2009 January-March

My letters to Pops began in January 2009. Here is the first group:

 

Jan. 18, 2009, from Louie, Day 1

What were you guys THINKING?

You lock me up in a freezing car and drive around for HOURS lookin’ for some place called the Airport, and you never once let me out to poop????

Oh, Louie, Dad's gone.

Believe me, Dad, by the time Mom dropped you off and we pulled back into the driveway at home, I had all 20 toes crossed and my teeth were brown, if you get my drift. And you KNOW how slow Mom is. I was ready to charge through Miss Corolla’s window before she got around to openin’ the back door for me and then …. well, let’s just say I got to the first pile of snow and I made my own big pile. Hee hee hee.

Then Mom was kinda mopey and she wouldn’t play or nothin’, but I felt so much better, I let her take a little nap. Actually, it was a  LONG nap, but I didn’t make it TOO restful for her, ‘cuz first I had to bark at the mailman, and then I had to bark at Reggie and Lucy, just to make sure they knew I was back in residence. Mom finally got up, but she invoked somethin’ called the 20-Degree Rule, meanin’ if it isn’t 20 degrees out, she isn’t takin’ me for a walk. Well, we KNOW how cold it was all afternoon here in Akron, so all she did was let me out in the back yard again, and omigod it was so frosty, all I could do was leave another warm, steamin’ pile before trottin’ back into the house. (I’m doin’ my best to fertilize the back yard for you.)

Then she tried to bribe me with a dog biscuit, but I knew what she was up to. She was leavin’….And she didn’t get back until it was WAAAYYY dark, and boy, was I hungry by then. I gobbled up a whole dish of food and a whole bowl full of water, and  it tasted so good, I almost forgave her for leavin’  me alone all day. Almost. Didn’t stop me from nearly knockin’ her over when she come through the door. Hee hee hee.

OK, so now she’s playin’ with the computer, and I guess I’ll have to go find somethin’ bad to chew on just to get her attention. She can’t stay away all day and expect to buy me off with a little  bowl of kibble. I’m Louie, after all.

See you soon, OK?

Louie

P.S. Mom says you’re stranded at some place called Chicago. What a bummer. Why don’t you just turn around and come home so I don’t have to put up with her moping around the house anymore? If you can’t do that, make sure you regale (hee hee hee, big word, huh?) your fellow stranded passengers with stories about Louie the World’s Best Dog.

Jan. 19, 2009, from Louie, Day 2

Hey, Pops!

At 10 a.m., it was 22 degrees, so even though Mom just wanted to curl up in her chair with her coffee (pretty nasty stuff, if you ask me), I kept bugging her about HER 20-Degree Rule, and finally she gave up and took me out for a romp around the block. It was darned near BALMY, but there was a lot of new snow, too, so Mom was pretty winded after one little block. I BEGGED her for two, but she just gave me that look — you know the one — and informed me that SHE had to shovel the driveway and I’d just have to settle for a short walk. I TOLD her I’d help her move all that snow, and I would have, too, but she said if she let me out in the front yard while she shoveled, I’d take off. Well, of COURSE I’d take off — I’m a dog, for gosh sakes, that’s what we DO — but she just primly shook her head (can’t you see it?) and made me stay in the house while she shoveled. How unfair is THAT???? So to get back at her, I found your slippers and gnawed on them a little. Not too much. You can still wear them, if you’re really determined.

Mom gave me some big hugs in between shoveling and even a REALLY nice belly rub when I caught her tryin’ to make the bed, and I thought with the nice weather, we were goin’ to have a pretty good day. But then she did the dog biscuit thing again, and I KNEW she was goin’ away. Sheesh, what is it with THAT? The best part of the day, and she takes off and doesn’t come back until it’s really dark and waaaaaaaaay cold again. How’s a boy supposed to get his exercise?

But I showed HER by being extra extra lively when she got home.

She looked at me and went straight for that bottle of red juice (just as nasty as the coffee, if you ask me).

Anyway, it’s after midnight now, and she says you should be safely in some place called California at this point. I never heard of California before, so I can’t figutre out what you’re doin’ there. Maybe you should just come home and take me for a hike, ‘cuz California can’t be nearly as much fun as all those hot chicks on the Towpath.

Ooops, it looks like Mom is gonna let me outside again, ‘cuz I didn’t poop the first time, so I gotta sign off now. Maybe you should call me sometime and we can swap stories about all the neat dogs we’ve seen the last few days.

Or doesn’t California have dogs?

Louie.

Jan. 20, 2009, from Louie, Day 3

Oh boy oh boy oh boy. Mom took me to the dog park, oh boy oh boy oh boy!

It was pretty cold when Mom finally got up today, and she kept circling around the thermometer at the back door and muttering, “It’s close, Louie, it’s close.” She was talking about that silly 20-Degree Rule, and how it was only 18 degrees on the thermometer. but I kept begging her, ‘cuz, darn it, I needed to run, and what’s two little degrees anyway???? (See, I know math.)

FINALLY, she said she’d take me with her on her errands, and maybe by the time she was finished, it’d be a little warmer. I don’t know what errands are, but I was willing to do ANYTHING to get out of the house, so I let her load me up in Miss Corolla and I didn’t whine ONCE, even though the car was a little frosty, and Mom spent a whole lot of time inside the bank and the drugstore while I froze my toes in the back seat. But eventually she was done erranding, and even though it wasn’t actually 20 degrees out, she allowed that since we were already bundled up and good to go, we might as well stop at the Akron park to see if anyting was happenin’. Well, there was a mighty big Rottweiler leavin’ the park when we got there, (see, I know my dog breeds, too), and he was NOT friendly. And his human didn’t seem to care that he wasn’t friendly, either. It took all of Mom’s scrawnly little muscles to keep us apart. But she did, and then she hauled the frozen gates open just enough for me to sidle inside, and then she crammed her bulky butt through the opening, too, and — I was FREE!!!!!!

Oh boy, I didn’t care that it wasn’t that NICE park you take me to. It was a big field of snow, and I could run and leap and poop all I wanted!

And after a couple of minutes, an old human squeezed in with his three dogs, and I had playmates!

Well, they were old dogs, and fat, and they couldn’t run as fast as me, but there were three of them,  for goodness sake, so when one tired out, I just chased another.

Their human was pretty talkative and I think he might’ve been flirting with Mom a little, and they talked for about 15 minutes while I horsed around with his dogs.

They weren’t as nice as Delilah — in fact, one old bitch kept tryin’ to hump me. What is it with THAT???? I’M the  GUY, even if I don’t have any balls. I’M supposed to hump HER. So we got a little snarly, and Mom decided it was time to go home so she could do the chores. That was OK, because I had icicles on my breath by then, and I was actually a little tired.

So we went home and I collapsed on the quilt while Mom did her houework thing. Only just when I was starting to get my second wind, Mom went into her dog biscuit routine, and we KNOW what that means. A long night alone for Louie, that’s what. But I couldn’t complain, ‘cuz, oh boy oh boy oh boy, we went to the dog park, and Mom says maybe tomorrow, we’ll go up to that NICE park in the Falls.

Louie

P.S. Mom says you’re at your new house now and you’re not stressed out by travel anymore, sooooo…..I didn’t want to worry you before, but….

You ought to know that Mom was pretty ticked off at you Saturday after you left us. All the way home, she was muttering stuff like, if SHE could haul her butt out of bed in the middle of the night to launch you on your Great Adventure, YOU could have faked some passion for 15 lousy seconds instead of kissin’ her goodbye like she was some disagreeable old grandmother. I’m not sure what all that means, and it probably doesn’t matter ‘cuz she doesn’t seem to be too ticked off anymore. But between you ‘n’ me, Pops, I wouldn’t blow off Valentine’s Day — if you know what I mean.

Pops replies:

Hey, Louie, sounds like you are being a great protector and friend to Mom. I’m counting on that. Oh, and tell her that I’m sorry about Saturday morning and that I just had too much on my mind.

Also, tell her that I don’t have ANY private Internet access.

Anyway, this is my first day on the job and I’m pretty nervous. I’ll write more when I can.

Jan. 21, from Louie, Day 4

I am soooooooooooooooooooooo bored. I could lick the paper right off the bathroom wall.

There was another cold snap last night, and Mom just REFUSED to budge this morning. She said it was in single digits (whatever that means) and there was NO WAY she was going to the park. (Between you and me, she was just too interested in all the yapping on that TV thing to take me out. So I curled up on the couch with her and let her rub my belly while she watched some humans raise their hands and swear on a book. How silly.)

But eventually, I talked her into a walk around the block, which was pretty challenging ‘cuz we got a pile of new snow overnight, and then she went out in the driveway to play in it. BUT SHE WOULDN’T TAKE ME!!!! I sat at the front window and barked at her the whole time.

Serves her right.

She wouldn’t even take me on errands today. She just did the dog biscuit thing (see how BORING she is?) and went away until it got dark again. I tried to amuse myself with Miss Marigold, but she’s just a grumply old lady.

But now Mom’s home and she just gave me a great big dinner. She seems to be in a much better mood. She says she’s off tomorrow and she’s going to sleep in.

Hmph.

Louie.

P.S. Mom says she got your message, and I’m not allowed to cuss or mention body parts in my e-mail anymore. Double hmph.

P.P.S. Mom says she knows you’re nervous, but you ought to stop shortchanging yourself. She says you’re the most capable male human she’s ever met. Why, didn’t you just conquer the beasts of the airline industry? And didn’t you navigate your way over fearsome unknown highways to your new digs in the forst? And didn’t you remember to buy paper towels and toilet paper? Mom says you should feast on your victories, and tomorrow there will be more. (Sounds to me like she’s been listening a little too much to that black Irishman O’Bama. Whaddya think?)

Pops replies:

Hi, Louie. Oh, it’s so good to hear from you. I’m sorry you are sooooooo bored. Perhaps you need to learn how to meditate. Or you could just think deep thoughts while you wait for your mom to return home. It’s all in how you look at it. Enjoy this opportunity to lie there on the floor with your paws in the air for just as long as you want. Then, when you feel like it, bark at something out the front window, even if there is nothing there. What a life!

I hope you are being good for your mom. If you will, tell her how proud I am of her and of how well she is holding down the fort. She’s the best.

Also, tell her that today is a bit better than yesterday, although it isn’t even 9 a.m. here and so it may be too early to arrive at any new conclusions.

P.S. One quick thought, Louie. I’m afraid you cannot send me anything to the address I gave your mom last week. It seems getting private mail here at the office is strictly prohibited. And the barracks does not receive mail.

So I’ll have to get a P.O. box. That appears to be the standard operating procedure. Sorry. I’ll do that soon.

P.P.S. Well, three hours after you called this morning, I got your message, but when I tried to call you back, I could not get a signal. I’m sitting in the same office I called from on Monday, but I cannot call out. It might have something to do with the weather, which is changing here from clear and sunny to overcast and rainy.

Jan. 22, from Louie, Day 5

Hi, Pops!

Mom just talked to you on the phone, so she already told you my best news — how I barked like crazy at the strange guy who wanted to hang out and show Mom his DVD about giant tortoises procreating — is that a weak line or WHAT? But I made sure he knew who was boss at OUR house (at least who’s the boss while you’re away — hee hee hee).

It was still pretty cold here today, but the thermometer said 20 degrees, so Mom agreed that fell within the 20-Degree Rule, and she took me to that neat dog park in the Falls. Only problem was, the park’s at the top of a hill, and it’s all open, and even though it was 20 degrees, there was a ferocious (that’s dog talk) wind whipping across the field. I got in a few good laps while Mom trudged around the perimeter (I’ve been munching on the dictionary and learning big words) but the snow was pretty deep and all the water bowls were frozen and there wasn’t anyone else there to play with. So after she circled the park twice, Mom caved and said we were going home. I didn’t whine too much, ‘cuz to tell the  truth, my toes was caked in ice by then and I couldn’t really catch mybreath ‘cuz it was so cold. So I hopped into Miss Corolla and Mom pumped up the heater, and I was quite happy to curl up on my Browns blankie while she did her erranding.

That’s about all I did — well, except for the towel I stole out of the shower, and I kinda tore it to shreds before Mom caught me. (She was drippin’ wet and unclothed at the time. Hey, I’m Louie. This is what I do.)

Maybe tomorrow will be more exciting and I’ll have more to tell you. In the meantime, I gotta stand guard at the front door in case that tortoise guy comes back. We don’t want to lose Mom to the likes of him, now do we?

Louie

P.S. Mom wants to know whether she should e-mail you her Social Security number. Or is that risky?

Pops replies:

Hey, Louie. Tell Mom I only have a few seconds to write. So to answer your question, no, she doesn’t have to send me her SS number after all. As long as I can remember her exact birthday, we’ll be fine.

Jan. 23, from Louie, Day 6

Oh, man, I am SO cool. Mom got me some major bling, and I’m so sharp, I should be in Sports Illustrated.

My new necklace is silver and shiny and waaaaaaaaaaaaaay heavy. Mom called it a choker chain. I didn’t quite get the choker part until she took me for a walk this evening and then, WUMPHHH! Maaaaan, that woman can give a sharp tug when she’s got a mind to! She apologized for gagging me, but she said I was gonna kill her dragging her lickety-split over the ice, so she got me this new necklace so I could prance around like a really cool dude, and she could walk me without fallin’ on herf ace. I was still able to take her at a pretty brisk pace, and she was still huffin’ when we got home, but — well, unless I want to choke myself, I gotta keep things reasonable. Mom’s pretty pleased with herself, but we’ll see how soon it takes me to build up a tolerance to her sharp tugs.

On the other hand, this new necklace doesn’t itch nearly as much as that cloth one. Mom’s a little perplexed ‘cuz there’s no place to hang my license tag, but she says she’ll figure out a way to make me legal.

Mom says to tell you that your old school friend Robby/Robbie called Sunday to wish you luck on your Great Adventure. He was really disappointed that he missed you. He thought your new job was really neat, and he just wanted to tell you so before you left. Mom said she’d pass on the message, but as you can see, she kept forgettin’. (You think I should worry about her losin’ her mind?????)

ANYWAY, it’s been kinda nice havin’ her around so much the last two days, but she says she’s goin’ back to work tomorrow.

You think maybe she doesn’t like me, and that’s why she keeps goin’ away?

Gosh, I hope not. She buys the neatest presents!

Stay cool, man.

I sure am.

Louie

P.S. Mom says it appears that rabbit was a poor choice for dinner after all. (Can’t imagine why; I’d LOVE some rabbit.) She spent most of the mornin’ locked up in that tiny yellow room with the big water bowl. At one point, she  came out lookin’ a little yellow herself and kept mutterin’ that maybe she should call the doctor ‘cuz somethin’ really BAD seemed to be goin’ on. But before she could get on the phone and embarrass herself with the nurse, she remembered that really BIG servin’ of RED beets that she ate last night. I didn’t get the point, but she said you would.)

Pops replies:

Hi, Louie: Well, we all know that you are sooooooooooooo cool; we knew that even before your new bling. However, I but you look really sharp with that new silver necklace. Watch out for the girls dogs. Your mom has good taste and always knows the right thing to do for you, so don’t be upset when she gives you a sharp tug. After all, the less likely she is to take a flying leap on the ice, the more likely she is to take you out to prance around with your new necklace.

Tell your mom that I’m totally bored, as this is my fourth day in a row holed up in this tiny office with no one to talk to. I tried to finagle my way into a trip up into the snow country, but there were only two snowmobiles and there already were two people going. I didn’t have the guts to tell them I didn’t know how to drive a snowmobile. It appears that’s taken for granted. I was told, however, that I could go on a snow-measurement survey at the end of the month. Hmmmm. Since that’s done on skis, I guess I’ll have to admit to my lack of skill in that area, too (not to mention, no equipment). Gee, Louie, life was so much simpler when the daily challenge was where to take you for your hike.

Miss you and your mom.

Dad

P.S. Oh, one other thing, Louie. I’ll be leaving work in about an hour and that means I won’t be able to see any e-mail from you until Monday morning. As much as I enjoy reading all your observations of your mom, you might want to save them up until Sunday night. Or not. You’re a big boy. You  decide.

P.P.S. Oh, one other othing, Louie — ask your mom whether she has returned my library book — because I don’t have my library card, I can’t use the scan number on the back, which is what I need to check my library account.

I know, I know, none of this makes any sense to you — all you really want to know is whether you can eat the library card.

Jan. 24-26, from Louie, Days 7, 8 and 9

Hi, Pops!

Mom says we need to get a new thermometer, ‘cuz the old one lies.

It SAID the temperature was 22 this morning, and Mom believed it, so she reluctantly wrapped herself up in scarves and shirts and longjohns and coats and she took me down to the Chuckery for a romp in the woods. I was WAAAAAY excited, ‘cuz we haven’t gone out much this weekend, and I was even whinin’ a little as she drove into the parking lot. But then she looked at Miss Corolla’s thermometer, and it said 15, and she was ready to turn around and go home, ‘cuz SHE said 15 is MUCH colder than 22. But I was lettin’ her know by then that  I REALLY had to get out, so she grumpily agreed to walk me down to the river. Only the wind was insidious and the path was darned near impassable (I’ve been munchin’ on the I’s in the dictionary; hope Mom doesn’t need them any time soon for her books) and even I was stumblin’ around a little on the chunks of ice. But there were DEER tracks, and we passed a human who said there were COYOTE tracks goin’ up into the woods. Well, he didn’t have to tell ME. I could smell ’em. So I took off, and Mom bravely staggered after me and — well — somehow her butt wound up in a snow drift. Now don’t tell her I said so, but her butt’s pretty well padded, so she wasn’t hurt or nothin’, but it put her in a pretty sour mood. (She says she’s still ailin’ from the beets, whatever that means; her ponytail doctor says she’s just gonna have to ride it out; she says that’s easy for HIM to say — he doesn’t have to do the ridin’.) ANYWAY, I let her rein me in ‘cuz she did look kind of pitiful planted in that snow drift, and after I took care of business (she hid it in ANOTHER snow drift) we went off to the condo. I got all excited again, ‘cuz I thought you were gonna be there to take me on a REAL hike, but she didn’t even let me out of Miss Corolla. She just opened up the mailbox thingie and then we went home. How unfair is THAT???? She told me not to pout — that you weren’t in the condo — but I don’t think I believe her. I think maybe you’re hidin’ from me.

Are you?????

Love (sniff, sniff),

Louie

P.S. Mom says she heard a program on the radio last night with Eric Clapton, who was talkin’ about somethin’ called Derek and the Dominos. He was explainin’ how they made some song called Layla or Laila — whatever. Mom says she always thought that fancy guitar work in the long, long passage at the end was done by Clapton, but it turns out that a guy named Allman was sittin’ in, and he did all that on his dobro.

Did you know that?

Pops replies:

Hi, Louie: One of these days I’m going to teach you how to read. Then you can get Eric Clapton’s autobiography and read all about the session with Duane Allman and others. Pretty interesting. If you like that kind of stuff, which I doubt you do.

I’m glad you got out for a short hike yesterday morning. I’m surprised that you were able to pull your mom around, considering your shiny new necklace. But you DO get excited, especially when you have your nose pointed into the woods.

Oh, by the way, tell  your Mom that she should take a quick look inside the condo to see whether I left any lights on or anything. I don’t believe I did, but those bathroom lights get really hot when they are left on. No big deal. In fact, it will be OK even if you forget to tell her. But if she looks inside, make sure you go with her. That way, you can see that I’m not in there hiding from you. In fact, when you feel how cold it will be in there, you will be quite glad that you can curl up on Mom’s warm bed instead.

You’re the best, Louie. (And so is your Mom.)

Jan. 27, from Louie, Day 10

Mom is such a DOOFUS. She realized only TODAY that if she locked me out in the backyard for the half-hour it takes her to do the kitchen, I’d run myself silly around the fence and I wouldn’t  be NEARLY as rambunctious (I munched on the R’s today) when she got home from work. How long have we been together? Practically forever, right? And she’s just now figuring that out?

Duh.

It’s been a pretty boring day in Dog Land otherwise. I snatched Mom’s new fluffy pink socks out of the clothes  basket when she wasn’t looking (did she really think a flimsy old hamper could stop me?) and munched on them pretty good before she caught me. And I barked like crazy at the mailman. And I slobbered all over her tablet while she was tryin’ to do her puzzle. And I accidantally walloped her in the nose when she was tryin’ to change the sheets. I felt really bad about that. But she forgave me ‘cuz — well, she’s Mom.

There’s a big snowstorm comin’  in tomorrow night — 4 to 8 inches, Mom says, so she promised that she’ll try to get me to the dog park in the mornin’ before the snow hits. We’ll see. Mom promises a lot, but  come mornin’, she doesn’t always deliver.

See you soon, huh?

Louie

P.S. Mom says she didn’t call last night ‘cuz she was in a bad mood and she didn’t think she could be very supportive of your Great Adventure. And she didn’t call tonight ‘cuz you said you were goin’ to a night meeting, and she didn’t know when you’d be back (although she was pretty sure you’d wow the pants off everybody). But she’s in a much better mood tonight ‘cuz she says she doesn’t have to work tomorrow and she might go to the zoo to see the jellyfish.

Are jellyfish good to eat???????

Jan. 28, 2009, from Louie, Day 11

Hi, Pops!

I’m writin’ kinda early ‘cuz it’s Mom’s night off, and she cracked open a new bottle of that bad-tastin’ red stuff for dinner, and I thought maybe I oughta say hello before Mom gets too snookered to help me type.

Boy, what a day!!! Mom came through and took me to that nice dog park this morning. It was still kinda nippy, but the snow’s been packed down pretty good, so I was able to run like the wind. We were all alone at first, but after awhile, an old human trudged up the hill with the world’s biggest, fattest yellow Lab I’ve EVER seen. Man, he was huffin’ by the time he got in the gate (so was his human). I was afraid he wouldn’t have the energy to play at all, but huh! Was I surprised. He was kinda snarly at first, and Mom thought maybe we should leave, but ya know, I’m a friendly kind of guy, so I just kept sniffin’ his butt and waggin’ my tail, and sure enough, the fat boy decided he wanted to box. He had really broad shoulders and there was a lotta heft behind his paws, but I’m nimble, so we rolled around the snow like crazy and neither one of us got hurt. He preferred to wrestle, and I preferred to run, but we both got a little of what we wanted. Mom kept a real close eye on us, ready to jump in if things got too physical, but the fat dog’s human kinda stayed out of it. He wouldn’t have been much good anyway.

I thought the yellow Lab was pretty feisty for an old fella, so boy, were we surprised when Mom asked his human how old he was and his human said three years old, maybe three and a half. I just rolled my eyes at Mom and swore off dog biscuits. Geez, if I look like that in another year, I’ll never forgive you guys. (Although it would be nice to have that guy’s punch. It’s a knockout.)

Anyway, I got a real good workout, and when we got home ,I crashed on the couch while Mom did the shower thing. She disappeared for a while this afternoon, and I thought maybe she’d lied to me about havin’ the night off, but golly gee, it wasn’t even dark out when I heard the garage door openin’, and there was Mom, luggin’ in bags of food for me and Miss Marigold.

And THEN she spent the rest of the afternoon cookin’ and I had REAL CHUNKS OF CHICKEN in my dinner.

Is this heaven or what?????

It’s snowin’ pretty hard now, and I probably won’t get to the park tomorrow, but that’s OK. I had a great time this morning, and now Mom’s gonna be home with me all night. It  doesn’t get any better ‘n that.

Snorts and sniffles,

Louie

P.S. Mom says she stopped at the condo this afternoon to pick up the mail, and you can stop worryin’. First, you didn’t leave any lights on. And second, she found your phone charger sittin’ on your desk, right where you left it. She brought it home with her, but I guess she can’t send it to you, huh?

Pops replies:

Oh, Louie, you are such a good writer. When I read your words, I can just picture you saying them. You write just like you are.

I’ve been checking the funny box with the lighted screen and I see that you are getting lots and lots of snow. Tell Mom to be careful out there. If she gets stuck in the driveway, I expect you to go out there and pull her out of the snow. Come on, I know you can do it — Mighty Dog!!!

I hope you were paying atttention to that fat ol’ Yellow Lab. You might want to consider him the next time you gobble down dinner. But I’m glad you had fun. I remember when you wrestled a little with that dog on the boardwalk. You seemed to like it once you figured out it was just play. Of course, start by assuming everything is play. Just remember to watch the other dog’s tail. If it’s waggin’, then it’s playtime.

Gotta go, Louie. Thanks for thinking of me. I think about you all the time (your mom, too).

Jan. 29, from Louie, Day 12

Hi, Pops!

Whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat? You don’t like the name Pops? It’s a term of ENDEARMENT,  for gosh sakes! (See, I was licking at the E’s today.) But if you don’t like it, I’ll — sniff, sniff — stop.

I heard Mom talkin’ to you about all the snow, so I don’t have much to add — except my day really sucked. The snow was up over my elbows and knees, and even I couldn’t get a good run goin’. There’s nothin’ good to chew on. Miss Marigold won’t even swipe at me anymore, and there’s nothin’ for me to do but sit at the front door and howl — which is what I’d be doin’ right now if I wasn’t writin’ to you. There are lots of snow demons outside the windows right now, and I gotta protect Mom and the house from anything that moves. (She says I must be drivin’ Sandra next door to distraction. But I don’t know Sandra, so that doesn’t mean anything to me.)

Mom SAYS she’ll try to take me for a walk tomorrow, but she didn’t say it with much enthusiasm, so I don’t think the park and the fat yellow Lab are in my future — at least not for a while.

I think I’ll go stick my nose in the hamper and see if I can find a nice smelly sock to chew on. Or maybe that rag Mom used to wipe up Miss Marigold’s throw-up. Then the day won’t suck so much.

I really miss you.

Louie

P.S. Mom says she went huntin’ on the Internet and here’s what she found (she says it’s goin’ to be depressin’, but here it is anyway). On the To Tell the Truth front, Bud Collyer died in 1969 at age 61; Kitty Carlisle died in 2007 at age 96. Hy Gardner died in 1989 at age 80; Ralph Bellamy died in 1991 at age 87. (Looks like everyone but Bud Collyer was takin’ good shots of Geritol.) Polly Bergen at 78 is still alive (and remember the woman who was the mistress of Tony’s father in The Sopranos? That was Polly Bergen!) As for What’s My Line, EVERYBODY’S dead. Bennett Cerf died in 1971 at age 73. John Charles Daly died in 1991 at age 77; and Arlene Francis died in 2001 at age 93. The really excitin’ one was Dorothy Kilgallen, who died of an accidental drug/alcohol overdose in 1965 at age 52. And the JFK conspiracy theory advocates said it had something to do with the assassination, ‘cuz Dorothy was one of the few journalists who ever got to interview Jack Ruby. How’s that for excitement???

Pops replies:

Louie, you are the best. As the WBD, you can call me Pops or you can call me anything you want. Please don’t stop.

I hope you are being good for Mom today. Her days off are special for her, so be on your best behavior. Whjo knows? She might take you for a walk around the neighborhood. I suspect the snow is too high for you to go to a park.

Tell Mom I was awake this morning at 3 and almost turned on What’s My Line. But I read instead. Tell her thanks for all the information on the dead people. I guess in 50 years, we’ll all be dead, too. (Well, hopefully, not you, Louie.)

Jan. 30, from Louie, Day 13

Hi, Pops!

Mom says you sounded kinda low this evening, and I know just how you feel, ‘cuz I’m feelin’ kinda low, too.

Mom won’t kiss me.

Miss Marigold left a great big deposit in the litter box, and I was feelin’ kinda bored, so I ate it. Now Mom says I have poopy breath and she won’t come near me. It’s not fair. I was just bein’ a DOG, for goodness sake. And if it doesn’t hurt me, how does she think it’s gonna hurt her???

Mothers. You can’t do anything right with them.

And then the snow’s gettin’ so deep, I can’t even begin to run. It’s all the way up to my butt, for gosh sake. How can I romp in THAT???? And tonight Mom let me out in the back yard, and it was SNOWIN’ AGAIN! I gotta tell you guys, you live in the wrong part of the country.

Can we move to someplace like — hey, I know! How about that Ireland? I hear they LOVE dogs in Ireland.

And they don’t make them wear collars and leashes there, either.

Think about it, Pops. You ‘n’ me ‘n’ Mom in the Connemara.

With some big mugs o’ Guinness.

Now doesn’t THAT put a smile on your face?

Louie

P.S. Mom forgot to tell you, she got a letter from the Creswells. He cut out a BJ article about the Cuyahoga Valley park takin’ oral histories from park visitors to find out what they liked best about the valley. He thought you ought to contribute when you come home on spring break. (He deosn’t realize that you have the Internet out there in California and you’ve already seen the story.) Anyway, he asked Mom to pass it along since he doesn’t have an address for you. Mom’s gonna write back to him and  explain that NO ONE has a mailing address for you, thanks to Uncle Sam. I’m a little miffed. Delilah usually sends her love, but there wasn’t a single bark from her. That does it. No Valentine for Delilah!

Pops replies:

Hi, Louie. I’m sorry you were kinda  low last evening. I know how that can go — especially when Mom won’t kiss you. Just hang in there — I’m sure she’ll kiss you when she gets home tonight. (Just to be sure, you might want to chew up a kitchen towel or something just so she  knows how much you miss her when she’s gone.)

I think you would like the Connemara. We might have to sneak you into the country, though. You could be my distant cousin.

Hey, you don’t have to write for the next few days because I won’t see any computer until Monday. So I hope the snow melts a little and you can romp. Be good to your Mom. She deserves it.

Jan. 31-Feb. 2, from Louie, Days 14, 15 and 16

Hi, Pops!

Even though it’s been FOREVER since Mom let me write, I don’t have much to tell you ‘cuz this has been the most boringest weekend in the whole world. We don’t go on very big walks ‘cuz everything’s caked in snow and ice and Mom doesn’t feel too lively anyway ‘cuz she says her new pills don’t agree with her. I say, if they don’t agree with you, don’t take ’em! She says the doctor says she has to “persevere” (whatever that means) until her system gets used to ’em. She says hmmmph! How long does it TAKE to get used to poisonin’ yourself????

Mom’s a little down, too, ‘cuz she says you don’t sound right yourself. She says it’s probably just ‘cuz she always calls at bedtime, but you aren’t too talkative, she says, and she can’t tell whether you’re just too polite to talk to her about your new work or you’re really just not missin’ her much. 

ANYWAY, I really got to get Mom out to the park tomorrow before it gets blisterin’ cold again. She’s goin’ to turn into a pudgy little penguin (and so am I) if we don’t do some serious park visitation. And since tomorrow is a whole new week, I’m sure she’ll be in a much better mood. Me, too.

Miss you bunches,

Louie.

P.S. Mom’s also sad ‘cuz she said she stopped work long enough to watch the halftime show at the Super Bowl and even though he was quite energetic, the Boss had a little pot belly lurkin’ under his vest, and he pranced around the stage like a 59-year-old man whose joints are a little stiff. So she’s feelin’ her age a little bit, which is still two years younger than the Boss, and she wonders if she looks that old and stiff herself.

Geez, she wonders, whatever happened to that hot 30-year-old babe you fell for?

Pops replies:

Oh, Louie, you need to tell Mom that everything is going to be OK. She doesn’t feel good because of the new medicine and that always makes things look dismal. On top of that, she has to deal with all that snow out there. And then there’s the constant pressure of work problems. And she’s worried about you and whether you are getting enough excitement. Whew! That’s a lot. I’m sure you are being a good boy and I know that helps her a lot. Keep doing what you are doing. She’ll be fine.

Me? I’m just having a really hard time in a new job. I’ll keep fighting and eventually I’m sure it will be OK. But, for now, this is very difficult for me. Sometimes I feel really bad when your mom calls at night because I feel guilty that I’m out here on my Big Adventure and your mom is being so supportive — but I’m struggling so. At the same time, I’m not able to give your mom all the support and help she needs from me.

Sometimes by the end of the day, I feel really sad. Your big ol’ goofy face would cheer me up, but I’m starting to forget what you look like, Louie.

Anyway, things will work out. I’m sure of it.

Miss you lots, Louie. (And Mom, too.)

Dad

P.S. Tell Mom that I noticed the Boss’s thickening, too. But I thought it was super that people our age can still rock on.

Feb. 3, from Louie, Day 17

Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy, the SQUIRRELS are back! The SQUIRRELS are back!

Oh boy, I could hear them scramblin’ over the roof all mornin’, and by the time Mom hauled herself outta bed, I was just BESIDE myself. There were two of ’em scamperin’ around the back door and I nearly bruised my snout tryin’ to get through the glass, (I have a BIG snout and that’s SERIOUS injury), but Mom finally got the door open and I LEAPED out the door to get ’em. Well, of COURSE, they ran up the tree and I made a darned good effort to run up the tree with ’em, but I’m a DOG, you know, and dogs don’t climb trees so well. But I huffed and howled and circled the tree ferociously, just to let ’em know, it’s MY yard, and if they wanna come into MY yard, they gotta play by MY rules. Oh boy, oh boy, I can’t WAIT for the chipmunks!

And then Mom took me to the dog park, and even though it still had a lot of snow, I was able to run like crazy. We were alone at first, but then a human guy came in with his Australian hound and, Dad, I gotta tell you, she was one hot lady. Her human said she was only 8 months old, and she has some growin’ to do. (I think she’s gonna be one mighty fine dog when she grows up. Mom warned me that she’s jail bait, whatever that means, and I should behave myself. Hmmph.) ANYWAY, we ran and ran and ran, and I thought we were havin’ a jolly good trime. But her human was kinda  strange — he seemed a little put off that I was there, ‘cuz his hound was payin’ more attention to me than to him. Well, they stayed only five minutes (which Mom said was a waste of good gasoline) and then he hauled his cute little hound outta there and we were alone all by ourselves again. But I got in a good run, and I wasn’t too miffed when Mom did the dog biscuit thing and left me and Miss Marigold to our own devices all day. (Boy, would SHE be surprised if she knew what devices I can get up to when she’s gone!)

So now Mom’s home and she seems pretty happy. She brought me a new toy, and she says tomorrow we’re gonna have CHICKEN! I CAN’T WAIT!!!!

Love,

Louie

P.S. Mom says she knows you’re havin’ a rough time, and she wishes the two of you could just take a hike somewhere and you could talk and talk and talk and work it out in your own head while she listens. But since that’s not possible for a while, you oughta do this:

Whenever you’re feelin’ really low, sit back, close your eyes, and remember New Year’s Eve on the Portage Lakes. Imagine you’re standin’ in the middle of the frozen lake. Fling out your arms and lift your face to the starry sky. Let the wind whip at your heart and let the cold seep into your bones, and when you can’t take it anymore, slowly open your eyes and look toward shore.

You’ll see Mom waitin’ there.

She’ll always be waitin’ there.

You can count on it.

Pops replies:

Oh, Louie, sometimes I think we don’t realize how lucky we both are.

You have the WBM (World’s Best Mom). I have the WBD (World’s Best Dog.

And I also have the WBF (World’s Best Friend).

She’s the best. Truly the best.

Feb. 4, from Louie, Day 18

Hi, Pops!

Mom can be SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO exasperatin’!!! (As you well know.) She was scrubbin’ out the shower this mornin’ and I hadn’t done ANYTHING bad when suddenly she looked at me over her shoulder and said, “Louie, why is there dog hair all over this shower?”

Well, excuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuse me, I’M not the one who takes a shower every day, now am I? And just ‘cuz MAYBE I stick my snout in there to sniff around when she’s gone, that doesn’t mean I’m PURPOSELY leavin’ dog hairs all over her shower. Sheesh.

But then a little later, she’s scourin’ out the microwave and sure enough, halfway through, she looks at me over her shoulder and she says, “Louie, why is there dog hair in the MICROWAVE?????” Well, how should I know? I’m a DOG. I don’t have a degree in physics OR aerodynamics, for gosh sakes.

Here it is her day off and we’re supposed to be havin’ fun, and all she can do is snipe at me ‘cuz of the dog hairs. Now do I sayANYTHING to her about the curly silver hairs I find all over the house? I THINK NOT!!!! So you gotta tell Mom to cut me some slack over the sheddin’. I mean, in the great scheme of things, what does it matter if there’s a black hair floatin’ in her wine glass? Really.

Mom left twice today and she didn’t take me neither time and I think that’s a violation of the international Rules of Dog Ownership. She wasn’t gone long, so I couldn’t get too mad at her, but I don’t think she’s payin’ enough attention to me today. So I’m gonna go dig in the closet and see if there’s a nice shoe I can chomp on. That’ll teach HER to IGNORE ME!!!!!

Snitfully yours,

Louie

P.S. Mom says you can relax. You’re no longer a library miscreant. (If I could read, I’d probably know that that means.)

P.P.S. Mom says she went to the bank (which I really think I could have visited, too) and while she was in line, an old woman with no teeth stumbled in, and after she gave a cheerful hello to all the tellers, she strolled up to the off-duty cop and started to serenade him. Everyone in the bank just froze and GAPED at her, all the time she’s singing, “Ain’t she sweet, see her walkin’ down the street. Now I ask you very confidentially, ain’t she SWEET???” The cop blushed ten shades of red, but he didn’t do nothin’ about it, and the old lady was actually in tune, so it wasn’t THAT horrendous. Everyone gave her a round of applause, and she was so pleased, she started singin’, “You’re in the Army now, you’re not behind the plow….” Well, that finally pushed the cop over the edge, and he took the old girl by the elbow and escorted her out.

Everyone booed.

Ain’t America grand?

Pops replies:

Hey, Louie, guess what I found in my Tupperware container yesterday? Yup. I found several of your hairs — all the way out here in California. Of course, you don’t know what California is, so let’s just say a little part of you came with me a long way away. Anyway, be patient with your mom. Sometimes she snipes at you because you are there and I’m not, so who is she going to complain to? Huh? And not only that, she likes to talk to you. I remember I used to  talk to you all the time and you so patiently listened to everything I said. Or, at least you pretended to be paying attention. You might have been hanging on my every word just in case I said something that sounded like it was about food. Dunno.

Sounds like your Mom had some interesting experiences these past few days. You need to know that when she leaves you, she does so reluctanlty. If she could, she would take you everywhere.

Be good, Louie, I’ll see you soon.

Feb. 5, from Louie, Day 19

Hi, Dad. (Siiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiigggggggggggggghhhhhhh.)

It’s dark now and that means my day is pretty much over, and WE HAVEN’T DONE NOTHIN’!!!!

Not that Mom’s in a bad mood, ‘cuz it’s her day off and that always makes her happy.

But that darned 20-Degree Rule come into play — “Fifteen degrees, Louie,” Mom says, and shakes her head. “No park for you.” So I had to content myself with romps in the back yard, only the squirrels must play by the 20-Degree Rule, too, ‘cuz they weren’t out neither. All I could do was gallop over the clumps of ice and try not to break a leg. (I slid once and kinda fell, but I don’t think Mom saw.)

She DID chase me up and down the hall before dinner, and we’d race to see who could land on the bed first. (Well, who do you think  THAT was? If I can’t beat an old bat like Mom — oops, don’t tell her I said THAT — then I need to turn in my paws and retire.) Anyway, she chased me pretty good until one o’ my claws snagged the quilt, and she decided that maybe it was time to end that game. I don’t see why. I LIKE it when that white fluffy stuff comes outta the quilt.

Mom says she doesn’t want to worry you, but Miss Marigold is REAL bad. She didn’t even sleep with us last night, and Mom was afraid to come out in the livin’ room this mornin’ for fear Miss Marigold would be contorted with rigor something or other. But she was still huffin’ away, and she did eat a little breakfast. But Mom says it’s kinda gross that half her fur has fallen off her face. She looks pretty pitiful even to me. Mom’s afraid the old girl’s in pain, but she doesn’t act like she’s hurtin’. She just lies on the register and ignores us.

I think it’s a good thing you dug that hole, Dad.

Now if only Mom can find it.

This your truly bored….

Louie.

P.S. Mom says the garage door didn’t want to close right last night, and  when she looked at it closer, she saw one of them springs is stretched outta shape. So the garage guy is comin’ tomorrow mornin’ and she thinks she’s gonna have to spring for a new spring. (Ha! get it?). ANYWAY, she’s just glad she caught it before it snapped and trapped Miss Corolla in the garage.

P.P.S. Mom says her new medicine is agreein’ with her a little better, but it doesn’t seem to be doin’ much for her blood pressure. Go figure.

Pops replies:

Hi, Louie. I hope you are being good today. Mom has to go back to work after two days off and, well, you know how crabby that makes her. I’m sure you just showed her your big goofy grin and she gave you a biscuit. You have that figured out, don’t you? Always works on her.

Keep watch on Miss Marigold, OK? I know she’s your little friend, even if she’s too old and tired to play. Some day you’ll feel like that. Just keep that in mind.

I think you are going to have some days here where the 20-Degree Rule won’t apply. Get your mom out on those days. You need the exercise.

Stay warm, Louie. Stay safe.

Feb. 6, from Louie, Day 20

I am Louie, hear me roar!
I am Louie, defender of the Homeland!
I am Louie, master of all I survey!
I am LOUIE!!!!

The repairman approached the door with a cool swagger, thinking this would be an easy score, an in-and-out job. But in the shadows of the early mornin’ sun, he didn’t see me lyin’ in wait behind the door.
Hee hee hee.
Mom had dressed me in my bling at the last minute, so I’d look sharp. Maybe even intimidatin’. Man, was I rockin’! I was snortin’ at the doorknob, dancin’ on my toes, swarmin’ around Mom to protect her.
And then the repairman knocked on the door and I SLAMMED myself at the wood and I let out the deepest growl you’d ever want to hear this side of the Cuyahoga!
MAN, that guy jumped.
Hee hee hee.

And Mom, the traitorous minx, just looked down at me and said, “Louie, be nice.”
Be NICE? To the Mongul hordes? TO THE INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS??? WHAT IS SHE, NUUUUUTTSSS?
“Just let the nice man fix the garage,” Mom said, and she hauled on my bling. (So THAT’S why she got me all dressed up.)
The repairman just waved his hand and said he’d go in through the garage, thank you. He didn’t need to come into the house.
And he scurried on all fours back to his little truck.
Hee hee hee.
I huffed and puffed at the window until it got all steamed up.
I was really hot and bothered.
So Mom kicked me out in the back yard to cool down.
Sheesh.
She has NO idea how to play Dungeons and Dragons, does she?
You gotta come home so I have someone to play with who knows what he’s doin’.
Mom just doesn’t get GUY things at all!!!
Restlessly yours,
Louie.
P.S. Mom says she had to replace only 1 spring. She didn’t get the usual lecture that the door’s too heavy and needs to be replaced, but the skinny little dude did say they don’t make parts for the “operator” anymore, so if it goes, we’ll have to get a new one. I guess “operator” is the same as “motor,” huh?

Pops replies:

Louie: I am soooo proud of you. You know, that’s why we pay you. All
those biscuits come with a price – which is, protecting your mom and
your home. Sounds like you did just fine.

In just a few weeks, I’ll be home and I promise to take you on some
long, long hikes. You remember when we used to go to that big wooden
walkway in the middle of that lake? You used to flirt with all the
girl dogs along the way, remember? (Yeah, yeah, I realize there weren’t
any girls or boys that one day when the icicles started forming under
your mouth. I’m sorry about that one, Louie.) Anyway, we’ll be going
back there and a lot of other fun places real soon.

Feb. 7-9, from Louie, Days 21, 22 and 23

Gosh, Pops, this is gettin’ scary. I don’t think I can count much higher!!!!

Mom’s been kinda spacy this weekend, as you well know from her phone calls, and I don’t have many excitin’ adventures to report. Even though it’s lots warmer, that darned ice is all over the place and I just can’t get Mom out on a good romp!

She DID invent a neat game on Saturday. She called it Poop Toss. She got a shovel, and I chased her all over the back yard while she tried to scoop up the poop and toss it over the fence before I could get to it. I gotta tell you, Mom’s kinda slow,and I got my snout into all sorts of piles before she could fling ’em.

Hee hee hee.

But at least she says there’s less for me to walk in the next time I eat tuna and gotta go RUNNIN’ outside!

We went to the dog park today, ‘cuz Mom thought since it’s Sunday, there’d be lots of other dogs to play with. But only one little beagle showed up, and even though she was INNERESTIN’, she just  couldn’t keep up with me. I mean, I coulda batted that beagle over the fence with one flick of my paw. (Kinda like a poop toss, huh?) I was sorta disappointed when Mom finally hauled me back to Miss Corolla, but SHE was very pleased with herself. Said SHE’D gotten me out to the park on a work day, and it was my OWN fault if I didn’t have much fun.

Mom’s really kinda strange that way, dontcha think?

Louie

Pops replies:

Sure you can count that high, Louie. When you get to Day 44, I’ll be home.

Feb. 10, from Louie, Day 24

Gosh darn it, Pops!

I wrote to you last night, honest I did, but the computer froze up after I hit “send,” and now it looks like you didn’t get my letter after all.

Sheesh, you just can’t trust these machines!

Not that I had anything IMPORTANT to say.

But now you’ll think I wasn’t thinkin’ of you last night.

Aw, geez, that’s just awful.

Louie

Pops replies:

I wondered what happened to you, Louie. I thought maybe your paws froze in the ice, or you forgot how to type, or something like that.

Anyway, I’m glad you are OK. And I hope your mom is OK after going to the doctor’s today. Tonight you need to be especially good. Mom’s gonna be extra grouchy. It’ll be the end of a very tough day for her. (Tomorrow and Thursday can be regular anything-goes days for you.)

Feb. 11, from Louie, Day 25

Hi, Pops!

I know I already wrote to you once today, but that was really just makeup for missin’ you last night, so I’m writin’ again to keep the streak intact. (Streaks seem to be important to sports teams, and I’m a sporty kinda guy, so here I go, tryin’ to keep this one alive.)

Mom came up with a new game today. It’s called Mud Mop. Since the weather got warmer, I’ve sorta been draggin’ in great gobs of mud from the outside, and as Mom said, the floor was gettin’ DISGUSTIN’. So before she left for that Evil Work Place today, she hauled out something called a mop and she filled up the bucket with some foul-smellin’ water, and she swiped the mop over the muddy floor. My role in the game was to chase the mop and mess up everything she cleaned up. I’ve never played this game before, but let me tell you, I’m born for it. I was always one step behind her, trackin’ through all the clean spots with my big muddy paws. I even plopped down and rolled around the wet floor, splashin’ water AND mud all over the woodwork. Mom got really exasperated. I LOVE it when she gets that look — you know: She puts her hands on her hips and she rolls her eyes and she says, “LOOOOOUU-eeeeeeee!”

Oh, man, am I a card or WHAT?????

So the floor, as she says, is still icky, but it isn’t as icky as it was.

I’ll have to work on that.

It’s going up to 60 tomorrow (whatever that means) and Mom says she’ll take me out for a good romp before she goes off on whatever adventure she dreams up for her day off. She also says she’s gonna make a big helping of soup in the crock pot. I’m not too crazy about soup, but I’m sure she’ll find some meat to put in it, and I like that. So tomorrow is promisin’ to be a good day.

Can’t wait to see you.

Louie

P.S. Delilah seems pretty hot for my body, and I think she’s kinda cute, too. So what’s your advice? Do I string her along? Or do I tell her up front I’m not equipped to do anything for her?

What would a gentleman do?

Pops replies:

Oh, Louie, you have charms that go waaaaaay beyond “doing anything” for Delilah. If you find her appealing, go for it. One of these days, you will be too old to “do anything” anyway, so this is good practice for you.

That mop game sure sounds like fun. Wish I would’ve been there.

As for me? Well, I had a chuckle as I walked to work this morning in the snow. I saw a beer truck going up the mountain with chains on its tires. Now I know you don’t know what any of that is. But trust me, it was pretty funny. While you are basking in 60-degree weather (though lots of rain), I’m knee-deep in snow. And to think that above all else, the beer must go through, that’s kinda funny to me. I’ll explain it all to you when I get home. I can’t wait ’til we go on our sunset hikes again and I can tell you about California.

Oh, and I can’t wait ’til you, me and Mom go on our morning hikes, too. Just think, you are going to have lots and lots of exercise pretty soon. (Though Mom tells me you are jumping up at the door these days. You are going to have to quit that, K Louie?)

Feb. 12, from Louie, Day 26

Hi, Pops.

It’s Louie here.

Not a very excitin’ day, ‘cuz I’ve been feelin’ kinda low.

I gave Mom a scare, and I feel kinda bad about it, but ya know, dogs are allowed to have so-so days, just like humans. It doesn’t mean anything MAJOR is wrong.

I got up at 7 and caught a raccoon diggin’ in your little outside fireplace, and that was kinda excitin’ — ‘cept Mom wouldn’t let me go out and tear its head off.

And then when Mom got out of bed for real at 10, I caught the black cat skulkin’ around the back yard, and that was kinda fun, too.

But I musta ate something that didn’t agree with me, ‘cuz when Mom got around to takin’ me to the dog park at noon, I wasn’t really into it. It was ankle deep in mud, and there wasn’t no other dogs there, so I just kinda trudged around the fence with her and drooled a lot. Mom thought I was just out of it ‘cuz there wasn’t no other dogs, but I just wasn’t in the mood, ya know? All I wanted to do was go home and curl up beside Miss Marigold.

But noooooooooooooooooooooooooo, Mom drug me off to the OTHER dog park instead, to see if maybe there was some dogs THERE I could play with. And there were two lively little pups runnin’ around, and they did want to horse around with me, but I just wasn’t up for it, so I kept wanderin’ away from them. And since my tummy was upset, I was droolin’ REAL bad. Well, actually, I was kinda foamin’, which put Mom and the other dog owners off. They kinda suggested real strong that I was sick and Mom oughta take me outta there. Well, I wasn’t really sick, but I just wasn’t feelin’ like a romp. So Mom agreed that maybe we ought  to go home, and she put me on the leash. I didn’t fight her none. I think that helpin’ of  bacon in last night’s soup wasn’t sittin’ so well. So we went home, and Mom hovered over me for a while, thinkin’ that maybe I was gonna die.

But I didn’t.

And Mom finally loosened up enough to go out and do her day off thing.

When she got home, I was my frisky old self.

She gave me a big hug and sorta sobbed that she just didn’t know what she’d do if anything happened to me. I felt real bad for her then, and I licked her all over her face. Probably gave her all sorts of dog bugs with it, but she didn’t seem to mind. She’s so happy that I’m feelin’ better, she’ll probably let me have the choicest spot in the bed tonight.

Like I couldn’t get the best spot if I wanted no matter what.

I’m sorry I wasted a chance to run like the wind, but some days, you just don’t feel like it. I’ll probably regret it tomorrow when Mom goes off to that Evil Work Place and I’m left all alone. But a dog’s gotta do what a dog’s gotta do.

Right?

Maybe if you’d come home, Mom wouldn’t fixate on me and we’d all be better off.

How’s that for a guilt trip?

Miss you miss you miss you.

In a manly way.

Louie

Pops replies:

Dear Louie: I hope you are feeling better today. Mom worries a lot — about both of us. Maybe you both will enjoy these photos I snapped this morning on my walk to work.

P.S. Woooo-hoooo! I was just told I can go home — everyone gets a snow day here at Hathaway Pines. Of course, there are only two or three of us who made it into work anyway. I have NEVER seen it snow this hard in my entire life.

Feb. 13-16, from Louie, Days 27, 28, 29 and 30

Hi, Pops! Where’ve you been all weekend? We haven’t talked in ages!

Mom ‘n’ me have had some excellent adventures. On Sunday, she took me to the nice dog park in the Falls, hopin’ that since it was the weekend, there would be more dogs out playin’, even though it was nasty cold. Well, she was almost right. There was three big dogs already in the park — a husky who was there with a grouchy male human and two shepherd mixes who was there with a spacy female human. Mom ‘n’ me both thought, oh boy, this will be good for a romp. And we did get in a lap or two. But mostly the male shepherd wanted to snap, snarl ‘n’ hump my face. (Excuse meeeeeeeee, but that’s what he did.) And his human didn’t want to get involved to stop it ‘cuz her shepherds was just actin’ like dogs, weren’t they? So Mom got a little irritated, and she started policin’ me and the shepherds, and whenever the male got too snarly, she kinda waded in and shoved him offa my face with her boots. Now, Pops, this got a  little embarrassin’ — a guy doesn’t want to be rescued by his mom, for goodness sake. On the other hand, this male wasn’t payin’ attention to my signals to back off, so eventually, I stopped runnin’ with the shepherds ‘n’ just hung around Mom in one corner of the park until the shepherds decided to go home. (Their dumb human didn’t even put them on leashes when she opened the gate — then acted surprised that they took off down the hill without her. Sheeesh, some dog owners….) Mom ‘n’ me lasted one more walk around the park before the wind sliced into our eyeballs, then we left, too. Mom started chucklin’ when we got down the hill and saw the spacy woman still chasin’ her shepherds around the parkin’ lot. I got the hint and pranced just like a prince to Miss Corolla, waited politely while Mom unlocked her, then gracefully climbed into the back seat. You want cultured? I got culture. (Mom gave me a big sloppy hug when she got in Miss Corolla and said I was the best!)

Today we went to the Akron dog park, and oh boy oh boy oh boy, we had the best romp! There was a big border collie racin’ around inside when we got there. Mom was a little worried, thinkin’ it’d be one of them border collies with the crazy gleam in the eye. Only this guy was just boisterous, not psychotic. He was born to run and, of course, so was I, so we ran and ran and ran and ran ’til both our faces was covered with slobber. Mom said it made her tired just watchin’ us. We musta covered a gazillion miles! When Mom finally took me back to Miss Corolla, I collapsed in the back seat ‘n’ fell right to sleep. She had to wake me up when we got home.

And then there was Saturday’s excellent adventure (I saved the best for last). Mom took me down to the joggin’ path in Sand Run, but we didn’t cover even a mile, ‘cuz Mom kept sayin’ she had to save her energy. Now I ask you — save her energy for what? What could be more important than a walk with Louie?

I’ll tell you what — Mom went and washed Miss Corolla!

CAN YOU BELIEVE IT???

We drove from the park down to the car wash, then Mom collected her quarters, locked me inside and proceeded to hose down Miss Corolla.

Dad, it was the most hilarious thing I ever seen. Mom didn’t realize what was gonna happen to the pressure when she turned the dial to “wash.” I saw it all from the front seat, and honest to gosh, Pops, the power almost knocked her on her butt. The hose went flyin’ out of her hand ‘n’ the handle musta got stuck somehow, ‘cuz the nozzle just kept sprayin’ water while the hose danced around Miss Corolla and Mom went chasin’ after it like it was some kinda  snake. She finally caught it ‘n’ wrestled it around so she could aim it at Miss Corolla, and she sorta kept it under control till the time ran out. But she was mutterin’ that she lost a whole 25 cents gallopin’ around the stall after that hose.

So that’s been our weekend. Can’t wait to see what Mom has in store for us tomorrow.

Louie.

P.S. Mom says she needs someone to fry the ice right out of her bones, and she’s not talkin’ about the weather. I’m not too well-versed in metaphors, Pops, but something tells me you better be ready to crank the thermostat all the way up when you get home — or Mom’s gonna get a whole lot friendlier with all those male humans who populate the dog parks. If you get my drift.

Pops replies:

Oh, Louie, you really need to learn how to use a camera. I would have loved to have seen a photo of your mom in the car wash. And of you romping with the border collie — though you really do have to be careful with them. They are psychotic, as you mentioned. (You are sooooo smart, Louie. You know such big words.)

I wish I had some fun stories for you, Louie, but I already gave Mom the lowdown on my long, boring weekend. Ask her about it, though there really wasn’t much to report. I did find a photo of you on my computer and I started using it as the background screen. Why, over the weekend, I looked over at the computer and said, “Hi, Louie,” about 100 times. I also started playing chess on the computer. Much fun.

Feb. 17, from Louie, Day 31

Hi, Pops!

I don’t have a long letter to write ‘cuz Mom’s kinda tired and that affects my vocabulary. BUT….

We had a most peculiar adventure today.

Mom took me to the Akron dog park this morning ‘cuz I had such a good time there yesterday. Well, as these things go, there wasn’t no excitable border collies there today. In fact, there was only Fat Annie, who was hangin’ around yesterday when I had my good romp as well, but she didn’t take part because — well, she’s FAT. So Mom ‘n’ me knew right off it was gonna be a challenge to work off any energy today. Mom walked me around the park a coupla times, tellin’ me to RUN, but I needed inspiration, ya know? A guy just doesn’t strut his stuff when there’s no one interestin’ to watch. You know how that is.

Well, Mom was ready to throw in the towel when a car pulled into the parkin’ lot, and Mom said, OK ,we’ll wait to see if anything develops.

Well.

A 30-something female human crawled outta the  car, ‘n’ Dad, she was wearin’ high-heeled boots. Honest to goodness. And then she reached into her car ‘n’ pulled out a squirmy little thing no bigger’n Miss Marigold. The human tottered into the park on her most inappropriate heels, plopped this little handful of fluff onto the ground ‘n’ announced that she was Princess, a miniature dachshund.

Well, really, such creatures shouldn’t be allowed to live. ‘Least ways, not in a DOG park.

So I just stuck my nose in the air and trotted off to a corner of the park to pee.

OMIGOD, Dad, this little squirt was the feistiest little fluff ball you’d ever want to meet. She tried to CHASE me.

No foolin’. She tore across the park and LEAPED at my butt.

Well, I just laughed and trotted away.

So she charged my butt again.

So, I said, OK, you wanna play witht he big guys? We’re gonna play. And I wheeled around (my tail was waggin’, really) ‘n’ I jumped at her. She just FLEW away from me ‘n’ darted back to her human.

Her human stomped her foot ‘n’ said I wasn’t very gentlemanly.

Mom said, oh, pshaw, Louie’s quite gentle.

Well, that brainless little mutt made a charge at me again. Pops, I coulda flicked her over the fence with a twitch of my paw. But I was NICE. I hunkered down on my belly ‘n’ made friendly snufflin’ noises.

And she tried to crawl up on my back.

Well, that wouldn’t do, ‘cuz she had claws. So I shook her off. But she tried to chase me some more. So I decided it was time to show her what a REAL dog does, ‘n’ I tore off for the far end of the park.

She couldn’t BEGIN to catch up.

But her human got miffed — said there weren’t any NICE dogs around for her Princess to play with, ‘n’ she scooped up the pup ‘n’ tottered on back to her car.

Mom ‘n’ Annie’s human just shook their heads ‘n’ we all had a good chuckle.

A miniature dachshund, for gosh sakes!

 She coulda slept in my dinner bowl.

If I’d’ve let her.

So that’s all from Louie land. I’m gonna beg a Milkbone from Mom ‘n’ go to bed.

See you soon.

Louie

Pops replies:

Not a long letter? It appears that once you got going, you just couldn’t stop yourself. Like with so many things.

It looks like you put the little princess and her princess human to shame. Good for you. Then again, you are the World’s Best Dog. And, you have the World’s Best Mom — she’s taking you out to a dog park every day now.

Feb. 18, from Louie, Day 32

Hi, Pops! Louie here. You know — WBD.

No excellent adventures to report today ‘cuz the weather has been mostly crappy. But there were a coupla spooky incidents.

First off, Mom let me in from my mornin’ constitutional and I was just buryin’ my head in a fresh bowl of Kibbles enhanced with Friskies sliced beef when a great big growl echoed up the valley. I mean, it shocked me right outta my food bowl and even Mom, who hadn’t had her mornin’ coffee yet, spun around and took notice.

The growl just got louder, so the both of us plastered our noses to the back windows, thinkin’ it was maybe a dinosaur or somethin’.

And pretty soon a POLICE HELICOPTER buzzed into sight — only Dad, it was flyin’ so low over the valley, it was actually BELOW us. Honest to gosh, we was standin’ up higher ‘n the helicopter. It buzzed back ‘n’ forth in front of us for a good five minutes — Mom said it seemed to be followin’ the Little Cuyahoga, whatever that is — and then it veered off toward that big high bridge on the other side of the valley.

It never came back and there was nothin’ on the news about anything goin’ on, but it sure made Mom ‘n’ me edgy.

Especially when I saw the ghost.

Mom was back in the bedroom pullin’ on her jeans when I saw it out the front window, and  man, I just started barkin’ and howlin’ like a maniac. Mom tried to ignore me, thinkin’ I’d shut up, but geez, this was a GHOST. So eventually she stomped down the hall, sputterin’, “Louie, what’s got into you?” And I think she was even gonna swat at me, until she looked out the window at the park next door and I heard her suck in her breath, ‘n’ she said, “Good God, Louie, it’s a ghost!”

See, I told you.

So we ran into the closet room, where Mom could get a better look (only I couldn’t see nothin’ ‘cuz the windows is too high). She said it looked just like the Grim Reaper, only white. I don’t know what the Grim Reaper is, but it sounded pretty scary. Especially when Mom said it looked like BLOOD on its chest.

Well, I know Mom was thinkin’ of that police helicopter, but she’s a mystery writer, don’t you know, and she got out my bling and we marched right outside to see what was up. (Hey, it was daylight, and I was there to protect her, right?)

And it turned out to be nothin’ but a dirty old sheet hangin’ in a tree. Mom says it looked like some trespassers have built a little Survivor camp around that busted-up kiddie table that’s been lyin’ in the woods all winter, ‘cuz there was some other stuff stacked up around a little shelter that had been built with branches and leaves. The sheet musta been hung up to dry in the wind. Mom was all for takin’ down the sheet so it wouldn’t give us a heart attack every time we look out the window, but I didn’t like the smell of the place, and I yanked her outta there.

It’s still hangin’ out there now, even as I write.

Kids.

They’re worse ‘n raccoons.

Well, that’s all for now. I was kinda hopin’ for a romp at the park today, especially since it’s Mom’s day off, but it never stopped rainin’ enough. She did take me around the neighborhood twice, and that was fun, but it isn’t anything like runnin’ like the wind.

Maybe tomorrow.

Love,

Louie

Pops replies:

Hey, WBD. You know, Louie, you and your mom have so many adventures. I wish I had things to tell you. But way out here in California, I just don’t have much to report. I go to work. I go home and make dinner. I watch Cash Cab. I talk to your mom. I read for a while. I go to sleep. I wake up and watch the weather reports. I go to work.

Yeah, pretty boring, huh? No ghosts. No police helicopters buzzing the house. No romps at the dog park. Oh, well, it will be life in the fast lane again in about 10 days.

Feb. 19, from Louie, Day 33

Hi, Dad.

Louie here.

Sigh.

Louie of the BIG dumb ears.

Sigh.

First of all, it WASN’T my fault.

Second, I didn’t break nothin’ — at least not permanently.

So you gotta tell Mom to get over it.

As she told you, it was a wicked cold day ‘n’ I didn’t get a chance to run too much. So when we got back from our walk, Mom looked at the icky kitchen floor and decided to play Mud Mop.

Well, things was goin’ just fine. I was doin’ my part, rollin’ on the wet floor everywhere she cleaned up, and she wasn’t TOO mad at me.

But then that arrogant black cat showed up ‘n’ stuck his nose in the window, right where Mom keeps Miss Marigold’s box.

Well.

I couldn’t let that pass.

So I leaped up ‘n’ charged the window, ‘n’ I kinda slid on the wet floor ‘n’ slammed into the window, so the black cat kinda moseyed on down the back o’ the house toward the gate, ‘n’ I was so incensed that he was still hangin’ around that — well —

I chased him from inside the house, ‘n’ in the process, I galloped through the litter box, bumped over my food dish, ripped another big hole in the quilt, knocked over the plant stand, scared the bejeesus outta Miss Marigold, dashed behind the  couch, tipped over a lamp (don’t worry, it’s the one that’s kinda dicey anyway) ‘n’ clawed up the woodwork tryin’ to get to the cat.

And I succeeded. I scared that cat right OUTTA there.

But, oh, yeah, did I — um — mention that I also knocked over the scrub bucket?

Well, I don’t see how THAT was a problem. The floor was already wet anyway, wasn’t it?

So I trotted back to Mom, pretty proud of myself, ‘n’ she was just leanin’ on her mop and lookin’ at me kinda dazed, ‘cuz I did it all in about five seconds.

When she finally got her voice back (as the scrub water lapped at her slippers), she just shook her head ‘n’ croaked, “Sometimes, Louie, you just gotta stand back and let disaster happen — ‘n’ then try to climb up out of the wreckage.”

I thought that was very philosophical.

And eventually, she recovered enough to rub my belly.

But I don’t see why she got so bent outta shape in the first place. It sure made the Mud Mop game go fast.

Love,

Louie.

P.S. You might wanna consider buyin’ Mom some glass for her birthday. Just so she forgets about the vase I kinda chipped.

Pops replies:

Louie, Louie, Louie, WHAT are we going to do with you? Yeah, I know, you were just doing what you believe is your job — to protect Mom and the house from being invaded by the evil black cat. But Louie, not the glass. You can tip over anything — ANYTHING — but not the glass.

I’ll be seeing you soon. Meanwhile, you better be nice to your mom.

NOT the glass, Louie. Not the glass.

Feb. 20, from Louie, Day 34

Hi, Pops!

I know it’s early for me to write, but Mom says you got a fearsome headache, so I thought maybe I’d cheer you up with some of my adventures.

It snowed last night, so instead of stumblin’ around the neighborhood with me, Mom took us to the Akron dog park, hopin’ I’d find someone to romp with in the snow. And I DID. There was a big shepherd playin’ Frisbee, and we had a grand time runnin’ around the park.

BUT….

About five minutes later, a female human come in with her three dogs. Two of ’em was quite chubby and didn’t want to do nothin’, but the third was a fella about two-thirds my size with some serious alpha male issues. He come chargin’ up to me n’ the shepherd ‘n’ we was gonna let him run with us, but before you could say fiddlesticks, he lit into the shepherd ‘n’ they was rollin’ ‘n’ snarlin’ ‘n’ fightin’ all over the snow — just like that! Well, the female human just stood back at the gate ‘n’ did nothin’, so the shepherd’s human waded in ‘n’ got her fella on the leash ‘n’ hoofed it on outta there.

Mom was thinkin’ we oughta do the same, but I was thinkin’ maybe I oughta just go in the other direction, so I raced to the far end of the park, ‘n’ dang if that feisty dog didn’t chase after me, too.

Well, Mom plodded through the snow after us (the female human was still doin’ nothin’) but before she could reach us, the bad dog was snappin’ ‘n’ swipin’ at my face with his paws.

Dad, I don’t like to fight, so I even hunkered down on my belly ‘n’ did the submissive thing, but the bad dog was havin’ no part of it. He made a lunge for my neck ‘n’ — well — a guy’s gotta protect himself.

So I showed my fangs.

And I growled pretty ferociously.

And we sorta got into it.

But then Mom FINALLY got there ‘n’ kicked us apart ‘n’ grabbed my collar ‘n’ kept battin’ away the bad dog until she could snap on my leash.

It was a LONG walk back to the gate, ‘n’ that bad dog kept snarlin’ around us, ‘n’ Mom was thinkin’ we’re never gonna get outta here without someone gettin’ bit.

And that female human just STOOD there ‘n’ said, “Oh, Sammy,  stop bein’ so obnoxious.”

OBNOXIOUS????

That dog was PSYCHOTIC!!!!!! 

And Mom said so as she hauled me out the gate.

So Mom  brung me home ‘n’ checked me out pretty good to make sure there was no bite marks, but she shouldn’t’ve worried, ‘cuz I would’ve torn that mutt’s throat out before he coulda hurt ME.

She just doesn’t believe I can take of myself.

So that’s it from Louie land.

Hope I’ve distracted you from your troubles — even for a minute.

And just think — in a little over a week, you ‘n’ me will be havin’ a big pajama party, ‘n’ this headache will be just a bad California dream.

Love,

Louie

Pops replies:

Hi, Louie. Oh, my, what an adventure. You have to remember, Mom’s a girl and she doesn’t understand these kinda things. Still, I remember when that dog on the jogging trail tried to snap at you. Yeah, I know, you could have protected yourself. But we humans think we have to  defend you. After all, we have the WBD.

Tell Mom my fearsome headache has dulled a bit and I think I’ll make it through the day. Thanks for the distraction, though, Louie. You’re the best!

Feb. 21-22, from Louie, Days 35 and 36

Hi, Pops!

Well, I got caught.

I thought I was bein’ sooooooooooooooo slick, but my big butt give me away ‘n’ I got caught.

It’s been snowin’ ‘n’ blowin’ pretty bad, so we didn’t get much of a walk today. Later, when Mom started bundlin’ herself up in her coat ‘n’ gloves, I thought she was just doin’ her daily disappearin’ act, ‘n’ I was pretty sad. But no! She got out my bling ‘n’ loaded me in Miss Corolla, ‘n’ we took a long, long, long ride down to see Bob ‘n’ Tim. There isn’t much room to play there, but — don’t tell Mom — it’s pretty cool, ‘cuz that Tim keeps slippin’ me food under the table. He did it all through dinner. Mmmmmmmm. I LOVE that roast beef!

So I wasn’t exactly starvin’ when Mom decided it was time to go home. In fact, I even sorta napped in the back seat as she drove, ‘cuz I’d already seen the scenery goin’ down, so I didn’t need to see it again goin’ home, right?

Well, after a while, she pulled off the road ‘cuz she said we needed somethin’ called gas. (Don’t know why she had to go to a store for it. I could given her a lot for free!)

So she pulled up to a pump and said, “Be good, Louie. I won’t be more’n a minute.”  And she trotted off into the store.

Well.

Isn’t THAT an invitation?

I mean, Miss Corolla was reekin’ with the smell of leftover red meat driftin’ outta the big pot on the front seat. And I’m a dog, right? So I IMMEDIATELY crawled into the front and — well — I don’t have hands, you know, so I had to rely on my snout, and eventually, I nosed the lid right offa that pot. And since, Mom left most of the extras with Bob ‘n’ Tim, there wasn’t a whole lot in that pot. But what was there smelled like heaven, ‘n’ I just stuck my whole head inside.

And maybe I got carried away, ‘cuz I never heard Mom come back, ‘n’ there I was, up to my head in Crock-Pot, lickin’ ‘n’ slurpin’, with butt smashed up against the driver’s window.

Mom whipped open the door and said, “Louie! What are you DOIN’?”

I looked at her over my shoulder ‘n’ there wasn’t much I could say in my defense, ‘cuz there was gravy drippin’ down my jowls.

“Louie!” Mom said. “That’s your dinner!”

So I slunk into the back seat ‘n’ buried my gravy-smeared snout in my gravy-smeared paws ‘n’ tried to act contrite.

But gosh, I sure did smell good.

Just wish I hadn’t tipped her off by stickin’ my butt in the window.

Hee hee hee.

She loves me anyway.

So that’s all from Louie land. It’s snowin’ something fierce again, ‘n’ I think all Mom wants to do is crawl under the covers ‘n’ hibernate.

It sure is hard to be adventuresome when the temperature dips down to 15 ‘n’ the snow is flyin’. Hope you get home soon to keep Mom warm, ‘cuz there’s only so much a brave-hearted dog can do.

Love,

Louie

P.S. I think Mom’s gettin’ bored with me. Hope you can think of something to spice up her life.

Pops replies:

Louie Louie Louie. Your snout in the crockpot? What are we going to do with you? You are getting to be quite the rascal. Whatever happened to that quiet, shy, innocent boy that I used to know and love? Well, OK, you’re still the WBD, but one of these days real soon, you are going to find yourself sleeping on the floor again. And if we get any kinda lip from you, young man, you are going to find yourself banished to the couch.

OK, I’m done with the fatherly lecture.

See you soon.

Feb. 23, from Louie, Day 37

Hi, Dad.

(Sigh.)

It’s Louie.

(Sigh.)

I’m really sad.

(Sigh.)

I think (sniff, sniff) I think Mom likes (sniff, sniff) Miss Marigold BEST!!!!!

Oh, I know she takes me out on lots  of adventures, and she always leaves Miss Marigold behind so it’s just her ‘n’ me, but….

Well, geez, she ALWAYS feeds Miss Marigold first, morning ‘n’ night.

And she ALWAYS gives Miss Marigold a fresh can of food while savin’ just the leftovers for me.

And she ALWAYS gives Miss Marigold the choicest spot in bed.

And in the mornin’, the first thing she ALWAYS does is tiptoe out to the livin’ room to see if Miss Marigold is still breathin’.

I mean, golly, I’ve been doin’ my best to keep Mom entertained, especially since you’ve been gone, and some days, she gets really low, so it’s a mighty job. I’ve been tryin’ so HARD to keep her preoccupied ‘n’ even make her smile, but every time I think I’ve made some progress….

There she is, fussin’ over Miss Marigold again.

I don’t think it’s right.

I think she loves that stinky old cat more’n she loves me.

I am SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO sad.

I think I’ll go chew on my tail.

Better yet, I’ll chew on Miss Marigold’s tail.

That’ll teach both of ’em.

Jealously yours,

(sniff, sniff)

Louie

Pops replies:

Oh, Louie, I know how it must seem to you — with Mom fussin’ over Miss Marigold. You’ll just have to trust me on this: Mom loves you just as much. Someday when you are old and gray, you will understand. Mom is loyal to Miss Marigold, even though she doesn’t provide much entertainment anymore. Ah, but back in the day, Marigold was the feistiest little feline around — even when she had to deal with a crazy dog (not you, Louie — you’re the WBD). Now, well, she’s just gettin’ by. So Mom makes sure she’s comfortable, warm and well fed. There will come a day when you get the same treatment.

Meanwhile, as your dad, you should know that I’ll reward you for all the times when you boost your mom’s spirits.  These are tough times for her — and I’m so proud of you for taking care of her.

Feb. 24, from Louie, Day 38

Oh boy oh boy oh boy OH BOY!!!!!!

It was the best run EVER, Pops, just the best!!!!

I didn’t think we was gonna get out at all ‘cuz it was real cold, but Mom musta known I was feelin’ low, ‘cuz even though we was darn near in violation of the 20-Degree Rule, she bundled up real good ‘n’ took  to the Akron dog park.

The sun musta fooled everyone into thinkin’ it was warm, ‘cuz Fat Annie was there, and so was Shadow, and a new dog named Moose (you can just guess how he got HIS name) and right after me was a young fella who looked just like me, followed by two golden Labs. It was a dog CONVENTION!!!! Even Fat Annie was feelin’ frisky!

And, oh Pops, did we run — faster ‘n the wind, faster’n a bullet, faster even than Superman! Our humans just stood in the center of the park ‘n’ watched us race around them in a blur ‘n’ we barked ‘n’ howled in joy ‘cuz THIS is what is meant by bein’ a dog!!!!!

It was so darned good that Mom didn’t even have to call me to go home. When I was worn out, I just sidled up to her ‘n’ nuzzled her thigh, ‘n’ she knew right off it was time to get the leash.

We went home ‘n’ I slept the rest of the mornin’ on the kitchen floor while she did dishes, ‘n’ even though she doesn’t know it, I curled up on the softest part of the bed after she went to work ‘n’ snoozed all afternoon, too.

I was a black tornado, Pops.

It was the best!!!!

Love,

Louie

Pops replies:

Oh, Louie, I can just picture you running like the wind — that’s my boy!

Feb. 25, from Louie, Day 39

Hi, Pops!

We returned to the scene of the crime today (you know, the park where I got a little too — um — frisky with the lady dog?) only there wasn’t no trouble ‘cuz there wasn’t anybody there. Well, there WAS a big old mean Doberman leavin’ as we pulled in, but Mom ‘n’ me were both kinda relieved that he was leavin’ as we was arrivin’, ‘cuz, you know, them Dobermans is CRAZY.

So we trotted up to the park ‘n’ there was still a nice layer of snow, so we could tromp around withou gettin’ too muddy. I got in a few laps while Mom policed the perimeter (she says four circuits equal half a mile) but it wasn’t nearly as much fun as yesterday, when I could race with Fat Annie ‘n’ the gang at the Akron park. In fact, it was so borin’, I started doggin’ Mom’s heels on her third trip around the park. Mom said if I would be that well-behaved when we’re out in the woods, she’d let me off the leash. But of COURSE I don’t heel in the woods! Once you make one circuit of the dog park, you’ve sniffed all there is to sniff. But out in the woods — well, there’s a new smell every which way you turn your head, ‘n’ you just gotta go off ‘n’ run!

Mom doesn’t get it.

So after four dutiful circuits of the park, she leashed me up ‘n’ we drove home, ‘n’ that was kinda disappointin’ ‘cuz I wasn’t nearly tired out yet. But our feet sure did smell like meltin’ dog doo, and that was kinda comfortin’.

Mom left me alone all afternoon ‘n’ I thought Iwas gonna be stuck by myself till dark, but then she come home with a coupla boxes of junk, ‘n’ she made me somethin’ called shepherd’s pie, ‘n’ I gotta tell you, it was MIGHTY tasty. She says she needs to tweak the recipe a little before she serves it to you, but personally, I don’t think she should change ANYTHING! It made me  think of curlin’ up by a fire in a smoky old Irish pub (which is quite a feat, considerin’ I’ve never even been in one).

Mom says you’ll be home in just a coupla days, ‘n’ if I could tell time, I’d be countin’ the minutes, ‘cuz I’m just  dyin’ for a little action on the boardwalk. (Mom says she’s just dyin’ for a little action, too, but I don’t think we’re talkin’ about the same thing.)

ANYWAY, I’ll try to be good for a coupla more days, just so she doesn’t snap at me, ‘n’ then maybe you ‘n’ me can go hide out for a boys’ night out at the condo.

With popcorn.

Hee hee hee.

Love,

Louie

P.S. Mom says some fat old boy tried to hit on her at the auction today, but she politely deflected him by actin’ like a ditzy old lady who didn’t have a clue what he was sayin’. ‘Course, she said, if you’re gonna spend the rest of your life on the other side of the continent, maybe she shouldn’t be blowin’ off some fella who thinks she looks interestin’.

I don’t like the sound of that.

Do you?

Pops replies:

Hi, Louie. I’m sorry you didn’t get to see your lady dog friend — but you’ll have more chances when the weather gets warmer. Not only that, but we’ll be doing the boardwalk thing and we’ll even have some boys-night-out parties. You’ll see. It’ll be great.

Meanwhile, keep helping your mom get through these last few days.

Feb. 26, from Louie, Day 40

Hi, Pops!

Mom says this is my last letter (for now) ‘cuz after today, you won’t have any way to read my messages until you’re back home, ‘n’ what’s the sense of writin’ a letter if you can’t read it until I’m right there nuzzlin’ your thigh at the kitchen table?

So, as Mom told you, it was Louie Day today, ‘n’ I only wish I coulda been more into it, ‘cuz she was really tryin’ to keep me entertained.

First we went to the Oxbow, ‘n’ we had a nice walk around the river. I didn’t try to tear her arms outta their sockets once.

Well, that shoulda tipped her off that I was feelin’ some digestive issues ‘n’ wasn’t too interested in rompin’.

But on the way home, we passed the dog park ‘n’ since it was sorta warm out, Mom pulled in so I could play with the gang.

Only the only dog there was a young whippersnapper who was only six months old ‘n’ was already as big as me. Mom was hopin’ we’d hit it off ‘n’ get in a good run, but Dad, this boy didn’t understand the ground rules  of Alpha Maleism. I mean, I was the SENIOR dog, so that made me ALPHA, right? Only he wasn’t cooperatin’. HE wanted to be top dog — imagine that, some young’n who wasn’t even old enough to have his privates snipped off, ‘n’ he thought HE was gonna rule the park?

Well, OK, I was feelin’ a little grumpy, so I just ignored him ‘n’ trotted off to do my business by myself. And things woulda been fine ….except….well, darn it, Dad, when I wouldn’t wrestle with him, he decided to charge Mom.

And you know, I couldn’t put up with that!

So I high-tailed it across the park ‘n’ I bared my fangs ‘n’ I growled something fierce, ‘n’ before Mom could stop me, I lunged at his throat.

Well, the fur flew! But you don’t charge my Mom!

She threw herself between us ‘n’ hauled on my collar before I could draw blood, but I was ready to, believe me.

Mom marched me outta there pretty darn quick.

And she lectured me all the way home about how I couldn’t go after other dogs.

But secretly, I think she was pretty impressed about how mild-mannered Louie wasn’t gonna let no other dog bite her.

So I lounged around the house most of the afternoon while she did the chores ‘n’ along about sunset, she surprised the heck outta me by taking’ me out for another adventure! We went to the boardwalk!

Ohhhhhhhhhhh, Pops, it smelled SOOOOOOOOOOOO good to be back out there. It was muddy, but I didn’t care  (‘n’ neither did Mom — much). We didn’t go all the way to Hunt Farm like you ‘n’ me do, but we got in a good hike anyway, ‘n’ it was almost like old times. We even passed the big old mastiff — you remember him? There wasn’t any other neat creatures hangin’ around the boardwalk, other than a big old heron that I scared off, but it didn’t matter, ‘cuz it was almost like havin’ you right there with me.

Gosh, it was a good walk.

And then we come home ‘n’ I lapped up a whole dish of shepherd’s pie. You gotta tell Mom to make some more of that (though she could lay off the carrots next time; they make me burp).

Now it’s time for Mom to go to bed ‘n’ read, ‘n’ I’m ready to crawl in bed with her.  Just hope the old gas problem settles down!

See you Sunday, Pops!

Love,

Louie

Pops replies:

Well, Louie, I think you did the right thing protecting Mom. Still, that must have been traumatic for you (that means scary).  What a terrific day for you, though, right down to the shepherd’s pie.

And before you can say young whippersnapper, I’ll be home.

Love,

Dad

Feb. 27, from Louie, Day 41

Hi, Pops!

Louie here, with what Mom calls an add-end-um.

Even though it was real wet out, Mom took me down to the Towpath today, ‘n’ we had a REAL nice walk, ‘cuz the Towpath was ANKLE deep in mud (even  for me) ‘n’ that was SWEET!

Especially when Mom turned her back to watch some dumb birds ‘n’ I found a great big pile of you-know-what ‘n’ I couldn’t help myself. I just had to roll around in it.

Well, by the time Mom looked back at me, I was smeared all over my neck ‘n’ shoulders.

Good golly, but that smelled good!

‘N’ all Mom could do was stomp her foot ‘n’ say, “LOOOOOOOOOOOOU-eeeeeeeeeeeeeee, what are you DOOOOOOOOOOOO-in’?????”

So she drug me home ‘n’ tried to rinse me off. She’s really ticked. She says Miss Corolla just reeks ‘n’ I do, too.

I don’t see the problem.

Love,

Louie

Pops replies:

 Ah, the sweet smell of Louie. I can hardly wait.

Pops come home on March 3 ‘n’ Letters From Louie took a spring break. For the next batch, go to my Old Letters ‘n’ click on May-September 2009.

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Published on May 29, 2010 at 1:55 pm  Leave a Comment  

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