Thursday, October 31, 2019

River Song Goes on a Diet

One of the worst things that can ever befall a dog happened to me this past week. I was put on a diet!

My parents have been commenting about my weight a lot recently. I considered this behavior to be rather gauche.  You do not comment on a lady's weight. Thankfully, I am a forgiving sort.

Last week I went to my trusted groomer.  She is the one who traveled to Florida and brought me to Massachusetts to live with my forever family.  She is the mom to my paramour, a studly young Griffon who I was once bred with which we an ill-fated attempt to pass my beauty onto a further generation.

While one groomer carried Pocket to the waiting area, my groomer came out, especially to see me.  "Hi there, chunky," she said with a smile.  

I looked around to see who she was addressing, but no one else was there.  When she picked me up, she made and overly exaggerated grunting noise as if my burden was too much to bear.

I was crushed. I also understood why this woman groomed dogs; she probably started in a hair salon. One day a customer came in, and my groomer asked:  "Hey, lard ass! You want a washout and a perm?" After that, she had to work in the dog world where the customers are more forgiving. 

My parents, trying to seem capable, said they were considering putting me on a diet.  Hah! Me on a diet? The thought was absurd
After a few hours of pampering, I had forgotten the entire sordid incident.  When I got home, my parents showed me the green beans and carrots that would now be staples of my meals.  I blanched.  

I took a nap and dreamed of a visit with Foley.  She told me she had never submitted to a diet in her life. "Don't eat whatever they put in front of you," she stressed.  "After a couple of days of not eating, they will become concerned that you are going to starve to death, they will break and begin feeding you whatever you want.  It's foolproof."

Encouraged, I was inspired to boycott my dinner.  At supper time, slimy green beans and smelly carrots took up half my plate.  I was surely not eating that. I remembered what Foley had said. But then I questioned it. Did Foley mean all the food or just the new food?  She must have meant don't eat the vegetables. She didn't want me to starve. I began to eat the kibble. I must have lost concentration because 32 seconds later, my plate was spotless. 

That night Foley visited me in my dreams. She was angry. She told me I could not eat anything. I had to stand up for chubby for dogs everywhere.  The next morning I was determined to begin my fast. Upon seeing the plate, I turned up my nose. 

Unfortunately, my tongue went down. My plate was clean in 10 seconds. On my next dream visit, Foley told me I would no longer be the chubby dog representative.

That was fine with me.   I didn't like that title anyhow.

The truth is, I love food glorious food.  Food that's good for me, food that's bad for me, food to make me lose weight, food to make me gain weight, it's all good.   I'm not like Pocket, who has to have the exact food arranged the same way on her plate before she can eat. What you plop down, I'm chowing down. 

I am glad I am not a role model for chubby dogs. I want to be that for dieting chowhounds.  If you have a dog, who could stand to drop a pound or two and eats anything put in front of them, then break out the dog-safe fruits and vegetables.  Soon the pounds will shed away. 

Soon I will post another picture of myself.  I hope I look thinner. I am missing my turkey.

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

No Tricks, Just Treats for Shelters

Our Daddy picked up two bags of food to deliver to the shelter.  We don't have a lot of toys, and Mommy doesn't keep much more than what she uses.  If we do get more toys we will donate some old ones. 

Monday, October 28, 2019

Monday Question

In honor of Tony Soprano, we have a question about waste disposal.
What happens to your poo after you go.
Is it bagged right away?
Is it cleaned up every day or week?
Do your parents let God take care of it? 
If you go on walks is there a place where you can go freely?
Or is there something else

Sunday, October 27, 2019

Tess Arrives at Rainbow Bridge

There are many reasons to have a pack full of young dogs.  A parent has the privilege of witnessing them growing up together and watching them form an unbreakable bond that only souls who experience life stages together can do.  When they are young and delighting their parents by romping across the green grass together, it is easy for humans to convince themselves that this is how it will be forever.

It is a thrill to see pups age, learn things, and become adults as a pack.  Sadly, they become seniors together, too, and that inevitably leads to massive heartache for their parents. 
The Portuguese Water Dog blog has been delighting readers for years.  We love getting updates about this awesome pack. As they age, we experienced them growing old together and tried to ignore the signs of diminishing heartbeats. 

In February, Fudge was the first to make that final trip to the Bridge.  In June, Sebastian and Noah joined him. Then, this week, Tess tragically became the fourth member of the Portuguese Water Dogs to cross over in a year.  The devastation of losing numerous dogs in a matter of months is unimaginable, and now their resilient parents will try to find their way through the twisted path of grief again.  They have walked it to often recently, but each time they start down the road, it gets longer. 

Tess' troubles began on October 1, when she collapsed.  Her mom hurried to her side. Tess' eyes darted back and forth, and she was holding her head at a strange angle.  Her mom called the vet, but he could not see her until the next day. Tess struggled through the night vomiting and unable to stand.  When she got to the vet, she was diagnosed with vestibular disease, a disturbance of balance.  
Her parents did everything they could to make Tess comfortable.  

The vet hoped that she would regain her balance and be able to walk after a short recovery.  Until then, her parents gladly doted on their girl. They lay with her and massaged her legs, shampooed her, kept her bedding clean, fed her by hand, and pulled her across the lawn on a sled so she could enjoy the beautiful fall weather. While on the sled, she grew agitated and wanted off. She stood, but when she walked, she fell.  Being able to stand was a great sign, but she would have to walk to keep the Bridge at bay.

The next day she was standing on her own and even peed on the grass.  It doesn't seem like much to most of us, but elder humans and dogs know to pee with dignity is a fantastic gift. 

There was good and bad over the course of the next week.  Tess was behind schedule when it came to walking. On the positive side, she was eating on her own; she let her parents know when it was time to go outside, and once there, she was able to stand, take a few steps and do her business, but she could not stand inside. 

From that point, Tess' progress plateaued.  Her parents knew for the fourth time this year;  they would have to make the world's hardest decision and take her pain away by sending her to the immortal side. 

With three angel siblings, whom she had visited in their dreams, Tess was well aware of how to be a perfect angel. She took to visiting her parents while they slept, to assuming the bodies of small flying creatures for trips to the mortal side,  to acing ghost visits, in no time. She also showed a unique ability to answer prayers quickly and responsibly. She moved into a room at the Portuguese Water Dog mansion, the home that was awarded to the pack for all the good they did on the mortal side. It is on the river so they can go swimming every day. 

At night they lead their parents, leading through grief's dark road.  They will stay with them until they are on the other side, where they can heal. 

Our angels always lead us out of the darkness.

Friday, October 25, 2019

Foley and the Dog Who Returned Home After Eleven Years

Within the first month of being at Rainbow Bridge, an angel has to go to the Prayer Clearing House.  This is where all unanswered prayers are stored. A new angel enters the database and clears out all their prayers, so another angel assigned to cold case prayers (those that have not been answered for five years) does not work on a current angel's prayers.  Working on cold case prayers is monotonous and unfulfilling. But, occasionally, it is gratifying for the one saying the prayers and the angels hearing them.   

When I was recently assigned to the cold prayers unit, I found some from 2007.  A woman was praying for a dog who had snuck out of her house when her oldest son was leaving for school.  The pup did not come home. She prayed for him constantly every day for a year and kept him in her nightly prayers since then.  I figured the dog was here at the Bridge, but there was no record of him. I opened the prayers from the dog's database and began to search.  I didn’t expect to find anything. Usually, in these instances, the dogs found a new home and stopped praying. I was about to abandon my search when I saw the prayers of a dog in Pittsburgh who was out in the cold, pleading to go back at his Florida home. 

I planned to check this little dog out.  The other angels told me I was foolish. It had been eleven years.  But I am an optimist. I found her in a parking lot in Pittsburgh 1,200 miles from her home. I showed her the picture that accompanied the woman's prayers.  “That’s her, that’s my mom!” she said excitedly. This was unprecedented! I immediately made sure that the little dog was found by rescuers and brought her to animal control. 

That is when I got lucky.  Not only was this little dog microchipped, but her mom had been paying to keep the chip active, refusing to lose hope.  No one was more surprised than she was to learn her little missing dog was alive in the northeast and was waiting to be picked up.  Her mom got the first flight she out and brought back home the dog she had named Duchess 11 years ago. 

That night I went into Duchess’ dreams and found out where she had been for the last eleven years.   She told me she was recruited from her home to work as director of the Florida campaign headquarters for Mitt Romney.  From there, she finished third on the Apprentice and was asked to join Seal Team Six, where she served as a scout for the team that took out Osama Bin Laden.  She retired from the military and used her training to make sure the Corgis did not act out of line during the Queen’s jubilee. 

After that, she reentered the army at considerable risk to herself to get information on Korea’s nuclear program.  She was the original Lafayette in Hamilton and won a Tony. She returned to England to steer the country through Brexit but grew frustrated dealing with Boris Johnson, so she returned to the States. At that point, she yearned to return home and get back together with her family.  She said a prayer and counted on a miracle. 

Luckily for her, there are miracles aplenty, none bigger than her mom still paying to keep her chip active for eleven years, clinging to the slimmest of hopes that The Duchess could be found. 

It goes to prove the longer you hold on to hope; the more likely a miracle is to occur.

Thursday, October 24, 2019

Pocket's Ode to A Groomer

On Wednesday, River and I undertook our favorite endeavor, going to the groomers. My parents have been taking their dogs to the same groomer for 23 years since that magical moment occurred in May 1996, when Mommy finally relented and agreed to get a dog.

Daddy's Aunt Bev was the catalyst for my parents getting a dog. Mommy had mentioned offhand that she wouldn't mind a small fluffy dog. Daddy remembered Aunt Bev recently had a Lasha. He rushed mommy to her house, and Aunt Bev convinced mom to get a dog. Fortuitously, there were Shih Tzu puppies listed in the Globe the next morning. Mommy was skeptical about going to see them, but when they did, Blake ran up, put her paws on Mommy, and looked at her with deep brown eyes. Mommy was in love.  That love for dogs continued for a quarter of a century.

Once they had Blake, they had to figure out how to care for her.  Mommy had a lot of dog questions, including where to go for grooming.  Aunt Bev suggested a business, in Middleboro, half an hour away. Thankfully, my parents did not look for a closer alternative. Aunt Bev had never steered them wrong, and they were confident her grooming recommendation would not be the piece of advice that would break that streak.

If not for Aunt Bev, I could be getting groomed at a big box store. I shudder to think about it. I don't have an issue with how they groom, but, because the groomers do their work behind windows, and everyone can see what is happening, we don't get the perks we do in private salons.

If you go to a private shop groomer, you will get your haircut and shampooed, your nails done, and a nice bath.  It is beautiful, but no frills. A private groomer offers is so much more.

At our groomer, there is an exclusive backroom where our parents can't see.  We spread out on fainting couches and sip wine or Foleytinis. Then we receive a  mani-pedi as the sound of dogs sweetly howling in unison adds to the ambiance. Next comes bath oils made from green tea and shampoos made from watermelon and peppermint.  Then a full hot rock massage which eases our tension. We lay back and have cucumber slices placed on our eyes until we get hungry and eat them. That is followed by rejuvenating steam.  By the time our parents pick us up, we are ready to deal with all their problems and give them the support they need. 

During Foley's first year with my parents, the groomer opened her own business. It was run out of a small building on her property. Her mom worked the desk, her father cleaned up, and they kept the same groomers working for them for years.  People loved knowing the person who did their last grooming would do the next. 

Earlier this year, we were shocked to see a for sale sign outside their shop.  Our groomer's mother, Pat, who owned the building and the adjoining property, wanted to travel the country with her husband.  We wanted her to be happy but wished she would not sell.
Sadly in what may be a case of being careful what you want to for Pat suddenly went to the Bridge last month. She was always so sweet to us.  She had gentle hands and a kind disposition. We looked forward to our spa days so we could see her. I know she is petting Foley and many other dogs right now.  I am sure she has about a thousand of them at the Bridge
There Is still a for sale sign in front of their establishment, but no one in the family knows if they're going to sell.  They're going to have to travel the road through grief first. I would gladly go to a big box store groomer if Pat could be home with her children and pups again.

For our parents, it isn't just how the grooming looks on us but who does the grooming. A good groomer is every bit as valuable as a good vet.

We have been blessed with the best.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Harley Arrives at Rainbow Bridge

One aspect of my personality that has changed since my arrival at the Bridge is my attitude towards cats.  When I was on the mortal side, I truly did loathe them. Looking back, I can now say part of my kitty resentment was jealousy.  I would sit in my house, staring out the window and see kitties running about freely on the grass. I wasn't allowed to do this; why were they? 

I was told it was illegal for dogs to be off-leash.  I believed that this was due to the big kitty lobby that influences politicians.  They reasoned that dogs are more likely to do damage to people and property than cats.  After seeing the havoc, feral cats caused at my parents' house when they disconnected the duct from the AC to the house and turned our crawl space into a kitty version of The Deuce I could not have disagreed more.  

Mommy told me the biggest reason I wasn't allowed to be outside like cats are that I would get hurt.  I knew the same was true of cats, but in my opinion, it was good enough for them.

When I arrived at the Bridge, it took me a while before I ventured to kitty land.  Old prejudices die hard even on the immortal side. Our first few meetings were like when the Indians first encountered the pilgrims.  We eyed one another warily and wished that someone had brought a turkey. 

Over time I learned, just as my dog friends who share their homes with cats did that kitties were sweet little creatures in their own right. They put their decorative sweaters on four legs at a time just like us. Their most significant attribute is that they make their parents feel loved. Not as much as dogs, but they are trying, and that's important. 

That is when I began attending the swearing-in ceremonies for my cat friends as they arrived at the Bridge.  The services are quite similar. When they cross their section of the bridge, all their pain and worries disappear as they do with us. There are teardrops shed by the humans who loved the recently departed that fall like rain on their heads and are gathered by the angels. When they are reunited with a family member, they will run and play just like dogs do.  Other times they lick one another. Who am I to judge? 

This week I was contacted my good friend Remi.  His beloved kitty sibling Harley took sick. His parents hoped it was a cold, but the malady was connected to more severe breathing problems.  His parents made the great sacrifice of taking on all of Harley's pain and sending him to the bridge. 

Remi lives with many cats, but he is closest to Harley.  They slept in the big bed, cuddled up with their parents.  They were prime examples of what the human world needs more of:   They set aside the centuries-old difference between dogs and cats and concentrated on what united them:  Their mutual love of their parents.

That night I visited Remi’s dreams and told him how Harley had taken a few tentative steps across the Bridge before he realized he could breathe like a kitty again, and then he began to run as he had in his youth.  Harley's parents had many cats who preceded him to the Bridge, and they were all there to greet their sibling. They were no howls of joy when they were reunited, but there were lots of purrs of happiness

Then I stepped aside and let Harley come forward so Remi could see his new Angel brother.  Thanks to all who preceded him, Harley had picked up how to be an angel, and visit his loved ones quickly.  I left the two siblings playing. I don't know if his parents noticed Remi's little legs dancing in joy when he saw Harley in his dreams.   If they see it again, they should understand that Harley is visiting Remi just as he will visit them in their dreams. Maybe they'll even believe enough to remember his visit.  
Once again, even passing to the bridge can not sever the love between two devoted souls.  

That is because love is the most potent force in the world.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Foley Explains Why Owning a Dog Will Lengthen Your Life

Everyone knows that there are innumerable reasons for a person to own a dog, but scientists have discovered a new one: Living with a dog will extend your lifespan. No one ever asked me, but I could have told researchers that a long time ago.  We give our parents a part of our hearts, and our hearts are forever young.   

I read about this research last week.  Scientists have been studying dogs and their owners for 70 years.  Did someone pay them for this research, which would encompass a human’s entire professional life span and more?  Sweet work if you can get it.

They discovered that owning a dog reduces the risk of death by 24%.  A lot of this comes from people who fall down wells. Ninety-nine percent of dog owners who fall down a well survive. That number drops to two percent for non-dog owners.  The numbers are astonishingly the same for humans who run into trouble at the old mill.

There are also dogs who saved the family from rabid animals, bears, vicious vamping dogs, rock and roll vampires, inexperienced time traveling, Christmas hating Grincheas and elderly amusement park owners who try to drive people off by faking a haunted house so they can sell the land to developers who want to put in a freeway and would have got away with it if it wasn't for those meddling kids. 

I know humans will look at the study with considerable skepticism because they have been telling us that our barking, our accidents, our medical needs, and our passings to the Bridge have taken years off their life. According to science, with every misdeed, we add ten seconds to your life.  Instead of scolding us, you should be thanking us.

We help you live longer by sitting with you and keeping your blood pressure low.  We also improve humans' cardiovascular disease risk by getting you off your butt and making you walk.  Although the study did say the rate of death for people, who were killed because a German Shepherd dragged them into the street chasing a squirrel leading them to get hit by a bus is much higher in dog owners.   The exception that proves the rule.

I must say it works both ways.  Humans help extend the lives of dogs too.  When we were living in the wild, our life expectancy was about 12 years less than now.  We would starve or solve someone else’s starvation by becoming a Yorkie snack. Now many of us live into our teens. 

I don’t need a fancy study to know that there is no greater union between species than between dogs and humans.  We have extended both of our lives. 

I hope people don’t run out and get dogs thinking they will automatically live longer.  It is the little things, like walking us, picking up after us, loving us with all your heart, and caring for us that extend human lives... Also, if you are not a dog person, and can’t let a pup into your heart, we would be as ineffective as a placebo. 

I hope we have added years to your life, and if we haven’t at least a lot of love. 

Thursday, October 17, 2019

River Laments the End of Summmer

I had a bad feeling, way back in June, when the temperature was warm, the gardens were in bloom, spreading their beauty and sweet smells throughout our modest yard, and the daylight was everlasting.  I noticed the sun was setting earlier. I hoped it was meaningless, but the days continued to get shorter, which meant our beautiful gardens were in peril. 

I do love our gardens, especially the awesome smells.  I like to bury my nose down to the roots where the really good scents are captured. I love sitting in the buggy on Mondays and watching my parents turn patches of dirt into beauty.

I did not want the beautiful summer to end. I knew I couldn't stop it, but my sister angel Judge Foley Monster can do anything.  She entered my dreams and told me while she appreciated my faith in her, not even a Yorkie angel judge can keep the Earth from spinning around the sun.   Disappointing.

Then Foley presented me with an offer I couldn't refuse.  She told me she would come into my dreams when I was taking my afternoon nap, give me a butterfly body to assume, and then I could enjoy the garden in a whole new way. 

The next day as I snoozed next to my mom on the recliner, Foley appeared in my dreams. She held up a butterfly body and told me to take all my thoughts and push them into it. I did, and the next thing I knew, I was a butterfly with pretty yellow wings next to Foley, who had purple ones. We flew to the garden.

Foley told me that this year, our garden had the best butterfly bushes ever.  The branches were sturdy, the blooms enticing, and the smells perfection. I could have stayed there all day. Foley had brought angel friends who happy flew from bloom to bloom.  They were very appreciative of my parents' garden work. The angels who used hummingbird bodies were especially grateful. They said we had the finest nectar on the east coast. It got a five-star rating on Flitter. When Foley got me back to my sleeping body, I needed to sleep. It was the most exhausting nap ever. 

I took that adventure at the beginning of September.  Even though the days were growing shorter and the nights colder, all our summer flowers were in bloom.  It stayed that way until last week. Suddenly frost grew on the windshield. The wind blew away all my lovely blooms.  The beautiful flowers were gone with a promise to be back next year. 

We do have some new Chrysthanthemums and cabbage plants. They are very nice. I appreciate my parents' efforts to extend the flower season into the midpoint of the football season.  I think they do it for Pocket and me so we can sit in our buggy and enjoy the fall weather. In a few weeks, even that pleasure will be gone, and we will settle in for the cold, dark winter.

I guess they call it the fall because that is what happens to everyone's spirits the longer it goes on. 

Monday, October 14, 2019

Monday Question

How many vets have you had in your life?

Pocket: I began with the one in Raynham, but he retired, and we didn't like his replacement. Then I went to the one in Dighton, who was nice, but only saw patients four mornings a week. I am now at one in Taunton and so far I very pleased with her. River has been to Raynham and Taunton

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Foley Meets a Dog Named Miracle

When there is a natural disaster like a hurricane, we angels get overwhelmed with prayers.  Sadly, we can't help everyone. The prayers arrive as relentlessly as the rain thundering down from the sky  We lose contact with the soul desperately seeking assistance, and a few minutes later, they are standing behind us newly arrived at the Bridge.   No one is upset about our failure. There isn't time. Now that they are angels, they try to answer another soul's prayers as we did theirs. 

Every angel worked around the clock during Hurricane Dorian.  I received the prayers of a dog who desperately needed saving.  He had hidden under an air conditioner in his living room when the storm hit.  The shabbily built structure could not stand up to the terrible winds. The house collapsed around the poor dog.  He was barking that he had survived. The air conditioner stopped the debris from landing on him. Sadly, there was an entire house on top of him.  He was impossible to see or hear. He would not be found until the fallen structure was removed, which would take weeks. He did not have weeks.  

The storm passed, and the search for fatalities had begun. I kept the prayer line open while frantically trying to enter the overtaxed rescuers’ thoughts and tell them to search the collapsed structure for a dog.  I flew over the house as a ghost. It certainly looked like nothing could have survived in the rubble of what had once been the dog's domicile. I could not blame the rescuers for not listening.

He barked less every day.  Sadly, I believed I would be seeing him at the Bridge soon.  He had no food or water and was suffering. It would be for the best. 

After a couple of days, I stopped getting his prayers.  I flew down to the wreckage but could not sense him. I returned to the Bridge and asked the other judges if a dog fitting his description had arrived.  No one could remember seeing him. 

 He was not among the mortals, nor was he on the immortal side.  I pictured him wasting away too weak to pray as he waited for the Bridge to call. One day I would encounter him, we would have bacon pie with Foleytinis, and he would share his story. 

One day this week, to my great surprise, I heard from him again.  The new prayers were not requesting help but giving thanks. I flew down and saw him at a vet's office. He was malnourished and dehydrated, but alive.  

He told me he had survived for weeks living on rainwater that had run down from an opening in the debris.  Meanwhile, Big Dog Rescue was flying a drone over the destroyed buildings that were unsafe for humans to search.   One of the operators saw something in that small opening. The drone practically flew into the space. The operator saw a dog slightly lift his head. The operator alerted the rescue team, and after four weeks under the debris, he was rescued.  

I told him it was remarkable that he survived without any assistance from the Angels.  “But you did help, Foley,” he said. “You put the thought of rescuing me in everyone’s head, and I was found.”  I wish I could take credit, but this dog survived on his own. I am very impressed with him.  

The humans gave him the fitting name of Miracle.   They are searching for his parents, but the country has been shattered, with people fleeing to other parts of the island or different countries.  They already have a list of people wanting to adopt him. 

Who doesn’t want a little Miracle in their lives?

Friday, October 11, 2019

Foley and the Dog Who Shot a Human

Sadly, I have received hundreds of prayer requests from dogs because they, either accidentally, or on purpose, have been shot.  This week I got a request I never expected. 

"Please help me!" The short prayer began. "I shot a human!"

Often, especially if the soul sending the prayers is in distress, the prayer is garbled.  I thought that must be the case with this strange request.  

Before I departed to check on the desperate dog, I got a human request originating not far from the original prayer: "Please help me, a dog has shot me!" My curiosity piqued, I put on my long-distance wings and flew down to End Oklahoma. 

I found a woman being attended to by EMTs.  She had a bullet hole in her side. Inside the truck, where she had just been a passenger, was a 78-year-old man and a yellow lab.  Both looked very concerned. I made myself appear to the dog. The human couldn't see me because their cynicism has long closed them off to magic. 

I was able to communicate with him telepathically.  I could have done so by barking. His owner would not have heard me but would listen to his pup's yapping adding to the dad's distress. 

I asked him how the accident occurred.

"I was sitting in the back.  My Daddy was driving his SUV.  His caretaker was in the passenger's seat.  Daddy was forced to stop for a passing train.  Well, you know what we dogs are like. I thought we had arrived, so I jumped into the front seat, landing in the console.  I had no idea a locked and loaded .22 was under the console. When I landed, the gun fired, striking the woman. She screamed.  I told my 81-year-old dad to call 911. He dialed 922, 119, 999, then leaned out of the car and shouted for help. I grabbed the phone from Dad and dialed the police. The woman's hysterical screams were enough for them to fly into action.  Now we’re just sitting here waiting for me to be arrested."

The dog was anxious that he would be taken away.  I assured the dog that he was not going to be arrested. After all, he was a yellow lab, and it was an accident.  I asked him why his dad was riding around with a weapon under the console without the safety locked.  “Dad doesn’t like the safety; it takes him a long time to click it off with his arthritic fingers. He could be shot before he could fire his weapon.  He is anxious about being shot by some punk.” 

I told him that his dad was much more likely to shoot someone than to be shot accidentally.  "In fact,' I assured him "perhaps you shooting this woman will be a sign to your dad that he shouldn't be riding around town with a loaded gun because someone is bound to be hurt."

We looked at one another then shared a long laugh. This is America.  It takes a lot more than a man's dog shooting his caretaker to give up his gun.

More likely to give up his dog.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Pocket and the New Modem

There is no greater catastrophe for humans at the beginning of the 21st century than to be disconnected from the Internet.  They become like lost little puppies taking refuge from a storm in an abandoned shed. They know important things are happening out there, and their friends need them, but they have no way of contacting anyone.  They sit and tremble until the problem is solved. 

Daddy received an email last week from our Internet provider saying that we needed to upgrade our modem.  A modem is a device created by dog scientists who were angry that they were not getting quality lap time when their moms were on the Internet. The modem allows our parents to be online while we are on a lap.  It began as a luxury but quickly became essential. People have to be able to access the Internet all the time like it is air. 

When Daddy got the email, Mommy and I exchanged nervous glances.  Daddy learned how to fix things from his dad, who never met a tool or instructions he could not blame, and throw about when the problem was not solved.  Mommy told me he had to do this. It was part of his process. Unfortunately, the process causes unrest and tummy upset. 

First attempt: The modem arrived. Daddy attempted to connect it while Mommy made dinner.  Here is what occurred. He reads the instructions. He downloads the app. It is the wrong app.  He curses! Downloads another wrong app. Cursing accompanied by hitting the floor. Download the right app.  Enter the serial number on the modem. The app doesn't recognize it. Enter again. Doesn't recognize it. More colorful cruising. Enters number correctly — hooks up modem. Hits button to see if it connects. It doesn't. Rips up the blasted directions, making them pay for being useless. Give up. Sit in the chair. Feels foolish — first attempt: Unsuccessful. 
Second attempt: Several days passed as Daddy rested up for the rematch.  Everything.was fine until he tried to enter the serial number on the app and got a response that he had to call the provider.  Call one: got a long menu. Put in that he needed help installing modem. A computer-generated voice said they had an app for that. Sent it.  The provider ended the call. Call two: Took a different path before punching in he needed installation help. Voice sent him a link for the app and hung up.  Call three: After spending three minutes screaming into the phone that he needed to talk to customer service and frantically pushing zero, he finally reached a person. He said he was having trouble installing the modem. 'We have an app for that.". She sent him the link and hung up.  He made a noise like a mama bear when she came.home to find that some entitled white girl had made a mess, ate their supper, and was sleeping in her bed.

Attempt two: failure

Attempt Three:  At a certain point, navigating a phone menu is like defeating a level on Donkey Kong.  Yes, yes, no, hit zero, yes, one, zero, one, yes, and we're in. The representative who answered had an unidentifiable accent, which may have been Thebian.  Daddy immediately began a long diatribe about not wanting to get the app, and if he did, someone would be "messed up bad." Despite his only being able to understand every third word she said and she contemplating calling the authorities because she had a crazy person on the line, they did make some progress.  It bogged down when the rep mentioned the cursed app and that it probably didn't work because he didn't have the Internet.  

She began telling him how the app would work if he just turned the mobile data on his phone.  Daddy growled like a frustrated Wookie that the mobile data was on, and if she mentioned the app again, he would burn down an orphanage, and it would be her fault.  She did not mention the app again. They began the long task of reading the serial numbers and model numbers off of the modem. The modem is on the floor, and Daddy had to twist himself into a pretzel to read them. There were long pauses during the installation, and Daddy was checking out other apps.  While doing so, he turned the speaker feature off. When the woman asked him to turn it back on, he accidentally hung up the phone and then let out an anguished scream like a wallaby who just saw a dingo steal her baby. Attempt Three. Failure.

Attempt Four: He called again, forgot how to save the princess, and ended up getting the app once more.  He hit the floor ten times as I cuddled on Mommy's lap to protect her. Daddy got through on the next call and quickly explained to the woman who answered what hell his life had become.  She worked with him and finally got everything set on her end. Daddy saw the network on his phone but could not sign in. In a rare moment of clarity, Daddy remembered he had to repeat the network password several times to the previous representative. He asked the new rep to re-enter the password. 

 When Daddy tried, the password worked. The angels sang, and there was jubilation in the land. Daddy thanked the woman profusely, hung up on purpose, and then told Mommy they were back online. Daddy wanted to begin the equally long process of entering the network passwords to every device in the house that was connected to the internet when Mommy checked the landline and told him it was not connected. 

Daddy told Mommy it was not a problem. Getting the phone online was easy.  He called the number again. He then hit the necessary numbers. They sent him an app.  He silently screamed and fell to the floor, not moving.

Daddy is now on a nice vacation in a quiet hospital upstate for awhile.  I do miss him. But, at least we have the Internet.

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Beat This Caption

"What are you pulling me over for?
I wasn't doing anything wrong!
This is breed profiling!  

Monday, October 7, 2019

Monday Questiion

Do you follow Mom and Dad wherever they go?

Pocket: Sometimes, but I like to sit on my own too.  I let them come to me.  

River Song: Always.  I never leg Mommy out of my sight.  She hates when I stare at her while she is pooping.  She claims I give her performance anxiety.  

Sunday, October 6, 2019

Angel Arrives at Rainbow Bridge by Judge Foley Monster

Traditionally, angels have been depicted in all-white garments. They may have different colored faces, but they are always wearing white robes. It probably had to do with the influence the white robe lobbyists had in biblical times. Truthfully, angels wear the same comfortable clothes we wore on the mortal side. There is no angel uniform, even on the most important occasions. But this week, I met a true angel in all white.  

Coincidentally her name is Angel. She is a cute little white bulldog.  I enjoyed visiting her and her pack, including her brother Prince who is as dark as she is white, on dream dates. I enjoyed their stubby legs, their snorting breaths, and how they would play with sister Gabriella's big ball, trying to use their short legs to mount it. 

Mama Jeanne has enjoyed watching pups play for her entire life. She always has a pack of fun-loving dogs that keep her smiling. Sadly large packs lead to heartbreak when inevitably the members make their journey to the other side. But Mama Jeanne never gets discouraged.  She recently adopted a six-year-old bulldog named Mickie. She knows they won't be together as long as she was with Angel, but she will love him none the less.

As beautiful as bulldogs are, they have their drawbacks.  Their short snouts and broad chests cause breathing problems.  It can lead to heart issues, which creates a bull dog's number of heartbeats to dwindle rapidly.  

A heart issue is what sent Angel to the Bridge.  She was showing the all too familiar breathing, low energy, and lack of appetite signs that dogs experience as they approach their last few heartbeats.  Her mom took her to the vet who told Mama Jeanne she could either take Angel home where she would struggle during her last remaining days or she could stop her suffering 

Mama Jeanne made the difficult decision to take on all of Angel's pain and suffering.  She set her beloved baby-free at the Bridge leaving her heart shattered and the large part that was devoted to loving Angel hollow and vacant

If she were allowed to see what we angels are privileged to witness, her heart would have been instantly uplifted.  When an angel who has been suffering crosses the Bridge, they do so with great trepidation. They expect their steps to be painful and their breaths laborious just as they had been at the mortal side.  With each step, they realize all that they had been suffering from has dissipated. They are young again. 

There is a great joy for everyone when the new angel takes their first pain-free steps, their mouth opens, their tongues come out, huge smiles cross their faces, and they run without having to worry about pain or shortness of breath. 

One of the many advantages to being part of a large pack is that many siblings have blazed a path for you at the Bridge. Angel had spent so much time here on Dream Visits; she was able to assimilate to being an angel in minutes.  Soon she and Prince were trying to mount Gabriella's big ball again to the delight of the welcoming angels. 

We know Mama Jeanne has significantly suffered each time she has sent a pack member to the Bridge, but she should know, because of the way she cared for them, she has made perfect angels.

None more so than Angel. 


Friday, October 4, 2019

Foley and the Truth about Labradoodles

Did you read that the guy who bred the first labradoodle says he created a monster?  I don’t think he created a monster. Everyone who has ever met a Labradoodle knows they are adorable and caring dogs.  If there was a monster created by this equation, it was the guy who saw a Gen-challenged dog and decided to create his own master race of mutts.

Let me tell you what the scuttlebutt is about this guy.   He was a breeder, and he got an order from a family that wanted a poodle and a labrador. He got careless and forgot to check who was in whose bed the night of the breeding.  A few weeks later, the female gave birth to half poodle/half labrador. An honest man would have admitted his mistake and returned the deposit. But this guy never met a deposit he wanted to refund.  He took the two dogs out of the birthing room, walked outside, held them like he was Mufasa, and announced that he had created the “poobra!’  

The other dogs groaned.  “Okay, I created the Labrapoo."  There were more groans. “Labradoodle?” he tried.  

“Close,” a bulldog said.  

The man thought for a bit.  “Labradoodle?” he asked meekly.     

“It’ll do,” a sheepdog said.  

The man then waited for the family who ordered the pups to appear.  Later that day, they drove up to see the pups. “What the hell is that?” the youngest child asked. 

“They are Labradoodles!” the breeder said.

“It’s a mutt,” the man said.  “Give us our money back!”

“Now wait!” the breeder said.  “These are special dogs. I have taken the best parts of a labrador and the best parts of a poodle, and I put them together to make dogs who have been specially bred for people who need a guide dog like a lab but are allergic to their fur.” 

“Really?” the dad asked.

“Either that or dogs who are hyper and shed like mad.  I don’t know. It’s literally a crapshoot.”

The dad thought about it.  “I would like a dog who is a good guide dog without the shedding,” he said.   “Can you guarantee that is what I can get?” 

“As much as I can guarantee that I meant to create this genetic freak,” the breeder said.   The father was satisfied. The family brought the dogs home, and everyone loved them. Of course, they did.  Who doesn't love a puppy? The breeder could have put together a Shih Tzu and a Great Dane, called is a Shizstain, and it would be adored.  We are just that good. 

The dogs do have a unique look.  People asked about them, and the owners said they were spectacular, which caused other breeders to begin creating and charging big money for the dog formally known as a mutt,  Soon the Earth was overrun with Labradoodles. 

Like when peanut butter and chocolate were combined to create the Reese's Cup and spurned several other peanut butter and chocolate combinations, breeders began to gather different breeds that had names that sounded catchy when combined, mated them, and created new breeds.

Now there are hundreds of crossbred dogs whose breeders claim that their new creation has the best qualities of both breeds while suppressing the negative ones.  These new breeds mow the lawn, get rid of unwanted facial hair, pick up the kids from school, finds the slipper that had been lodged under the chaise lounge for several weeks and get rid of the heartbreak of psoriasis. 

Frankly, I would prefer we were all mutts.  There would be no comparing breeds or trying to fix what is already perfect. Dogs don't see breeds.  We just see friends.

Humans should stop experimenting and do the same. 

Thursday, October 3, 2019

River's Favorite Pet Store Closes

The local pet store is much more than another shop.  The pet store welcomes we furry creatures inside, and the staff always gives us attention. There are treats at the register and more pee-mail then at a busy dog park. 

Our favorite pet store closed this week. It is where we got our food, treats, and occasional toys. Pocket and I didn't spend much time in the store. We bark when we see another dog.  Mommy doesn't want us to be the loud little dogs at the pet store, which everyone smiles at and despises.

I did spend a lot of time in another store when I first came to live with my family.  I got private training lessons! My parents had not taken a dog to school in years. While they found the instructor to be very friendly, they did not think the course was intensive. A few weeks later, they discovered the trainer had no training experience.  She was a groomer, thus explaining why I only was taught how to sit. Yes, my parents should have asked for their money back, but everyone was very nice. My parents rank that ahead of competency. 

The store that closed had a real trainer.  On Sunday mornings, she would teach four consecutive classes with close to a dozen pupils. When the dogs returned to the store after graduation, they were treated like returning prodigal children.  Dozens of times a week, the staff heard people say it was the dogs' and their humans' favorite store. 

The saddest aspect of the store's closing is that it was a successful business.  There were acknowledgments on the wall in recognition of goals and quotas achieved.  It was financially sound. But, the lease was up, and the building owner refused to renew it, hoping to move in an even more profitable business into space, a risky venture in a world with a vitriol economy.  It was a hard blow to the associates who lost their jobs. They had done everything right, worked hard to create a thriving store depended upon by their guests, and one landlord ended it all by refusing to sign the leash. 

The employees learned of the closing a week before Labor Day, which gave them less than a month to find new jobs.  After the holiday sales, the team put up signs saying they would close September 29. Customers, upon learning of the closing, reacted like children discovering their parents impending divorce. "Where will we go? What will we do?  Who will give us food?" 

The store is in an urban area.  Many of the shoppers took public transportation to get there. With no pet stores in the immediate vicinity, they are at a loss for where to.go, especially for toys, over the counter medications grooming, fish, and small animals. 

A good pet store becomes vital to a pet parent.  A knowledgable staff is relied on to answer questions as much as a vet is.  Often the pet store is a parent's first stop when their pet gets sick. A trust is created between the staff and customers. When the parents use grooming and training, it becomes more so.  I feel sorry for the dogs who don’t know where there next grooming is coming from and the parents who are trying to provide for them.

Daddy’s work brought him to the store twice a week.  On Thursday, he walked around the near-empty store for the final time. The prices had been slashed first to 50 percent, and then 75 percent.  The shelves were almost bare, the groomer closed, and a few bargain shoppers were sifting through what was left. The staff had been bustling when the prices dropped.  Sadly, with every minute of hard work, they brought the end of their employment closer. 

On Sunday, the doors shut for the final time.  The store was an empty husk, but if you squinted, you could see the happy dogs and their parents, hear the busy hum of interested shoppers, and the laughter of people who would never speak outside the shop, but who were brought together by their love of dogs.

Foley told me that everything goes to the Bridge when it dies and that the store appeared Monday morning waiting for those who worked there, shopped there, laughed, and loved there, to come.  There is no work at the Bridge, but there are places where families gather, to do what was work on the mortal side, and will be play on the immortal side.

Someday the store will be thriving again. 

Wordless Wednesday