July 30, from Louie, Day 59

Oh, Pops!I’m so excited, I’m doin’ cartwheels ‘n’ flips in the kitchen.Not only is Mom outta her blue funk, ‘n’ not only did she give me a big heapin’ helpin’ of her own PERSONALLY roasted chicken for dinner, but now she says she might……


Omigosh, I just don’t know what to think!!!!

No more long lonely nights waitin’ for her to come home from that EWP!

Many many MANY more hikes in the woods!

Many many MANY more bellyrubs!

Many many MANY more meaty enhancements of the home-cooked variety!

Many many MANY more nights with you ‘n’ me ‘n’ MOM TOO curled up on the couch, eatin’ popcorn ‘n’ watchin’ Westminster dog show reruns!”Now, Louie,” Mom said, “don’t go gettin’ yourself riled up. I’m only THINKIN’ about retirin’. I haven’t actually made up my mind.””What’s there to think about?” I demanded. “Spendin’ all day with Louie or spendin’ all night at work?”

“Well,” Mom said, “there’s money. Your meaty enhancements don’t come free, you know.”

So I went dashin’ into the laundry room ‘n’ come trottin’ back out with the bag of recyclable newspapers hangin’ from my jowls. “We’ll just clip more coupons, Mom.”

“Excellent point,” Mom said. “But there’s my many pills to pay for, too, ‘n’ they don’t come cheap if you don’t got insurance.”

So I went dashin’ into the big closet ‘n’ rolled out her many jars of pennies ‘n’ old coins. “We got at least three days’ worth of insurance here, ‘n’ if you’d clean out Mr. Rav’s secret compartments, you might get another hour or two.”

“Another very good point,” Mom said gravely. “But we also need a new roof, ‘n’ a new paint job, ‘n’ how are we ever gonna build Pops an office if I’m not bringin’ home a paycheck?”

“I’ll help build it, Mom. I got half the foundation dug already, ‘n’ I won’t charge you a penny more’n union scale.”

“Oh, Louie,” Mom said, ‘n’ she give me a big hug, “that’s MOST generous of you!”

“So that’s settled,” I said. “You’re retirin’.”

“Not so fast, big fella,” Mom said. “You’re darned near a full-time job, but I need some adult companionship, too, ‘specially when your Dad’s off in California. I’ll need to find somethin’ else to keep my mind occupied.”

“I got it!” I said, undaunted. “You can go get a part-time job at McDonald’s ‘n’ bring home some free Big Macs!”

“Somethin’ not quite so mind-numbin’, Lou,” Mom said.

“You could be like Miss Sandra ‘n’ volunteer,” I said. “She volunteers a lot, ‘n’ she’s very sharp.””That’s a VERY good idea, Lou,” Mom allowed. “Though I don’t think I wanna go volunteer with the nuns.””You’d look awful silly in a habit,” I agreed.

“But I like your suggestion all the same,” Mom said. “I could retire in October, be a lazy bum through the holidays, ‘n’ then go out ‘n’ spend the rest of my life doin’ good works ‘n’ hikin’ with you ‘n’ Dad in the woods.”

Louie, the poster boy of Canyon Trail.

“Oh, Mom,”  I said, ‘n’ I snuggled up against her thighs, “if it’d make you smile again, I’ll eat cheap dog food forever ‘n’ never again ask you to turn on the air-conditionin’.”

“Louie,” Mom said, “you’re the best dog a Mom ever had. ‘N’ your Pops is the best friend a Mom ever had. I think I’m now 95.8 percent certain I’m gonna retire.”

‘N’ I did two more back flips in unadulterated joy, ‘n’ Mom rewarded me with an extra piece of juicy chicken.

Pops, you gotta make sure Mom don’t talk herself outta this. I know money is on her mind, but I’m due for a raise from the MIB, ‘n’ if she retires, maybe she won’t need HALF o’ them pills she takes (‘n’ other substances, if you get my drift) ‘n’ we won’t need nearly as much money. Why, she’ll save hunnerds of dollars alone on them birthday cakes she won’t have to buy for all of her co-workers.

So I’ll do my part on the home front, pressurin’ her to call it quits. You do your part from California. It’s time to get Mom offa the clock!

Your most excited,


P.S. Here’s a stupid picture from one of our walks today. WHAT WAS MOM THINKIN’??????

Published in: on July 30, 2012 at 10:09 pm  Leave a Comment  

July 29, from Louie, Day 58

Dear Pops,

Louie prepares to grab the golden rings!

I must type very quietly ‘cuz Mom has curled up on the rug behind me ‘n’ has dozed off nestled amongst all my little Buddies, ‘n’ I don’t wanna have to disturb her less’n I get in some serious grammar trouble. So you read silently ‘n’ I’ll write softly ‘n’ we’ll make this kinda quick.

Mom announced this mornin’ that we both had flabby butts, so she blinged me up for a most rigorous hike at Treaty Line, on the exercise trail. ‘N’ to make it even more challengin’, she forced us to do it backwards.

Gosh, I hate it when she does that!

So we did all the exercise stations in reverse order ‘n’ it was specially difficult ‘cuz I never knew WHAT calisthenics I was supposed to be doin’ until I backed my butt up onto the equipment ‘n’ Mom read the instructions backwards to me. “Stfil gel!” she’d tell me. “Stfil gel!”

‘N’ it took all o’ my meager concentration to figure out she meant leg lifts.

Sheesh, why couldn’t we just do things right ways up?

” ‘Cuz,” Mom said, “we’ve already amused Pops with this particular adventure before, so we gotta make it different to keep his attention!”

So all along the trail, it was backwards runs ‘n’ backwards instructions, ‘n’ it was MOST frustratin’.

But we made it through all the sit-ups (I did 15, Mom did 0.25), leg lifts (I did 20 times 4, Mom did 0.5 times 2), chin-ups (I did 10, Mom did none), parallel bars (I made it across, Mom slipped off 33 ‘n’ a third times), squats (I did 17, Mom got down ‘n’ couldn’t get back up) ‘n’ spins on the rings. (Mom didn’t even try. She said she was my spotter ‘n’ was too busy keepin’ me safe. Hmph!)

I thought at the very LEAST my exertions would pay off with some really stupendous pictures, but Mom never seemed to have her camera ready when I made my most astoundin’ moves. Instead, I look like a timid dork sniffin’ at the equipment instead of flyin’ through the air on the rings. But believe me, Pops, even if I don’t have the pictorial evidence, I really worked my butt off, ‘n’ I ‘xpect to be rewarded for it with an ice cream cone ‘n’ some serious meat in the very near future.

How many legs can Louie lift without peein’?

So, OK, that was the high point of my day, ‘n’ I won’t bore you with the rest of the stuff ‘cuz Mom’s snorin’ up a storm ‘n’ I think I better roll her down the hall ‘n’ hoist her up onto the big bed. She’s really fearsome tired, ‘n’ if she’s gonna cook for me tomorrow, she needs to get her rest.

Hang in there, Pops, ‘n’ don’t let the bureaucratic bed bugs bite.

I’ll write more tomorrow.


Sssssssh, now. I’m puttin’ Mom to bed.



Pops replies:

Oh Louie, you and Mom must know that if you wrote complete gibberish in a letter, that I would absolutely love it. Your letters are always enjoyable, always make me laugh and always remind me of home. But Lou, I depend on you to take care of Mom. She’s having a tough go of it right now and she needs all your best attention.



Published in: on July 30, 2012 at 3:47 am  Leave a Comment  

July 28, from Louie, Day 57

Well, Pops, me ‘n’ Mom has hit a literary brick wall.

We got NOTHIN’ to write about.

I didn’t think we was in any trouble when I flexed my claws ‘n’ sat down at the computer to type, but I no sooner punched in your email address’n my knuckle brain went TOTALLY blank.

“What’s wrong, Lou?” Mom asked from the kitchen table, where she was slavin’ over her latest stupid puzzle.

“I dunno what to say, Mom,” I admitted.

“You ALWAYS got somethin’ to say,” Mom scoffed. “Even if it’s only 87.5 percent true.”

“But we didn’t do NOTHIN’ excitin’ today. What am I gonna tell Pops?”

“Well,” Mom said, reluctantly disengagin’ from her puzzle, “we’ll just haveta to put our thinkin’ caps on.”

‘N’ we sat down together in front of the computer ‘n’ stared in perplexity at the blank screen.

“We took a hike this mornin’,” Mom said. “That oughta be good for somethin’.”

“It wasn’t a real hike,” I reminded her. “We just hoofed it up to Merriman Road ‘n’ back ‘cuz YOU said the trails was gonna be too muddy.”

” ‘N’ they were,” Mom said defensively. “So just tell Dad what we saw on our hike.”

I suddenly brightened. “I know! I pooped! Twice! We can write to Pops about poopin’!”

But Mom just shook her head no. “Been there, done that, Lou. ‘Sides, yesterday you wrote about barfin’, so it would be most indelicate to write today about another bodily function.”

“Don’t see why not,” I grumped. “I LIKE poopin’.”

“But your Pops is probably gettin’ tired of readin’ about it. We need another story line.”

I furrowed my brow in deep thought. “MEAT!!!!” I said in sudden ecstasy. “Let’s write about MEAT!!!!!”

“A fine subject,” Mom agreed. ” ‘Cept I haven’t been cookin’ ‘cuz I’ve been workin’, so we don’t have any meat.”

“Well that stinks,” I pouted, ‘n’ I meant it in more ways’n one. If I can’t write about poop or meat, I’m pretty much tapped out, Pops.

We sat ‘n’ pondered some more while the clock kept tickin’ ‘n’ the computer screen stared back at us blankly.

“How about orcs?” I asked. “We always get a good story line about the MIB ‘n’ orcs.”

” ‘Cept we haven’t set anything up in our previous letters,” Mom said. “Yesterday was barfin’ ‘n’ the day before was stormin’, ‘n’ we just haven’t prepared Pops for any heroic adventures against the orcs.”

“This is boooooooooooooorrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrriiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiing!” I wailed.

“I know,” Mom said. “Tell Pops how I took you on my many errands.”

I just rolled my eyes. “We went to the Circle K to get your fuel rewards (all of $6.30) ‘n’ we went to Acme to pick up a load o’ Milkbones ‘n’ we collected the mail. Big whoop.”

“If you don’t like my errands, you can just stay home the next time,” Mom snapped.

‘N’ we snarled back ‘n’ forth about the mind-numbin’ pace of our life here on the home front.

“We don’t even got any good pictures,” I huffed.

” ‘Cuz you wouldn’t cooperate ‘n’ do somethin’ cute,” Mom countered.

“Like writer’s block is MY fault,” I said.

‘N’ we sniped at each other some more.

“We did chores,” Mom said stiffly.

” ‘N’ I chewed up only ONE sock,” I said. “Like we can make a whole letter outta that!”

” ‘N’ we took a Midnight Stroll,” Mom persevered.

I perked up. ” ‘N’ run into the lost pizza man!”

Mom slowly nodded. “That has possibilities. He WAS zippin’ up ‘n’ down the street in a frenzy.”

“Maybe we could convince Pops that we came to the poor guy’s rescue ‘n’ steered him in the right direction, ‘n’ as a reward, he give us a whole pizza with double pepperonis!” I said.

” ‘Cept then Pops would lecture us about wasted calories, ‘n’ we’d have to sit through his admonishments without even the reward of actually eatin’ them pepperonis,” Mom said.

THAT objection went in so many circles, I had to sit in silence ‘n’ try to straighten ’em out in my brain, ‘n’ it was just WAY too much for my feeble powers of deductive grammar to parse.

So I just threw up my paws in surrender.

“We got nothin’ to tell Pops,” I said. “He’ll just haveta survive for one day without a Letter from Louie.”

But Mom was suddenly INSPIRED. (It probably had somethin’ to do with her glass of Red Juice, but we won’t tell her that.) “Why don’t you just tell Pops how much you miss him, ‘n’ you can’t wait until he gets home?”

Louie on a more excitin’ day at Bow Wow Beach. (I’m the handsome guy on the left, refereein’ the boxin’ match.)

I was stunned by Mom’s simple genius. That was PERFECT!!!!!!

So Pops, here it is. You been gone 57 days. It’s 45 more until you get home. Me ‘n’ Mom miss you bunches, ‘n’ we can’t wait for you to return ‘n’ fire up the grill!

Keep yourself healthy ‘n’ safe, ‘n’ don’t go pettin’ no strange dogs (unlike your unfortunate intern).

‘N’ here is a picture from our past that Mom’s never got around to sendin’ you before.

Your devoted ‘n’ faithful,


Pops replies:

Pops’ other summer helper, John, the one who DIDN’T get bit by a dog.

Oh Louie, all of your letters are most welcome out here in the wilds of California. But, don’t fret. The next few weeks will go quickly and then we’ll be firing up the grill, cookin’ MEAT! Ya just haveta be patient, Lou.


P.S. Since I talk to Mom about this guy so often, here is a photo of Ranger JD. He’s the summer guy who still has two legs.

Published in: on July 29, 2012 at 1:04 am  Leave a Comment  

July 27, from Louie, Day 56

Well, Pops, I almost got myself banned from Mr. Rav FOR LIFE, ‘n’ it was ONLY ‘cuz of Mom’s excellent drivin’ skills ‘n’ quick thinkin’ that I wasn’t condemned to eternal banishment.


See, it was like this.

We hopped outta bed early ‘n’ hurried through our mornin’ rituals so’s we could hike down to the Towpath ‘n’ see for ourselves whether the Little Cuyahoga was recedin’ properly. After the picture we seen in the paper this mornin’, me ‘n’ Mom was sure the damage would be quite stupendous.

Look close ‘n’ you can see the flood-flattened weeds on the riverbank.

“Should we get our scuba gear, Mom?” I asked in excitement as she blinged me up.

“Good idea, Lou,” Mom said. “Only we don’t have any. We’ll just have to put on our waders.”

Which we did. (Thank goodness we had a double pair for me, since I got double feet.) ‘N’ Mom hung a toilet seat ’round my neck as a lifesaver. ‘N’ we took off for the Merriman Road trailhead.

Well, imagine our supreme disappointment when we got down to the trail, ‘n’ there was practically NOTHIN’ to see. Oh, there was lots of muddy weeds knocked over by the torrents of the night before, ‘n’ the Little ALMOST looked big enough to be called a river, but the mass destruction we’d been hopin’ for was sadly lackin’.

“Ptooey,” I said as I shucked the toilet seat ‘n’ waders.

“Hardly worth the trip,” Mom agreed, but she diligently snapped some pictures anyway while I pooped, ‘cuz after all, we WAS out in the woods ‘n’ I’m Louie. ‘N’ oh, while Mom wasn’t lookin’, I mighta snarfed down some grass. (All her fault, Pops. She don’t feed me enough, ‘n’ I’m reduced to salads.)

Well, by the time we got back to the trailhead, it was gettin’ fearsome hot, ‘n’ my tummy was rumblin’ quite ominously, ‘n’ quite unlike myself, I refused a drink of water before hoppin’ into Mr. Rav.

“You sure, Lou?” Mom asked. ” ‘Cuz I’m quite parched myself.”

I just belched most indelicately.

So Mom just shrugged and crawled in behind the steerin’ wheel, ‘n’ I assumed the position on the console, ‘n’ she revved Mr. Rav’s engine ‘n’ started to back out.

‘N’ that’s when I commenced to droolin’ all over her gear shift ‘n’ my mighty tummy muscles begun to heave.

The Little Cuyahoga almost looks like a river. (That’s me munchin’ the forbidden grasses.)

“Oh, no, Lou,” Mom said. “Not in Mr. Rav!”

‘N’ before you could say “upset tummy,” she reversed gears, squealed back into our parkin’ space, prudently turned off the ignition, kicked open the door ‘n’ drug me out over the front seat down to the parkin’ lot, where I just made it before I barfed ‘n’ barfed ‘n’ barfed all over the asphalt.

Gosh, but I felt sooooooooooooooooooo much better.

Well, I just stood there, admirin’ my handiwork (it was very colorful, with great gobs o’ bright green grass swirled through it) ‘n’ I really thought Mom oughta take a picture of that! But instead she was shakin’ her finger at me. “You know better’n to chow down on grass, Louie. Especially on an empty tummy. ‘N’ in this heat! You KNOW it makes you barf! Why, you could’ve destroyed Mr. Rav’s lovely interior!”

I was somewhat miffed, Pops. Here I was, barfin’ up my guts, ‘n’ all she could think of was Mr. Rav’s upholstery. I coulda been dyin’, you know, instead of sufferin’ from a little summer indigestion. She didn’t know any different.

But then her lips quivered, ‘n’ her eyes got misty, ‘n’ she squatted down to give me a great big hug, despite my barf breath. “Don’t you EVER go gettin’ sick on me, Louie, ‘cuz I don’t know how I’d survive with you gone ‘n’ Pops in California.”

‘N’ I licked her face in atonement, ‘n’ we went home, where she whipped up a super breakfast of leftover pickin’ chicken ‘n’ kibbles, ‘n’ as I wolfed it down, she scurried into the bathroom, where she scrubbed her face clean with hydrogen peroxide.

So that’s been our day, Pops. The Little Cuyahoga is probably much more innerestin’ to look at right now, seein’ as how it’s been stormin’ all evenin’, but it’s too dark now for us to go get a peek. In fact, it’s rainin’ so hard, I’m not gonna get my Midnight Stroll neither. But that’s OK. The sky may be rumblin’, but my tummy isn’t, ‘n’ pretty soon me ‘n’ Mom is gonna go curl up in the big bed with our muddy feet ‘n’ ride out the storm.
Your soggy but intrepid,


Pops replies:

Oh, Louie, barfin’ in Mr. Rav is gonna happen sooner or later. It’s just the nature of caninehood and, well, you in particular. You have a delicate stomach, one that needs to empty, one way or another. So, while Mom would have been furious, she woulda gotten over it, no problem. Why, I can still smell remnants of Lou in Ms. Corolla.


Published in: on July 28, 2012 at 1:20 am  Leave a Comment  

July 26, from Louie, Day 55



What was she THINKIN’?????

She could HEAR the thunder boomers rollin’ in even as she give me my goodbye Milkbone ‘n’ pet on the head, but did she even once stop to think she oughta say to heck with work ‘n’ stay home with me?


She just packed up her lunch bag, breezily told me to “be good,” ‘n’ tooled off into the darkenin’ clouds in Mr. Rav.

‘N’ I was left to quiver alone in the foyer.

The air got too heavy to breathe.

The world darkened as giant black war clouds marched up the valley, flingin’ their bolts of lightnin’ left ‘n’ right. Herds of deer ‘n’ chipmunks ‘n’ toads ‘n’ spiders stampeded down Canyon Trail, racin’ ahead of sure destruction.

‘N’ there I was. Alone. With no Mom nor Pops. ‘N’ no escape.

I curled up on the couch, above the flood plain, ‘n’ tried to make myself very small. I squeezed my eyes shut ‘n’ stuck my paws in both ears to block out the noise.

But it didn’t do no good. Suddenly the house shuddered as Mother Nature’s good-for-nothin’ ex-husband come roarin’ over the mountains, bellowin’ for the tramp who’s brought drought upon the green lands of Northeast Ohio. Mother Nature ran, but he crashed after her, unleashin’ a terrible torrent over my sorry knucklehead.

The wind twisted the trees into so many knots, I was sure they was gonna break. ‘N’ the lightnin’ stabbed at my eyeballs. ‘N’ the thunder boomed into my brain. “MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOMMMMMM!” I howled.

But no one (sniff) was here.

‘N’ then the sky was ripped apart as many MANY gallons of rain plummeted to the tinder-dry ground, ‘n’ it hammered the roof, ‘n’ it swamped the patio ‘n’ it turned Canyon Trail into a ragin’ river. Our spoutin’ burst open. The back yard turned into a muddy lake (oh, no! my LAMP CHOPS!!!!!) ‘N’ — yes, Pops, you guessed it — within minutes, the Little Cuyahoga was lappin’ at our back door.

No, it was poundin’ SURF, crashin’ against the windows. ‘N’ I leapt to the top of the couch, ‘cuz any second, I expected the flash floods to smash through the walls ‘n’ swirl through the livin’ room ‘n’ sweep me down the hall to the big bed, where I would most definitely drown, ‘cuz there’s no way out back there ‘cept through the bathroom drain.

Oh, Pops, the lashin’ of the storm went on for many MANY hours. But I hung onto the couch with my claws, ‘n’ I whimpered as all the best years o’ my life — mostly involvin’ you ‘n’ MEAT — flashed before my very eyes. I couldn’t see no chance of salvation at all!!!!!

‘Cept Mother Nature high-tailed it to Portage County to hide in the trailer camps, ‘n’ her ex stormed after her, ‘n’ suddenly all was peaceful ‘n’ quiet again. The sun come out. The birds started chirpin’. ‘N’ the fishes swam merrily in my holes to China.

Me ‘n’ Mom at rest after the storm.

I sighed ‘n’ stretched out in the foyer to nap.

‘N’ before I knew it, Mom was boppin’ into the kitchen. “Hi, Lou!” she called happily. “Anything fun happen around here tonight?”

I just buried my nose in her jeans ‘n’ sighed. Mom was home.

‘N’ everythin’ was safe again.

Well, not everythin’. ‘Cuz you’re not here.

But at least I didn’t get drownded.

Unlike the impatiens.

A small price to pay.

Your soggy ‘n’ muddy but still alive,


Pops replies:

Oh Louie, I am sooooo glad you survived. Why, why, I could hear those thunder-boomers all the way out here in California.

Well, all’s well that ends well. I’m sure that Mother will not return her vengeance for
a long, long time.


P.S. Oh that Mom of yours is getting mighty artsy with that camera.

Published in: on July 27, 2012 at 12:57 am  Leave a Comment  

July 25, from Louie, Day 54

Well, Pops, this is gonna be a kibbles ‘n’ bits letter — lotsa little pieces that don’t count much by themselves but add up to a meal.

First kibble: I was so overcome with hilarity over Mom’s new ‘do, I totally forgot to tell you ’bout Bow Wow Beach, where me ‘n’ Mom learnt a most VALUABLE lesson.

Never EVER go to a dog park directly after pickin’ a chicken.

Geez-o-meez, Pops, they smelt Mom comin’, ‘n’ they was all over her as soon as we got in the gate. Big dogs, little dogs, schnauzers ‘n’ shepherds, retrievers ‘n’ hounds, I couldn’t count ’em all. They was climbin’ up Mom’s thighs, they was leapin’ for her hat, they was lickin’ her nether regions ‘n’ whinin’. It was most appalling.

We don’t have pictures ‘cuz Mom was too busy tryin’ to save her wunnerful-smellin’ fingers ‘n’ I was too busy haulin’ them boys (‘n’ girls) offa Mom’s back ‘n’ flingin’ ’em into the pond. I had to work so hard, I barely got the chance to go swimmin’ myself. Mom’s never EVER been so popular before, ‘n’ I didn’t like it, not one little bit. No unintroduced dog has got a right to go lickin’ at my Mom, even if she DID smell like a barbecue chicken farm.

She owed me BIG time, ‘cuz I saved ALL of her sweet-smellin’ appendages, ‘n’ in return, she give me a WHOLE CHICKEN LEG for dinner. YUM!!!!!

First bit: The grass is so dead, the lawn-mowin’ orcs didn’t even bother to come by this mornin’ ‘n’ ask if we wanted a trim. Which was nice, ‘cuz me ‘n’ Mom got to sleep to our normal gettin’ up time without anyone poundin’ on the front door. ‘N’ it’s bad, ‘cuz now Mom’s wonderin’ if they’ll EVER come back. The grass ‘n’ your lovely ferns is dead, but the weeds isn’t, ‘n’ we’re surely gonna need a haircut before you get home or else we’ll get reported to the Good Neighbors Association.

A flowerin’ weed amongst the dead ferns.

On the bright side, there’s life amidst death, as Mom’s lovely accompanyin’ picture will show.

Second kibble: Don’t trust Mom when she says it’s cool enough for a righteous mountain-climbin’ hike.

The breezes WAS cool ‘n’ refreshin’ this mornin’ when we started out from the Top o’ the World. But a mile ‘n’ a half later, when we was just makin’ the turn back to Mr. Rav, the breezes suddenly dried up, the sun come out from behind the clouds, ‘n’ in a hot flash, we was sloggin’ through hot, humid, suffocatin’ forests, ‘n’ Mr. Rav’s air-conditionin’ was an ETERNITY away. Pops, I don’t know how we made it. Mom was VERY red in the face when we finally crawled through the parkin’ lot back to Mr. Rav, ‘n’ my tongue was hangin’ out so far, it was wrapped around my tail. I can’t think of a worse hike since foot-long icicles was hangin’ from my jowls.

Second bit: Oh, the owners of the McMansions on Merriman must be havin’ a hissy fit!

The other night, an off-duty sheriff’s deputy crashed his motorcycle into a telephone pole about a block up from Mr. Allen’s old home ‘n’ sadly died.

Louie parched at the Top o’ the World.

The next mornin’, friends ‘n’ family started that strange human ritual of leavin’ trash on the crash site, ‘n’ now the devil strip ‘n’ telephone pole is awash in teddy bears, artificial flowers, Polaroid pictures ‘n’ American flags.

“What is that stuff?” I asked Mom as we drove past this mornin’.

“That’s a memorial to a traffic victim,” Mom said. “His friends ‘n’ relatives is sayin’ goodbye.”

“With GARBAGE??????” I said, appalled. I mean, geez, a few tastefully arranged Milkbones I could unnerstand, but an old T-shirt flyin’ from the telephone pole????


“It’ll be innerestin’ to see how long the homeowner allows this to go on,” Mom observed.

I’m bettin’ on Friday at the latest.

Third kibble: If you don’t do somethin’ soon to get Mom offa this yo-yo kick, I’m gonna strangle her. All day long — Appalachian strings screechin’ through my brain. All evenin’ long — ditto. How come she can’t wash the dishes ‘n’ work her puzzles ‘n’ scrub the floor without that gosh darn CELLO playin’ in the background? (“I like the music,” Mom says. “You want music?” I counter. “How about a little chicken-flavored PFFFT from my BUTT?” “Lou, there’s no need to be gross.” “You’re makin’ me crazy, Mom. I got a right to be gross.”)

Third bit: Sometimes the best things come with absolutely no plannin’.

Me ‘n’ Mom had just curled up on the couch with big heapin’ bowls of chicken ‘n’ noodles ‘n’ biscuits in our laps ‘n’ to keep us entertained while we ate, Mom flipped on the TV, ‘n’ Pops! It was the very start of an NCIS neither one of us had ever seen!!!! WHO would have EVER thought that POSSIBLE???? But there it was — an episode as fresh as the day it was born! So me ‘n’ Mom lapped up our dinners with our eyes glued to the screen, ‘n’ had a most unexpectedly pleasurable hour of TV viewin’.

It was almost — but not quite — as good as havin’ you home with us.

So that’s been our day, Pops.

Hope yours has been full of kibbles ‘n’ bits, too.

Your devoted (burp),


Pops replies:

Oh Louie, I’m envious of your kibbles and bits. I wish I could be there to share in your exciting times.

Published in: on July 25, 2012 at 8:20 pm  Leave a Comment  

July 24, from Louie, Day 53

Well, Pops, it’s been quite the tryin’ day here on the homefront. If only Mom had TOLD me what she was up to, I coulda saved both of us a crisis of gar-GAN-tuan proportions. But she kept her nefarious plans to herself, ‘n’ well, you’ll see what happened.

It was stuffy ‘n’ uncomfortable when me ‘n’ Mom crawled outta our quilts this mornin’, but it was no worse’n it’s been for the last few weeks, so when Mom said we was gonna do another loop in Sand Run, I just sucked it up ‘n’ let her bling me up. When Mom says we’re gonna hike, we HIKE.

‘N’ it wasn’t so terrible bad under the trees. I got in 17 pees ‘n’ one poop (thanks for askin’) ‘n’ one sneeze so big, Mom had to wipe the snot outta my eyes with her bare fingers just so’s I could see. (“Too much information, Lou,” Mom says. “Dad doesn’t wanna know that!”) ‘N’ then we climbed back into Mr. Rav without makin’ any detours.

“No errands, Mom?” I asked, somewhat suspiciously, ‘cuz we ALWAYS have errands.

“Nope,” Mom said briskly. “We’re goin’ straight home for breakfast!”

‘N’ since my tummy was a cavernous pit of emptiness by then, I didn’t protest.

I shoulda.

Breakfast was disappointin’ at best, ‘cuz Mom hasn’t done no cookin’ the last few days, ‘n’ I had to settle for kibbles ‘n’ Chef Cesar. But since it’s her day off, she promised somethin’ MUCH better for dinner. So I wandered off to the shower to digest ‘n’ Mom proceeded with the usual housecleanin’ chores (includin’ vacuumin’ up FOUR full buckets of Louie hair; not my fault, Dad. Dogs SHED!).

Well, my suspicions was lulled into unawareness by this normal turn of events, so I was quite surprised when Mom hopped into the shower at the usual time ‘n’ cleaned herself up like she usually does before goin’ off to that EWP.

“Mom,” I said accusatorily, “you said this was your day off! You’re supposed to be stayin’ home with ME!”

“I am,” she said innocently, ” ‘cept for the next hour, when I gotta go take care of some business.”

My eyes narrowed. “What business you gotta take care of without me?”

“None of your beeswax,” she said primly, ‘n’ before I could nail her to the floor to make her talk, she slipped out the kitchen door ‘n’ sped off in Mr. Rav.

Well, I was quite put out. Mom was goin’ off on an adventure without me — maybe (gulp!) she was goin’ out to see another DOG!!!!! — ‘n’ I just PACED the foyer the whole time she was gone. This behavior of hers was MOST unusual. ‘N’ it surely couldn’t have good consequences.

So hours — days, even — when Mr. Rav finally crept into the driveway, I was waitin’ at the kitchen door with my front paws crossed over my chest ‘n’ my back paws irritably tappin’ the floor, ready to give her what-for if she didn’t walk in with a juicy pickin’ chicken.

“Mom,” I said sternly…..
‘N’ then I fell onto the floor in a fit of hilarious giggles.

Mom just crumpled to her knees ‘n’ sobbed.

Oh my gosh, Pops, she’d gone ‘n’ shaved her head!!!!!!

Mom’s new haircut.

‘N’ for the first time in four years, I saw she had EARS!!!!! ‘N’ they wasn’t lovely, like DOG ears. They was ugly ‘n’ prominent, ‘n’ I just couldn’t help myself. I rolled all over the floor ‘n’ howled.

Mom howled, too, but not in a funny way. “Oh, Lou,” she cried. “Whatever am I goin’ to do? I am a hideous monstrosity, ‘n’ I’ll never ever be able to go out in public again!”

Well, that was a most serious statement, ‘cuz if Mom won’t go out, I don’t get no walks nor trips to the dog park. So I put my paw on Mom’s shoulder ‘n’ said, “It’s not that bad, Mom.”

‘N’ then I collapsed into giggles again. Geez, but she’s got a funny shaped head!

“Louie,” Mom said reproachfully, “you’re not helpin’ any.”

“Can’t help it, Mom,” I hiccupped. “You look like you belong on a chain gang!”

“Well, you better come up with a solution fast, or there’s no Bow Wow Beach for you!” Mom threatened.

Oh, gosh, but that was dire, so I forced myself to think. “I got it! You can give me a good brushin’ ‘n’ then glue all my ‘xtraneous hairs onto your own head!”

Mom’s face brightened at the possibilities. But then she frowned again. “Won’t work, Lou. You’re black ‘n’ I’m white. It won’t look NAT-ural.”

“Nothin’s gonna look natural until next Easter,” I said.

“Then you’re gonna wear diapers until Dad gets back,” Mom said. ” ‘Cuz I’m not goin’ out like this!”

Well, Pops, desperate times call for desperate solutions. So I retrieved the scissors outta the kitchen drawer, ‘n’ a bag from the laundry room ‘n’ … well, you can see the results for yourself.

I think it was a BRILLIANT solution, ‘n’ Mom was SO pleased, she immediately took me to Bow Wow Beach for a romp.

‘N’ only 10 or 15 gazillion people laughed.

Crisis averted.

Your most inventive,


Pops replies:

Oh Louie, I should have warned you about the giggling part. Here’s the
thing, females of the human species NEVER EVER like their hair after
it gets cut. NEVER! So, you must always – ALWAYS – greet Mom at the
door and say, “mother dearest, you look absolutely divine with your
new ‘do.” It won’t work, but ya haveta do it anyway.


Published in: on July 24, 2012 at 10:10 pm  Leave a Comment  

July 23, from Louie, Day 52

Well, Pops, thanks to our many, MANY preparations, me ‘n’ Mom is hunkered down on the cool tiles of the showers of Canyon Trail ‘n’ so far we’re makin’ it, but it’s been mighty rough, let me tell you, MIGHTY rough.
So many heat-pricklin’ moments of decision, it boggles the mind tryin’ to remember ’em all for you.First off, there was the mornin’ hike.Me ‘n’ Mom had QUITE the debate over THAT one.It was suffocatin’ly hot when I stuck my nose out the back door this mornin’, ‘n’ I didn’t wanna go outside for nothin’. Even with a frozen Lean Pocket strapped to my head to cool off my sizzlin’ brain.But Mom, who is quite prideful over the lean state of her thighs after rigorous hikes through the Chuckery ‘n’ Hampton Hills the previous two days, didn’t want to lose her momentum, ‘n’ INSISTED that we jog over to Sand Run.”Mom,” I said quite reasonably, “that’s SUICIDE!!! The humidity is up to 5,789 percent, ‘n’ I believe there’s already cancerous warts poppin’ out on my ears!”

“YOU’RE the one who’s gotta poop,” Mom reminded me. “If you’d just poop in the back yard, we wouldn’t have to risk life ‘n’ limb out on the trails.”

“You never poop in your own back yard,” I told her, ‘xplainin’ dog etiquette. “That’s just bad form.”

“If you won’t poop out there, then your butt is gonna burst all over the livin’ room, ‘n’ that’s even worse form,” Mom said, ‘n’ before I could think of a good comeback, she blinged me up ‘n’ hauled me out to Mr. Rav.

Well, it wasn’t as terrible bad as I feared. Mom wasn’t TOTALLY bonkers from the heat, so instead of draggin’ me up the high, high mountains, she took me on an abbreviated loop through the woods, ‘n’ it was a coupla degrees cooler under the trees, ‘n’ after much coaxin’, I was finally able to persuade my innards to do their thing, ‘n’ we hoofed it back to Mr. Rav without either one of us keelin’ over with heat prostration.

But the temperature was risin’ mercilessly, ‘n’ I wasn’t at ALL happy with Mom that she detoured to the Freshway before headin’ home.

“Mom,” I whined,  “I’ll cook my eyeballs if I gotta wait in Mr. Rav while you do your shoppin’!”
“I’ll be only a minute,” she promised. “I just gotta get one of their wunnerful Julie-Ann salads!”‘N’ she zipped outta Mr. Rav before I could stop her.

Another 10 minutes ‘n’ Louie will be well done.

Well, the temperature rose at the speed of light, ‘n’ even with all the windows cranked down, Mr. Rav was gettin’ so hot I could barely breathe, but I hunkered down between the seats, covered my eyes ‘n’ ears with my paws ‘n’ concentrated on slow respirations, ‘n’ before I passed out, Mom was back ‘n’ blastin’ me in the face with the air-conditionin’. Good thing, too, ‘cuz another minute ‘n’ I woulda been the consistency of one of her steaks.

Sanity returned when we got home, ‘n’ after a mildly satisfyin’ breakfast of pork chop grease, me ‘n’ Mom spent the rest of the mornin’ ‘n’ early afternoon in the shower, me givin’ Lamb Chops a shampoo ‘n’ pedicure ‘n’ Mom readin’ her new book. (We officially laid Mr. Lincoln to rest yesterday, ‘n’ today we’re startin’ on Mr. Muir, who has MANY delightful full-page color photographs ‘n’ MUCH bigger type.)

I thought we’d spend the rest of the day in lovely companionship in the bathroom, but along ’bout 2 o’clock, Mom announced we was doin’ our Pre-Work Walk, 92 degrees be darned.

“Mom,” I objected, “I already pooped in the woods. I don’t gotta walk!”

“You’ll thank me for this about 9 o’clock, when your bladder is screamin’ ‘n’ I’m nowhere close to comin’ home,” Mom panted, ‘n’ she drug me out for a neighborhood walk.

Omigod, Pops, it was soooooooooooooo excruciatin’! I burned my big paws into hamburger patties, ‘n’ my lovely black furs was singed white. But (don’t tell Mom this) I was havin’ tummy rumbles, ‘n’ she was right, I really needed to unload again, ‘n’ I really felt much better when we finally staggered back into the kitchen, but gosh, it was a killer walk. I was so wore out, I didn’t even growl at the black cat, who was doin’ a lotta pantin’ of his own in our very own driveway. Maybe tomorrow if it’s cooler I’ll kill him. Today I couldn’t be bothered.

Although I usually hate to be left alone all day, today I was VERY happy to send Mom off to that EWP, ‘cuz that meant I was free to stretch out over the air-conditionin’ vents without any threats that Mom was gonna take me on yet another hike. You know how bears hibernate all winter? Well, I just hibernated all afternoon ‘n’ evenin’ in my frozen quilts ‘n’ pillows, ‘n’ I believe that was the ONLY reason I was still alive ‘n’ breathin’ when Mom come home.

Ahhhh, the good ol’ days!

For YET ANOTHER walk, which woulda been just as miserable as the afternoon hike if we hadn’t’ve run into the Chivalrous Neighbor, who plied me with biscuits so’s he could get permission to feel me up. A very small price to pay for treats, don’t you think?So now we’re gettin’ ready to retire to the bedroom. It’s still hotter’n blazes out, even though the sun’s been down for ages, ‘n’ tomorrow looks to be just as bad as today. But if I force enough Red Juice on Mom, she won’t budge for hours, ‘n’ there won’t be any more arguments over hikin’ in the ovens of Canyon Trail.

At least not until mornin’.

Pops, this summer has been a blisterin’ trial, ‘n’ I blame it on you for takin’ all the cool breezes with you to California. If you don’t come back soon with soothin’ Lake Alpine temperatures, I think me ‘n’ Mom is gonna disintegrate into dust, just like the poor residents of Pompey.

You think about that Pops.

Your roasted ‘n’ broasted,


Pops replies:

Pops livin’ amongst the emergency repairs in his barracks.

Oh Louie, I’ll be bringing the cool Sierra breezes with me very soon.
You just gotta be patient. I realize that the hours go so
excruciatingly slow when you are home alone, waiting for me to show
up. And then I don’t. But, don’t fret. Everything is going to be ok.

P.S. Such scandalous photos.
Another P.S. Here is a photo of the inside of the barracks, with an
odd-looking wall in the middle of the room, needed to keep the roof
from falling down on top of me.
Published in: on July 24, 2012 at 1:45 am  Leave a Comment  

July 22, from Louie, Day 51


This is gonna be a short letter, ‘cuz not only did you ‘n’ Mom talk waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay longer’n usual on the dumb phone, but me ‘n’ her got a TON of things to do before we can go to bed.

‘Cuz, you see, we got it on good authority (Tommy Lee’s satellites) that Mother Nature is swoopin’ in tomorrow with another DEADLY round o’ hot flashes, ‘n’ we gotta prepare.

Louie bakin’ in the sun.

First off, we gotta clear all them stale old Lean Pockets outta the freezer so Mom can make up ‘n’ ‘xtra special big batch of ice cubes (flavored with wieners ‘n’ bacon grease — yum!), ‘n’ then we gotta stuff our extra quilts ‘n’ pillows inside the rest o’ the freezer so they’ll be nice ‘n’ frozen by mornin’ ‘n’ I’ll have my own Louie-size ice pack to nap in when the sun starts scorchin’ the shingles.

‘N’ then I gotta go round up ALL my little Buddies — most of which is hidin’ out somewhere in the dark — ‘n’ nestle ’em in the cool confines of the shower, where they’ll be safe from heat stroke.

‘N’ then we gotta put out little bowls of water all around the back yard, so our friends the bunny ‘n’ the chipmunks ‘n’ the snake in the wall ‘n’ the toads keep well hydrated.

‘N’ then we gotta jerry-rig an ol’ pair of your sunglasses with straps ‘n’ bolts so’s I can sit in the window ‘n’ patrol the perimeter from the inside without bein’ blinded by heat rays.

‘N’ then Mom’s gotta cook up a mess o’ MEAT while it’s still dark ‘n’ cool out (relatively speakin’) so Louie don’t run out of enhancements.

‘N’ then we’re gotta take a post-Midnight Stroll so’s I can get properly emptied out before the sun rises ‘n’ starts bakin’ our brains.

‘N’ then Mom’s gonna shave her head ‘n’ mine.

So as you can see, we got a VERY busy night ahead of us, ‘cuz the weatherman says it’s gonna hit 93 ‘n’ beyond tomorrow, ‘n’ this time, me ‘n’ Mom isn’t gonna get caught with our pants down.

So to speak.

So please excuse the short letter.

National security is at stake.

Your very busy,


P.S. What a WUNNERFUL story about the campers ‘n’ the hitchhiker! You’re just tops, Pops! Me ‘n’ Mom is ever so proud!

Pops replies:


Pops ‘n’ Ms. Corolla save the stranded campers!

Oh Louie, I am so glad that you and Mom will be well prepared for the next round of Mother’s hot flashes. This has been such a dreadful summer for you. Still, you are soooooooooo cool, Lou, that a little more heat shouldn’t matter for you.


P.S. Here’s a photo from the campers’ great adventure.

Published in: on July 23, 2012 at 1:40 am  Leave a Comment  

July 21, from Louie, Day 50


Me ‘n’ Mom was WITNESSES to a MAJOR news event last night, ‘n’ we was so prostrate with grief over Mr. Lincoln, we didn’t even REALIZE it until we read the mornin’ newspaper!

It was ’bout seven o’clock in the evenin’. Mom was fiddlin’ with the computer, tryin’ to download your roarin’ campfire picture, ‘n’ I was pokin’ half-heartedly through the dead ferns in the back yard, tryin’ to distract my knuckle brain from thoughts of that terrible assassin, when suddenly, a great roarin’ swelled up in the valley.

Louder even than all the generators that’s been grindin’ down behind the house all hours of the day ‘n’ night.

Mom LEAPT from her chair ‘n’ dashed outside, yellin’ “Louie! Louie! Louie! What in tarnation is goin’ on????”

I was in full retriever point at the back fence, ‘n’ my hackles was raised so high, I looked like the hunchback of Notre Dame (whoever the heck HE is; I just think it was a nice literary reference).

The roarin’ grew to thunderous levels, aimin’ right for our house, ‘n’ Mom clung to me in great fear. Flocks of birds flew up outta the valley ‘n’ over our heads. The toads ‘n’ frogs was stunned into silence (or maybe we just couldn’t hear ’em no more.) ‘N’ the trees quivered in fright.

We was dumbstruck. (Not too unusual for Louie, ‘cuz I’m usually dumb, but when Mom quakes in silence, things is really bad.)  It sounded very much like helicopter gunships preparin’ to dump a load o’ napalm on the denizens of the Little Cuyahoga!

‘N’ then suddenly an airplane (not a big jetliner, mind you, but still most noisy) appeared to our left ‘n’, flyin’ MOST LOW ‘n’ dangerously, sped past us as it raced up the Little Cuyahoga for its headwaters.

We surely thought it would crash on our heads.

But it didn’t.

‘N’ after a while, the toads started croakin’ again ‘n’ peace returned to the valley. I resumed sniffin’ ferns ‘n’ Mom went back to the trials ‘n’ tribulations of her computer, ‘n’ we never even thought to mention it to you when you called, ‘cuz by then, it was history. Just like Mr. Lincoln.

Louie happily discovers that the river has returned to the Chuckery.

Then this mornin’, after a FULL Chuckery hike, includin’ ALL the mountains, I was nibblin’ on my Kibbles ‘n’ pork chops whilst Mom was thumbin’ through the paper ‘n’ sippin’ her vile coffee when she suddenly said, “Lou! Listen to THIS!”

‘N’ she read straight outta the paper (which is NOT the same as storytime, which I’ve given up):

“A low-flying plane buzzing along rooftops in Summit County prompted a flurry of calls to local police departments … around 7 p.m. Friday.”

“Mom!” I said in shock. “We SAW that!!!”

“You bet, Lou,” Mom said, ” ‘n’ there’s more:

“A plane doing stunt-like maneuvers was reported … flying low … along the Copley-Fairlawn border.”

” ‘N’ over the Little Cuyahoga!” I said in indignation.

“Oh, my, Lou, we was in great danger,” Mom said. “Police reported stuff FALLIN’ outta the plane — pieces of fabric ‘n’ — oh, gosh, this is unbelievable! Two cans of Pledge furniture polish!”

“No!” I said, aghast.

“Yes,” Mom said. “We coulda been brained by household cleanin’ products!”

‘N’ we both shuddered at the horrible possibilities.

“A check of area airports turned up no clues about the plane,” Mom read. “Airport operators told authorites that a small plane flying at lower altitudes would not always file a flight plan with local towers. The plane also was sighted buzzing the skyline in downtown Akron.”

“Omigod, Mom, we coulda died!” I gasped.

Mom finishes her Christmas present puzzle from Pops.

“Some people,” Mom said, shakin’ her head sadly, “just don’t unnerstand the danger they’re causin’.”

“I gotta call Tommy Lee,” I said, ‘n’ dug amongst my little Buddies for my dumb phone. “He’s gotta know!!!!!”

Mom solemnly agreed.

So even though I had THREATENED to resign my MIB commission over Mr. Lincoln’s demise, I phoned up Tommy Lee, ‘n’ he promised to put Will Smith right on it.

‘N’, of course, until the MIB solves this mystery, I’m back on super duper red alert.

Gosh, Pops, there’s just no rest for the virtuous.

But I can tell you with all honesty, that for tonight, at least, me ‘n’ Mom ‘n’ Canyon Trail is safe, ‘cuz obviously, it’s too dark for any stunt pilots to go buzzin’ up ‘n’ down the valley.

But tomorrow?

I don’t know, Pops, I just don’t know.

Your dutiful son,

Still fightin’ the good fight.


P.S. Our pictures got nothin’ to do with today’s adventures, but Mom thought you’d wanna see them anyway.

Pops replies:

Oh Louie, such excitement! I’m glad you got Tommy Lee on the case ‘cuz this definitely is somethin’ for the MIB, which, of course, includes you.


P.S. Love the photos. Dreams of Ireland and Scotland are summoned — but, of course, you don’t have any idea why.

P.P.S. While not nearly as excitin’ as your day, Lou, I’ve had a most interestin’ day. Tell Mom to ask me about it.

Published in: on July 22, 2012 at 1:21 am  Leave a Comment