Sunday, March 30, 2014

Barney is our March 30, 2014 Pup or the Week (It's Really About Our Grampy)

Unless you have been long time friends of ours you won’t recognize the names of Barney. They have been at the Bridge a very long time.  Barney was the first dog who ever owned my Daddy.  He came into the family because of our Grampy, who went to the Bridge this week.  Grampy worked in what was known back in the day as newspapers, which were a bunch of blogs all put together on big pieces of parchment and printed in multiple quantities. It is hard to imagine living in such a barbaric age.
My Daddy and Auntie had been pestering Grampy for a dog after Auntie’s dog Alice went to the Bridge.  They had read a book about a baseball playing beagle named Barney and insisted they get a beagle and name it Barney.  One of the pressmen at Grampy’s paper, Snuffy Smith, owned a dog who had a litter.  Getting a dog from a man named Snuffy Smith confirmed that the name Barney was well chosen.  There was an old comic strip called Barney Google and Snuffy Smith so it was logical that Snuffy would beget Barney.
Turned out Barney was not a beagle.  Without DNA testing we cannot even prove Barney was a dog.  She was, as Grampy’s nephew Bobby said, “part Dachshund, part Hound, part Bear.”  You know a dog had made a lasting impression on a neighborhood when he is mentioned three times in the receiving line at a wake.  Once as “Barney the thief” (just because he entered a man’s garage a half mile from Grampy’s house, grabbed a full 30 pound bag of Gravy Train, and dragged it home, dropped it at Daddy’s feet and announced:  “See I don’t need you people, I can feed myself.” Then Daddy looked up see the the bag’s rightful owner, Mean Mr Medas, stomping down the street following a trail of kibble he found after the bag ripped during the dragging.  Mean Mr Medas was not a fan of Barney’s.)
For ten years Barney ruled the neighborhood.  Having never been snipped Barney was responsible for making lots of little Barneys, performing the act once while Daddy was in the middle school.  Barney and his sexual conquest were on the front lawn consummating their relationship doggy style as Daddy’s school bus stopped to pick him up.  Barney, mid coitus, turned to the children on the bus with a huge smile on his face, as if to say “kids, you’re not old enough for this yet, but trust me, it’s great.”
Barney lived his life his way until he went the to Bridge.  When he got older, and slowed down, he still got into scraps, relying on Daddy to rescue him, which once led to Daddy having his hand bitten between the thumb and index finger.  Barney still chased cars, but didn’t have the moves he used to, twice getting hit and needing to go to the hospital.  And then one day at home Barney stumbled and went down, with bleeding on the brain, and she quickly passed away at a local dog hospital.
It wasn’t until Grampy was crossing the River of LIfe to the immortal side when I realized how much he and Barney were alike.  I wasn’t allowed to swear Grampy in.  They got Judge Roy Bean to do it. He swears in all the humans who might bolt and try to cross back. Like Barney, Grampy had short legs, a round waist, a big smile, sparkling eyes, and a cheerful howl when amused.
Like Barney Grampy protected his turf at all costs and his turf was his opinion, which he firmly believed was correct, and, if followed, would help improve the city.  Like Barney his bark was much worse than his bite but his bark could be very powerful and hurtful and those who he directed it at cowered.
Nana’s job was family apologist, and she spent most of her time apologizing for the two of them.  If Grampy wrote something to upset someone she apologized, if Barney chased a boy on a bike she apologized, if Grampy was digging up information on someone for a story she apologized, if Barney dug up someone’s garden she apologized, if Barney took a big dump on someone’s lawn she apologized, if Grampy wrote something that took a big dump on someone’s career she apologized, if Barney impregnated a young, innocent pup she apologized, if Grampy impregnated a young girl she would have shivved him right in the kitchen.  She was kind but she didn’t mess around.
At their height they were both a man in full and a dog in full.  Neither of them suffered fools graciously, and fools were anyone who didn’t recognize their dominance.  They taught lessons, Grampy to young reporters, with hard words and a red editor’s pencil, Barney with powerful legs and a talent for infighting.  In our little town, and in Barney’s neighborhood, everyone knew their name.
And neither went into the goodnight quietly.  Both pushed their bodies further than their aged bones could carry them.  Barney lost fights he once won, Grampy was eased out of his job at the newspaper, although he kept writing for more than 20 years as the paper knew it’s voice was his voice.  One day Barney went down and couldn’t get back up and his parents were told he had maybe a day left, and the next day he was gone.  One day Grampy went into the hospital and was told he wouldn’t last the night.  And this is where they parted, because Grampy fought back and lived for another two years.
But it was a hard two years.  He had several falls, three trips for rehabilitation, each time determined to come back better than before.  He was be repaired as good as the day he fell, but his constant ditching of his walker to prove he was better would lead to his next fall until March 18th, when he fell, breaking a rib, arm and hip.
Grampy came through his surgery fine, but developed pneumonia, and he didn’t have the strength to fight back, and on the 25th he crossed over the Bridge.
Which brings me to the lighters.  Grampy had two lighters.  They went through Korea with him, through the birth of his children, his newspaper career, through cancer and chemotherapy, though his retirement, his pacemaker surgery, his gallbladder surgery, Nana’s heart surgery and following three months of complications before she passed, his kidney surgery, his getting healthy after heart failure, his first broken hip, his three trips to rehab, and his fading memory that caused him to misplace everything else but those two lighters.   He insisted that he always have those lighters.  Of all his worldly possessions he could save, those lighters would be first.
But on March 18, when he fell, those lighters disappeared.  Grampy barely had the strength to press his life alert bracelet,, he didn’t have the strength to grab the lighters.  Auntie, who responded to the call with the EMT’s could not find them.  Amanda, his caretaker, could not find them, and neither could Daddy.  They were gone.
Thankfully, if Grampy had to pass, he passed without realizing \the lighters were missing.  That was until after he got sworn in.  I had followed Barney to the human sde of the River.  Grampy reunited with Nana and his sister and her husband, who thankfully had brought a bottle of Scotch, then he went over to give Barney a long overdue scratch.  Barney pulled him by his pants leg (in case you wondered humans come over fully closed, thank God) to a spot of dirt and Barney began to dig.  I was going to help him when I remembered that I was a judge and I had got a manicure that morning so I let him finish.  When he was done Barney picked up the lighters in his mouth and put them at Grampy’s feet.  Grampy gratefully picked them up,, told Barney that he was a good dog, better than his kids who had lost his lighter, then Nana slapped Grampy for being snarky. and they resumed their relationship which should, as Auntie said in her eulogy, cause a lot of electrical storms in the Northeast this year.
So now Grampy is with me on the immortal side of the Bridge and he has already scolded Cronkite and Murrow for sloppy journalism.  I am sure he is going to cause some arguments up here, but that’s OK, it’s only for eternity.
It is on the mortal side of the Bridge where he will be missed.  This quote was used for me when I crossed and I will end this blog with it, because he is as deserving of it as I was.  
“Well they built the Titanic to be one of a kind, but many ships have ruled the seas
They built the Eiffel Tower to stand alone, but they could build another if they please
Taj Mahal, the pyramids of Egypt, are unique I suppose
But when they built you, brother, they broke the mold
Now the world is filled with many wonders under the passing sun
And sometimes something comes along and you know it's for sure the only one
The Mona Lisa, the David, the Sistine Chapel, Jesus, Mary, and Joe
And when they built you, brother, they broke the mold
When they built you, brother, they turned dust into gold
When they built you, brother, they broke the mold
They say you can't take it with you, but I think that they're wrong
'Cause all I know is I woke up this morning, and something big was gone
Gone into that dark ether where you're still young and hard and cold
Just like when they built you, brother, they broke the mold
Now your death is upon us and we'll return your ashes to the earth
And I know you'll take comfort in knowing you've been roundly blessed and cursed
But love is a power greater than death, just like the songs and stories told
And when she built you, brother, she broke the mold

Friday, March 28, 2014

Ask Aunt Foley

Dear Aunt Foley:  The other day I was going for my daily walk.  At the end of the walk Mommy usually tells me to sit and wait for my release word.  She then goes to the house, gives me my release word, I run to her and she gives me a treat.  Well, on this day, Mommy has me stay and then she walks in the house and I’m just sitting there. And I waited.  And waited.  Finally she gives me my release word and I run into the house where I get my treat, then Mommy tells me she had forgotten the treat and left me out there until she got one.  Am I smart, clever, well trained or sneaky?  - Jake the Rake

Dear Jake:  Let me handle these one at a time.  First you are very smart.  You learned exactly what to do to get treats from your Mom.  I can’t say you are clever.  If you were clever you would be able to get the kibble without following your training.  This is very hard  to do and takes years of training.  It is like a Jedi mind trick.  I am sure you will get there soon my son.  You are not sneaky at all.  You are very well trained, perhaps too well trained.  You have an agreement with your mother.  She gets to the house, releases you, and gives you a treat.  When your Mom did not give you the treat she broke the social contract between the two of you.  You are well trained but dammit man this is a treat we are talking about.  Once that social contract is broken you are free to get your treat.  But there is one possibility you left out which is the true answer.  Your Mom forgot to get the kibble.  She is the one who needs training.  So take your Mommy back to training right now until she never forgets the treat again, and, until that day comes you can break training because if you are trained and she’s not she will never learn. A well trained Mom is a balanced Mom so do it for her.

Monday, March 24, 2014

For Pocket one Picture is Worth 2,332 hits

The picture was taken, I posted it on our blog, and one year later that photo has received 2,332 hits on our blog page.  Only three other blogs we have written have gotten more hits.

This has caused quite a bit of consternation in my pack, in both its conscious and unconscious states. Foley and River work on their blogs for hours, coming up with imaginative stories, grand adventures, glorious tributes, and if their work gets a couple of hundred hits they congratulate themselves on their achievement.  But beneath that burns an all consuming jealousy that my pretty mug has drawn 100 times as many views.

River will be sitting at the table, one paw on the keyboard, another scratching her head as she contemplates her next words.  “Why don’t you just take my picture, then you’d get lots of hits,” I say.  She snaps at me but being snoutless her teeth don’t pose much of a threat.

Foley popped into my dreams, made me get out of bed and call up our blog. She showed me the comments under my picture that were spam for shoes and clothes.  “It must be some sort of marketing thing,” she explained. “People see your picture is popular, go to it to find out why, and they get free advertising.  You’re just a cog on the machine of big business.”

She didn’t appreciate when I told her she was just a cog in the big wheel of jealousy.  Nor did she appreciate my advice.

One picture is worth a 1,000 words, and a 1,000 hits, especially if they look like this.

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Reese is our March 23, 2014 Pup of the Week

Every dog is a hero in their own home.  All our humans require from us to be their hero is friendship and love, but sometimes we do something truly heroic.

That brings me to my very good friend Reese.  He has had a lot on his plate since his big sister Meika went to the Bridge.  His family was left broken hearted and Reese had to do everything he could to keep smiles on the faces of his Dad and his Uncle Ron.

To make their suffering worse, Uncle Ron took ill and had to be admitted to the hospital.  They ruled out that he had a heart blockage but the Ozark Mountain Doctor Daredevils weren’t sure what was wrong, and, as is often so with the human health care system, when doctors don’t know what’s wrong, they send you home.

Uncle Ron and Reese’s Dad were both catching up on sleep while Reese dutifully watched over Uncle Ron.  Feeling hungry Uncle Ron got up for some lunch.  Apparently he got up too quickly and when he got to the kitchen he collapsed (once again showing the fallacy of humans insisting they walk upright.)  That’s when Reese, who, truth be told, Meika and I always thought was a bit of a duffus, sprung into action.

Uncle Ron told Reese to go get his Daddy and Reese went to the bedroom barking and scratching to wake him up, which he did successfully.   His Dad rushed to Uncle Ron and was able to get him off the floor and did a quick triage to determine that Uncle Ron had just got up too quickly and was uninjured.  He was helped back to bed.

And Reese was the hero of the day.  But he is everyday.  We all are.

So here is to the hero in all of us.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Ask Aunt Foley

Dear Aunt Foley:  There is a particular cat in my neighborhood who I hate.  When I am on my  walk, and I see this kitty, who, for some reason just sits and stares at me, I lose it.  I am a very peace loving dog but the kitty gets under my fur.   What is it about this particular cat that sets me off? - Sushi

Dear Sushi:  It is natural for us dogs to dislike cats.  This goes back to our origins.  We are descended from wolves, cats are descended from lynx, and, if nature is proven, the lynx would totally kick our asses.  We are pack animals, hunting in a group, and, if a group of us cornered one of them, well we would rip that thing apart, but, one on one, the vicious little lynx would claw us to death.

As we evolved our teeth stayed sharp, and we maintained our size when we became domesticated, while the cats claws became less sharp, and they grew smaller, so, when we attack cats we are just getting back at them for the pain inflicted upon us by lynx throughout history.  All you want Sushi is a little payback for the suffering of our ancestors.

Now many of us dog have made peace with the cats, and even live with us, but like southerners who still refer to the Civil War as “the war of Yankee aggression” and don’t cotton to no Yankees you hold on to the old grudges and when that cat mocks you by staring you attack for generations of dogs who came before you.

So keep flying the flag of Puppy Pride.  Never forgive and never forget!  And keep fighting for us little dogs.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Totti and Khan are our March 16, 2014 Pups of the Week

Last week I was lucky to have no friends come to the Bridge, but this week, sadly, I had two.  I went from a no header to a double header.  One we knew was coming, and one was shocking, but both were very sad.

The first was the shocking one.  We had not heard from our friend Totti from Hong King for awhile.  I so enjoyed his blogs.  He lived in an exotic part of the world and taught us so much about life on the other side of the planet. Totti and Foxy were two treasured friends, and even if many months passed without hearing from them, it was always a treat to see them on our blog page.

We had no indication that Totti was on his way.  After swearing him in I asked him what had happened and he said he had an ordinary upset stomach for a few days, the vet came to his house to visit (he really does live on the other side of the world) and ran some tests, but didn’t think it was serious.  On Monday Totti’s tummy was bad and his Mommy came home to make him some ground beef but before it was finished the Angels came down and told Totti his time on the mortal side of the Bridge was over.

He protested, we all protest, some better than others, but only the luckiest of us buy themselves a few more days.  Totti did achieve the passing we all want, at home with his loved ones, even if such a passing is hardest on our families.
Totti was his Mom’s first dog.  Like a young girl who becomes an aunt, she was nervous about holding Totti at first, but when she did he snuggled in and stole her heart.  When she took time off from work Totti was her constant companion going for long walks with her.  Soon Foxy joined the family and a well known social media duo was born.

I showed Totti how to watch his family in the River of Life and he read his Mom’s blog about him, but soon his eyes clouded over with tears so I finished is for him:  “I miss him a lot a lot. His ashes came back today. Paul and I decided to put on the chest with his lovely photo. It is right besides our wedding photo. He was one of our lovely family member and he will always be missed by me. He will always in my mind.  Totti, see you at the rainbow bridge later. Take care I miss and love Totti forever !”  

And Totti wanted me to tell his family he misses and loves them too and will be waiting.

The second friend to join me this week was Khan from the Malatesta clan.  
Khan had been growing sicker each day, unable to get to his feet.  His Mom has had health issues too, and the vet agreed to come to her house (perhaps I am the one who lives on the other side of the world) to ease Khan’s passage.  But Khan wanted no part of that.  When he saw the vet he suddenly had the strength to get off the ground, and run to his Mom, and they both cried, knowing this would be goodbye.

But the truth was, with his Mom and his human brother having so many health issues, they needed an angel more than a dog, and Khan realized this, and he too is at the River of Life watching over his loved ones, with the rest of us dogs.

There are plenty of wet paws here, from dogs reaching into the River trying to touch their families, and wet eyes too as we watch their pain.  But we are safe here.

We are safe and waiting.

(Thank you to Tommy Tunes for the photos)

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Foley Plans to Take on the Big Dog Store (Again)

I have often been described as barking mad, but now I am really barking mad.  If I was still on the mortal side of the Bridge I would be sniffing butts and taking names but now I have to rely on my dull minded sisters to right the horrible wrong that has been done to me.

I learned that local pet stores have stolen my name in an attempt to cash in on my fame.  I blocked their attempts to link themselves with me for profit while living on the mortal side, but shortly over six months after passing to the immortal side, they have made their move, hoping to attract the parents of Foley Wanna Bes with this.

While I would not mind having my Little Monsters create and wear their own Monster shirts and jackets in tribute I do not like the big box stores owned by massive companies making money on my friends.

It was time for a dream meeting with my lawyers River and Pocket Esquires.  I went down, plucked them from their dreams, and brought them to my cloud office.  I showed them pictures of the Monster shirt and asked them to file a restraining order against the stores to keep them from selling the shirts.

Pocket told me she was nervous about fulfilling my request. Those big box stores had lots of lawyers who could hit my sisters with restraining orders and keep them from buying food.  Before I could respond my head litigator River barked “keep us from buying food?  No food?”  She then began running around my cloud howling at the moon.  I had to get her off of my cloud before the downstairs neighbors filed another complaint with management.

So apparently if this is going to happen I am going to have to make it happen.  But first I want all my friends to print out what is below and bring it to Petco:

The bearer of this paper
a true friend of Foley Monster (™)
Is to be awarded one free Monster Dog Type T Shirt
And if you do not honor this coupon I will personally
send dozens of geese to poop on your car
Thank you

Please go out and get one soon.  Once these companies realize that I have outmaneuvered them and they will be making no profits from my name they will pull these items from the shelves.  I wouldn’t want you to be left out.

And wear it proudly Little Monsters.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Ask Aunt Foley

Dear Aunt Foley:  Who is St Patrick and why do we celebrate his day?  Confused Irish Terrier.

Dear Confused Irish Terrier:  St Patrick was a wonderful man who helped the people of Ireland very much but again, what the humans are telling you is incorrect.  The story is that he led the snakes out of Ireland.  What is it with humans and snakes?  Those poor slithery bastards get blamed for everything.

The truth is that there never were any snakes in Ireland.  St Patrick lead dogs across the seas and into Ireland.  Before St Patrick stepped up there were no dogs in Ireland and he traveled the world to bring dogs to his homeland.

The first place he looked was Amsterdam where he found the Knickerbocker Hound.  He made it appear like a chicken, snuck it on a boat, and brought it to Ireland where it was renamed the Celtic Hound.  His next trip was to the Bay of Bengal where he discovered, and smuggled out, the Bay of Bengal Terrier and, upon reaching Ireland, named him the Glen of Imaal Terrier.   In the jungles of South America he found the Bush Terrier and upon reaching Dublin coined the name Kerry Terrier, and, when one of the breed was unable to be neutered and suffered when he could not find a mate, the Kerry Blue Terrier was born.   Finally, in Spain, he discovered the Rough Coated Wheaten Terrier gave him a bath and the Soft Coated Wheaten Terrier was born.

Over his lifetime, thanks to his dog smuggling efforts the Russian Red and White Setter became the Irish Red and White Setter; the Bulgarian Setter became the Irish Setter; the Egyptian Dirt Spaniel become the Irish Water Spaniel, the Tonga Terrier became the Irish Terrier and the Brazilian Wolfhound became the Irish Wolfhound.

So raise a Foleytini or a Beef beer, or whatever you like to St Patrick on Monday because without him many of the breeds that we love, or actually are, would be quite different.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Presley is our April 9, 2014 Pup of the Week

I don’t like to complain, and frankly, when you take a job like Judge at Rainbow Bridge you assume you are going to be weary for an eternity, but, with all the friends I have recently had to swear in, I have been exhausted.  So I am so happy this week to celebrate a friend who won’t be visiting me anytime soon.

But he still managed to give all of us quite a scare.  A few weeks ago Presley’s Mom noticed a lump on the inside of his front leg.  It wasn’t like a bug bite or a fatty tumor.  It was the type of thing that makes a Mom go “oh crap.”  His Mom took him to his vet but the doctor wasn’t as impressed with the growth as his Mom was.  The vet suggested it was something minor that needed to be monitored.  She made an appointment with Tag and Atlas’ old vet.  He was more impressed and did a needle biopsy that showed it was a pre-cancerous tumor.  He scheduled a surgery to remove it and prescribed several anxiety attacks for his poor Mom.  She asked for prayers that the tumor would be benign.

After his Mom’s anxiety attacks ran out it was time for the surgery.  She put him in the car, took him to the vet, went home, asked for more prayers, and prayed herself.  Later that day the doctor called Presley’s nervous Mom after the surgery to say all went well and that once Presley loopiness wore off he could come home.  The vet told her that he would do a biopsy but there was nothing to worry about. Because she was a dog Mom she immediately began to worry.     
Thanks to lots of dog and human answered prayers the result was a "grade 2 soft tissue sarcoma” which, in dog, means there were some cancer cells but it was localized and the chance of any cells remaining after surgery were very slim.  

So a big tip of the tail to Presley, who I won’t be seeing crossing the Bridge and climbing the stairs for a real long time, who has many heartbeats left, and lots of time with his Mom.  And a big tip for all the pup prayers that ensured Presley’s additional heartbeats.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

River's Interview With Vladamir Putin

Foley told me I needed to have an adventure so off I went to Russia to check out the Chachi Olympics.   I was able to get an open media pass, because no one from the dog blogging community had claimed one.  I had to wear it around my neck at all times so I would not be confused with a stray dog.  When I got into my hotel room it was furnished poorly, dimly lit, overcrowded, hot and the water was yellow.  If there were more people in walkers i would have sworn I was back in Florida.

I decided if I was going to make a splash with my first big adventure I had to get the big interview of the Olympics:  Vladimir Putin.  It being the Chachi Olympics I e-mailed Scott Baio and asked him to set up the interview but the little punk ignored me so I contacted The Fonz because Chachi always did what he said, and soon Putin’s people were calling me for an appointment.

I trekked over to his villa overlooking the mud mountain where the skiers skidded downhill.  I kept my credentials around my neck so I would not be confused with a stray dog and rounded up or adopted by an overeager American slope skier.  When I reached the library where the shirtless Putin sat on a hobby horse I was frisked by a hairy cossack with cold hands.

Finally I was given an audience with his Putiness.  Of course my first question was his horrible treatment of the stray dogs on the streets of Chachi.

“The dogs were a badness on our streets.  Badness on the streets must be eliminated.  First badness:  Homeless dogs.  Second badness:  Homeless people.  Third badness:  Home owning Gay people.  All must go.  Stain on Russia.”

I told him that it was my understanding that the Olympics was about bringing people of different beliefs and cultures together to celebrate our differences.

“Not in Russia.  This is the Bizarro Olympics.  Winter Olympic in cold place, we have in warm place.  Hotel have running water, we have creeping sludge.  Olympic welcome everyone with open arms, we have hairy Cossack beat them with club.”

I asked him about his treatment of dogs.  If he knew they were having the Olympics why didn’t they find home for the street dogs then, why wait until the Olympics were starting then decide to kill my comrades.

“We Russia.  We don’t prepare so good.  Hitler say he hate Communists  He offer us deal.  We say OK.  He wipe us half out. What a country.”

And that’s when I called him a dick.  And then they said to lock up the little dog.  The bare chested dictaitor on the hobby horse told me to put me behind a foor foot gate because a little dog like me couldn’t get out.  But was you know I am a flying dog, and I jumped over that gate and ran back to the Olympic village where one of those crazy slope skiers brought me home in his luggage.

But before that I took a big dump on that Putin guys shirt.

Wordless Wednesday