June 30, from Louie, Day 19

Ohhhhhh, Pops!
 
I’m SOOOOOOOOOOO in love!
 
With a poodle.
 
Now don’t go gettin’ judgmental on me, Pops. She isn’t a miniature yapper, ‘n’ she’s not the least bit French.
 
Her name is Annie, ‘n’ she’s a dominatrix. Her human says so.
 
We was at the dog park this mornin’, ‘n’ it was just grand. The weather was perfect, ‘n’ most o’ the regulars was there — Chopper ‘n’ Marley ‘n’ Tatia — ‘n’ a bunch of new fellas, like a studly boy who was the mirror image of me, only in chocolate, ‘n’ some lively terriors, ‘n’ a delicate sheltie mix who wasn’t at all psycho. We was tearin’ up the park, a dozen of us or more, runnin’ like the wind ‘n’ rasslin’ in the grass ‘n’ inhalin’ each other’s nether regions. It was FANTABULOUS!
 
‘N’ then just when I didn’t think it could get no better, SHE rose up outta the pack ‘n’ smiled right at me.
 
Ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh, Pops. She’s soooooooooooooo beautiful! She’s a poodle like I’m a Lab — we both got generous streaks of other breeds in us. She’s almost as big as me, ‘n’ she’s black as coal, with curly hair cut short for the summer (‘n’ not in any fussy poofs, neither) ‘n’ her philanderin’ father made sure she didn’t have the long snooty snout of a poodle. It’s square ‘n’ black ‘n’ seductive like mine. ‘N’ her ears flop back, just like mine. ‘N’ she’s four years old, just like me. ‘N’ like her human said, she likes to take charge.
 
Annie (gosh, isn’t that a wunnerful name?) took one look at me ‘n’ cut me right outta the pack. No ditherin’ or flirtin’. She just decided on me ‘n’ — well, golly, Pops, who am I to fight destiny? — we proceeded to dash around the park together, gallopin’ in perfect time with each other, stoppin’ at EXACTLY the same time to pee, ‘n’ defyin’ the other dogs to come between us. We was a PERFECT match (as Mom ‘n’ Annie’s human happily agreed) ‘n’ as far as I can tell, Annie has only one flaw: She likes to eat poop — ‘n’ really, what’s wrong with that??????
 
So we had us a splenderiforous romp, ‘n’ it nearly broke my heart when Mom said it was time to go home. But Annie ‘n’ I exchanged cell phone numbers, ‘n’ I expect to hear from her tonight after Mom goes to bed. I can’t wait. I have SOOOOOOOOOO many stories to tell her. She’s gonna be my best friend ever! ‘N’ I’m sure we’ll live happily ever after.
 
Ohhhh, to-NIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIGHT, to-NIIIIIIIIIIGHT, won’t be just ANNNNNY night………….
 
Sigh,
 
Louie

Pops replies:

Oh, Louie, your new friend Annie sounds wunnerful, wunnerful for you. And, you know, a dominatrix would be about right for you. Sometimes you can be an independent cuss, but most of the time you need someone who will tell you what to do. And I’m so glad she isn’t a miniature yapper. We sooooo dislike those yappers, don’t we, Lou?
Pops
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Published in: on June 30, 2010 at 8:19 pm  Leave a Comment  

June 29, from Louie, Day 18

Ooooooh, boy, Pops, I will NEVER party on unadult beverages again! They’re downright venomous.
 
Them giant spiders is insane! They was mad for Twister (well, o’ course, they got so many legs!!!!) ‘n’ they was eggin’ me on into multitudinous painful contortions around the shed ‘n’ they was tossin’ so many shots at me, I think I mighta been hangin’ upside down from the rafters when Mom finally flung open the door ‘n’ stood in the moonlight in her ratty robe ‘n’ her hands planted on her hips ‘n’ her foot tappin’ madly in the mud.
 
I grinned at her upside down as spiders dangled from my tail ‘n’ I give her a goofy grin. “Hi, Maaaa,” I slurred.
 
“Louie,” she said sternly, “you must come down from there immediately. The neighbors is complainin’ about the noise, ‘n’ they’re gonna call the cops!”
 
“Uh-oh,” my new spider friends said, ‘n’ they scurried off into their dark cobwebs, leavin’ me hangin’ there all by myself to face the wrath of Mom. 
 
“NOW, Louie!” Mom insisted when I made no move to obey her.
 
“You’re kinda cute when you get mad, Mom,” I said, ‘n’ squinted. “Both o’ you is cute.”
 
‘N’ I hiccuped.
 
“LOUIE!!!!!” Mom ordered.
 
“Aw, geez,” I said, ‘n’ I disengaged my legs from the rafters ‘n’ immediately fell into a boneless heap on the floor.
 
The spiders tittered from their lairs.
 
“Into the house!!!!!” Mom said, ‘n’ she pointed with a long bony finger at the back door.
 
Well, Pops, I tried defendin’ myself, pointin’ out that SHE was the one who banished ME to the shed, so it was HER fault if the neighbors was complainin’, but the words wouldn’t come out right. So then I tried to stand up so’s I could mosey on outta the shed, but suddenly my head was swirlin’ ‘n’ my limbs was tremblin’ ‘n’ I think I sorta passed out. Next thing I knew, I was flung over Mom’s shoulder ‘n’ she was marchin’ down the hall to the bedroom, wearin’ me like a shawl, ‘n’ I think I mighta barfed a little down the back o’ her robe.
 
“You are disgustin’,” Mom said as she tossed me onto the bed.
 
‘N’ that’s the last thing I remember until the alarm clock exploded in my head this mornin’ ‘n’ Mom kicked me outta bed. My brain was throbbin’, my legs was spaghetti ‘n’ my tongue was a bale o’ dry cotton. I just wanted to crawl back under the quilt ‘n’ die.
 
But, oh, no, Mom MADE me go on a hike. ‘N’ then she MADE me go with her on her errands. ‘N’ then she MADE me help her police the patio. ‘N’ I think she enjoyed every miserable minute of my sufferin’. Mom has no compassion whatsoever in her soul.
 
‘N’ I told her that, too, after I gobbled down a whole bottle full of aspirin ‘n’ started to feel like a canine again.
 
“That’ll teach you to drink with spiders,” Mom smirked.
 
Oh, ha ha. What a card that Mom is. Ha ha ha. (That was sarcasm, Pops, in case you didn’t recognize it.)
 
So it’s midnight now, ‘n’ I am no longer hung over, ‘n’ I’m safe ‘n’ snug in the house, ‘n’ the party with the spiders is just a fuzzy memory. But I learned my lesson, believe me.
 
Oh, I’ll still chase black cats.
 
But I’ll never ever drink unadult beverages again.
 
Leastways, not while Mom is lookin’.
 
Yours on the wagon,
 
Louie

Pops replies:

This is Taras, who is helping Pops this summer.

Oh Louie, if I had a dog biscuit for every time I’ve heard those words — “I will never drink unadult beverages again” — well, you’d have enough biscuits to last you a year, or maybe even more. But, I’m glad you learned your lesson. Though, I have to say, playing Twister with the sisters (spiders) does sound like fun. Of course, that would be an “adult” kinda fun that you may not understand.

P.S.  Don’t know whether you remember Pops’ summer helper last year, a dudette named Carrie. Well, I thought you might want to take a look at this year’s person, a dude named Taras. Here’s his photo.
 
Anyway, Lou, be good to your Mom. I think you are wearing her out.
Pops
Published in: on June 30, 2010 at 12:35 am  Leave a Comment  

June 28, from Louie, Day 17

Dear Dad,
 
I am writing to you from the shed, where Mom has banished me for the rest of my life or until you come home, whichever is longer.
 
It’s so UNFAIR!!!!! ‘Cuz it WASN’T MY FAULT!!!!!
 
It was a most hot ‘n’ humid day, ‘n’ we didn’t have ANY excellent adventures. Mom was even frettin’ as we took our Pre-Work Walk that things was sooooooooo borin’, I wouldn’t have ANYTHING 87.5 percent true to tell you tonight. ‘N’ that’s why everything that followed was her fault. She was so preoccupied with my literary career that she wasn’t payin’ proper attention to ME, ‘n’ she wasn’t the least bit prepared when we trudged up to the front door ‘n’……..
 
The BLACK CAT was skulkin’ under the bird feeder!
 
He wasn’t more’n’ three feet away from my fat lip ‘n’ I IMMEDIATELY lunged!
 
Too late, Mom yelled, “No, Louie, NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!”
 
But I was a lean, mean, cat-chewin’ machine, ‘n’ I tore after that cat ‘n’ slammed Mom face first into the porch post as I raced through the pachysandra. Mom bounced offa the post into the hostas, ‘n’ her glasses flew in one direction ‘n’ my poop bag flew in the other, ‘n’ my leash slipped right outta her hand. Sensin’ that I was no longer draggin’ Mom’s pasta-packed thighs behind me, I flew a hunnert miles an hour around the corner of the house ‘n’ left Mom weepin’ in the weeds.
 
Well, fortunately for Mom, the cat dashed over to Miss Sandra’s and leapt over the fence into her backyard, ‘n’ I was stymied, ‘cuz I couldn’t leap over the fence myself, not with all my bling trailin’ behind me. So I just dashed up ‘n’ down the fence line, howlin’ ‘n’ slatherin’ at the mouth, ‘n’ Mom was able to stagger up behind me ‘n’ grab my leash before I could take off for Boston Heights.
 
I snorted ‘n’ furiously pawed the ground, but the cat had disappeared behind Miss Sandra’s shed, ‘n’ there was nothin’ left for me to do but let Mom tug me back to the front door ‘n’ into our house.
 
I was feelin’ pretty proud o’ myself, ‘cuz I sure showed that cat! ‘N’ I expected Mom to give me a big hug ‘n’ tell me how manly I was. But nooooooooooooooooooooooo, she was too busy whinin’ ‘n’ feelin’ sorry for herself ‘cuz of the black eye sproutin’ on her face.
 
Well, geez, Pops, if she was in better shape ‘n’ if she’d been payin’ attention to ME instead o’ daydreamin’, none of this wouldn’t’ve ever happened.
 
SO IT’S NOT MY FAULT. ‘N’ that was what I told her.
 
Which was when she tossed all my Little Buddies out into the backyard ‘n’ told me to go live in the shed.
 
Which is where I am now.
 
‘N’ it’s not so bad.
 
It’s kinda stinky, but these giant black spiders is really friendly guys, ‘n’ as soon as I sign off, we’re gonna play Twister ‘n’ party on unadult beverages.
 
‘N’ Mom can just sleep by herself tonight, ‘cuz I’m never goin’ home.
 
So there.
 
Louie

Pops replies:

Oh, Louie, you are going to get into soooo much trouble livin’ in the shed. In addition to Twister and such games, you can howl with the coyotes in the middle of the night and you can sneak up on the Rockies when they least expect it. Oh, my, perhaps you and Mom ought to re-think this living arrangement. Beside, Mom really needs you to protect the homeland, from INSIDE the homeland. You also have to realize that Mom’s kinda puny and when you take off after the black cat, you really hurt her. She’s pretty strong, but she’s not nearly strong enough when you get a whiff of pussycat.
Pops
P.S. Such adventures you have, Lou. I’m envious. 
Published in: on June 29, 2010 at 12:51 am  Leave a Comment  

June 27, from Louie, Day 16

Hi, Dad,
Louie, here.
Sizzlin’ Louie.
Suffocatin’ Louie.
Steamin’ Louie.
Sauteed Louie,
How hot is it?
It’s so hot, my sleek black coat has turned into a curly Afro, just like Mom.
It’s so hot, my tongue is drippin’ chili sauce ‘n’ my eyes is two fiery jalapenos.
It’s so hot, Canyon Trail has turned into a river of molten asphalt.
It’s so hot, when I crawl outta Mom’s cool shower to get a drink, my fleas stay behind.
It’s so hot, when Mom took me on my Pre-Work Walk, I collapsed under the maple tree on the Barbaras’ devil strip ‘n’ told Mom to just go on ahead without me.
It’s so hot, my dinner enhancements is burned before they even get in my bowl.
It’s so hot, I’ve added my OWN rule to Mom’s list of do’s ‘n’ don’ts.
It’s called the 90-Degree Rule.
Whenever it reaches 90 degrees, Louie don’t do nothin’.
Period.
 
Yours in swelterdom,

Louie

Pops replies:

Oh, Louie, it’s so hot that Louie don’t do nothin’ — and that’s perfectly fine. Just keep rememberin’ all those sunset hikes in January when the icicles were hangin’ from your jowls.
Pops
Published in: on June 28, 2010 at 12:42 am  Leave a Comment  

June 26, from Louie, Day 15

Aw, geez, Pops.
 
It’s soooooooooooo embarrassin’!
 
I took a little tumble off Miss Sandra’s wall, ‘n’ now all Mom wants me to do is ‘xaggerate how I almost crippled myself ‘n’ ignore all the REALLY excellent almost 87.5 percent true adventures we had today.
 
Excellent adventures like…..
 
The Irish Indian we discovered in the park. (Indian ‘cuz he was bare-chested ‘n’ had a big feather stuck in his long tangled hair ‘n’ when we spotted him, he was standin’ in a meadow, starin’ up at the sky with one hand shadin’ his eyes like a real Indian scout; ‘n’ Irish ‘cuz when Mom asked him where he got the truly fine feather, he pointed to the clouds ‘n’ said in a charmin’ Gaelic lilt: “Eagles!” — We sure is runnin’ into lotsa fellas in Northeast Ohio with charmin’ Gaelic lilts, aren’t we?)
 
Adventures like the ghostly vision of the deer I kilt, risin’ up outta the bushes as me ‘n’ Mom trudged up the last hill to the Schumacher trailhead (‘n’ miracle of all miracles, the doe give birth after she died, ‘n’ the ghost of a spotted fawn was huggin’ her legs).
 
Adventures like our Midnight Stroll, when I scared the bejeesus outta the preteen girls breakin’ curfew at the park next door.
 
Adventures like the rousin’ game of Mud Mop me ‘n’ Mom played not 15 minutes ago, splashin’ soapy water onto the kitchen floor ‘n’ racin’ through all the clean spots with my dirty paws.
 
Now THEM was real adventures. But nooooooooooooooooooooooo, Mom wants me to give you all the sorry details of my humiliatin’ tumble off Miss Sandra’s wall instead.
 
So, OK, she’s not gonna stop naggin’ me till I tell you, so here it is: We was takin’ our Pre-Work Walk ‘n’, as usual, as we passed Miss Sandra’s house, I hopped up onto the wall to see what was what. Only in a most un-Louie-like move, I misjudged my footin’ ‘n’ plummeted down to the sidewalk below, where I landed with a bone-jarrin’ thump.
 
Well, Pops, I admit, I was STUNNED — not only by the embarrassment of fallin’ in front of Mom, but also ‘cuz I smacked my funny bone on the concrete, ‘n’ my WHOLE front leg was suddenly paralyzed in pain. I even yelped in astonishment, ‘n’ when I tried to stand up, my abused front leg collapsed beneath me, ‘n’ I tumbled back down onto the sidewalk in a helpless heap.
 
OF COURSE, Mom was just beside herself. “Louie,” she cried. “Are you all right? Have you broken your leg? Did you dislocate your shoulder? Have you torn vital ligaments? Oh, Louie, are we gonna have to AMPUTATE??????” ‘N’ she threw herself at me ‘n’ hugged me fiercely, right out there in public.
 
Sheesh.
 
Well, geez, Pops, I was hurtin’, but it wasn’t nothin’ a tough guy like me couldn’t shake off, ‘n’ once the SURPRISE of the fall wore off, I hopped up ‘n’ immediately drug Mom off on a two-block rip-snortin’ tour of the neighborhood, ‘cuz, after all, I had a lot of peein’ ‘n’ poopin’ to take care of before I was locked up for the afternoon. ‘N’ I didn’t limp once. But you know Mom. AS SOON as we got back to the house, she was ALL OVER me, feelin’ me up to make sure there was no jagged bones stickin’ outta my hide. ‘N’ even THAT didn’t satisfy her, ‘cuz as soon as she come home from that Evil Work Place, she was all over me AGAIN, just to make sure that no lethal complications had developed in her absence.
 
That woman is just a worry wart, ‘n’ I don’t know how that Bryan Guy ever made it safely to adulthood with her hoverin’ over him all the time.
 
(So OK, I AM a little sore this evenin’, but there’s NO WAY I’m lettin’ Mom know it. Otherwise, she’ll whip me off to the animal hospital in an EMS ambulance, ‘n’ won’t THAT just break the bank account!)
 
I’m gonna limp — er, GALLOP — off to bed now ‘n’ cuddle up with my Little Buddy ‘n’ maybe Mom’ll stop feelin’ up my limbs ‘n’ we can both get some sleep.
 
Miss you great gobs,
 
Louie.
 
P.S. Mom says you saw a BEAR today!!!!
 
I am MOST jealous.

Pops replies:

Pops shows a snake to a young forest visitor.

Oh, Louie, the bear was magnificent. They must be routine for you, seein’ as you do bear patrol all the time, but I was mesmerized (a word I learned from you, Lou). Think about it. You weigh around 66 pounds, roughly half of what your mom and I weigh. (OK, OK,  more than half of what Mom weighs!) This huge black fella probably weighed 6 or 7 TIMES what you weigh, Louie. You wouldn’t have wanted to mess with him and I was glad I was inside a car.

I’m sorry you took a tumble. I’m sure it was your ego that suffered the biggest bruise.
Love,
Pops 
Published in: on June 27, 2010 at 12:57 am  Leave a Comment  

June 25, from Louie, Day 14

Oh, Pops,
 
I feel so bad.
 
I think I killed a DEER!!!!!
 
We was walkin’ this mornin’ at Big Bend so’s we could avoid the mudslides in the mountains (personally, I think Mom is waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay overdoin’ the mudslide excuse, but that’s a whole ‘nother story) ‘n’ it was a most tolerable hike. It wasn’t suffocatin’ hot yet, ‘n’ I even got to socialize a little with a saucy little black Lab pup who is gonna grow up to be a BIG heart breaker.
 
ANYWAY, we had reached the turnin’ point ‘n’ had come back across the bridge over the sewer pipe, headin’ back to Miss Corolla (you know where I mean?) ‘n’ was just passin’ the trail that cuts over to Treaty Line park. ‘N’ I was sorta grumblin’ under my breath that this wasn’t no decent hike for a dog o’ my size ‘n’ Mom was steadfastly ignorin’ me when……
 
A most gorgeous doe with a distressin’ly heavy belly delicately stepped outta the brush onto the Towpath right in front of us.
 
Well, Pops, I was good. I didn’t rip Mom’s arms outta their sockets or nothin’, ‘cuz I was so mesmerized by this vision of impendin’ motherhood that I stood as still as a stone on the path ‘n’ simply stared. Mom was as quiet as a lump o’ day-old meatloaf herself, ‘cuz she didn’t wanna spook me OR the doe.
 
‘N’ we posed, the three o’ us, in a tableau of nature’s wonders for many, many seconds, tradin’ stares ‘n’ wonderin’ how all this was gonna end.
 
Well, it didn’t end good.
 
‘Cuz the doe twitched her ears ‘n’ snorted, ‘n’ I forgot all my gentlemanly intentions, ‘n’ I barked.
 
The doe spun on her dainty hoofs ‘n’ dashed back into the woods, right toward the train tracks.
 
‘N’, oh, Pops, that was the very moment that the scenic valley train come huffin’ ‘n’ puffin’ down the track, blowin’ its horn ‘n’ disorientin’ all livin’ creatures in a 10-mile radius.
 
The doe run straight for the tracks, tryin’ to leap across ahead o’ the train. We couldn’t SEE her by then ‘cuz of all the verdant vegetation, but I just KNEW she wouldn’t make it in time, ‘n’ despite the maniacal howlin’ of the train’s whistle ‘n’ the thunderous boomin’ of the tracks, I’m sure in my dog’s brain that I was right, ‘cuz I disTINCTly heard a splat.
 
“Louie,” Mom said, “don’t be silly. You heard no such thing.”
 
But I just shook my head in dismay ‘n’ plodded mournfully back to Miss Corolla. I know what I heard, ‘n’ it was a deer splat.
 
‘N’ it was ALL MY FAULT.
 
Well, Mom tried to distract me the rest of the mornin’ from my dreadful instigation of the doe’s demise, ‘n’ she was mostly successful. By the time Mom went off to that Evil Work Place, I was so loaded up with pickin’ chicken leftovers, that I’d nearly forgot our mornin’s misadventures.
 
But then Mom come home ‘n’ immediately took me out for a Midnight Stroll, ‘n’, oh, Pops! Just as we got to the circle ‘n’ I was homin’ in on a nice patch of impatiens to fertilize, the Ghost of the Doe materialized over the hostas ‘n’ haunted me with her accusin’ eyes.
 
She scared the poop right outta me, Pops.
 
‘N’ I run all the way home, draggin’ Mom behind me.
 
Mom says I’m bein’ an idjit. I didn’t kill no deer, ‘n’ that wasn’t no ghost at the circle. It was a real doe havin’ herself a midnight snack.
 
But I know better.
 
I killed the doe.
 
‘N’ she’s gonna haunt me the rest of my miserable life.
 
Homicidally yours,
 
Louie

Pops replies:

Oh, Louie, I am sooooo impressed with your writin’ ability. Can you say VERDANT? Can you say MESMERIZED? Can you say MATERIALIZED? Yes, you can. Your vocabulary is a sight to behold, my boy.
 
Anyway, you need to rest easy. Deer are fleet of foot (or hoof) and can easily outrun and outdodge that big ol’ MANIACAL train that was comin’ down the tracks. So, not to worry. However, I do wonder whether that ghost you saw wasn’t a vision from your past. As in MARIA! If she couldn’t have you in life, she may be visitin’ you from her next stop.
Pops
Published in: on June 26, 2010 at 1:14 am  Leave a Comment  

June 24, from Louie, Day 13

Aw, geez, Pops, just when you think the homeland is safe, the alien hordes sneak in ‘n’ catch you nappin’.
 
Sheesh.
 
It was early mornin’. I was stretched out on the bed beside Mom, diligently watchin’ her sleep, ready to pounce if she so much as twitched in my direction. I was patiently waitin’ for you to show up ‘n’ save me from her dastardly plans to swipe my federal pension benefits. But….well….I really was kinda tired ‘n’ Mom wasn’t makin’ no threatenin’ moves ‘n’ the rain poundin’ on the roof was actually quite soothin’ ‘n’….
Gosh darn it, Pops, I dozed off.
‘N’ there we was, tangled up in each other’s paws ‘n’ snorin’ noxious mornin’ breaths in each other’s faces ‘n’ dreamin’ of slabs o’ grilled meat when suddenly the house quaked ‘n’ a roar as loud as Miss Corolla’s muffler rattled our eardrums.
 
Mom ‘n’ me leaped outta bed ‘n’ stared at each other in wide-eyed terror. (Mom was especially wide-eyed, ‘cuz she didn’t have her glasses, ‘n’ you KNOW she can’t think without her glasses.)
 
“Louie,” she gasped. “What’s happenin’?”
 
“I don’t know, Mom,” I said as I shook visions of grilled wieners outta my head. “But I think somethin’ is attackin’ the front yard!”
‘N’ right on cue, the windows in the closet room began rattlin’ somethin’ fierce.
 
“Louie,” Mom said, “you gotta help me investigate!”
 
“Mooooommmmmm,” I protested, “I’m mad at you! You ‘n’ me can’t do NOTHIN’ together.”
 
“Oh, fiddlesticks,” Mom said. “You can be mad at me later. Right now you gotta save the homeland!”
 
Well, she was right. I had to put personal considerations aside ‘n’ remember my sworn duty to protect ‘n’ serve. So I squared my shoulders, ‘n’ me ‘n’ Mom crept down the hall to the front door ‘n’……
 
Oh, Pops, it was HORRIBLE!!!!!!! Great smoke-belchin’ machines driven by evilly grinnin’ orcs was drivin’ willy-nilly all over our yard!!!!! ‘N’ a troll in headphones was scamperin’ up ‘n’ down the driveway with a lethal weed-whacker! They was slayin’ grasses left ‘n’ right ‘n’ they was so intent on their evil destruction, they didn’t even notice it was still rainin’!
 
“Mom,” I said bravely, “I gotta go out ‘n’ stop ’em!”
 
‘N’ Mom threw herself around my shoulders ‘n’ wept. “Oh, Louie, no!!!! They’ll make mincemeat outta you for sure!”
 
“But it’s my duty!” I insisted. ‘N’ for emphasis, I growled ferociously ‘n’ threw myself at the window.
 
They didn’t even notice.
 
“You’re outnumbered, Louie,” Mom insisted. “Even Tommy Lee wouldn’t order you to go out on a suicide mission!”
 
Well, even I could see the reasonableness of THAT argument, so I agreed that I wouldn’t go out ‘n’ rip off their slimy heads. But I growled that if they so much as stepped ONE FOOT in the house, they was dead meat.
 
“Deal,” Mom said.
 
‘N’ we spent the next hour hoverin’ around the windows, watchin’ the invaders slaughter the toadstools ‘n’ round up my favorite sticks ‘n’ pretty much destroy all my excavations to China. I barked a lot ‘n’ bared my fangs, ‘n’ despite their scaly fearsomeness, they never once breeched our doorway. ‘N’ eventually they conceded that they could molest our yard, but they couldn’t break into our kitchen. So they packed up their foul equipment ‘n’ retreated.
 
The homeland was safe.

 ‘N’ the sun come out.
 
“Oh, Louie,” Mom sighed, “you’re my hero!”

‘N’ she give me the biggest belly rub o’ my life.
 
‘N’ I shamelessly lapped it up.
 
So, OK, maybe she isn’t tryin’ to kill me after all, ‘n’ you can turn the Red Eye around ‘n’ head back to California. I’m really sorry I bothered you. It was all a terrible misunderstandin’, ‘n’ I’ll call off my union rep.
 
Until the next time Mom tries to take me to Bow Wow Beach.
 
Vigilantly yours,
 
Louie

Pops replies:

Oh, Louie, dontcha know it’s a happy day in Louieville? Mom has the lawn mowed and all is well across the land. Still, I’m proud of the way you protected the homeland. You are the best.
Pops
Published in: on June 24, 2010 at 9:07 pm  Leave a Comment  

June 23, from Louie, Day 12

Dad,
 
You must come home IMMEDIATELY!!!!!
Mom is tryin’ to KILL me!!!!!
 
Oh, it started out innocent enough. Mom lured me into Miss Corolla with promises of an extra special adventure, ‘n’ I lapped it up. I am SUCH a DOOFUS!!!!!
 
I was a little bit nervous when Mom headed down to the valley, ‘cuz you know, sometimes when she promises an extra special treat, I wind up at the dog wash or (sheesh!) the vet’s. But Mom drove right past them nefarious places without a single glance, so I relaxed ‘n’ started nudgin’ Mom in the shoulder. “Where we goin’, Mom, where we goin’?” I begged.
 
“Someplace REALLY nice,” Mom assured me.
 
‘N’ we drove ‘n’ we drove ‘n’ we drove. Gosh, Pops, we was on the road for HOURS ‘n’ I was despairin’ of EVER gettin’ out to pee, when suddenly Mom turned Miss Corolla into a LOVELY park ‘n’ — we was at Bow Wow BEACH!!!!!
 
Oh, golly, Dad, there was dozens o’ dogs rompin’ behind the fence, ‘n’ I was so excited at my good fortune, I was whinin’ ‘n’ slobberin’ to get out of Miss Corolla before Mom could even find an appropriate parkin’ space. When she finally opened the door, I LEAPED over her head ‘n’ dashed to the gate.
 
Mom finally caught up with me ‘n’ used the secret code to get me inside the park, ‘n’ I was IMMEDIATELY greeted by a dozen fellas who all wanted to sniff my butt. Gosh, we just danced up ‘n’ down that beach, runnin’ ‘n’ gallopin’ ‘n’ kickin’ up gobs o’ mud. Them boys at Bow Wow Beach is VERY friendly (although quite a few of ’em have hygiene issues — they was all wet ‘n’ sandy).
 
So it was fearsome hot, ‘n’ after a while, I stopped at the lake to have myself a drink, ‘n’ I must admit, the mud squishin’ through my toes was quite refreshin’. Some of the other fellas took the opportunity to dive into the water, but you know, that’s not very safe OR sanitary, so I didn’t follow ’em.
 
But then, the second time I stopped for a drink (‘n’ admittedly got my front paws in the water) MOM snuck up  behind me, ‘n’ she CROWDED me out into the lake.
 
I spun around in fright ‘n’ hopped back onto shore. “MOM!” I howled. “What’re you doin’?”
 
But she just looked at me innocently ‘n’ said, “Why nothin’, Louie. Why do you ask?”
 
“You almost dunked me in the lake!” I said accusatorily.
 
“Oh, pshaw,” Mom said, ‘n’ she nonchalantly walked away from me. But I could HEAR her wicked chuckles.
 
Well, I romped with the fellas some more on the beach ‘n’ then I needed another drink o’ water, ‘n’ this time, well, maybe all of my paws was in the lake.
 
‘N’ suddenly Mom was crowdin’ my butt again, ‘n’ I was pushed knee-deep into the water.
 
“MOM!!!!!” I sputtered as I splashed to shore, “STOP IT!!!!!”
 
“Stop what, Louie?” she asked sweetly. But there was a mad gleam to her eye, Pops. I saw it.
 
Well, I run away from her ‘n’ took up with a little white dog named Maverick who had more sense than to cavort in the sinister currents o’ the lake. ‘N’ we had a most friendly wrestlin’ match.
 
But then I got thirsty again, ‘n’ I cautiously approached the lake ‘n’ — gosh darn it, Mom was on my butt again, ‘n’ I was suddenly in water up to my shoulders.
 
‘N’ in a FLASH, I knew what she was doin’. She was tryin’ to DROWN me so’s she could inherit my federal 401(k). Mom is an EVIL woman, Pops, ‘n’ she’s greedy, too, ‘n’ in your absence, she’s tryin’ to knock me off to make herself rich, ‘n’ I JUST WON’T HAVE IT.
 
So I IMMEDIATELY run to the gate, ‘n’ I wouldn’t budge until she leashed me up ‘n’ took me home.
 
“You’re just a scaredy-cat, Louie,” Mom grumbled as we started the long drive back to Canyon Trail.
 
But I just harrumphed, ‘n’ I kept my distance from her the rest o’ the day, ‘cuz the evidence is conclusive. Mom is tryin’ to kill me (even though I’ll admit, I felt much much cooler after my little dunkin’ in the lake).
 
So it’s nearly midnight now, but that still gives you time to catch the Red Eye and get back to Akron in time to save me from Mom’s deranged plots. I won’t get a wink o’ sleep tonight, waitin’ for you ‘n’ warily watchin’ Mom. ‘N’ if you aren’t here first thing in the mornin’, I’ll have no choice but to call the police ‘n’ the MIB ‘n’ the humane society ‘n’ my union rep.
 
So there.
 
Your abused,
 
Louie

Pops replies:

Oh, Louie, yeah, Mom can be nefarious – what a BIG word – and you do haveta watch out for her. But she means well. I think you can call off the dogs, as they say, and relax. Like every good Mom, she’s tryin’ to teach you something. It’s called swimmin’. Now, I don’t want to bring up a name from the past, but Stoli Jane was an Olympic swimmer and she had NO fear of the water. I’m thinkin’ maybe you might be a little bit afraid to go into the water. But, ya know what, Lou? You are a natural born champion swimmer. It’s good you got your feet wet today. Maybe next week you can go a little further. And then a little further. Before you know it, you will want to go to Bow Wow Beach every day — even in the middle of winter.
Pops
P.S.  Maybe someday you and Jane can go swimmin’ together. Wouldn’t that be fun?
Published in: on June 23, 2010 at 11:53 pm  Leave a Comment  

June 22, from Louie, Day 11

Oh, my daddy was a philanderin’ greyhound ‘n’ my mama was a Lab who couldn’t say no, but Mom says I musta had an uncle somewhere who was a huntin’ dog (‘n’ an auntie who secretly dealt in drugs).
 
It rained buckets early this mornin’ ‘n’ Mom’s hopes of takin’ me to Bow Wow Beach was swept away in a flash flood. But by the time she finished her first cup o’ coffee, it was dry enough for a depoopin’ mission to the park next door.
 
Well, the park was hoppin’ with creatures o’ the woods who’d come outta hidin’ for the opportunity to gather nuts ‘n’ berries ‘n’ filet mignons. There was chipmunks ‘n’ robins ‘n’ squawkin’ blue jays ‘n’ owls, ‘n’ halfway down to the Chivalrous Neighbor’s house, we come on a squirrel poised on the trunk of a gnarly old oak tree.
 
I know, Pops. I see squirrels ALL the time, ‘n’ this fella wasn’t so special. But as he stared me squarely in the eyes, a funny dizzy feelin’ passed through my head ‘n’ the scenery blurred ‘n’ faded ‘n’ when I blinked to clear my vision, suddenly I wasn’t standin’ in the Canyon Trail park no more. I was in the middle of a meadow of tall grasses, the 90-degree heat had melted into a frosty November mornin’, ‘n’ way off in the distance, I could hear the poundin’ surf at Plymouth Rock. I looked back at Mom, ‘n’ she’d morphed from her baggy shorts ‘n’ T-shirt to brown linsey-woolsy skirts ‘n’ petticoats ‘n’ a white Pilgrim’s cap was perched on her frizzy head ‘n’ she was liftin’ a musket to her shoulder. I looked back at the squirrel ‘n’ he wasn’t a squirrel no more neither. He was a fat brown ‘n’ black TURKEY ‘n’ gosh, Pops, I don’t know what happened. The genes o’ my ancestors took over my body, ‘n’ instead of lungin’ at my prey, I slowly went into a perfect point. I was ROCK solid.
 
“Good boy, Louie,” Mom breathed. “That’s dinner!”
 
And she blew the turkey’s head off.
 
I shook my head in startlement, ‘n’ when the smoke from the musket cleared, that same old squirrel ‘n’ not a turkey was givin’ me the eye, ‘n’ I lunged like I shoulda done in the first place ‘n’ I chased that boy up the oak tree.
 
‘N’ Mom in her baggy shorts was whinin’ behind me, “My arm sockets, Louie! My arm sockets!”
 
Woooooo-eee, Pops, I don’t think I’ll EVER eat Mom’s mushroom-studded spaghetti sauce again. ‘Cuz SOMETHIN’ is givin’ me serious hallucinations.
 
Psychedelically yours,
 
Louie

Pops replies:

Oh, Louie, are you into the ‘shrooms again? We’ve talked about that, son. If you are going to fulfill your duties for the MIB and patrol the perimeter of the homeland, you need a clear head. OK, OK, I realize askin’ you to have a clear head might be a bit much. Maybe tomorrow Mom can take you to Bow Wow Beach and you can dive into the clean, cool water and feel the sun on your face and the refreshing dip in the lake and, and, oh Louie, I wish I was with you on your little mini-vacation!
Pops
Published in: on June 22, 2010 at 8:28 pm  Leave a Comment  

June 21, from Louie, Day 10

Aw, geez, Pops. You gotta ‘xplain the facts o’ life to Mom.
I’m BLACK. I gotta wear a permanent fur coat. ‘N’ I don’t know how to sweat.
If I don’t wanna romp with the other fellas at the dog park, it isn’t ‘cuz I’m sick. It’s ‘cuz I’m HOT.
Sheeeesh, Mom just don’t unnerstand.
She took me to the dog park this mornin’, thinkin’ it would be an extra special treat ‘cuz I didn’t have much socializin’ over the weekend.
Well, her motives was pure, but her timin’ was just awful.
‘Cuz even though it was only 10 o’clock, the sun was just blazin’, ‘n’ there ain’t no shade to speak of at the dog park. YOU know.
There was a new fella dashin’ around the park when we got there — a young Irish setter named Dundee with a human who had a most pleasin’ Gaelic accent. Well, Dundee was QUITE the friendly dog, beggin’ Mom for belly rubs ‘n’ nosin’ after me for a romp around the perimeter. But Pops, I just didn’t FEEL like it. It was TOO DARNED HOT!!!!!
So Mom hovered over me, feelin’ me up for hot spots ‘n’ infections, but there was no dastardly bugs coursin’ through my veins. I was JUST HOT!!!!
Dundee quickly got bored with me, which I thought was JUST FINE, but Mom was perplexed by my antisocial  behavior, ‘n’ when Chopper ‘n’ Marley ‘n’ a coupla other guys showed up ‘n’ I STILL wouldn’t engage in anything but perfunctory butt sniffin’, Mom got REALLY concerned.

“Louie,” she says, “what’s the problem? These are your BUDDIES. Why aren’t you runnin’?”
‘N’ I just rolled my eyes at her ‘n’ plopped my butt down under the shade of a bench.
I was sizzlin’!  Couldn’t she SEE it?
Well, she plodded alone around the park, ‘n’ the new guy Dundee was payin’ so much attention to her, I ALMOST roused myself to go intervene ‘n’ explain to him that Mom was MY Mom ‘n’ not HIS, but…..
Gosh, it was so hot, I couldn’t get up the energy.
“Louie,” Chopper said at one point, “that new boy is makin’ moves on your Mom. You oughta do somethin’ about it.”
‘N’ sure enough, there was Dundee, nuzzlin’ Mom’s thighs.
But I just sighed ‘n’ assured Chopper there was nothin’ to worry about. Mom would NEVER abandon me for an Irish setter with a charmin’ lilt.
“If you say so, Louie,” Chopper said, but just to be safe, he charged over to Mom ‘n’ knocked the new interloper away from her nether regions.
OK, Pops, I can hear you already. I shoulda been the one protectin’ Mom’s honor, not Chopper, but GEEEEEEEEEZ, it was so HOTTTTTTTT!!!
So eventually I crawled over to the gate ‘n’ let Mom know that I was ready to go home. She was quite disappointed, ‘cuz here she’d hauled her butt outta bed early just to give me the opportunity to run like the wind, ‘n’ I hadn’t taken advantage of it.
But Pops, I was so HOTTTTTTT!!
So Mom agreed to take me home, ‘n’ it was only ‘cuz she cranked down all the windows ‘n’ let me hang my head outside Miss Corolla that I made it to Canyon Trail without expirin’.
I IMMEDIATELY slurped up a gazillion gallons o’ water, ‘n’ then I crawled off to Mom’s shower to nap on the cool stone floor while she did her chores.
It’s the dog days of summer, for sure, Pops.
I can’t WAIT for December.
 
Roastin’ly yours,
 
Louie

Pops replies:

Oh Louie, I know it’s tough wearin’ a thick black coat all the time and gettin’ so tired and hot because of it. But, you need to readjust your perspective. This is like a license to be lazy. Think about it. All year you have to be on high alert, patrollin’ for the body snatchers and other homeland invaders. Now, you are free to curl up on the cool tiles of Mom’s shower and no one can criticize you for it. It’s like bein’ on vacation – you are free, FREE! There’s a reason they are called the “dog days of summer” — it’s because they belong to you. Enjoy them.
Pops
Published in: on June 22, 2010 at 12:59 am  Leave a Comment