Open Letter from Maia to her BGDF (Best Girl Dog Friend) Kaia

maiaYesterday, I went for a walk with my Mom along the C& O Canal and I missed you! We had so much fun last weekend. It was almost like before. Not completely though because, for whatever reasons, you always have to growl at me first when you see me, then, you kind of forgot about it. It does hurt my feelings but I always discard it right away, because, each time, I am so happy to be with you.

Of course, I was born a few months before you, like 4/5 months, so, obviously we did not meet right away. When Mom brought me home from that garage where I was staying with my siblings, I was so happy! I was in a warm house, surrounded by good friends. Zeus was the best friend I could ever have. I loved to snuggle with him, and when I grew up, I think he liked to have me around during thunderstorms. I hope that I helped him during these stressful times!

I remember the day after Mom brought me home, we got a lot of white stuff, and yes I remember wondering about my siblings, and how they were handling it in their garage. I kind of love the white stuff, and I had fun with Lola. It was kind of weird, you know, because it was cold and wet, but not wet like the river. The river is just too wet for me!

It was in early summer of 2007 that I met you for the first time. Deborah, my mom’s daughter, brought you to our home, and instantly, we clicked. We loved the same thing: hanging out in the dust, not mud please, just dust, and sunbathing on the deck.

We were seeing a lot of each other at that time because your Mom was going out of town a lot, then, when your Mom was working, you were coming every morning and leaving at night. I knew exactly when you were coming: it was always after breakfast. I have always been a slow eater, but when I knew you were coming, I was eating ever faster than Lola and Zeus! Then, you arrived, and we had so many choices: like hanging out in the family room on the couch, or on Mom’s bed, or playing in the yard, or hanging out on the deck.

Things changed one day: When you were coming home in the morning, you were ignoring me, and going straight to Mom’s bed and staying there the whole day. I tried to convince you to come to hang out with me, but one day, you even snapped at me, and I retreated, totally puzzled. I always thought that the fact that you were silent and never even had the tiny bark to explain what happened was a big mistake. I am sure we could have settled things down. Barking would have been far better that the silence. But you just started to ignore me.

Then, one day, you stopped coming. It was in 2009. I remember clearly, because you stopped coming just a few months before Zeus crossed the Rainbow Bridge, and I was feeling so lonely after he was gone.

I needed you there girlfriend! Lola was so busy at that time with her own kids, and I was kind of jealous of her. I would have loved to have kids who would have followed me everywhere, and I think I would have taught them better manners that she did with hers! Sometimes, I still wondered why I could not have those cute little things too, but when I see how fast they grew up and how – even now, five years later, they can still be so obnoxious, maybe it was a blessing that it did not happen.

So, Kaia, this letter might be better than a lot of barking in a way, but when you came to spend the last weekend at home, I was so happy, but now, the house looks empty again without you. I started to hang out a bit with Zoe, but Zoe has too many blonde moments for me. You and I, Kaia, we understood each other with just a look or a smell. What happened girlfriend? We were goofing around all the time! Remember the whipping cream we stole?

Sometimes I feel so lonely and it doesn’t matter how many dogs are home with me, that I feel like howling, and you know me, I don’t howl that easily!

I hope that you are happy staying with your two feline friends: Lolita and Chloe. But today, the sun is shining, and I would have loved nothing better than lying down on the deck with you.

Pawsitively yours,

Maia.

My name is Dominique, and I am a Labrador Retriever Addict.

dominique-blogHi. My name is Dominique and I am a lab addict.

It started some 15 years ago, and it never got better. Quite the opposite. I started with one, and I should say that he was not even mine. I dated his owner, and looking back, I realized that I would have dumped the owner fast if it had not been for his black lab. That’s how my addiction started….. with Jet.

Jet was the one who was always challenging me, half a smile on his face. If we were walking in a field, Jet was walking by me, smelling grass, peeing on every piece of it. The field had a small hill, and playfully – and the darn dog got me so many times! – started running back and forth from the top of the hill to me. Then, at one point, he was going a bit more, and a bit more, until he was not coming back. The first time, I freaked out, running berserk, calling his name, running to my car, exploring all the neighborhood streets, afraid of seeing him lying in the middle of the street. No Jet. Driving back to the field and here was Jet, sitting on his butt on the sidewalk at the place where I always park me car. He was like “hey woman, why are you so disheveled? I just needed some “me time”. Where do you think I was going? Come on woman, let’s go home!”

This is exactly where my addiction started. I cannot resist a wicked sense of humor, and gosh, labs get that. As a matter of fact, I think they are the only breed with a sense humor. No offense to others, mutts or not. I used to have a Shepherd, and she would have died for me, but she was a serious dog. You were not joking around with her. My Golden retriever was the sweetest thing on earth, but he was too needy to ever have a sense of humor, and I am not talking about my little terrier who is too busy being a big dog to ever consider that sometimes you can laugh at yourself!

When Jet died the world collapsed around me. Seriously. You see in magazines: “how to lose 10lbs in a week”? When you lose a dog, you can be assured that you are losing more than that in a week! A few days after Jet crossed the bridge, I went to the shelter, just to see, because you see the world was not the world anymore without a black nose to kiss, chocolate eyes staring at your eyes, and that lab happy tail syndrome. Here too, Jet had left his markings: no matter the color of his bandage at the tip of his tail, he always managed to take it off, and weeks after he was gone, there was still blood on the pantry from his happy tail syndrome.

This is how I met Zeus, a 3 year old black lab, who at that young age had already 3 owners. Zeus is my love story, the shadow of my shadow, the only dog who came back twice after his passing to let me know he was still around, and I am not kidding. Read my other blog for that one. Zeus did not make me forget Jet. As a matter of fact again, whenever I move, Jet is the first one in the new house. He has a trunk where all his belongings and ashes are but Zeus gave me back my life you know the black nose, the mischievous eyes and the tail which knocked down anything around.

Up to the end of his life, Zeus loved to make jokes. Some were really good, but some, sorry to break you the news Zeus wherever you are, but some were really, really not funny. But hey, you had your fun with them and with me. The last joke he played on us, I bet he is still laughing about it and telling all his buddies by the rainbow how he got me and Jessica, my daughter. We had a small pond with no fish but some frogs and stuff hanging out there in the front of the house. We were always putting Zeus in the front to do his business because he had so much arthritis that it was just easier. That evening, Jessica put him outside, and closed the door. It was not like he was going anywhere with his big lipomas hanging from his hind leg and his arthritis. A minute later, she opened the door for him: no Zeus. It was already dark, and she panicked: calling him, again, and again. Calling me: I was still at work. I suggested a flash light to go around the house. He could not have gone far. At that point, he did not even enjoy a walk. She called me a few minutes later, out of breath, and totally furious: Zeus went to the pond. Please, do not ask me how he did it. It was kind a treacherous thing to do, and he was there, silent. She said she found him, and he smiled. You know what? I believe it: Zeus had smelled a dead chipmunk in the pond, and went for it, but he miscalculated and since it was a narrow pond, the chipmunk was by his butt, and he could not turn around, so he was, I guess, waiting for a miracle, like the little chipmunk would swim around Zeus just to be able to get to his mouth. Jessica got him inside, he was smelly and not that sorry, but went home with her. The next morning, the first thing he did was to go check out the pond for the chipmunk. That day, I was the one with the wicked smile on my face: “Buddy, that freaking chipmunk is long gone!” I give him that: He did not say a word and we just avoided talking about chipmunks after this episode.

My addiction started during the Zeus era: what would be life if instead of having one lab, I had, let’s say two or three? This is how Lola, a yellow lab, and Maia, a black lab, came home. What is there not to like when you wake up in the morning and have an arrangement of black and yellow faces looking at you with love, and growling stomachs. Labs have a clock in their stomach. There is no lazy morning when you have a lab. “Hey, Mom, the day can’t start without us. Are you ready? Are you ready? Get up Mommmmm!”

lab-addict2From three labs, I went to 8 when Lola’s pups were born. 8 was a great number, and I still miss that number, but Zeus passed and the number 7 was not as good, but still there was some potential with 7. I never expected to reach 6 that fast. 6 almost destroyed me.

Happy Valentine’s to Me from Zeus, My Heart Dog

zues-heartI will always associate Valentine’s Day with Zeus and chocolates. For those who don’t know of him: Zeus was my heart dog. You know how once someone is dead, he or she becomes basically a Saint? Not Zeus! I loved him the way he was. Yes, I could have done it with all the stealing and the emergency visits, but I would not have changed a thing about him. Not one!

Today, I think that if he had to write something about his life, that’s what he would have written.

“My life started when I was over 3 years old. Let’s just forget the first three years of my life where happiness was not on the menu.

I had been brought by my last owners to a noisy place filled with dogs, some nice, some sad, some angry, and some hungry too, including me. Food has always been my Achilles’s heel!

It was such a weird place. People were walking by the cages, looking at me, and then passing me. That was until I saw her. She was walking and I made sure to lock my eyes in hers. She stopped. I looked at her, sitting quietly, wagging my tail. She had to know that I was the sweetest dog on earth. Wouldn’t you think so? They took me out, and I met her outside. It was love at first sight.

Two days later, on October 10, 2000, she took me home. It was a home I had to share with Douchka, a German shepherd, and Pouch, good old Pouch, a Golden Retriever. They seemed nice…. Until the next morning. After gulping down my food, I decided to see if I could taste Douchka’s. It was a bad idea. I learned! Douchka attacked me, but thanks to my Mom, she put herself between the two of us, and she was the one who got Douchka’s teeth in her arm. I was so scared she was going to take me back to that ugly place.

She did not. Instead, and don’t get me wrong, I am not bragging…. I became hers, and she belonged to me. I even gave her for Xmas one of those dog tags saying that she belonged to me, just in case she gets lost! I forgot, she changed my name. I had an ugly name before: Smudge. I became Zeus. Quite a change!

She had dogs before, but I was the first one who was just hers, no sharing there. I would not have tolerated it! I liked her girls a lot, but I loved her even more than food.

I went everywhere with her. From her office (I mean I went with her until I stole a sandwich from her boss, then, I did not get a chance to go back that often.) I loved being in her truck. One time, I remember, she took me grocery shopping. She went first to buy some bread and croissants, then she went to another place. I thought she had left the bread and croissants for me to kill time while she was somewhere else, but now that I think about it, I am not that sure! She did not seem too happy.

Pouch and Douchka were cool once you knew them. Douchka was very protective of us. No one could touch us when we were with her.

My Mom was really cool too. She was leaving everywhere some tokens of love for me. I wanted to please her, so I swallowed everything she put on my way even though sometimes it did not taste that good, but I did not want to disappoint her. One of the worst gifts was a black thing which started ringing when it was in my stomach. I swear that thing made me nauseous. Fortunately, it stopped soon. Real weird you know when your stomach rings, and then seeing Mom rushing to me, screaming like if I had been lost or something and that she had just found me! I was there the whole time!

Another time, it was that black thing Mom left by her computer. She was always using it there, and leaving it for me. So, I took it. Who could blame me to swallow that mouse, except that they were all lying: it was not a mouse. It was hard and bald. A huge disappointment!

One time, she got really upset with me. I guess it was because I did not eat it as fast as I should have, and again, I did not want to hurt her feelings but it did not taste that good! I was sleeping on our bed, and she came in, and placed near me a cute little pink bag with a bra and some other stuff in it. When she came back, I was just hardly finishing the bag, and she really got upset but I did my best. The bra was hard to chew. And I did not even have water nearby! She did not realize how good I was to finish the whole thing so fast!

Mom took me with her girls to many places. My favorite one was the beach in Florida where I had my own pool. Sometimes, I allowed her to use it as well as the girls, but it was mine. I had a good buddy at that time, another black lab named Hunter, but that poor thing was afraid of the water! Maybe he was not a real lab, I don’t know!

I remember that time where I hurt my knee and had to have surgery. That place was so frightening without her around. The next day, she came back to get me, and, since I could not climb stairs, she slept with me for over a month in a sleeping bag next to me.

Oh, and Christmas, I loved Christmas! One year, she put chocolate boxes around the tree for me. It had to be for me. I love chocolate so much but I don’t know why each time she was taking me to that emergency place where they were not that nice. Since I was adamant about not sharing my chocolates with them, they were making me barf!

I think ONE TIME, I made a mistake, OK, sue me! Mom had guests for dinner, and put those cute little chocolate boxes by each plate. I thought it was a mistake on her part, so I tried to correct it as fast as I could. I certainly did not want her guests to notice the faux pas! I swallowed chocolates, boxes, everything. That time, I saw several vets at different places. They were nice though, and you know they always made me feel special when they were seeing me in the waiting room. They were saying “Hi Zeus, you are here again!” It was the time where I started to lose my hair on my back and tail, and it was so humiliating!

That’s when I met another vet, Barbara Kummel, and I loved her to pieces. She was so nice to me, and my hair grew back, and each time she was giving me a treat. I know she passed away too, but I did not have a chance to say hi yet.

I started to have pains in my joints. It is really not fun to get old. I could not jump into my truck anymore so Mom got a cool ramp. I could not climb stairs anymore so we moved to a house where everything was on the same level. The previous house, I could not go to her bedroom so she had to sleep on the couch.

The new house was so exciting! I was sleeping in my Mom’s bedroom on a big bed but Jessica sometimes was screaming my name from downstairs because she was saying she could not sleep when I was wagging my tail. Hey man, I was happy … Had to wag that tail!

Eulogy to my Slippers

zoe-shoe

Zoe the “Show Queen.”

Someone has to be held responsible! And yes, I plead guilty! I knew, I know, and I should know in the future, but my brain doesn’t seem to register it!

Therefore, I am now barefoot in the house! I can’t wear flip flops. Seriously? It’s 15 degrees outside. I would look silly with them in the house surrounded by 1 foot of snow outside! So I am barefoot!

I had slippers, the best ones ever, the comfy one, the cute ones from Target! Yes, yes, yes, I am a Target girl! The proof? Right now because of my love for Target, I receive every day phone calls from people who want to get my SS and all my info telling me that they can lower the rates on the credit card I don’t have to almost nothing! And I can’t even report them since they are calling me from numbers which don’t exist. Is it paranoia or what?

Anyway to go back to Target, every year I get a pair of these comfy socks/slippers. Last fall, when my feet needed some TLC, I bought a new pair, but kept the old ones as well, just because. Let me tell you “just because” was not even enough!

I have a dog, I have dogs, OK, I have a pack, and even though sometimes I give myself the illusion of being the “alpha,” I don’t think they see it that way, at least not all the time!

One of them is a beautiful girl, yellow, with a long nose (her face looks more like a collie) and sometimes I wonder if Lola, her Mom, did not have a quick affair with the postman’s dog or something! Anyway, Zoe is a yellow lab. She is blonde, and has a lot of “Zoe moments.”

Since she was born (hey I was there!) she had a thing with shoes. At 8 weeks old, she was stealing my sneakers when she managed to find them, and using them (one at the time) as a pacifier. Shoes make her feel good. I follow her there honestly. I love shoes or should I say I loved shoes? My taste in shoes has greatly evolved: from high heels, I am now at cowboys boots! But Zoe doesn’t mind the change. OK, if she could still get into a pair of stilettos, she probably would, but my change of style really never bothered her.

So, to go back to my slippers, I forgot – sue me! I am just human! – my pair of slippers under my desk when I left to run an errand! As soon as I came back home, I knew that a cold murder had taken place on the couch: the remains of one of them was there, while Zoe, seeing my “look”, just flew away with the remaining one! Some could think that Zoe is somewhat “mentally challenged” but let me tell you, she knew exactly what she was doing: she went straight to her crate, sat there with the slipper between her front legs and looked at me like “You can’t catch me!” Rule #1 in the house: their crates are untouchable. I will never punish someone with a smack on his or her butt when they are in their crates. She knew it! So, I took my remaining slipper, and closed the gate to her crate! I can’t touch you girlfriend, but I can still lock you up!

You could have thought that I learned my lesson. I went back to my last year pair of slippers grateful I did not get rid of them! I was keeping them safe whenever I was leaving the house. Those slippers are good you see because on top of being warm, they have  rubber soles allowing me to go outside to feed the birds to name one thing! I love birds….. as long as they are wild, free, and don’t interfere with my life meaning don’t you dare try to come inside the house. I have a feather phobia! No clue where it came from, but from the minute I have been walking which is like a half century ago, you could have made me run a marathon by going after me with a feather!

That afternoon I left home, and put my cherished slippers on the counter in my kitchen. Don’t frown: my slippers are not worse than my cats who made the kitchen counters their home away from home! I was feeling good about it because Zoe doesn’t jump. There are two thieves/jumpers in this house: Jackson and Sophie. These two are also the two who never beg at the table, because if they want something, they just help themselves. Begging is beneath them!

Breaking news like would say Nancy Grace: Zoe jumped to get my slippers! And yes I found the remains of one where its sibling had died a week before.

I did not even have to run behind her. She was already in her crate. You see, I can’t punish her, and I would certainly not skip her meal or anything similar. Zeus was starved by the previous families he was with before I rescued him. Making her skip a meal would be cruel and insane!

zoe-moment

Zoe having a “Zoe Moment.”

I gave a eulogy to both pairs of slippers: they kept me safe in the snow or ice; they warmed my feet, and protected them against 14 front paws with nails! They were good little slippers.

So now what? I went to Target desperately seeking twins of my slippers. But what can you expect from Target in the middle of February with a foot of snow outside? Winter slippers had already been kicked out of their stores to be replaced by exotic flip flops! Makes sense, right?

Since I am the only one to blame for the senseless murders of my two pairs of slippers, I am now barefoot in the house! That will teach me! Yes, now my feet are like veterans from a lost war with bruises from loving nails from my loving crew!

But I do have a secret: I am expecting! Yes! They should be coming as soon as my postman can access my mailbox buried in the snow (hopefully this weekend since it’s supposed to be in the 50’s!), then he will just have to cross a pond of melted dirty snow! Being a Target girl all the way, I just ordered online one of their last pairs: pink with little pompoms! Am I going to be cute with them or what? And Zoe, not a chance you will get near those: wherever I will go, the slippers will follow me! Got it, girl?

,

A Visit to the Vet by Jackson

image003Like every morning, I go with my Mom to get Zoe. Zoe sleeps at Jessica’s place, but that silly girl has to come home every morning to do her business in our yard. I found this pretty gross if you want my opinion.

Mom loves to take me with her anywhere she goes but I do provide some help with Zoe. You see, as soon as Zoe gets into my truck, she starts whining, and whining, and then screaming because she needs to go. When I am with Mom, I just bark once and it does it: she shuts up! Seriously that girl needs a reality check! Hello, there is grass somewhere else than in “my” yard!

So, anyway, we went to grab Zoe. Mom took her out of the truck. Zoe is one of those that Mom has to carry because she never figured out how to get out of the truck, but hey, I have known my sister for so long that I am quite accustomed to her non sense.

Zoe went inside the house, and I was waiting in the truck. First time it ever happened! Mom…. Hello…. Mom? I am still here? Mommmmmm! What’s happening here? I am hungry! My stomach is growling…. Mommmmm?

It seemed like it took Mom forever to come get me. Gosh, by then, I was so hungry. I went straight to the kitchen. Nothing. The others were already taking naps and taking it easy. Where is MY breakfast? Mommmmmmm….. I am hungry! She was in her office, and I went there and tried to get her attention by grabbing her arm. She kissed me, but did not move. Mom? Seriously? It’s not funny anymore! I need my food!

I went back to the kitchen, checked out the counter which was totally clean for once. I am usually the one in charge of it. What was happening here? That started to freak me out, let me tell you! I thought I was going to faint! I went to check the trash can just in case: EMPTY! Starting to get really upset, I went straight to the recycling: EMPTY! I was starting to panic: what if she had totally forgotten that I did not have breakfast? I tried to open the fridge, but she had put a chair in front of it!

Suddenly, Mom arrives, all smiles, and she called me to go back to the truck! Okay, maybe she ran out of my food, and we are going there. I like to go to that shop. One time, I managed to get lose and Gosh, I had a ball! I swallowed everything I could find on my path. Now, Mom is careful when we go there. She always checked my collar first. Still, most of the time I get that duck patty as a treat. I love ducks! One of my favorite foods in the whole wild world.

We were in the truck, Mom driving and I was next to her making sure we were safe. I tried to grab her arm a few times. I kind of like to have my paw in her hand in the truck. It just feels good. I suddenly realized that we were on the way to the swimming pool! Gosh…. Ok Mom I forgive you to have forgotten my breakfast. Between food and swimming, I go for the swim. I was so excited. I started talking to her. Go faster…. Faster woman! Suddenly we were stuck, and the truck was not moving! I was getting impatient and started barking! Mom got impatient too, and starting honking! It was getting fun. We started to move again.

I knew we were getting there. I know the way; I could walk there, except that I would not really be able to do so since my paws are kind of fragile on hard stuff! I could not wait to get to that pool! I love to swim! Then that guy, Ross, plays with me and sends a bumper in the pool and I grab it, he takes it back, he throws it, I grab it back. I could play forever!

YES! We are there! I knew it! I started getting antsy and….. MOMMMMM you passed the pool! Mom! Are you kidding me? Are you blind or something this morning? Mom! And I did not stop screaming until she stopped the truck some time later.

It was a place I have never been before. There was some grass, and she told me to pee! Okay, that’s what she says each time we go swimming. If I don’t pee before going in, then when I see Ross, the guy I play with in the pool, I am always so happy that I kind of forget myself! Hey, nobody’s perfect around here! It just might be another place where I can swim! I can’t wait! So, as soon as I get out, I pulled Mom fast, and she screamed at me to stop!

As soon as we arrived there, so many smells, but funny, I could not smell the pool stuff. Where was she taking me? Sometimes humans are really hard to read!

We went to a small room. The first thing Mom did was to break a small flower pot! Who is clumsy? You wanna tell me? Mom told me to shut up. Gosh that woman has no manners!

We were waiting and suddenly the door opened and a woman came. She looked sweet. She kneeled down, and petted me. She started talking how handsome I was, that I was taller than George! How the heck did she know George? He never ever mentioned anything about that place, but true, he left us long ago now!

Mom and “the” woman started talking, then she got something out of a cabinet, and I shrieked in horror “NO! I am not sick! I do not want to have my temperature taken! This is violating my rights! Any laws in this country protecting my privacy?

Then, we all left the room, but Mom did not come with me. I went to another place without her, and I really did not want to go without her. Was she leaving me there? I started to panic and barked loud. I think I scared all the other dogs who were crated there, and they looked quite sick! What on earth was I doing here?

Another lady joined us, and here we went to another room again. How many rooms does that place have anyway? There, she made me lie down, and at that point, I was really scared. They started shaving my tummy? Hello? That thing is tickling me! Can’t you stop?

Those humans sometimes are making me speechless. After shaving my tummy, they put some kind of jelly on it, and it was cold! Then, they started massaging me with something. I was so lost. I just wanted to go see my Mom. Mom, whatever I did to deserve this, I swear, I’ll be good!

Then, they wanted me to pee again. I mean, make up your mind, people. First, Mom makes me pee and now those strangers want me to do the same thing? I am shy, Okay? When I do my business, I do it behind bushes! They were pretty insistent so at the end, I did it. Happy, now?

Then, we went back to the room where were first, and Mom was waiting for me. I ran to her so fast, the woman who was holding me kind of tripped, but I did not care. All I wanted was my Mom. I was so happy to see her that I jumped on her lap, and I am telling you, nobody will make me stay away from her now!

The woman talked to my mom, and was petting me and saying that she loved to see healthy dogs, and that she used to have a lab herself, and that I was so handsome, she could not get over it. I know. Very often, I have that effect on people. When they see me, they are just stunned how handsome and perfect I am.

We finally left. As soon as we got into the truck, Mom got from under the seat a bag with those duck patties I was telling you about a bit earlier. Okay woman, you are forgiven. I just gulped the whole thing down, but then I was a bit thirsty. Mom was laughing and pulled a bowl that she filled with water from a bottle. That’s my Mom! I know she loves me, but I haven’t figured out the meaning of this trip!

We did not go back home the same way. Instead we took kind of a weird stuff. Our truck was on a boat and we crossed a river. That was kind of cool. Mom opened my window, and there were so many smells. I decided I kind of liked it. I don’t like bridges. If I walk with my Mom, and there is a bridge, I brake with my four legs. By now Mom knows that I don’t do bridges!

We finally made it home. Just on time for our daily snack: carrots! Of course, as soon as I got into the house, all the others were all over me and asking me where I have been. I shook my head and told them “Don’t even ask!”