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Edgar and Otis

12:48 pm in Uncategorized by



I have two dogs.

Edgar is a shelter rescue and I figure he could be as old as 8 or 9. He’s a Jack Russell Terrier, but he is a surprisingly mellow dog for his breed.

Otis is half Chihuahua and half Pug. He is a Chug. Otis is nearly 4, and I have had him since he was a six-week old puppy with ringworm. He is active enough for two dogs.

I am writing about my dogs this week because they don’t piss me off and they love me as much as I love them. That’s as good a reason as any.

Edgar had pneumonia when I met him in the shelter. He was in a room by himself. When I walked in and sat down, Edgar crawled right into my lap. The shelter had named him Flitwick, but he looked like a dog my sister had named J. Edgar. Flitwick became Edgar J.

I had to wait until his pneumonia was over before I could bring him home, but I paid for him the day I met him. Gail, my significant other and love of my life gave him his full name, Edgar J. Wagonwheel III. He’s a wiry-haired Jack Russell and his tail was cut short. He still wags his stump when he’s happy or excited.

Edgar is grumpy. He can growl and look like he’s going to tear someone up if they disturb his nap, but he only growls and looks fierce. Our cats pay absolutely no attention to his growling and walk right up to him and groom him while he growls and bares his teeth. He gets no respect from the cats.

Otis was purchased by my daughter as a dog to “share” with a friend. The details are not terribly important; the truth is I stole their dog and named him Otis. He was only a double handful when we took him in. He had four bald patches from the ringworm, but we got that under control quickly.

Otis is colored like a classic Rottweiler; in fact we used to tell people he was a baby Rottweiler. I was going to find Otis a good home…right…what better home than mine?

Otis has always loved to play tug-of-war and fetch, and he has always cried loudly when the theme from the television show Friends comes on. Later, he developed hatred for the H. G. Wentworth 877-Cashnow commercial. He can’t stand opera, and he howls for any insurance commercial.

Otis started fetching and bringing back when he was real young. He would do it so long that it would make Edgar jealous. Edgar would leap up off of the couch and growl at Otis. Otis figured Edgar wanted to play fight, so he gradually taught Edgar that playing could be fun. Otis has been good for him.

Edgar can walk with me in our yard without a leash because he does what he’s told. Otis, on the other hand is our slow learner. He gets as much freedom as his 20-foot leash allows. He’s like the dog in the movie Up…squirrel!

My dogs are a joy to me. They don’t care about the debt ceiling or who is or is not trying to ruin the country…they care that they can’t get walked when the snow is piled deep and the temperature is 8 degrees (F) or -13 (C) for the rest of the world. They start off game, but then they begin to limp, and Edgar even cries.

Right now, we have 18 inches of snow on the ground. I have to shovel them a path across the patio and clear out a circle in the yard for when nature calls. Otis can go anywhere, but Edgar has always been particular. Edgar hates the lack of choice, as well as the cold. Last night he searched for the perfect spot so long that he had to finish his toilet on three legs…and not the one for which he normally uses three legs.

Edgar didn’t like Otis when he was a wiggly puppy. I think it upset Edgar’s preference for peace and quiet, but Otis grew on him. Now they play tug-of-war together and wrestle, wrestle, wrestle…until Edgar gets winded, hacks like an old man, and looks for my lap. It takes way more time for Otis to get tired, but when he’s finally bushed he will not turn down the offer of a willing lap.

The best is when I’m in “the chair” and both of them are asleep (along with my legs)…sure they are spoiled, but they more than earn it with the happiness they bring me.

With furry children, love in equals love out. With my skin children, it isn’t that easy. When they are young and can still sleep in your lap, you imagine it will be like that forever.
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Mood Swings

10:42 am in Uncategorized by

My hamster, Butters, had to have an abscess drained Wednesday. The abscess was in his right pouch. He was swollen and seeping before the vet saw him. Now he looks like a fighter that got a whooping. Butters is on antibiotics, but we wish he would eat more.

Butters’ brother, Hoover, has the cage all to himself because Butters has to be in an isolation cage until he gets better. These two guys have been living together since they were very small. Butters does not like being in a strange cage…alone. Hoover seems to be handling the separation better, but, as Butters points out, Hoover has the “good” cage.

I once saw a t-shirt that said, “The more I know people, the more I like my dog.”

Boy, Howdy!

Besides Butters and Hoover, we have Edgar J. Wagonwheel, III (Jack Russell Terrier), Otis (Chihuahua/Pug), and eight cats. The cats are Spenser, Hobbes, Sunny with a Chance of Mayhem, Romeo, Murphy, Oliver, Drusilla, and Frankie (Francis Albert Sinatra Johnson).

Are Gail and I crazy? Most likely, but we like it that way.

The Butters and Hoover needed a home, and we’d just lost our lovely Emsei Hamster nearly a week prior.

Edgar was in the doggie joint with pneumonia when we found him. Otis was a six-week old puppy with ringworm that needed a stable home.

Spenser is my oldest cat; I got him for myself as a birthday present. Hobbes crawled up my arm and sat by my ear and purred when I picked him up at a cat rescue booth. Sunny would let me bring him in to spend some bitter winter nights in our warm basement until he showed up one winter night with a serious scalp laceration.

Romeo was homeless and wintered in our out building for two years until I just picked him out of a Summer sunbeam one day and brought him home. Murphy showed up hurt; the vet said that the cats were leaving hobo marks on the house. Oliver ran out of some bushes at my Mom’s house and wrapped himself around Gail’s ankle; the kitten needed several baths with flea shampoo, but he went home with us. Drusilla was a captured feral kitten that needed civilizing; we got her early enough to domesticate, but she never got bigger than a ten-week-old kitten. Frankie showed up with a serious neck wound and complained loudly until we brought him in. With a loud mouth and blue eyes, Frankie nearly named himself.

All of our brood, except the Hamsters, have been neutered and/or spayed.

When I’m in a bad mood, all I have to do is gather the troops. Edgar is a lap puppy. Otis can’t control his licker. Romeo, Murphy, and Spenser love to sit on you and make kitty feet with their claws. Sunny is a big lover cat just like Hobbes, but he doesn’t trust the dogs and will smack them on the rump in case they were thinking of trying something.

Drusilla has loved to chew plants, plastic, and fingers since she arrived, and when it comes to litter, she thinks outside the box. Frankie has food issues, and he attacks his wet food like there will never be another meal. Oliver is the biggest cat and the biggest baby; he is the only cat that sleeps with us because he can’t leave his Mommy.

Every night we prepare special treats like carrots, blue berries, lettuce, and watermelon and get Butters and Hoover out for a romp on the bed They have normal, fortified hamster food, but they eat the treats right out of our hands.

When I get too wrapped up in things I cannot change, Edgar will walk up and nudge my arm until I rub his head and let him sit in my lap.

Otis will run in with a smelly knotted rope and insist on a game of “tuggie,” or he will want to play fetch with a tennis ball until everyone but Otis is tired. I can’t be in a bad mood when Otis decides my face is entirely too dry and licks it like he’s trying to remove my eyebrows.

Romeo is not afraid of Edgar in the least. In fact, I think Romeo rather likes the old grump. Romeo will walk right up to Edgar, no matter how loudly Edgar growls, and start to groom him. Edgar won’t hurt Romeo, and Romeo knows it so Edgar gets no respect.

Hobbes has been our cat Welcome Wagon; He loves everybody. Spenser is surly, but when he wants “rubbies,” he won’t take no for an answer

The more I know people, the more I love my fur children. I sure hope you have some fur children in your lives. Gail and I are lucky; we have the perfect mood-altering substance all over the house…animal hair.

P. S.

Rest in Peace, Beasley, Emsei, Jax, Max, and Smokey.


No Politics

10:58 am in Uncategorized by


I was shopping in my local Wal-Mart in the middle of the night on my birthday last Sunday when I happened upon a cell phone sitting unattended on a shelf next to the Pringles.

I picked up the phone with the intention of giving it to a store manager. After all, I would want someone to give my phone to store management if I were to leave it by the Pringles.

I was along on the shopping trip as muscle; I never know what I need until Gail tells me to pick it up. I got a bit bored so I decided to see if I could get a clue about the phone’s owner.

I turned the phone on…I browsed… I could tell that the phone’s owner loved her/his dog…a big black Lab mix with a smile that could melt an iceberg. There were pictures of the dog outside, on a couch, under covers in a bed…this dog had a sweet gig with lots of toys and the run of its house.

Other pictures on the phone led me to believe the phone belonged to a gynecologist/urologist that diagnosed problems by looking at photographs of the appropriate areas of her/his patients…some patients two or three at a time.

I quickly turned the phone into the store manager. When I told Gail what I found on the phone, she made me wash my hands.

Back in my day, I never took my porn collection out in public and left it lying about with my name and phone number attached to it.

Nothing on your phone is secret. Very little of what you have on your phone is on your phone. It sits just outside your phone in “The Cloud” ready for quick recall or subpoena.

Or… a snooping teacher, boss, or stranger in a Wal-Mart…or, even worse, Mom.


Three weeks ago the right front wheel bearing on my Honda committed suicide after dark. Gail and I were 20 miles from home. If I drove slowly, the terrible grinding sound dropped below a roar, so I turned on my hazard lights, cut my speed to 20 miles per hour, and got off the main roads and onto the less travelled back roads.

Gail and I were creeping along at 20 mph in the dark with our HAZARD lights blinking.

On our limping quest for home, only six or so cars came up behind us. Two of the cars slowed and passed when it was safe. Four of the cars rode our tail for a while and flashed their brights.

Three of those four drivers threw in the extra special treat of screaming, “F%&k you” as they roared around us. Rest assured that Gail returned their greeting…just one of the many reasons I love that woman.

Hey, sorry the HAZARD lights and the 20 mph wasn’t a big enough clue that we were having car trouble. Oh, and just in case those folks missed what Gail said when their heads were shoved firmly shoved up their butts…”F%&k You Very Much.”


My dog Otis thinks he can catch birds. He loses what’s left of his mind when he sees a bird on the ground. He strains at his leash and barks out what has to be the doggie equivalent of, “Let me at him. I’ll murdelize him!”

At first, my oldest dog Edgar ignored the birds, but Otis began to convince him that, if they worked as a team, they could get all up in those birds’ beaks and raise some dog Hell. Now Edgar will bark at whatever Otis deems necessary. When we first got Otis, Edgar would have nothing to do with him, but three years later, Edgar is backing Otis’ play.

I was hoping Edgar’s Jack Russell smarts would rub off on Otis’ Chihuahua/Pug single mindedness, but Edgar is the mountain and Otis is the scouring wind.


Don’t you hate it when your grown children don’t talk to you for whole years at a time and it would have been even longer if you hadn’t run into them accidentally last Labor Day and you know it’s because they are angry at you for divorcing their mother 11 years ago?

And don’t you hate it that they seem to get along fine with the guy their mother has spent the last 11 years with, but they show no respect for you or the person you’ve spent the last 11 years with and with whom they shared your house when they needed a roof over their heads during high school and college?

Here’s the damnedest thing…I hate it less every year. I don’t like it that my heart is hardening, but it is…what’s that about?

I very nearly knocked this last bit out of my blog, but, world, meet my dirty laundry; dirty laundry, meet the world.