Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Pocket Says Goodbye to the Flowers



I got out of bed with Daddy Friday morning to do my business.  We went out on the porch, I looked through the window, saw the snow and let out a deep sigh. Not because the snow makes my paws cold, which it does, or the air makes me shiver, which it does, but because my main responsibility, garden design and supervision, was done for several months.

Mommy loves doing gardening but frankly she has no design skills.   She used to rely on Foley, who had an excellent eye for layout, but when she accepted her Judgeship it fell to me to supervise.  (Foley still visits me in my dreams to tell me how she wants things but I like to add my own little twists now and then.)

Every Monday morning, from mid-March until mid-November River Song and I would be placed in our overseer’s buggy to watch my parents work.  For the next three to five hours, by pointing, barking, and whining, we would show Mommy which plant to put where so the colors would burst and complement one another.  

We started out doing it when the grass was yellow and full of sticks, when there were few flowers growing, we were there when the temperature turned warmer and all the pretty flowers bloomed, we were there when it was hot, humid and dry and Mommy spent lots of time watering her plants.

Often Foley would take the form of a butterfly and float down to check on our work.  She would fly around seeing how it looked from above.  She landed on one flower, then another, and that would mean Mommy had to switch them.  When she was satisfied Foley would land on Mommy’s shoulder then fly away.

Even though we spent most of our time in a little buggy where it was hot and we didn’t have a lot of room to stretch out it was our favorite time of the week.  We were outside, we were with our humans, we were making Foley’s wishes come true, we were making the world a more beautiful place.  Even with their being no laps, no cuddling, no petting, we loved it.

But now winter air has left the ground cold and unbreakable, all the pretty flowers have gone to sleep, the leaves are gone, the tools put away, soon all to be covered with white.  But we have a new section of garden planned.  When the terrible awful no good day happened and they dug up the driveway when they repaved it they left it ten feet short.  Some of that is now stones, some is paving stones, and some is a new garden.

So if we can survive two cold months of winter, then March will be here, and we can go out and work the Earth as a family again.

Sleep well flowers.  We will be back.




Sunday, December 28, 2014

Pups of the Week: Catching Up With This Year's Bridge Angels



They say the Universe is expanding daily.  This is true.  But the reason is a secret, one, given this is the end of another year, I will make you privy to.  The Universe is expanding because the immortal side of the River of Life is part of the Universe, and with new additions daily, it needs to keep expanding

As I wrote, it is the end of the year, and I thought you would like to catch up on the many friends who have crossed the River of Life this year.

First is a pup named Benjamin.  He was diagnosed with cancer late last year.  Knowing his song was ending, he made two great sacrifices.  First he found a dog to help his Mom deal with his loss, a baby girl named Bella, and then, to save his Mom the expensive end of life costs many of us endure, he ran in front of a car dying instantly.  For the past twelve months Benjamin has been visiting Bella in her dreams making sure all his Mom’s needs are being met.

Rocco was a police dog for the Pittsburgh Police Department.  When an escaped convict attacked one of his fellow officer’s Rocco jumped in front of his friend and was stabbed to death.  Today Rocco attends every swearing in ceremony at the Bridge, in full dress uniform, and while there is no violence here, there are many forgetful dogs.  Rocco has become a private detective and most importantly a great finder of lost things.

While the mortal side of the Bridge lost a great dog in February I was reunited with one of my closest friends and now she is one of my most highly regarded advisors.  Much as I did, Meika hid her illness from her parents until it overtook her one day and she was suddenly gone.  Along with helping me Meika watches over her Dad, and her Uncle Rob, who recently survived surgery, and her nephew Tonka.  She is a full time angel for many humans who need prayers and she never lets them down.

A week later Romey joined me here.  He was a young dog who ate a sock and did not survive.  He was the first dog to make me challenge the Big Guy.  While my fit of pique did not return Romey to his loving family my friend did impress the Big Guy and Romey now helps guard his mountain (although he always lets me pass.)  He also spends a lot of time in his sister Lacey’s dreams making sure that his parents are coping with his untimely passing.

Otis was not a young dog.  He was older, blind, and suffered from diabetes.  He was mostly home bound late in his life.  But that was fine with Otis.  He loved being with his Mom.  And the first thing he did when he came to the Bridge was look at his Mom in the River of Life watching her with fresh eyes.  And he has never stopped.  He is still there now, watching over his Mom, everyday is like it is the first time he has seen her.

My friend Daisy was from Australia and like me she crossed the River after a battle with cancer.  She loved running through the Australian countryside and she continues to do so today.  Whenever I got through the hills and valleys I see Daisy running and running, having the time of her afterlife.

Totti joined us in March.  I loved his blogs because he lived in Hong Kong, and I have always found exotic locations fascinating.  As I said the Immortal side of the Bridge is always expanding in Totti loves to explore the newest, furthest areas and sends me wonderful reports of what he’s done.

Khan was needed on the Immortal side of the River because his Mom and his brother needed a full time angel.  He sacrificed his mortal life to be able to watch over his beloved humans, and to fly their prayers up to the Big Guy several times a day.

Stonewall Jackson survived 17 years on the mortal side of the River.  He went through several illnesses but he fought through each one and stayed with his Mom as long as any dog ever could.  He had a hard time dealing with losing her, but now that he has he helps new angels deal with the loss of their Moms.

Chappy also joined us after a battle with cancer.  He was a member of the Gustavson pack, a legendary family throughout the dog world.  He is now here with his brothers 12 and Fuzzy and they are always ready for new arrivals making sure they know they have friends.  As he was on the Mortal side of life Chappy is a good chap and a great friend to all.

It is a long wait for us dogs here.  We don’t want our parents to come here, knowing they are loved and needed on the Mortal side, but we do miss them.  And we need something to pass the time.  Our Boston Terrier friends, members of the Neely pack, always keep us occupied with their daring do at ball chasing and agility.  When Brooklyn crossed the River of Life it broke her Mom’s heart but the rest of her pack here including Promise and McKinzie would not let her stay down, and soon Brooklyn was entertaining us as part of the Magnificent Neely Pack.

For longer than I can remember it has been an accepted fact that Moses is love.  This year his sister Susie came to the Bridge and now, when young dogs who have never known love ask what it is, we send them to Moses and Susie, and when humans who have never known love come our way we send them to see their grandmother who also joined us this year.

At the end of June we suffered, on both sides of the River, one of the worst days, when 20 dogs arrived, all who had been entrusted to the Green Acre Dog Boarding in Arizona, and passed over in a poorly ventilated room where they suffocated.  Those angels are now on a mission.  They are the guardian angels for every dog who is boarded and if there is any problem with the boarding facility they pop into the dreams of the dogs’ owners and make sure the pups are boarded elsewhere.

One of the great leaders here at the Bridge is Angel Apollo.  This year he was joined by two family members.  The first was Ace who has proven to be a wonderful assistant to him as Apollo performs his many duties at the Bridge.

Within a few weeks of one another, first Tupper, and then his brother Max, joined us at the Bridge.  It was a very sad time for everyone because we knew it crushed their mother.  As soon as they crossed the River first Max, and then Tupper, became guardian angels to all dogs in shelters, making them feel a little less alone, and a little more loved, every day.

Raider joined us the same week that Max did.  He spent lots of time overlooking his Mom to make sure she could carry on.  He then decided to help his namesakes, the Oakland Raiders, and helped them win a couple of games, but there is only so much a dog can do, so he has joined and Tupper and Max in being guardian angel for homeless pets.

Near the end of August one of the most important dogs ever to grace the Earth, Tommy Tunes, came to the Bridge.  Just as he changed the lives of all mortal dogs he did the same with us immortal dogs.  Instead of watching our loved one in the River of Life we can now watch them on the large screen TV that the Big Guy gave to Tommy as a beautiful reward.  Tommy’s house is the first stop for all newcomers after they get their wings.  Tommy is always prepared with a plate full of the new angel’s favorite treats.  Tommy has opened his mansion to so many pups that, like the universe it keeps expanding.  Some of us simply think of Tommy’s mansion as “home.”

Barnum arrived shortly after Tommy.  In fact he was the first angel that Tommy welcomed.  With Barnum was Chauncey, a member of Barnum’s pack who arrived at the Bridge before Barnum did.  Barnum, Tommy and Chauncey were all beagles and Tommy knew he could fully trust a pup from his own breed.  Barnum and Chauncey both assist Tommy in his good deeds

I received a lot of prayers that Hagan be made well but none of them were answered.   I was very frustrated by this and got myself in more trouble with the Big Guy.  Even though his prayers were denied Hagan has made it his mission to fly prayers to Big Guy up the mountain every day.

Poor Greta was just a baby when she ate something wild she shouldn’t have and got sick.  She crossed over the River shortly after that leaving her family broken hearted.  I hope they will be happy to hear that Greta is running through the mountains and valleys all day, still burning up that puppy energy she will have throughout eternity.

Poor Nike runs with her.  Nike got caught up in a flash flood in Arizona (I know, a flash flood in Arizona!) and the poor baby drowned.  She keeps Greta company as she runs through the fields and mountains….laughing all the way.
           
The next friend I met at the top of the Bridge was Cooper who has battled illnesses his entire life until he finally succumbed to cancer.  The Big Guy himself referred to Cooper as the perfect dog.  Aware of the pain his illnesses caused his Mom Cooper spends his days working at Bridge Lab hoping to find cures for the diseases that plagued him during his life.

Just a little while ago a cloud passed overhead.  I was worried it was another cloud full of tears but when I looked up I was delighted to see Dodie Ricca working on one of her many floating gardens.  It was a masterpiece.  One of the best gardens I have ever seen.

Crickette Anne came to our side of the River when her family was breaking up and her Mom moving.  She has done nothing but sit at Tommy’s watching over her family and visiting her Mom in her dreams trying to tell her it will be all right.

Princess Bailey is a Yorkie like me and arrived at the Bridge like I did, from cancer   I always give my Yorkie friends the chance to work with me and she has done a fantastic job organizing everything for me.  When she isn’t managing my affairs, which I was never good at, she is watching over her Mom.

Rocky, a beautiful German Shepard dog, kept his cancer hidden from his Mom for as long as he could before he passed.  He has only been gone from the mortal side of the Bridge for six weeks and he still spends lots of time checking on his Mom and visiting her in her dreams.
When he isn’t visiting his Mom he spends time with two other German Shepard Dogs who recently came to the Bridge under tragic circumstances:  Daddy and Taser.  Daddy was very sad and lost until Taser arrived.  But both boys knew the hole their dual loss left in their parents’ hearts.  They also watch over their Mom and Dad because that is what German Shepherds do:  They watch over those they love.

Shakira joined Apollo and Ace in managing Apollo’s many duties here at the Bridge.  And once Shakira came to the Bridge another duty was added to Apollo’s full agenda.  They look for needy dogs in their Mom’s area and make sure she finds them and takes care of them until they can find a forever home.

While the mortal side of the Bridge lost one of its most popular members in December the Bridge gained a new Sheriff who, like he did on the mortal side, makes sure everyone is having fun all the time.  That would be Sheriff Benjamin, the Sheriff of fun, and just seeing him flying around with his happy dust and proudly wearing his badge always makes me smile.

I am just about done with this.  I know what you are thinking, if you made it this far:  Too many.  Maybe this year will be the year the Universe stops expanding and we can say to our mortal friends:  Sorry there is no room here, stay where you are.

Maybe someday.  I can hear all the Angels on this list, laughing, singing, barking, slurping.  Yup  slurping.  Slurping up ice cream, milk shakes and frappes.  Tonight is the grand opening of Otis Campbell’s drug store and ice cream shop.  Our newest angel got it all together very quickly.  As I sit here, watching the sun set over the Mayberry Town Square, I want you to know that right now all your angels are together, and while they miss you, they are happy.

So I have to go now.  Otis is holding a chocolate shake for me.  Wishing you a happy, safe, healthy New Year, with no more expansion and no pups crossing the Bridge. 

Friday, December 26, 2014

Ask Aunt Foley: Whatever Happened to the Grinch



            Dear Aunt Foley:  I have been living happily for years with my adopted owner Cindy Lou Who but I don’t know what happened to my original Daddy who was known as the Grinch.  We lived together on Mount Crumpet and then one day he came up with an ill-advised plan to steal all the Christmas gifts in Whoville.  Luckily on Christmas morning he learned the error of his ways and returned all the gifts.  The last time I saw him he was carving the roast beast.  What ever happened to him?  Max

            Dear Max:  One thing about humans, either real or fictional, it only takes one bitter person to mess things up for everyone.  While almost all the Who’s in Whoville forgave the Grinch except Russ Sharpton Who had no forgiveness in his heart and had the Whoville police arrest the Grinch and get a search warrant for his home on Mount Crumpet.  When they arrived on Mount Crumpet the newly reformed Grinch was dismantling the final remnants of his crystal snow flake meth lab (the basis of his empire) and found enough evidence to have him criminally charged with unlawful entry, grand theft Christmas, illegal operation of a sleigh, posing as a mythical figure, and the production of crystal snow flake meth.

            The people of Whoville had forgiven the Grinch and even when the case came to trial the jury was sympathetic to him.  But when a confused Cindy Lou Who took the stand and talked about her sliding his candy cane in and out of her hand the jury turned on him and sadly he was convicted. 

            Ultimately despite his heart having grown larger he was convicted and sent to Christmas prison where he is incarcerated with Ebeneezer Scrooge (labor/management violations); Old Man Potter (theft and embezzlement) the Burgermeister Meisterburger (improper use of government funds) and Mr. Heat Miser (EPA violations, contributing to global warming.)

            But, even incarcerated they keep the true spirit of Christmas alive.  Mr. Scrooge pays for the Christmas goose, Old Man Potter sends one of his lackeys to get it, the Bugermister, who still hates toys, cleans up the rec room for dinner, the Heat Miser cooks the bird and the Grinch carves the roast goose.

            So wherever you are and whoever you are forced to be with remember you can keep Christmas in your heart and no matter who the company is you can find it in your heart to enjoy the day.