocket at bedtime, I went off to sleep forgetting that I hadn’t consumed them. The next morning I woke up to find the cough drops gone but the wrappers neatly piled up on the bottom sheet. Leo had burrowed under the covers, gotten into my pocket and helped himself, all without disturbing me one bit. A true stealth beagle. George Bush could have used him in Iraq.
When I decided to adopt my dog, Trouble, I knew there was a big age-difference problem. After all, she was barely past adolescence. She wanted to do young things, and I wanted to mostly sit and read and drink old tawny port, and smoke my pipe, and think about Spinoza. And occasionally go down to the Old Boys' Club and sit in the dark mahogany library, and talk to the other gentlemen about the shipping stocks, and the lost glory of the Empire. And she's usually glad to see me when I arrive home. Most nights she sleeps by my bedside.
Trouble, however, wanted to run free, and go jogging, and had dreams of being an Iditerod sled dog. God knows we live too far from Alaska, but I have never had the heart to destroy the hopes and dreams of such a young and beautiful animal. So even though she's not supposed to, every so often Trouble goes out on me, late at night, and sometimes doesn't come home until dawn. I see the evidence: the KFC wrapping paper in the yard; and sometimes I can even tell another dog has been with her. I just don't let on.
Those nights, this old house sure gets lonely. I guess I'm her rich old Man, and she won't ever have to worry. But she still can't hide her lying eyes.
My friend Rita sent me this link a while back. I emailed the creator, Bruce Lowy, and he graciously said I could link to it.
Congratulations, Kasha. Today you are a dog.
This is a bittersweet ending rather than a "Happy Ending." But it is the end of a wonderful story that began 9 years ago at the old TJ O'Connor pound in Chicopee, MA. It ended last night out here on Cape Cod after a brief but valiant fight with a fast-growing, inoperable tumor. My husband and I wouldn't have traded these years with Murphey for anything in the world, even knowing the pain that we feel today. Go give your dog a hug. Take him for an extra walk. Give him a special treat. Find that spot that makes his hind leg go nuts. You truly never know what tomorrow might bring.
"In the whole history of the world there is but one thing that money can not buy -- to wit, the wag of a dog's tail." -Josh Billings
Murphey was a good dog. He loved life with a whole-hearted energy that was a lesson to all of us. Everybody who knew him loved him. He was the kind of dog that made people want to go out and get their own dog. Murph was truly one in a million; irreplaceable. My angel dog was always there watching over me, and even though he was never tested I felt safe with him around. Sometimes he ate cat poo and got into the kitchen garbage. Once he ate over a pound of Easter chocolates. There were times when he wouldn't come when called. But he always looked so guilty afterwards that I couldn't stay mad at him.
I still believe he understood almost everything we said to him. I hope he understood why we had to say goodbye. Murphey loved catching frisbees, fetching balls, swimming, romping with his beagle buddy Spenser, hiking in the woods, playing "I have a stick and you don't," grooming Hadley the cat, rolling around in smelly things, begging for table scraps, and his squeaky plastic hamburger he got as a puppy. And he loved the people in his life unconditionally. He didn't care what clothes you wore, if you couldn't toss a tennis ball more than two feet, if you were in a bad mood, or if you were incapable of throwing a Frisbee straight. We were all so lucky to have known that kind of love.
He had a beautiful spirit that you could see shining out of his eyes. It was there nine years ago, making him stand out in a pound full of dogs. And when that light was gone we knew that it was time to let him go, even though it feels like it was too soon. But there will never be a good time to lose a friend like him. There are not enough words to describe the ache inside knowing he won't be there at the door when we get home from work, ever again.
Murphey was a good dog, and he will be missed.
My mother has always been a "dog person". She trained her childhood dog (a border collie mix aka Duchess the First), to eat off a plate on the picnic table and do many tricks. When she married her parents would not let her take Duchess to her new home.
Dad brought home a wolf hybrid (shepherd/wolf mix) for Mom when she was pregnant with me. This dog, Duchess II was "Martina's dog" and very protective of the family. One time she saw toddler me crawling towards the street in our suburb, and dragged me home by the collar. Mom was watched the whole thing from the kitchen window.
After both Duchesses passed we had a series of family dogs. Mom had a Doberman for a while and her name was Duchess III.
When I got Georgie, Mom wept. She'd always wanted a standard poodle, a black standard poodle. So, for Mom's birthday I arranged with Georgie's breeder to purchase a female Standard Poodle from the next litter from Georgie's mom, which was expected in June.
Mom counted the days. We waited and waited for the puppies. The breeder called and the pups were born the evening before my birthday. Mom and I drove quite a distance to the breeder's one week after the pups' birth. Georgie was in the car and stayed there while we met the dam and pups.
Georgie's mama looked exhausted and had 8-9 pups begging for her attention. Mom clutched one to her chest immediately and said "This is Duchess, I love the Marcel on her forehead"
She brought Duchess home from the breeder's after the pups had been weaned about seven weeks later. Mom came by my work on her way home from the breeder's with Duchess and we had a tailgate party at Burger King (know puppies really like French fries). Mom (she really doesn't cry often!) cried, hugged me really really tight and said thank you many times.
Duchess is now 10 years old, full of energy and happy and adores Mom. She comes over for "sleepovers" once in a while which Georgie, Gordy and I love. Mom says it gets lonely with just one poodle in the house when Duchess is here. )Hank is the other standard poodle at Mom's: she adopted him about four years ago. We call him Hank the Horse because he is a very large dog.)
Well, since then Duchess has provided constant entertainment and love to everyone in the family. I told Mom that when Duchess goes it will be harder for me than when Georgie and Gordy go. Duchess just has grabbed all of our hearts. The only times she doesn't grin is when she is asleep. The first two years of Duchess were tough for Mom -- puppies take a long time to calm down and learn, but they both pulled through.
The only thing Mom fusses about with Duchess is the topknot. Duchess may have had a "marcel" as a pup but her topknot has always naturally parted in the middle despite any attempts to have it be one poof. So if you see a pretty grinning and prancing black female Standard Poodle with her topknot in two sections, that is Duchess!
My many loyal reader will recall that a few weeks ago I reviewed Linda Johnston's Double Dog Dare, and said some nice things about it. I no longer have a copy of that book. Yesterday, while I was out, JoJo took it upon herself to shred Double Dog Dare and The Gangs of New York by Herbert Asbury.
Both of these books were on end tables well out of JoJo's reach, so I'm at a loss to explain how she got to them. There were also several books on the floor that she could have got to easily, but they weren't touched. I can only conclude that she selected these two books on purpose, and may have enlisted Gus to get them for her. Gus himself never shreds anything but his own leg and the occasional tennis ball.
I wonder: does JoJo's selection of these two books constitute a favorable review or an unfavorable review?
Late-breaking News: JoJo only destroyed half of Double Dog Dare yesterday. The rest she hid on the deck, where it got rained on. She brought it back in to complete the job today. What a thoughtful little pooch.
Once my dog got caught in razor wire and ran home, right at the same time a neighbor, trying to start a problematic car that had sat a few days, caused it to backfire loudly. At that moment my dog appeared at my back door, bleeding profusely and visibly. Well, you can imagine what I thought: that the "boom," and my dog's injury, meant that she had just been shot!
So I called 911, and animal control was dispatched. By the time they arrived, we had figured it all out. The backfire guy was innocent, multiple witnesses knew. A lot of the furor was just based on coincidence. My frisky dog had been granted a hair too much freedom by me, who was technically at fault for her encounter with razor wire at a nearby facility. I had not been a good parent. This has been resolved by the time I write this.
But the animal control lady made superficial judgments of me when she arrived. I think she viewed me as a bad pet owner. She made an ultimatum that veterinary treatment was not optional, it was demanded. By this time, of course, my dog was bandaged, having had her wound shaved and dressed by me, and disinfected by gentle peroxide. I had determined an indeterminate period of observation. This carried no weight with animal control lady. I was to present to her evidence of a complete veterinary examination within 24 hours. So we went. My vet basically repeated what I had done, but vended us some antibiotics, which I thought was a boon. So all was well.
Next day the animal control lady pulls up just as promised, and when I gave her all the certificates on my dog, the complete vaccination and spaying records from the past 15 years of all my beasts as well as this one, plus the record of her most recent injury, the lady was surprised. New respect for me was shown. She hadn't realized I really did care.
I got back from Christmas that year on the 27th and that night it snowed. The next morning, I thought it would be a fine thing to take a walk in the park next door and enjoy the unspoiled beauty before melt and lots of foot traffic marred it. Of course it was brisk and pretty and invigorating and good.
On the way back, I noticed one thing slightly spoiling the perfection of the scene, in addition to my own footprints. A spot of trash, no doubt left by careless park-goers. I would pick it up. As I neared it, I saw it was a bag with what looked to be the remains of a six-pack in it. Nearing, I saw some bottle caps still on. Then I saw all the bottlecaps were on! I reached down, exposed it, and saw it was Lowenbrau, my favorite brand! Pristine, chilled in snow! It was like divine providence! A great omen!
So I picked it up and noticed a receipt in the bag, and wanting to solve this mystery, I looked closer. Not a receipt - a handwritten note. And it said, "Merry Christmas, Jumper." Unsigned. And for one brief moment I thought God had sent me a message.
It took a while and two incidents to get it all straight. A week later my friend called and asked if I had gotten my Christmas present. He explained he had dropped it at my door when I was gone.
About two months later I found a note on my door. "Come get your dog at the pound. Call this number. Signed, the Dog Police." My dog Lucky! So I called. The man said he had discovered Lucky shacked up in the woods with a female German Shepherd and their brood of puppies, and they had attacked the landscaping crew, defending the pups. All this a complete surprise to me.
The last piece of the puzzle. And it also solved my question about why Lucky had been pushing his food bowl down the stairs all the time. He was actually trying to carry his food to his secret family in the woods. And he had been carrying all sorts of likely presents to them as well. Such as a six-pack from my front doorstep he undoubtedly planned to open when he got there.
Lucky was trying to be a good father. The result was that his family was jailed, I had to bail him out and leave them to their fate, and not only that, I couldn't afford to get him out of the calaboose unless I agreed to have him neutrified. Which they did.
My dog Lucky seemed to have a past. A past during which he had spent some time wild in the woods. I always suspected his owner's yard had been demolished by hurricane Hugo, and Lucky had taken the opportunity to escape.
He was shy, but I coaxed him out of the woods with some dogfood and he and I agreed that he would live with me thereafter. Life was good.
You wonder how a wild dog survives. Twice he showed me some remarkable food-acquiring skills.
One late summer day I was sitting quietly on my back stairs, sipping a beer. Lucky was loafing in the grassy area of our dirt driveway circle. Not really paying attention at first, I saw him get up and start snuffling the ground with his nose like some kind of crazy roothog. Trying to plow up some turf with his nose. Crazy dog, I mused. Lucky lay back down and became motionless again. About two minutes went by. A robin alit near him and started hopping near where Lucky had apparently stirred up some bugs with his nose. Dinner for robin.
So robin, picking at bugs, hops a bit closer to Lucky, and Lucky smoothly puts out his paw and pins robin to the ground. Dinner for Lucky.
I barely believed my eyes. "Holy S-word!" I shouted. Lucky looked up, thinking I was scolding him, removed his paw from robin, and robin flew away, no doubt shaken. "Sorry, Lucky," I called to him. He looked at me accusingly.
One other time I saw Lucky get a free meal from the wild in a way that shocked me. Walking the perimeter of the property in late spring, I noticed a fledgling baby bird just out of the nest, swaying unsteadily on a branch about seven feet off the ground. Lucky noticed him, too.
As I walked away from that area, Lucky began a hard charge towards that bird, right in front of it, locking eyes on that birdie as he leaped high, right towards the bird! And I knew that Lucky was not going to make a seven-foot leap, and I think Lucky knew, too. But the bird was so frightened he fell off the limb! And Lucky got a snack.
Georgie (black female Standard Poodle, six years old with newly diagnosed Addison's) and I had just tried to adopt a Kimi, a shiba inu, but it didn't work out. Kimi had severe dominance issues and was very destructive. She even attacked her own mother when she went back to the breeders.
Anyway, we realized it was pretty lonely here without another dog -- a boy standard poodle. He'd be named Henry or Jacques. Enter Seattle Purebred Dog Rescue. Georgie and I were interviewed. It didn't hurt that we had gone through a dog training course a few years earlier where one of the standard poodle reps for SPDR assisted with the class. In the meantime a poodle group friend in Florida called me and said there was a puppy mill 40 miles from us and they needed to be rescued. She'd heard about it from a reputable breeder in Washington.
I contacted SPDR, they raided the mill and got something like 45 poodles: toy, mini and standard. The conditions were deplorable, with many dogs in open outside kennels, three or more dogs per kennel. I was called the next day and told they had three SPs I could choose from. The meeting place was the parking lot behind the hair salon Lavena, one of the SPDR reps, owned. While we were waiting to see the dogs, a friend of Lavena's named Gordy came by. Everyone who knew him greeted him effusively.
Then the covers were removed from the dog crates. Two black male SPs, and then....sound of trumpets...the most pitiful, dirty and stinky white/apricot boy SP with hypnotic gold eyes. I instantly knew he was the one and his name would be Gordy.
Mom drove Gordy and me to the vets. I sat in the back with the poor scared stinky boy. He was very skittish and scared, his eyes were large as saucers with the whites showing. I hugged him gingerly and said "Gordy, I am your person and you will never ever live in fear or not be loved ever again".
After he stayed at the vets for 48 hours and got treatment, he came home. He had obviously been in one of the open kennels at the mill and was very frightened. He was scared of coffee cups -- I realized that the mill owner probably did rounds in the morning and if the dogs were loud or disobedient she probably threw the contents of her coffee cup at them.
Mom frequently came to visit because she also thought Gordy was special and needed love. Gordy lived under the dining table for many days and didn't mind being crated when I went to work. I wanted him to be comfortable with his new home and didn't rush anything.
One day I caught my 68-year-old mother belly crawling on the kitchen/dining room floor: maneuvering towards Gordy. That was the lightbulb moment. She got him to realize that this was home and no harm would ever happen again.
Now, four years later, Gordy and Georgie are best buddies. He and the cat have a great friendship. Gordy is the house security system, with barks to indicate various things such as Mom is walking up the walkway, dear friends are at the door or...eeeek the mailman had the nerve to put things in the mailbox! He still is skittish with loud noises or sudden movement but adores attention, running laps in the yard or long walks, treats and being here.
Adopting Gordy was one of the smartest and most emotionally fulfilling things I have ever done.
I had a very elderly, incontinent, deaf and nearly blind wire fox terrier. I knew she would have to cross the Rainbow Bridge soon. Did lots of internet research and decided that a female black standard poodle would be a great next dog.
Told a coworker who had five kids to keep her eyes peeled for a black female standard poodle pup. If one of her kids located the puppy, the dog would have that child's name as her middle name. Then thought nothing more about it.
Three weeks later...boss calls me to office. Uh-oh! What did I do? Coworker -- who had had the day off -- was in the office with her youngest child and a black blob. Boss had a very big smile on her face. Coworker had taken up a collection from my bosses and paid for the dog that way. Georgie Tara was the only female left in her litter. There was a card signed by the four doctors who had contributed to Georgie's adoption.
I called the vets. They said come in right now! They were very happy. Called my mother. She cried and said she HAD to see the pup that night.
Georgie will be 11 years old in October. She is very healthy (Addison's disease under good control) and is the friendliest, happiest dog you've ever seen! She enjoys playing with Gordy, greeting visitors and just being herself. Oh, and she is ever so slightly spoiled...
Thursday and Friday: two great stories from Martima
Monday, Wednesday and Friday, next week: three great stories from Jumper
The following week: Reviews, at last, of books and products. I've been promising these to the authors and manufaturers forever.
On August 24, in Parkersburg, West Virginia, local officials and representatives of the Humane Society of the United States rescued nearly 1,000 dogs from the Whispering Oaks Kennel, an industrial puppy mill that had operated for almost two decades.
The raid was prompted by neighbors' complaints about pollution in a nearby stream. Shouldn't be any surprise that anyone too self-absorbed to care about the cruelty they inflict on animals is also too self-absorbed to care about the slop they pass on to others.
The protagonist, Kendra, is a lawyer. So am I. She lives in the Hollywood Hills. So do I. She is a litigator, though, and I am a real estate transactional attorney. That's one difference between us. Another, even more major, is that she is a murder magnet and solves a lot of mysteries. I, on the other hand, just create them.
One of the most important similarities between us, though, is that we both own tricolor Cavalier King Charles Spaniels named Lexie. Or maybe we're owned by them. For as different as Kendra and I may be in some of the ways that count, we're both suckers for snuggly, loving animals. And that's what Cavaliers are all about!
As you probably figured, Kendra is an alter ego of mine. She sometimes does things I wish I could do--like have a much better trained and socialized Lexie than mine. (Okay, Cavaliers are people-pleasers, so my Lexie would be better trained if I trained her!)
But my Lexie helped to inspire the creation of Kendra and her Lexie. She's my companion and muse, and she enjoys lying at my feet as I write. She loves to be on my lap, too, when I'm reviewing things on the computer, but she's annoyed when I'm not paying full attention to her and dare to disturb her by using my hands to type on the keyboard.
She's especially unhappy when I don't allow her to fool me at dinnertime. She can tell when it's six PM, which is when I always feed her. She stands up on the floor beside me, her paws on my chair, and snorts for my attention, to make sure I'm aware of what time it is. But now and then, she decides she'd rather eat earlier and--especially when I'm so deeply engrossed in my writing that I'm not really aware of anything else--she stands up and tries to convince me it's six!
I recently acquired another Cavalier--a puppy named Mystie, who's a real character. She loves to chase shadows and bugs and reflections. I wouldn't be at all surprised if, eventually, Kendra and her Lexie find a Cavalier puppy as complicated and charming in their lives...
OK, it's about time I put up a blogroll so all of my reader can find out what I read and what other wonderful stuff is out there, since I'm dedicated to broadening your horizons. I know everybody's time is precious, but reading just this blog is a lot like eating a high-class, runny, stinky cheese without the crackers. Today's additions are:
More to follow as I become aware of them.