Posted by: francinehardaway | April 11, 2014

Happy Birthday to Me

Last week was my birthday. I don’t know how old I am, but I sure am getting grey.  Mommis got me when she had her hip replaced at the end of 2006, and they thought I was about a year and a half then. So it’s 7 and a half years. So I might be nine.

A few weeks ago, I caught a duck in my mouth. It was trying to get to the reservoir from dry land. It practically flew into my mouth; I swear I didn’t really try to catch it. I think it was a stupid duck and deserved its fate, but Mommis made me drop it, and it wandered off and flew away.

Then I saw some very special ducks in the reservoir a few days later, and I couldn’t help myself; I swam right after  them. I would have kept swimming, because I was really happy in the water, but it was my day to have the electronic collar on me, so she pinged me. I hate that vibrator, so I came out.

I always feel so re-energized after I swim, even if it’s only in the irrigation. We got that on Tuesday and it was lots of fun. I especially like playing in the water and then coming in to wrestle with my younger brothers on the living room couch. I also still like carrying the toilet paper out of the bathroom into the back yard in one big stream.

I need some candid opinions here. Mommis gave me my Easter cut this week, and I am not sure it’s really “me.”photo 1 I see myself as more fluffy, with a little more substance. What do you think?

I think I’m cuter than this haircut.

But I guess it’s cool. Summer’s coming and we don’t go to the beach anymore. I still don’t know what happened, or where Paunnie went. We have Sammy and Bruce now, but Sammy’s on suicide watch (leash) because he jumped out of Mommis’s convertible this morning at 24th Street and Lincoln Drive in the rush hour. Just went right over the side like he usually does at the park. Only we weren’t at the park.

Mommis clicked him in the electronic collar and he came right back in, but now we’re going to take him to therapy.

What’s therapy?



Posted by: francinehardaway | January 30, 2014

What’s Aging Anyway?

I’m a senior dog now, but I haven’t lost my ability to surprise. I’ve got one special move down pat. I can fake left, go right, and end up in the lake at Granada Park any time I want to. All I have to do is act old, hang back, and they give up on me. especially now that we have Sammy, who is a real whack job even at five, and Bruce, the Shih-tzu poodle we picked up at Los Olivos. Mommis has her hands full controlling them, and she doesn’t have enough of those Dogtra collars for all of us, so I am usually the one who doesn’t have to wear one, because I’m the great pretender.

I’ll explain. I pretend to be mellow. And then when Mommis is having a conversation with Sharon and Felix or Uncle Dan or somebody else (Mommis talks to everybody, even total strangers, because she can’t smell things well enough) I veer into the lake. It’s real simple. I swim a little, just enough to wake me up, and then I come out shaking myself and running. Everybody loves that, and mostly they forgive me. Mommis says some stuff about me, but it’s not important. I can see that she’s really proud of me.

Truthfully, I’m bored in her house. We see the same six dogs all the time: Blu, who belongs to Uncle Dan, Trina and Tucker, who belong to our friend Max, and my step brothers Bruce and Sammy. And me. All they do is practice for triathlons in the house, jumping the couch, running through the irrigation, humping each other and chasing each other around the house. Mommis is usually out when that happens. When she gets home, she sees the muddy footprints, but she never says anything. She’s busy, and she loves us.

I know she loves me, because she lets me on her bed even when I’m really dirty. Yeah, she tries to brush me, and she takes me to the spa once a month, but mostly she says, “hi big puppy,” and hugs me. She lays down with me.

She and I have history. I’m the only one in the house who remembers when she had her hip replaced, when Chauncey died, and when Aunt Chelsea got Toley. Aunt Chelsea says she wants me, but Mommis won’t let me go there. This makes me feel wanted.

Mommis looks pretty good these days. This vegan stuff isn’t too good for me, but it’s been good for her. The only vegetable I like is carrots. Sammy likes kale and collard greens. Me? Not so much. But I really like fruit. Apples and blueberries.

Life is good.

Posted by: francinehardaway | May 19, 2013

Buppy and the Faux Down

Jonny Aguilar takes Sammy for training by his baby self now. Sammy listens to Jonny. I do not, although I try to act like I know what I’m doing when Jonny is around. I don’t want to go for training by myself. As things stand, I’ve got Mommis right where I want her; I only have to listen to her a small part of the time.

This morning we took a big walk in Steele Indian School Park, mostly at heel, although I know how to get lost behind Mommis and then run to catch up when she signals me. She thinks I am under voice control, but actually, I am making choice. I CHOOSE to follow Mommis, because I get hungry every once in a while and it’s nice to have a dependable food supply.

Buppy Fakes a Down

Buppy Fakes a Down


They don’t bother us at Steele, like they do at Los Olivos where they gave Mommis a ticket and she is fighting it.

But today, Mommis asked us to get in a “down” at the end of our walk. I really didn’t feel like bending my elbows. So I faked it.


Posted by: francinehardaway | December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas

My new toy was really a duck, but I liked the skunk better so I traded Taylor for it:-)photo (3)

Posted by: francinehardaway | December 6, 2012

Small Mess-Up on My Part: Big Consequences

I made a big strategic error last week. When Mommis took us to Indian School Park, she let us out of the dog park for a minute to play with us in the field. I was playing with Sammy and Blu, and then I realized we were near the lake where the men fish. I laid low, so Mommis would think I was playing with Sammy, and then I took off for a swim.

The Remote Reminder Collar

The Remote Reminder Collar

Of course Mommis freaked out and called attention to me by yelling “Buppy Come” at the top of her lungs. This just makes me nervous, so I ignored her more, hoping she would stop.

The men were really angry, because I saw all the fish swim away when they saw me. There probably won’t be another fish in that lake for weeks.

But here’s the error. I didn’t realize this, but the remote collar we used to train Sammy has a version where you can train two dogs at once. I am now on restrictions — meaning I am always on the electronic remote when we go to the park, and Mommis is trying to train us to stay down when she walks away. Me, I don’t care, because I’d rather lay down anyway. But Sammy goes nuts when she leaves.

Here, I try to give him comfort. She’s about 20 feet away. I’m not scared.

Posted by: francinehardaway | November 24, 2012

In Which Uncle Nell’s Phone Disappears

Dear Uncle Nell,

I’m getting the feeling that you are my competition for Auntie Belle. She has been visiting Mommis this holiday, and we have been having a wonderful time. But every once in a while she gets this sad, far off look in her eye. I wondered how she could have that when she was with us all the time, so I started sniffing around.
And that’s how I found your phone.  I just knew it was yours, and that she loves YOU, not me:-(
So last night I carried it out to the banquette by the bay window, thinking she would never find it and she would forget you. But Mommis guessed that it was me, and they know I sleep in the banquette, so they found it and took it back.
But today, when Auntie Belle got in the shower, I sneaked into her room and took it again. And this time I carried it into the back yard. I have this great hole that I’m digging in the back yard, all the way to China.
In the meantime, it got dark. But when Auntie Belle got out of the shower, she realized it was gone, and ran around the house looking for it. When she couldn’t see it, she started calling it. And then she couldn’t hear it, so she sent mommis out into the back yard.
Mommis couldn’t see anything,so she had to come back in and get the big flashlight while Auntie Belle got dressed.
Then Auntie Belle and Mommis both heard the phone in the yard, but they couldn’t see it. Auntie Belle said, “it sounds like it is coming from here, but I don’t see anything.” And then Mommis spilled the beans and said that was my hole to China.
So Auntie Belle started digging while Mommis held the flashlight. And she unearthed (yes, a bad pun) your phone.
So now I am in the dog house. Auntie Belle is madly cleaning up your phone.
You win dude!
Love, B.Q. Puppis-Woo
Posted by: francinehardaway | November 20, 2012

Train Me? Why?

In my mature years, I’ve become known as Zen Dog or the Saunterer. I don’t fetch, I only run short distances, and I only wrestle with Sammy. So it boggles my mind why Mommis has decided NOW is the time to train me.

She hired this trainer, JonnyBGood, for Sammy. He put a collar around Sammy’s neck that vibrates when Mommis hits a remote control. The vibration gets Sammy’s attention. She wears the remote around her neck, and every time she issues a command — and she issues a lot of them — she presses the button on the remote and vibrates Sammy. I actually think this will work for him; he is already riding in the back seat of the car, which he never did before, and he has stopped acting like a scarf around Mommis’ neck when she drives.

But the other day I had a real shock (no pun intended). It seems that Mommis thinks she can stop me from running after cats and not following her at the park by putting the collar on ME!.

The command I’m supposed to learn is “Buppy Come.” Of course I already know this. I just feel like it’s a matter of personal choice whether I come immediately or five minutes later, after I’m through investigating what was left on the grill in the park or what’s in the overflowing garbage after the weekend picnics.

But that damned vibration is so annoying that after a while it’s less trouble to come than to assert my individuality. Oh, and I’ve gained 8 pounds, so I guess I shouldn’t be eating that leftover pizza and fries anyway. I’ve never weighed 80 before in my life, and Mommis really wants me to diet. She thinks it will improve my energy.

Good luck, Mommis.

Jonny Training Sammy

Posted by: francinehardaway | August 11, 2012

Tango With the Mango

It began as an ordinary day, until Mommis opened the front door and I saw the black cat across the street.

Mommis thinks I am more responsible now, so when she loads us into the car she sometimes doesn’t put our leashes on if we’re going to the park. Usually I want to go to the park, but in a choice between park and cat, I’d always choose cat.

I chased that cat from Carolyn’s house over to the next neighbor. I was winning all the way. I trapped the cat under a trailer in the neighbor’s driveway and began to work on it. Unfortunately, I was too big to fit comfortable under the trailer, so I tried to move the cat next to it and continued my work.

But by that time Mommis was furious, ran after me with the leash, and threw it at me, buckle first. It startled me, and I backed off. The cat went away, but it didn’t look very good. I knew Mommis was mad, so I hightailed it home and jumped into our car.

When we got home from the park, Mommis had to clean my ear, because it was bleeding where the cat scratched it. She also had to put ointment on it. I’ve had cat scratch infections twice, so she was right on it, although I didn’t really think it warranted all that care. I would have just let it dry up.

About an hour later, Uncle Max was peeling mangoes. Mommis was working at her computer. Sometimes if we all hang around Uncle Max, he will give us a small piece when he slices them, but this time I got lucky! He dropped an entire mango seed, and I saw it. I vacuumed it down. Uncle Max freaked out and ran to Mommis.

Mommis called the vet. She is such an over-reactor. The vet said it wasn’t toxic, but it had to pass through. I already know that. Then another miracle happened. The vet said to give me fiber to make it pass, so Uncle Max sliced up a piece of fantastic Artisan bread and they actually fed it to only me.

I have had a great day. I almost got the cat, and I did get the mango pit and the bread. Mommis is in a heap on the floor though. I think she’s meditating. Why???

Posted by: francinehardaway | June 9, 2012

The Kindness of Strangers

In retrospect, I probably should not have done it. But it seemed like such a good idea at the time. I should have stuck with chasing the rabbit, like Sammy did. We didn’t get the rabbit, but we pinned it under somebody’s air conditioner before Mommis put us back on our leashes.

Mommis took us to the BIltmore Golf Course this morning for the first time in a long time. She was watching for coyotes, but we were watching for bunnies, and we saw one almost immediately. She punished us by putting us on leash, but when we got to the big meadow golf course by the lake she let us off again.

I waded into the lake, like I usually do, and swam around the edge. My little brother Sammy, who I don’t think can swim, tried to copy me by belly flopping in, all four legs in the air, but it scared him to hit the water, and he went back to Mommis.

The golden in me wanted to go for a swim, however, so I paddled out a little ways. And then I saw the ducks. Dozens of them, swimming almost where I could get them. If I could just go a little further. So I went up the lake. Then I went down the lake. Then I went up the lake. Then they changed direction and I followed them side to side.

I heard Mommis calling and whistling from the shore, but I was having too much fun. And then, suddenly, I started to cough and got tired. A couple walking a dog came by, and Mommis spoke to them.  They couldn’t help her get me, though. I just kept swimming after the ducks. I stopped coughing and kept swimming.

Mommis called 911. They told here they didn’t have a boat. Then she called the hotel maintenance for the golf course, and a man came out in a white uniform on a golf cart. He stood and watched. By this time, Mommis was freaking out, running up and down and around the lake. Five different people were watching and calling and whistling.

I thought I was just about to get the duck, though, and I didn’t want to stop now! I was so close. The damn duck kept taking off and landing a few feet from me. I was sure I was going to get her. All the other ducks were yelling at us.

And then two men with fishing poles came by. They saw what was happening, and one of them had a dog of his own. So he took off his shirt (wow, he had a lot of  tattoos) and jumped in and swam across the lake toward me, yelling. I was scared of him, so I swam away from him toward Mommis. I figured the jig was up. The duck got away.

Mommis pulled me out and then put me on a leash.Sammy was watching all this; he didn’t know what was happening.

And then the man said he needed help. Mommis reached in and pulled him out.

After he got out, he said that was a hard swim, and then they both realized that he was fimmin in his shoes and his jeans. And in his pocket, he had a wrench. No wonder if had so much trouble.

Mommis threw her arms around him and offered him a reward, but he refused. She begged, and he finally told her he had a dog and she could get something for the dog. She took his phone number, told him she loved him, and we walked back to the car. She made both of us heel the whole way.

Posted by: francinehardaway | November 27, 2011

My Retriever Secret Unveiled

I can retrieve. Today in the dog park I finally let my secret out; I’ve always known how to retrieve. I just didn’t think they were ready for me. Uncle Dan found me the orange balls, and I decided it was time to tell all.

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