Friday, September 29, 2017

Tails From Rainbow Bridge: A Prayer for Puerto Rico


Citizens of the United States have been devastated by three hurricanes this summer, Harvey, Irma, and Maria.  Two of these storms caused Americans react with solidarity, money, and prayers.  The third, Maria, has been termed a near miss to the mainland.
But there is still Puerto Rico, the fifty-first stepchild in a fifty child family.  The people of Puerto Rico are citizens of the United States just at the colonists in North America were citizens of Great Britain before the Revolutionary War.  Puerto Rico is in no position to fight the States for independence, but Americans need to remember that, despite not having the right to vote or representation in Congress, they are part of us.
My parents have many friends who have family on the island.   Scores of those family members have lost their houses, have no electricity, food or water, and witnessing a climbing death level.  They are living in the worst conditions any American citizens have endured in decades.
Not only do our parents have friends from Puerto Rico but so do we.  Our besties Max and Baron were both rescued from the streets of Puerto Rico.  Few stray dogs survived the flooding.  If it weren't for Max and Baron’s wonderful rescue parents, they would not be with us today.
The citizens of Puerto Rico are just like people living in the States.  They work hard, want what is best for the family, love and will not leave, their pets.
That devotion nearly cost Sandra Harasimowicz and her husband Gary Rosario their lives.  They miscalculated Maria’s ferocity and tried to ride out the storm with their eight cats and seven dogs.  The couple did send their two children to higher ground but would not abandon their pets
The couple lived near a river that crested its bank and water slammed into their abode.  It quickly filled with water  They put the cats on top of the cabinets and then struggled to carry their dogs to the roof where they clung to solar panels.  Several times one of the frightened dogs jumped into the water and Gary swam out to save them.  When the storm passed the water receded to below their knees, they went back to their mud-filled homes.
Sandra and Gary tried to salvage what they could from their home.  At night they put all their dogs in a top bunk and snuggled together.  But the water rose again, and they had to break into a neighbor’s house and spend the night in their rooftop annex.
Sandra and Gary will not be rebuilding.  After twelve years, and two hellish nights they have decided to move.  As a neighbor said, “Puerto Rico is destroyed.”
It has been a year with many disasters, and good people have donated more money than they can afford to help hurricane victims.
But if you have any spare change you can help people in need by donating here
In the words of Lin Manuel Miranda:
“Your citizens are suffering. Stop the bleeding, stop the loss
Help Puerto Rico. It's just a hundred miles across”

Thursday, September 28, 2017

From the Desk of Pocket Dog: Precious New Art Work From Enzo's Mom

Humans don’t like plain walls.  Blank spaces bother them for some reason.  They go to galleries and buy expensive artwork to cover their empty walls.
My parents have been very fortunate.  They have framed paintings, photos, and pictures everywhere, but seldom have they paid for them.  Their walls are supported by our friends and family.
Daddy's Mom did two paintings in their living room.  He found them in her cellar shortly after she passed away.  She had them wrapped in garbage bags.  Like all artists, she found unseen imperfections in her work that caused her to discard the paintings, but the creator can only see those flaws, and to us the works are perfect.
Along two other walls are pictures of her seldom seen grandchildren and, above the television, which all stare at dutifully, are pictures of we three dogs, done by Freddy’s dad Steve and Leo’s mom Eileen.  
The kitchen is also the Connie Gross Art Gallery.  There are nine paintings and drawings along hallway and kitchen wall one by Zoe Boe’s mom.  They are all of Foley and I and chronicle our lives together.  Each one is cherished.
This week we received two new beautiful pieces of artwork from Enzo’s Mom Kathy.  I stole my Mom’s ringing camera and took two pictures of her very kind gift.
My parents love the sea.  They have come from generations of people who have stood on the docks and watched people sail off to risk their lives for a living then gratefully eat what they caught while complaining they got salt water on their good shoes.  One of the paintings Nana did is a seascape, so Enzo’s Mom’s picture fit perfectly at our house.
Enzo and his mom are a fantastic team.  They are a real renaissance couple having mastered writing, art, and humor.  They bring joy to our friends every day.  And now we have these drawings, which are true glimpses into the artist’s soul to brighten our lives each day.  There is no greater gift than art.  It is the gift of imagination more precious than a rare stone.
Aunt Kathy insisted we recognize Willie’s mom Sandy Von Nostrand, who has encouraged her artwork and patiently helped Aunt Kathy find the brilliant artist inside of her.  But we think Aunt Sandy would agree the credit all goes to Enzo’s fantastic mom.
Enzo lives with his mom on her mountain, and it is unlikely that my parents, who don’t travel further west than Worcester, will ever know the joy of meeting her, but now that Miss Kathy has treated them with this part of her heart they can experience meeting a part of her every time they look at it.
Thank you so much, Enzo and his mom.
You have made my mom very happy and, like the other artists whose works are on our walls, we owe her a great debt that we will spend the rest of our days trying to repay.

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Monday, September 25, 2017

Monday Question

Do you spin around before you lie down to sleep?
Do you kick you back legs after you poop or pee?
Do you kick your leg when someone scratches your belly?
Pocket: I spin around a few time very settling down. I don't kick my back legs after doing my business or kick my leg.
River Song: I spin, shake, spin again, and fuss for five minutes before sitting down. Occasionally I will kick my back legs after doing my business. I don't kick my leg.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

Abigail is our September 24, 2017 Pup of the Week

She had no name, no home, and no chance.  Her right ear had been ripped off.  The skin was hanging off her face.  She was alone walking down a street in Southern Florida, looking for a place to lie down.
Someone found her, near death, and brought her to Miami’s busy city shelter, where she needed a miracle to keep her from joining us angels.
Her miracle arrived with the name Victoria Fraizer who saw the poor pup’s picture on Facebook and fearing she would euthanized contacted them.  She named the baby Abigail and brought her to Pets First Wellness Center where her veterinarian, Thomas Jackson, determined that Abigail had been involved in dogfighting.
The wrap covering Abigail’s wounds resembled a bonnet, so Victoria bought several headbands for her.  The headbands were placed over the bandages.  Abigail, knowing her life depended on it, happily posed for pictures, which were uploaded by Victoria and a viral sensation was born.  
When Abigail was ready to leave the hospital, Victoria brought her home and sought the perfect parents for her.  She found them, Megan Steinke and her husband Jason who had already rescued another pittie, Tala.  Abigail’s life of pain, torture, and fear were over.  She was finally home.
The Steinke’s continued Abigail’s prominent online presence.   She has her own Facebook Page  (WARNING:  GRAPHIC IMAGES) and  Instagram page which has been used to increase awareness in pitbull rescues, overall adoptions, and second-chance dogs.  Right now Abigail and Tara are raising money for the children affected by the hurricanes, just one of their many causes.
Victoria stayed part of Abigail’s life, and she entered Abigail in the hero dog contest.  Each candidate raised money for a charity.  Abigail’s charity is Dogs on Deployment an organization that finds homes for dogs whose parents have been deployed overseas.
On September 16, in a ceremony that will be broadcast on the Hallmark Ceremony on October 26, Abigail was named dog hero of the year.  There were many celebrities at the gala but, besides Abigail, the real people to be celebrated were on stage too, Victoria, Dr. Jackson, and the Steinkes.
Abigail went from unloved, abused, homeless dog, to celebrity, hero, and champion of underprivileged dogs.
Everyone can learn lessons from Abigail.  Mine is that no matter how low you get never give up.  Like Abigail, your miracle might be right around the corner.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Tails From Rainbow Bridge: Sailing the High Seas with Jazzmiin



Tuesday was National Pirate Day.  There is nothing I enjoy more than taking to the high seas as a pirate.  I got my cocky hat out, put on my eye patch, strapped on my sword, gave Jazzmin some booty to be my first mate, and we boarded the SS Foley and took to the high seas.

I climbed the mast, and I pointed us towards the sun.  Jazzmin, a relatively new angel, was nervous about having an adventure but I told her it was Pirate day, what could go wrong?

Except for a larger pirate ship with real pirates.  They rammed into us and boarded our vessel.  I got off the mast and ran behind Jazzmin.  “What are you doing?” Jazzmin asked.

“You are bigger than me, and I am your captain, so you must protect me.”

“Un-uh sister,” Jazzmin said.  “This was your dumb idea.”

She pushed me forward.  There was a big, smelly, peg-legged pirate in front of me.  “What are you doing on the high seas little dog?” he asked.

“It is National Pirate Day!” I told him.  “My friend Jazzmin and I came out here to have an adventure.”

“So you are pretend pirates?” he asked holding his sword near me.  I nodded and trembled.  “Well that is so annoying,” the pirate said  “I spend my whole life raping and pillaging, and I get no respect.  Nobody dresses up, or names sports teams after Vikings!”  I told him that they did.  “Then why don’t you go dressing like a Viking?” he asked.

“I don’t like the pointy horns,” I answered.

“And there are no ships,” Jazzmn helpfully pointed out.

“Of course there are ships,” the pirate insisted.  

“How do you think they got to bloody North America.”

“We don’t believe in that,” Jazzmin said.

“Yes, the Italians are very protective of Columbus Day,” I added.

The pirate sat down.  “We used to be scary; we used to be feared.  Now we are nothing but cosplay characters.  I blame Johnny Depp.”

“That Captain Hook didn’t do much for you either,” Jazzmin added.

“Yes,” I agreed, “whenever I dream about pirates now it is usually Christopher Walken singing.”

“Bah, what a nightmare,” the pirate said.  “Look, you two seem like two nice little dogs, we will let you go, but don’t come out here as pirates again, and make sure you tell all your friend how frightening we were.”

Jazzmin and I kissed the pirate to thank him and waited until he sailed away before we spit his skanky beard hair from our mouths.   When we docked, I was checking my Angel-Phone to see when our next adventure day would be but Jazzmin assured me she would be doing her hair that day.

As I walked home, I looked back and saw a small pirate sail ship on the seas.

I know he wants me to say they were ferocious but I found them darn cute.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

River Song: Common Night Walker


Now that summer is ending my sister, and I have gone back to being common nightwalkers.   Our exercise time is after supper.  With the cooler weather approaching Mother Nature has to save on energy to pay the heating bill, so it gets dark earlier.  

My parents enjoy walking us in the dark.  We don’t have any interruptions.  If it is sunlight, there are white walkers slowly roaming the site in packs.  They get Pocket, and I worked up by moving at a slow, steady pace and not paying attention to us.  Nothing causes unrest for my sister, and I like being ignored.  We start barking to get their attention but most of the time the deaf bastards just keep walking.

Occasionally a white walker, usually a woman, will pay attention to us, but for some reason, we both get hit with a case of the stupids.  We bark, run to them, backup, bang heads, stagger around, nip at one another, and eventually chase them off with nothing but a mental note in their head to donate to the United Lap Dog College Fund.

Last week, when we were on our last walk of the evening, close to midnight, just a quick jaunt down the street so I can sniff and Pocket can take her late night poop, we came to a storm drain.  My sister and I looked down the opening while Daddy, who was walking us solo, pulled on our leashes trying to dislodge us from our pursuit when we both began to bark angrily into the drain and pull on our leash.

All the white walkers go to bed at 8:00 to make sure they see the sunrise and were promised another day, so Daddy hates when we bark late at night, but our attention to the storm drain particularly bothered him as he wondered what had our attention, and then he yelled “Pennywise!” pulled us away from the drain and began dragging us back to the house, leaving a trail of late night Pocket poop in the middle of the road.  He got us inside, double locked the door, and shut out the lights.

What did we see down the drain?  We will never say.

But if you ever want to scare the poop out of your parents, and you walk at night, bark down a storm drain.

Man does that freak them out.




Monday, September 18, 2017

Monday Question

What is your stance on fetch? Do you play or decline?
Pocket: I love to play fetch with my red ball. I chase it, and I usually bring it back, but sometimes I just stand over it and bark until Daddy fetches it and throws it again.
River Song: I chase but I don't bring it back. I just play with it where it landed

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Rocket is our September 17 2017 Pup of the Week

Harvey has been a time for hero rescuers, and a few of the rescuers who saved people had been saved themselves,  not by Joel Osteen, but by people willing to get their hands and paws dirty.  
This is the story of a hero dog, with black and white coloring and cute freckles on his snout,  named Rocket.  He is a border collie mix who got extra doses of border collie energy.  That power betrayed him, and the dog who loved to run and play found himself in a cage at a Sacramento shelter with his name on a kill list and his ticket to the Bridge punched.
Luckily someone recognized that Rocket’s obsessive behavior could make him an excellent search and rescue dog.  
Rocket was removed from death row and trained in search and rescue by the Search Dog Foundation based in Southern California who looks for dogs in kill shelters to train for rescue operations.  He happily showed off all he had learned when he was tested to become a member of the team.  He promptly failed.
But Rocket must have had his own angels looking after him because a volunteer still believed in Rocket and gave him special lessons.  Given another second chance Rocket passed the test and joined the team.  
Rocket was given a human partner, firefighter Mike Stornetta from Windsor, California.  Rocket got his first taste at saving people when there was a plane crash in Northern California in 2016, two years after he joined the squad.  He proved himself to be a valuable member of the team.  
Denise Sander, the communication officer for the Search Dog Foundation says to dogs like Rocket it isn’t work, but a big game of find the human, and Rocket excels at it.  
That is why he along with 11 other rescued dogs, have been in Texas working to save people affected by Hurricane Harvey.  Two of them were Jester, who was, as a puppy surrendered because he regularly jumped the fence, and is now a FEMA-certified search dog, and Java, a plott hound mix.
Now these dogs, rescued from death row, are saving humans from death.
We have all, in a way, been rescued from an uncertain existence by our families, and we have all, in our way, rescued them.
But some of us have much more dramatic stories.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Tails From Rainbow Bridge: Giving Thanks for the Internet


When the Internet first began no one knew what to do with it.  You had to use your phone line, people’s importance was verified by a mechanical voice telling them they had mail, they gathered in chat rooms to type at strangers, and, of course, there was porn.
We are still in the early stages of the Internet.  Someday people will look back on us using the ‘net as we look back on people using cars for the first time, cranking them up, rolling around slowly in open carriages with skinny tires.  It will all seem so very comic.
This week I think we might have found out what this mysterious tool is to be used for.  Certainly giving us pups a way to bark at one another is noble, and bringing friends together is important, but it seems for each positive use for this marvelous apparatus the evil people have used it to spread their wicked beliefs.   
Sometimes it takes a catastrophe to see clearly.   The Internet only has one clear purpose, and that is to let us communicate with the ones we loved when the world had been blown upside down.  Twenty years ago what happened in Houston, and again a few days later in Florida, would have left friends and family members deeply concerned about loved ones who took the storm’s full brunt and were now unreachable.
Today we could stay in touch with our friends throughout the storm:  We knew the Laambies left New Port Richey just before the storm hit and made it safely to Orlando; we got a message from the Triple T’s Mom that they were safe in Yalaha even though a small tornado touched down in their yard; we were able to keep in contact with Freddy Girl and her dad who escaped with roof damage and the fence that keeps Freddy from escaping, Angel Lady Bug and her neighbor Hobo Hudson in Ruskin came through the storm with no damage.  When Hurricane Andrew hit all these people would have been out of touch, and we would have been consumed with worry (or not, because we would never have met any of these wonderful people.)
So, people may use the Internet for whatever foolish reasons they want.  It can make us happy, or sad, or infuriated, during the calm, but during a storm, it becomes nothing but a force for good.
And, as always, porn.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

Covering My Butt by Pocket Dog

Parents learn a lot of lessons from us, mostly about loyalty and love.  I know they think that it is reciprocated when they “train” us but we aren’t learning, we just agree to let them think they are in charge.  But there is something important I learned from my parents.  How to cover my ass.
Humans use this term a lot but they rarely literally do it.  I know they put at least one, mostly two, and sometimes more, layers of clothing between their ass and the breeze, but that isn’t what is meant by these words.  It means to make sure no one can blame you for anything.
While I certainly don’t want anyone to blame me “covering my ass” means making sure my ass is covered.  I want my butt pressed up against something.  When I sleep, I push my behind against one of my parents.  When I sit with one of them, I make sure my butt is resting against the back or the side of a chair.  When my parents leave I go in the crate where my kitty condo is and I back in.  Nothing is getting to my butt.
There is a reason for my butt vigilance.  Even though we have become domesticated we dogs are always ready to take it to the streets if things go down, so we keep our instincts honed.
Part of our street instincts is to keep something behind our butts.  Whatever happens on the outside, in front of us, we can handle with our sharp teeth.  But we don’t have eyes in the back our head, we only have butts, so that is why I am only comfortable when my ass is pressed against something so no one can get to me from behind,
When I get nervous, which is often, because nervous is my default setting, I climb up to the highest point in the room, which is usually Daddy’s head, and sit on it, so I can survey the area and still have my butt protected.  Anyone who wants to get to my head has to go through Daddy’s thick skull.
Come to think of it, perhaps a man with an agitated dog covering his ass came up with the term “covering my ass” for human use.
So that is something else we have taught our parents.  Covering their asses.
I wonder if politicians have lots of dogs.
They seem to cover their asses better than anyone.

Monday, September 11, 2017

Monday Question

We have just had two terrible storms. What is the worst storm you have encountered:
Pocket: When I was three, and we lived in the condo, we got 11 inches of rain in two days and our basement flooded. The rain didn't bother me but all the work that went into drying out and restoring the basement bothered me a great deal.
River: My first winter with my family we had a storm and got two feet of snow. The wind slammed against the house and the snow pounded the against the window. When I got up the snow was more than a foot above my head and I had nowhere to pee.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Comforting Therapy Dogs are our September 10, 2017 Pups of the week


With Irma threatening the lives of our friends, with ceaseless threats of war occurring around the world, with new concerns continually being discovered, and the over riding emotion in the world being worry, it is time for the planet to get its own therapy dog.

It is no wonder that people realize that we dogs have a greater purpose than to hunt and retrieve balls.  We are here to help humans, and we are just beginning to reach our potential.

An increasing amount of people, businesses are recruiting therapy dogs to help overly stressed out humans deal with the insanity of their lives.

There are few places more stressful than the airport.  At LAX hurried passengers, and harried passengers can lower their heart rates and their blood pressure by meeting the emissaries of the Pets Unstressing Passengers (or PUP) program, who are walking through the airport with their human companions to meet, greet, and calm passengers as they wait to board their plane.   Parents traveling with nervous children find the program especially comforting for their young travelers.  The program is expanding to other airports as we prove that a good rub behind the ears is good for both the scratcher and the scratchee.

But it is not just at airports where our unique skills are being put to use.  College students, both freshman, and returning students were greeted by therapy dogs to calm their nerves and help transition to college lives.  The dogs will return to help the students before midterms and finals.  We dogs are helping build the future leaders of the country one decreased heartbeat at a time.

Humans who find themselves in highly stressful jobs, such as 911 operators, are getting visits from therapy dogs to help them do their jobs calmly and more efficiently.  The next time your human needs to call 9-11, they should be comforted by the fact that the person answering the phone is listening intently and calmly handling the situation thanks to a delightful dog.

There are dozens of other places where we work to keep humans calm and focused:  Nursing homes, hospitals, libraries, and schools are just some places where dogs are making new friends and bringing them to a peaceful state.  Of course, dogs never meet strangers; they meet friends they have not encountered yet.

With the horrible storms that are ruining properties and lives ravishing the country, I am sure we dogs will be called into new situations to help, and we will proudly do it because all we need to do is serve man.

We have a new motto:  “Wherever there is a man who is ready to cry, wherever a senior needs a reason not to die, wherever someone is struggling to get through the day, look for us dogs, we won’t be far away.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Tails From Rainbow Bridge: Flying in the Hurricane with 12, Chappy and Fuzzy


The deluge of weather related prayers have continued.  We angels have barely had a moment’s rest.  We wish we could do more.

I had just settled under the covers after a 14-hour grind of prayer delivery when there was the sound of a giant paw banging on my door.  I crawled out of bed and opened the door.  12, my massive angel friend and his brothers Chappy and Fuzzy Bacon stood in my doorway.

“Do you know what my mom did?” 12 asked.  “She got someone to go to Tommy Tunes’ Dad’s house to board up his windows for him before Irma hits.  She is his guardian angel.  We have to help my mom aid our friends.”

I invited them inside and made them cocoa.  “I understand you boys want to help people, we all do.  I have even met with Mother Nature.  She is one fierce witch.  But there is nothing we can do.”

12 cleared his throat.  “If Mommy can get Tommy’s Dad’s windows boarded up from four time zones away then there must be something we can do.”

“I wish I could think of something buddies but I can’t.”

“What if,” Chappy began, “like a team an angel superheroes we fly into the hurricane?”

I spit out my cocoa.  “Fly into a hurricane?  We would be knocked to Jupiter.”

“I don’t think so,” 12 said.  “I have the size and strength to impede the storm, Chappy has the charm to lessen its anger, Fuzzy has the ferocity to combat it, and a hurricane is nothing but a bunch of swirling air.  No one sucks the air out of a room like you Foley.”  Everyone else’s superpowers sounded so much more impressive.

“Our jobs are to be angels,” Chappy contributed.  “If that means flying into the hurricane in a feat of futility then that is what we do.”

“It is futile Chappy!” I said.  “But, we are angels, and the job of an angel is often futile, so I say let’ fly.”

We took off that night because if you are going to do something stupid you need to do it right away before you think it through.   We approached the storm from the west.  12 took the lead.  We flew into the wind, and the four of us bounced off of it.  We regrouped.  Chappy suggested we form a spear with 12 at the tip.  We flew into the storm again, and this time we penetrated deep inside of it.  We were violently thrashed back and forth.  12 put his shoulder to it and tried to get it to move, Chappy tried to reason with it, Fuzzy barked at it, and I tried to suck up as much wind as I could.  

We found ourselves in the eye of the storm.  Chappy told us to follow him, and he found a weak spot, and we flew out of the hurricane.  We landed at my house where we all curled up and went to sleep.

we awoke, we hurried to see what fury the storm had wrought.  I don’t know if we accomplished anything except giving ourselves some bruises, but even if we were able to decrease the wind speed by one mile an hour, or push it just a mile out to sea, it was worth it.

Every little bit helps when the rain falls, the wind blows hard, and the tide surges.  

I know, like 12, Fuzzy and Chappy’s mom everyone will do what they can to help.  We are all one another’s angels.  








Thursday, September 7, 2017

River and Mom: A Late Night Conversation

Everyone knows that dogs and human can’t communicate.  Except for a singular moment when humans are on the edge of sleeping and wakefulness.  What happens in those moments are swept away like the remnants of a dream

It takes a long time to learn when your parents reach that moment.  It lasts only a few seconds.  If you start too soon, the human only hears barking, and you get shushed. Start too late, and they are asleep.

Sunday night I was able to speak to my Mom during that perfect moment.

“Mommy,” I whispered, hoping she would hear me.

“Yes, River?”  I was in!

“Is tomorrow special?”

“It’s Labor Day.”

“What’s Labor Day?”

“It’s a holiday.  Humans don’t have to work.”

“What are you going to do?”

“Work in the garden.”

“But, it’s Labor Day.  You aren’t supposed to work.”

“I am retired, and Daddy works weekends, so Monday is our garden day.  We will rest Tuesday.”

“You’re a rebel Mommy,” I said.

She smiled.  “Is there anything else tomorrow?” I asked.

“It is Pocket’s birthday.”

“Is she we going to get special food and gifts?”

“No.  Your sister can’t eat anything special without getting sick, and except for her ball she doesn’t play with toys.”

“We can still do special food and gifts,” I offered.  “And I will eat them and play with them.”

“We just did that for your birthday.”

“I know, and it was awesome.  Let’s do it again.”

“Now that wouldn’t be fair to Pocket.”
I looked at my clueless sister sleeping next to Daddy.  “So what is she going to get?”

“Lots of snuggle time, lap time, scratches, extra lap time, and love.”
“At my expense?” I asked stunned.

“Maybe.”

“Oh man, birthday are like farts.  When they are yours, they are OK but when they are someone else’s they suck.”

Mommy smiled again and then she slipped off to sleep to visit Foley.

The next day Pocket got extra attention, and I walked around all day like I smelled a fart.







Monday, September 4, 2017

Monday Queston

How easy have you been to train?

Pocket:  Train?  What does that mean?  Many have tried, all have failed.  If I weighed ten more pounds I would be a terror instead of a little ball of cuteness.

River Song:  I trained pretty easily.  I can sit, and give paw, and come.  I am not good at being quiet but who wants a perfect dog?

Sunday, September 3, 2017

Jazzmin, Toulouse and Otis are our September 3, 2017 Pups of the Week

I have had too many new angels to greet this week.  We spirits have been very busy with prayers for Texas, and I would have appreciated if the Big Guy didn’t bring any of my friends to the Bridge, but he did.  I am told he works in mysterious ways, but often it seems like he is not functioning at all.  Maybe more angels were needed.  But I don’t know why one of them had to be an old friend, another a new friend, and the third family.
The old friend was sweet Jazzmin.  I have known her for years, going back to when we dogs built the Internet so we could communicate in a manner other than barks and pee mail.  I had no idea that Jazzmin was expected at the Bridge.  I had not heard a bark or sniffed a pee that said she was ill.  But one day this week Jazzmin went to sleep in the mortal world and woke up immortal.
Usually, when this occurs the new angel awakens confused, but Jazzmin knew exactly where she was.  She always put her mom, Debi Wallace, first.  When Jazzmin knew her heartbeats were dwindling, she arranged to pass in her sleep, so her mom did not have to go through the pain of deciding to help her, or to have the added expense.  While Jazzmin’s crossing over has left Debi brokenhearted, she knows her special girl left the mortal world, in the same manner, she lived in it:  On her terms and with her mom in her heart.
Jazzmin is now with her brother Bernie.  They are running in the fields and mountains.   They are watching over Debi in the River of Life.  They are visiting their mom in her dreams.  And they are flying into the sun to see her as small flying creatures or ghosts, to play mischief with their mom, to move things and make stuff go bump in the night, so Debi will know her babies were there.
The new friend is Toulouse.  He is the senior member of at All in the Family pack. Toulouse was a little dog but a big fighter.  Three years ago he was diagnosed with diabetes and needed daily shots.   Fourteen months ago the doctors told his parents he had cancer.  Eight months ago he started losing his vision.  But Toulouse fought through it all to stay with his parents.
Toulouse is a small dog with a big name.  His family nicknamed him Mr. T.  If you saw him playing with the larger members of his pack, you will know the name is very fitting.  Mr. T. was the boss of the pack, a tough, scrappy, little fighter who passed to the immortal side of the River in his Dad’s arms while being rushed to the vet.  He accumulated many more heartbeats than the doctors thought possible after his cancer surgery, and every one of those heartbeats was filled with love.
Toulouse’s parents have had a difficult time coping without having him by their side.  His other pack members are working overtime to comfort their parents, and Mr. T is trying to send them a sign that he is still with them, but sometimes it is hard for a spirit to break through the grief.  Toulouse will keep trying and, just like he beat the odds by living a long life I know he will beat the odds and let his parents know they will be together again someday.
The last dog to arrive was my Dad’s cousin Jan’s dog Otis.  Long time readers might remember Dad’s Aunt Bev, who convinced Mommy that she would love having a small dog, which led to Mommy getting Blake, and then finding me.  Without Cousin Jan’s mom, Aunt Bev all that has happened since would never have occurred.
On my first full day with my parents, they took me to see Aunt Bev and Uncle Bob.  Cousin Jan was there with her husband Michael and their little son Mike who liked me a lot.  I knew I was in a good family right away.  I don’t know if Cousin Jan had Otis then, or got him a short time later because Otis and I are the same age, but he was always family to me.
Cousin Jan need not worry about Otis being alone, Aunt Bev and Uncle Bob were there to greet Otis, and he is playing with all the dogs who came before him.  If she ever needs to get a message to him, she should let me know.
Because that is the kind of thing family does.  

Friday, September 1, 2017

Tails From Rainbow Bridge: Prayers for Texas



Twelve years ago this week Hurricane Katrina caused massive flooding in New Orleans.  Thousands of people were stranded in the rising water.  The government was ill prepared for the disaster.  Now the country is faced with another epic disaster, the flooding in Houston caused by Hurricane Harvey.  Thankfully, the government has learned many lessons in emergency management during that time, not only to rescue humans but to rescue beloved pets too.

In New Orleans, as the city was being evacuated, residents were told that pets could not go.  Many people, acting the same way my readers would refused to leave their pets behind, and they perished in the flood.  It was the sacrifice that these people made that caused rescuers to realize that to many people pets are family, and they needed to be included in the evacuation.

When rescuers found Joe Garcia, chest deep in water at his north Houston home, he went back in his house and carried out his German Shepherd Heidi, carefully keeping Heidi’s head above water as he carried her to the boat.  When the water began to rush in under Belinda Penn’s front door, she put her dogs Winston and Baxter in their crates and retreated to the second floor.  The next morning they were rescued and brought to Mrs. Penn’s mother’s apartment on higher ground.

Unfortunately, dogs still got left behind if there was no room in the boat.  Human life must come before our lives.  We are always willing to give up our lives for our humans.  During Katrina, dogs were not allowed in shelters, but in Houston, they have been welcomed.  

Sadly, not every pet owner care for their pets the way our parents do.  Many dogs were left abandoned.  They were rescued by neighbors or by other kinds hearted humans in boats.  They are in shelters across the country.  They are scared, and alone, and don’t know what happened to their family but they are alive, and they have a second chance, which many of the Katrina dogs never had.

We have also had many dogs arrive here because of the terrible storm:  Frank, an English bulldog, caught in a current and swept away, Freddy, a black and white pitbull who ran into the flooded street, and many other dogs, pets and cattle were lost
At times of tragedy, the Internet becomes a place of love and caring.  One example is  this Facebook Groupwhere people who are willing to risk their lives to rescue dogs reach out to people who are missing dogs and other animals or know where those in need are.

The truth is, in the mortal world, we can’t count on governments to save us.  We need one another, both human and animals.  We have seen the worst nature can do, and the best man can do, in Houston. 

They didn’t do it to win; they didn’t do it for fame or fortune, they did it for the noblest reason.  Because it was right and it was kind.

There is still hope for you humans yet.