Wednesday, March 22, 2017
Tuesday, March 21, 2017
Sunday, March 19, 2017
Tanner Bub and I have been friends for nearly ten years. We were buds when we were young and mortal, and we still are. Seven years ago Tanner went to Rainbow Bridge. I had the great honor of walking him to the Bridge, where, with a soft kiss, we parted company.
Four years later he would meet me at the foot of that same Bridge when it was my turn to become immortal. He was accompanied by his little brother Ruger, and his wife Sophie who had joined him before my arrival. They helped me in adjusting to my new immortal life.
Ruger was selected by Tanner to take his spot in his mom’s heart. It was not part of Tanner’s plans to have Ruger join him when Ruger was very young. Ruger’s departure hurt his mom as much as Tanner’s passing had and Tanner promised that his mom would not feel that pain for a long time.
Tanner took particular interest in his sister Cocoa Puff. Not many Angels who crossed seven years ago still have beloved siblings in the mortal world. Tanner has personally flown prayers up the mountain to the Big Guy and bargained with him to keep Cocoa and his mom together. Through every cough, bump, and seizure Cocoa knew her big brother was working to keep her with her mom.
But this past week Tanner had to bargain like he never had before. Cocoa contracted an infection which attacked her left eye. Poor Cocoa’s eye soon became red and swollen. Her vision was gone. She was in a terrible amount of pain. The only option was surgery to remove the eye. Such surgery is dangerous in the best of times, but with a senior dog, it is especially risky.
Tanner was very nervous the days before Cocoa’s surgery. He spent a lot of time haggling with the Big Guy. I know the Big Guy’s answer was not specific. When we played with Tanner or just talked, Tanner’s words would fade away, or he would stop playing and stare towards the river, his sister and his mom were never far from his mind.
On the mortal side, Cocoa was more than willing to lose an eye to stay with her mom. She would give all her senses to be with her, to continue to give comfort. She is brave and strong. She knew if she were given a chance, just the slimmest of chances, she would stay with her mom. During the surgery, thanks to the doctor’s skilled hands, on Tanner persistence, Cocoa lost her eye, but regained her health, and stayed with her mom.
Cocoa is back home recovering, Tanner is a lot less nervous, their mom is very relieved, and Ruger wants me to throw him a ball.
For a human, the loss of an eye can be devastating, for Cocoa it is a small price to pay to stay with her mom.
With Tanner on her side, we believe Cocoa will be there for many more years.
Friday, March 17, 2017
On the mortal side of the River of Life, folks have become obsessed with people spying on them. I don’t want anyone spying on my parents. Having lived with them my whole life, I knew what they do, and I certainly don’t want anyone else knowing. I needed to spy on the spies to keep my parents safe.
I have learned never to go on a spy mission without backup. Yorkies make the best sleuths. We are quiet, smart, stealth, quick witted, and small. I went to the top of the biggest apartment building and recruited my friend Chelsea. When I told her about the spying she reacted as she always did when informed of my schemes: Chelsea rolled her eyes, shook her head, but agreed to follow me because she was bored.
We went to my parent's house. It was late at night. My parents were sound asleep. Chelsea and I wore lights around our heads. I shined mine in the bedroom and motioned for my sisters to keep quiet. Chelsea and I then flew over to the microwave. We were both able to fit inside. We found the camera. Before we unhooked it, we posed for a dozen pictures. If you are small enough microwaves are great picture booths.
“Foley, why is the government photographing people’s microwaves?” Chelsea asked.
“They want to know how much popcorn our parents are popping.”
“Corn is grown in Iowa. The first Presidential caucus is held in Iowa. I have been studying humans forever Chelsea. They are consumed by two things. Money, votes and their dirty bits. Wait that is three things. The are consumed by three things. Write that down for me would you Chels?”
We moved to the laptops and tablets. I opened them and began typing
“What are you doing?” Chelsea asked.
“I am putting in codes so no one in the government can spy on my parents. I don’t want the government to know what they, or more importantly we, are doing.”
“But Foley you have recorded every moment of your life on the Internet for the last ten years. What do you have to hide?”
Just as Chelsea asked I wiped out my stash of kitty porn from the memory. “We all have something to hide,” I told innocent Chelsea.
Just as Chelsea asked I wiped out my stash of kitty porn from the memory. “We all have something to hide,” I told innocent Chelsea.
Our next target was the television. I found a small camera contained in the remote control sensor. I was able to pull it out with my teeth.
“Why would the government want to watch our parents watch TV?” Chelsea asked.
“The government loves to watch people watch. You learn a lot about people by watching the watchers. Plus they know what you watch. That’s why you should tell Ashton to tell your mom only to watch Family Feud. Plus Steve Harvey is darn funny.”
Before the night was done I removed a listening device from the toaster; lint from the dryer (darnit mommy! It is a fire hazard); suspicious glasses from the dishwasher; the numbers eight and six from the clock radio (take that Agent 86); the mute button from the remote (our voices never will be silenced); and changed all the contacts on their phones to John Doe so the government doesn’t know who they are conspiring with.
We finished just before my parents awoke. Chelsea and I flew back to the Bridge.
I told Chelsea that tomorrow night we would go to her mom’s house.
“That’s OK Foley,” Chelsea said. “Frankly, I think you’re a paranoid nut job.”
Chelsea flew off to her high rise. I sighed and shook my head.
To Chelsea’s mom, please be careful what you pop, watch, read, search for, or wash. I am going to try and convince Chelsea to debug all your appliances.
And anyone reading this, your computer will self-destruct in one minute, unless it is a Samsung. If so it likely that it is already on fire
Thursday, March 16, 2017
Never celebrate the end of winter in February.
Two weeks ago I was bemoaning the fact that winter had disappeared just as I was conquering my fear of going outside in the cold. I was confident, after a long, beautiful, summer that I would no longer be bothered by winter.
Then winter came back with a fury. The temperature hovered near zero. We had a snowstorm, and a few days later a blizzard. I was thrust back into cold and freezing wet.
I attempted to go out and do my business. It was an epic fail.
At night, before bedtime, no matter the weather, Pocket needs a short walk, at least past a few driveways, before she doubles (produces a number two). I pout if I don’t get to go with them, even if the weather is bad. On the first day of cold weather, I didn’t make it to the end of the driveway.
I sat down. Daddy lifted the leash, picking me off the ground by my harness. He put me down. I sat again. He had to carry me. (How humiliating, to be carried during a walk.) After two driveways Pocket slowly settled into her double position. (Pocket takes about a hundred tiny steps and spins around a dozen times before getting the perfect squat. It is very annoying.)
Daddy put me down as he bagged the double, then we turned for home. I may only weigh ten pounds, but I dragged him like I was a Husky ten feet from winning the Iditarod. Inside was warmth; inside was dry, inside was Mommy, do or die.
The next morning Daddy put our leashes on and was grabbing a poop bag when I saw my opportunity. I peed on the mat by the screen door. Don’t judge me. People wipe their feet on that. My pee is a lot cleaner than whatever was stuck to the bottom of people’s shoes.
I had completely abandoned the fight; winter had defeated me.
When the blizzard came, I was content to use my pee pads. I had been trained to use them in Florida where it is never cold. If pee pads are good enough for warm sunny Florida, then it is good enough for cold, frozen Massachusetts.
I will return outside soon, when the grass is green, the sky is blue and the sun shining brightly. Until then I will hang out on my pads.
Winter came, saw, and kicked my butt.
Wednesday, March 15, 2017
Tuesday, March 14, 2017
Sunday, March 12, 2017
Brutus arrived at Rainbow Bridge a champion. He didn’t win a dog show or an agility competition. And he did not defeat cancer that punched his ticket to the Bridge. But he fought the disease like a champion, and he kept it at bay long enough to be by his mom’s side during her own illness, until he had given every measure of his devotion.
Last year Brutus was diagnosed with lymphoma. His mom scheduled chemotherapy sessions for him. Some of them he handled well, others he struggled with. He had completed all but two of his treatments. His parents began to dream that the insidious disease would loosen its grip on their handsome boy.
While Brutus was going through his treatments, his mom was getting medical treatments of her own. A check up with her hermatologist showed that her kidneys were failing. She was hospitalized for three days.
“I hadn’t been feeling right for a couple of weeks,” Brutus told me after he arrived at the Bridge. We were lying on the green grass with his brother Hans who had preceded him. The only happy part of this story was their reunion. They spent four hours running with each other through the hills. Now they were resting.
“I didn’t want anyone to know I was getting sick,” Brutus continued. “Mom would not have been able to handle it if I went to the Bridge without her seeing me one last time. So I hid my symptoms. When she got home, she was thrilled to see me. But then everything went wrong.
“I began breathing hard and throwing up phlegm. My parents rushed me to the vet. The doctor said I had pancreatitis. I didn’t care what they called it. I just knew I wasn’t getting any better.”
I nodded. I had felt the same way. When you know, it is the end what they call the end doesn’t matter.
The vet read Brutus’ blood panel and saw that his levels were three times higher than normal. Also, his lymph nodes were enlarged. There was no need to confirm that his lymphoma was back. Brutus’ parents made the Hardest Decision and gave Brutus the Greatest Gift, freedom from pain and an immortal life.
Along with the relief from pain, the gift of immortal life, and being reunited with Hans, Brutus felt the pain of separation. He would have to wait to be called Cutie Brudie again, to have his nubs rubbed, to feign anger when he was dressed up during the holidays. Brutus wants his mom to know he loved all of it, including getting dressed up. He stayed as long as he could, and a few days more. Her borrowed some heartbeats. He just wishes he could have borrowed more.
Now, Brutus and Hans will do their parental dream visits together. Maybe having twice the dog power there will help their parents remember the dreams. And now there will be two ghosts padding around their home.
Brutus and Hans are together again.
They will never be separated from their parents.
Friday, March 10, 2017
I was walking down by the river one day when I came upon a dog sniffing a rock. On the mortal side, rocks are crucial to dogs. We pee on rocks to leave messages to one another. We don’t have to pee now, but it is still a useful messaging service. I took a few sniffs and started to walk away. The other dog was slowly sniffing.
“Is there anything interesting there?” I asked.
“There always is. I have been coming to this rock for 150 years. I find something new every day.”
“One-hundred-and-fifty years!” I exclaimed. “Shouldn’t you be in the land of Happily Ever After with your parents?”
“My dad likes it here. People always want to meet him. He gives speeches. He is kind of a big deal.”
“Who is your dad?”
“Alexander Graham Bell.”
“He’s the guy who invented the telephone!” I said impressed.
The dog scoffed. “Oh yeah, he invented the telephone.”
The dog looked at me slyly. He stuck out his paw and told me his name was Trouve. Then he told me his story.
“My dad has always boasted that he taught me how to talk. No one really believed him. He was very smart but a bit eccentric. The truth was I could talk. We all can. We just choose not to. Who wants to use words when a good bark suffices?
“He was fascinated with how we communicate by rock. He thought humans could message one another in a similar way, quickly, without a lot of writing. One day I found him peeing on a rock. ‘What are you doing?’ I asked. That was the first time I had spoken to him. He was shocked. ‘I am trying to leave a message for my friends,’ he said.
“I shook my head and told him to come inside the house. We sat down on the couch. I plopped myself on his lap and told him what he needed was to make a telegraph line that could transmit human voices. He was transfixed with my idea. He wanted me to get off his lap so he could take notes but I wasn’t doing that because I’m a dog and we never move so a human can do work. I might have explained to him how to invent to the telephone, but I do have my limits.
“Shortly after that, he invented the telephone. The story is that he said over the line for his assistant Watson to come to him. There was no Watson. He was calling me. I had peed on the rug again. It wasn’t my fault. I was getting older, and Mr. Super Genius Inventor never had time to take me to the vet. So, anyway, that is how I invented the telephone.”
It was quite the tail. I congratulated him on his accomplishment. “Please don’t. I feel bad. People paid less attention to their dogs once that thing was invented.”
He continued to sniff. “You certainly are fascinated with that rock,” I said
“I have always thought, what if we could pee on a telegraph line, then we wouldn’t have to spend so much time sniffing rocks.”
I gave Trouve a pat on the head. Once a dog inventor, always a dog inventor.
Thursday, March 9, 2017
I have always been jealous of my friends with good vets, the ones their parents trust completely.
I have been to multiple vets. There was the one who held me by my front paws and looked me up and down, there was the one who charged way too much money, there was the one who only saw dogs in the morning and didn’t seem that interested in our well being. Last Tuesday we went to another new vet.
We walked into the small waiting room. The walls were covered with thank you cards, drawings, and pup pictures. I liked that. My parents put me down to sniff. The Sniff reviews were good.
We went into the exam room. I got weighed (I am up to six pounds) then I checked out more sniff reviews. The vet came in with a tech. They both began to tell me how cute I was and they fawned over me. They certainly knew how to impress ]parents. My dad held me as they took a picture for their wall.
Then they began to check me over, and they said everything seemed good. I did some shaking when it was time for the shots, but they said I was very brave. They gave me a treat and a stuffed duck toy. It was a fantastic experience.
“Her teeth do need work,” the vet said. “The only thing holding them in place is the plaque. It is common in Yorkies.”
Forget about it toots. My parents have gone to other vets who mentioned my teeth, but they never trusted the vet enough to have them cleaned. My dad has used every toothpaste, spray, water additive and foam known to man in the last four years to combat my tooth decay. We weren’t winning, but my teeth were still in my head, so that was a victory. Sorry Mrs. Doctor Lady, but no expensive dental work for this dog.
“It might be time,” my mommy said.
Excuse me. Time? Time for what? Time to leave in a huff? Time to call the SPCA?
The woman who does the dental work entered and looked in my mouth. “Yes, some of these are going to have to come out. Would you like us to do an estimate?”
No. No estimate. Keep your fingers off my teeth! Mom!
Mom thought it over. I knew she would say no. So I had a few bad teeth? What’s the harm?
She said yes. Then things moved very quickly. An estimate was done, an appointment was made, and now, nine years after I lost my forlorn ovaries some of my teeth are joining them in the doggy scrap heap.
On March 29 I am going to have my teeth cleaned and some extracted.
Some dogs say a good vet is a great gift. To me, not so much. Give me my old incompetent, uncaring vet any day. At least no one makes appointments with them.
Wednesday, March 8, 2017
Tuesday, March 7, 2017
Sunday, March 5, 2017
I have too many friends here at Rainbow Bridge who arrived because they ate something they shouldn’t. Every day I stop by to see Brody and Romey. Sometimes they are watching over their families. Inevitably they will say “I wish I never ate that thing.”
But we dogs can’t help it. Humans put squeakers in our toys. Those little things drive us nuts. We have to get them out. When we finally find them our instincts take over and we gut that toy like a wolf with a rabbit. Occasionally the urge is so strong we forget we aren’t a wolf and eat that whole toy.
Our parents get frustrated when we destroy toys, and they spend more money on stronger toys. Now, let me take a minute to address these parents. There is no such thing as a destruction proof toy. Every toy has a weak spot that, when we find it, will, with a short bit of work, get us to the inside and that damn squeaker. Big Dog Toy is never going to make a chewie that is indestructible because then you wouldn’t buy another toy and they want you buying toys.
Our very good friend Josie became a victim of Big Toy this week. Her mom bought her a toy that was made from a fire hose. “No dog can chew through this!” the salesman said. But any motivated dog, including five pound me, missing half my teeth, can chew through a toy if inspired.
Josie, who has never been a toy eater, got inspired, destroyed the indestructible, and ate part of it. A short while later she stopped eating, was restless, and wasn’t pooping. Her mom became worried that her cancer had returned. When Josie threw up a part of the fire hose toy, her parents had the answer.
Josie was rushed to the vet. The toy had become stuck in the part of Josie’s intestines that had been removed when she had her cancer surgery. It also gave her an infection. The vet did not want to operate. It would be very unsafe to take more of her intestines.
Josie is the head of a pack of eight dogs living on a farm in Illinois, and the leader of an even bigger online pack. While her mom loves all eight dogs, Josie is her heart dog. She and Josie fought very hard when Josie got cancer. Through rallying the prayers of scores of friends and angels Josie survived to the delight of her many followers. Succumbing to a battle with a chew toy was not the way Josie was going to Rainbow Bridge.
Josie was brought to the vet on a Thursday. On Friday the toy began to move. The vet was confident that Josie would pass the toy on Friday and be able to go home. But, when her dad arrived to bring her home the vet told him the passage had stalled. If Josie didn’t pass the toy, she could be in a life-threatening situation.
So, we all began to pray, for one poop, for one immaculate poop. We gathered around her like a father encouraging his pregnant wife to push out a child. We chanted: “Come on Josie, Push it out, shove it out, way out!”
After enough prayers and chants Josie pushed the toy out, and she was able to go home. The crises had, quite literally, passed. We had never rejoiced over a poop with such enthusiasm.
Luckily, I did not get to greet my friend at the Bridge this week. We all know she was lucky. And we give the Big Guy much thanks that she allowed Josie to stay with her wonderful mom.
And please, my dog friends, despite what your instinct may tell you, do not destroy and eat your chew toys. Nothing good is going to come from it. The best we can hope for is something bad is pushed out of it.
And you your parents, never trust an indestructible toy. Nothing in your world in indestructible. Least of all us dogs.
Friday, March 3, 2017
There are 99 problems in the United States but dogs ain’t one. If dogs got organized, they could take over the country while the humans argued with each other. But who wants an entire country to manage? That is going to be hard to do when our main goals are running, playing, sleeping and just staring into space. Even with doing all of that I think we could do a better job.
We could certainly do better than the city council of Eugene Oregon who has proposed to bar dogs from downtown Eugene. Apparently, the biggest problem in Eugene is not the dufus hipsters and hippies who infest their city streets but dogs. I thought hipsters and hippies were kind and accepting. Maybe the only thing they want on the streets that have not bathed in two weeks is themselves.
The motion is expected to fail because there are many homeless people with dogs in Eugene, and there are people who live in the city who own dogs. How would they be able to tell which dogs were downtown Eugene dwellers, or visitors, except that the dwellers would be walked by people who looked like Sonny without Cher?
To the citizens of Eugene, I would like to state that you are number 53 on the problems the United States face.
Number 86 on this list are the people who protested the Dakota Access Pipeline. I am all for their protest. Firstly, I don’t like any construction; it is noisy, interrupts naps and bothers my wildlife friends. Also, I don’t like anything that can cause harm to good people. Their protest is not why they are number 86.
They made a list because when the government momentarily paused drilling for the pipeline, and the protestors left, at least two dogs were left behind. When the government moved back in to prepare for drilling again, they found the two dogs had added four puppies, because what else are you going to do at a protest site alone for months?
Now, it is very possible that the dogs, who are much smarter than humans, knew that the government would start destroying nature to build the pipeline again, and decided on their own to stay and keep protesting, because, as much as we love humans, we know how duplicitous they can be. Or these devoted dogs who lived in the tents with the protesters for months were considered as disposable as the tents themselves. Ironically the dogs were saved by the very people the protesters were trying to keep out.
On either side of the political spectrum, whether they are buttoned-down conservatives or freewheeling hipsters, whether they be those committed to saving tribal land and the environment, or those looking to rob the earth of its treasures, there are some who love and appreciate dogs, and others that don’t.
I am not interested in the politics. I am only interested in those who care about dogs.
Thursday, March 2, 2017
Having been born in Florida, I have been told by my fellow Massachusetts dogs that I am a snow wimp. When I am brought outside to do my business, and if there is snow or ice on the ground, it clumps in my paws or wets my fur, and my systems shut down: Nothing is going in, and nothing is coming out. That is why the Big Guy created pee pads. I am more than happy to go back inside, and pee like the civilized humans do.
If I were an only dog I would have been very happy with my winter strategy but I have a sister and with siblings comes teasing. It does not make it easier when my sister is twice my age and half my size. I am young, scrappy and hungry just like my country but I am not peeing in the snow.
Tiny Pocket, pushing double digits in age, stands on the ice while shivering and she lets out a small stream of urine and is told what a good girl she is. Hey, I’m the good girl in this house! I was going to have to conquer my fear of frost.
The next morning it was bitter cold. There were a few inches of shoveled grass, bent over, and frozen. Pocket peed, then I followed. My legs shook, my heart was racing, and I had to concentrate very hard, but I did it. I went in the house, got a treat, and had confirmed what I already knew. I was a good girl!
The next morning I was ready to show that I had become a true white walker. We got up and went outside. Someone had stolen the ice and most of the snow! It had been replaced by water. The sun was warm; there were little flowers poking out of the ground. How long had we been asleep? Pocket peed right away. She asked me if I was going too. Hey! I just began peeing on the snow; I don’t pee when it’s wet. My human stood, holding the leash, waiting. Geesh! I stepped on the squishy ground. I got into position and got the beautiful fur on my lower portion wet. I did it, but I didn’t feel like a good girl. I felt like a dirty girl.
The good news? The melting formed a moat around our house, so I got to use the pee pads the rest of the day. The next day was warmer and drier. While I love the warm weather, I was disappointed that I couldn’t show that I had conquered my snow phobia.
It turned colder a few days later after we got in several good walks and lots of sniffs, but I don’t think my ice peeing will be appreciated now.
I have all summer to work on peeing outside in the cold.
And to wonder who stole my winter.