Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Beat This Caption

Oh gosh, is this a plastic straw?  Can I have it?  Soon I will have the only plastic straw in the world I  will be king

Monday, August 13, 2018

Monday Question

What is your sleep position?
Pocket:  I curl into as tight a ball a possible and I keep my butt covered.
River Song:  I like to stretch my front and back legs as much as possible to take up as much room as I can. 


Sunday, August 12, 2018

Moose is our August 13, 2018 Pup of the Week

When a boxer or wrestler passes away, their contemporaries gather around the ring as the timekeeper rings the bell ten times.

When Moose crossed over Rainbow Bridge this week,  joining his DS friends and his sister Sydney, the bell rang ten times, because a true warrior had joined us.

Moose was born into a life without love.  Little is known about Moose’s life before Momma Michelle adopted him. She and Papa Mike worked hard, with little Moose, who had that time was known as Sonic.  Moose did not like people and was convinced all humans intended to hurt him. He learned not to lunge at, or try to bite, people. Moose was not vicious; he was just scared.  If not for his parents Moose may have been deemed too dangerous to adopt and sent to the Bridge before he even learned how to live.

Learning not to be afraid and to trust humans was Moose’s first battle, and he emerged victoriously.  He also mastered how to sit, roll over, lay down, dance, twirl, shake, high five, wave goodbye, and sleep.  He became a regular Houdini.

On February 25, 2013, Moose encountered his greatest challenge.  He was diagnosed with Autoimmune hemolytic anemia.  His packed cell volume, which should have been between 37 and 55, dropped to 12.  His parents elected not to put him through the trauma of a blood transfusion.  It was a costly procedure, and his doctor said there was less than a fifty percent chance it would work.  Moose’s parents took him home with instructions to keep him comfortable.  He was fed every human food his parents could coax him into eating, something they had been vehemently against and gave him prednisone and doxycycline.  His mucous membranes turned white which is a very bad sign. By that Sunday night, he was breathing hard, and his parents were prepared to send him to the Bridge.

Sunday night he ate three hamburgers without having to be hand fed.  His gums were pink.  His mom tried feeding him some of his siblings’ food, which he had no interest in for over a week, and Moose ate it then barked for more.  Moose went to an appointment for the following Saturday to check his packed cell volume, and it had climbed to 29.  The disease, commonly known as IMHA had been defeated, and, although he would carry it the rest of his life, it never reared its ugly head again.

Moose continued to live a healthy life until early 2017 when his beloved sister Sydney went to the Bridge. Toula became a member of the pack and Moose, and his brother Buddy took her under their paws so she would be a happy and content dog.

In May of that year, Moose’s mom discovered a growth on Moose’s back leg and had it removed.  When it grew back, it was tested and was found to be cancerous. He battled this illness just as he had every obstacle in his life.  For fifteen months he wrestled the disease to a draw, but with no cure, it was just a matter of time when the ultimate fighter would have to leave the ring

This past week the growth on Moose’s leg opened up, and tests showed cancer had spread throughout his body.  His mom told him he no longer needed to fight and she sent Moose to Sydney at the Bridge so he could be young and whole again.

Moose had stood at attention while the bell tolled.  As the last peel echoed off the mountains, Moose broke into a run.  Sydney joined him, and they ran together just as they had as pups.  They ran through the rain left by the puddles of human tears above us. Moose was sworn in and given his detachable wings, and Sydney taught him how to run and fly.  Their smiles lit up the sky.  

Moose told me he had fought as long as he could, but he knows his loving parents are in good paws with Buddy and Toula. Moose stayed until Toula knew every single thing that makes his parents happy.

And now their parents will have two angels, Sidney and Moose, watching over them, ghosting them, and visiting them as winged creatures.  

Moose has a new challenge:  To make his parents realize he and Sydney are not gone, just somewhere their parents can’t access, and that he and Sydney visit their parents’ dreams, but their parents will only be able to remember the visits in their hearts.  That is where all grieving parents need to look

The heart. That is where the love is.

It will be a hard task but if any dog is up for the contest, it is Moose.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Foley and Ladybug Try to Help the Seniors Wear Young Bodies

All angels, of every kind, have closets filled with the bodies they used during their lives.  We can choose a different shape and be a different age every day. On Monday I am a puppy and on Tuesday, a senior dog.  It’s all up to me.   Most of my bodies look the same, but it is still good to have choices.

Humans have lots of bodies to choose from.  They have little kid bodies, old person bodies, fat bodies, skinny bodies, whatever they are in the mood to wear.  Everybody they have ever used is ready to be worn.  Somedays I see my human friends as little kids zipping by on their skateboards, others as wizened seniors.  Then there are some who can’t stop wearing the body they arrived in.

These people are stuck in their old, broken down elderly bodies. They have inhabited these frames for so long they are afraid to abandon them.  Sadly, their bodies do not let these folks participate in many Bridge activities. That is when we dogs step in to help them.

Dogs are often used as therapy animals for the elderly.  But at the Bridge our duties are different.  We need to help the elderly be young again.

I brought my friend good friend Ladybug with me.  She is high energy and always ready to party, exactly what was needed.  We entered the rest home where the old angels were watching Judge Judy and wearing blankets to keep warm.  Lady Bug, a very brash girl, unplugged the TV, plugged in the boom box and began playing “Gonna Make You Sweat.”

As the singer screamed, “Everybody dance now!” Ladybug pulled an old man up and forced him to dance.
“Leave me alone!” the old man grumbled, I am going to break a hip.

Two of the orderlies brought in the man’s closet full of bodies.   “If you want to avoid breaking a hip then change into something younger,” Lady Bug said.

“Bah,” the man balked.  “This is the body the Lord gave me.”

“He didn’t give you that.  That’s the body you were wearing when you went out of fashion.” Lady Bug barked back.

Lady Bug shook her booty, nipped at the man’s ankles, and threw pretzels on the floor.  The man struggled to bend over and pick them up.  If you had your young body you could get these delicious pretzels,” Lady Bug teased.  She then picked one up, bit into it, and smiled.  

“Alright!” the man whined.  “I will put on my 30-year-old body, but just to pick up the pretzels, then I am coming right back to this comfortable body.”

The man slipped into his 30-year-old body then gobbled the pretzels.  “Hmmm,” he said moving his torso back and forth, “this body is better.”  He ran in place several steps.  “My heart rate is down,” he said.  He looked at Ladybug.  “Why don’t you and I go for a walk?” he asked.  Ladybug happily obliged knowing the man would not be returning to his old form

Now it was my turn.  I picked a shrunken old woman and asked if she wanted to be young again.

“Leave me alone,” she yelled.

The song was still playing on the radio.  “Come on old lady,” I said.  “Let’s dance and show these folks how it is done.”

She slapped me.  ‘Leave me alone you damn little dog.  And put Judge Judy back on.”

I ignored her and danced around being as cute as possible.  I nipped at her wool sweater pulling her off the couch.  “Come on Grandma, shake off the old coil and come dance with me.”

“You want me to shake off this coil?” she asked.  I jumped up and down saying yes. I was really good at this.

The orderlies pulled out her closet of bodies, and she chose a fifteen year old one.  She too twisted and turned enjoying how limber she was, and enjoying no longer being in pain.

“Now that you have changed bodies do you want to play?” I asked.

“No,” the now young girl said.  “I want to beat your ass with this mop for interrupting my Judge Judy.”

When this old lady was young, she must have been on the track team because she was fast. I ran out the door, and she followed swinging the mop.  She hit me several times. I wished I had a younger body that moved quicker.  The good news was that she had a body built for speed, not distance and I eventually was able to outrun her.

The next day I returned to the home and saw the woman back in her old body sitting in her chair with a blanket on her lap watching Judge Judy.  I decided to let her be old if that is what she wanted. Some people just like who they are.

Thursday, August 9, 2018

River Can't Stand the Heat

It’s hot!  I spent the first year of my life in Florida, and it’s hotter in Massachusetts.  When I was down south, I thought the north was a place where it snowed all the time, and people drank ale to keep warm.  Fake news! Massachusetts is terribly cold, then, one day in March, it gets hot, and stays that way until November when it snows four feet.  What a miserable place to live.  Give me Florida’s unbearable heat and then not too hot winter to Massachusetts’ unbearable heat and then unbelievable cold.  

The heat upsets our lives as much as the cold does.  When it is hot we can’t go on long walks, or spend time in our buggy overseeing the garden work, which means it is done wrong by our well-meaning but unskilled parents, while Pocket and I run from one enclosed porch door to the other barking “no, no, don’t plant it there, it doesn’t thrive in the sun.”

It is very frustrating.  I feel guilty when I get outside and see the suffering plants. “Oh River,” a new flower will whine, “why are you inside while we are being planted.  Now I am suffering in this brutal heat, longing for shade, and I am afeared my life shall be a short one.”

I tried to explain that I am a Brachycephalic dog and need to be careful on hot days.  Have you ever tried to use a multi-syllable word with a thirsty plant?  Flowers, by nature, are selfish and not interested in my breathing issues.

We don’t get full walks when it is hot.  When Pocket and I are taken outside it is more like we are being accompanied to the bathroom than getting a walk. We only walk until we poop. Weather people can determine how hot it is by how many steps we take before we poop.  If it is less than a hundred steps, it is very hot.  If it is more than 1,000 steps, then it is comfortable.   I want to hear Jim Cantore say “It is so hot in New England today it only took River Song 20 steps to poop.”

Sometimes, when we can tell it is going to be a hot day during a morning poop, we keep a little in the chute and push it out on our hot late afternoon walk.  Our walkers don’t know if it is morning or afternoon poop.  We eat the same food for both meals, so it really is the same old s++t.

I promised, during our long, cold, snowy winter, that I would not complain about the heat.   I made that vow before I knew this summer would feel like the devil rented the house next door and was operating a blast furnace.  Everyone knows my word is my bond, but I am itching (from prickly heat) to complain. The cold winter is looking better.  But Mommy reminded me the grass is always greener when it is not covered by a foot of snow.

How I yearn for one sunny 55 degree days  Why is it always too hot or too cold. Can’t Mother Nature make it just right?

Sigh.  This is River Song reporting from hot, humid, sticky Massachusetts.  I will see you in five months when I will be reporting from under a six-foot snow drift.

Oh Florida, how I long for thee.

Monday, August 6, 2018

Monday Question

Having you gone through training classes?  Do you respond to voice or verbal commands?

Pocket:   No training for me and boy does it show.  If I was a big dog I would be trouble.

River Song:  I got trained at Petco.  It was great. I was trained all alone and everyone in the store played with me.  Later on we found out I was trained by someone in grooming and not a real trainer.  But I am still good. I respond to voice commands.

Sunday, August 5, 2018

Summer is our August 5, 2018 Pup of the Week

On August 4 Summer departed for Rainbow Bridge leaving the world a colder place and darker place.  She left her loving parents, Debra and Mike, and her cherished Lutgen lake to begin her life as an angel.

Summer loved the water, and she was very fortunate to have her a lake on her property.  Last week she came out of the water bleeding from the throat.  Her parents thought that she had burst a blood vessel from too much water intake. That injury should have healed quickly. But over the next few days, Summer kept bleeding.

Our water loving girl was taken to the vet and underwent x-rays and an ultrasound.   Something was spotted on her lung.  Everyone prayed it was pneumonia.  When Summer did not respond to treatment, her parents knew it was not pneumonia but much worse.  

Summer tried to hide her illness, so her parents didn’t know how sick she was.  No matter how hard she strived to act, healthy her parents saw through her efforts.  Summer passed on her food, her energy level was down, and her mom could see in her eyes how tired she was.  They knew the time was approaching.

Summer tried to rally.  She went outside to hunt toads and kept her tail wagging.  She ate and took a walk with her dad around the lake.  Soon the illness overtook Summer’s best efforts.  On Saturday morning Summer’s parents knew their baby girl’s mortal coil had worn away.  It was time to give her an immortal body that was free of illness.  Although recognizing the decision would break their hearts Summer’s devoted mom and dad shared one more day with her than set them free.  

There were scores of Summer’s friends waiting for her arrival. We all strained our necks and looked towards the Bridge for Summer.  Then the vast clouds came, filled with human tears shed when Summer passed.  The downpour lasted more than five minutes.   I can’t remember seeing so many tears.  But still no Summer. Never had the tears arrived before the dog.

When the tears stopped, I heard a splashing sound.  I lead a procession to the river.  We found Summer gleefully swimming.  I had seen this behavior before. Newly arrived dogs try to swim back home to their parents.  But Summer wasn’t trying to swim across.  She was happily swimming in circles.

“Summer,” I yelled at her.  “What are you doing? We are here for your ceremony.  Come on up to the top of the Bridge.”

“Why would I want to do that?” Summer called from the river.  This is the best water I have ever swum in.  Why don’t you come join me?”

I was prepared to tell Summer all the reasons this could not be done when our friends poured past me and jumped into the water.   I sighed.  I was wearing my best robe and hated to get my paws wet, but we try to indulge the new angels.  I found a row of rocks to walk on and waded to Summer only getting my back paws wet.  For the first time in my career, I inducted a dog in the river.

Summer and her friends swam in the river the rest of the day.   When it came time for wings Summer said she did not need them. She could swim to the bottom of the river, touch it, and when she surfaced she would be back at Lutgen lake where she could watch over her parents or borrow a flying body if she wanted to get closer to them.

Summer wants her parents to know that if they are missing her, they should look at the lake and know she is still there swimming happily.   And if they wake up with the sheets slightly wet, they got a dream visit from Summer fresh from the pond.

Summer Grace will always be in her favorite spot, happily swimming, and watching her house, to keep her parents safe.  

Friday, August 3, 2018

Foley, 12 and Bisket Look for Rainbow Beach

One day I was walking along the river bank with two of my oldest friends, Auntie Gretchen’s Angel Bisket and Auntie Judi’s angel 12.   We saw, lying on the grass, a stinky, orange blob.  I wanted to avoid it, but Bisket has always had an inquisitive mind.  He poked at the blob with his paw.

“Excuse me!” the blob said. Bisket ran behind 12, a huge Newfoundland,  and I jumped on the big dog’s back.

“What the hell is that?” I asked to no one.

“I am Ollie, the octopus,” the blob said.  “A short while ago,  I minded my own business floating in the ocean when a stupid shark bit me in two.  The shark said I was going to be fine, soon I would be at Rainbow Beach, but instead, I ended up in this stupid river.”

12 laid down so I could get off of him.  “I have been at the Bridge a long time and have never heard of Rainbow Beach,” I said, slowly approaching the blob.

“Well, I never heard of Rainbow Bridge,” Ollie answered.  “We were told all ocean animals go to Rainbow Beach. I haven’t heard from you land animals.  I never met any until now.”

I walked closer to the stinky thing.  “I think when you passed over the Great Old Dogs did not know if you were a land blob or an ocean blob, so they sent you to the land by mistake.  Now we have to figure out how to get you to Rainbow Beach.”
“I am not a blob,” Ollie said.  

“Have you ever looked in a mirror?” Bisket asked.

I think the blob was angry but who could tell?  

“We’ve never found it before,” 12 said.  “Why don’t we just put him in the river and he can swim there?”

“Yuch!” the blob yelled.  “I am not going into that bilge.   I need salt water.   I would rather live on land.”

I was starting to figure out why the shark ate this snarky octopus.  “Maybe we can find Rainbow Beach if we look hard enough,” 12 said.  We all agreed to help Ollie find him forever home.

We started walking when we heard Ollie behind us.   “Excuse me, someone is going to have to carry me, I don’t have any legs, you know.”

We looked at one another.  We loved all of God’s creatures, but this thing was gross.  “I am too small to carry it,” I said.

“And I have a hankering for calamari,” Bisket barked.

12 knew it would be up to him.  He has always been a kind soul.  He offered to carry the slimy weight.  It was hard to get the blob situated on 12, but finally, Ollie was safely on his back, and we began walking along the river.

Suddenly a long, ugly snake-like creature climbed out of the river.  “What you got on your back?” it asked.

We ignored the water snake.  They are very untrustworthy.    But the blob, who was proving to be a bother, began jabbering about Rainbow Beach.  The snake said he was an eel and could swim in both fresh and saltwater.  He promised to show us the way to the Beach.  Ollie insisted we go. My friends and I discussed what we should do.  We decided to cautiously trust the eel.

“Can we walk along the river bank?” Bisket asked.

“No, you have to get in the water,” the eel said.

Yuck!  But we had promised to try and find Rainbow Beach, so we all got in except for Ollie who refused to put a tentacle in freshwater   We moved slowly through the river.  I climbed on Bisket when the water got too high.  Ollie continued to complain about our pace until 12 shook him off and he flew into the river.  “Actually, it isn’t that bad,” the chagrined octopus said.

The eel led us to a small tributary that after a couple of twists turned into a wild sea.  We were lifted by the waves and tossed on to the beach where penguins, dolphins sharks and whales were all basking in the sun. “Dogs!” one of the sharks yelled in terror, and they all slithered into the sea in fear.

Ollie yelled to them that we were not a threat and we, with the eel, had helped him find Rainbow Beach.  The eel was hiding under a rock.  One of the whales returned to shore and tossed the rock aside.  “How could you lead the leg walkers to our Beach?” the whale asked.

“I’m an eel, it’s what I do,” it said then slithered away.

I stepped up.  “I am sorry we have invaded your secret place,” I said.  “I am sure we would be intimidated if whales, sharks and sea lions came swimming up the river.  I know we have different lifestyles, but I am sure we can live in peace and be an example for mortal humans.”

A shark, whale and sea lion discussed our proposal then turned to us.  “We agree, we shall have peace between our groups, and we will send emissaries between our lands. 
 Now come to join us for a feast.”  We sat on the beach with them and happily ate a seafood buffet.  Like with the Bridge food, what we ate quickly regenerated in the ocean and joined us, although they did not eat themselves.

Then we swam with the dolphins, played on the whales, and frolicked with the penguins.  It was like a whole new world had opened to us. When the sun was setting, we swam out to the tributary and found out way back to the Bridge.  We couldn’t wait to tell our friends about Rainbow Beach.

Thanks to Bisket and 12 our immortal world got bigger with more adventures ahead of us.

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Pocket and the Broken Appliances

What a week we had!  I am going to have to sleep until September to make up for it.

All the problems began last year, when the two-year-old HVAC unit stopped working, causing my parents to install two insufficient window units to try and protect us from the broiling heat. It worked, as long as we did not stray too far from the units.  The original one was supposed to be under warranty, so my parents asked me to draw up court documents, and they prepared to sue the service company.

During this time our tankless hot water heater started to work intermittently.   One minute would be hot water, the next cold, then hot again.. My parents first said they would address this after the HVAC unit issue was resolved, and, once it was, Mommy wanted to wait until spring so the plumbers would not track dirt on her floors.  (My Daddy has to remove his shoes when he goes inside. We are lucky we don’t have to remove our paws.)

In October my parents were awarded money for the HVAC system and had a new one put in.  Everything was working except for the hot water. This spring my parents had various plumbers look at the tankless heater and were either told it was beyond repair or the plumber did not want to work on the unit.

Finally, Daddy got someone to look at the hot water heater. Before the plumber arrived, Mommy opened the washing machine and found all the clothes soaking wet.  The agitator was broken. They hired another plumber to look at that, and he said the part would cost as much as the machine, which makes no sense, since, if that were true,  every other part of the washer would have to be free, but what do I know, I’m just the dog. “It’s only two years old,” he said. “It shouldn’t have done that.”

We heard a lot of that.  My Daddy called Whirlpool and ended up buying an expensive machine that was discounted because “it shouldn’t have happened” but still cost a wicked amount of money.  That was scheduled to come on Tuesday. The plumber for the water heater was coming on Monday.

On Monday the water heater was fixed. The plumber played with us a little bit.  On Tuesday two men came in with the washing machine, and we were put in the bedroom and did not get played with at all.  It was the first day in more than a year that all the appliances worked. Almost.

That night the air conditioner froze up.  At first, my parents hoped it was a freak thing.  We went to the groomers that day for a summer haircut which is exactly like a winter grooming except it is warmer out.  When we got home, on a humid day, the air conditioner was not working. So much for our appliance streak. Daddy called another plumber.  Plumber is a term meaning ‘I only work on one appliance.” The plumber said, “well that shouldn’t have happened.” Whatever was wrong with the washing machine the HVAC unit probably caught it.  The plumber said he would send his partner to our house at 2:30 the next day.

Daddy was at work.  He had been told he would get a call on his cell phone before the plumber arrived.  2:30 went by, 3:00 went by, 3:30 went by. Daddy called Mommy and asked if a plumber had arrived.  She said no through the sweat drops. Daddy called the elusive plumber several times with no answer.

When Daddy got home, the plumber called.  His partner, before our scheduled appointment, had fallen off a roof.  Man, everything happens to us. The plumber’s partner had only sprained his ankle. 

  It must have been a tiny house. The plumber with two good ankles said he would be over in the morning.   Mommy took some happy pills, and we all tried to sleep in the bed without touching one another.

The next morning the plumber came and fixed the HVAC unit.  He said a bunch of stuff that amounted to “well that shouldn’t have happened.”  I would like to say things were fine after that, but it had been very humid when the unit was not working, and the house was stuffed with hot air, much like the plumbers.  It took a day to cool off.

Now we are on a streak of a few days with all the appliances working, but we know we are just a few days away from some other appliance catching “well that shouldn’t have happened” and needing repair.