What is your favorite go to chewing item? Antler? Nyla Bone? Real bone? Dental bone?
Sunday, August 30, 2020
It has been a long time since I have climbed up the mountain to battle it out with the Big Guy over him forcing the wrong dogs, especially the young ones, to leave their parents and come here. But this week I became inspired to do it again.
I have loyal and outstanding friends including, Brooklyn, McKinsie, Promise, and Megan, all from the Magnificent Seven, a grand pack of Boston Terriers who delighted their Mom Judy, and dad, for years. In the early part of the last decade, it seemed like a new pack member arrived at the Bridge every week. The original Seven are now all here. They worked vigorously to find replacements in their parents’ hearts and pack, and they were successful.
One of these dogs joined the pack five years ago. Her name is Whisper, a delightful pup with a happy and mischievous nature. Since they were all young, the pack should have been stable for a decade. But, the Bridge had other ideas.
The Lions came for Whisper with little notice. Suddenly, she developed breathing problems. Her worried parents took her to three different vets without getting a definitive diagnosis, except that she had inflammation in her lungs. The fourth vet said the two words that broke Whisper’s parents’ hearts: Cutaneous lymphoma. It was not treatable. The vet suggested that Whisper goes to the Bridge that day, but the little dog wanted more time with her parents and communicated that to her mom, who took her home for one more week.
We angels had been inundated with prayers for Whisper. We worked vigorously to heal her and flew dozens of prayers for her up the mountain to the Big Guy. When Whisper got her diagnosis, we realized the answer to so many prayers were “no,” Whisper would not be healed.
The longer I am at the Bridge, the more I have learned to accept what I cannot change. But sometimes you have to scream at the tide to stop crashing on the beach, even when you know that resistance is futile.
I flew all the way up to the most extensive cave on the highest mountain and entered without permission. I stared up at the man sitting on his high throne. “Why can’t Whisper stay with her parents, she is only five years old?”
“It does not matter how long a life is lived, but how well it is, and Whisper has had a full life with love and happiness,” he said in a deep voice.
I could not argue with that. “But, what of her parents they have suffered so much.”
“Those who suffer the most when something they love becomes an angel do so because they had the most to lose. The more you love, the harder it hurts when you become separated.”
“But why did they only have Whisper for five years?”
“If everyone were guaranteed a certain number of years, then life would not be cherished and guarded. I fell very sorry for Whisper’s parents and the pain they are going through, but the pain is medicine. They will be more caring people for having loved so many and lost so much, and that suffering has made them the people they are today. The kind of people this country desperately needs.”
My barker went off. I checked it and saw that Whisper was arriving. I left the Big Guy, without even giving him a goodbye. I made it back just in time to swear in Whisper. Then she was mobbed by her Boston Terrier angel siblings.
Whisper is now happily playing with his Bridge family, living in their big house, and joining when they visit their parents. They want their mom and dad to know they have not left them, they are just a little further down the road awaiting them. Their parents have angels all around them, helping them down the path and keeping them safe until they reach their destination.
I hope I have been able to make the Big Guy re-think his policy of bringing soul
Friday, August 28, 2020
I have written before about how dogs can help people even when they don’t realize they are doing it, just by being themselves. This is a story about a Golden Retriever named Harvey, and the love he brings to a broken-hearted woman.
Harvey lived on the same street that Mrs. Adams did. The only interaction they had was when Mrs. Adams would walk her little dog Wolf by Harvey’s house. The goofy golden always ambled over to watch them. A sturdy fence kept the tiny pup and the golden separated, except for swapping scents.
Sadly, the lion angels came for Wolf. The seventeen-year-old dog fought them as much as he could. His mom was 80, and they hoped to go together. But, scheduling Bridge departures is frowned upon, and unexpected arrivals sometimes are not allowed access to the Bridge and are left on the shore for years, until their due date. One day in April, Wolf could not fight anymore, and he left his mom broken-hearted. Because of her advanced age, and having no one who could take a new dog if something happened to her, Mrs. Adams could not find a new dog to heal her broken heart.
When Wolf left, Mrs. Adams craved normalcy. She kept going on her walks, and Harvey continued to bound over to greet her when she passed. Harvey stood on his back legs, his head poking over the fence. When you lose a dog, being able to touch another one, to feel the soft fur, maybe get a loving lick, looking into those deep, caring eyes, is like healing medicine. It is not as powerful as bringing a new pup into the house, but every bit of dog contact helps.
Harvey helped Mrs. Adams through one of the darkest periods of her long life. She decided to let Harvey’s parents know how much their sweet dogs meant to her. She wrote a long letter detailing how Harvey had comforted her and left it in their mailbox. When they read it, Harvey’s parents were surprised that their dog was bringing so much comfort to a stranger. They were also very proud of their boy.
They knew they had to do more for Mrs. Adams than just a quick visit while walking. Mrs. Adams had left no contact information, and none of their friends knew her. One day Harvey’s mom sat in the yard waiting with her dog for his new friend to walk past. There were many false alarms because Harvey ran to the fence whenever someone walked down the busy street. But, when he jumped up and ran to the barrier with great anticipation, his mom followed and saw the older woman rubbing his ears.
Harvey’s mother approached Mrs. Adams and introduced herself. She said it was silly for her and Harvey to meet over a fence. She asked Mrs. Adams if she wanted to come into the house and play with him. She said that she would be delighted. Since that day, Mrs. Adams has been to Harvey’s house for meals and family gatherings. She thought Harvey was just giving her a dog, but he was giving her a family.
I am sure that Wolf helped a lot getting her mom together with her new friends and their golden dog, but for now, we are willing to let Harvey take the credit for reaching out to someone in pain and make their lives better just by being him.
Thursday, August 27, 2020
I am always up for a car ride, as well as time away from Pocket, but when they happen at the same time, I know something is wrong. Last Thursday, in the late afternoon, I thought my parents were going out. Pocket was put in her crate, half because she pees everywhere when left alone, and a half because I get very worked up when my parents are away, and I might think a Pocket sacrifice could persuade the Gods to bring them back home to me.
Usually, my parents tell me I am in charge of the house while they are gone, but on this day, Mommy picked me up and carried me right out the door. When we go to the groomer’s we are placed in our carriers, I hate that thing. I want to sit with Mommy. On this trip, I got to sit on her lap in the front seat. While I liked it, I knew I was going to the vets. That is the only reason we get front seat status.
Something very unusual happened when we got to the vets. Daddy made a phone call. Then one of the nice techs came out of the office and took me away from my Mom. What was going on? Were they leaving me? Mommy!
I was brought into an exam room and plopped down. There was already a Great Dane there. I was incensed; I had ordered a single.
My roommate stood up. He was so tall his head could be clearly seen above the exam table. He asked me how I was—a chatty chap. I told him I felt fine. He then gave me a big butt sniff.
He wrote something down on his chart. “Alright, you are healthy, the clerk will be back in for you soon.”
I was confused. “Is that is?” I asked. “Aren’t I supposed to see the doctor?”
The Great Dane chuckled. “I am the doctor,” he said. I asked him how that could be true. “Oh, River, we dogs are too precious to let ordinary humans exam us. Have you noticed at some point during your check-ups the humans take you to the backroom for ‘blood work.’ You may not have realized it before, but that is when a dog walks up behind you and sniffs your butt. From one smell, we can accurately diagnose anything wrong. We give our information to the actor playing a doctor, and they pretend to listen to your lungs, your heart, feel around your body, check your ears and teeth, and then tell the parents exactly what I instructed them to say. We have to do this because humans would freak out if they found out that their vet was actually a dog, and they would not pay these outrageous prices if they knew the exam was done by a canine.”
This was fascinating. “Now that humans are barred from the office,” the Great Dane said, “there is no reason for me to hide in the back. It saves a great deal of time.”
“Can you tell if I am healthy by a sniff.”
He smiled at me kindly. “You are very perfectly fine, but your knees ache after walks, your anal glands are full, and you have too much wax in your ears. You eat mostly kibble, with green beans, and treats made from salmon.”
“You can tell all that from a sniff?”
“More, actually, but I have another patient to see.” He managed to open the door with his paws. “Oh, and you have a chipped tooth. Humans handle the financial end of the practice. I am sure they will want to charge you big money to get it fixed. I say if it doesn't bother you don’t waste your parents’ money on it. And if you do have it done, don’t let them charge you for a cleaning. If you break your legs, no one charges you to clean your toes.”
The other task humans had to do at the office was to draw blood. The dog doctors can tell how the blood is from the butt sniff, but it is something the humans like to see all printed out with a bunch of gibberish on it. I had to give blood twice because the machine that was supposed to read the sample broke right in the middle of mine. They took more blood and said they would read it the old fashioned way, which I am sure meant having the Great Dane sniff it.
Finally, after paying a bill that cost the same as six big bags of premium kibble, and getting an estimate that did include a tooth cleaning to go with fixing the chipped tooth, I went home and got another butt examination from Pocket. She doesn’t know what she’s doing. She never went to sniff school.
I hope you can all rest easier when you got to the vet’s now. Pay no attention to the man who touches you all over. It is the dog behind the curtain who pulls all the levers.
Tuesday, August 25, 2020
Monday, August 24, 2020
Sunday, August 23, 2020
Lately, I can’t get a good night’s sleep or a day’s rest. I have never been so inundated with new angel arrivals since I arrived at the Bridge. Every time I swear in a new pup, it drains me a little bit. My rest time rejuvenates me. But, the angels are passing through quickly now, and I am getting tired and more depressed by the day. I wish the stream of dogs would end.
Of course, it isn’t about me. I am just like a postal worker whose job it is to put the mail into the sorter, and makes sure it gets to the proper place. It seems like someone has removed the sorter, created a backup, and a steady stream is slowing to a persistent, never-ending trickle. But who would be dumb enough to remove a mail sorting machine?
For whatever the reason, it seems like I can barely go a few hours, without being summoned to Hobo’s Landing to swear in another angel, and help them accumulate to their new world, where they will stay until they are reunited with their parents, and move to the world of Happily Ever After, where there are no worries, just joy.
It is worse when the pup is an old friend from Doggyspace, especially since there are fewer of them on the mortal side. I remember when the vast majority of us were playing together on the mortal side. Now we gather at Doggyspace Town Square, where there is freedom, and no reason to fear being hurt, but we are missing, except for a few who are here, our parents. Until they come, our hearts will never be whole, nor will theirs.
When it comes to dogs and their people, one and one equals three. We create a third heart that we share with our parents, and we come to rely on that heart for comfort, love, and peace. When one of those who share that heart passes, it not only extinguishes the third one but also damages the organs that beat in both their chests. (Angels heart still beat, just lightly and undetectable.)
This week Caroline, and her mom Ann lost the third heart they shared when, after watching cancer ravaged Caroline’s body. Her beloved dogfighting with every ounce of her devotion to staying with her, Momma Ann made the most difficult decision, to restore Caroline to her young, healthy form at the Bridge, and take all Caroline’s pain on herself, the last. The most important, selfless act humans do for their pets.
Her decision saved Caroline from a long road of misery as she waited for painful cancer to overtake her heart and stop it slowly. Unfortunately, despite how much better we feel after being sent to the Bridge, we are robbed of the ability to thank our parents for their selfless decision. We try to light up the sky with stars, form rainbows, dash about like butterflies, and whisper thank you on the breeze, but we never know if our parents recognize that it is us giving thanks.
That is why I spend time writing these missives to the mortal side. I have been given the unique ability to communicate with people, and I hope I have been able to convey, especially to Momma Ann, that all dogs are thankful to their parents, for the lives we were given, and in some cases, the release from pain that crossing over gives us.
Caroline invented a new way for us to say thanks to our parents. At nighttime, she sends her voice down, to bark thanks. Momma Ann hears it as a disembodied bark in the night, assuming someone left their dog out. I wish she, and the rest of our parents understood when they hear that, it is their angels saying thank you.
And, right now, no one is more thankful than Caroline, who feels like her puppy self again, and will never suffer or be in pain. That makes her bark thanks to the night. Hopefully, Momma Ann will hear it.
Friday, August 21, 2020
Bringing a dog into your home, and finding that they are not compatible with your family, has devastating effects on both sides of the River of Life. The parents feel guilty that they could not keep the pup, which they happily had brought home just a short time earlier, and the angels are upset the pup they picked for their mom was the wrong one. It makes everyone gun shy when it comes to getting the next dog.
Pintus and Rain, after Pintus came to the Bridge in 2017, began looking for a new dog to live with Momma Marisela. After interviewing dozens of candidates, they settled on a beautiful pup named Icy Wind. At first Icy fit in with the family splendidly. But, there was something deep in Icy that caused him to be aggressive towards Junior, and sadly, their mom had to surrender Icy Wind.
Pintus and Rain took a break from searching for a dog, so their mom could come to terms with what happened with Icy Wind. But, they knew she needed another dog. They had no idea how to make this come about until Pintus suggested their mom start fostering dogs. That way, the angel duo could monitor to see if the new pup got along with Junior and benefited their mom’s heart. They hoped their foster to own scheme would work.
First, they had to find a dog who needed a home. At the same time, some miserable person, who is destined to be a minion when he crosses over, left the beautiful dog who would come to be known as Happy tied to a tree. You would think that a dog who had been so abused would never trust another human, but when the rescue workers found Happy, tied to the tree, she happily wagged her tail, ready for a new adventure to commence.
The first step for Pintus and Rain was to get their mom and Happy together. This was not hard. Their mom has a big heart, and when she learned of Happy’s plight, there was no way that she would not open her home and heart to Happy, at least temporarily. The trick for Pintus and Rain was to make it permanent.
While Happy was glad to be back in a home Junior, Pintus and Rain wanted to make sure that she stayed in their home. Junior coached Happy on how to be one of Momma Marisela’s dogs during the day, while Pintus and Rain gave her lessons at night. Little did Happy know, when she entered the house, that she would receive the around-the-clock tutoring.
Like a rom-com with a reluctant heroine, Momma Marisela tried to deny that she was falling in love with Happy. During the day, Happy’s infectious spirit and gentle nature gave Momma Marisela that peaceful, loving feeling that a dog who bonds with a human inspires. At night, Pintus and Rain continued to persuade her to keep Happy. Finally, Momma Marisela knew she could not resist. She announced that Happy was the newest member of their family.
It turns out he was a very aptly named dog. He is just the happiest dog knowing how lucky he is to have such a beautiful family, and he has made his mom even happier. I love a story with a happy ending.
Thursday, August 20, 2020
One of life’s tricks is to bring joy into a person’s life while not trying. Sometimes, we do things that we think are meaningless, but to other people is very important. This is especially true of older people.
We go on our morning walks, really just bathroom sessions, and later in the day, our afternoon walks. It is usually at the same time each day. We didn’t give it much thought, it's just the way things are, especially during the pandemic, when there is little to do, and people find comfort in structure.
But, we never thought that anyone knew when we would be walking, or that the dependability of us parading by each day would bring comfort to a person we didn’t know. We were just living our simple lives.
We take our morning walks in the common area behind our houses. We travel near the line of bushes dividing the property. There are always a lot of smells there in the morning. Critters that come out at night prefer the safety of exploring along the hedge. It is safer that way. More importantly, they leave intriguing scents full of information.
We go by the same houses on our afternoon walks, but this time we are streetwalkers. We pass the front of the places we traveled behind in the morning. We never gave a lot of thought that we were going by the same homes. The front and the back of the units look different, and we are more taken with smells than sight.
On Sunday afternoon, on our walk, a man opened his door and came outside in a bathrobe and slippers. He yelled to dad that he loved his pretty dogs. Dad said, thank you, and kept walking. He might have stopped at another time, but he was unmasked, and with COVID, small talk with strangers is not recommended. The man yelled to us again that we were beautiful, and Daddy told him to have a nice day, and we kept walking towards the smells by the barn.
The following day Daddy stopped at the mailroom to drop off a card. He met a woman who apologized for her husband stopping Daddy the day before. Her husband has Alzheimer's. He doesn’t remember a lot about his life, but he knows when we are going to walk by. After he wakes up in the morning, he goes to the back window to wait for us, and then, before supper time, he moves to the front window to watch us from there. The woman said that seeing us is one of the few joys in his life.
When Daddy told us I was moved. I love helping people and work hard to do so. I never thought I could mean so much to a stranger. Thus, each day, we make sure we walk by his house, sometimes from two different directions so that he can see us twice.
Now, I look at the house, and I am sure to give the man a big smile. It isn’t much, but I know it is appreciated.
We dogs have been put on Earth to serve man. Never has my doing so meant more than what it does to this man trapped in his mind.
Someday, when we are both on the other side, I will look him up, and we will play ball, and any other game he wants to play, and we will remember my walks, and we will sit back and laugh.
But, for now, I will just walk on by.
Tuesday, August 18, 2020
Monday, August 17, 2020
Sunday, August 16, 2020
There are some rules which must not be broken, like how a new angel crosses Rainbow Bridge, climbs the steps, gets sworn in, and is introduced to life in the immortal world. It has been that way since the first dog was mourned by man.
Which is why I was stunned when I heard thunder rolling down the mountain accompanied by a cloud of dust. A black figure emerged from the forest at the edge of the mountains and came towards me like a rogue tornado. When it stopped in front of me, I was doubly shocked: Because a new angel came from mountains, not the water, and that newcomer was R the black dog, from the Romping and Rolling in the Rockies blog, who I had thought, until this moment, was indestructible.
R had survived a shoulder replacement surgery, tumors, cancer, low red blood counts, blindness, and arthritis. Whenever life knocked him down, R fought back, never letting anything keep him down. Despite being blind, he never slowed down and made his way in the world like a sighted dog. Thanks to CBD oil, he pushed past through his pain caused by arthritis. No matter how low his blood count fell, he always found the energy to romp through the mountains. I had accepted that no matter how many dementors the Bridge sent to claim R, he would fight them off deftly. So I was shocked to learn that Wednesday night, after a typical day, R’s heart beat its last, and he collapsed and flew to the Bridge, shocking his parents, and breaking their hearts.
Of course, this was R going to the Bridge like he lived his life on his own terms. No one was going to tell R when his mortal song had ended. He would pick the moment, and the manner, by which he left his parents, and his beloved brothers Shyla and Hachi, which he did, during a peaceful dinner, surrendered by those he loved. He slipped through the immortal door quietly, and without a bit of fuss, the way he lived his life.
R lived on a mountain, in a dog’s paradise, where he could accompany his parents, as they jogged, and rode bikes. He has encountered animals: Lions, moose, and bears, among others, that we city slickers can only dream about. They all respected him like they did the animals who lived in the dens and burrowed in the ground. He existed in two worlds, both wild and tamed, and now he is going to try and live in two other worlds, both mortal and immortal.
When R arrived at the Bridge, he leaped over it and continued to fly up to the mountains, bypassing me and Blogville. He landed in the mountains and found that the forest was identical to where he had lived on the mortal side. All the animals he knew were there, and come morning, his mom and Shyla would come by on the bike trail, and his father would run past. R had become one with the land, and he would always be there, around the next corner, and in the underbrush, watching his parents, his siblings, and his friends. And, if his parents ever move from the mountain, he can live in another two worlds, always keeping one paw on the mountain.
R is a dog who only had one letter for a name. It was all he needed. Everything else would have been superfluous. He was just R: Basic, reliable, dependable, and unassuming. Even his nickname, the Black Dog, is unremarkable, but strong. He has passed on the strength to help his parents deal with his passing.
The mortal world has lessened for R’s passing, but the angels will be stronger, and mighty angels may be what the world needs as summer begins to turn to the uncertainty of fall.
If people remember how strong and unflappable the Black Dog is, how he never let anything keep him down, they might be able to better navigate the difficult days ahead.
Friday, August 14, 2020
In life, we make friends, then lose touch with them. We might have one time a year that we reach out to them, to make sure they are doing well. Often that is Christmas, the perfect day to reconnect with old friends.
The last time I spoke to my very dear friends, Cali and Hurly ,was at Christmas. We had been friends for as long as I can remember, which means they are on the senior side. At our last meeting, it was clear that Cali’s heartbeats were dwindling. I used the Angel store to give him some more, but I didn’t know how long they would last.
There are a lot of districts at Rainbow Bridge. They are needed to handle the number of dogs who cross over every day. Judges are supposed to be able to swear in their friends. But, Rainbow Bridge is not a perfect place, and, if there is a friend you have not seen recently, you may not be the one to swear them in.
There are thousands of villages at the Bridge where we dogs live while we wait for the arrival of our parents. Ours is called Doggyspace. Next door to us is Blogsville. I have visited other neighbors but not those far away. I wish I could see every angel, but there are too many, and unfortunately more keep rushing in.
This week I was walking down the road that connects our villages when I saw a familiar face heading towards Doggyspace. I recognized him, gave a yip of joy, and ran into Cali’s waiting paws. We did a dance of joy, and then I realized the sadness which caused him to cross the Bridge. We did another hug, this one born of sorrow. It is the yin and yang of the Bridge.
He looked tired and dirty. I asked him what he was doing on the road. “I must have crossed over at the wrong place. I was assigned to District 1,113. I didn’t know a soul. Then I heard Doggyspace was just a little way down the road. That was four months ago. Please tell me I am close because I am exhausted.”
I gave my good friend a hug and apologized for the unreliability of the Rainbow Bridge sorting collar. I told him Doggyspace was just down the road apiece. I saw Cali lift his head, smile, and say the word “home.”
As we walked towards our forever home, Cali told me how he arrived at the Bridge. He tried as long as he could to stay with his Mother Nancy and brother Hurly, but Mother Nancy knew Cali was suffering and stayed on the mortal side just for her. She sent Cali to the Bridge and took on all his pain herself.
His first few days, when he did not know anyone, were difficult, but he made the best of it, learning on his own how to go to the mortal side, to visit his mom in her dreams and other forms such as butterflies. He even found the next dog, especially picked for Mother Nancy by Cali to ease her pain and sorrow.
We came over the rise, and for the first time, Cali saw Doggyspace where his friends, Sandy, Hobo, Tommy, and many more were playing. He barked in joy and ran to them. Her friends howled, then, knocked her down, and they rolled on the grass happily together, while more friends joined in. True happiness only occurs at the Bridge when there is a loved one’s reunion, but this was very close to that magical moment.
I showed Cali the California mansion we had been saving for him. He spent the next few days reuniting with hundreds of friends. The last time I saw him, he was lying in a sun puddle in his yard, content that he was finally at his home away from home where he would watch over his family and patiently wait for them.
I am making sure I see him again soon. I am waiting for Christmas to see more friends.
Thursday, August 13, 2020
I am very much loved and appreciated in our little home, but sometimes I feel neglected, not because I don’t get enough attention. I am speaking, art-wise. My parents have good friends who, over the years, painted pictures of Foley and Pocket. While I treasure my time here, sometimes, I feel like Buggin’ Out sitting at Sal’s Pizzeria, wondering why there were no people who look like him on the walls.
I do have one beautiful photo of me standing in a kitchen chair reaching across the table for a crumb that was visually enhanced by Freddie Girl’s dad Steve. It is strategically placed in the center of the living room wall, above the TV, so all it takes is a glance up for my parents to see it each night (and too many afternoons since COVID, I am not complaining.) I think it is the best piece of artwork in the house. But, quantity-wise, I was still trailing.
It was worse outside. There is a flag hanging inside our porch, near a window, to be seen by people passing by. It is a beautiful Yorkie flag sent by Angel Willie’s generous mom. My parents would like to hang it outside, but when it becomes windy, the outdoor wood the flagpole screws into is no match for the gusting gales, and it snaps, and the flag always blows away. Do not forget the wind. It plays a significant role in this story.
Everything changed earlier this summer. My parents had, in the past, small decorative flags, on a tiny holder in the front yard. Inevitably the flag would fly off, blown away by the idiot wind. Then, while looking online for toe jam, Daddy saw a new kind of holder that was guaranteed to secure the flags and keep it out of the breezes. It had two clasps on top, and a device that snapped on to the bottom of the banner and connected to the stand, to ensure the pretty flag would not disappear during a Northeaster.
Then the flag arrived, and on it was my face, or at least the face of one of the many River Song impersonators we have on these shores. I was moved. I had brought about real change without having to throw the trash barrel through a window. The flag was placed at the end of the driveway, where it announced to everyone passing by that I lived here. In a word, it was awesome.
Every day when we went on out walks, I made sure to remind Pocket that my face was the first thing people saw when they came to our house. It was a sign that a loving, friendly, beautiful dog lived here, and she was not a Yorkie. Every time I see it, my heart swells with pride.
Last week the remnants of the latest hurricane stormed up the east coast. The central part of the storm was to our west, but we still got lots of wind. On one of the occasions when we were taken out to pee, we were shocked to see that the foolproof flag hanger had succumbed to the wind, and my banner was caught in the air, perhaps traveling to Nova Scotia. What a tragedy.
When Mommy learned the flag was gone, she insisted Daddy find it because it was the symbol of her love for me, and cost money. So Daddy went outside to search for the small flag amid a massive wind storm. My banner was not the only item blown about that day. Daddy walked down the street looking in gardens, the front of houses, and under trees where the debris was piling up, but he didn't find the flag.
He forced himself forward, into the gale, which was doing its darndest to push him back. He walked around the perimeter of the site, where the wind had deposited most of its jetsam, with no luck. He decided to come home and tell Mommy and me that he was sure it would turn up soon, and then order a new one. But it wouldn’t be the same.
Then Daddy realized it was not the wind at all. It was my nemesis, the beagle across the street, who took the flag. Daddy bravely entered their forbidden yard, and by their back steps, found my flag, waiting to be buried in the ground forever by the vengeful beagle once the storm passed. Daddy heroically retrieved the little banner and brought it home without letting it ever touch the ground.
Now it is flying in our yard again, a message of my resilience, and that of my family.
Don’t mess with the Griffon flag. Long may it fly.
Sunday, August 9, 2020
Missy Diva came charging across the Bridge like she had been shot out of a cannon. Most of the dogs who arrive here are happy, and relieved, after reaching their final destination. They also carry sorrow with them, because they had to leave their loved ones behind. While Missy Diva felt the same, she also brought one big piece of emotional baggage with her. She was pissed.
She said she did not think her mom; Mother Tracey should have sent her to the Bridge. I told her that she had lived 15 long years, a marvelous achievement, even for a Yorkie. She told me she didn’t care. I asked her if she could remember her last days with her mom, and she said that she couldn’t. I told her that it was because she had dementia. She said she didn’t care. I told her she had been both blind and deaf. She said she didn’t need senses. I then carefully explained that any parent who loved their dog senior dog, that was blind and deaf and whose dementia was so bad she could not remember from one day to the next, would help them go to the Bridge. It was a humane thing to do. Missy-Diva finally agreed that Mother Tracy did the right and loving thing. She had stopped enjoying her life, except for the few days she recognized her mom’s smell. But, she still held onto her angry edge. She is a Yorkie. Even when we give in, we hold on to a lifeline to go back and fight again.
I began to go over the Rainbow Bridge rules with Missy-Diva, but she assured me that she knew them all. “I have read your blog. It was filled with all sorts of immortal life spoilers. Actually, after reading how you described it, the real thing is a bit of let down.” I love the YWA: Yorkies with attitude.
Missy-Diva enjoyed her welcoming banquet, although she sent her steak back three times because it was not cooked correctly. I showed her the Yorkie mansion where she would live, and she said she liked it, but the drapes were awful. She made me smile, having reminded me of myself when I was a fresh little angel.
Finally, I showed Missy-Diva the only thing on Rainbow Bridge that she would gladly accept without complaint. It was how to go back to see her mom. I could tell when she had accomplished her dream visit. Missy-Diva was smiling in her dream, and her mom was too.
My gosh, another Yorkie at the Bridge! I am afraid our insurance rates are going through the roof!
Friday, August 7, 2020
We angels do have a lot of responsibilities. They are all essential, none more so than taking care of our parents. But, the most rewarding duty we have is when we reunite pups and parents. Here is a story about one dog and person I helped.
We dogs don’t judge humans. We know some of them to fall on hard times. A dog would never leave a man because he did not have a home or a warm bed to sleep in. Although some of our more pampered members may be insistent on having things the way they want them, if all that was taken away, they would be content with you.
Let me introduce you to Anthony Rogers. He is an artist from Tennessee. Sadly, his artwork did not sell enough for him to live on, and he lost his house, and his possessions, except for the most precious one, his dog Bobo.
Life was hard on the street, but Anthony made sure that Bobo was well fed, even if Anthony wasn’t, Bobo’s fur was well taken tended to, and he was never in danger. Anthony could bear all the indignities life threw at him, as long as Bobo was by his side, but then came the tragic morning when he awoke, and Bobo was not next to him.
Anthony searched the area where they had slept the night before and called Bobo’s name to no avail. He didn’t have a way to post Bobo’s picture on the Internet. He did have a photo he carried with him, and he made copies of it and posted it on poles, but he had no home, or a phone, so even if Bobo was found, there was no way to contact him. Positive he would not see Bobo again; he prayed his friend was alive and in a better home.
Like all dogs, Bobo is a slave to his instincts. When he was scavenging for breakfast, there was a squirrel doing the same in a dumpster. Bobo had not tasted fresh squirrel meat in eternity, so he chased the vermin across streets, down alleys, through yards, and into a park where the squirrel jumped into his home tree, and Bobo realized he had no way back home.
He was found and brought to the Memphis Animal Shelter. Bobo was terribly upset that he had got lost, and hated being in the shelter, having become used to being free and outdoors. He knew he could end up in a real home, but that did not matter to him. He sent a prayer to the angels, and it landed on my desk.
This was going to be a severe case, not because there were hundreds of miles between the dog and parent, but because finding Anthony would be as hard as finding Bobo was. I decided to take it one step at a time. I went into the dreams of Dorothy, a shelter worker, and suggested she look in the city for any Lost Dogs posters and see if any other them matched the new dogs they had just welcomed.
Dorothy followed my instructions perfectly. She found the flyer with Bobo’s picture on it and brought it to the shelter. There was a number to a local store where Anthony checked several times a day. He arrived at the store a half-hour after Dorothy called. When he got the message, he ran to the shelter, where he was joyfully reunited with Bobo, who covered her dad with 1,000 kisses.
Bobo was better off for his stay. He has been examined, microchipped, bathed, vaccinated, and neutered, which should cut down on his roaming. They are still on the street, but his dad is more determined than ever to find Bobo a forever home to live with his forever person.
I will stay as an angel on their shoulder until they get there.
Thursday, August 6, 2020
This week we were taking our early evening constitutional when we came upon a man walking his dog, a beautiful German Shepherd. He was strolling perfectly in step with his dad. He never wavered to smell the grass, or pulled in urgency to get to a scent lifted by the breezes. Unlike Pocket and I, he neither barked or jumped to reach us. It was odd behavior to say the least.
Pocket and I were looking up, and barking at the big dog. Neither of us came up to his knees. He chuckled at us. When he di,d his father immediately gave him a “down” command, which the German Shepherd did, faithfully. More odd behavior. We quieted down too, but not on command. We were just hot and tired from all the barking.
We introduced ourselves, and the polite pup told us that his name was Douglas. Our dads began discussing the Red Sox, and something called the bullpen. I don’t know what that is, but in the last couple of years, it has become the reason for much whining from Massachusetts’ men.
Curious, I asked Douglas why he walked like a robot. He told me that, when he was ten weeks old, a trainer came to his house and taught him the proper way to walk, which was always next to his dad, and in step with him, never pulling, or stopping to sniff. Pocket looked up at him: “You got hosed,” she said.
I shushed my impertinent big sister, but she wasn’t wrong. This dog had been trained the human way. In the time it took our dads to conclude their parlay, I would have to teach Douglas how not to be the dog his father wanted, but the dog he was meant to be. “Come over to the grass and sniff it,” I told him. He was reluctant, but I assured him it would be alright.
Douglas took in several deep sniffs. “What is this?” he asked. He smelled some more. “All these scents tell different stories, about the animals who live in my neighborhood, and about my friends’ lives. There is also information about the vermin who crawl in our yards and how to trick our parents. How have I been missing this all these years?”
“I am sure your dad is an excellent parent and loves you with all his heart, but some folks try to keep their dogs off the scent, because it provides us with information, and when we have information, we have power.” Doug nodded eagerly. “Now that I have shown you this world, you cannot let it be denied to you any longer.”
“But how am I to get to the smells, Daddy holds the leash, and he decides where we go.” We both laughed.
“You are in control,” I told him. “He has one arm, you have four legs and great strength. Just get ahead of your dad and pull. If we can force our Dad to go where we want him to go, imagine how far you can drag your dad?”
Our parents ended their conversation and said their goodbyes. We both told Douglas to remember what he had learned on this day. He nodded as they walked away.
The next day we saw from our window Douglas and his dad walking down the street. Douglas was pulling him from one side of the road to the other while his Dad yelled, “heel.” Pocket and I had a good laugh over that.
We might open up our own business venture as dog trainers who bring dogs back to their perfect factory settings. Who would want to change that?
Tuesday, August 4, 2020
Monday, August 3, 2020
Sunday, August 2, 2020
There are some days I would rather be at Rainbow Bridge, than on the mortal side, and I have recently encountered a streak of them, because the second member of the Texas Yorkie Gals has joined us at the Bridge, and the mortal side just got a lot less fun.
These two gals Chelsea and Ashton, and I have been together since we all were young. I lived half a country away, but I got to know the duo on Doggyspace, and they were two of the first friends I invited when I formed the Tanner Brigade. When we often get together for dream dates where we would play rodeo. Our Yorkiness, and our love of our mom, made us fast friends. I was the earliest to arrive at the Bridge, followed by Chelsea, and now beautiful Ashton.
When small dogs get older, they tend to go downhill quickly. It is not strange for us to be healthy one week, and then go to the Bridge the next. Plus, we are not complainers; we try to hide what is wrong until it becomes impossible. This week Ashton followed the familiar route. She became suddenly sick, packed her bags, and prepared to join Chelsea, as well as her other sisters Samantha and Ashley, at the Bridge. His mom knew it was time and helped her make her final trip, taking on all of Ashton’s pain before she let her go.
The Texas Gal’s Mama Dee only wanted one thing for Ashton to be greeted by the sisters as mentioned above, so she wasn’t alone. It was a wish she did not have to make. I could not have built a wall high enough to keep these girls from reuniting. As I waited to swear in Ashton, the Texas Gals arrived in a covered wagon, raising their usual ruckus.
I try to keep my swear-in ceremonies tasteful and dignified. This is a very emotional moment in a soul’s life, the beginning of a new chapter, filled with wonder, curiosity, and a touch of dread. The change can be devastating. When Ashton approached, I had soft organ music playing, and sweet doves flying overhead.
All that was interrupted when the Texas Gals began to shoot their guns in the air and barked in their high-pitched tone. I turned and motioned for them to quiet down, but there was no curbing their enthusiasm. I swore an impatient Ashton in as efficiently as possible, and let her join her enthusiastic siblings.
Ashton went running to them as fast as her little legs allowed. She jumped, and I swear, flew, an impressive feat for a new angel, on to the wagon. Samantha held the reins in her teeth and turned the horses around. Ashton, now in the back, motioned for me to join them. I had to run faster than I ever had before, but I got to the carriage before it reached the uncatchable lawn speed.
We arrived at the Texas Gal’s high rise. I could smell the chicken fried steaks being cooked on the grill. There were piles of coleslaw, brisket, menudo, and peanut butter pie. There is nothing like a Texas welcome party. I was given a tiny cowboy hat. There was a bronc in the pen that I, after a few Texas Sunrises, attempted to ride. It lasted three seconds. It was a personal record. We kept partying until the cows came home and told us to cut out the noise; they needed to sleep; they had a milking scheduled for the morning.
It was an awesome night. We hope we made enough noise that it traveled across the river, and their mom noticed it. If she hears the sounds of a far off party or sees silent fireworks in the air, she needs to know it is her angels partying as Texans do, and they are thinking of her, and, when they run out of brisket, and the party sounds end, to go to sleep because they are about the visit her in her dreams.
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