Sunday, January 31, 2021

Tails From Rainbow Bridge: Baxter, the Patron Saint of Pitbulls


The prejudice against pit bulls runs deep.  Even knowledgeable pet parents like mine are on high alert when they see one.  After all, Pocket is so tiny; she could be swallowed whole like Jonah.  When our neighbor's son visits his mom with his pittie, my parents avoid taking my sisters out to keep them safe. A mitigating circumstance that contributed to their decision is the number of heroin overdoses that have occurred at the neighbors. Troubled families beget troubled dogs.

My efforts to reach out to that pit bull to learn his intentions have been thwarted.  He has blocked my dream visits like I am a can of Spam.  I would prefer to give the big lug the benefit of the doubt; it isn't his fault people in his family have made terrible choices, but until we learn that raising a bloodthirsty pittie was not another terrible choice that they made, my parents must do everything they can to protect their tiny prancers.

I have never met a pit bull at the Bridge who wasn't kind, generous, and sweet. When I visit mortal pitties in their dreams, I am pleased to say they are gentler than many little Yorkies I have encountered.

One of my favorite pitties is sweet Baxter of the Lawson family.  He is a multi-breed unit member, so he knows how to have fun with little dogs without being too rough.  He has a pure heart and soul, which his mom recognized, and she devoted a large part of her heart to him.

Often when death comes calling, it leaves a card. The most dreaded one is called cancer.  When death plays this card upon you, it is possible to delay the inevitable by using prayer, medical treatment, and perseverance but often, especially if you're a canine when death comes to retrieve the card, he takes you too.

I wish you all could have seen how bravely Baxter fought the insidious disease.  Battling an illness is especially hard because you are rapidly losing the defenses you need to win.  Baxter fought bravely and at times seemed to be gaining the upper hand, but, in the end, he had lost too much to continue the fight.  His mom sent him to the Bridge and took on all the pain he had been feeling.

The crowd of dogs waiting to greet Baxter was two dozen deep.  Everyone loved him and remembered when we belonged to the same site and played from morning to night.  Leading the greeters was his sister Daisy, who crossed the Bridge a year ago.  The double punch to the heart caused by losing both babies has nearly crippled Mama Lily, who is going to need lots of good thoughts, friendship, and wet nose snuggles to find her way out of grief’s torturous road.

Baxter has two essential jobs as an angel.  The first is to help Daisy lead his mom through grief and into an acceptable new normal. The second is to work with the other pit bull angels to help change the tide of public opinion from pitties being vicious animals who are a danger to them being sweet, big-hearted, loving souls who can bring endless joy to the right person.  

And maybe, if he is successful, people won’t be worried about being attacked by a dog visiting the neighbors and more concerned about being attacked by the people themselves.  

Friday, January 29, 2021

Foley Meets Freddy, the World's Largest Dog, When He Arrives at the Bridge

When I got the message that I was to give the angel oath to a dog named Freddy, I did not think there would be anything special about the encounter.  When I reached Hobo’s Landing, I was surprised that there were so many angels waiting for him.  Was there something about this dog that I was unaware of?

    When I saw the newest angel climbing out of the River of Life, I was sure there must be a mistake.  Someone had sent a horse to Doggyspace.  This was going to take a lot of paperwork to fix.  I considered letting him stay with us.  He could give us rides.

    When he came closer, I saw that he wasn’t a horse, but a giant dog, the biggest I had ever encountered.   His name is Freddie, a Great Dane who stands seven foot five while on his hind legs, the largest dog in the mortal world during his time.  He would make us unbeatable at basketball.  

    He bounded up the steps and stopped by my podium.  He was sitting, and I was standing.  I was barely higher than his ankle.  He opened his mouth to say hello, and I realized he could swallow me with little difficulty.  Rarely had I been intimidated by an angel. 

    During the ceremony, I could tell he was a sweet and gentle giant.  He had multitudes of admirers who had arrived to see him, and he made sure to greet them with a long butt sniff.  I admired him. He had a nifty set of lungs.

    I was putting away my swearing-in book when I felt the giant standing next to me.  He told me that he had come from a Great Danes family, both from the litter and his forever home.  He had started as the runt, but he soon became larger than all of his mates and kept growing.  

    I soon learned, despite the difference in our size, that we had a lot in common.  We were both our moms' heart dogs.  We became well-known thanks to social media.  And we returned the love we received ten-fold.

    The next day we visited the Town Square together.  I must admit we drew some stares. Hattie, sporting a lovely sundress, inquired if she could ride Freddy.  I would dismiss the idea as being rude when Freddy said he would be happy to oblige. He gave one to Hattie, and after that, several rides to our friends. I must admit I was getting jealous until he sat down and offered me one. It felt like a conquering general riding her mighty steed.   

That night we went to dinner together.  I had a small plate of chicken.  Freddy ate half a cow.  I immediately regretted saying I would pay.  But Freddy is such an outstanding company I didn't mind.

I knew Freddie was missing his mom terribly, and I was happy to show him some of my shortcuts to visit her.   When he's not providing comfort to his mom, we can be found at the square playing together and learning the trials and tribulations of both small and big dogs.  Some angels look at us curiously, a mismatched set of friends.  They ask me how we can maintain a friendship, and I tell them we celebrate our differences as much as we do what we have in common.

If I only paid attention to dogs like me, I'd never make any friends or learn anything new.

Thursday, January 28, 2021

When River's Plans to End Winter Goes Wrong It Is Foley to the Rescue


Despite having spent several winters exposed to the cold temperatures which invade New England from November to mid-March, River remains a Florida girl at heart.  She hates the cold more than she hates when Pocket tries to sleeping near the top of the bed.

Humans don't appreciate what we have to go through just to pee in the morning during cold weather.  We are removed from under the covers where we have burrowed to protect ourselves from the cold.  We are leashed and brought outside without having a chance to wipe the sleep from our eyes.   When outdoors, our paws feel like shoes made of ice, the ground is cold and unforgiving, and we are expected to pee and poop exposed to these horrible elements. I know in the past, humans did not have indoor plumbing. Instead of going out at night in the cold to the outhouse to pee and evacuate, they use what was charmingly called a chamber pot.  Where are the chamber pots for dogs?  Write that down.  It's a million-dollar idea.

River is an avarice reader.  When she is on her I-paw, she covers her action by making it look like she is chewing her foot. Last week, she found a link about a heat demon called Cruiz. He promised to end the cold for good.  River is a compulsive soul, and she agreed to summons the being without reading the reviews of his work—big mistake.

The demon arose in our back yard.  He immediately thawed the ground and made it ten degrees warmer.  The crawl space under the house was getting crowded, so River told Demon Cruize he could live in the shed. River hoped no one noticed when the window steamed up. She bragged to Pocket that she had solved the cold issue forever. 

The temperature rose by ten degrees each day. When it was in the 40s, 50s, and 60s, people remarked what beautiful weather it was for January. But when it climbed over 80, they became alarmed that something was wrong, mostly since the warm weather was isolated to one neighborhood in a Massachusetts town. The Gods noticed something had gone crazy in my area, traced it to River Song, then tasked me to send the heat demon back to the depths of hell where he belonged.  (There is really no hell. It is just a spot in Central Alabama where the living is particularly hard, and the demons are kept until they change their ways.)

Since this was bound to be an epic struggle, the Gods allowed me to return to my house in mortal form.  Demons are notoriously lazy about shutting doors behind them.  I pawed open the shed entrance and found the monster sleeping by the lawnmower.  I ordered him to be gone from this shed because it was free of demons.

He stood, looked down, smiled at my small size, then kicked me out of the shed with his fiery foot.  I was not deterred.  I marched back inside and got blasted by his fire breath. Deposing of this demon was going to be more challenging than I anticipated.

I made two more attempts to retake the shed, but Cruiz continued to bombard me with fire.  I could not take him by using conventional methods.  I had to rely on a dog’s strength.  Then I realized the perfect thing to do.

I backed into the shed, waited for Cruiz to throw a firebomb at me, then farted.  The fire reversed course consuming the demon and causing him to retreat to central Alabama where he could not cause trouble for my family, town, or even my stubborn sister.

When I got back to the Bridge, I was treated like a hero by everyone, on both sides, except River Song, who blames me for the cold mornings.  Hopefully, in the hot summer, she won’t be contacting a cold demon.  They can protect themselves from a good fart.

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Monday, January 25, 2021

Monday Question


Do you snore when you sleep?

Do you dream and move your legs like you are running?

Do you bark or sleep in your sleep?

Sunday, January 24, 2021

Tails From Rainbow Bridge: Shep's Everlasting Devotion



This is a story about love, devotion, persistence, and the only dog to arrive at Rainbow Bridge via train. It was almost 100 years ago in rural Montana where Shep lived with his father. They did everything together:  An unbreakable pair. 

One day Shep's dad took ill. With no way to get to a doctor, Shep's dad hoped to ride it out. Unfortunately, the disease proved to be fatal. When neighbors realized they had not seen the old man for a few days, they found him passed away in bed with Shep resting on the dead man's chest.  

Shep's dad had lived back east when he was younger and requested that he be buried in the family plot in New Jersey.  Shep followed the men carrying his father in a coffin to the train station.  When Shep was not allowed on the train, he began to cry.  After the train sped away, people tried to corral Shep, but he ran away. 

The next day when the train whistle sounded, Shep ran back to the station and waited for his dad to disembark.  When he didn't, a dejected Shep disappeared into the woods behind the train station until the whistle blew again.  When it did, he hurried back and sat on the platform looking for his dad, who was never going to return.  Shep continued his daily trek to the station for years.

Shep's dad tried to help the pup. He visited his best boy in the dog's dreams to explain that he would not be getting off the train. But Shep could not comprehend that his father would no longer be physically with him. That meant no long walks, quiet afternoon fishing, or hours spent playing ball together. 

Shep became an unofficial mascot for the train line. Stories of his devotion spread through the country, and people came to the sleepy Montana town to watch Shep wait patiently in vain for his dad to arrive.  People in the station began to feed Shep and put a seldom-used blanket out for him.  They tried to bring him inside during the worst weather, but Shep had vowed never to step inside again without his dad. 

Shep grew older and developed vision and hearing problems. This is not good for a dog who spends time at a train station—more than once, people had to pull him from the tracks before the train hit him. 

Finally, one day the train pulled into the station, and his father was on it. He called for Shep and told him that they could be together now. Shep's tail wagged furiously, and he ran onto the train. To the bystanders, they saw something different:  Shep slip and fall underneath an oncoming train. The dog was mourned like he was one of Montana's great citizens. 

Later that day, a train appeared on the other side of the river. It turned, squeezed over Rainbow Bridge, and chugged up the steep grade to the spot where he was sworn in.  Shep did not stay at the Bridge for long. He only had his dad, and his dad only had him. There was no one else for them to wait for, so together, they went to the land of Happily Ever After.  

The word is that Shep and his dad still visit Rainbow Bridge from time to time, and you can see them walking on trails along the mountainside. In some parts of Montana, folks swear that when the moon is holding water and the planets are aligned that Shep and his dad can be seen riding the train into the station.

Shep is a symbol of devotion for all of us dogs. We try to live up to his example. Shep didn't invent devotion, but he did perfect it.


Friday, January 22, 2021

Sweet Pocket Offers Her Crawl Space to a Lost Turkey



Somehow, despite living with two hard-edged dogs like River and me, Pocket is still a sweet pup, sometimes to her detriment.

Last week Pocket was outside doing a quick bit of business to make sure her bladder was empty, or at least as empty as a leaky Yorkie can be, when she came across a lone turkey in our back garden.

Having turkeys in our yard is nothing new.  A flock of them usually comes by in the morning.  They walk single file behind their leader; something dogs could learn from, and keep pecking the ground until they find sufficient provisions.  

The smallest turkey must have taken longer than his siblings to peck. He became lost in concentration. The pack returned to their nest in nearby words leaving the little bird homeless alone.  

When my sisters went outside, the bird was sitting by the rose bush’s skeletal remains, shivering.  River did as I would have. She attacked.  Pocket stopped her sister, flashing her few teeth at her.  "We should let him stay in the crawl space until his family returns," Pocket suggested

"Are you daft?" River asked.  " Do you think Mommy is going to let you keep a turkey under the house?"

"She doesn't have to know."

"Of course she will know," River responded, "she knows everything. And this fowl smells quite foul.  Mommy has the nose of a basset hound on the hunt."

“It will only be for a night.  Mommy may smell something, but after dark, she's not looking under the house.  When the turkeys come by in the morning, this fella can just fall in behind and march home.”

River was about to disagree when she grinned and told Pocket she thought it was a capital idea.  She even helped Pocket slip the slat under the house to the side to allow the turkey, who informed them his name was Aristophanes, to gain access under the house. Ugly Joan, the feral cat who likes to sleep below the steps, was absent. She only returned to her lair every two or three days, and since the weather was calm, they hoped she would not return for the night.   Pocket showed him some insulation that could be used for a nest and suggested he stay by the heater to keep warm.  When they left, Aristophanes was contentedly building his nest.

After an hour of Aristophanes inhabiting the crawl space, my parents began craving roasted turkey.  There were no other signs that a turkey was in the crawl until just before bedtime when Ugly Joan returned, and there was a great deal of pecking and clawing until Aristophanes prevailed because peck beats claw as set forth as a rule in the game pack claw bite.  Claw beats bite; bite beats peck; peck beats claw.

In the middle of the night Pocket, noticed River was not in bed. She went into the living room and saw the grate that led to the crawl space was open. She crawled down until she was under the house and found River and ugly Joan, usually the bitterest of enemies plucking and basting Aristophanes. Pocket barked at both of them to leave the turkey alone.  “It's not our fault,”  River complained. “It smells like a freaking Boston Market here.  It’s too tempting.”

When Pocket checked in the morning, Aristophanes had rejoined his flock. All that was left was a bright shiny egg. “I don't think Aristophanes was his butch as he thought,” Pocket told River.

They returned to the crawl space, having decided between eggs benedict and a poached egg, but the egg was gone.  They saw Ugly Joan sitting uncomfortably.  She was the mother of numerous litters and had adopted the egg, and she planned to sit on it until it was hatched.

That baby turkey was due for a heck of a surprise.  


Thursday, January 21, 2021

Captain Freckles on Duty


Today we prepared for the arrival of a famous dog.  Pups who had belonged to fire departments on the mortal side lined the path from Rainbow Bridge to Hobo’s Landing because Freckles from Engine 103 in Chicago would be arriving at his forever home soon.

    Freckles was a local celebrity.  He took daily walks around the city’s western loop and spent hours on a Yoga mat outside the firehouse, where he greeted visitors.  He was the inspiration for the dog on Chicago Fire.

    When Freckles grew bored of sitting in front of the station, he would sniff around the neighborhood, walking into shops, and being greeted like he was a beloved human.  Freckles was featured on a popular Facebook page, and his admirers flocked from around the country to greet him. 

    When he wasn’t working, Freckles spent his time living with his caretaker Michelle.  She was so devoted to the Dalmation-pit bull mix that he was the “best being” in her wedding.  He dressed in a bow tie and posed for dozens of pictures.

    Freckles adored people, and they loved him back.  Even if they didn’t know that Freckles was famous, people were drawn to him.  

    He first started working at Engine 103 in August of 2004 after the house lost their dog.  A neighbor donated him.  After a trial run, Freckles was unanimously voted in as a squad member and subsequently became a neighborhood draw.

    Freckles knew how to play to a crowd.  Both tour groups, and students on field trips, would come to the station to meet the dog.  When he saw a bus stop near the firehouse, he ran with a wagging tail to greet the visitors and provide delight.  

    Over several shifts, Freckles provided emotional support for the firefighters.  When they returned, tired, hunger, and emotional, Freckles was there to calm the firefighters and help them sleep.

    Freckles shift ended after 17 long years of firehouse duty.  The entire community remembered him fondly. They had thought of him as mayor of their neighborhood.  The western loop would never be the same.

    And neither would Rainbow Bridge.  Freckles was a well-admired hero and inspiration for dogs everywhere.  When he crossed the Bridge, the fire dogs began cheering him and did so until he was sworn in as a new angel.

    Being driven by a dalmatian, a fire truck drove on to the landing, and the spotted dog blew on the horn and waved for Freckles to get on board.  When he did, he was given a captain’s jacket, one of the highest ranks in the Doggyspace fire department, and was driven to his new station, which he will rule over for eternity.

    We are all sleeping better at Doggspace Village because we know that the best dog fire captain who ever lived is on duty.  There are never fires here,  but there are still emergencies, mostly centered around silly cats who climb trees and can’t get back down and need to be saved by a dalmatian in a bucket.

    Regardless of our threat level is low, our comfort level is high because sweet, smart, brave, and loving Captain Freckles is on duty now and forever.


Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Sunday, January 17, 2021

Kane: Gentleman Farmer and Perfect Dog


I am not sure how to define what a dog's dog is, but I know that Kane is one.  

Funny, sweet, lovable, wise, and loyal:  Find an adjective used to describe a  great pup, and it will fit Kane perfectly.   He lived his mortal life on a big farm running freely,  chasing away critters, protecting his property, doing chores, and laughing all the way.  We housebound dogs could only dream of living such a life and did so vicariously through Kane.

 A huge crowd gathered at Hobo's Landing when word spread that Kane's arrival was imminent.   We know all dogs have a limited amount of heartbeats, but it seemed like Kane would live forever. 

It is impossible to think of his dad's farm without Kane.  I know he is committed to visiting his dad every night in his dreams to give him the guidance Kane has provided since he was a pup to help make the farm successful. His sister  Daisy preceded him to the immortal world and had immediately started her farm where she grew crops and sold them at the Doggyspace Green's weekly farmers' market.

She was standing next to me when I swore Kane in as an angel.  Kane's  friends wanted to give him a vast, welcoming party, but Daisy would hear none of it.  She took him by the paw and told him they had work to do.  His friends were disappointed that they wouldn't give Kane the celebration he deserved, but they knew a farmer's job never ends.

 Kane went to work tilling the fields, picking the crops, and patrolling for any vermin who might sneak onto their property looking to forage some free food.   Daisy didn't give him time to stop and think. The list of chores she had for him was endless.

Finally, Kane stopped and asked his sister why she was so adamant about them working so hard.  Daisy told him that she had started on the farm as soon as she reached the Bridge.   We are farmers, and we don't have time for parties or rest," Daisy insisted.

"Dad always found the time for our dog friends," Kane gently observed.  "We can't stay on the farm and do nothing but work."  Daisy disagreed and was adamant that there was too much to do. When Kane continued to persist, Daisy admitted what drove her to work so hard.

" If I stop, then I start thinking of all we lost," she said pitifully.  We had such a wonderful life.  I get sad when I think about it, so I work so I don't have to remember."

It is usually the first sibling to come to the Bridge, who is the most knowledgeable, but Kane's many attributes were wisdom.  He told his sister that she had to go through the pain because it was the excellent memories beyond it.   He finally convinced his sister to stop so they could mourn together.   Then brother and sister day came together and had a good cry.  Daisy said she felt better. 

For the first time since she went to the Bridge, Daisy went to the town square where Kane was given his proper welcome home ceremony.  Watching him with his sister made me realize why he was a perfect dog.  Even at his lowest point after crossing the Bridge, he was still thinking of others.

I hope his father takes comfort in how loved and appreciated Kane is on both sides of the Bridge.  

Until the day comes in the long-distance future that his father joins him, Daisy and Kane will rill the farm for him, but this time they'll remember to stop and enjoy life and remember the good times.

Friday, January 15, 2021

Bella Brings the Whole Heart


I  stood with Benjamin as we waited for his beloved sister Bella to cross the Bridge.  As soon as a dog passes over, all the pain they felt before their departure from the mortal world disappears.  When Bella started across, we saw what looked like a raw wound on her back, which didn’t heal after she crossed.  “That is strange,” I observed.  “Usually, the  injuries disappear.”

“That is not an injury,” Benjamin said.  “It is our mother’s heart.”

I  looked closer and saw that Benjamin was right; the wound was in the shape of a heart.  It wasn’t the one that pumps blood throughout the body.  Nothing is charming about that organ.  But, there is a second heart that holds all a soul’s love.  When a dog goes to the Bridge, they  always bring part of their parents’ heart with them (the one that holds  love, not the one that plumps blood.  If that one was taken to the  Bridge, people would quickly follow their beloved pup into the dark.)   But, Bella had brought the entire thing.

Bella began life in the most horrifying circumstances.  Her original owner, who has a tiny brain nor heart, tossed her out of a moving vehicle.  Luckily, someone who had their devil well in check brought her to the Blue Pearl Animals Shelter.  She had several injuries, including a broken pelvis and hips.   Bella was given the option to go to the Bridge, but she gave people one more chance and rolled the dice.  From that point on, all she did was throw sevens.  As I have said, every homeless dog needs a hook and having survived being thrown from a moving vehicle worked for Bellas.  Momma Rachel and her husband saw his post.  They knew they must have this dog.

The fates brought them together when Benjamin needed a cat scan at the same hospital where Bella was recuperating.  Momma Rachel was allowed into Bellas’ room, and they fell in love at first sight.  It took 12 weeks and the angels lobbying the rescuer workers for Momma Rachel to get Bella, but there was no separating them when she did. After only three months of Bella being part of each other lives, the dementor angels came for Benjamin, but that bonded them for eternity.  

On  Bella’s first night at the Bridge, she was given a critical assignment.  She needed to go with  Benjamin and return at least part of their mom’s heart to her.  At first, Bella was reluctant to give up any of it, but Benjamin convinced her.  Bella knew he was right.  Benjamin  agreed to let Bella keep half his mom’s heart.  It was enough left over for their siblings, or a new dog, to rebuild it.

That night Bella and Benjamin went to visit their sad mom.  They had to wait for her to fall asleep. It took longer than usual because she was in mourning; without her second heart, she tossed and turned, hoping to slip below sleep’s dark and silent gate.   When she finally succumbed and fell into a restless snooze, Benjamin and Bella were able to return half their mom’s heart to her.

Momma  Rachel may not notice that it has been returned, but she will in time,  and she will love again, thanks to Bella, her heart dog, and  Benjamin.

 Though it may seem like she is facing her darkest days, Momma Rachel should know she has two devoted angels helping lead her from the dark.

Thursday, January 14, 2021

Pocket Has Some Big Questions About the World for Foley


I got a request from Pocket to meet in her dreams.  I thought that she was going to complain about River or some other mundane part of her existence.  But when I saw her, she surprised me.

"What has happened to our parents?" She inquired.

I asked her what she was referring to.  "Remember how it was ten years ago?" she reminisced.  "Everyone was together on one site linked by their love of dogs. Now they are split into two camps, and where people used to comment about their dogs with love and caring thoughts,  they are now attacking what the other parents believe. Why can't we go back the way we were?"

It was an excellent question.  I have watched in dismay as many of our friends have shunned others. It has been like watching a family disintegrate.

"I always said the old Doggyspace, like other dog social networks sites for dogs, would implode once the person behind the dog became known. People want to give their dogs loving and sweet personalities so they are admired. They are not concerned about the way they are portrayed, especially on Fakebook where people tend to exhibit their worse characteristics like it is a contest and the worst person wins."

"That must be hard to determine," Pocket observed.  "I have read the posts, and everyone is behaving like a kid when a first-year substitute teacher enters the classroom. It's a license  to be obnoxious."

"It's because of politics," Foley said.  "Ten years ago, when we first started on social media, which political party they represented was just one small facet of their personality.  It was like if you were a cat person or dog person.  It didn't define who they are.  But now their political beliefs more determine who they are than where they live, how much they earn, if they have children, what religion, race or creed they are or what type of person."

"They all seem so angry," Pocket observed.  "And they never stop.  When River and I wrestle, once we're separated, we both sniff one another to make sure we are unhurt.  It's been a long time since I saw a Democrat sniff a Republican."

"Remind me later. I will show you the Kellyanne and George Conway sex tapes.  You will want to wash your eyes out with cyanide."

Pocket shook her head in horror.

“What humans don’t understand is that they see people who have different political views all day.  They watch ball games with them in bars, they see them in waiting rooms, work with them, are in the same family, and have a lot in common.   But when they talk about the other side, they are all crooks, thieves, and murderers. They have lost sight of the fact that they are also their friends, family members, and coworkers.”

“And dog owners!”

“Exactly!” I said.  I was almost proud of her.  Pocket asked if there was a way we could reunite our parents.  “Hopefully, they will join dog sites again, stop talking about their lives and views, and go back to concentrating on dogs.  If everyone looks to the dogs again, peace will come to the land.”

Pocket agreed.  So, we wish that people delete their Fakebook account, become their pets again, and post happily on pet sites without drama.  The Internet is no place for humans but a great place for pets.

Tuesday, January 12, 2021

Beat This Caption


Kick this seat one more time and we are going to have a problem. Understand?

Sunday, January 10, 2021

Bella From Down Under Crosses Over


Bella dawdled.

I was stunned when I was informed that my good friend from the big island, from the Downunder Daisy blog, ever since the post’s namesake crossed over, joined us at the Bridge.  I thought she would be romping through Australia for years to come.  My heart immediately went to her family and siblings suffering from an indescribable loss.  

When I went to Hobo's Landing to swear in Bella, I saw Daisy already awaiting her.  She told me she was looking forward to taking long walks with her sister again.  That is when we saw Bella crossing with her tail held high. 

Then she stopped. She sniffed the grass along the riverbank. She scraped the mud with her dark paws.  She seemed content to dawdle there, unaware of me, her sister, and other friends awaiting her.  

Having first-hand experience of Bella's curious nature and love of the long sniff, she barked at her sister to hurry up and join them. After all, we only have an eternity to wait.

"Have you checked out this mud?".Bella inquired. "It is excellent.  It's soft and squishy.  It feels cool between my toes.  It is much better than Australian mud. That was high praise. Australian soil was the finest in the mortal world. The girl knew her ground.

I began to tell her that there was good mud in  our section of the Bridge, but Daisy quieted me, afraid her sister would wander away, searching for a better product.

We needed a way to entice Bella to join us.  Daisy mentioned that Bella was food orientated.  I looked for some protein to lure the stubborn girl. I saw a duck happily swimming in the river and asked if we could take his body while he got a new one.  "Are you crazy?" The duck asked. I wasn't hatched yesterday.

Stymied by a mallard and being accused of being an Anti-Australiandite after suggesting we throw a shrimp on the barbie, I decided on a more conventional method to encourage our friend away from the river bank.  I called my good buddy and ice cream shop proprietor Otis Campbell, and he whipped up a delicious hamburger platter with the previous unknown entity called onion rings.  Once it arrived, it's smell caught the breeze, and when it reached Bella, her ears went up, and then she ran towards us.

It was the first time I gave the oath to a dog eating onion rings, but Bella is one of a kind dog.  When we completed our tasks, Bella admired the river and the green grass growing along with it.  "It sure is pretty here; whoever created this place must have based it on Australia.”  She then looked at her big sister.  “Is mom going to be okay? Dui and Roxy are good dogs, but I had her heart.”

“I felt the same way when I got here,” Daisy said.  “But, then I saw how my siblings, including you, rebuilt her heart, and I knew she would be fine. I am sure you will find the same with Dui and Roxy.  They will surprise you.  And, while mom will miss you, she is happy that you are no longer in pain.”

“Are we still going to visit her?”

“Of course, little sister, and, since it is summer in Australia, we can visit her as all sorts of flying creatures.  We will go tonight, but first, let’s check out the mud.”

Just as they had on the mortal side, Bella followed Daisy down to the river to walk, run, play, tip their toes in the mud, and reminisce about when they were young and their family together.

Friday, January 8, 2021

Bella's Unexpected Happy Ending by Foley Monster


Bella vowed to be loyal to her owner, even though he hit her, left her locked outside in cold weather, and fed him heaping amounts of expired Old Roy dog food.  Then came the trip to K-Mart. 

    Bella was excited to go for a car ride.   She thought it was the perfect opportunity to bond with her dad.  When they reached the plaza, the man got out of the car, grabbed Bella by the scruff of the neck, threw her from the vehicle, and sped off, abandoning the German Shepherd puppy.  

    Despite the abuse and neglect, Bella still felt like she had failed in her sacred duty, and she was disqualified from having a family again. Bella knew that people would try to woe her to live with them, but she would not let this happen.  She couldn’t fail again. 

Bella managed to live in the parking lot and avoid humans for a year.  She experienced one of the harshest winters outside with little shelter.  Bella considered it her punishment for failing her family. 

    Bella survived thanks to the kindness of strangers, who threw her food from their car windows so she wouldn’t starve.  When they tried to approach, she quickly retreated, feeling unworthy of love. 

    We Angels watched over Bella.  We attempted to coax her into going with a new family, but she would not listen.  She confided in Benny, an angel who spent time with her during those cold nights, that she wanted to be there when her father returned.  Benny tried telling her he wouldn’t, but Bella was a stubborn and broken-hearted dog.  

    We knew that Bella would never surrender to rescuers. She would have to be caught like a wild horse.  Volunteers from a local rescue began to visit the parking lot every day to feed her and start to bond. She would come within a few feet of the rescuers but never allow herself to be touched.   

    I kept visiting the rescuers in their dreams to encourage them to continue to try and save Bella, and Benji attempted to persuade her to surrender.  One of the most significant issues with living on the street is that it is where cruelty exists, and it is impossible to keep it at bay.

    When the local newspapers began to write about the vicious dog in the woods by K-Mart, the rescuers, in partnership with two vet techs, made one final attempt at saving her. It took an hour of chasing to get her surrounded.  Finally, one of the techs injected Bella with the sedative.  Bella collapsed, and then to the shock of those trying to help her, she stopped breathing. 

    One of the rescuers took Bella in his arms and ran with her to their car.  As they sped to the emergency vet, a tech repeatedly did chest compressions until Bella began breathing independently. 

    I visited Bella with Benji.  We told her that she had been reborn and could start life with a new family. Bella reacted enthusiastically.  

    Miss Kelly, one of the rescuers, decided that Bella would be her dog.  Bella, newly born, having shed the soul who had previously failed, was ready to get off the street.  It took a year of training, but together Miss Kelly and Bella worked until they were mom and dog, the most sacred bond in the world. 

    Bella now lives with three other dogs who she adores.  She has a loving mom and dad, goes on long walks, plays in the yard, is well-fed and cared for.  She spends the night not in a cold parking lot but on the foot of her parents’ bed.  Thank God, in Bella’s situation, that kindness won.

    We need it to win more. 

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