Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Foley's Final Gift

Before I left for the Bridge I had one more gift to give my Mom.  It is the last gift so many of us give when we cross over.  My last gift was River Song.

Granted, some days that gift is like a pair of socks.  But most days my gift works out just like I planned (those days don’t include the days that she craps on my museum.)

The key to finding a new dog to replace you is to get one who reminds Mom of you enough to make her smile, but not enough to make her cry.  The new dog has to have some of the traits that made your Mom smile, some things she wish you had done, and some traits from dogs that came before you.

The most important trait River needed to have to remind Mommy of me was to be a snuggle bug, and on this she gets a B+.  River, as you can assume from a young lollipop who became impregnated before she blew out the candles on her first birthday cake, is great in bed.  She is incredibly warm, wonderfully snuggly, and loves to sleep in.  When I peer into the River of Life to watch my family sleeping in my bed I swear River could be a little Monster.

She also loves to be held like a baby cuddled in her arms, lying on her back.  Blake Bear did that but  I was never trustful enough to lie on my back in someone’s unsteady arms.  Plus, when I came to live with Mommy, Blake filled the baby snuggling roll, so I took the baby squirming roll.

River also revives memories of Blake in the way she begs for food.  Blake used to do what was called “up pretty.”  She would sit straight on her butt, with her front paws up, and look back and forth between Mommy and Daddy until one of them gave her a treat.  When Blake went to the Bridge I took over the roll of main begger, but not being good at balancing, I just barked.  And barked.  And barked.  Now River is the main treat begger but she is no better at balancing than I was, so she stands on her back legs, punches her paws in the air and emulates Blake by looking back and forth between our parents with the same eyes.

She has taken over the role of sitting on the back of the couch and barkin at anything that comes into view.  Pocket does this too but Pocket doesn’t balance very well up there.  Both River and I would have to bark when Pocket fell off the couch.

River has taken to the tasl of adorably playing with toys to a new art form.  Blake liked toys, but outgrew them as she got older.  I would pick up a stuffed toy, growl ferociously and shake my head wildly, but I got dizzy after a few seconds.  Pocket, she’s afraid of toys.  But River loves her stuffed toys, and walks around with them in her mouth squeaking, or picking up one of her balls and holding it between her paws chewing it.  Mommy thinks this is so cute.  I don’t see it.

And Mommy loves to play with River.  There is a plush Christmas ball that someone sent us.  Before we go to bed Mommy puts River on the sheets and holds the ball up.   River dances in front of her as Mommy asks her whose ball it is.  None of us ever did that before. River created that herself, and it sure does make Mom smile.

I love to look in the River of Life and see Mom smile.  I am so glad River makes her do so.  It may take a village to raise a child but it takes a village of Angels to create a pup.  

And nothing makes an Angel smile more than a happy Mom.  

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Dylan and Taz are our November 24, 2013 Pups of the Week

When I was on the mortal side of the River of Life I was a rather sedentary pup.  A chair, a couch, a warm lap, that’s where I spent most of my day.  A hearty walk, a dash after an irksome squirrel, the leap from the floor on to said warm lap, was all the exercise this little dog required.

I was a couch potato (now I am a cloud potato, equally as sedentary, but more likely to be confused with an appetizer at the Outback Steak House) where, like human couch potatoes, I would watch the exploits of those dogs who lived the more daring life of running and leaping.  Through the magic of the World Wide Bark I even became friends with them.  Today I would like to give a tip of the tail to two champions:  Taz and Dylan.

Dylan’s exploits are a few weeks old, and I have been remiss in not recognizing him earlier. He competed in an ASCA trial and Dylan took home first place in the Companion Dog category with a score of 197 which is quite excellent.  He then topped that by winning the High in Trial, which is like being named Heavyweight Champion of the World

His sister Graycee also competed in her first trial ever.  She did not qualify but we do have highlights.  

Our second champion is our long time friend from the ‘Burgh, Taz.  He earned his first agility championship this week.  I stole the above picture from his page.  It’s of Taz, his Dad, and the judge holding the ribbon.  (As a Rainbow Bridge judge I pay someone to hold a ribbon.  Dogs complained when I took the ribbon out of my mouth and it was all wet.)

Taz was a late bloomer in agility, struggling early in his career, then suffering a broken leg.  After fighting all the way back to the top, and collecting his first place ribbon, Taz is thinking about retiring.  He is going to take over as chief coach and trainer for his brothers.

And speaking of brothers let us say a quick prayers for Taz’s brother Einstein who will be returning to the trials if his leg heals properly.  He has a doctor’s appointment this week and if we can get enough prayers going the doctor will find the leg has healed and Einstein can win a championship of his own.

While all us dogs are champs, today we celebrate two true winners, Dylan and Taz.  A water bowl toast to them both.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

River Song Finds the Joys of Cold Nights and Warm Beds

Growing up in Florida I never knew cold and was not looking forward to it.  While I have yet to encounter snow, I have braved the cold and found the best thing about it:  A warm bed.

I have to admit that in the summer I did not respect the bed.  I loved it, and insisted on being in it my first night in our house, but it was because I wanted to be with Mommy.  I was told the bed was a place of peace but I often acted poorly in it, waiting for Pocket to settle, and then attacking her.

It got to the point that I was leashed to the top of the bed like an animal.  I slept between the pillows where it was nice and cool while Pocket slept at the end of the bed under the covers.  I found it stuffy under there.  Then the weather turned cold and I ventured under the covers,

And it was heaven.  It was so warm.  Mommy’s body heat was nice but Daddy gives off more heat than Hobo Hudson at a Florida dog gathering. I would get close to the warm snuggle spot but the darn leash kept me from laying in the promised land.

So I had to do what I hate the most.  I had to be good.  No attacking Pocket in  her sleep.  Not even a quick chase under the covers.  When I first get into bed, and my excitement level is high, this is very hard for me to do, and, when the lights first go out, I still have the urge to jump on Pocket before the room gets dark.

After proving myself worthy, once I settle down from chewing and giving Daddy a face bath, I get the leash removed and I can snuggle anywhere I want.  I start the night snuggled against Mommy’s back. When it gets cold I move over to Daddy.  Sometimes he ends up putting his arm over me trapping me, he says he does it in his sleep, but I don’t believe him.  But I don’t mind that, it is warm.

But even better than that is getting under the covers, into the darkness and the warmth.  There is no place like under the covers with Mommy and Daddy.  There I am safe, nothing in the world can get to me.  Breathing in the warm air generated from your parents fills your inside with love.  I even snuggle with Pocket which brings back the old days of being in my litter up against my birth Mom.

And now I feel sorry for all my former southern brethren who don’t get to sleep in warm beds.  They don’t know what they are missing.  The most special feeling in the world.

So if you excuse me I am off the bed where I can snuggle down and enjoy the cold weather.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Beaux Jangles is our November 17, 2013 Pup of the Week

In the human world people write stories about the accomplishments of other people.  Every once in awhile, they will write a story about the accomplishments of a dog.  For some reason they title these stories human interest.  On this blog we write about the accomplishments of dogs.  Occasionally we write about the accomplishments of humans.  Perhaps we should refer to them as dog interest stories.

Today’s dog interest story is about a wonderful pup named Beaux Jangles,  Beaux did not do anything special this week, except be the loving, handsome,  caring, sweet, charming dog he has been every week.  But by being this wonderful dog he made one of our Moms, Miss Yolanda, do something brave that led to the life of one dog being saved from a terrible death, and maybe others.

Miss Yolanda’s job is to deliver all the things we send to our doggy friends through the mail.  She would be our hero for that alone, but she did more.  Often on her route she would see a tiny poodle that seemed to be abandoned.  The poor baby had a huge growth on the side of her neck and the back of her head.  Miss Yolanda would pet her, and feed her, every time she saw her.

One day this week Miss Yolanda saw the dog near a busy intersection.  She jumped out of her work truck and put the pup inside.  She knew there was a rescue family on her route so she drove the poodle to the rescue house, holding the pup in one hand while driving with the other, which is perfectly legal if the dog is not texting.

She brought the little angel to the house and the owners gladly took the abandoned baby.  They promised to take good care of the abused angel, with a vet visit, a tooth inspection and a grooming appointment until they found the saved pup a forever home.

The pup was wearing a bandana and the rescuers removed it from her neck where they found bacon wrapped around her.  This sounded like the greatest invention ever, wearable bacon.  But it turned out that is was a nightmare.  The pup was wearing the bacon to attract other dogs to her neck, where they would attack her, eat the bacon and rip out the sweet baby’s throat.  Trainers who do this are sick and twisted, using us angels for profit in fights to the death, and this pup had somehow escaped them, and thanks to Miss Yolanda would be free of them forever.  

The good news is that the pup is going to be fine.  It has a goiter on it’s neck that will be taken care of surgically.  The rescuers hoped to have a new home for her in a few days.  

Miss Yolanda contacted the authorities to say that she had found a bait dog.  With a little luck, and puppy angel magic, these cretins will be caught.

So raise a toast and tip your tail to Beaux Jangles, a great pup who raised on terrific Mom.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

Constant Gardening Through A Summer of Change

It began on a cold morning in April and ended on a cold morning in November.  I started the project next to a bossy older Yorkie with me as the little sister and ended the project next to a bossy Griffon who was my little sister.  

It started with me in my stroller in our side garden with Foley and ended with me in my stroller next to River in a garden named for Foley.  

The last two years, after we moved to the Downtown Modular Abbey, Foley and I supervised Mommy’s and Daddy’s yard work.  Over the winter we would plan how our gardens would look then give our parents a list of plants to buy and supervise their planting from our stroller.  

Over the winter Foley and I laid out ambitious plans for six different gardens, building news ones, and expanding others.  Then, in June, disaster struck.  Foley went to the Bridge and I was left alone trying to get two grieving parents to complete Foley’s plans.

I think I did a very good job with the garden planning, especially being given the difficult job of planning Foley’s garden (which was helped greatly by a beautiful Hydrangea from Hobo and his parent .)  Three weeks later, as my plans were coming together, I was joined in the stroller of supervision by River Song, and, despite her not taking part in the winter’s planning, she had her own ideas.

At first I dismissed every thought she put forth, but I had to admit, the little frowny faced girl from Florida had some good ideas.  The butterfly bushes in front of the house were overtaking the front garden and needed to be moved to the side.  The lighthouse garden, which the year before had been nothing but poor growly grass, and was Foley’s “baby” needed to be expanded.  

In fact River was so right on with her directions that I began to believe that Foley was visiting her in her dreams which put me in the uncomfortable position of defending Foley’s initial plans for the gardens against what I was suspicious of, but could not confirm, Foley’s new plans for the garden, being relayed through a lap taking, frowning interloper.

But soon we began to work together and as fall came the gardens were beautiful.  We had worked Mommy and Daddy (and the poor trash man who had to take away bag after bag of grass and soil from our ever expanding gardens) nearly to death but it was worth it.

But this week we closed down the pretty gardens, cut them back, dug them up, put mulch around the perennials, and put away the tools.  Everyone had grim faces, not just from bracing from the cold winds, but because these gardens were a link to Foley.

But in five months those perennials Foley and I picked out will grow again, reminding us of her.  And there will be new plants that River and I will pick out while the ground is frozen and everything will be new again

We haven’t posted pictures of our gardens because they were never finished, but these are some we took while they were a work in progress.  I hope you enjoy them and prepare for next week when Pocket and River Landscapers will have planned even more beauty.

The shed garden
the lighthouse garden
the wheelbarrow garden
Foley's Garden

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Buddy is Our November 10, 2013 Pup of the Week

There is a duality to living at the Bridge.  This is a very happy and peaceful place.  When a pup arrives here, the pack members who preceded them, and their friends, are delighted to see them again.  But, on the mortal side of the Bridge, there is devastating sorrow.

Earlier this week two of my best friends here, Jondalar and Keri, came running into my office and excitedly told me that their beloved brother Buddy was arriving.  They then scampered off to the top of the Bridge to wait.  I slipped on my robe to perform his swearing in ceremony, excited to see him, but also concerned for his family.  Days before, as I peered into the River of Life, I watched his family, worried about his health, and the dreaded “C” word was whispered as his parents spoke about him.

Buddy passed over the Bridge and climbed the steps like all dogs, beginning in pain, and sorrow, missing his family, and still suffering what ended his mortal existence, but, the closer he got to the top, the more everything faded, like the remnants of a dream, and by the time he reached me he was his old self, running and jumping like a puppy, and catching up with, or meeting, the pack members who came here before him.  

Since I am a Judge, and have privileges that other dogs don’t have, I am allowed go down to the River of Life and peer into the mortal world, and since I still communicate through the powers of the Internet with that side, I feel an obligation to look in on the families left behind.

It was so sad looking at Buddy’s family.  They were just broken hearted over his passing.  They knew he was sick, but finding out that our friend was filled with cancer during an operation, and losing him before they could prepare themselves, especially after losing so many pack members before Buddy, was beyond hard.   My own tears mixed with the river water as I watched

If Buddy hadn’t been named Buddy it would have been his nickname because he was the friendliest dog we knew.  A wonderful, big hearted dog who everyone fell in love with, if they met him in person, or online.  We loved seeing his smiling page when it would appear on our page and, if we could have seen that smiling face in person every day, that would have been enough to get us through the darkest times.

When I was on the mortal side I spent lots of time barking and meowing with Buddy’s kitty pack members Andy and Barney.  I am not a cat dog but they are two wonderful friends who changed my mind and I feel so bad for them that their brother is now on our side.  Andy and Barney watch over our house at night and I am so grateful to them.  I think I became friends with them because they lived with Buddy, and no one could live with Buddy without loving dogs.

So now Buddy is young, happy and pain free again.  I hope that brings some comfort to his family.  And we will visit his parents in their dreams, although, cruelly, the rules state they will barely remember it.  But Buddy with always be with them, and always be their Angel, just as Keri, Muffin and Jondalar are.  

If there is one thing humans cannot have enough of in this life it is Angels.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Pocket Informs River What It Means To Be Pack Leader

River:  Hello my minions.  I am honored to be giving my first address as pack leader to my followers.

Pocket:  Excuse me, exalted ruler, but you don’t have minions, you have minion, namely me.

River:  No minions?  I was promised minions.  What good is a pack leader with only one minion?  Might as well be a pup leader.

Pocket:  Well. in essence, you are a pup leader and I am your only follower.

River:  What about Mommy and Daddy, am I their leader?

Pocket:  No, Mommy is the main leader.  She controls the food and the treats.  This is why you have to sit for her before you can eat and you can’t move until she tells you to.  As for Daddy, he isn’t really a follower, he’s more like one of those wind up toys who might follow you for a few moments but ends up veering off and and getting stuck in a corner.

River:  So I only lead you?

Pocket:  That’s right.

River:  How about if we got more dogs?

Pocket:  We could do that.  But believe me that’s not as good an idea as you think.  You are going to have to share food, lap, love, toys, and new dogs are terribly annoying.  And one of them could rise up and challenge you as pack leader then you wouldn’t have anyone to push around.  Not even me.

River:  OK.  I will live with just bossing you around. Go make me a snack.

Pocket:  I’d like to boss, but I am too small to get to the food.

River:  Then when you get fed give me your food.

Pocket:  Sorry boss.  I would.  I even back away from my food to let you eat it but Mommy intervenes and stops you then makes me eat my food.

River:  So if I got rid of Mommy I could run the whole house.

Pocket:  That’s right, but without Mommy we might have a house but it wouldn’t be a home.

River:  So as pack leader what do I get?

Pocket:  I let you walk first, let you have Mommy’s lap if you want it, let you lie down where you want to, let you get treats first, and get out of your way when you get the zooms.

River:  You were doing that anyway!

Pocket:  And now that you are recognized as pack leader if we both break something playing or one of us leaks you are getting the blame.

River:  What a gyp!

Pocket:  That’s right.  Now I am going to take a nap.  You have to fill out the daily paperwork putting down our food, poop and nap schedules, that’s one of the duties of pack leader.

River:  What?  Paperwork?  You do it.

Pocket:  Can’t, not the pack leader.  The good news is if we ever snowed in and we have to pull Mommy and Daddy in a sled to get food you get to go first and I have to look at your butt hole the whole way.

River:  Well that’s good news.

Pocket:  Yes but the lead dog always get hit by the snow plow.

River:  Oh man, I don’t want to get hit with a snow plow.  You want to be pack leader?

Pocket:  Nope.  I had the job, but you wanted to go first, eat first, get Mommy’s lap, boss me around.  You usurped me.  Once you usurp me, I can’t surp.  

River:  Pocket, did you have this planned all along?
Pocket:  Who me?  I am just a sweet innocent little pup.  I am going to nap.  Good luck boss.

River:  What a gyp!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Our New England Friends Are Our November 3, 2013 Pups of the Week

Hello my friends, it is I, Pocket Dog, taking over the Pup of the Week duties from my sister, Angel Foley to name the New England area Pups, who had their own fest this weekend, especially our hosts, Pokey, Maggie, and Toby, as our Pups of the Week, and give a special shout out to Jasper’s, Chappy’s, Blue’s and Whiskey’s parents Judi and Jorge, who organized the get together, and Pokey’s Mom Laura who opened her house to us.

Attending the festivities besides myself and River, and our hosts, were Wishbone, Molly (of Molly, Sully and Angel Daisy), Bentley, and Barnum and Bailey.  (I hope I did not forget anyone, that’s all my nose remembers.)

I was the life of the party.  I went up to all the other dogs, enjoyed sniffing them, played with them, barked at them, and eagerly climbed into the arms of all the parents.


It was one of the most enjoyable days I was have had and I am so grateful for Aunt Laura for letting us use her house, and to Aunt Judi for the DS/TB jewelry she got from Blue Lamb Designs.  Those thoughtful gifts made a great day even better.

When morning came it looked like this wonderful day might not come to pass.  Our car had a flat tire and Daddy had to borrow Grampy’s old jalopy to make the hour long trip, and Wishbone slipped out of his gate and was missing for a half hour, but someone, perhaps Angels Foley and Annie, got us all to Aunt Laura’s house safely.

And finally, Wishbone’s human sister Sierra wrote wonderful poems for all us dogs, and she stood in front of everyone and said that while she loved all the dogs, River and I were the most unique dogs she had ever seen.  She is one very wise and perceptive girl.

Here are some pictures of our friends enjoying the day.

Here is the star of the day, Wishbone, who let everyone pat him and was a perfect gentleman, getting a pat on the head.

Here is Toby locked in solitary confinement
Wishbone posing for his fans

Bentley with his Mom hiding behind him
Molly with tail wagging
Barnum inspecting shoes
Bailey snuggled on the deck
Our gracious host Pokey getting some water
Toby, Aunt Laura, and River

Wordless Wednesday