I’ve Been Schooled by Moe!

Moe is Outstanding in His Field
Moe is Outstanding in His Field

A lot has been written regarding how much our dogs understand when we talk to them. I have pondered this in Talking to Your Dog. Now I have experienced how effectively my dogs communicate to me.

Let’s set the scene. It is 4:10 am. Neither birds nor sun have risen to greet the day. I am slowly pulled from my deep sleep, not by any movement or noise, but rather by the intensity of Moe’s stare. When I open my eyes to investigate why I had abandoned my restful slumber, my eyes lock with Moe’s. He is sitting roughly two feet from the bed, his face level with mine. Was that a disapproving look I see?

Experience has taught me that although I could order him back to bed, the respite would only last a few minutes. It’s inevitable. Moe has decreed it’s breakfast time. To be fair the early morning hour is a throw back to when my husband would rise at that hour, feed the dogs and get ready to go to work. It’s a habit I never developed and one my husband has long abandoned, however Moe refuses to accept this change in his routine.

My legs and arms feel like lead weights as I shrug on my robe and shuffle off to the kitchen. I am functioning but barely. I mentally go through my checklist. Willa is recovering from surgery, so the first order of business is to ensure she gets her morning pain medication. That accomplished, I throw open the patio door so that both dogs can go out and take care of any necessary business before breakfast. Next on the list is a tour through the house ensuring the water bowls are full of fresh water. As I move down the hall from the living room into the kitchen, Moe rudely pushes past me, nearly knocking me off my feet. “This is weird” I thought. Normally Moe waits impatiently in the corner of the family room, where he is fed, emitting the occasional yelp as a reminder that the big brown dog needs food. Now I watch as he rushes across the kitchen to the corner where a large bag of dog food sits. The food will be dumped into the plastic “food bin” that is used to feed the dogs. It is the first time I have seen Moe acknowledge it’s existence. I wait to see what new evil is lurking in the mind of Moe. I watch as he perfunctorily raises his front right paw, bats the food bag twice and then turns and stares at me.

The message is clear, he’s had enough of my dillydallying. It’s time to be fed.

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Monday’s Finish the Story Flash Fiction Aug 24th

The  Mondays Finish the Story challenge is to write a short story (100-150) words that contain the first line provided and is related to the photo provided. Here’s mine for this week. Enjoy!

The family had no idea that little Luigi would grow up to be...
The family had no idea that little Luigi would grow up to be…

The family had no idea that little Luigi would grow up to be the first Giordano to emigrate to the USA. The once noble Giordano clan had been decimated by two World Wars. Luigi was the last survivor. In early 1946, physically and emotionally scarred, Luigi and his loyal companion Giuseppe, stole aboard the rusted freighter sailing to London, then New York City.

Bolognese
Giuseppe

For two years the little Bolognese had wandered the streets of Naples with him; sleeping in the remnants of bombed buildings, stealing food from other survivors who also wandered listlessly through the wreckage of a once dignified life.

No stranger to hunger and pain, Luigi and Giuseppe huddled and fitfully slept away the 15 day crossing of the frigid North Atlantic. By the drone of engines and roll of the waves the dread of surviving another day was replaced by a spirit buoyed by the possibilities of a new life in a new world.

Mondays Finish the Story Flash Fiction Challenge

The  Mondays Finish the Story challenge is to write a short story (100-150) words that contain the first line provided and is related to the photo provided. Here’s mine for this week. Enjoy!

I See Absolutely Everything
I See Absolutely Everything

“I see absolutely everything.” This was clearly stated in the look our dog Taz threw me.

Only seconds ago his legs had twitched as he lay in peaceful slumber. Sunlight from the patio door framed him like a spotlight and our grizzled mutt was center stage. Deep in sleep he chased his quarry; the squirrels, birds and rabbits that inhabit our yard are the bane of his existence. Wrapped in the warmth of his dream Taz slept contentedly.

Taz wears his graying muzzle like a badge of honor. The burden of time is evident in his struggle to rise to his feet. Long gone is the youthful dog that terrorized our house and the creatures outside it’s walls. I wonder what has drawn Taz from his current slumber. Watching him lumber through the dog door, I notice the squirrel perched cheekily on a gnarled branch that drooped outside the glass doors.

I Was Helpless

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Helpless.”

He caught my eye. It was one of my nightmares come true. Once eye contact was made I was drawn into his world of grief.

It was to be a pleasant visit to the local pet food store; the bi-weekly visit to stock up on food for our dogs. I knew when I saw the gaily written sign “Adoptions Today” that an all to familiar routine was about to take place. Walking down the outside aisles, I studiously tried to avoid the crates placed in a central area of the store. The small crowd of people surging towards the puppies, strategically placed in front, made it easy at first. I smiled at young couples cradling puppies in their arms. I watched as a young child giggled when kissed by a small terrier. It was okay, this was a day full of promises.

Two minutes in and I was congratulating myself for avoiding the lure of the forgotten. The lure of the forlorn dogs at the back. The ones left isolated in their crates. Over confident, spurred on by the happiness around me, I braved looked at the crates further down the row. “A quick glance would not hurt” I thought. Then he caught my eye. A larger black dog, sat in his crate. Obviously what could only be called a mutt and obviously a mature dog. A graying muzzle signaled he was long past the puppy stage. Beside him were several crates of what could only be called seniors, and larger dogs of various mixed breeds. With downcast eyes they observed the activity around them. No one appeared interested in giving them words of comfort. No crowds lined up for the chance to play with them. No one offered to give them a second chance at life. It tore my heart out, leaving a jagged wound.  How many people had rejected them through their lives? How long have they languished in this current shelter? When would someone love them again? When would someone give them a chance to become the loyal pack member they were meant to be? Questions with no answers assailed my broken heart.

For the thousand time I wished I was rich. I wished I lived on a farm and could offer all abandoned dogs a place to call home. I wished that I could heal their wounds and battle scars. But I am not rich; I do not live on a farm. For the thousand time I felt helpless in the face of these abandoned souls. Once again I had to turn my back on these discarded animals. Shoving some bills into rescue agency’s donation box, I could only hope I would improve their living conditions a little. Walking away I prayed these lost souls would find a home.

Get A Dog Campaign

In the short video a young boy runs through a field urging his companion to keep up,in another scene a young girl gives her companion a bath, yet another scene shows a young boy and girl try to teach their companion to “roll over”. It not until the end of the video that is revealed that the “companions” are a DVD player, a laptop and a cell phone. The disappointment in the kids eyes is heartbreaking. The idea is to get kids to cut the cord, stop their dependence on electronics, to get out and get active. It appears to be a match made in heaven. Children looking for a companion (or is it a plaything) and dogs that need a good home. The post by The Mad Hatters entitled Dog vs iPhone that spurned me on to write this post can be found here. Hats off to Dog Trust for sponsoring this campaign.

Although this is a promotion running in the UK, it does strike a chord for those of us living in the US and Canada (my two homes) where child obesity is running rampant and millions of dogs are euthanized each year. I am confident that the promoters, Dog Trust, has their dogs well-being in mind when placing a dog in a home. I am not a child welfare or animal welfare expert. That does not stop me from having an opinion and I must raise a caution flag.

I can not stress enough that dogs are a living, feeling animal. Dogs have a natural need to be part of a pack and they form strong bonds with their pack members. It is simply cruel to take a dog into your home and then discard it when you become disillusioned or simply discover how much time and work a dog takes. This is what happens hundreds if not thousands of times every day. That cute puppy you or your kids just had to get, chews the sofa cushions when it gets bored. The vet bills start to mount up when it swallows the kids toys. Other bills pile up when your puppy chews your new iPhone.

You or your kids may have pledged an oath, to everyone involved in the adoption, that Fido would be walked religiously twice a day. Those daily walks become “old” very quickly and so does nagging your kids to live up to their obligations. You could hardly wait to play fetch with Fido only to find out that after throwing the ball twice, you were the one that had to fetch it while Fido decides to dig a hole in your prize petunia’s. Fido becomes a real nuisance to your kids, constantly whining while they finish just one more video game, or they keep up with various texts, tweets or snapchats.

On the other hand it could truly be match made in heaven. If getting a dog is a well thought out decision and not an impulse, it may be the best decision you make. The antics of your new family member may keep you in stitches. The bond formed between your son or daughter and their new best friend may be life changing. Your children may surprise you, as they rise to the occasion and feed and walk their companions without constant reminders. The vets bills may be higher then you thought, however, the love and companionship you get from your new family member is priceless.

My Dogs and Their Self-Driving Cars

This post was inspired by one by Gnawing the Bone entitled Two Votes for Self-Driving Cars. Have a look, it has a great photo!

It made me think. If my dogs had self-driving cars, what would they be and where would they go? Here’s what I think.

Tasha

Tasha in Her Younger Days
Tasha in Her Younger Days

Tasha was our Diva Dog. Her self-driving car would have been a sleek two seater convertible in slick black, definitely a Mercedes or BMW. She would go shopping, but not to buy anything, after all I do all her shopping for her and it would be beneath her to be seen carrying bags. Tasha would just want to be seen being driven around Rodeo Dr, bright red scarf jauntily tied around her head, dark sunglasses reflecting the world around her, a la Grace Kelly.

Taz

Taz on Patrol
Taz on Patrol

Taz would not have had a car. A self-driving ATV would have been his vehicle of choice. Taz our Sentry would have zipped around the yard, making more rounds than he could on foot. ensuring all was safe in his world. With an ATV he would have been able to chase squirrels and catch them before they reached the safety of a tree.

Willa

Willa Sleeping While I Write
Willa Sleeping While I Write

Willa, our herding dog, would have a pick-up truck. You never know when you could run into a stray cow or sheep that needs to be rounded up and taken back to the herd. Willa is a no nonsense dog and a four by four pick up would suit her just fine. Extremely loyal to my husband, whenever he left the house Willa would spend her time following him around, just as she she follows him when he is home. She would keep him in sight to ensure he didn’t stray to far.

Moe

Moe in his Younger Years
Moe in his Younger Years

Moe would have a Big Black Van. That is what we drive. Moe has spent many days in our van as we traversed the US and Canada. He has become so attached to the van that sometimes when we are traveling it is difficult to get him to leave it. When we are at a hotel, the route for potty breaks has to be carefully planned. If Moe sees the van on his walk he freezes becoming a 100 lb boat anchor. At that point, he will only go to the van nowhere else. I think if Moe had his very his own black van, one that he never had to leave, he would think he had died and gone to dog heaven. Moe would take his van on food runs. A Lab can never have too much food. The local PetSmart would be his destination of choice. He would spend hours wandering the aisles sampling the treats and food before loading up the van, which luckily has a large cargo space.

What would your dog drive and where would they go?