Monday, September 27, 2021

 Good Mourning..

Without a thought, I’ll deliver a good morning greeting to most everyone in my path but as the sun rises this day my greetings are sadly gray. Yet again, a moment of loss as one of our sweet companions has made her way over the Rainbow Bridge. Sweet Pea, a senior pooch of roughly sixteen plus years of age, had been taking medications for her heart for several years and time has finally caught up with her.

Her life was spent in service of my family where she provided much love and attentiveness to any that was in need of comfort. She was a beautifully petit rough coated Jack Russell Terrier with a fiery tenacious spirit that by nature, loved the hunt no matter if it were chipmunks or just rooting through mounds of soil digging holes. She was most happy filthy, covered in mud from head to toe and always proud of her handy-work left in her wake. Throughout her many years I’d not seen one vermin encounter in all of those holes, but never-you-mind as the joy she brought to her furry friend Baxter was more than enough payment for her time.

She and Baxter were a team, a couple of hooligans, in search of self indulging entertainment and usually at the expense of others, but not in a bad way, just seemingly endless barking. Most often, our neighbors, with whom we share a fence, received the brunt of it; though a knock at the door or a reflection through the window would arouse such clamor that it became their early warning system to inform me that Bonita was home from her expeditions.

I recall Baxter gazing at me last night as if he was trying to understand what was happening to Pea and why her routines were changing as she became more erratic and restless and our return from the emergency vet without her. This morning I felt sad as he came down from the bedroom to the den where he stopped and smelled around the places where Sweet Pea was last. He paused and looked at me with a puzzled look on his face and it was immediately clear that he was remembering the night before and Pea’s departure. For a bit he was unsure of where he wanted to go as he would turn left for a step or two, then right a step, a pause and repeated again. Now he’s resting on the sofa atop one of their blankets. These two have been inseparable since early 2009 and now, for him, a new, more single and lonelier chapter has begun.

One of Sweet Pea’s greatest  pleasures was snuggling. She was cold natured, loved being wrapped in a blanket and wedged in small tight spaces as Russell’s are well known for when going to ground. She wasn’t particular to where as it could be In a lounger, or even better, pressed firmly beside you in bed. Bonita and I were amazed by how such a little twelve pound dog could seemingly push us off the bed and it wasn’t a bad thing, as her warmth was golden, even in summer. When it came to snuggling, Annabella just loved holding her, even to Pea’s displeasure, she was the perfect size for a little girl. 


There are many stories from over the years that I have stored up in memories of Sweet Pea. The day we first met, Sweet Pea stole my heart, later became the perfect compliment for her buddy Baxter, and was the sweetest, most cuddliest, toughest pound for pound alpha dog a person could ever hope to share their life with.

Happy dreams my dear Sweet Pea. 

Sweet memories of your love and devotion I’ll cherish.

My weary eyes and nightless sleep, this lonely void in my heart runs deep.

Goodbye Sweet Pea, I’ll miss the love from you.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas Little Bro' !!!!

Dear little brother,

I am very excited about Christmas! I hear Santa loves all living things and many of them receive gifts just like their companions. I’m hoping to get a bone and it’d be really great to get a ball or a chew toy. But I don’t want to be too greedy as I have my friend Sweet Pea to share with and then there are so many doggies that need help. Our family will help the GA Jack Russell Terrier Rescue this Christmas so many of orphaned Jack Russells can have an opportunity to live happy lives with a family. My dad says it’s important that we learn to appreciate both sides of the spirit of the holiday which is that it is better to give than to receive.
Sweet Pea says that she’s already received the best gift of her life which is our new family. I really hadn’t thought about it until she brought it up but it makes sense to me. I’m really happy too… it’s not like being at home with our mommy and spending the special time she gave me but travelling to other places is exciting and you wouldn’t believe the fun that I had this summer… and then there’s the pack of doggies that I get to play with… and I’ve got a best friend Pea that keeps me busy and warms me at night. There’s so much here to be thankful for that, now that I think about it, I really don’t need anything else.

Don’t worry so much about the shoes thing… I think she meant that someday in your life, you’ll be wearing shoes just like mine. Our gift from mommy is not only to provide us with a healthy and balanced start in life but to help us develop the confidence in ourselves so that when our time comes, we’ll be the most wonderful companions to our keepers. I just love to clown around and make others happy while Sweet Pea spends her time providing comfort. Everybody is different so you’ll find your shoes as you grow older.

Tell mommy that I think that she’s the greatest mommy ever! I see that our kindred travel all over the world making people happy. I’m glad that I didn’t have to travel too far away because I know I’ll have the opportunity see her again and play in the backyard and be her little clown. Give mommy a big kiss for me and lots of warm snuggly hugs.

Merry Christmas !!!

Edison’s Chap by Foxwarren Design
PS: I think I'll call you Eddie until you receive your real name. I like Eddie because it is our grandfathers name and our mum Talahassee's dad. He's a very good man and has cared for our clan for many years. And Eddie sounds like a good little brothers name. Merry Christmas Eddie!!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Dog Days of Summer

It's short of amazing how time just slips away... months have gone by and without a post to this thread. Not too long ago I'd received an unwanted present of my hard disk crashing resulting in the loss of data, namely pictures... many of which were of this furry pair in their escapades.

The summer of 2009 has been a wonderful passing. These two Russell's have become best of friends. It's quite common now to see them snuggled together engaging in one of Chaps favorite activities of grooming Pea by licking the inside of her ears for what seems like hours at a time. She really seems to enjoy it as her eyes close and she relaxes her head as if a wonderful massage is taking place as she slowly falls to sleep.

They've often found themselves caught up in the pack of Jennifer and John's four hounds as they drop by the house for a romp in our backyard. There's an occasional spat as these little dogs seem to have the little man's complex of over compensating with the need to show dominance in lieu of their height. Daisy, a larger bird dog often jumps in and interrupts the game of chase just to keep things from getting out of hand. It's not all the Russells, it's the Basenji and the Westie, they seem to find ways to get in each others face. And it's now the rarer than the common as the summer draws on, for spats and tisses to arise.

While playing in our back yard last week Rocket, the Westie was having so much fun with this little blue rubber ball. He'd dug a hole large enough to hold his body and was wallowing round in the dirt with the ball. We'd filled a large tub with water for the dogs to take ease from the heat and Rocket seemed to enjoy the tub the most. It was comical to watch as he dropped the ball into the tub and then jumped right in and splashed about as he bobbed for the little blue ball. Back and forth he traversed between the mud hole and tub, at times he was soaked from head to toe and looked like a chocolate covered doggie.

To the side of my yard and just before my fence is a patch of shrubs that unfortunately have become overgrown. JD and Larry, Johns dad and uncle named this place the clubhouse as the dogs often congregate there. When all gets quiet and none to be seen, you can bet they are playing games in the clubhouse. We've enjoyed watching them as they play games of chase, Taco is always in the lead. The visual of the Basenji running is so effortless yet so quick, he reminds me of the comical Pepe Le Pew as he pursues his true loves escape. His head is erect and looking around and his chest is pushed forward and all of his legs appear straight, as if he's just standing there looking around. But instead of standing, he's flying around the yard with all of the others gasping with their tongues flailing about, barking and cutting corners to try to get close.

One of our favorite escapes of the heat in summer is the lake not too far from our house. Today was one of those days where the temperature was 92 degrees and hardly a cloud in the sky. We have this little cove that's our favorite, it's tucked away just across from the marina. The cove is quiet and littered with rocks and trees. It doesn't take take long to get the vests on the pooches, they're pumped up and romping as they know what we're all about to do. While standing on the platform at end back of the boat, Chap's emotions run high as he is barking as if to tell us to hurry because he wants to dive in and play. I'd hardly entered the water and was still trying to get situated when the splash of Chap's eagerness occurred... moments later he gave me a nice back scratching while climbing upon my raft.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Jaws.... a land shark story

As I write, Sweet Pea sits at my side and stands as a testament to the arduous week we now have behind us. Monday was the final goodbye to Chaps manhood; at least his ability to reproduce. Accompanying Chap to the vet was his buddies Taco and Rocket with Sweet Pea in tow as well. Daisy went for a different purpose as she had found a way to cut a gash in her leg and was in need of repair.

Hell week started at Jenn and John's house as they volunteered to take all the pooches to the vets appointment early Monday morning. From what I hear, John spent quite some time Sunday night with young Chap extending his continuing education in submission; this, a contributing factor in Chap's new career in acting.

The doggies returned home on Monday evening, both groggy from medication, so we left them in their containers until the next morning. Sweet Pea took most of the week to recover and it was only yesterday that she began to show signs of life to me. Some around the house said she too was a great actor as in my presence she was a lethargic helpless pooch but when I left she became active, playful and of all things jumping like the flea that I know her as. But as soon as I return she's back to helplessness... poor poor Pea.

Chap became the exact opposite of anything I've ever seen or known him as... the young master became a ball of unchained energy that paced about like a shark, never stopping but constantly on watch for his next victim. I thought it best if I didn't move but to sit still, be quiet and the great white might not notice me for hope that my life be sparred for another hour. Pea was a great excuse for me as I could sit and watch this beast as he moved about the room never stopping and always on the prowl. My logic was fouled and the shark chose to attack anyway. He attacked over and over and over again, relentlessly and without conscious; it was so primal and instinctive in his methodology. My playful hands became shark food and Sweet Pea's behind became the greatest desires of his affection. All of the education we've extended to that day was lost seemingly lost forever.

So I decided to try to play him to death, what can it hurt, he's got to get tired. So when I returned home from work, I played every game I could think of... chase the mokney, fetch the ball, chase and kill the monkey and fetch the ball; over and over and over again. I spent almost four hours non-stop until Bonita returned from work. Not a single minute of peace and solitude was extended me for my giving. Bonita played with him a couple more hours and still the shark relentlessly ensued. This little shark had become the "Jaws" of our house and no one dare enter the waters that he tread without fear of being devoured by the young masters energy and unchained commitment to continuous movement; never yielding but for the moments of sweet passion and lust for the young cougar, Sweet Pea.

I recalled from my past a command that I used on Cleo, our first dog. Cleo was a beautiful black CockaPoo that just loved to play. She could fetch a ball all day long and only to stop for a round of chewing the ball to slobber it up well enough so that she could find it in the woods or tall grass after the toss. The more hidden the ball, the greater her pleasure and a well hidden ball provided me five minutes of solitude before the next round. Cleo had an immense amount of energy so I trained her to stop and sit of the command of "time out". It worked quite well for her so my thoughts were that it could work for Chap. So Thursday night was more playing and during each short session I would use the command to "sit" and then followed by "time out". To my happiness, it was working. I've found the young master to be quite intelligent and quick to learn and with each command he would sit panting and waiting for me to restart the game. Once he'd calmed we'd be on to the next round.

It was Friday night that Jenn and John stopped by for dinner; Chap, now Jaws loves to play with them. I told them of Chaps new command and response. John decided to use it but to our suprise, Chap would slowly lay down on his side and then roll over on his back. It was so cute... and the first signs of "bang bang ... you're dead." Jenn and John started planning their next challenge of training which was to convert "time out" into "bang bang". It was a very short training session for Chap as he is proving to be a master of communications. Within the evening he not only mastered the command from everyone in the house ... but me; but would fall over dead without a sound from John. All John had to do was form his hand like a pistol and point it at him and act like he was shooting. Chap would simply and slowly fall over on his side and roll over dead... all sprawled out laying flat and still until the applause of his audience prompted his playful acknowledgement and return from the dead, yet ready for another romp.

Quite a week and now Sunday, Jaws is gone and Chap is back. This loving and intelligent young terrier whose stolen our hearts and continues to impress us with his self confidence and intellect. Sweet Pea has found her way back to playfulness though still is on watch for the relentless land shark to return.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Bang Bang You're Dead!!!

Here's a quick clip of Chap hamming it up with Jennifer playing shoot 'em up. He's such a funny little guy.. Last night John started playing with Chap saying bang bang and Chap would do a slow motion fall over on his side and then roll over on his back! Later John could just point his finger at Chap and he'd play dead. This Chapster is becoming quite the Thespian.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Running with the pack

Yet another wonderful day to behold and a day of fun to remember. Jennifer, John and his brother Benjamin invited Pea and Chap to a day of running wild with the pack. Jennifer is my daughter and John is almost her better half, though I'd argue which half is better on any given day. They both are bleeding hearts for dogs and have a pack of four as a result. Daisy and Duke are brother and sister and were rescued as puppies. They are such an awesome pair and comical to the observer. Duke, white with black spots, walks to his very own tune, this drummer is one that is rare; he is a seventy pound lap dog among other things. Daisy, black with white spots, is the alpha dog and is bird dog to the core as she loves to run and investigate everything, to her detriment most times; she is quite a thinker too. Taco and Rocket are their other two pooches and I've discussed them in a previous blog. This was Sweet Pea and Chap's first introduction to Daisy and Duke and on Daisy's home turf. So I loaded up the dogs and unfortunately I forgot my camera... so the memories will have to serve for the visual.

A trip to the country is not that far away for this pair of suburban dogs. Our house has a lake and a dock and a bit of land, just like the house in the country but yet there's still the excitement of going somewhere special to run. Uncle Barry's house is nestled way back on a long winding dirt road in a thicket of wilderness woods. There are driveways along the road that are lengthy like their own roads but lead directly to a house. As we arrive at the homestead there is a level acre field of fresh cut green grass with a line of trees dividing the road. Behind the house is a pond edged by tall grass and woods; there's a path or logging trail head.

Chap and Pea are the first to arrive and watch the truck load of dogs disembark from their tailgating travels. Chap is yet to master his social skills and we all keep a watchful eye on his interaction with Daisy and Duke. As sure as mountain water runs cold, Chap has found himself in a tiss with his new friends. He just can't resist the growling and macho dog behaviors as each time the pack runs, so goes he, and the running provokes the macho man. Jennifer disposed of him twice and I twice more by putting him down to the ground and making him submit. Though our attempts seemed futile at the time, he finally got the message that it's better to be social and play than to be forced to lay on your side and watch a fun day go by; much less the humility of other dogs standing around watching you get punished.

Once the lesson was over we decided to go for a walk on the trails. As we were dispatching some of the dogs were already running back from a quick swim in the pond. There's an open field on the other side of the pond whose entrance way is the top of the dam. As we approached, the dogs were already enjoying a romp around the pond and at times diving in from the dam for a swim through the cattails, then back for a romp to enjoy the round again.

Their pack is a wonderful group of dogs whom each contributes an individual personality. Bonita and I have enjoyed our opportunities to dog sit and there's been regular trips to the lake. These dogs love water as we spend lots of time in the summer on our boat. Duke and Daisy enjoy diving off the boat and swimming to shore for a romp on the water's edge and then the swim back to the boat. But today they are enjoying Barry's pond and his wilderness trails, it's their place to run wild off lead.

Just ahead there's a deep crevice and at the bottom runs a creek. The pack romps through the creek for a splashing good time as they follow the bed to the shore. Everything to do is a race to them as they run through thickets and weeds. All of the pack had run their course and found their way back, but Chap had gotten stuck in some vines. You could see that he wanted so baldly to run through the creek but the others had left him behind. So I began to call him from the opposite side to spur him on. He jumped and romped and fought his way out and found his way down to the bed. I moved my position to the opposite side and began calling. Chap responded by running through the water but found himself stranded on the wrong side yet again. Daisy decided to step in and help lead him out so down in the gully she went dragging Rocket and Taco in tow. To Chap's delight he paired with the pack and they were off once more for a round in the creek.

On our way back we stopped by the pond once more for a game of Tag, You're It! The dogs were a site as they chased each other round the field, down into the water for playful dunking each other in the water. Rocket found himself playing tug of war with a tree limb while Taco observed. Chap just couldn't resist aggravating Duke and Daisy. Daisy has this way of displaying her thoughts; it's like the scene in the movie Alien, where the it drops its head and curls the edge of its mouth to shows it's teeth. There is all this dripping and oozing stuff coming out of it's mouth; it is just nasty and you know what's about to come. None the less, Chap is a persistent little fellow and chooses to disregard her display. Well... on to better parts of the story.... he learned his lesson though let it be known that Daisy, being a gracious host, never laid teeth on him; it only took the bark to set him on hind quarters.

Before our departure the dogs took one more romp in the green grassy fields and it was off to the foot races with John. In past years I've enjoyed watching John race Daisy in the fields of Kennesaw Mountain; it is a foot race that he always loses. But sometimes John has a heart much larger than his wind so racing is the last call for the day. Now Daisy fancies herself as the fastest dog of the pack and until her recent weight gain, that was the case. But at a tender young age, Taco is a lean, mean and twice the running machine yet Daisy refuses to give way. With any attempt of young Taco's desire, alpha Daisy will run his butt down. In return for his stake she surely makes him pay with punishment, but still it is a game. She trips him and flips him at any opportunity, these come as he slows down when he transitions from smooth fields to rough terrain.

It's unfortunate that Sweet Pea chose to be an observer today. She spent the first ten minutes running with the pack but as we hit the trails she chose to stay by my side and from time to time chat with a dog or two. You could see that she was having a wonderful time but was content to spectate.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Chaps's first swim

It was a beautiful morning that inspired Bonita and I to have our coffee on the back deck. As we sat and pondered the potential of our Memorial Day's activities, we noticed ripples in the water of the lake down below, that were stirred from a gaggle of geese. These geese are sometimes a source of entertainment so without further discussion, Bonita snatched some bread, I grabbed the camera and we proceeded to take the frisky pair on a field trip to our backyard petting zoo.

Our backyard is a wonderful place that provides refuge and food to all sorts of wildlife, it's the reason that we chose this to be home. The view from our second story porch is surrounded with trees and at least to me, it feels like a tree house all nestled in the branches of the nearby acorn tree whose limbs reach right up to the side of the porch. There's lots of song birds that sing us sweet tunes and chipmunks, rabbits and squirrels for our pleasure. This morning we could hear the caulking of a pileated woodpecker and his occasional drumming on wood. His call is reminds me of an exotic bird from the tropics, and the drumming is loud and pounding.

So off we go, down to our dock, to visit with the resident geese. Bonita started chumming the water with bread while Chap and Pea ran round the deck in a flurry. The geese began honking loudly and swooshing around competing for food. It's interesting to watch the male geese lower their heads just above the water and swim straight at the others to protect what they perceive to be their territory. As these long necked critters swarm, Chap leaned over the edge to get a closer look. But the venture was more than this young southern boy could bear, as his self containment fell victim to live for the moment and within a twinkling, Chap was taking the plunge into the water. In the sultry south, there's nothing quite like a cool waters swim to shock the body from its hot summers sweat, but this was a morning of sixty degrees and the water was equally as cold. Even so, Chap seemed quite happy to be among the waterfowl just swimming arms length from the docks edge.

Bonita seemed more than surprised and in a panic began to call him ashore. Chap vanished under the dock and then popped up on the left, vanished again and popped up on the right, seeming to taunt Bonita's cry. His moments of pleasure were only hampered by deciding which plot of land he'd pick to come ashore.

The rest of the morning we sat on the dock and watched the pair as they watched the geese, equally inquisitive of these strange and odd creatures. Memories serve my visions of Major on this very dock, as his desires fell victim to the water just below, while enjoying this wildlife treasure.

A mornings wake...

There's nothing quite like the affections of a canine, nor the ritual of a mornings wake. Today, not unlike any other, was first started waking in bed to a bath of facial kisses from both Pea and Chap. IT's been long in my past since I have had the pleasure of being lovingly mauled in this way. These small creatures can find every cranny or hole in my unworthy defense and break through with tongue lapping away at anything and everything that it finds. Their teamwork is relentless as they pounce round my head, my ears have never been so clean. What point is there for arms when they provide nothing but protection from one dog as the other finds its pointed path to my head or neck as one target seems good as another. There are points in time that I feel that I'm drowning as the licking attack continues from the two. Pea finds her spot as I've tightly folded my arms and lying still in the bed on my side. She slides herself into my chest and stretches long through my arms and presses her head up to my chin. Young Chap comes behind, burrowing in like a bull driving his head through the matador's cape, wedging himself along side of Pea. For a moment, their happiness is mine and mine is theirs as we lay bunched up for a restful breath of air.