Honeysuckle was our beautiful collie. One day when I was 5 or 6 years old, I asked my mom where daddy was. She said, "he is out back burning honeysuckle". I ran screaming from the house, "DADDY, DADDY, DON'T BURN HONEYSUCKLE! Of course he was only burning off excess honeysuckle from our fence.
Sailor B, our beautiful boxer, was a muscular, scary looking dog. When my father brought him home for the first time, Sailor jumped from the car as soon as the door opened. Up towards the porch he charged, right for my little sister Lorrie who was just a tiny toddler. It happened so fast! We all stood around stupefied as this dog went tearing for the toddler. He jumped on her chest, pinned her to the grass and as she laughed and laughed, he smothered her face with dog kisses. He loved and protected Lorrie with a passion.
Fuzzy, our half Siamese cat, not only ruled the roost as no other pet has, but she also gave our family tale after tale to tell. She had several litters of kittens a year and was extremely proud of them. When the kittens were only hours old, she would show them off to whoever was around, once to my mother' s bridge club! Always on the prowl for a place to have her kittens, my mom once found her hanging by two paws from the top shelf of her closet. But my favorite story about this incredibly intelligent cat has to do with her gallant efforts in cleanliness. Fuzzy would not use a litter box. She always did her duty outside, even in the worst of weather. One night my father woke to one of us "tinkling" in the toilet. As always, he climbed out of bed to check to make sure we were ok. To his amazement, he found Fuzzy straddled over the toilet! She had been unable to rouse anybody out of bed to let her outside and instead of making a mess, she tried using the toilet! Ah, if only my brothers were so inclined! ;-)
Rocky came to us as a very young puppy. We had to take turns sleeping with him at night to keep the whimpering down. But he grew into a frisky, fun-loving beagle in no time. One of his favorite tricks was to chase our Indian pony, ThunderBird around his field while we hollered, "Go Thunder! Go!" After a while one could not tell whether Rocky was chasing Thunder or vise-versa.
Ever see a leash-trained rabbit? Well Rabbie was one! Not only was he leashed trained, but he was a "house rabbit". He loved hopping around the house leaving his "calling cards" all over the place. Our cats were so flabbergasted by a rabbit running loose in the house that they would not let Rabbie near them. Of course Rabbie would then proceed to chase them. What a sight! Rabbie's neatest trick was jumping into my brother David's lap to nibble at the lettuce in David's sandwiches!
Val Cat! What can I say? He was born on St. Valentine's day and was officially named, Rudolf Valentino. And he lived up to his name. What a lover boy. He was the sweetest cat I have ever known. Val used to pose for pictures. If he saw you with a camera, he posed, and he posed well. He would stare right into the lens of the camera. Val was one of Fuzzy's kittens and he inherited quite a bit of her intelligence. One day I caught him carefully putting his paw into a tumbler that had about an inch of milk in it. He deftly cupped his paw and pulled out a small puddle of milk to drink.
Lara and Yuri were my so-called "mated" peach-faced lovebirds. I say so-called because they both turned out to be female! What a shock it was when they both started laying eggs. And they had to have nests to put their eggs in. Oh, what paper shredders they were! They could shred a playing card in seconds. Anyway, these noisy, egg-laying parrots had their good moments. Actually, they were quite funny. I used to cover them at night with a thick terrycloth towel which they chewed holes into. During my poker parties (my turn to be noisy) they would get curious and stick their heads through the holes in their towel, drawing lots of laughs from the players.
Grand Poobah. Poobah. Mr. Pooh. Poobah-roo. Pooh-meister. Sir Pooh."A Blue-Eyed Fool Dog," is what we'd answer, when asked his breed. Sled Dog was probably more accurate, although he was larger than most. White-ish to Tan-ish, depending on the season with the most amazing, all-knowing sky blue eyes. Not the unnerving light blue of most dogs, but a rich, siamese-cat-at-its-best, kind of Blue. He was a "used" dog when we got him. Our neighbors across the street owned him a fairly short time and had bought a pure-bred German shepherd named, Bud. Story is that since Poobah was an Alpha Male (and remained so, till his death) they could not train the shepherd, due to Pooh-meister's "bad influence." Not bad in a mean dog way, he was just a funny, funny guy. I am only speculating, but suspect maybe he would talk the bigger than him, Bud, into pulling pranks, like saran wrap across the toilet and food coloring in the milk. Harmless stuff. But, they wanted at least One well trained dog and Mr. Pooh would never be that. So Bud (who smelled like a Zombie!) was hopeless under his influence. The barely one year old, then named "Casper," had to go. Casper's owners gave him to a fella in the neighborhood bordering ours. A small bit of forest separated us. Mr. Pooh would regularly escape and come back. For some reason he ended up camping out on our deck instead of going back home. It was mid-winter, I'd put a blanket out for him, invite him in for snacks and frankly developed a big ole crush on the Guy. He was a Charmer, nothing typical about him. And man, what a good listener! But, he had his limits. Not one of those, 'eager-to-please' types, he was there for ya, but then he DID have other things to do!! Gotta respect a dog of such self assured, integrity. Somewhere along the way, in a blur of ownership, he moved in officially. Fortunately, his original owners, along with Bud-the-zombie dog, moved away not long afterwards. Supreme, Alpha-male, with a heart of gold, other dogs, males twice his size would walk by and seeing Poobah, would immediately recognize his status and hunker into respectful repose. He took it in stride, making no outward gestures to cause this, he just oozed, 'Grandness.' Did I mention his ears? They were like butta! So smooth and soft, they'd slip through your fingers. Not the long floppy kind of ears, but useful, perk-em-up if needed, perfect ears. Well, not quite perfect. Sometimes he'd make me use my knuckle for the ole dig down in there, "bwain-scwub," they itch so good, routine. I complained, but didn't really mind. He also had this "thing" about his chest. Below his neck, right above his front legs, that area was pretty much his fave. "A Chester." That is what we came to call the process of scratching that area, while he smiled, sublimely. Of course when in the car, he had to sit in the front seat, next to me while I drove. It was a regular thing for me to have my left hand on the wheel and my right hand, dutifully giving Mr. Pooh, "A Chester To Go," while we drove down the highway. It was decadent!! In 1994, New Year's Eve we had an unusual ice fog that covered the roads and everything else with a slick coating of ice. We just came from the grocery store, and for some reason, Mr. Pooh was in the back seat, and the groceries in the front. Maybe the back doors were frozen shut? For whatever reason, it saved his life. Coming around the sharp curve, to make a left up my hill to home, I encountered a large station wagon coming my way, in my lane. There was no time or room to avoid a head on collision. In slow motion, I got to see an air bag in action and watch and hear my entire front end coming towards me. Poobah slammed into the back seats, instead of the windshield had he been in the front. We both walked away more psychology injured than physically. My car totaled, I ended up buying a 'tank' (Explorer) to feel a little safer. Pooh-meister refused to "go car" for more than a year. I wished I could have joined him. He had his own group of friends: Pepper, the Golden Retriever who lived next door and was at our house most of the time. Muffin, the big black Newfie from across the street. She also came with a pair of Peking ducks who spent much time in our yard, mostly to visit our creek (and maybe my daily lettuce, helped). And Maxie, his one true love, who lived down the street. You could just tell he was always gladdest to see her. The ducks (Plucky and Nipper) had two settings: Serene or Cranky. No gray areas. The larger male duck would regularly charge the dogs when they turned their backs on him. His head out stretched and orange leather, duck feet slapping on the ground, he would run with cranky purpose towards the back end of the unsuspecting dog. Sometimes he would make his mark and grab their tail. Other times they'd turn, and he'd instantly stop and look 'serene' as if the second before nothing was happening. It was hilarious and eventually the dogs, just quit turning their backs on him. Poobah's oldest friend, Pepper (being a retriever-type) taught him about going to get "the ball." The only problem was he NEVER "got" the bringing it back part. Actually, he was just too good for that lowly sort of dog game, too smart. This tendency for him NOT to do the typical, mindless dog stuff lead me to write a poem about the guy a couple of years after he adopted us. It was during a presidential election year. I remember that, because my poem took on political tones, as was the flavor of the times: RUNNING MATES My dog is not the obedient type
submitted by: Laurie Eckhout
Please peruse Poobah's Pictures Page!
Christmas Day 1999
It is only a week before the end of a century and the end of a millennium, or so they tell me. But what do I know of these things anyway? What I know best is me. So now, before I leave, I thought I'd just put my paw to paper so you would remember the VERY BEST of me. Of course, as my dear, dear friend Helen once said: "what's there not to like?" And, as usual, she�s right! I love you all and you all love me and that's all there is to it. Life is simple and that's the way I like it!
I have tried to be the best possible dog I could be and it WAS SO SIMPLE. I never cared for doing things the hard way when there was an easier way to do it. And I somehow always managed to find that way. And, as I went about in the pleasure of your company, that itself became my greatest pleasure. Again, simple, easy.
The beginnings are a little shadowy in my mind. How did I start out on this way of being in the world? There was something about a new baby and disruption and Alfie??? Now who in the devil came up with that? And lord knows what else! I was just an innocent bystander of a pup and the next thing you know there I was at the Animal Rescue League. Well thank my lucky stars is all I have to say about that part of it.
Good fortune smiled on me. They liked me. They took my picture for the newspaper. I have a copy here and if you don't mind I'll quote what they said about me: "a very affectionate dog...greets you with loving brown eyes and sometimes even a kiss. Please help him." Well I could have done without the last part. I do like to stand on my own four feet. As needed.
Anyway, the good times started for real when kind and wonderful Pat saw that picture, which wasn't even one of my best, and she did what she had to do. Again, simple and straight from the heart. "I�m going to go and get that dog!" she declared. ME!!!!! So she came and took me home. I was on my way.
Now I was given the grand opportunity to have "my ass in butter" as Jim says. Let me give you an example of how it works. Before I came home Pat described me as a "meatloaf." Now some might take offense at that, not me. Nope! I�m just NOT that kind of a guy. I see good in everything. When someone says "meatloaf" to me, or about me for that matter, I think: Home! Food! Comfort! And that's the way it always was...
It was a bit awkward at first. You couldn't decide what to call me! Well at least you dropped the "Alfie" bit. Then it was "Pumpkin." Didn't work. Too hard to call. (Not that I was necessarily listening anyway.) Then it was shortened to "Punkin." But what self respecting mutt wants to be called "Punkin?" So then it became "Jack Punkin" and then finally it was just "Jack." I liked it, you liked it. Simple.
Complications? There wasn't much that annoyed me. A minor detail -- sometimes Jim would kiss Johann. And that made me bark until they stopped. You feel kind of left out of those things and I wanted to be a part of everything wonderful! On the other hand, I loved people so much that sometimes I couldn�t resist hugging their legs. You called it "humping," I called it "loving affection." Whatever. We didn�t always agree on everything, just the most important things.
Now Simon might have presented another problem. Not for old Jack. Oh no! I didn't welcome him with open paws mind you, but as I always say: "go along, get along." He wasn�t too bad either for a cat. Somehow we went together in an "old shoe" kind of way. You called us "the boys". Too middle aged guys, second time around for both of us. Just enjoying the good times in each other's company. Furthermore, if the truth be told, I never lost my "Numero Uno" status as Jim kept reminding me. And then there was the "Ear Ministry." Again straight forward, direct. Simon liked to have his ears cleaned and I liked to do it. There you go, what could be easier than that? Working together -- cooperation, simple.
As time went on you kept inventing new endearments for me to express your affection. "Jackson" (formal greetings from Jim); How�s "the boy"? (earnest inquiries from Helen); SWEEEEEET! (shrill shouts from Johann when she saw me in the window awaiting her arrival); -- and "Old Dog" (Pat in recent years). "The Buddy" or "Jackie" -- you all used those sweet nothings. I took offense at none of them. You couldn't help yourselves. It made you happy? Then it made me happy. Simple. Right?
Well life went on -- not much to it, just the basics. My own big yard, which was gradually becoming a big garden, two warm beds -- upstairs and down, water, plenty of food (maybe too plenty) but I never quibbled with any of it, walks, naps, and treats. Toys? Well I wasn�t too much for dog toys. Fire engine sirens were the thing.
Let me describe for you a perfect time. Summer. Evening. On the terrace in the upper garden. Drinks all around. Me, Pat, Helen, Jim, Johann, sometimes others. A fire engine sounds in the distance. Oh Boy! I perk right up! It gets closer. This is going to be good! It goes by full blast right in front of the house and I start howling. Loud and long. Hot damn! If they don�t just join right in. We are a pack and I AM THE LEADER!!! On and on it goes in the warm summer night air. We are one. The sweet life. The simple life.
Now it�s Christmas and you are giving each other presents. For me, all I have to give is my presence. You say that is all you need and I am happy. Life is good -- simple. Well I could spin more tales (heh! heh!), but you get the general idea of it all.
I'll finish with some words from Johann's favorite poet, Gerard Manley Hopkins, in a poem called "Spring" which hints at what I'm trying to say: "What is all this juice and all this joy? A strain of the earth's sweet being in the beginning, in Eden�s garden."
Thanks all. It was a very good time...
submitted by: Johann Klodzen
She just appeared, pregnant and unkempt. The cabin was a place we visited only once or twice a month, so none of us had any idea how long she had been there. She seemed delighted to see us, and before the weekend had ended, we had dubbed her "Mamadog."
An aunt who lived nearby volunteered to check later in the week, to see if Mamadog were still there. When she drove down the hill, Mamadog came running from the lake, her tail wagging. It didn't take long for my aunt to start going to the lake every other day, to feed the dog.
In a few weeks, the puppies arrived, carbon copies of their mom. After they were weaned, they were easy to place in good homes. There was a veterinarian in the nearby town, so Mamadog had surgery to make certain there would be no more puppies. Mamadog stayed a day or two, then went home to the cabin.
Most of us people would see it as a lonely life, but Mamadog thrived on it. She was loving and gentle, and delighted in human companionship when it was available. For years she stayed, guarding the cabin and spending her days in doggy pleasures. With the family and our friends there was never a problem, but meter readers and game wardens (we made the assumption that either uniforms or pickup trucks were the problem) were greeted with bared teeth and growls.
After years of living at the cabin, Mamadog began having difficulty breathing, and was diagnosed with a fatal malady. Eventually she had to be put to sleep. And going to the cabin was never the same.
submitted by: Sally Wallace
"Goldie" was a free dog, and people are wrong when they say that nothing good ever came free! Goldie was half golden retriever and half collie. The original owners called her Lassie; I named her Goldie. Although she never did get "fetch" down to a science, she would consistently get and chew anything thrown to her. She got along well with cats, dogs and humans, and for a dog, had a great disposition. She retained a puppy-like face all her life. She was my constant companion for 14 years and she is missed.
submitted by: Mark Shultise
In the beginning, my daughter Cheryl then about 11 or 12 went to a neighborhood carnival and "won" a baby duck by throwing Ping-Pong balls into a small
fish bowl. I just found out a few years ago that she didn't "win" it cause she couldn't get the balls to go in. She gave the kid running it $5.00 for a baby duck.
Thus was the beginning of Daffney Duck.
Daffney was real cute and would sit in Pumpkin's (our St. Bernard) dog dish and eat while Pumpkin was eating. But she started to grow, and grOW
and GROW. It got to the point that with every step she'd take she'd leave a little duck turd! So outside she went. Daffney would only eat dog food
and she ate and ate and grew and grew. Soon it didn't take a rocket scientist to see ..... this was NOT a duck !!! She had a wing span of over 6 feet.
Pumpkin was scared to go out cause (now Daffney Goose) would chase her all around the yard. The only thing Daffney disliked more than Pumpkin was ME!
When I'd come home from work she would hide behind our camper and as soon as I'd get out of the car HERE she'd come! I'd grab her by the neck and
fling her away ( I like animals but I hated Daffney), but the kids would call her and she'd waddle to them, jump on their lap and cuddle. So that's the
I was on a weekend camping trip with my son, so my wife was home with my 3 daughters. Daffney also disliked cars and liked to challenge them in the street. Usually she would win and the cars would go around her. But on this day she attacked a car and the car won !!! Cheryl said she came in with her head hanging down and her neck ripped open. She knew I wouldn't go for a big vet bill to fix the BEAST (my pet name for Daffney), so she got some duct tape (to this day she calls it DUCK tape) and taped a popsicle stick onto Daffney's neck to keep it straight. During the first week whenever Daffney drank it would squirt out through the tape from the hole in her neck. Daffney lived for 2 or 3 more years and then disappeared, The following year the kids found a pile of feathers in the field so we figure that either an animal got her or she had a metamorphosis and went either to Loch Ness or Bigfoot Country!
submitted by: Ray Oliver
The effort alone it took me to get my cat Mickey made the relationship between her and me very special. Whenever I asked my parents to get me a pet I always had to listen to excuses like "the flat is too small","cats need the outdoors", "cats smell" and stuff like that. To be more convincing, one day, I bought a mouse, telling my parents that "this would be my new pet". There was a very long discussion about pets and in the end we returned the mouse to the pet-store returning home with a little kitten of about 8 weeks. Mickey turned out to be a very bright cat, so I taught her how to open closed doors by jumping on the door-handle. Sometimes I even had the feeling she was talking to me, for I could distinguish so many different meows that it sounded like some sort of a language to me. When my parents finally moved to another town, taking Mickey with them, but I never "cheated" on her by simply buying a new cat. I wanted to wait until one day she'd be in cat-heaven. It happened a few days after X-mas in 1995, when a vet ended her life saying that it'd be for the best, since she had water in her already 18 year old lungs which is supposed to be the result of a left-heart-insufficiency (or was it right-heart?). I don't know. At least Mickey had a beautiful life and ended the life of many a mouse. To say it in Spock's words, "She always was and will always be: my friend."
submitted by: Volker Myer my very first and best cyber-pal
Sullivan, our beloved boxer, just passed away after 14 years of entertaining companionship. The time I miss him the most is on Friday, which is pizza night. As soon as we came in the door with the pizza box, he became our shadow. As we ate our pizza, he waited patiently, for the pizza crusts, which he would carry outside and gnaw on as if they were bones. The next morning he would wake us early, excited to receive his most favorite breakfast, the left-over pizzas. He would not leave us alone until every piece was given to him and we showed him the empty box. However, he was not eating this pizza. The tell-tale dirt on his nose gave away the fact that he was burying the pieces. And sure enough, a couple days later, his nose would be dirty again and he would not be interested in dinner. I will always have very fond memories of our pizza-loving boxer.
submitted by: Chris Kutler
One Dog's Death:
I didn't see your notes until after we had been home awhile on Friday. Since you hadn't said anything before I left I thought you had decided against it, and Jim was silent. Now he read the notes and saying little to one another we agreed to it.
That evening she was, as she has been, underfoot and bumping about but now of course it didn't matter. At one point Jim said: "she's tickling my legs, make her stop!" and we laughed. Despite a light rain I cooked on the grill and down the steps she came; her nose never failed her. She ate her dinner and begged for ours. Contrary to your usual admonitions I gave her all the scraps as we left. I hesitated for a moment to leave her alone but the alternatives seemed unnecessary.
In the morning I called the hospital: "Bring her in before 1:00, no need to wait." Jim got ready and I went back to the house. I found her asleep amid the remains of last night's excess. Rousing her as gently as I could she wagged for me. I carried her up to the back yard and put her down. Another wag and a shake and she went about "beagle business..." I left her alone and began our own 17 year morning ritual: wash the bowl, fill with clean water; fix the food (these days warmed in the microwave -- still daring she liked it on the raw side); and then, and only then, could the coffee be started. After a time she made her way back in, drank noisily, and before breakfast had an excellent roll every which way on the dining room rug. I carefully wiped her eyes. Jim was here and it was time to go.
I picked her up and carried her out to the car. When I opened the door the movement startled her blind eyes and she cringed as she has taken to doing. I wept as I tried to reassure her while yet affirming the rightness of what we were about. Driving with the windows wide open, held tight, she rested uncharacteristically easy in my arms her nose lifted just a bit to sniff the breeze. Choral music, which she couldn't hear, lulled Jim and me.
At the hospital , they offered to take her as we completed the paperwork. But I said "no" and held her a bit tighter and a little closer. She never resisted. They offered us a room but I said "you can take her anytime" and they did. A young woman came in and quietly petting her said, "what's her name?" and I said "Rosy" and let her go. One ear flopped down and she was carried away. Back in the car the lovely Gloria ended but it seemed then, and it seems now, that the notes like Rosy will always be playing somewhere.
At 1:30 I went back and took her home one more time. They wrapped her in towels and placed her in the wicker bed. I packed her bowl, and "beagle bag" -- all the leashes (how many leashes does a dog need when God knows she never heeded to them anyhow); all the balls and toys of her youth (how raucous, feisty, exasperating and unending it appeared); and finally all the colored scarves of her "hot dog" glory days (how funny, silly, crazy, improbable, yet charmed they truly were).
Jim came once again and we dug the place up in the arch of the tree as we always said we would. Then..."in the wheelbarrow up to the hole, her fur took the sun."*
*From "Another Dog's Death" by John Updike
Submitted by: Johann Klodzen
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