Thursday, February 28, 2019

Pocket and the Chicken Broth

I went to the vet last week for my yearly exam and shots.  I was my usual brave, trembling self. Everything was going swimmingly until she insisted on looking in my mouth.  I did my best to keep my little jaws clenched. But the vet forced them open, a clear violation of the Dog Vet Act of 1972, and announced that once again I would have to get my teeth cleaned — what a bother.

Then they began to discuss my experiencing bad poopies a few times a month. How embarrassing!  I don't talk about their poopies, and believe me; I could tell you stories that would curl your tail.

The vet gave my parents a sample bag of the ridiculously expensive Hill's prescription food for sick tummies. Mommy read the ingredients.  Corn corn corn corn spam corn and corn. Mommy told me I wouldn't be having any of that.

The vet also told my parents about a prescription food called Calm that is supposed to quell anxiety in dogs.  Who the hell makes the stuff Doctor Cosby? Another hard no. They also gave my mom a small container of Hill's wet food.  Mummy figured it couldn't hurt

At dinner time they gave me a little scoop of the wet food.  At first, I carefully sniffed it. Then I took a bite. This crap was good!  I ate all of it and properly motivated. I consumed all the kibbles too. The can last six meals, and I ate every last bite.

I made my case to the ruling party:  Mommy and Daddy that I should continue to have wet food.   They quickly ruled in my favor, but not the Hill’s expensive kind.  Daddy came home with two little packets of food. These tiny servings are known as the Big Rip Off.  Parents can choose between a big can or the small package with a quarter of the food for the same price.  I can’t believe how many people buy those little packets over the cans. “I don't know why, there's just something about them I like,” humans say.  This generation wouldn't have lasted thirty seconds in the Depression

But he didn't just bring home food.

  He made a unilateral decision and brought home a rare delicacy known as bone broth.  Mommy poured the broth over my food and placed it before me. I took several sniffs. Then I gave an exploratory taste.

Oh my!  The bland kibble came alive on my tongue.  I tasted things I had never experienced before. If food is love, then I was Robert Kraft at a strip mall massage parlor.  Just give me more.

The people at the pet store said there are unlimited health benefits when you add a little broth to your food. It helps your tummy, makes your bowels never runny, makes the darkest day sunny, it cures your dandruff, it gets rid of blackheads, the heartbreak of psoriasis, it's guaranteed not to give you an erection lasting more than 4 hours.  It's the real thing, the pause that refreshes, paw licking good.

I'm not going to recommend a specific brand of broth; they all look the same to me.  But if you're a picky eater, I suggest your humans pick up a box And tell em Pocket Dog sent you.

Monday, February 25, 2019

Monday Question

How often do you get a bath?  Do you get a bath because your parents think you smell?  What products do you use?  Where do you get bathed?  Do you go to the groomer?

Our answer:  We used to get baths once a week but Mommy has pushed them back to every two weeks.  Mommy thinks we smell when we haven't had a bath.  Daddy doesn't smell it.  That's the thing about parents.  We use Espree Oatmeal shampoo and another conditioner. We don't know why we have a conditioner but we do.  Mommy says it makes our hair smell better.  We go to the groomers every six weeks.  We get bathed in the tub.

Sunday, February 24, 2019

Belle is our February 24 2019 Pup of the Week

When I agreed to leave the love and comfort of my family to accept the position of judge at Rainbow Bridge I had to leave a lovely home where I was well cared for, my meals were exquisitely prepared, and where no dog could be more loved.  I understood why the Big Guy wanted to hire me as a judge. In my career as the world's most renown dog lawyer, I had established a reputation for fairness and even minded decisions. If the Big Guy wanted me he needed to negotiate.

I told him if I was going to give up my house and leave my parents brokenhearted I demanded the ability to inform all parents that after their babies crossed the Bridge they were okay, they were loved, and would be taken care of until that day came when they would be reunited with their parents.  

“Absolutely not,”`the Big Guy balked.  “Communication between the immortal and mortal worlds is forbidden.”   I told him that was fine with me. I would stay with my mother until I was 22 years old, trailing a little oxygen tank behind me, toothless, mostly witless, but where I belong.

“Just out of curiosity,” the Big Guy asked, “how did you intend to communicate with the other side?” I told him I would write a blog.  He began to laugh so hard it sounded like a hundred thunderstorms converging as one. “A dog blog?” he asked. “Like anybody's reading that.  Sure have your little delusion of grandeur. Come here and blog away.”

For once the Big Guy was wrong. I have tried to comfort parents who have lost their babies. Trying is all an angel can do.  

This week I met a beautiful yellow dog named Belle Belle.  She had left her broken-hearted mother Amy Michelle Tucker and her family behind.  

I wrote the following for the benefit of Belle Belle's lovely mom, who was, until today been unaware this blog existed. I understand if many long-time readers find the next passage repetitive, but I am trying to ease someone's pain.  Is there no more noble cause to make one put thoughts to paper?

When Belle Belle took her last breath, her soul left her body.  It floated to the nearest body of water. The tide carried it down the river and over streams until it came to the River of Life which separates the mortal and immortal worlds. The River of Life restored Belle Belle's body. She swam ashore then instinctively followed the path which led to Rainbow Bridge.  Belle ran over the Bridge, crossing the river, then up the long winding stairway which brought her to the cliff where I swore her in. All the animals and people who knew her and had preceded her to the Bridge were there to give her hugs and 1,000 kisses. Rainbow Bridge is a place of continuing departures and reunions.

When Belle Belle was acclimated she began to take important classes; including how to visit her loved ones still on the mortal side; how to switch bodies with birds, butterflies and other pretty winged creatures who can fly back and forth between the two sides; and how to become a ghost.  Belle Belle took a right to it and is planning many visits to her mom in several different winged forms. She learned how to fly into the sun and enter her mother's dreams. She knows her mother might remember one in a million of these visits, but that remembrance could make her smile for a week.  She even learned how to concentrate so hard on the love she has with her mother that she could appear right next to her in ghostly form and brush up against her mom, smell her sweet scent, close her eyes and pretend they were together again.

Belle Belle has chosen a home much like the one she lived with her parents.  The dogs who preceded Belle Belle to the Bridge live with her. They know she was rarely without her mom and they make sure she's never alone now.  If you walk by the house, the sound of dogs playing can be heard constantly. And if you travel through fields and hills around it you will often see Belle happily running in the sun, all the pain she had in the later parts of her life have been stripped away.

We hope this might bring some small momentary comfort to Belle’s mom.  Beside this meager offering we can tell her to watch for birds that stay near her a little longer than normal, for butterflies who seem exceedingly daring and fly close by her head;  and for those unexplained things that she sees out of the corner of her eye. If this occurs, she should know Belle Belle is still with her, and that someday they will be gloriously reunited.

It's the only thing that can keep you Angel parents going.

Friday, February 22, 2019

How Foley Became a Norse God

We have a lot of gods at the Bridge. There is the Big Guy.  He's in charge. But there are a lot of other souls who say the god they worship is the one true God. To see the Big Guy you have to climb to the top of the highest mountain where he contemplates his creation from above the clouds.  You can walk right up to a lesser god.

One day I became a god.  I didn’t mean to, all I wanted was a good pretzel.  To get the delicious ones you have to go to the Norse land.  I got sidetracked on my route and ended up wandering into a valley surrounded by mountains. There was a big stone hammer blocking my way.  

I put my little teeth on it and moved the hammer out of the way. 

“She lifted the hammer,” a woman, who had been walking her yak, yelled. “Hail the true Thor!”  I turned around searching for the new deity. There were a dozen peasants gathered around me. “We must adore her for she is the one true Lord,” an elder exclaimed.  Oh boy.

I tried to tell them that this wasn't necessary.  There was some mistake. I just wanted a pretzel. But once a Norse man gets an order, like an overly trained dog, their fidelity cannot be broken.
    They were genuflecting towards me. Then a large, handsome, blonde man with muscles that a girl could go for pushed his way through the circle and demanded an audience with me.  He got down on one knee so we could speak privately.

“Little dog what are you doing?” he asked.  “Lifting the hammer is my thing. My brother is the god of mischief.  My father is the one-eyed raven coated god of us all. I was the guy who could lift the hammer.  You took my gig.”

I apologized and told him I meant no offense.  I suggested I try to lift the hammer again, fail, and then he could say I was a false god and I could get my pretzel.

Gadzooks, now that’s a plan,” he said agreeing.  We walked back to the circle. He challenged me to pick up the hammer.  I put it in my mouth strained a little bit and lifted it in the air. Damn! The thing was like a twig. I could not fake being unable to pick it up.  Norsemen were weak! People cheered and proclaimed I was the true Hammer God.

“Fine,” Thor yelled.  “You think I need this crap from you people?  Every time you want to remodel a cave you call old Thor.  Come knock down a wall for us. We want to make a sunroom.  Well, forget it. Call the damn little dog next time.” He began to walk away sadly.  

Despite his ravings, I could tell he would very much miss being the hammer god.  The position meant nothing to me. I just wanted a pretzel. I told my acolytes that I, a mere dog was not worthy to rule them. They cried no.  Who could blame them? I am an awesome god.  

“I am going to leave Thor in my steed to wield my hammer,” I told them. Thor, who had been silently weeping while slowly shuffling away, stopped.  

“But dog Thor where will you go?” one of my worshippers asked. I promised I would go on a quest to bring them the most excellent mead and grog in the land.  I would travel to strange lands — first, the mysterious world of old Milwaukee. Then into the mountains of Coors Country. Finally, I would go into the deepest depths of  Anheuser’s Busch. I would return riding a magnificent beast known as the Clydesdale. Then there would be a feast with beer and grog for all.

They chanted my name.  Thor came over and picked me up and put me on his broad shoulders. I held my paw up to silence them. I said I must leave immediately.  They even gave me my little horse to ride. I crested a hill then stopped and looked back at them. “Dilly Dilly,” I yelled.

“Dilly Dilly,” they replied.

Then I rode away to get a pretzel.  In a few months, I would arrange to have a few kegs dropped off in their area.  Dog Thor always keeps her promises.

And that is how I became a Norse God.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

River Song and the Westminster Baking Competition

Everyone is familiar with the Westminster dog show where dogs are judged by the standards placed upon them by humans.  
There are other events that same weekend.  These were created by and judged by, dogs themselves.  This is an event where we don't have to please humans and meet their expectations.  The only opinion that matters are the dogs.

The competitions include toy destuffing, chair leg chewing, counter surfing, tissue shredding, toilet water licking, marathon barking, and many more.

My specialty is baking.  It is something I have to hide from my parents.  Some dogs pace nervously, bark loudly or destroy the house when their parents are away.  I jump on the counter, turn on the stove, and create.

I have to manage my time carefully.  Humans get upset when they come home and find you shredded the newspaper.  But when they see a bacon souffle cooking, there's real trouble.

I started my baking career slowly, a batch of oatmeal cookies, watermelon squares, turkey and potato pastries.  When I mastered these recipes, I advanced to sausage and jelly torts, pumpkin cupcakes with bacon bits, and a turkey truffle.

Not all my recipes turned out as expected.  Luckily I have a captive audience to taste my goods.

When our parents leave the house Pocket is crated while I roam wherever I please.   This allows me to shove my creations into her crate and tell her either she eats it, or I will say she pooped a cannoli.  She would be in a doctor’s office getting tested for weeks. Pocket has an advanced pallet. If she gobbles up my creations, I know I have created a masterpiece.  If her eyes roll back, her tail sags and a mighty winds blow from her backside I need to try again. She has helped me to become a master baker. And my apologies to her because most of her belly issues, and having to eat limited diet food, is because of my baking fails.

This year I finally worked up the courage to compete in dog baking contests. My salmon and rice cupcakes got me to the Massachusetts state finals where I took the first place ribbon with my lamb tiramisu.

All these competitions took place at night while our parents slept.  We used Foley’s downloading method to go to the events. We entered a link on the computer then jumped on the keyboard and were uploaded to the site.  We got home the same way.
Westminster was going to be the crowning achievement of my baking career.  I made a kangaroo cake with peas and watermelon icing. A nervous Pocket, always afraid she was about to get caught, reluctantly agreed to travel with me.

There were a hundred dogs with their dazzling creations.  The first judge, Hollywood, a shaggy sheepdog, tasted my cake.  He let it settle on his tongue for a long time then swallowed. “I like how the watermelon helps bring out some of the flavors in the kangaroo,” he said.  “And the peas are an unexpected surprise.”

The second judge, an immaculately groomed poodle named Merry Berry, was more interested in the presentation.  “It holds together very nicely,” she said. She took a big bite. “The watermelon icing gives it a nice texture.”

Then she vomited it on the floor.  Hollywood jumped down and licked it up.  “It holds up very well after regurgitation,” he said.  “The vomit has a watermelon aroma which is pleasing Now we just have to wait for Merry to poop it out.  After I taste that, we will let you know if you are going forward in the competition.”

It was a long wait for Merry to poop.  Older dogs are rarely regular. It was getting close to morning, and I was worried because we would be in big trouble if we weren't in bed when Mama woke up.  Finally Hollywood said that Mary had passed the cake. “I'm afraid her poop tasted like crap. Better luck next year.”

I shot Pocket an angry look. She was my poop taster.  “It's not my fault,” she pleaded. “Mommy picked the poop up before I could eat it.”  Just my luck, Mommy chose that moment to be fast.

I was disappointed but never discouraged.  As soon as we got home, I began planning my creation for next year's competition. If I can figure out how to keep poop from tasting like crap I am sure I will get a ribbon.

Now, if you excuse me, it is time to bark.

Monday, February 18, 2019

Monday Question

Where do you live?  Tell us something interesting about your city.

Pocket:  We live in Taunton MA.  It is a small city with a big river running through it that leads to Newport Sound.  A 100 years ago Taunton was a huge manufacturing town specializing in silver.  Now the river is polluted and so full of debris any boat bigger than a rowboat will crash.  When she was a girl Mommy lived on the river and saw a big boat pass by her house then hit a covered trestle and sink.  The people climbed on top of the trestles until they were rescued.

Sunday, February 17, 2019

Fudge is the February 17, 2019 Pup of the Week

Rainbow Bridge can be like a retail store during the holidays.  There are weeks when there is not much activity. Then over a few days, we get inundated with new angels.  In two weeks we welcomed Gordo, Petey, and Marshmallow. There was a fourth dog who crossed too, one who I have not been able to recognize yet, but must do so now.  Fudge is one of my good friends from Blogville, and this is his story.

Fudge was the leader of a large pack of Portuguese Water dogs, a beautiful and playful breed.  Their mom had many pups, but Fudge was her best friend.

Fudge moved in with his forever family to mate with a female dog, Simba.  Their union would produce nine fantastic dogs for their mom to love. Fudge got a family and created one at the same time.  But Fudge was more than just a lover.

He was an athlete too.  He performed in rallies and won a ribbon.  But most of all he was mama’s easy going, funny dog. He never complained, even when he was made to dress up.  He helped raise his puppies and was a gentle friend to the senior dogs who preceded him in the pack.

But what Fudge did the best was love his momma.  He slept under the desk when she was on the computer. He snuggled next to her while she knit.  He slept on her side of the bed. He was devoted to many, but he was hopelessly devoted to his mom.

Three years ago, at the age of ten, Fudge suffered a stroke.  His back and rear legs never fully recovered. His mom gave him supplements and pain meds.  She did everything she could to make sure he wasn’t in pain and could enjoy his life. Some days he was close to normal.  Other days he needed a sling under him to help him go outside. But he ate, smiled, and never let his affliction bother him.

Sometimes when a dog is near the end, he will be blessed with one day of feeling normal and being energized before his journey.  In January Fudge got his day. He played, he ran out to the garage to eat, he jumped on the couch. His parents wondered if he could be getting better.

But there is a price of pay for a rally day, and soon the bill was due.  Overnight another stroke hit Fudge. When his parents awoke their special boy could no longer stand, and a single look in his eye told them that Fudge was no longer there. He had left for the Bridge.  His parents made arrangements to send his body to join him.

All those who became angels before him gathered to greet Fudge when he arrived at the Bridge.  We anxiously awaited him. I checked my watch. He was overdue. Then we heard splashing. I went down the steps and found Fudge happily playing in the river.  He saw us and sheepishly climbed on to the bank. “Sorry,” he said. “I really love the water.”

We all got drenched when Fudge shook, but that was okay, it was his day.  While frolicking in the river all of the pain from his strokes and getting older left his body, and he was young again.  I could tell he was certainly feeling his oats. After being sworn in Fudge ran through the hills enjoying feeling young again.

It did not take long for Fudge to assume the same role he had on the mortal side of the river.  He is a true leader, for those who were in his pack, and for dogs without a family. Fudge is a teacher, and passing over will only enhance that.

On Valentine’s Day, at the Bridge, we celebrated Fudge’s 14th birthday.  This was the first birthday that he could eat an entire chocolate cake, but also the first birthday he spent without his parents, and this made him sad.   As a birthday gift, we all gave him tips on how to visit his mom in her dreams and kick down the door between the right and left the side of her brain so she would remember her dream.

Fudge wouldn’t say if it worked.  We hope it did. We know he will keep trying.

As a father of nine, there is one thing Fudge has learned:  Patience

Friday, February 15, 2019

Hattie Mae and the Valentine's Day Rush

I hadn't intended on going to the Rainbow Bridge Valentine's Day Dance, but at the last moment, I decided it could be fun.  Of course, I would need something to wear. I popped over to Hattie Mae's dress shop hoping she could whip something up for me.
When I arrived I thought that Hatties super cute shop had been hit by a small tornado. There was material everywhere. Then I saw her something moving under pink chiffon in the middle of the room.  Hattie appeared. Her left hand grasped a piece of fabric and in the right was scissors.

“Thank God, it's you, Foley, I have been swamped all morning.  Why does everyone wait until the last minute to get their Valentine’s dress and expect me to create it magically?”. My hopes of getting a dress dissipated
“It's unconscionable,” I said feigning shock. “These girls should know better.”.
Hattie harrumphed.   “It's not just the girls.  Boys can't make up their mind who they want to take to the dance until the night before the soiree.  Then everyone is in a big rush and guess who ends up holding the pink chiffon?” She put the fabric and scissors down.

I decided to carefully back out of the shop.  I would have to settle on wearing something from my closet.  “I have been praying for help all day,” Hattie said. “I am so happy you were the one to answer my call.  I didn't know you knew how to sew. You are a dog of many talents. Let me get you a needle thread and scissors so you can get started.”

I complied.  I had no idea how to sew but could never say no to a friend.  She gave me a needle, thread, and a pair of sharp scissors then showed me a sketch of something that looked like it belonged in Carmen Miranda's wardrobe.  She told me it was for Ladybug who would be coming within the hour.

Oh boy.  I spent 10 minutes trying to thread the needle. It was an impossible task without opposable thumbs.  Then I remembered. I had an opposable tongue. I put the needle in my mouth and threaded it within seconds.  Then I measured Ladybug’s garment and began to sew frantically. When finished I prepared to announce that I had accomplished this difficult task proudly. That is when I realized I sewed my lips together.

I turned my back so Hattie wouldn't see me remove the stitches from my mouth.  Then I went back to work on the dress. When I was done, I held it up. It looked perfect. Hattie stuck her head up from under her designs and saw it.  “Foley,” she said, “that is magnificent. Hang it on the rack.” That is when I realized I had sewn my paw to the dress. I ripped it away causing no damage to the precious item or the dress.

Hattie gave me a list of other designs: a moomoo for Meika, a cocktail dress for Chelsea, a backless for Bella, a maxi for Minnie, and a wrap for Whitley.  I channeled my inner Fosse and got them done.

Then Hattie opened the door, and we were overrun by party ready bitches.  There was pushing and shoving as everyone tried to get to their design.  Hattie and I were frantically ringing them up on the register. It was overflowing with kibble.  

The last dress left the store, and we were exhausted.  I asked Hattie if she was going to the dance and she smirked.  “On Valentine's Day, I think not? Come with me.”

I followed her into the back room. There was light jazz playing; scarves were hung on the lampshades dimming the lights.  There were two overstuffed chairs with a small table between them. Hattie invited me to sit on one, and she got in the other.  She put two wine glasses on the table and generously filled each. “Good friend, good drinks, and comfortable chairs. This is the way a girl spends Valentine's Day,” Hattie said.  We clinked glasses.

And she was right.  It was the best Valentine's Day I ever had.\

Thursday, February 14, 2019

A Rare Warm Winter's Day Gives Pocket a Chance to get Caught up on her Pee Mail

Early February delivered a respite from the cold and wet winter.  Temperature sneaked into the 60s. My parents broke out the leashes.  They had decided to take us for a proper walk, not just a few steps on the cold tar until we poop and then we are hurried back inside.

The best part about getting a walk after weeks of being stuck inside is catching up on the pee-mail. These missives from my neighbors have been piling up on the grass throughout the site. It was time to respond.

. I didn't get my first bit of new mail until I went around the corner.  Near a rock Lea, a poodle who lives behind my house wrote that her parents had made her wear booties outside.  She had been clomping around the area like a Clydesdale ever since. She asked if any of us have been subjugated to wearing the dreaded booty.  I peed that thankfully I hadn't. Foley did once, but a chilling look from her to my parents put a stop to that experiment. I recommended for Lea to practice ferocious looks in the mirror.

Walker, a friendly Doberman, fretted that he had lost his favorite tennis ball.  He wanted to know if any of us had seen it. I told him I would keep an eye peeled.  Personally, I figured he would never find it. The Earth is round, and once something starts rolling it is impossible to know where it will stop.

Roscoe was an intact beagle who had lost the scent of the girl he loved.  He left this message. “Hey, if you happen to see the most ovulating girl whose scent escaped me.  Tell her I'm sorry and that I want her to have my baby.” Sorry, no pee for you. I'm not getting involved in that.

The next mail I read promised red rocket enhancement.  Ugh. Spam pee. I immediately blocked the mall by pooping on it.  I then left a pee demanding that whoever left this message would be put on the no pee list.  I know it's a drastic step, and I don't judge how a dog puts kibble on the table, but whoever left this message will have to hold it in until they pass my neighborhood.

Under a cluster of trees, I found my w-poo form. Thank God!  I needed it for my records.

We were almost near the end of our walk.  I hoped I had enough pee squirts. It is considered the height of rudeness in dogdom if you sniff and don't reply.
The next time I buried my nose in the grass I backed away coughing.  Cat pee! This is one foul smelling urine. I'm not suggesting we go back to the days of separate-but-equal lawns, but the unexpected smell of cat pee in your nostrils is unsettling in the extremist.

At our neighbor's house, I came across some River pee.  She was complaining about my snoring. I ignored it. They say if you don't want to know what a family member thinks about you don't read their pee.

In the corner of our yard, I found some returned Christmas pee.  I'm going to have to check my list before I send my Christmas pee out next year.  I always seem to let out more piss then I receive.

When I got home, I napped. My parents thought I was tired from the walk when actually it is the reading that exhausts me.

Hopefully, it won't be a matter of weeks until I can check my mail again.  I hate when pee backs up.

Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Beat This Caption

Bye bye, little goldfish.  You will be much happier in the ocean than in a bowl.  Look a big fish has come to swim with you.  Ooops!  Bye bye, little goldfish.

Monday, February 11, 2019

Monday Question

How do you act when your parents return home?

Pocket: I am in my crate.  I bark, and when I am let out I run around their feet sniffing them.

River Song:  I wait by the kitchen window.  When I see their car pull into the driveway I put my head back and howl. Then I go to the front door and jump up and down.  When they get inside I need to be touched.  Then I pant for half an hour because I am so excited.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

Marshmallow is the February 10, 2019 Pup of the Week

Humans rarely make a harder decision than when they send their beloved dog to the Bridge. When our parents see us they feel joy and contentment in their hearts. It is an addictive sensation. When we are gone their body craves that feeling. The withdrawal is devastating. Our parents wish to see us just one more time and feel that joy and contentment again.

There is little that can be done to ease a parent's suffering. Sometimes a strong belief that the pup is somewhere beyond their parent’s comprehension, and that there will be a parent and child reunion in the future, helps. So does the knowledge that the new angel has a loved one waiting on them.

When two dogs are playing one plus one equals three.  This being is created when two loving souls are together.  There is me, you and us. No one can see or touch this third being.   When one partner leaves, the mourners cry for two, one for the departed, and one for the couple that has now been halved.

Enter Marshmallow, Aunt Jodi's adorable little fur white fur ball.  She was born the day after her parents’ wedding. She was a delightful way to begin a family. It seems the more a dog is loved, the more names they acquire during their lifetime. 

 Marshmallow was also known as Marshie, TM and most affectionately Baby Face.
Marshmallow became a part of her parents.'lives at eight months and made the duo a family. A people dog, Marshie yearned to be friends with every soul she encountered. She loved dressing up and twice took part in the Human Rescue Alliance fashion show fundraiser.  

Marshie welcomed every dog who entered her pack but made sure they knew she was the leader and that her kindness was never misconstrued as weakness. She inspired a great love for dogs in her parents’ hearts.  Because of Marshie, they began to help homeless dogs through rescuing and fostering.

A year after Marshmallow made the newlyweds into a family Ricotta joined the pack. They were instantly inseparable — the personification of how one and one becomes three.  Their parents loved what the two of them were like as a couple as much as they did the singular dog.

For nearly a decade the antics of these two tiny white dogs brought smiles to whoever saw them.  Then, sadly Ricotta was claimed by the Bridge. Marshmallow was still the same loving dog she had been, but she bore a tinge of sadness in her later years.

When it was Marshmallow turn to follow her brother to the Bridge, her mom was faced with her hardest time, saying goodbye to the baby whose life spanned that of her marriage.

When Marshmallow was saying her final goodbyes, Ricotta and I were waiting for her.  Ricotta's rapidly wagging trail against the blue sky, served as a beacon for his sister, who suddenly appeared running across the Bridge, then up the stairs, anxious to be reunited with her sweet brother.

I had to quickly give her the oath. I knew her desire to reunite with her brother trumped all.  When I was done, Marshmallow ran at Ricotta, kicking up the green grass behind her. They hugged, kissed, then began rolling around, nipping at one another. They barely noticed the tear clouds that rained down upon them and wet their coats. They both stood, Ricotta gave Marshmallow a sly look, and they bolted towards the mountains laughing and singing all the way. They would stop and lie back to back, breathing hard, their tongues hanging out of the side of their mouths, then they would stand and run off again. I announced to the others in the greeting committee, those who had Marshmallow’s wings, those who wanted to give flying lessons and some who just wanted to say hi that they should return to their homes. Everything Marshmallow needed to learn could be taught by her brother.

The next morning I heard the sound of two excitable little dogs outside my door. I opened it and saw Marshmallow and Ricotta still breathing hard from playing. Marshmallow said they had flown into their mom's dreams but could not make her happy.

I told them to keep loving each other and the third that is created by their bond, that is not bound to an angel's code, will be able to touch their Mama's heart and let her know that her babies were together safe and happy.

Marshmallow and Ricotta said that they would try and then happily ran into the sunrise.

Friday, February 8, 2019

An Angels First Day at the Bridge

In 2013 I passed from the mortal world leaving behind a broken-hearted family.  The presumed cause was lung cancer, but that was merely a cover. I had accepted a judgeship at District Four of Rainbow Bridge. At first, I refused the offer.  But then the leader of the Immortal World, the Big Guy, said he would allow me to communicate about life in the Immortal World. No had been offered this before.  I hated leaving my parents and my friends, but I had a greater calling.

In the beginning, every soul was immortal, which is why the Bible had so many characters who were 1,000 years old.  When the world got too crowded the Big Guy, our ruling deity, carved a body of water, called the River of Life through the land creating two sides, one mortal where life begins and species live until their heartbeats expire, and the immortal side, where all creatures inevitably go, an ever-expanding, quiet, simpler land, where they watch over and await, their loved ones.

Everyone has a soul.  It is located in their chest.  It cannot be seen by the human eye, and it does not appear on x-rays.  Souls go in and out with every breath. When the heart stops beating, the last breath is exhaled, and the soul leaves the body.  It is caught by the breezes and floats away until it reaches a body of water.  It enters the current and flows along. Eventually, because all bodies of water are connected, the soul reaches the River of Life, which is currently in northeast New Jersey where very few go and those who do don’t return.  The river gently carries the soul to the shore. Once exposed to the peaceful air of the Immortal Side the soul takes corporeal form again.

The water gently laps the shore.  Off in the distance is the sound of a rowboat slowly rubbing against a dock   It smells like 1,000 gardens. Birds fly overhead singing a welcoming song. There is a path with witchgrass lining both sides.  Off in the distance is stone footbridge crossing the river with the sun setting over it. The new angel has no choice but to move forward toward the Bridge.  Whatever direction they choose to walk brings them closer to it. And if they don’t move the Bridge comes to them.
The Bridge spans the River of Life.  When one passes over it all the pains of living, the effects of aging, the emotional scars accrued during a lifetime, are shed like a teenager removing clothes before a skinny dip.  

We call it land Rainbow Bridge after the sign of love angels emit when thinking of their parents. Sometimes that love is so strong humans can see the rainbow.
When an angel crossed the Bridge, there are a million paths winding through gardens all leading to the Immortal World.  It doesn’t matter which path they choose. It always leads to where they should go.

. Those assigned to my district come to an immense stairway that reaches into the clouds (we used to have an escalator that Enzo created but it rusted in the rain, and we have trouble getting parts.   We also used to have a wall to try and keep all souls on the mortal side, but nature always finds a way.) Angels climb the stairs, and when they reach the top, they find me ready to administer the angel oath and all the angels who loved them on the mortal side waiting for them.

There is a special spot where I perform the angel oath.  We recently named it Hobo’s Landing after the great American dog and author Hobo Hudson.  Then come the clouds filled with the tears shed by the news angel’s loved ones. They rain down upon us.  
Since the advent of social media dogs is loved by more people, they have ever even sniffed. The tears puddle on the ground.  We sniff them searching for the ones shed by our parents. Then the tears are put in our gardens. They are the secret to beautiful buds.
My friend Scooby displays an array of wings he created just for this pup.  After one is chosen, Ladybug gives the angel flying lessons.  Our wings are detachable. Most the time they are a bother. You can’t roll around on the grass, sleep on your back, or sit in a chair wearing wings.  

Angels can choose where they want to live.  I picked a cabin overlooking the river with lots of gardens surrounding it.   A pup can live on a cloud, on the moon, in a high rise, in a mansion, wherever they are comfortable. Thanks to angel temperature control, it can be summer or winter, sun or snow, often on the same day.  

At the end of the day, a huge welcoming feast is held for the angel.  There is all the food the pup was denied in his mortal life: chocolate, thick steaks, strawberry ice cream, pizza, fried chicken, and so much more.  The best part is we can eat what we want, and it doesn’t go to our hips.

All the dogs who met on social media live in two neighboring villages.  The one where I make my home is called Doggyspace. It has lots of green grass, hills, and trees.  In the center of town are shops operated by our friends. Hannah Banana sells treats, Hattie Mae designs outfits, and Otie Campbell runs an ice cream shop.  Benjamin is our sheriff, but his only duties are to make sure we are having fun. It is a big job, so Brody has volunteered to be his deputy. Next to us is Blogville where our blogging friends live.  

An angel must watch over and take care of our parents. We visit them every day.  When we fly into the sun, we emerge in their dreams. They usually don’t remember our visits.  We are regulated to the left side of their brain and memories are stored on the right side. Occasionally we can knock down the door in between, and our encounters are remembered, but this happens once in a thousand dreams.
Flying beings can go back and forth across the river.  If anything happens to them, they are given a new body when their soul reaches here.  We can switch bodies with the birds to visit our loved ones. Butterflies and hummingbirds are the best.  Humans always welcome them. Some other choices freak our parents out and are difficult to handle causing us to crash into windows, and our insurance rates go up.  If a human sees a bird watching them intently, they should know it is one of their angels coming to say hello.

We can visit without leaving our homes.  If we concentrate hard enough, we can place ourselves right next to our parents.  Some call this ghosting. Dogs can see us, but we only are seen by our parents out of the corner of their eyes.  If a human thinks they saw something, but don’t quite know what, it is an angel visit.

One of the angel’s goals is to help their parents find a new dog to repair their broken hearts. We interview hundreds of candidates until we find that one special pup. We enter our parents’ dreams and whisper to them that it is time they found a pup.  We tell our parents where to find this new companion. Once they are together, we no longer have to fret over our parents’ broken hearts. We can also enter other dogs’ dreams and take them with us to play at the Bridge.  When you see your dog twitching or running in their sleep, know they are with us.

Someday all our loved ones will join us here, despite our best efforts to keep them healthy.  When everyone they love is at the Bridge, we retire to the land called “Happily Ever After” where we can wait out eternity living worry-free days filled with love.

These are all the secrets I am allowed to tell you, for now.  I hope it helps you understand where your loved ones are now, and eases your transition the day you are called.

Thursday, February 7, 2019

River Song and Strange Bag of Dog Food

Before I was even a spark in my parents’ eyes Pocket was eating bland Blue Buffalo Basics dog food. When she was a pup, she was diagnosed with irritable bowel.  Mommy asked her internet friends for help in finding a food and Aunt Jody recommended the Blue Basics which was the first food Pocket ate that didn’t offend her delicate stomach on a nightly basis.

I don't know why Foley didn't raise a fuss about being stuck eating one food for the rest of our life.  Apparently, she wasn't interested in kibble, preferring the demanded table scrap whenever she was hungry.

When I was the new pup on the block, I got my very own bag of food. Then that brat Pocket ate some and got sick.  Instead of punishing the stinker my good food was banished from the house, and I had to eat the same crap Pocket did so she didn't get sick. My food and I were innocent, but we were made to suffer.

Sure I got bacon treats, chicken, turkey, and pumpkin but I felt jealousy when I saw how many of my blogger friends were getting vast shipments of different foods from Chewy and writing reviews about their tasting experience while I was stuck with brown, boring and bland.

This week Daddy brought home another bag of food. It was dumped on my plate.  I immediately realized something was different. It didn't have the same dull smell. The kibbles were large and flat.  Even the nasty LifeSource bits that I hide under my bowl were bigger. Did we finally get some new food? Was our long national nightmare is finally over?

Pocket and I discussed the food.  We sniffed trying to determine what was in it.  Was there pomegranate? I'm getting a bison taste off of this one.  I think that's pumpkin chef.

By the end of the meal, my eagle eye parents noticed the different kibble sizes.  They looked at it wondering if it was a different formula or just a large breed bites put in an adult bag.  I hoped it was something else. I hadn't eaten anything else in a long time. Maybe I could keep something else at least until the bag was done.

The next day Daddy called the Blue Buffalo people.  He told them the bag of Basic adult food had larger kibble and asked if it could be a different formula.  The woman on the phone assured him there were many checkpoints to make sure that didn't happen. She said someone probably forgot to change the setting on the cutter. I guess there were no checkpoints for that.  The woman stressed that Blue Buffalo didn't do anything wrong. This is America; they're a big business, how could they be at fault?

My parents discussed bringing the bag back to the store.  Mommy said we were eating it alright. Maybe this one bag wouldn't hurt us.  All right Mom! Score!

The next morning Pocket wouldn't eat.  This wasn't unusual. Every two or three weeks Pocket skips breakfast has a nasty poop then eats her supper and continues as if nothing happened.  Her not eating on this morning was right on schedule.

Of course, my parents needed something to blame, and they singled out the new bag of food.  I tried to reason with them. This was just Pocket’s time of the month. Give the big kibbles another chance.  They didn't do anything to you.

But my protests were for naught.  Something new was brought back to the store, and a bag of the same old crap replaced it.

Goodbye by tasty new food with your funny fat little kibbles and identifiable tastes.  If I had my way, you would have had a permanent home in my belly.

But once again no one listened to the Griffon.

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Monday, February 4, 2019

Monday Question

Is there a common household item that scares you?

Pocket:  I don't like anything that beeps.

River:  I don't like the Swiffer.  Once it is the ground it moves rapidly.  And mommy is addicted to the thing. I have a beard.  When I get it wet it drips on the floor.  I can be sure in seconds the swifter is going to be chasing me.  

Sunday, February 3, 2019

Petey is the February 3, 2019 Pup of the Week

More than twenty years ago at the puppy making plant, located a month’s journey from Doggyspace Villiage, there was a momentary breakdown, causing one creation to receive more heartbeats than the others.

When this pup was born no one recognized that he came into the world with something extra. He seemed like a normal dog.  When his momma selected him to live with her, she knew the sweet little pup would love her, but she had no way of knowing for how long. She named him Petey, unaware that before his heartbeats would expire 21 years hence his name would be known in thousands of households.

Petey joined the online site Doggyspace before I did. He was one of the pups, along with Hattie Mae and Tommy Tunes who taught us how to express the joy and frustrations that the simplicity of everyday dogs’ lives brings.

I confessed when I created my own online persona I looked to them and followed their paw prints in the sand to help establish my identity. I am certain I am not alone.
Petey had a couple of years on me, but no one could tell. I thought I held off the effects of aging, but Petey was truly forever young.  He was not afraid to divulge his secret. It had nothing to do with extra heartbeats, at least according to him. It was the Mac and Cheese he devoured.  It seemed counterintuitive but who was I to argue with success?
Petey was 15 when I accepted the position of judge at the fourth district of Rainbow Bridge. I expected my senior friend Petey, who lived a couple of exits up the highway from my parents, to be close behind. While dozens of our friends joined us, Petey kept going until he was old enough to drive, then old enough to vote, then closing in on old enough to drink.

On his twentieth birthday, Petey let us know he has not crossed over yet. He was very tired and slept most of the day, but his heart kept on beating.

But sadly, everything ends, and for Petey, the effects of a puppy making machine malfunction and copious amounts of mac and cheese stopped working. One morning last week mom found Petey in his bed. He had slipped over to the other side with no muss, fuss or big vet bill. He was a kind and caring gentleman until the end.

His mom has his ashes now. They are on a shelf next to the enhanced photo Tommy's dad Steve did for their old chum.  People commented that Petey and his mom were lucky to have so much time together, which is true, some have half as many, but each year meant more of her heart that she gave to Petey, and the greater the hole in her chest when he departed. Her house is filled with the sound of empty paw steps, a deafening sound of silence. I know all those familiar with that awful sound will pray her journey down grief’s path will be brief.

I have seldom seen so many angels gathered for arrival as I did for Petey’s. There were hundreds of dogs fluttering around and waiting. We saw him slowly cross the Bridge. With each step, the pain left his body.  He had amassed a lot of discomfort in 20 years, so it took longer than most for it to dissipate.

By the time Petey was at the top step, he felt the way he had 15 years prior.  He was mobbed when he stepped on Hobo's Landing. I, like an umpire trying to make sure the winning run is safe, got caught up in the happy scrum and ended up at the bottom of a dog pile when I administered the oath to Petey.

Picnic tables appeared. Tommy climbed on top of one and announced there were mac and cheese for everyone. We all sat down and began licking up this rare treat. “It had been too long since I had a plate,” Petey said, his mouth covered with cheese. “It is perfect!”

Most angels,  like their mortal counterparts, would do, took a nap after their feast. Petey stayed up with his closest friends and discussed how to ease his mom's pain. 
 “She gave me a lot of her heart; I hope she knows I gave her some of mine to her so I will always be with her.’

By that night Petey was in his mom's dreams knocking on the door of her consciousness hoping to be remembered. Because of the polar vortex, he has not found a willing winged creature to swap bodies with so he could visit her in a corporal form. But warmer days and angel visits are ahead for her.

When Petey does visit, I am sure it will be for days. If there is one thing he has, it's staying power.

Friday, February 1, 2019

Maybe I'm A Maizy: How Chase and Gucci Found a New Dog for Their Mom

When dogs are together most of their lives, and they love one another fiercely, their relationship begins to resemble that of an old married couple.

Never has this been truer than with Chase and Gucci, two Poms who crossed late last year, first Gucci, then Chase, from a broken heart caused by his brother's absence.  Chase and Gucci lived with Momma Sherry, to make a perfect trio, which was briefly reduced to a duo until they became one: The loneliest number.

Chase and Gucci have been as equally inseparable at the Bridge as they were in the mortal world.  One day they would be happily playing in one of the Bridge's many overgrown tickless fields. The next day they would be enjoying a sunny day at the park, with one laying their head on the other. The next they would be getting ice cream at Otie Campbells or treats at Hannah Bananas.  Sometimes they laughed sweetly, sometimes they spoke softly, and sometimes they bickered. Mostly, they argued about how to take care of their mom and the best way to heal her broken heart.

“We need to find her another dog” Chase announced confidentiality
“Absolutely not!” Gucci snapped back. “We were mommy's last dogs.  She can't take the pain of losing another pup. And she doesn't want to get a puppy that she could outlive. Not going to do it.”

“This isn't about what momma wants it's about what momma needs. If we don't get her a dog, we will never see her pretty, carefree smile again.’

“And if she gets a dog when she isn't ready. She won't bond with it and won't be happy. I say we wait until mommy says she wants a dog instead of trying to dream force one on her. “

Chase said he would commence his search the next morning. Gucci told Chase he was on his own. The next day, as Chase began to slip into the first candidate's dreams, Gucci joined him. “I am certainly not letting you select this dog on your own,” Chase said to his brother.

They must have interviewed a thousand dogs.  The one that intrigued them the most was an unloved, unwanted, flea covered black Maltese mix near their momma's home in Long Beach.

Gucci was charmed by the little Maltese, and he and Chase agreed that she was perfect for their mom. They convinced the dog to take a huge risk.  She slipped her lead and left the negligent family behind buoyed by the Brothers promise that a better life was just beyond the horizon.

She was picked up by animal control, given a flea bath and held for her owners to claim her, but no one did, just as Chase and Gucci had promised her because they knew bad parents when they smelled them. Meanwhile, after several dream visits from her angels Momma Sherry awoke, unable to remember their presence but filled with an insatiable desire to visit the pound.

When Momma Sherrie came in the shelter, the little dog recognized her from the brothers’ description, and she turned on the charm. Momma Sherrie never had a chance. The little dog was finally in the family she deserved.  She Immediately began to fix her new mom's, broken heart.

Mamma Sherrie named her new baby Mazie because it was amazing she had found a cute, snugly, house trained, perfect little pup so close to her home.  If she knew how hard Chase and Gucci had worked to get their mom a new dog, she would know how amazing her finding Mazie really was.

I stopped by the brother's house with a bottle of wine and some cookies to congratulate them.  I heard their excited yips and thought they would be playing in the yard but found them bickering over what color leash Mazie shouldn't have.

Like an old married couple, they couldn't be happier

The Ruby Rose Report: The Gift

  I had finished my walk with my Dad, having inspected the homes and gardens en route, and barked instructions on how to bring them up to...