Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Beat This Caption

I am sure it is a very cute picture. Now open the freaking door because we are soaking wet out here. 

Monday, July 30, 2018

Monday Question

Where is your favorite place to be scratched?

Pocket:  My ears, by where they meet my head.

River Song:  My belly, all day long.  I don't even roll over.  People just reach down and scratch

Sunday, July 29, 2018

Four Hero Dogs Are Our July 29, 2018 Pups of the Week

Finally, I had a week when I did not have to greet any friends at the Bridge.  We angels have been working hard trying to keep several of our friends and their parents healthy.  We don’t mind. Any week we don’t greet a friend is a victory, and it has been a long time between wins.

So it is time for me to recognize four outstanding pups, all of whom are heroes in their own right.

The first is Lucifer, or, as his family lovingly calls him, Lucy.  Lucifer’s daddy was in his Hutchinson Kansas home with his feet up on his recliner sleeping when Lucy jumped on his lap interrupting a well-deserved nap.  Waking a parent is usually the wrong thing for a pup to do but Lucy had her reason.

Larry’s house had caught on fire, and his smoke alarms failed.  Lucy saved his life by waking him up, and Larry was able to save Lucy’s two siblings just before the house became engulfed.

While Moore lost his house and many of his possessions he said all he cared about was that he, Lucy, and the other two dogs survived, thanks to his heroic little dog.

Sometimes hero dogs don’t have names.  Forty-year-old Marion Ion of Romania found that out the hard way.  He was riding his bike in a wooded area of Mount Semenic at night and crashed.  When Ion tried to move, he found he couldn’t. He was totally alone in the dark and injured.

Mr. Ion heard the sound of paws coming towards him.  Who knew what predatory animal was waiting for dinner?  The animal came near and then lay up against him. It was a stray dog, who, instead of taking advantage of the accident, did what all dogs dog, he took care of an injured human.

When the ambulance arrived the paramedics, put a blanket around Mr. Ion, and the dog stayed nearby to keep him warm.  When Mr. Ion was loaded into the vehicle, the dog got in the ambulance with him. The police removed the dog. When the ambulance left the dog ran down the street after it.

Mr. Ion recovered in the hospital from a dislocated hip and mild hypothermia.  Meanwhile, the hero dog now has a name, Max, and a home, with the vice-president of Caras-Severin county council Ionut Mihai Popovic
European dogs are not the only way who can save missing humans.  An 11-year-old boy went for a walk in the woods behind his house and got lost as it became dark and torrential rain started.

Enter Leo, a nine-year-old German Shepherd and a veteran K9 for the Trempealeau County Sheriff's Office who, among his many duties, is a scent tracker.  Leo was given a pair of pajamas the boy had worn the day before. The dog sniffed them, remembered the scent and headed into the woods with his handler.

It was difficult because of the torrential rain.  Leo kept losing the scent. Still, it only took him 15 minutes to find the boy huddled under a tree a half mile from home. The boy was brought to his worried parents and has fully recovered from the incident.

That may have been Leo’s last save.  He is scheduled to retire at age ten for a well-deserved rest.

Our final dog is named Baloo.  He did not save a sleeping dad, a bike rider or a child.  But he did show ingenuity beyond that of the common dog. What do you do when you are hot and want to cool off but don’t want to go outside?  This was Baloo’s answer.

He grabbed the hose, brought the working sprinkler into the house and cooled off in the living room.  Thankfully his mom, Cora Wohr, took a picture of her fun-loving little man before she turned off the water  In his defense at least he did not ask to go to the pool.

I hope to tell you the tales of more hero dogs next week because that means that no friends crossed the Bridge.  Those weeks are coming further apart.

Friday, July 27, 2018

Foley Reports on the FDA's Warning About Grain Free Dog Food

I do feel bad for our parents.  There are so many decisions they have to make regarding our health.  Just when they think they have made the right decision the information changes.

After years of eating the same food, two months ago, my parents decided to switch my sisters to grain free food.  River Song had several feet, and ear infections and Pocket often has a bad tummy. Since they made the switch River hasn’t had any allergies and Pocket’s belly has been better.


Then the stories started.  Grain free food, long promoted as the gold standard of the pet food industry was the common thread in some dogs who were suffering from DCM or dilated cardiomyopathy which makes the heart weaken and become enlarged causing some dogs to suddenly go into heart failure.

There are dogs who are prone to DCM like Doberman pinschers, Irish wolfhounds, boxers and Great Danes.  But recently veterinarians have seen DCM in golden retrievers, doodle mixes, Labrador retrievers and Shih Tzus.  The common factor in many of these cases has been grain free diets, and, in a few cases, a raw diet.
It is not the absence of grains but what is substituted.  Peas, lentils, chickpeas, and potatoes, which replace the grains in grain free food is being looked like the possible culprit.  Some researchers believe that the carbohydrates are blocking the body’s ability to either make taurine or absorb taurine. Many of the most popular grain free brands, including Blue Buffalo, which my sisters eat, contains taurine, an amino acid used to break down fat, which is good, unless the carbohydrates are blocking the taurine, which is bad. Right now researchers don’t know.  Many of the dogs with DCM have low taurine levels, but some have normal levels, deepening the mystery.

No researcher has named a specific brand of food.  They have mentioned the term “boutique brands” meaning those that are made in small batches and not sold in major retail stores.  They also have said exotic proteins like buffalo, kangaroo, and alligator Poultry and beef does contain taurine which helps keep taurine levels up if taurine is the problem.  

Dog food companies have been trying to outdo each other by raising protein levels for years.  Many consumers think protein equals meat, but often protein equals peas or potatoes. Many dog food companies, will split the carbohydrates up and list a few different types of peas or potatoes under ingredients.  This could mean the main source of protein in your dog's food comes from carbs and not meat.

There are millions of dogs who eat grain free food and below one percent are showing symptoms of DCM.    The vets are still not certain if it is a problem for all dogs or for certain ones who have rare biological issues causing the body to react poorly to peas and potatoes.  The research is in the early stages. But the FDA was concerned enough about grain free food that they issued a warning to consumers.

My parents haven’t decided if they should switch back to food with grains.  The vet tech they talked to said she feeds grain free food and sees no reason to stop.  My parents are weighing the possible benefits of grain free for Pocket’s tummy problems and River’s allergies.  They are going to monitor the research and make a decision when it is time to buy the next bag.

Being a dog parent is hard, and with this new controversy about grain free food, it has got harder.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

River Talks with the Resurrected Butterfly Bush

I am happy to report after a perilous spring the butterfly bush is blooming and attracting lots of butterfly angels who fill our lives with beauty and love.

It took a lot of tender loving care from my mom, a good trim, and some of my special puppy growth urine for the bush to thrive.

When I was peeing the bush back to its former glory, I sparked a friendship with my green friend.  Last week, after he had begun to bud again, I heard a voice in my head, much sweeter than the usual voices that reside there.  “Hello River,” it said.

I looked around.  “Hello?” I barked.

“Don’t bark out loud,” the voice said.  “No one can hear me and dogs who bark to themselves have to attend special classes.  I just wanted to thank you for your efforts to return me to proper health.”

I looked up at the bush.  “Is that you?” I barked.

“Yes,” it said impatiently.  “Now, stop barking out loud, just think what you want to say to me.”
“You mean you can read my mind?” I thought.

“Yes, you dirty little dog.  But you are not as weird as that strangelYorkie you pal around with.  Now listen, I thought I was a goner during the winter. I was cold, alone, buried in snow.  I could feel myself bending further and further to the ground. Some of my branches broke off; it was a grim existence.”

I didn’t know what to think, and I was trying to keep my mind clear from thoughts I did not want to share.  I gave the bush a lick of kindness.

“When the snow melted, and I was all bent, hanging over the driveway, I was sure your parents were going to cut me down to nothing.  I heard you thinking that I should be given a chance, and I could read your parents seeing the thoughts in your eyes and agreeing to give me a chance.”

“Can you read my parents thoughts?” I asked.

“Oh sister, you don’t even want to go there.  That is one dark, scary place. Just think of them as the kind, loving people they are and don’t wonder what goes on behind the curtain.  But luckily, in the midst of all their twisty thoughts, they decided to cut me back, water me regularly, and give me lots of love. When the sun got high, and the days warmer, I could feel myself become stronger and then one day I felt bursts of energy running down my branches and viola, I had buds.”

I told the bush that I was very happy it recovered and brought pretty butterfly angels to the yard. 

 Butterfly angels are good luck, and we can always use that. Then I asked how much my special pee helped him recover.

“Oh, about that,” the bush said.  “I would appreciate it if you would stop pissing on me.  It doesn’t help and tastes terrible. But outside of that, I thank you very much, and if you ever need shelter from the rain, you just stand under me.  Just make sure you don’t tell anyone, people think dogs who communicate with bushes are barking crazy.”

But I had to share the story of the saved butterfly bushes with all of you and give you the message to never give up even when they think you are barking crazy

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Beat This Caption

As I stand in front of my puppy training graduates today I want to remind you that while we are obedient we are not subservient, while we may come when they call we still do so by own our free will.  We don't chew the shoes, or pull on the leash, or bark at every noise because that is what we choose.  We may be good dogs but we still reserve the right to chase a squirrel or poop in your slippers.

Monday, July 23, 2018

Monday Question

What causes you the most anxiety?

Pocket:  High pitched noises or loud noises like thunder.

River Song:  Being left alone

Sunday, July 22, 2018

Wishbone is our July 22, 2018 Pup of the Week

Someday, when I have been at the Bridge for hundreds of years, I will be sitting with a group of young pups around me, and a dog will run past us at lightning speed.  The young pups will ask “What was that?” And I will tell them the Legend of Wishbone.
I would compare Wishbone to the legendary Harry Potter.  Harry was the boy who, against all odds, lived, and Wishbone is the dog who, despite being close to being sent to the Bridge several times, survived for more than nine years.

Wishbone, a coonhound, was born in North Carolina, and unwanted from birth.  He was marked for the Bridge by his first owner when Paula Malatesta, a legendary dog rescuer, saved him from death row and brought him home where he could become part of a large pack, some permanent, some transitory.

Wishbone saw himself as more of the transitory sort, and, the first chance he got, he ran away. Paula looked for days, posted pictures of him, and was about to lose hope when one Sunday, upon leaving church, she saw him, and ran, then tumbled, down a hill where she landed next to Wishbone, who decided if the woman were that determined to keep him he would allow himself to be kept.

Paula was stricken with health problems, and her concerned family thought the dog rescuing was the cause of her medical issues so they gathered up Paula’s rescues and her own dogs then took them to the shelter while Paula was in the hospital.  Realizing that the reaper was seeking him again Wishbone fled.

When Paula was released from the hospital, she found Wishbone but knew she could no longer keep him.  Thanks to the large network of moms on social media Wishy found a home with a family in faraway New Hampshire.   When he entered Tiffany’ Campbell’s house and saw her husband, and two kids, he knew he was finally home and stopped running.  

A few months after I departed for the Bridge my parents with Pocket and River Song went to Momma Laura and Pokey’s pack’s house to meet with several New England dogs and Whiskey’s mom from California.  That is when my parents met sweet, gentle Wishbone who could not have been kinder or better behaved. He was even nice to Pocket and River which take a lot of patience. The first time my parents laid eyes on Wishbone, like everyone,  they loved him.

Sometimes, when a dog escapes the Bridge’s reach, the Bridge never stops pursuing him.  As Wishbone aged his body began to break down. He had trouble standing, and the doctor said he had four compressive discs in his back which caused chronic intervertebral disc disease.  Wishy was in his forever home, and no matter how often they had to help him to stand and walk, Wishbone would not be leaving again.

By the end of that year, the vet told Wishy’s parents that if their beloved boy had an operation, he could walk without pain.  His parents agreed. Wishbone had a difficult time after surgery, having to be carried outside, walk in a sling, and be “expressed” but Wishbone did it all with dignity. He had been through worse.

That was over a year and a half ago.  The surgery did give Wishbone relief but it was temporary and each day became more painful for him.  This week Momma Tiffany made the hardest decision and sent him to the persistent Bridge.

He was met by all of Paula’s pups and his New Hampshire sister Annie who had surgery to remove her leg before she got to the Bridge, only to find afterward that cancer had spread far beyond the limb.  Annie is now patron saint for the tripaw dogs.
Annie announced after I swore Wishbone in like an angel, he got his wings, and the clouds of human tears passed over us, that Wishbone would join her as a patron saint.

  He is the saint of all dogs whose future seems hopeless. They will now look in the sky and see a star, and that star will be Wishbone, and they will believe in a better life.

And his mom can see the star too.  She doesn’t have two angels watching over her, she has two saints, which will leave her in very good paws.

But she knows she has been in good paws from the moment she saved Wishbone.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Social Networking Parents Come Together to Save a Dog Named Radar

This is a story about a dog named Radar who needed a lot of help from caring humans to get to his forever home.

Radar belonged to our friend Angel’s mom  Lori’s neighbors.  Momma Lori saw Radar nearly every day.  He was malnourished and mistreated.  He was left outside in the worst heat and in terrible rains.  Over time Momma Lori could not take seeing this dog so abused, and she convinced the family to surrender Radar.

Unfortunately, Momma Lori was already living in a house overstuffed with dogs.  She was going to have to find a good home for the little man.  She took him to the vet where she found out he suffered from ringworm and Lyme disease.  It was an unwanted expense for Momma Lori, who had recently suffered lots of damage from the floods, but she had sworn to be Radar’s angel on Earth.

It is fitting that this was the week when Radar needed to find his way to a new home because it also marks the tenth anniversary of Doggyspace the social network that brought many of us together.  Angel Tommy Tunes, to commemorate the event, posted a blog showing many old friends who we have lost touch with or are now angels.  People commented about how they found the site and the wonderful friends they made there.

It is proper that Angel Tommy was the one to write this blog because it was Doggyspace that helped Tommy’s sister Freddy get to Tommy’s Dad’s house after Freddy’s mom Gina passed away. When Tommy’s dad was one of the two people who offered to take Freddy and her sister into their homes, it was the DS parents who came together to transport Freddy all the way to Florida in the middle of a blizzard.

While DS has been discontinued the friendships remain.  Carol Johnson-Isaacson read about Radar’s plight, and she found someone in her home state of Minnesota who would give Radar the home he deserved.  The problem was getting Radar from Nebraska to Minnesota.  All it took was one post on the Doggyspace Facebook Group where many of our friends had found refuge.

Momma Karen Schlabach, who was instrumental in transporting Freddy to Florida, stepped up and said that she would be the middle person to take Radar from Lori and to meet Carol.  The only other part to address was the money for the transport and medical expenses.  The three caring women asked their old DS friends for help raising money.  It did not take long for that to happen.

The transport began on Saturday.  Momma Lori took Radar to meet Momma Karen.  Momma Lori tearfully said goodbye to a dog she thought of as her own.   There were tears in her eyes because she would miss him, but also because she knew the hungry, wet, uncared for dog who would visit her pack was now going somewhere that he would know nothing but love.  It was truly a bittersweet moment.

Momma Karen drove to meet Momma Carol and gave her Lori.  Momma Carol then delivered Lori to his forever home.  Doggyspace, and sites like it, were about celebrating dogs, but they grew into something more, a way for humans to make dogs’ lives better.  Eleven years ago Momma Lori would not have found a home for Radar so quickly if at all, proving that people who let pets into their lives are the most caring people in the world.

This is a picture of a happy, well cared for Radar with his Dad.  Radar had a happy ending. Thanks to the Internet, and caring parents, more parents and dogs should be getting happy endings and their forever homes.

So, to the parents who are reading this, or spend lots of time on pet sites, especially at work, if anyone asks you why it is because you are saving lives.  

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Pocket and the Walks We Take

We are very lucky.  We live in the middle of a large neighborhood with a 10 MPH speed limit and lots of different places to walk.  Mommy likes to take different routes to change the scenery. We are all for that. A new direction means more pee-mail to read and stories to pee.

When my parents bought their first house together, it was in development across the street from the village where we now live.  After work, they would take our angel sister Blake for a walk around our present village and talk about how nice and quiet it would be to live here when they got old.  Some residents complained about my parents walking Blake in their village because they didn’t live here. My parents ignored the “Private Property” sign and boldly walked Blake on the quiet streets.  Now that my parents are old, and live here, they grumble about people who don’t live here waking their dogs on their lawn too. People change.

There is another factor to determine which direction we walk.  River and I know where every dog lives. Sometimes the pups are outside, or in a window, ready to bark with us, and other times they are hiding inside.  River and I bark so they know their friends are outside and we start the entire neighborhood barking. Depending on how much our parents want to listen to our barking we may go one way or another.

Our normal route is a quiet one.  We stay off the two main roads where most of the houses are.  There is also an area with woods on either side. It is a nice place to walk, and that means it has one big upside for us and a downside for our parents.  Other people like to walk there too. We think the only reason anyone would be outside is to give us attention, so we bark and pull towards them. Some of them do give us attention, but most of them just talk about how cute we are and keep walking.  Talk is cheap. You want to see the cute you got to give us at least a scratch.

If we go to the left, then we are headed for the front of the development.  There is a lot of common area in that direction but there is also a house with two dogs, and they like to sit outside with their parents.  If the pups see us, it triggers a cacophony of barking and even more ignored pleas to be quiet from the humans. If the dogs aren’t out then we turn around at the office and go home, but if they are out then, we get a longer walk, because Mommy doesn’t want us going past the barking dogs again.  On those days we walk on the main streets. We bark at every house where a dog lives and at every person walking. Honestly, the barking is more exhausting than the walking.

Mommy and Daddy usually walk us together.  Occasionally, Daddy walks us alone, and that is when we get a barn walk.  There is an old barn at the front of our site. We walk around that, up a hill, then go over a fence and walk along it, with the tall grass ticking our paws, as we smell everything, and enjoy the room to roam.  We love when Mommy goes with us but getting the fence walk is a treat.

I will say no matter what direction we go I have never gone on a bad walk.  Even a two-minute walk is okay with me as long I am outside and with my parents.

A day with a walk is always a good day.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Beat This Caption

I am not going to school today.  All of my friends are going to make fun of me because of my socks.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Monday Question

What is the best way too cool off?

River Song:  I put my entire face in a cold bowl of water then lie on the bare floor with my leg spread out until I cool down.

Pocket:  I find a human to sit with.  This is also what I do when I am cold, scared, happy and sad.  It is my go-to move.

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Lucy is our July 15, 2018 Pup of the Week

I heard a beeping on my phone in the middle of the night and knew what that foretold.  Yet another angel had earned their wings. I put on my judge’s robe, and my big slippers, because the grass was wet with dew, then hurried to the meeting point at the top of Rainbow Bridge.

I looked at my phone for an update.  It said my friend Lucy would be joining us.  I sighed. Such a brave girl. She had been fighting a winning battle against cancer for three years.  But the thing about cancer is it only has to win twice when it first arrives, and the final battle.

It was in the middle of the night at Lucy’s mom April’s house.  I wondered if Lucy had slipped away during the wee hours. She has always been such a polite girl.  It would be so like her not to make a fuss, or force her mom to make the hardest decision, and just let her mortal coil be found in the morning when Lucy could return as an angel and give her mom the comfort she needed.

When I reached the greeting area, there was a man looking over the river.   A human waiting for a pup to cross is rare. The last time I saw one, it was Macdougal’s dad who I had met when I arrived.  I stood next to the nice looking man who smiled down at me. We waited silently.

First, we heard the paw steps, then we saw Lucy, running, for the first time in years, cancer free, feeling young and spry.   The man next to me bent down and whistled. Lucy’s ears perked up, and she saw him, then she ran so fast she was like a lightning bolt zagging across the grass.

Lucy ran into his arms and knocked him over.  She started licking his face 1,000 times. Apparently, they knew one another. I started to feel I was intruding and stepped back.  The man and the dog played for five minutes until Lucy turned to me. “Foley, this is my dad, he has been waiting for me,” Lucy explained.

I didn’t know Lucy had a Dad at the Bridge  I took his paw in my hand and introduced myself.  I told him, there were certain rituals that we had to follow and he stepped aside and told me he would not interfere.  By now word had spread of Lucy’s arrival, and her friends ran over hills and through valleys to get to their beloved pup pal.

Her father watched happily as his baby played with her friends and acted like the pup he once knew. Finally, Lucy separated herself from the dogs and went to her father. I did not want to eavesdrop, but I was standing near them and have always been a bit of a snoop.

They talked about Lucy’s mom.  Our little friend was worried. Lucy knew her mom would be heartbroken and she wanted to be there to help.  Lucy’s dad assured her he had done nothing but look after his wife since he came to the Bridge, and he was not going to stop now.  And he had ways of ghosting a loved one that we dogs didn’t know anything about. Sometimes humans can even be seen. Lucy took her dad’s hand, and they flew into the sun to help guide and support a mom and wife respectfully.

I knew Lucy would adjust to the Bridge swimmingly.  She still has a human to live with. I hoped they could help her mom.  It is hard to be the one left behind.

Hopefully, now that Momma April has two angels working for her full time she will find her way out of the grief to love again.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Foley and Heart Memories

It was my good friend Odie’s Bridge Anniversary last week.  Bridge Anniversaries are sad occasions, marking the last time our parents got to look in our eyes, to touch us, to tell us that they love us.  We Angels work very hard to make sure the pup who has the anniversary does not get sad. We arranged for Odie to go on a boat ride down the river and every time the boat came around a  bend a scene of Odie and his parents from his mortal life was playing on a screen. I do believe we kept him happy despite the sad day.

The Angels do have it easier than our parents.  We can slip into their dreams and snuggle with them, to feel their body heat, to even touch their warm skin.  We can smell them and taste them. It is bliss to be back with them, but also frustrating because our parents believe they are dreaming and when they awaken they may remember a nonsensical snippet of the dream, but most of it is gone.

Our parents don’t remember how some nights we sit with them while they tell us all their problems and, to their surprise, we converse with them, giving them the best advice, which they usually follow to their advantage.  Angels never give bad advice.
As we meandered our way down the river, Odie wondered what happens to those memories our parents have of dream dates.  The memories are still there, but can’t be accessed.

“I think it is like a computer,” Odie said.  “When we are visiting with our parents, they are retaining all these memories but when they awaken the thoughts are erased.”

“But they must go somewhere,” I said.

Scooby was eating a big piece of cake.  He licked the frosting off his mouth. “When you erase something on a computer it doesn’t go away, it stays on the hard drive but can’t be accessed by the memory.”

“Where is the human hard drive?” I asked

Odie smiled.  “It’s the heart,” he said.  “All the memories that get overwritten in a human mind go to the heart, where the brain can’t remember them, but the heart can.

And that is what helps the humans get through the most difficult times. The memories that are kept in their heart. The unexplained feeling of strength or comfort that rises inside of them.  That is caused by the heart memories.”

I knew Odie was right.  It explained everything.  Our dream dates are not forgotten, they just go into the human heart, where they are most needed, because those memories help heal broken hearts, and they spark unexplained feelings of calm or happiness even in the hardest moments. 

So, dear parents, do not feel bad that you cannot remember the dream dates.  You do, but you remember them with the heart and not the mind, so, instead of it being a memory, it is a feeling, which can be even more comforting than things you remember with your brain.

And someday, when we are all together, your heart memories will join your brain memories and a huge feeling of peace will overcome as you cross the Bridge to your immortal life.

Until then, dear humans, heed my advice listen to your heart more than your head because that is where all the truly important memories are kept.

Thursday, July 12, 2018

River Has a Tick Talk

I was lying in bed, late at night, when I felt something moving by my left ear.  I brushed it with my paw. A tick fell off me on to the sheet. Surprised, I stood.  “What were you doing on me?” I asked.

“Bah, I was hungry,” the tick said.  “I’ve been outside in your yard for days with nothing in my belly when you came by on your leash.  I hopped on you and waited, all night, for you to fall asleep so I could bite you and drink your blood.  But every time I tried to bite you I was repelled by your skin. You must be wearing the poison.”

“My mom puts some sticky stuff on my back to keep you ticks off of me.”   When I said “ticks” my voice could not hide my disgust.

“Don’t get uppity with me!” the offended tick said.  “It isn’t my fault I was born a blood-sucking nuisance.  It’s who I am. Who are you to judge? You get kibble given to you on a clean plate every day.  No one feeds me blood; I have to lay in the grass and wait.”

“You gave me Lyme disease!” I barked.  “I had to go on medication for weeks, and three years later I am still carrying the illness.”

“I didn’t give you nothing,” the tick said.  “I am barely a year old. And I got the disease from a mouse.”  I grunted in disgust. “Don’t judge me; I have to suck every vermin out there just to make it until tomorrow.  But I got off that disgusting little thing as soon as I could.”

“I don’t feel sorry for you,” I said to the little creature, “you just want to attach yourself to a hard working dog and live off me for nothing!  

“Not true!” the angry tick countered.  “I go from animal to animal trying to get enough blood to stay alive.  Oh, it's a wicked existence. I would not wish it on anyone. I couldn’t even find a yard with big dogs, I only had you two little ones to pick from, and when I finally worked up the nerve to jump on you, I find you are wearing the poison, which is very unhealthy by the way.  You should get the collar. We know not to jump on dogs with the collars. But no, you need to be tricky with your poison drops. Bah! I curse you.”

I did not like this tick’s attitude.  He had hidden on me to get inside and now was in my bed, being argumentative.  “I don’t wear the collar because I have a collapsing trachea,” I explained.

“Oh, how terrible for you!” the sarcastic tick answered.

“And we don’t take the pills because of Pocket’s tummy,”

“Oh the pills,” the tick shook his head.  “I know all about the pills. I have heard of ticks which had died on the pill.  They bite a dog, get infected and expire. What a way to go! Right in mid-suck.  That’s how I’d like to go, in the middle of sucking. But no, I had to get the only two dogs in America still using the drops.  I’m telling you, I don’t get no respect.”

“Well, you can’t stay here.  Pocket has the drops too,” I told him.

“Oh, I don’t want to bite her.  Too scrawny. I could suck that thing for days and never get off.  But these humans are tempting.”

I could not let him bite my parents.  If they get Lyme disease, it is much more serious than when I did.  They should be wearing drops and collars.

I knew I had to get this thing out of my bed.  Mommy would freak out if she found it there in the morning.  I assured him if she did he would end up in the toilet. And I forbid him to latch on to Mommy.  We agreed he could hide in Daddy’s hair until morning and hop out when he took us outside.

But, as history has taught us, all tick are liars, which was unfortunate for him, because midway through the day Daddy felt something in his hair, pinched it, said “oh crap, it’s a tick!” ran into the bathroom and flushed it down the toilet.

Good luck in the sewers my little friend.  Maybe you will get to go to the Bridge where you can live happily, or come back as something better.

I can’t think how it would be possible to come back as something worse.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

Beat This Caption

Oh my god!  You were caught in a trap and hauled on to a boat?  Then what happened?

Monday, July 9, 2018

Monday Question

If you could have a superpower what would it be?

Pocket:  I would want to have x-ray vision so I can find the ball I like to chase when is missing.

River Song:  I would like to be able to suddenly add weight to my body so when I am snuggled on Mommy she can't get up and I don't have to move and she can't leave me.

Sunday, July 8, 2018

Jewel is our July 8, 2018 Pup of the Week

I hate to apologize to friends.  When I need to do that it means I may have hurt a pup and nothing bothers me more.  My first rule, like all dogs, is always to be kind.

I walked through our Doggyspace neighborhood to a new sparkling house covered in jewels, which was appropriate because living inside, after arriving at the Bridge ten days earlier, was my old friend Jewel.

I rang her bell.  The chime sounded pretty.  I heard the pitter patter of paws, and then Jewel opened the door.  “Hello, Foley,” she said, then gave me a long hug.

When she let me go, I took hold of her paws.  “My friend, I owe you an apology,” I said. A confused Jewel asked me why.

“I try to pay tribute to a dog each week, usually one that arrives at Rainbow Bridge.”

“Oh yes,” Jewel said.  “I read them, I know some people find them emotionally manipulative and overly maudlin but I like them.”

This is what I love about Jewel.  She has always been a straight shooter.  I continued. “Last week, when Kaizer came, I decided to write about him.  I should have written about you too.”

“Oh Foley,” she said touching my face.  “It’s OK. I would rather have a blog all about me, even if I have to wait a week.  You never have to apologize. Now come in and have a slice of lemon cake.”

I sat down at her table, and she gave me a delicious slice of lemon cake.  I asked her how she was adjusting to living at the Bridge. “It is lovely here,” Jewel said as her eyes looked over her little house.  “But I do miss Mommy so. She took such tender care of me my whole life, and I tried to do the same for her. Sometimes I was hard to care for because I was a nervous, little dog.  But nothing calmed me down like Mommy. I still get the shakes, even here, and at first, I couldn’t calm down because Mommy wasn’t there, but then I thought of her, and I slipped right into her mind, and it calmed me.  I hope she knew I was there. I don’t think she knew in her mind, but I hope she did in heart, because that is where the most treasured memories are kept.”

Jewel took our plates and put them in the sink then sat down.  “I felt terrible when I took sick, not for me, but for Mom. All her worst fears rushed upon her at once.  Mommy hadn’t been working much, which was great because we had a lot of time together, but she didn’t have money, and the last thing she needed was a sick pup.  But we can’t control these things. I developed a cough and a heart murmur. I knew the number of heartbeats I had left was ending, and I metered each one out to stay as long as I could, and Mommy spent every cent she had to stretch that heart beats out too, but finally, they ran out, and I expired, having to leave her.”  Jewel grabbed a tissue with her paw and dabbed her eyes. “I just wish there was more time.”

“We all do,” I said, and then we hugged and sat silently for a long time.

“That’s not my story,” Jewel said, “that’s just the end.  Come again sometime, and I will tell you the real story of my life. The happy, fun-filled, loving days I spent with my Mom.  That is a story worth telling and remembering, not the end, that was just a sliver of life. I know we concentrate on the end, but we need to remember all the good before the end.”

The sun was setting.  I needed to get home. I stood and thanked Jewel for the lemon cake.  I promised to come back with a cake of my own and to hear all her stories about her life.  The important times, the only ones worth hearing, all the days before the end.

Friday, July 6, 2018

On Flower Friday Pocket Shares Her Mid-Season Garden Report

River and I are finally ready to show off our many gardens.  We spend all winter, including during dream dates with Foley, planning the flowers we will buy and where to put them.  Foley uploads the information into Mommy's brain, and we are set to go. 

My parents begin working in early April when it was cold.   They clean all of winter's refuse from the yard, rake out the discolored mulch, pull out weeds until the gardens are ready and the perennials began to bud.

Some of the flowers came in slowly because of the long, cold spring but eventually, they bloomed.  Underperforming flowers were dug up and moved to the rehab garden where we hope they will thrive. Decorative planters and lights were set up, and sprinklers were turned on.

Next came the mulch, bag after bag, spread over five gardens.  Foley came down as a butterfly to review, and she declared the gardens were ready for public viewing.

So, for your approval, some garden pics.
Here is Nana's Saint Anthony, watching over our main garden flowers until he chooses to bicycle away.

Our front garden has the American flag, lots of pretty flowers, a sign with our family's name and hanging off of that is River's flag which Daddy jammed on the sign two years ago and can't get off.

These are the petunias in our hanging plant.  You can also see the flower box on top of the wall and Mr. Owl sticking his head out.

This is part of our side garden.  It is about thirty feet long and includes our two butterfly bushes which are starting to bloom and a rock garden.  

Here are pretty clematis climbing our lamppost.
Here is part of our front garden with the peek-a-boo side garden.  Also, you can see Daddy's new project:   making a walkway from the back door to the HVAC unit and around it.  Mommy doesn't like how the lawn looks there, so Daddy's been digging it up.

This is our rehab garden.   We have a very good record rehabilitating plants.  This is the last year for the pine tree since it is a danger to the neighboring properties during storms.  We haven't decided what we are putting here next.

This is a close up of the Asiatic lily blooming in Foley's garden.  She is very proud of how pretty they are.

This is another part of our front garden,  along with our little car.  You can see the hanging plant and balloon.  If you look closely in the window, you can see the Yorkie flag Roscoe's mom sent us.  Thank you for viewing our gardens.

Thursday, July 5, 2018

A Scary Week for Mom Puts Foley into Angel Overdrive

The call came during an August afternoon, 11 years ago.  Mommy had gone for her yearly mammogram and got called back for more film.  She was not concerned. She was convinced they were just double checking. When she got off the phone with her doctor, she knew differently.  The second mammogram means they saw something. She officially became one of the many women who had breast cancer.

My parents’ first decision was a hard one.  Earlier in the year, they had adopted a senior Yorkie named Jordan.  Jordan was blind, deaf, had no teeth, could not walk, and was incontinent.  She would relieve her bowels, or bladder, where she sat, which was often on Mommy.  Jordan took lots of care, with lots of cleaning, and Mommy could not take care of this pup and herself at the same time, so Jordan was surrendered back to the unhappy rescue group.  For the first time, Mommy has to put her health ahead of her dogs.

I supported Mommy’s decision.  Jordan was basically a furry log that pooped and peed a lot.  But it was still hard for Mommy, who had the guilt from surrendering Jordan (she talked to the rescue about it being temporary, until Mommy was cured, but they passed) and she fretted about her own health.  I just worried about Mommy.

She was lucky.  She had two lumpectomies, and then eight weeks of radiation every day after work.  Some days she would be fine, some days she would be sick, and some days she couldn’t get out of the chair.  She bravely completed the treatments and was declared cancer free. Then Daddy made a horrible mistake. As a present, he gave her Pocket, the gift that keeps on barking and peeing.  I guess it worked out (although the rescue, seeing a picture of us online, scolded Mommy for getting another dog. Bless the rescues, but sometimes they can be hard on people.)

Beating cancer opened another door for Mommy.  While she was too tired to stand she found out from Daddy about a site called Doggyspace, she had Daddy set up an account, and 11 years later, we are famous social media dogs.

Two weeks ago, on a Wednesday, a day after getting her yearly mammogram, the radiologist called to say they needed new films.  Of course, Mommy’s mind went to the worst case scenario. I, trying to comfort her, found out all I could, about second mammograms.  They are very common especially for women getting their first test. Most of the new films show nothing concerning, and those that do lead to a finding of cancer less than half the time.

But, when it is your mammogram, all those statistics go away. 

I went into Mommy’s dreams each night to counsel her.  We decided not to scare anyone in the family needlessly, except for Daddy, who is always needlessly scared.  When I wasn’t talking with Mommy, I was flying prayers up to the Big Dog Angel Board.

Last Wednesday Mommy went for her second mammogram and ultrasound.  The squeezed her like an angry person stomping a bee. Then they did the ultrasound.  They did not give her any results.

This I found frustrating.  She wanted to know if she had cancer and there was someone who knew if she had cancer and they would not say!  It is like an umpire watching a close play at the plate, signaling nothing, then going to sit in the stands to eat a hotdog.
Mommy waited all day Thursday for The Call, but it didn’t come, so she called her doctor.  She talked to a PA who told her she had the results but could not give them to her until the doctor signed off.  So now the entire umpire crew knew the call, but no one would share it with the runner.

Finally, Mommy got a call from the nurse who told her she had a UTI, which Mommy already knew, she had gone to the doctor two days before.  Mommy asked about her mammogram results, and she could hear the PA shuffling through reports as time passed like dripping molasses.

After seconds that seemed like hours, the PA said Mommy had a benign cyst that did not have to be removed.  She was fine. All her angels cheered throughout the heavens. Even though nothing untoward happened, Mommy still felt like she had survived a close call.

So, if your mommy gets called back for a second mammogram tell her it is statistically most likely nothing, and she should not worry.

Then take her hand in your paw because she is going to worry.

Tuesday, July 3, 2018

Beat This Caption

When you go in the water put your paw here so the water does not go up your nose

Monday, July 2, 2018

Monday Question

How much does the weather affect your outdoor time?

Pocket:  I will answer for both of us.  If it is over 85 and humid, or over 90, we only go out to pee.  We don't get walks.  Also if there is snow on the ground Mommy only allows a walk to the end of the street.  If it is raining hard, or snowing, we don't go out at all and use the porch pee pads.  No matter what I go out for my 11:30 at night poop because if I don't get that my delicate system is thrown off.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Kaizer is our July 1, 2018 Pup of the Week

Baron is one of the first of our online friends to come to Rainbow Bridge.  He was a giant of a dog. He was so popular people came from all over the country to celebrate a day for him, called Baron Fest. Seven years ago Baron went to the Bridge, but his presence is still felt in the mortal realm.

Baron knew his mom was a spectacular dog parent, and that she needed another pup who would make the pup's life, sister Chey's life, and his momma's life better.   Momma Monica, guided by Baron, found the perfect dog, Kaizer, who we liked to call the K-Man.

We watched him as a pup and experienced many firsts, his first walk, his first doing business outside, his first training, enjoying them all in the same manner a human takes delight in a baby’s first step, smile, and laugh.

Together we saw him grow from a puppy into a fully grown dog, from a wilding to a well-trained boy, and the impossible, to be a worthy heir to Baron.

Momma Monica shared every important moment of Kaizer’s life with us.  He was part of all our families. She did this for seven years as Kaizer reached his prime, no longer a puppy, but not yet a senior.  It should be the best time.

But the best-laid plans got waylaid.  Cruelly Kaizer became ill. After some initial misdiagnosis every parents’ biggest fear was realized, Kaizer, who belonged to all of us, who we watched grow up, had terminal cancer.

I have been part of dog social media sites for ten years, and I have seen many of my friends cross the Bridge.  Kaizer is the first dog I have watched grow from a pup into a strong dog only to shed his mortal coil. I have seen parents lose their beloved dogs, be brokenhearted, get a new dog, and have their heart repaired.  This was the first time I witnessed the entire scope of a dog’s life, from beginning to end.

Momma Monica was losing another baby way too soon.  She dutifully reported on his ups and downs. You would have to search in between her words for the heartbreak. But we who experienced her losing Baron knew the devastating sorrow she felt with Kaizer, maybe worse, because it brought back memories that were not buried far enough down.

On Thursday Momma Monica let us know that the horrible disease had finally taken control of Kaizer’s body and he made his final journey to the Bridge.  All of Baron’s friends lined up across on either side of Baron and me while we waited for Kaizer to come to his final forever home.

Of course, that goofy boy who filled his mom’s heart, and her Facebook page, with so much joy, came clumsily charging up the stairs, brushed past me, and dove on Baron, who he had only met in his dreams, and who was instrumental in bringing Kaizer and their mom together, and gave him 1,000 kisses of thanks for choosing him to have the best mom in the world.

Baron let me swear Kaizer in and then took the little K-Man under his wing.  There is no wiser angel than Baron. Very few moms were as lost and broken as Mama Monica was when she lost Baron but her angel was able to help heal her heart.  Now his task is twice as hard, but he has his brother to help him.

I still cannot believe that a dog who I honored as being Pup of the Week when he joined his family is being honored again when he leaves.  I don’t know how Momma Monica has the strength to go on, but humans are amazingly resilient. Someday she will open her heart to another pup and a new sibling for Chey, share that dog’s life with us, and hopefully get more time than she did with both her angels.

I see Baron and Kaizer running in the hills together, Baron looking at his brother with all the love in the world, and I think of him as a puppy, the way every parent always think of their children as babies.

Kaiser is now an angel, the immortal world will keep spinning, people will do their work, and dogs will give their parents the love they need.  But, with kind Kaiser’s passing Earth became a little bit worse place to live.

If everyone loves their dogs a little more now than they did last week maybe we can make up for loss of love generated between Kaizer and his mom until she finds the strength to get on the ride of being a dog mom again which is filled with joy and ends in devastation.

But, as my friend Willie said, it is better to love a pet and lose them than never to love a pet at all.

Foley's Tail From Rainbow Bridge: How An Angel Handle Annoying Prayers

  I am an angel judge so I am required to answer all prayers, even the most annoying ones. The most annoying prayers come from my Dad.  M...