When the guardian angel for rescue dogs Aunt Laura, was summoned to the Bridge to help homeless pups find homes, our dear friends, Toby, Maggie, and Pokey, went to live on the other side of the country with their surrogate skin sister, Kate. The three of them were thrilled that they were still in the (Doggyspace) family, but they had decided, when their mom passed, that, in short order, one of them would follow her into the dark. The logical choice was Pokey, the oldest and the one with the most health issues. He was his mom's heart dog. Pokey knew his going to the Bridge would be detrimental to his mom’s fragile health. He begged for and borrowed heartbeats. When it was time for one of them to join their mom, Pokey had too many to pass over. Sadly, he got the majority from his brother Toby. That was when the pack’s youngest brother decided to end his mortal existence and aid Momma Laura at the Bridge. His only regret was leaving Sister Kate after such a short time with her
I told the angels to line up and look dignified, an important pup, Champ, the country’s first dog, was crossing the Bridge, and I wanted to make sure we gave him the arrival he deserved. I don’t think a dog partnered with a successful person is more valuable than one whose companion is homeless. The latter probably gets more attention than a President’s dog, who receives significantly less snuggle time when they move into 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Still, no person has more responsibility than the President, and, like all humans, they rely on their dogs for advice, which made Champ great and worthy of our respect. ` I must admit, we were expecting a grand spectacle when Champ crossed the Bridge, but in his 13 years, two-thirds of them were spent on a farm in Delaware; he lived a quiet and unassuming life of anonymity. When he arrived, we barely noticed the humble dog crossing the bridge and climbing the stairs. Suddenly, we recognized Champ and showered him with appl
My good friend, Professor Geordie, burst into my office and announced, “Eureka, I have it!” I told him to take some penicillin, and it would clear up. “No, I know why River attacks Pocket in bed, and Toby bites my mom too!” “Is it because my sister is a little bitch and your brother is a sneaky bastard?” I asked. That was the going theory. “No, I have been talking to thousands of dogs and found a condition that is most prevalent in greyhounds but affects other dogs too. It is called the Sleep Startle Reflex. A dog, when woken suddenly, can, if the pup is so predisposed, attack without notice, or even realizing what they are doing.” “River sleeps all day, often next to Pocket, and only attacks in bed,” I explained, questioning Geordie’s research. “You have to be in deep REM sleep for it to take effect,” he said. “And that doesn’t happen during naps.” I asked Geordie to show me his research. I pretended to understand and told him that he was a gen
Twelve years ago, I decided to start an Internet group for dogs, and their loving parents, named after my good friend and fellow rebel Tanner, who had just gone to the Bridge; I figured how hard could it be? Just invite some people, sit back, and do nothing. Truthfully, that’s pretty much been it. But, there have been times when this grand experiment in dog social media seemed on the brink of failure. I was heartened to see how generous people were when the weasels at Ning began to charge for the service. We have lost many original members and have been lucky enough to have brilliant dogs and devoted parents arrive to keep the site going. The most challenging part was the beginning. At that time, huge sites were run by tech people with massive servers, and to get dogs and their people to invest time in a new site was a daunting task. We had the words to attract others, but we needed more, namely a catchy catchphrase and graphics. I was blessed to have a friend, Erin
Sometimes I wonder where the time went. I swear it was yesterday when I first found Doggyspace and began to make friends throughout the world. Our lives lay before us like an endless highway. At that time, we didn’t know that there was an abundance of exit ramps ahead and that we would be pulled into one, leaving the road and our mortal lives behind. There aren’t many of us original members still on the road. They are all in their teens, an age when their off-ramps become more numerous and their pull greater. The longer we travel on the road, the more we begin to break down. Molly had been on it for close to a decade and a half, and her vehicle was becoming weary. She had dementia, which made it harder to stay in her lane and accelerate past the off-ramps. She also lost the use of her back legs, making it nearly impossible to steer. In addition, her engine grew weaker when she was afflicted with congestive heart failure, but still, Molly, against all odds, kept ongoing.
Homeless dogs need to stand out from the pack to find new families. Sometimes, it can be as simple as a name, and when I met a dog, who wasn’t praying for a new home but to escape his hellish life, I christened him Phoenix and waited for him to rise. I chose that name because the 10-year-old Maltese had lived his entire life in a deplorable puppy mill. He would have prayed for a better life, but he didn’t know such a thing was possible. He was as hopeless and empty of faith as a cow who never lived more than three steps from the slaughterhouse. He was only let out of his cage to breed, not the enjoyable life some teenage boys would lead you to believe. Phoenix had heard of this other place, called the Bridge, that, when his hellish, solitary, lonely life finally concluded, he would be transported to a life there was only love. Phoenix took a chance that such a place existed and began to give away heartbeats to those who were foolish enough to hope. One day, when th
Chewy Cutecute, so named because as a puppy she resembled Chewbacca, may have had a pretty name, but when it came to fighting off the dark angels who bring souls to the Bridge, no one was fiercer. Chewy belonged to a trio of Shih Tzus, who were living their best lives. Instantly recognizable to all their friends by their smiling faces, braided hair, and triple-decker carriage, they caught the hearts of everyone they met and never relinquished them. In 2018 I saw a list of dogs who were scheduled to become angels that year. The list wasn’t absolute, and those on the list could evade it and stay with their parents if they had a strong will but would have to rage a hellish battle. It was not for the faint of heart. When I recognized Chewy’s name, I knew the dark angels would be in for the fight of their lives. They decided to inflict her with an enlarged heart and then have the medication cause problems, leaving her with very little energy or appetite. The situation looked dire,
Last night, a very excited River dreamed of me so we could talk. “You won’t believe what happened!” she yelled, bursting into my cottage and tracking in dream mud. When I asked what, she informed me that she and Pocket had finally had visitors after more than a year. At first, we dogs thought the pandemic was awesome. Our parents were home all the time, and the shelters were being cleared out. But then parents started to get extremely sick, and some went to the Bridge. We had to go into the vets and groomers alone. This pandemic was not going to be as pleasurable as we thought. My parents, as is true with all dog lovers, don’t like people. There are only a few they allow to cross their threshold. The most frequent visitors are Mommy’s brother and his wife and her daughter and granddaughter. While the pandemic was raging, the daughter and grandaughter visits were limited. Mommy’s brother did not visit at all. For two dogs like my sisters, who thrive on smells and a
I blame Stephen King. Once, there were pet cemeteries throughout the land. People would visit them each weekend to mourn their pets and remember the good times they shared. Then, Stephen King wrote a scary book, and pet cemeteries became haunted places no one wants to visit. The pet cemeteries still exist, but they are overgrown and hidden as if that would keep us from rising and attacking as dog zombies. The Chobham Pet Cemetery is in Chobham, Surrey, yet none of the residents knew it exists. It was found by a man named Frances, who built a home in a newly cleared out area, and, when he walked in the woods behind his house, came to a clearing and stumbled on the cemetery. There were a half-dozen headstones, in two neat lines, evenly spaced, with the bottom of the monuments covered with twigs, sticks, and leaves. Frances dropped to his knees, cleared the brush, saw, carved into headstones, the names of pets, and the dates they walked on the mortal side.