Sunday, November 30, 2014

Shakira is our November 30, 2014 Pup of the Week

I have had so many prayers to deal with lately.  Not that I am complaining.  It is a honor to be the one to convey my friends’ prayers to the Big Guy.  But I am getting confused. .  I have prayers and notes scattered everywhere.

I was trying to get them sorted when I noticed Shakira looking over me.  “Hi Shakira,” I said.  “You know I can never keep my prayers straight.”  Then I stopped and looked up.  “Shakira!”  I yelled.  I began to look through my prayers and could not find her name.  “What are you doing here?” I asked.

“Rule number two Foley,” a deep voice said.  I turned and saw one of my oldest friends, and a senior member of the Bridge Council, Shakira’s brother Angel Apollo, standing on a hill over us.  He ran down towards his sister.  Instead of running and playing together they just put their heads and paws next to one another and took comfort in the texture of their fur and familiar, long lost smell.

Rule number two was never ask a pup what they were doing at The Bridge because the answer was always the same.  I was never good at following the rules.  When Apollo and Shakira were done with their reunion I inquired again why I did not have more prayers and Shakira told me that Angel Apollo was handling her’s personally but, while she was sick, no one thought she was ready to cross the River of Life.

Five months ago Shakira was diagnosed with an ugly cancer.  Her doctor was confident that a drug known as Palladia would shrink the cancer cells and could even cure the cancer.  Sharkia and Apollo’s Mom  was hoping that the drug would give Shakira more time on the mortal side of life.

Everything was going great.  Shakira went from being a lethargic girl to the energenic one she had been her whole life.  She had some hair loss but it was an easy trade to be able to run like the wind again.  

But all drugs have side effects which no one pays attention to because they hardly ever happen.  Hardly…...With Shakira they happened.  The drugs caused her kidneys to shut down.  Once that happened Shakira’s Mom had no choice but to make the most difficult decision.  Shakira told us how grateful she was that her Mom made that decison and put her out of pain.

But I was still baffled about why the medicine did not work.  “Why would the Big Guy create a medicine to cure you and not have it work?” I asked.

Apollo grumbled about rule #3:  Never question the motives of The Big Guy.

“Well I think it sucks,” I said just to ruffle Apollo’s fur and make him remind me of rule #7.  Instead my old friend just sadly nodded.

Some dogs like to pick out a replacement either just before they cross the River of Life, or shortly afterwards but Shakira and Apollo don’t do anything small.  They didn’t pick out a pup, they picked out a whole pack.

Their Mom is one of the most wonderful dog rescuers we know.  Just before Shakira got called to the Bridge an unwed homeless Mother was taken in as a foster pup by Shakira’s Mom.  The Mom had her litter and Shakira’s mom sorrow has been softened by having a Lollipop and little pups running around her house dependent on her.  It was the perfect diversion to Shakira’s loss.

We went to Tommy’s house to watch over Shakira’s Mom and the pups to make sure they were safe.  Apollo has been a wonderful angel to her but with Shakira watching over her other shoulder she will be doubly blessed.  Then Apollo told Shakira there was something she had to see.

We went up and down several hills and then Shakira saw it and ran towards it.  Her old weeping willow that was in her yard until it got sick and had to be taken down this year stood proudly swinging in the breeze.  Shakira ran and curled underneath it.  Apollo followed her and the lay down wrapped around Shakira and they fell asleep with one another under the willow tree just as they had years before.

Home again.

(When I finished writing this blog I got a page for another swearing in.  I went to my post and I saw Benjamin.  I was stunned.  I crouched down, grabbed his legs, and began to sob.

“That breaks rule number 9,” a familiar voice said.  I turned to tell Apollo I didn’t care about the rules.  I looked up and realized it was Benjamin who was speaking.

“No more rule breaking,” he said  “There’s a new Sheriff in town.”  

I looked up and saw the stars from the beautiful sky twinkle off his badge.


Friday, November 28, 2014

Ask Aunt Foley: It's Not The Size of the Handle

Dear Aunt Foley: Dad went to buy me a replacement, 16 foot retractable leash, and found that all of the manufacturers must believe there is an absolute correlation between the size of the dog and the owner's hand. Leashes for small dogs come only with small handles, those for medium dogs only with medium handles, etc. How stupid is that? Haven't they noticed that some women with smaller puppies often require larger hand bags, and some men with a diminutive pack often need big briefcases, and vice, versa? Katie and Angel Cassie

Dead Katie and Angel Cassie:  This is a seriously great question.  As I see it the real question is why the small handled leashes are sold anyway.  I was a very small dog and my retractable leash was large.  It wasn’t like the pull of the leash was going to lift me up and slam me back into the leash like a catfish being yanked from a crik.  

Just because I’m a little dog doesn’t mean I couldn’t handle the the big line.  Believe me I can handle the big line.  If any dog can handle the big line it’s me.  Don’t be all little dog can’t handle the big line with me.   I’ll snap the big old line right in two.  Us little dogs can handle any line you big one can handle believe me

The handle is really for humans.  Men do need the big handle  Some of them need bigger handles than others.  My Daddy, he’s happy with just the normal big handle but for those who feel a little less adequate about themselves, they ask a pet store associate if they can get a handle the size of a spare tire which makes other things seem larger than they may appear.

What human have to understand is that it’s not the size of the handle on the leash that matters but the amount of love that you give the pups who are hooked up to the leash that counts.

But no matter the size of the handle whether or not your dog has a satisfying walk can be determined by the way their parents work the handle.  You don’t want to be yanking the line back and forth quickly on our walks.  You want to use short, smooth pulls of the line in and out of the hole at the handle until we are enjoying ourselves so much we have a crapgasm on the grass.  Once we are finished then we can go home but remember we can’t go home until we are finished.  You can jerk the line back and forth all you want to make the wal more enjoyable for you but we won’t finish and you’ll never be done.

Remember it is not the size of the line, it’s the motion that makes a good walk.  

I hope your Dad is a good handle holder Katie.  It good handle holder makes for a very satisfying walk.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Daddy is our November 23, 2014 Pup of the Week

When is it time?  It is a question that has tormented our poor parents for years.  Humans who are in the final stages of their lives linger, they suffer, they lose their dignity, until mercifully they are brought home.  I am sure their loved ones would, at times, want to end their suffering, but they aren’t allowed to do what some call playing God  

Thankfully our parents are allowed to play God when it comes to us, and we love them for it.  It is ironic that the term used to end our suffering is “humane” when humans are not given the privilege of ending the suffering of their loved ones. The term should be “dogmane.”

Our friend Daddy, brother of Taser and Ruger, whose mother is Sue Ann Mohamud, is at the end of his life.  He has a tumor that can’t be operated on and he is at the stage where he has been brought home to be made comfortable.  Unfortunately being comfortable is hard when your body is failing.

Daddy is having trouble standing and walking, and when he has bowel movements they are frequent and often loose.  Because of weakness in his limbs he can’t stand for long and often he gets his movement on his back legs, and being a good dog, he knows he did something bad, and he feels very guilty that his Mom and Dad have to clean him off.

Daddy has always been a very proud dog. To see him losing his dignity and not being able to play with his brothers has been very hard on his parents.  A short time ago he was a vivacious, fun loving German Shepherd Dog and slowly the disease is taking that from him.

But Daddy still has energy.  He eats, he barks at his brothers, he acts like he wants to stay.  And that is what makes it so difficult.  He is suffering, but he still shows sparks of the proud dog his parents adore.

I didn’t give my parents much choice when it was my time.   I could not live outside the oxygen tent.  But when I was inside the tent I was me, bright eyed, tail wagging, ready to go home.  Outside the tent I could not last five seconds, so the decision was easy.  

The question of when is torture for our parents.  They always want one more day but they are also the ones who have to decide when there will be no more days.  How do you make that decision when it’s a soul you love with all your heart?  How do you know you did not rob yourself of one more day?

I am going to let you humans in on a secret.  Us dogs do everything we can to hide our pain and our illnesses from our humans.  When we can no longer hide our pain it has become unbearable.  But we are still going to fight the pain, still try to cover it, because we don’t want to worry you, and we want to stay with you, no matter what we have to endure.

So when is the right time?  There is no right answer.  Just listen to your heart and it will tell you when.  And it will be the right thing.   Because we never want to go but we also want you to let us go, so when you say it’s time, it’s time.  From the day we came into your house we put our lives your hands.  And sadly, in the end, we put our death in your hands.  It’s quite unfair.

We are sorry, it is the hardest thing we have ever asked you to do, but we need you to do it.  So please, be strong for us, and do what needs to be done, not in the name of humanity but dogity.

And we will be grateful to you for eternity.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Balls! by River Song

At exactly 10:00 every evening I expect at least one, and sometimes as many as four treat balls.  

The first one I ever got was from Leo.  It was plastic, and I rolled it around the floor eating the kibble that slowly fell out.  Then one day I realized if I got on the couch with the treat ball in my mouth and dropped it on the floor the treats would come out faster, and it would scare the crap out of a sleeping Pocket.  It was a win win.

I found out the harder I slammed the ball the more the treats came out until the day I slammed the ball so hard all the treats came out.  Unfortunately  I busted Leo’ gift and it was time to find me something new.

So they got this really cool, thick white bone and the filled it with all sorts of yummy stuff:  Peanut butter, pumpkin, yogurt, and there would be treats inside the creamy stuff.  It was great.  I loved to climb up on the couch with it and start licking the stuff out, and when I got frustrated I dropped it on the floor and it sounded like a cannon going off.  Over and over again, for an hour, that canon would go off.  Mommy and Daddy didn’t mind but it scared Pocket and everything inside of her turned into water.  So the white bone went away.

Next came this big square thing that looked like a giant tic-tac-toe.  I had to spin a door around and could either eat the food from the toy or shoot the kibble out on the floor.  Took me about two minutes to figure that out.  Then I looked up at Daddy.  What’s next?

Then came this thing called the Kong Genius.  You put treats in it and you have to be a genius to get them out.  More of a genius than me.  More of a genius than Daddy.  I think there are fossilized treats in that thing, where ever it is hidden in the dark corners of this house.

FInally I got a traditional Kong.  I got filled with delicious peanut butter.  Oh how I loved to lick all the peanut butter out of that Kng.   And sometimes I would spill some on the couch, and stain it, and the chairs too.  And the floors got pretty stickly.  So they froze the Kong.  Which delayed the mess on the floor by a good ten minutes.

Pumpkin in the kong worked a little better, but I went through it too quickly, and yogurt was just as messy.  So one day I decided to sit down for supper with Mommy and Daddy and instruct them on proper treat ball preparation .

So now I have my original Kong stuffed with kibble, carrots, and treats.  Sometimes I get other treats in them too.  I like being intellectually stimulated and have a full belly before bed.

I hope you all have balls  to run after, stick your tongue in and lick.  I couldn’t live withoit my balls

I don’t know how boys do it.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Ask Aunt Foley

Dear Aunt Foley:  We had a man come to work in our house recently and my siblings and I got locked in a room.  Why should we get locked away?  It’s our house.  - Downunder Daisy

That is one of the most aggravating decisions parents make.  They love us, they are proud of us, when we are walking with them they love to show us off to passerby’s, but when a stranger comes in the house to do work suddenly we are Anne Frank.  

We are trapped in the room while a human with all sorts of interesting smells walks through our house and the potential for wonderful scratches, rubs, and dare we say treats are lost.  And for what reason?

Because suddenly we have become an embarrassment to our parents, who have become convinced that we might attack the man for being in our house?  Does the fact that a strange man comes into the house to work on the plumbing or something electrical turn us into ferocious beasts?  Or are our parents afraid that we will (heaven forbid) get in the way?

Do they ever consider what a joy seeing us might be to these hard working laborers going from house to house with only frustrated humans with a broken appliance in their past and a big bill in their future to talk to?  We would not get in their way, we would make their day.  The joy we bring humans could even lead to a break on their bill.  

Plus no one knows the stuff that needs to be repaired in a house like we do.   We are home all the time, we are low to the ground, like many of the appliances, we have great noses and ears and can tell by sound and smell what is wrong with anything in the house.  By tail wags, eye movement, ear wiggling, and use of paws we could communicate to the repairman and save them time and the family money.

But no our shortsighted parents keep us locked up in a room.  The dog deprived repairman becomes grumpy because he would love to see us, he works slower, and because he is wondering what we look like, he becomes careless, not fixing the appliance properly, and leaves the house sad, while our parents are sad about the big bill, and when we are let out we run out of the room barking trying to bring the man back so he can see us and repair what he missed but he’s gone.

And when he returns a week later to fix what he missed we will once again be locked in the room and the vicious circle will start again.

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Rocky is our November 16, 2014 Pup of the Week

We dogs live our lives for our parents. We accept certain sacrifices when we agree to take in a human. Because we never want our parents to worry about us we hide our pain when we are sick as long as possible. That is why my cancer was such a shock to my Mom and why everyone was so shocked when Rocky passed to the Bridge.

I have been here 17 months and I have learned to act with a certain amount of decorum when I see a friend cross the Bridge. I no longer run down the stairs and embrace them. I don’t ask them how they are doing since the answer is always: “Well not good I’ve been dying.” But my darn tail still wags when I see a friend, and it did when I saw Rocky. (I knew I should have had that thing circumcised when I was a pup. Now my back skin keeps betraying my emotion.)

I concentrated very hard to keep myself under control as I swore in Rocky in a dignified and solemn ceremony. Then I got runned over when Sierra came flying down the hll, bowled me over, jumped on Rocky and began licking her best friend as her uncircumcised tail wagged back and forth with such ferocity all the witnesses ran for the hills.

I was able to get Sierra off of Rocky and we all began to walk to Tommy Tunes’ house so Rocky could begin his job of watching over his Mom. On the way I asked him for the story that everydog has: How you got here.

Rocky told me that his legs were bothering him for a while but he wanted to keep it hidden from his Mom because he did not want to worry her. Soon it spread to his stomach, and when you have a tumor in your stomach, like the one I had in my lungs, you can’t hide it from your parents.

Once the symptoms that you have kept hidden for so long start to appear they overwhelm you. You hold the symptoms back, hold the symptoms back, and then, like water through a burst dam, the symptoms flood you To your parents it looks like the symptoms happened overnight when in truth you had been fighting to block the symptoms for a long time.

Our Moms love us so much that they do what Rocky’s Mom did. They take us to the vet, they hold us, and then our pain is gone, we are free at the Bridge, and all the pain, not the illness, but the pain, is transferred to our Moms, and, unfortunately there is no shot to take away that pain.

Saddest of all is that Rocky was an only dog, his parents best friend, their companion on long walks in the woods, his Mom’s trainer making sure she didn’t miss a step on the treadmill, their silly little GSD who loved it when they dressed him up.

The worst thing about being the only dog is when you go to the Bridge the sound of your heart no longer beating, your paws no longer running about the house, the absence of your barking, or your breathing, is so deafening that no other sound can be heard. When we got to Tommy’s house so Rocky could watch his over Mom on the TV and we could train him to be her angel the noise of his absence was so overpowering we had to mute the television.

After that we got Rocky his wings and taught him how to float down into his Mom’s dreams to give her some temporary relief, and soon we will be teaching him to turn into other animals and butterflies so he can visit.

So if you are Rocky’s Mom to keep her eyes open because after a short time Rocky will be coming to visit you. It won’t be the same, ever, but know you boy is trying to bring you comfort and joy.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Dear Aunt Foley

Dear Aunt Foley:  I recently had a DNA test done and the results showed that I am a Argentine Dodo/ Chow Chow / Norweigan Bunhound Mix / Argentino Dogo / Bulldog / Black and Tan Coonhound Mix.  What’s up with that?  - Brody

Dear Brody:  OK my good friend let me explain your heritage.    Somewhere down in your state of Arizona there was an Argentine Dodo hanging around a seedy neighborhood looking for some action  At the same time Martha Stewart was in town with her army of Chows.  One of them slipped out the limousine window and headed to the slums where she meets up with the Dodo.  They did the nasty and your line was created.

An embarrassed Mrs Stewart sent her Chow to a dog convent where she had a baby:  A Chow/Dodo mix.  Not wanting a mixed breed to corrupt her line the Chow/Dodo was left at the dog convent.  When she became of age, at about six months, she escaped.  She found her way down to the docks where she was hungry and desperate.  A fishing ship with a Norweigan Bunhond as a mascot had pulled in and she took comfort with him.  Afterwards she made her way back to the convent where she had a puppy.  Your Dad.

Meanwhile, at the same time, a third cousin of the original Argentine Dodo was running an escort service for lonely dogs.  He read on Doggyspace After Dark the profile of a young Bulldog and decided to meet her himself.  They hit it off and began a torrid affair until she became pregnant with a litter.  Since Argentine Dodos are notoriously bad fathers he left the Bulldog alone and stowed away on a freighter with a Norweigian Bunhoud friend.

The  Bulldog was now on the streets, young and pregnant, and she gave birth to a Bulldog/Dodo child.  To provide for her child the Mom convinced the owners of a dog freak show that the Bulldog/Dodo was good for the show.  She was only there long enough to meet a two headed coonhound:  One head was black, the other tan.  Over the objection of the tan head the black head and the Bulldog/Dodo hooked up to produce another dog, who would be your Mom.

The two headed coonhound left town with the freak show and the puppy who was your Mom ended up in the same convent as your Dad.  They met, fell in love, and produced a litter that included you.  You got a little lost after that but you made it to your Mom’s which is where you should have been all along.

Or there is another possibility.  These DNA test are whooeey.  And the type of dog you are is a Brody dog which is the best kind of dog in the whole world.

I think we will go with that possibility.

By the way your two headed freak grandfather says hi.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Pocket and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day

In our house we seldom expect good days.  We just hope they aren’t bad.  Inevitably they are, but that’s OK, it just lowers the bar for the next day.  But somedays that bar just crashes off poles and drops to the floor.

It started off when we got up early.  Getting up early is never a good thing in our house, unless it’s because Daddy is working.  That usually means that he will go to work, Mommy will get in her recliner, and we take a long snuggle nap.  But if Mommy showers that means either prolonged crate time or household drama.

This day Mommy showered and there was lots of drama.  First thing, during breakfast, a gigantic monster came and ate our driveway.  It chewed up the entire thing leaving nothing but dirt.  Then another monster came in and put down rocks and gravel.  Mommy said we were getting a new driveway.  I don’t know why.  But then again I don’t know why we got a new dog when Foley went to the Bridge.

The men who were riding the Monsters asked to use our outside hose.  Daddy told them they could, but not to leave the hose on, because there was a little leak under the house when the hose ran it would leak on to the driveway.  Well, like most monster riders the men didn’t listen.  They left the hose on and the water from the leak made the fresh gravel in the driveway wet.  The maintenance director knocked on the door making River Song and I run from room to room barking loudly until we forgot why we were barking and laid down.  Meanwhile the maintenance director told Daddy that he would have to get the leak fixed before the monsters could put pavement on the driveway, and there would be no parking on it until it was fixed.

So Daddy went under the house, which is never a good place for a Daddy to be, and started pulling the insulation so he could get to the pipe.  He found that the previous owner had put a board under the leaky pipe so it would run into the insulation and soak it, then slowly drip down so it looked like a minor leak instead of the major leak that it was.  Normally no one would notice, unless you left the water on for an hour because you  needed it for the pavement.

Mommy, who takes delicate care of her gardens, was very upset that her yard now had an ugly gravel driveway and it could take up to two weeks for it to be fixed.  Two weeks of ugly is a lot for her to handle.  But she didn’t let that bother her.  Her granddaughter was playing freshman soccer across the street from where Daddy was working a shift so she was going to watch and then do some shopping.

Mommy got to the game and put her folding chair on the wet ground.  It took her ten minutes to realize her granddaughter was not at the game and now she had more than three and a half hours to kill in one of Southeastern Massachusetts’ worst neighborhoods.  She decided to get up.  She pushed off the chair and sunk down more  Her tired arms and legs, and her bent back, would not let her stand.

  She was too embarrassed to ask for help and after ten minutes of rising, falling and sinking she was able to stand, grab the chair,

Then she whipped up supper, and Mommy and Daddy finally sat down the eat, when they caught a whiff of something.  Daddy stood up and checked behind Mommy’s chair.  The tummy woes I had worked so hard to hold inside had exploded.  “Now Pocket’s got diarrhea!”  Daddy yelled and their supper was interrupted to clean my smelly mess, which is the worst thing to interrupt supper.

Our tummy woes were temporary, and slowly things began to return to normal, but we did have one terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day.

Monday Question

 What is the oldest thing in your house that has been used by pets long before you moved into the house, and do you still use it?   Ruby'...