Sunday, June 30, 2019

Roxy is the June 30, 2019 Pup of the Week

There is something special about the relationship between dogs and parents when they meet as children and reach adulthood simultaneously. They are more like brother and sister than mom and dog. They become best friends, siblings, and confidants.

Mama Natalie became Roxy's official mom when Natalie was 15 years old. Roxy was already part of the family having been born in her room.   On Natalie's birthday, it was decided that Natalie would be Roxy's primary caregiver. From that moment on, Roxy was Natalie's constant.

There are many milestones young women encounter as they grow into adulthood. Achieving them can be frightening and painful. Natalie's journey was made more accessible because she had Roxy to comfort her with a lick on the hand and understanding eyes.
Roxy made being a parent easy. She potty trained quickly. She never tore up anything she wasn't meant to tear.   All she wanted was to be petted. Heaven helps anyone who decided to end a petting session prematurely. Roxy would reach with her paw and pull the hand back until she was satisfied.  She loved everyone she met, and they reciprocated. 

A week ago Roxy and Natalie celebrated the 14th anniversary as Mom and dog. Natalie noticed that Roxy had been sneezing at an alarming rate. She called the vet who said that Roxy might have a tumor in her nose. Natalie needed to look for the following symptoms: bloody discharge, difficulty breathing, and facial swelling. Slowly but relentlessly Roxy soon showed all those symptoms. 

The vet said some options could extend Roxy's life. She could have chemo or radiation. But, Roxy was a senior dog. She had been able to stay herself through her lifetime. Natalie knew that while she may still have Roxy physical form with the treatments, it would end what made Roxy Roxy. She also knew her little baby would suffer during the procedures. She did what parents do in the end. She took all of Roxy's suffering on herself and set her darling little baby-
 free at the Bridge. 

We at the Bridge knew that Roxy's transition would be difficult.  Roxy was convinced her mother would not last a day without her. It was going to be hard to get Roxy to understand that she could still help her mom without physically being with her.  

All of Roxy's friends came together at the Bridge.  She had an abundance because she was a social media superstar.  She started on the internet as a young pup. Most of her friends she made when she first went online were already at the Bridge.  

Roxy was reluctant to cross the Bridge. She did not agree with her mom and would have stayed with her until all Roxy's body parts fell off and she was left with just an eye and a tongue.  Midway across the Bridge, she stopped. Tommy Tunes took her paw and guided her across the river and up the stairs.  

Roxy was polite with everyone because that's the way she was raised, but she barely smiled. The angels understood her pain.  They had experienced it before and knew the first few days are the hardest. After her swearing in, and welcoming dinner. I told Roxy I would go with her to visit her mom. 

We became ghosts and watched her Mom as she slept.  "She's so beautiful," Roxy said. I explained to her all the ways that she could help her mom in her new role as an angel; she would have input in every decision, she would comfort her mom in her dreams and advise her when she had to make an important decision.  It was a vital and often frustrating task, but I knew Roxy could do it because a mother's love fueled her. Roxy said she would try. 

Within days Roxy was visiting her mom's dreams on her own.  She was also spending lots of ghost time watching over Mama Natalie. She's learned how to have her voice remembered so she could guide her mom in the right direction when she is faced with critical decisions. 

Hopefully, Roxy's mom will be able to understand when she wakes up smiling, has a pleasant dream, or knows the solution to a problem that has been plaguing her, that she just had a visit from her beloved little Chihuahua. 

No one has loved Mama Natalie more than Roxy.  Roxy's being at the bridge won't change that. Like a petting prematurely interrupted Roxy wouldn't stand for it. 

Friday, June 28, 2019

Foley Solves the Tom's River New Jersey Geese Problem

I got a prayer request this week from the town manager in Toms River New Jersey. I answered it because I am a River expert or at least River adjacent.

I popped into the city manager's dreams and asked him how I could be of assistance. He told me that the town had spent more than five million dollars to renovate their central park  Everyone enjoyed it until the geese arrived. Now the ground is covered with poop. DPW workers remove five pounds of geese poop a day. He begged me to answer his prayers and remove the vile winged creatures.  But, angels don't work like that. We suggest solutions to people's problems. We don't solve them. 

I had a lot of geese experience on the mortal side.  Every August they would invade the state hospital grounds where we walked. They clogged up the paths and left poop everywhere.  Blake responded by eating it, a disgusting habit that not even Pocket in her early poop eating years replicated. Have you ever woken up next to someone with geese poop breath?  It is not an enjoyable experience. 

I wanted to charge at the geese and make them fly away, but Blake held me back reminding me what happened to Kramer when he tried to chase off Kenny Rogers Chicken.  Like the crooner's bird, the geese poop is ugly and gross, but to a select few it is high cuisine, Kramer got hooked on it and went through terrible withdrawal. I abided by Blake’s wishes because her withdrawal from geese poop would be ugly.

When Blake went to the Bridge, I became the pack boss. I charged at grounded flocks whenever I saw the opportunity.  It is empowering for a six-pound dog to chase off two dozen winged creatures.  

That is when I knew I had the answer to the town manager’s prayers. I told him he could eradicate the geese and poop population with no cost to the town.  All he had to do was release the town’s dogs. They would chase off the geese, and he would be a hero.

The next day the town manager announced his plan to use the dogs to remove the geese.  Humans volunteered their dogs for the endeavor. At noon he let the dogs out. They ran to the park, chased off the geese, and those with undeveloped pallets gobbled the poop.

The town manager was hailed a hero. He got a big parade, a new office, and a raise. But his troubles were not over. I received another prayer request from him the next week.

The people in the community loved the geese-less park but complained about the dog poop.  He needed a cost-effective way to remove the dogs from the park. While I hated to go against my fellow dogs, I was invested in this guy. I told him to have the people neighboring the park to leave their trash out.  This would attract the bears who will chase off the dogs who chased off the geese.

He did as I instructed.  At the first scent of a bear, the dogs ceded the park.  But were the residents happy? No. They complained when they took their kids to the park; there were bears on the swings. 

At this point, I was sick of the whole situation.  I thought the manager should come to terms with the fact that he lived in another shitty New Jersey town.  But he begged me for a solution. There was only one. Although bears keep it hidden, because they don’t want to lose their forest creds, they are deathly afraid of large, winged creatures like geese.  I told the manager if he got the geese back, he would not have a bear problem. The geese would chase away the bears, who chased away the dogs, who chased away the geese. It was the circle of life.

So, the manager got the geese back, and they took over the park after the bears fled.  The town manager is working as a crossing guard, who, during his off hours, sits in the park and curses the geese.

But, if you want to clean up your park, you have to accept collateral damage

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Pocket at Ten Days of Rain

Thursday, June 13, 2019:  Today, it rained. It flooded the back patio that leads to our pee area.  We had to put on our coats to walk twenty steps to the front pee spot near the mulch. The constant rain on the roof interrupted my rest time.  I hope this is a one-day event. 

Friday, June 14, 2019:  Occasional showers today. The sky was dark from dawn onward  I noticed in the front garden where mommy had put an Amish wagon with a flower pot on the seat, that the pot flooded and the flowers all died.  I thought the rain was supposed to bring flowers, not drown them. 

Saturday, June 15th, 2019: Rainy and cool today. We did get a few sunny spots in between the showers. River and I pretended that we didn't know what the sun was because it's been so long since we've seen it. Our sense of humor has helped us as a species during the most difficult times. 

Sunday, June 16th, 2019:  More depressing rain this morning. Thankfully by afternoon, the sun poked through the clouds and dried the big puddles. We didn't get a walk, but that was okay. If I walk in the wet, then I get my paws dried off with a towel. I hate when that happens. The small hairs on my paws are pulled, and  I scream like an Iranian woman who just ran out of fish. 

Monday, January 17th, 2019: Finally, some sun. River and I were put in our buggy so we could oversee the yard work. There were so many weeds. I guess that what happens when you get four days of rain. My parents both had wet knees from the soaked grass. Wet knees are as bothersome as wet paws. At least the spring rainy season is over, and my parents won't have as many weeds to pull. 

Tuesday, January 20th, 2019: You will never guess what it did today.   It rained. A big sloshing Baptist soaker. The puddles reappeared forming moats in front of our pee areas. The weeds came back three times as strong. Not that it matters. I don't think it's ever going to stop raining. Soon my precious garden will be nothing but one big weed. 

Wednesday, June 19th, 2019:   Rain this morning. River and I have set a Google alert for the word ark.  We wish to stay together. But one of us will have to wear the strap on. Then there is a question of us both being neutered. How is Noah going to check that? He needs to intact dogs to repopulate the Earth. Can he tell just by picking us up and looking underneath? These are the unforeseen problems with building an ark

Thursday, June, 20th:  Forget about the ark. It can't help us now. By tomorrow the water should be over our house. Perhaps the Yellow Submarine will come to our rescue. The owner isn't as discriminating as Noah.   Plus we want Mommy to come with us. When we told her about getting on the ark to help repopulate the Earth, she went "yuck." If we have a few inches more of rain, we will be staying at the Luca Brasi hotel where everyone sleeps with the fishes 

Friday, June 21:  Depressing rain was mitigated by a brief moment of hope. The sun broke through the clouds for a minute. We went outside and looked at it. It was beautiful. And then like George Clooney on the Andrea Gail in The Perfect Storm the weather wouldn't let us out, and it began raining. We waded back in the house knowing that might be all the summer we are getting this year 

Saturday, June 22nd, 2019:  A big orange ball was spotted in the sky. River and I are staying inside. We don't know what that thing is. It could be some alien craft coming to take us away. Oh, when will our friendly rain come back? 

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

Weekly Question

When was the last time you were bit by a tick?

Pocket:   River and I have been fortunate not to get a tick bite since August of 2017.  The one on me was so big my parents to me to the vet because they thought I had growth.  

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Pui and Ping Pong are the June 23, 2019 Pup of the Week

My dad likes to tell a story about his boyhood dog, Barney. He lived in the 70s when it was common for dogs to run free all day, sometimes far from home. Barney became well known for impregnating any intact female that crossed his path, chasing cars and exceedingly good nature.

One day Barney walked a half mile up the road to visit Papa's Aunt Bev. While he was there, he saw the garage door was open at Mean Mister Medas' house across the street. 
  Barney couldn't help but take a look inside. He found a 30-pound bag of Gravy Train. Barney, like all dogs, was worried about running out of food and thought he had located enough kibble to last the rest of the year. He dragged the bag out of the garage, then down the street to his house where he laid it at his dad's feet and announced he was now self-sufficient, and should no longer have a curfew.

Unfortunately, Mean Mr. Medas witnessed the entire incident.  He walked out of his house and saw the black dog dragging the big bag. A small hole opened in it during transit.  Mean Mr. Medas walked down the street picking up the kibble and putting it in a cellophane bag until he reached Daddy, from whom he took the Gravy Train.  Daddy told him that he should appreciate the humor in the situation. Mean Mr. Medas did not find it funny.

The days of dogs being neighborhood scavengers ended with the leash laws. At least in this country. Thankfully, in some forward-thinking nations, dogs are still allowed to roam and accomplish great feats.

Because he was allowed on the street  Pui, a six-year-old Bangkeaw dog from Thailand had the opportunity to become a national hero.

Barney and Pui were alike.  They both liked to roam their neighborhoods they were curious, and they brought mysterious bags home.  

Pui was investigating the local dump, when, like Barney, he found a bag, which he carried home.  When he arrived, no one paid attention to him or the bag. Pui began barking loudly and would not quiet down. Twelve-year-old Sudarat went outside to see why Pui was so upset.  To her shock, she realized Pui had brought home a baby home in the bag.

The family rushed the baby to the hospital.  It took several days, but the child was released and adopted into a good home.  Pui was hailed as a hero.

That occurred six years ago.  Pui is now a hero at the Bridge. He has dedicated his time to helping dogs become heroes like him.
Pui visited pups' dreams to inspire them to be heroes.  Ping Pong, who yearned to prove himself as a dog after he lost a limb when he was hit by a car, learned every hero lesson Pui taught him.

One day Ping Pong went to the large field where his dad tended cows.  Ping Pong picked up a familiar scent and began barking loudly.

Ping Pong found a baby buried in the ground.  He helped his dad dig it up. They rushed the newborn to the hospital, where it recovered from being abandoned and buried.    For Ping Pong, it was a dream come. He was hailed the hero of his village: Kora Thailand.

I know there are many good reasons not to let us roam free, the biggest being to keep us from being hurt. If humans concentrated on ways to guarantee our safety while we are exploring off leash, they would be stunned at how much good we can do and how many lives we would save.

We are your angels on Earth.  We can do so more than being constant companions and mending broken hearts. Remember, don't assume we are barking for no reason. We might be trying to save a life.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Foley and The Best Year of Their Lives

Two days ago, my parents celebrated their 25th anniversary, a significant milestone for two people who, except for several twists of fate, would not be together.  

They met at a Little league field where mommy's youngest was playing. Papa was the league president.  She noticed him before he saw her. She was still married but had been going through the motions and staying together for the kids for years.  Papa lived alone in a studio apartment with absolutely no plans for a relationship

If a couple is meant to be, then life finds a way of putting them together.  My parents started as friends. Friendships between men and women either stagnate or continue to grow.  My parents thankfully graduated from friendship to a relationship, to courtship to betrothment.

They were married on June 19th, 1994, when the country was amid OJ fever. The bachelor and bachelorette parties were interrupted by the high-speed chase. The athlete turned killer was so on the minds of the guests that it was half expected that the Juice would come running down the aisle cradling a football was they exchanged vows.
Papa had always had a dog when he was young.  The landlord at the studio apartment did not allow pets, so Papa had not owned one for years. He swore when he owned property; he would get a dog. But my mom still having three kids in the house was cautious.  

They compromised on a cat named Gizmo.  He made it clear, after several bites and scratches that he preferred to be left alone in the bathroom closet where he nestled on the towels on a high shelf. When an unsuspecting family member opened the door, Gizmo would leap at their faces with claws extended.

Mommy's daughter moved back home with her dog, Jake, when her husband was stationed in Saudi Arabia,  Gizmo did not like Jake invading his home and retreated to the closest. When Gizmo came out, he began eating plastic bags and continued this odd behavior even after Jake returned home. My parents figured it was a nervous tic that would pass. It didn't.

The following spring my parents were at the mall.  They stopped by a pet shop. There were dozens of dogs on display.  Mommy pointed to one and said, “now that’s the kind of dog that I want, a nice little lap dog.”

Daddy saw an opening, and he was going to drive through it.  He took Mommy to his Aunt Bev’s who had a Lhasa apso. She told my mom how easy it was to take care of a dog.  Of course, she was lying, but she loved her nephew and knew he wanted a dog.
That night Daddy searched the Boston Globe classified, found Shih Tzu puppies, and made an appointment to see them the next day.  That morning they drove an hour to Newport to sit by the water and read the papers, because that is the kind of thing people did before the Internet, and then drove to Dartmouth, where they met a litter of happy little Shih Tzus.  One ran up to mommy and begged to be picked up. Mommy fell in love, and a new chapter of my parents' lives began.

They named the dog Blake and Mommy, who had not wanted a dog, quickly fell in love.  She was off for the summer. She and Blake spent every second together. Suddenly our mom was a dog person.

Surprisingly Gizmo took to Blake, and they became best friends. After all, Blake hadn't made him live with a big, black, smelly dog for a whole summer. Gizmo added attacking people as they came down the stairs to his repertoire.

Gizmo continued to eat plastic, which was hidden from him.

In September of 2000. On the last day before their son went to college, their first grandchild was born. After he went to school, mommy was left work, a dog, an empty nest, and a freaky cat.

Three weeks after brother went to college Gizmo snuck downstairs and ate an entire large trash bag.  My parents found him in acute distress. They rushed Gizmo to the vet, but there was too much damage, and Gizmo went to the Bridge.

Do not be sad. For six weeks earlier, to the north, a dog was born. Small of stature but big on attitude some said this would be the one to lead them all. She was created for just one human.  The dog and the human had to wait for the fates to bring them together, and part of that fate was Gizmo’s passing.

My father found another ad in the Globe classifieds. On a Thursday afternoon after work, they drove two hours north to a farm. The owner was an older woman - a deaf-mute. Her daughter helped with the transactions. My litter mates and I were playing in a big field.  I saw the woman and knew she was meant for me. I ran to her and nearly jumped in her arms. She was not getting away. From that day on we were peas and carrots.

Luckily Blake took to me right away. We were best friends from the minute I stepped into her house. With our parents, we went for long walks through the paths at the State Hospital.   We chased squirrels and any other vermin. We even greeted some of the patients who had outdoor privileges. They loved seeing us. One of them asked if they could have a lick and my parents said yes.  He proceeded to pick me up and lick me. That was not a pleasant walk. After a snowstorm, we tramped through the snow up to my necks.

 Starting the day I came home there it was the best year of their lives.  
Besides living with two dogs and laughing at my antics, this is what happened in the 365 days since I arrived in my forever home.

Every other weekend and more during the baseball season my parents drove four hours each way to New York City to either pick up or drop off their son or watch him play baseball leaving them bleary-eyed for days.

Three days a week was reserved for babysitting.  They did not mind, but it was tiring.
Mommy struggled with her empty nest (from which Blake and I benefited.)

In this summer they had to leave me and driveway out of northwestern New York where their son was playing baseball.

Blake began to have seizures and was diagnosed with cancer.

9/11 happened, and they knew people who had lost family members and friends.  It took them four hours to contact their son in New York. He had slept through the attack.
People became scared of their mail after anthrax was sent via post.

Blake, two weeks after 9/11 went to the Bridge.  With the entire country worried about terrorism, it was hard for them to mourn her passing publically. 

You may wonder why it was the best year of their lives 

It was because they survived it.  Marriage isn’t going from good time to good time; it’s learning how to weather the hard time, which my parents did admirably, albeit, thanks to one special little dog.

Having survived that year, my parents learned they could survive anything.  Life has thrown a lot of beanballs at them since then, but they have learned how to duck.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

River Song and the Fallen Hero

We all have heroes to whom we identify.  We may share similarities with them. We understand what they went through before they succeeded. They represent us.

But, inevitably, all heroes fall from grace.  We find out that they were really just like us, maybe too much.   

My hero was April, the giraffe.   Like her, I had an unwanted and infamous pregnancy.  I was still at my Florida home. My mom thought I was a perfect specimen and wanted to pass my genes on to a new generation.  I was less than a year old in human years, an unwed teenage mother in dog years. And like April, I hated being pregnant.

Giving birth is a terrible bother. If you haven't done it, then I suggest you don't.   After the kids were born, I ached for a week. Then my mom told me I had to feed them my milk.  Was she crazy? They nearly ripped me apart, and now they wanted to suck me dry? I don't think so.  Let them get powdered milk from Petco like the rest of the kids.

By then, mom decided no more breeding for me. I needed my own home and family. That is how I came to live with my forever parents. It worked out for everyone, except the kids who never call or write.

When I saw April pregnant and alone, my heart went out to her. I knew what it was like to yearn for this alien blood-sucking creature to be out of your body. I was relieved for her when she finally gave birth.

I had not heard much about April recently. I figured she too found a forever home where she could live barefoot and not pregnant.  
Here is a bit of excellent advice.  If you haven't heard anything about your heroes recently, don't Google them. You will be disappointed. Unfortunately, curiosity got the better of me. I typed April, the giraffe into the search engine. What I found out shattered my illusions.

Not only was that not April's lone pregnancy but, she had given birth five times!  I was thinking April was like me, retired, and living happily with her adoptive parents, only to find out she was the local zoo pump.  If there is one thing I hate, it's a giraffe who can't keep her legs crossed. What a slut!

I read that she was finally getting fixed. Sure, why keep the museum open when you've given away all the paintings?  It is good news for all the male giraffes. No longer do they need to fear April checking out her ossicones, declaring "me so horny, " and galloping across the zoo for some strange.

The scuttlebutt at the zoo is that April did not limit her amorous roaming to just the giraffe enclosure. Supposedly,  there is a secret exhibit which house the girmonkey, a monkey with unusually long limbs that end with massive hands and who can hit someone with their poop from 400 feet away; an elagirrafe which is an elephant with a neck so thin and long it can't lift its massive heat off the ground;  and a Puerto Girican which came about when a randy, underpaid, Hispanic zoo employee climbed Mount April, and created a very tall man with a massive wingspan who could lead the island nation to Olympic Gold if he didn't keep tripping over his hooves.

So now I am in the market for a new hero. I like R Kelly's music. Have we heard good things about him?  My paws are crossed. 

Sunday, June 16, 2019

Layla the Coyote Fighter is the June 16, 2019 Pup of the Week

At first, there was the wolf.  Proud, steady, loyal to his pack, great hunter and provider the wolf ruled his territory.  But inside the wolf's mind, there was conflict.

Part of the wolf wanted to work with men, and live inside their shelter, another part wanted to downsize, become quick and stealthy, and a third part was content being a wolf.

To bring peace to the wolf’s mind, he was split into three different species.  The part that wanted to downsize and rely on speed and cunning became the fox. The part that wanted to be domesticated and work with men became the dog. The rest remained wolves   But, unintentionally there were a fourth species created.

It was born out of jealousy. It hated the dogs for allowing themselves to become domesticated. It despised the close relationship dogs had with humans. It became the opposite of the domesticated dog. Instead of kindness and understanding, it was angry and stubborn. Instead of loyal, it was devious.   From the moment of its creation, it desired to exterminate dogs. This new species was called the coyote.

Since that time, coyotes have been perpetually on the edge of the woods waiting to take their revenge on dogs.  They consider pups to be weak. If dogs turned on their humans, then all wolf descendants would be feared. Every day, somewhere in the world, a coyote attacks an unsuspecting dog.

Last week our good friend Layla became the latest dog targeted by a coyote.   She lives a different life than most of us. She has an entire farm to explore with lots of creatures to chase. But this week she became the prey.  

Layla is a one-year-old, who recently celebrated her Gotcha Day.  She was playing on her farm when a coyote, who had been watching her like a submarine captain searching the ocean for ships,  burst from her hiding spot and ran at Layla.

Layla showed she is wise beyond her years.  She knew she could not fight this beast on a mission, so she ran.  But, even a farm dog like Layla who spends lots of time running was no match for a coyote raised in the wild. 

The coyote caught Layla.  It clenched on to her leg in an attempt to take her down. If the legs went, then the body would follow, leaving the dog helpless.    Layla fought off the attacker and ran for safety.

Her dad had seen the attack.  Coyotes are so jealous of the relationship between dogs and humans they won't even approach people.  This has been the salvation of many a dog after encountering a coyote. Seeing Layla's dad, the coyote slunk back to its hiding spot.

From the moment her dad had seen the coyote, he feared the worst.  He picked up his wounded friend and saw the rip in her leg. He hurried her to the vet.  Layla's Dad was worried about the bleeding, muscular damage, and rabies. Prayer requests for Layla flooded the Bridge.

Luckily all Layla needed was a round of antibiotics.  Once again, a dog’s determination and the love between man and dog was able to defeat the coyotes who wanted to rip man and dog apart.

Layla showed us how to stand up to and survive a coyote attack.  Luckily she also had the essential tool in a dog’s arsenal — the love of a parent.

It truly separates us from the dogs of the wild.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Foley Reflects on Six Years at Ran

Six years!  I have been at Rainbow Bridge for six years. Frankly, if I knew the entire world would turn to crap after I left, I wouldn’t have felt so bad about leaving.

I understand you being shocked that six years have passed since I last trod on the mortal side of the river. This is mostly because unlike so many of my brethren; I never learned how to keep quiet after I passed over.

I have used my ability to communicate with the mortal world not to appease my ego but to let those left behind know their dogs are still running free and are happy.  They are in a place their parents are not allowed to visit, yet. (Maybe 25 percent to appease my ego, 50 percent to tops.)

I am happy that I was able to provide for my family so they could recover from the devastating pain that was caused by my passing. They aren't better than ever, let's face it, without me, how could they be? But, they are functioning in the harsh world. River Song has been a suitable replacement. Not a recast but a new role. Like MASH when Trapper John left, and they brought in BJ.  He was quieter and not as funny as Trapper, but he still kept the show afloat for another seven years.

River has done an excellent job at the most critical task that I assigned her:  Being devoted to our mom. The river is always next to her or within the sound of her voice.   I was the same way. We are both tied to mommy like a rowboat to a dock during a squall when one rogue wave could wash her away.

Dependable  Pocket is there as well.  She has never been asked to be the velcro dog. I had that position covered before she joined our pack. Pocket is the backup quarterback who can handle a series or two while the starter is being checked out, but she has never been full-time velcro companion.  She is too nervous. It takes a lot of time and training to be a velcro dog. If she were asked to do it more than a few hours, she would wilt like Andy Dalton in a divisional playoff game.

I must give credit to my little sister.  I didn’t think Pocket would be able to handle my duties on Tanner Brigade and Blogger, but she has stepped up admirably.  She has come a long way from the puppy who I wouldn’t allow on Doggyspace because she wasn’t housebroken. She followed my rules to always being kind in her posts I probably didn’t have to tell her that, she is genuinely kind unless you hide her ball.

I have been fortunate enough to learn many things in my time at the Bridge:

No matter how long you are on the mortal side, it is too short.

There is never any sense or reason about when and why we pass over.

Grief is a long, dark road through dark woods.  The length of the journey depends on the person mourning and who they lost.  There is no right or wrong way to make it through. No matter how hopeless it may seem, the journey will end eventually.

I know I have more lessons to learn.  If you stop learning, you stop existing.  

I do hope the world becomes a better place in the next six years.  Watching what is going on at the mortal side, I am glad I am here.

Right now the mortal place is a nice place to visit, but I wouldn’t want to live there

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Pocket and the Green Grass

I am mostly a pavement walker.  When we are on our daily constitutionals, I tend to walk more on the tar than the grass.  I guess I have gotten used to it.

I have been a pavement walker since birth.  When we lived in the condo, I had to walk on the street to get to the designated bathroom area, and being a dog of very little bowel or bladder; I relieved myself before we reached the grass. When we walked at the state hospital grounds, I tended to stay on the tar even though there was grass on either side of the walkway.

When we walk at our current home, we can either go on the pavement or our neighbor's lawns. I choose the pavement.  My parents wish I would walk on the lawns. My habit of suddenly stopping at their feet has led to several near trip incidents.

We usually walk to the back of our park. There are fewer houses, less barking dogs to startle us, and fewer people who demand we come to them so they can have the pleasure of scratching us.  Often, humans forget they want to do this, and we have to bark to remind them. Sometimes, they don't get to pet us at all. Poor people! My parents say this interrupts their peaceful enjoyment of their walk.  Who walks a dog for peace?

Recently we have started walking towards the front of the development. There's a higher risk of seeing people, or barking dogs, and of our precious snowflake parents being disturbed, but it provides us the opportunity to go off property and explore the old abandoned barn near the city street.  This is an area with outstanding smells and fascinating pee-mail from creatures I could never hope to meet on our side of the road.

Next to the barn and behind the mailboxes is a big green lawn. We have walked on this grass before, but I have never really taken to it. Lately, I have found that walking on grass is a joyful experience.

It is June, and that makes it high time for grass. It is thick, green, and fragrant. I don't like the winter grass that's cold and bent. The early spring lawns are sharp and muddy.  I like the sound of leaves crunching under my paws in the fall, but all the discarded foliage robs the grass of its texture. During late summer the grass turns yellow and hard. No matter the season, I hate wet grass. Whenever I am on it, I end up soaked and have to be toweled off which I hate.

Right now, at the end of spring, the grass is perfect. It tickles my paws as I walk. I hop around like a ground ball on a Venezuelan junkyard infield while wearing a big smile. There is nothing like soft grass on a sunny spring day

I don't know how long we'll be exploring the grass.  Mommy has had two knee replacements on her shaky knees, and she prefers a level surface and not the hilly terrain at the barn or having to be on alert for all the holes and divots hidden by the thick grass on the lawn. She worries about creatures buried deep in the grass.  One tick and we're never going off road again.

River Song is not as picky about her walking areas as I am. As long as she can bury her nose in the grass and sniff like the Rock at the end of a promo, she is content.

I am going to enjoy my walking on the grass while I can. One day it will stop, either because Mommy tells us we can't go on the grass anymore because we picked up a tick, or one hot day I will be brought to the edge of the green and slam on the breaks refusing to go further.

Until then, I am going to enjoy the spring when Pocket discovered grass.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Beat This Caption

I'm not drunk, you're drunk.  Now give me back my collar.  I can walk home.  I don't need no one to walk me

Monday, June 10, 2019

Monday Question

How do you get your awesome name?

Pocket:  When my parents picked me up for the first time I was small enough to fit in their pocket and I suddenly became Pocket Dog.

River Song:  My parents were fans of the television show "Dr. Who" and one of the characters names was River Song.  They thought it was pretty, and when they saw how pretty I was the name fit.

Foley Monster:  On the way home when I got picked up for the first time I was showing how tough I was.  Daddy said I took high-risk jumps like the professional wrestler Mick Foley.  That is how I became Foley. A couple of weeks later, when my hair grew out in all directions, I became a Monster

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Hilda and Bobo ae the June 9, 2019 Pups of the Week

Enough with the endings.  I have spent weeks chronicling dogs at the culmination of their songs.  This week we celebrate dogs who first few notes are beginning to play.

A month ago when Hazel went to the Bridge, she was determined to find another pug for the Idaho Pug Ranch.  The ranch was constructed to house multiple dogs but now only had one inhabitant, Mabel. Her mom told Hazel during a dream visit that she wasn't ready for another dog.

It takes a village to raise a dog and sometimes it takes a pack to find a pug. Greta, who had gone to the Bridge at only two years of age, had the misfortune of being perpetually young leaving her at a disadvantage. An angel decides the body they want to wear each day.  Our wardrobes are comprised of the bodies we have worn for every year of our lives. I have a dozen perfect styles from which to choose. On some days I can be a puppy on other days the wizened dog I was when I crossed the Bridge. Greta has only two to choose from. Being forever a puppy meant she is never taken seriously.
"We need to find a puppy with white paws!" Greta insisted.

"Why does it have to have white paws?" Hazel asked.

"Because I had white paws and mommy loves them.
Hazel thought Greta was suffering from delusions of grandeur.  She would not listen to her white paw theory. Hazel was experienced, and she knew white paws was a breed abnormality. She wanted to give her mom the perfect pup.

But Greta could not forget how much her mother loved her white paws. She found a newborn litter near the ranch and snuck down to paint one of the pup's paws white.  Greta had broken all sorts of laws, but it was done out of love, and the Guild of Dogs forgave her.

She knew her mom's subconscious was rejecting any thoughts of another dog.  She went to her mom's friend's dreams and planted the idea that the woman should email her mom the picture and information about the white-pawed pug. The next morning the friend did so.

Their mom, that same morning, had told their dad it was too early to get another dog.  Then she opened her email and saw the pug with the white paws.

Greta had perfectly set in motion the acquisition of the new pug. When her mom called, she was told the white-pawed was the only one left. Every question was answered accordingly.  Two days later Hilda with the white paws moved into the pug ranch.

That night as their mom was bringing Mabel to training Greta and Hazel thought about their love for her with all their might and a rainbow appeared in the sky above their mom.  

When Pepper and Juju got a new dog for their moms after Juju went to the Bridge, it was far less dramatic.  A year earlier, Pepper had passed over and quickly found Penny to help rebuild her moms' hearts.

Their moms knew they didn't have to search for another dog after Juju passed, their angels would find them the perfect new member of their family.  

This week they located him. Bobo joined their pack and immediately filled their home with joy.  With three sisters telling him what to do Bobo should assimilate perfectly with his new family as long as he understands that girls rule.
It is refreshing to be able to end one of these tails on an uplighting note. We could all use all more songs like these

Friday, June 7, 2019

Foley and the Missing Angel

I made the first night inspection of my gardens after the solar lights were installed.  I like the little lights that line either side of the driveway and around the gardens. I find it charming. In the center of the flowers should be my angel, the tallest and brightest light of them all casting a warm glow over the entire yard.

I was shocked to see that my angel was not part of the garden opening night display.  I am sure it was packed away in the late Autumn. Where could it be?

My mommy must have been unaware that my angel was missing. If she had realized it, she would have conducted a search of every outhouse, chicken house, and dog house in a 30-square mile area.  I went into her subconscious to tell her the angel was not in the garden.

There is a solid door between the conscious and the subconscious.  Some nights it is easily opened. Others it is, as it was this night, stuck.  I could only yell from the other side "My angel is not in the garden. I think she is in the shed."

My Mommy woke and said she had the strangest dream.  “There was a range in the garden that should be in the shed.”  I mean, these people, I can't even.

It took me several trips into both their dreams until one of them realized my angel was missing. The next day they emptied the shed looking for it to no avail.  It was gone.
There could only be one explanation. Someone had stolen her.  But who? Who had the motive? Who had the opportunity? The suspects were endless.

Mommy? Of course not.  How dare you? The woman is a saint.    

Daddy?  I don't think he would steal it, but I could see him breaking it and then burying it in the backyard, so no one knew.

Pocket?  It's always the quiet ones.  I don't think she has the brains to pull something like this off.  Plus she knows what a nightmare I can be if I slipped into her dreams in a bad mood.

River Song?  It's always the bitchy ones.  She has been jealous of me and my status as the number one heart dog.  But in her fruitless quest to be number one, she still wouldn't do something to upset Mommy.

The squirrels?  Now we're getting somewhere.  I had a lifelong battle with those little bastards.  I could definitely see them stealing my angel to get back at me. I borrowed a bird body and flew up into a tree.   There was no angel there, so don't know what they would have done with her.

The kitties?  Now we're getting somewhere.  They have been my rivals ever since they sat on my deck at the condo and mocked me.  And then River Song evicted them from our southern border. They probably stole my angel for revenge and stuck it in some disgusting Feral garden somewhere.  Don't worry, angel, I won't rest until I find you.
My parents contacted the Amazons to craft another beautiful angel to represent me in my garden.  Those Amazons do fantastic work. Then even offer 24-hour delivery.

So now I have an angel shining brightly in my garden again.  And at its base is attached a chain that runs to the Earth's core. If you hear of any Massachusetts earthquakes, know that one of those cats try to steal my angel again.

If you look to the Eastern skies and see something burning brightly, that's my angel saying hello.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

River and the Bird Nest Catastrophe

We don't have a basement.  We have a crawl space. When my parents lived in their condo during the year 5 B.R.S (Before River Song) their basement flooded.  This upset Mommy terribly. She was happy to move into a house with no cellar — no worries about flooding, no downstairs laundry, no shelter from tornadoes. Well, two or of the three ain't bad.

Cellars are a great place to store unwanted items.  You can keep half a century's worth of junk down there with room to spare.  When you have a crawl space, clean outs need to be done more frequently.

My parents stuff things in the crawl space until it begins to lift the house making the floors crooked.  Then they call Fred Sanford to take half a decade of accumulated items away. Thus started the emptying of the shed and crawl space clean out.  

My Dad figured with the junk man coming it would be an excellent time to trim the tree branches. He cut away the limbs from the pines that slapped my parents in the face when they walked by it or were growing into the shed. Cut them down bag them up,  and leave them for the junk man. What could be easier?

The cutting down part was a snap. It was the bagging that proved problematic. While picking up the many pine branches, he found a perfectly round bird's nest. He felt terrible about robbing some bird of her home. He found a branch that he could safely place the nest on and feel good about himself.

Feeling like he had just done his part in saving the environment, he went back to work picking up the branches. Then he made a horrible discovery.  There were baby birds that had either just been born our their shells had cracked on the lawn. They were wrapped up in some sort of protective webbing. They weren't strong enough to break through it yet. Daddy didn't know what stage of The evolutionary process the birds were experiencing, but he was sure they weren't supposed to experience it on the grass.

Most people whose lives don't revolve around animals would have moved the birds to the mulch, covered them up and declared. "it Is God's will.'  But we have raised them up better than that. Daddy knew he had to try and save the babies

He did with all men who have screwed up badly and were flummoxed how to fix it did. He called over mommy.   She suggested that the birdies be placed back in the next. Of course, Daddy being a man of tiny brain had forgotten what branch he had put the nest on.  The little birds were squawking on the ground. He found the nest and brought it to them. Mommy used to trowel to pick up the birds, and they were placed back in the nest.  The nest was put back in the tree. My parents could only hope that the mother lived up to the reputations of bird brains and did not notice that the best had been relocated several branches to the left, out could tell the birdies had encountered humans.

When we have gone outside to do our business, we have checked under the tree, and there has been no sign of discarded little birds. Ignorance can truly be bliss.  As long as there is no sign of the birds, we can assume they are fine even if the dark thoughts in the back of the mind say differently.

Fly high little birds whenever you are.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

Beat This Caption

Don't marry him, Mommy.  I checked his browser history.  He likes kitty porn!

Monday, June 3, 2019

Monday Question

On a scale of one to ten how crazy are you when your parents come home

Pocket:  A seven, I get excited but mostly to get out of my crate.

River Song: Ten.  When my parents come home it is the single greatest thing that has ever happened to me.  I jump up and down, I run back and forth, I bark my head off, and then I pant for a half hour.  

Sunday, June 2, 2019

Sebastian and Noah are the June 2, 2019 Pup of the Week

Recently I saw an article on my IPaw.  It was entitled 'Why you should not get a dog." Such poppycock! I did not read this drivel.  What are the reasons not to get a dog? I say there are none. Except for the big one. Someday, sooner than expected, we will break your heart.

The loss of one dog in a lifetime can affect a person for the rest of their days if they lose two, the pain doubles. Two in a year? It will be remembered as the worst time of their lives.  Two in a month? Unimaginable. Two in a week?

Two in a week has its own little corner of hell.  It’s worse than breaking half the bones in your body. Two in a week is getting into a six-car pile up in your driveway that causes your house to burn into flames.  

The parents of the Portuguese Water Dogs are in that hell now. In the space of a week, they lost Sebastian and Noah.  Their brother Fudge ascended to the Bridge a few months earlier.

We want to rail to the Gods on their behalf; to curse the fates; try to find justice for a family so terribly hurt.  All we can do is try to bring them a tiny bit of comfort to guide them through a part of the darkness.

Sebastian arrived at the Bridge first.  He was a rescue dog. He was sent to his parents after they lost Tsar.  Either recognizing a second chance, grateful to be finally with kind people or having been told by Tsar how to behave for his parents, he assimilated into the pack flawlessly.  He never gave his family a second of trouble. He became a gentle protector to the two little hound puppies who joined their pack. He was the perfect example of why you should take a chance on a stray.

Recently Sebastian began experiencing pain, but he was a good boy and didn’t complain.  His parents hoped that getting a cyst removed and his teeth done would ease his discomfort, but it didn't work. He stopped eating his food and became lethargic. 

 They found a growth on his jawline. Tests showed he was suffering from advanced kidney disease. His parents could not let this little gift from the heavens hurt any longer.  They sent him to the Bridge, where he could escape the pain and feel young again.

When Sebastian arrived on the immortal side, he would not cross the Bridge. "I am waiting for my brother.  He will be along soon. Then we can cross together.” I asked how long that would be.  "Too soon," he said. He was right. A few days later, Noah joined us.

The first human Noah saw as a newborn was his mom.  One of her dogs had a litter. Noah was a part of it.  From the first moment, Noah lay eyes on his mom; he never wanted her out of his sight.

Noah was the slowest to develop in his litter, but that didn't stop him from climbing stairs or jumping on walls with his siblings.  His parents didn't mind helping him down.

Nine years ago, Noah was diagnosed with cryptosporidium. It looked like Noah would have a short life span. He rallied and managed to stay on the mortal side. But, the disease took a toll. Noah would have colitis and dry eye syndrome caused by a reaction to antibiotics for the rest of his days.

As Noah aged, he began experiencing problems with his back that grew progressively worse. By last week poor Noah could no longer stand and had no appetite.  His parents had to make the hardest decision, again.

Sebastian stood when Noah crossed the Bridge.  They arrived together like a winning team on the Amazing Race.  As I inducted them, Fudge appeared behind me.

After they were sworn in, they joined Fudge in a long brotherly hug.  Sebastian asked if Fudge was going to tease them. "Not as much as I did in the mortal side, but we are here for an eternity so I can't promise you anything."

Then the three brothers ran towards the fields nipping at one another and laughing all the way, reunited at the end of their mortal days and reborn.  

The three of them have a Herculean team before them. They, along with their mortal siblings, have to rebuild their parents' crushed hearts.  But, I have no doubt don't that once Sebastian, Floyd, and Noah harness the power three nothing can stop them.

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...