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• Favorite Pet Stories •
AS SWEET AS HONEY
By Catherine L. Wolfe, Attorney
Honey (a Chihuahua/Terrier Mix) is the beautiful caramel color of honey, and every
bit as sweet. For the past 6 or so years she has owned a wonderful man named Don.
Together they form one of the most endearing unions that I, and many others, have
ever witnessed. And, they have taught me one of the most important lessons of my
life — that age really does not matter.
I met Don about 6 years ago when a mutual friend called me to see if I knew of any
small dogs that needed a home. He said that Don’s beloved Dachshund had recently
passed away, and that Don was devastated. He said Don would like another Dachshund
but really just wanted a nice small dog.
Honey leaped immediately to my mind because I knew her family and had always told
them that if they ever needed to find another home for her, I would adopt her because
she had a special personality. As fate would have it, her family had contacted me
just several days before to take me up on my offer.
At that time Honey stood little chance of being adopted, if I did not take her. At
7 years of age Honey was a “senior” dog for whom there are very few homes (most people
desire a puppy or very young adult). She also had the disadvantage of being a mix
breed (not a designer purebreed). In a nutshell, she was a societal cast-off due
to her age and lack of pedigree.
However, I thought Honey might be a nice companion for Don but (and I am ashamed
to admit this now) I was concerned that Don was in his 80’s. I wondered if it would
be fair to Honey to adopt her to someone of such an advanced age.
My fears were dispelled the moment I saw Don, or, more accurately, the moment I saw
Honey see Don. If ever there was love at first sight, that was it! She bonded to
him immediately. I have never seen anything like it. It was as if everyone else in
the room did not exist for her.
When Don stepped out briefly to grab something from his car, Honey sat right by the
door, staring at it until he returned. After that, she stuck by his side until they
left together to embark upon their new life together.
Don spends his days now chasing Honey around with a blanket, covering her up because
she likes it. They are a perfect match, and their devotion to one another is timeless.
Together they have taught me that one is never too old to love, or be loved.
JOYS OF BEING OWNED BY A DEAF DOG
By Catherine L. Wolfe, Attorney
I wrote this article 3 years ago. Gracie died on August 3, 2006 and she is sorely
missed. I hope that this article will help save the lives of deaf dogs. Gracie would
A year ago I had the good fortune to adopt a deaf dog. Her name is Gracie and
she is a brown-spotted Brittany. I adopted her from a rescue league in southern Michigan,
sight-unseen, based solely on the oral description given by her foster mother. At
no time did the foster mother ever mention that there might be a problem with Gracie's
hearing. The first time it came up was at the time of the adoption in Clare, Michigan
as the foster mother was hastily preparing to drive away and said "I'm not sure
if Gracie hears very well or if she just ignores people," and with that she
On the 2 1/2 hour drive home, it was painfully clear that Gracie was indeed deaf.
After living with Gracie for several days it was also clear that she was feral (wild).
She had ended up at the rescue league when she was pickup as a stray and I think
she probably spent most of her life ( her veterinarian estimated she was 6 to 8 years
old) in the wild. I base that belief on the fact that she was not housebroken and
that she fought my other dogs at the drop of a hat. As a friend put it, she was a
junkyard dog - she would beat my other dogs up without provocation and she had the
physique to enforce her contentiousness.
Needless to say Gracie was a challenge. During the first month she whooped the daylights
out of my other dogs (4 males, 2 of which are big Labradors) and urinated all over
my house - constantly and on the run. No matter what I did to discipline her, she
was unabashed and would simply stick her nose and stubby tail in the air and prance
haughtily away (the canine version of "the finger").
A veterinary check showed no organic problems so I consulted as expert with a PhD
in animal behavior (yes, a "doggy psychiatrist"). He said that dogs are
extremely dependent on the sense of hearing and that consequently; dogs that lack
that sense are difficult to inhibit which means they are difficult to train, especially
to housebreak. He told me that when I caught her urinating in the house I should
stand over her and pat her firmly, all over her body for about a minute - he said
she would hate that and stop urinating in the house immediately. I thought that was
nuts but out of desperation decided to give it a try.
Now, the plus side to having as deaf dog is that she couldn't hear me coming so I
was able to catch her in the act shortly after our consultation. I immediately did
as I had been instructed - I stood over her and patted her firmly all over her body
and head for about a minute. The expert was absolutely correct, it turned out to
be quite an ordeal for her (she looked as if she was in an earthquake) and when it
was over she shot out the dog-door into the backyard. The experience so traumatized
her that she has rarely urinated in the house since.
Immediately following the initial patting incident Gracie began to view me as the
boss (also know as the "Alpha Wolfe"). From then on she began learning
signs of all kinds (i.e. hand signals, facial expressions, etc.) and has become a
wonderful companion. Shortly after I adopted her I did extensive research on the
issue of deaf dogs and learned that because they cannot hear they rely much more
on their other senses, including sight, and that their eye contact is much more intense
than a hearing dog. Sometimes Gracie's stare is so intense that it feels as if it
will go right through you - it seems bionic.
As a consequence being deaf, deaf dogs tend to develop extremely strong bonds with
their guardians. Such is the case with Gracie. She is sweet, loving and anxious to
please - nothing like the "junkyard dog" I adopted a year ago.
As I have grown to know and love Gracie I have wondered why, in all the years that
I have interacted with dogs, I have never encountered a deaf dog. Unfortunately I
discovered it is because the standard of practice for many breeders and veterinarians
is to kill them at birth. In fact, some people are adamant that all deaf dogs be
killed, period. A friend of mine who manages a animal shelter confirmed that. He
said that once he took a deaf dog from his shelter on television to get it a home
and when he returned to the shelter he received 2 angry phone calls from people demanding
that he have it killed immediately.
I cannot imagine my life without Gracie. As I have been writing this article she
has come several times to me for pets and a kiss, and is now lying at my feet, under
my desk, which doubles as her den. I have read about other people who feel the same
about their deaf dogs. Interestingly, many of them are deaf themselves and identify
strongly with their dogs. Their sentiment is touching - as people, they live wonderful,
fulfilling lives so why shouldn't deaf dogs. I think they should and I know Gracie
Suggested reading about deaf dogs:
• Living with a Deaf Dog , by Susan Becker
• Amazing Gracie , by Dan Dye and Mark Beckoff
By Catherine L. Wolfe, Attorney
Note: This story was written in 2002.
|The photo above shows
Vivien after her rescue from the animal shelter where she was nearly starved to death.
This is also after she was groomed, since they decided not to go to the trouble since
she would probably be unadoptable and be euthanized.
||Vivien several years after her rescue,
enjoying her toys.
One Friday last December I was discussing the operations of the local animal shelter
with the manager when she said that 2 dogs were scheduled to be killed the following
Monday - 2 days before Christmas. One of the dogs was a little toy poodle weighing
about 8 pounds. I was shocked that such a popular small breed dog would be killed
and inquired as to the reason. She said it was because the little dog had been seriously
injured - either from being hit by a car or being beaten. Its left rear leg had been
so severely injured that it was almost totally non-functional and simply hung limp.
Its lower jaw had sustained a blow of such force that it had been knocked far over
to the right - so far over that the teeth in that area stuck clear out of her mouth.
The manager also said that her coat was a mess. The little dog had been picked up
as a stray, out in the woods during a sub-zero ice and snowstorm. The manager said
that despite its poor physical condition it had a delightful personality - it was
cuddly, playful, loving and a great little companion - so much so that she carried
it around in her arm as she worked around the shelter. However, she said that given
its age (which she guessed was about 10 years) and its current physical condition
nobody would adopt it because it would cost too much to have its physical injuries
treated and it was too old. The manager said that the little dog had been in the
shelter for quite a long time and that it was time to kill it. She said she regretted
having to do it, but that it was just an unfortunate fact of life.
For quite some time my secretary, had been trying to convince me that poodles were
great dogs and that I should get one. I had not been persuaded. I preferred medium
to large breed dogs thinking that, for the most part, small dogs were uninteresting.
I therefore was not personally interested in the little dog but secretly thought
that if she fostered it and we had it groomed and got it the veterinary care it needed,
she might adopt it and frankly no animal could ever have a better home. So, with
that hope in mind I hustled the manager and my secretary into my car and we set off
to see the little dog.
Based on the description of the manager I was shocked when I saw the little dog.
She was one of the happiest creatures I have ever seen. She was ecstatic to see us
and raced around and played as if she were a puppy. Her left rear leg was indeed
almost totally useless and dangled pathetically as she stood, ran and played. The
leg had been dislocated, which is extremely painful, and had been left like that
for a long time. And, she was most definitely unkempt - she looked like a tiny lamb
with terribly over-grown fur but, in the midst of all her fur were the most beautiful,
sparkling milk chocolate eyes and nose. At that moment I fell hopeless in love with
her. However, I already had 5 dogs of my own and was in no position to adopt another.
I was therefore happy to see that my secretary felt about the little dog as I did
and she said she would foster the little dog until we could find her a good home.
With that we packed the little girl up and returned to my office.
It was there that we discovered that under all her fur she was extremely thin.
So thin that it was scary. We immediately gave her some food which she inhaled. She
stayed in my office for the rest of the afternoon (and was wonderfully behaved) and
went home with my secretary at the end of the day. An hour or so later I packed up
my grooming shears and went to my secretary's house where we had agreed that we would
All I can say about that experience was that it was horrifying! Although we knew
that the little dog was skinny, we had no idea that she was skeletal - like a concentration
camp prisoner. Both of us cried and were nauseous as we clipped more and more of
her hair away. It was painfully clear that she was on the brink of starvation.
After we finished clipping all her fur off (it was so matted that there was no alternative
- the fur could not be separated and had to be removed in one piece!) we bathed her
and fed her again.
When I left my secretary's house that night it was with a heavy heart since I thought
there was a good possibility that the little dog might not survive. I feared that
our help may have arrived too late for the little dog.
Fortunately my fears were unfounded and the next day my secretary and I decided that
I should take the little dog since I had had prior experience rehabilitating another
dog in even worse condition. I must say though that I had serious reservations about
how my other dogs would respond to her. I was especially concerned about the newest
member of my "pack" - a deaf, feral Brittany ("Gracie") who I
was still in the process of socializing. During the 3 months I had had her she had
whooped the tar out of my other 4 dogs - all males and 3 of them much larger than
her. As my secretary says, Gracie is "buff" and she did not let the other
dogs forget it. I therefore intended to be extremely cautious about introducing the
little dog into the group. But, best laid plans being what they are, as soon as I
stepped in the front door the little dog sprang out of my arms, raced over to Gracie,
bit her on the nose and from then on peace and harmony have reigned (for the most
Over the next 4 or 5 months the little dog flourished. Her leg was surgically repaired
(at great expense) by an extraordinarily skilled veterinarian (I consulted a number
of veterinarians and they all said that the only thing to do was to cut off the top
of the leg bone and he was the only one willing to actually repair the damage) and
she had extensive dental work. She frequently went to work with me and was a big
hit with my clients and friends. During that time her personality emerged and it
was clear that, to put it politely, she is a coquette. She constantly attempts to
seduce my male dogs (and any other male dogs she meets) so I named her Vivien after
Vivien Leigh, based on her portrayal of Scarlett O'Hare in "Gone With The Wind."
It fits her perfectly.
After I had had Vivien for about 4 months an elderly friend of mine (Mary Hellen)
had extensive open-heart surgery and subsequently declined rapidly. By the time I
heard about her condition she had been in the hospital for about a month and was
failing so rapidly that she was not expected to live much longer. I called immediately
and when she answered she was so weak she could barely talk - she had difficulty
even choking out "yes" and "no." But, I could tell that she wanted
to converse so I did most of the talking - I asked her questions that only required
one word answers. "Have you had company?" "Are you getting enough
to eat?" And, shortly I ran out of questions so I started to update her on the
events in our community and in my life. After several minutes I told her that I had
adopted a toy poodle and the impact was astonishing - she shouted "A TOY POODLE?!
YOU GOT A TOY POODLE?! I USED TO HAVE A TOY POODLE - HER NAME WAS "JANIE."
I LOVE TOY POODLES!" I was so taken aback that I was momentarily speechless.
The mere mention of a toy poodle had transported her from her dire circumstances
into a wonderful memory and momentarily restored her strength. When I recovered from
my surprise I told her all about Vivien - her brushes with death (at the animal shelter
and from starvation), her being found in the dead of winter, in below freezing temperatures,
with serious and excrutiating injuries, her surgery, recovery and dominance over
my other dogs. Mary Hellen was enchanted and asked to meet Vivien. As we said good-bye
she relapsed into a feeble state and could barely speak.
The next day I took Vivien to see Mary Hellen in the hospital. As we entered her
room I was shocked to see how emaciated she was. She was skeletal and so weak that
she could barely hold her head up. As I approached her bed she had difficulty focusing
on me and it took all her strength to whisper "hello." I greeted her with
a kiss and then sat down on the edge of her bed to talk. It was heart wrenching.
Again, she was so weak that I had to do almost all of the talking. Finally I told
her that I had Vivien with me and before I could say anything further she suddenly
sat straight up in her bed and shouted "VIVIEN?! THE TOY POODLE?! WHERE IS SHE??!!"
I bent down and lifted Vivien onto her bed. Mary Hellen's eyes got as big as saucers
and she said, with tears in her eyes "She is beautiful!" Whereupon Vivien
promptly stood up on her hind legs, gently placed her front paws on Mary Hellen's
chest and gave her a big kiss on the cheek. That clearly was the best medicine. Mary
Hellen broke into a smile and began petting her. We continued to talk for about a
half hour, during which Mary Hellen was pretty preoccupied with Vivien. However,
as long as she was petting Vivien or could see Vivien, she had great strength. When
it came time for Vivien and me to leave, Mary Hellen's strength subsided and she
collapsed again into an exhausted state.
For the next 2 months Vivien and I visited Mary Hellen on a regular basis and it
was clear that Mary Hellen identified strongly with Vivien, her physical injuries
and her recovery. It was equally clear that Vivien reminded her of her beloved "Janie."
Our visits, or more accurately Vivien's visits, were great therapy for Mary Hellen.
At one point Mary Hellen had stopped eating and her family said that she had "given
up." I knew Mary Hellen liked milk shakes so I took one for her, one for me
and one for Vivien. She had a wonderful time feeding Vivien the milk shake and even
ate half of her own. Thereafter, I would bring frozen custards and milk shakes -
always with the same result - Mary Hellen temporarily regaining her strength to pet
and feed Vivien.
During one of our visits a nurse came into the room as Mary Hellen was holding Vivien
and the nurse blurted out with surprise "Why, they look alike!" And, low
and behold, she was right - they were both very thin, petite, with curly gray hair
and sparkling eyes - it was an adorable sight!
Unfortunately, at one point during her recovery Mary Hellen went into a steep decline
and wound up in the critical care unit. I was certain that Vivien would not be allowed
in that unit, and that only family members would be allowed to see her but I called
the nurses' station to see if I would be admitted. As expected, they said "no"
because I was not a family member. Then, there was a pause and the nurse asked "Are
you Vivien's Mom?" I said "yes" and the nurse said "Get that
dog up here immediately, Mary Hellen has been asking for her!" With that
I threw Vivien in the car and we raced to the hospital. The nurse was as good as
her word. As soon as we entered the critical care unit we were whisked into Mary
Hellen's room where she lay incapacitated, and it appeared, very near death. As I
spoke to her she could barely move her eyes and could not answer. But when I told
her Vivien was there she smiled and when I held Vivien up so that she could see Vivien
she smiled again.
Fortunately, Mary Hellen improved and returned to her original unit. As her health
got better Vivien continued to visit her and on our last visit Vivien sat on her
lap as I pushed the 2 of them in a wheelchair through the hospital and out side for
some fresh air. Mary Hellen had a grand time greeting all the people that stopped
to see and pet "her" little dog.
Since Mary Hellen was discharged from the hospital Vivien and I have continued to
visit her and sometimes Vivien stays with her while I do errands. They are a wonderful
duo and I, for one, firmly believe that Vivien was good medicine for Mary Hellen.
at a tea party
It's a good thing that Vivien is so adorable because she has sometimes been rather
destructive. She broke my computer printer when she attacked it, thinking that it
was alive. I had it sitting on the floor and as the printed paper came out, she thought
it was going to attack her so she jumped on it with a ferocity I had never seen from
her. Before I could stop her she had broken the printer and demolished all of the
She has also started to disembowel the seat cushion of my relatively new sofa. She
is a digger and when she digs she is like a rototiller on speed - her little front
legs move so rapidly that they are just a whirl. She often "digs" on the
furniture and until recently, I never gave it much thought. However, several weeks
ago I came home and she had broken through the fabric on the sofa and pulled some
of the stuffing out. I was shocked and duly chastised her. However, the next day
the hole was bigger and she had removed even more stuffing. Despite my best efforts,
the damage progressed until the hole was about 6 inches in diameter and about 4 inches
deep. Then, one day, as I was sitting next to the hole, I noticed something in it.
Upon closer inspection I found several pieces of her dog food that she had neatly
covered with stuffing. The next day I checked the hole again and found a small rawhide
bone hidden under the stuffing. In the following week she began squirreling away
small articles of my clothing that she pinched from my laundry basket - first a couple
socks and a then a pair of panties. It was as if she was trying to hide little pieces
of me for herself. Finally, the other day as I sat next to the hole I felt a sudden
and violent tugging on my shirt and was astonished to see that Vivien had taken hold
of it and was furiously attempting to pull it and me into the hole. There was no
doubt about it - she intended to insert me in the hole where she could hide me under
the stuffing and not have to share me with the other dogs.
As I have been writing this chapter I have been distracted several times by Vivien
barking at and leaping after some shadows that are dancing upon the wall behind me.
She is frustrated that they won't play with her. As I watch her now and reflect back
to this time last year, I thank my lucky stars that she came into my life.
I use the term "killed" instead of "euthanized" because it is
the uglier term and more accurately reflects the ugly truth - it is a killing, albeit
humane, but a killing none the less.
By Catherine L. Wolfe, Attorney
Although I have never met Jake in person, he has had a profound effect
on my life. I first learned about him and his plight when a friend-of-a-friend called
to say that she (Patty) and her young daughters had picked up a stray dog that had
been hit by a car. His leg had been so severely broken that the bone was sticking
out of the skin. Yet, despite his obvious injury, he was happy to see them and allowed
them to pick him up and drive him to the nearest veterinarian’s office.
Patty was distraught because despite his obvious need for veterinary treatment she
could not afford it and the veterinarian refused to render any assistance without
pay. Patty was further dismayed that, according to the veterinarian, the dog would
not live without having his mutilated leg amputated. She had told the veterinarian
that she would adopt the dog, even if his leg was amputated. Nevertheless, the veterinarian
refused to do anything for the dog (other than administer very minor pain medication
that put little or no dent in the dog’s extreme pain). The veterinarian’s excuse
was that he could do nothing without the owner’s permission.
I immediately called the veterinarian and quoted the state statute that allowed a
veterinarian to render veterinary treatment, without the owner’s consent,
when the animal’s life was in danger, as it clearly was in this case. Still, the
veterinarian would not budge.
Hoping to give the veterinarian a financial, as well as legal incentive, I called
a number of local animal rescue organizations and raised the amount of money he said
would be necessary to perform the amputation. Unfortunately for Jake, the veterinarian
still refused to operate without the owner’s consent.
And, the veterinarian would not release the dog to Patty so she could take him to
another veterinarian for the amputation he needed to save his life. The veterinarian
said that he had consulted the local animal control shelter and been instructed to
retain the dog until the statutory period (4 business days) had elapsed. Since this
all transpired about midweek Jake would not be available for adoption by Patty and
her daughters until the following Monday. By that time, according to the veterinarian’s
own calculation, Jake would be dead from his injuries, and there was NOTHING we could
do about it.
Heartless does not even begin to describe the treatment Patty and her daughters received
from the veterinarian. Nevertheless, Patty and her daughters visited Jake (that was
the name they gave him) every day, except Sunday when the clinic was closed.
It was an anxious time and I hate to confess that I had given up the ship, as it
were. There seemed no way possible for the little fellow to survive and it was immensely
However, to my absolute disbelief, Patty called me Monday morning, first thing, ecstatic!!
She said that Jake’s leg had healed and that she and her daughters had finally been
allowed to adopt him. HE WAS HOME!
I couldn’t believe it and neither could she. She said the veterinarian was completely
dumbfounded. He said he had never seen anything like it and he had no explanation.
That was about 4 years ago and last Christmas I got a card from Patty, her daughters,
and Jake. The above photograph was enclosed and I had to stop and consider it.
Jake is a miracle. He survived being abandoned, and then being hit by a car. He survived
an injury that by all rights should have killed him, especially since veterinary
care was ruthlessly denied him. He survived 5 days, in agonizing pain, and without
the amputation the veterinarian said was necessary to save his life. Such inhumane
treatment, especially at the hands of a veterinarian, is hard to fathom. Nevertheless,
Jake not only survived, but he thrived. Clearly the only thing on his side was the
love of Patty and her daughters. It sustained him and somehow even carried him to
After staring at Jake’s picture I picked up the phone and called Patty. I told her
about my foregoing recollections and said I was sure that with time they must have
become exaggerated. She assured me that they had not – that everything was just as
I recalled, and, to my utter astonishment, she said that Jake does not even limp!!
How could that be??!! Reality dictates otherwise, but something divine intervened
on Jake's behalf. I cannot say how Jake survived but I believe it was the love of
Patty and her daughters, and I believe that Jake reciprocated their love. I believe
he lived and thrives today because of, and for, them.
Until that time I did not know Patty all that well. Since then she and her daughters
have played an extraordinary role in my personal life. I owe Jake a debt of gratitude
for bringing them into my life and the lives of several others. Their effect on our
lives has been tremendous and it would never have happened without JAKE, THE WONDER
By Colonel Spritey (a tightly-wrapped 2-year-old Teacup Poodle)
The Toodles — Maddy
(in a yoga position)
Why Mom decided to adopt 2 toy poodle puppies is beyond me. Mom thinks they are
absolutely adorable and has named them “Maddy” (the little girl) and “Morris” (the
little boy). Mom affectionately refers to them as the “Toodles” (a contraction for
“two toy poodles”) but I call them the “Poopies,” “Poop Stains,” and “Flea Catchers”).
They have the attention span of gnats and race around the house like a pair of squirrels.
In less than a week they have completely disrupted our lives to the point of near
An interesting aspect of their residency has been the insight it has given us into
the world of weightlessness - like astronauts. Suddenly all sorts of things have
mysteriously begun to float/move around the house. Several nights ago everything
that was not nailed down suspiciously disappeared from its usual location and reappeared
in a pile in the enormous dog bed that the Toodles confiscated from my brother Labradors.
In the dog bed with the Toodles were 8 throw rugs, a wide variety of footwear (sandals,
gym shoes, high heels, etc.), and sundry wearing apparel (T-shirts, socks, pants,
Last night, as I was dosing on the sofa I was suddenly awakened by the startling
sight of a large 12-pack of toilet paper propelling itself across the living room
floor. Upon closer inspection I saw the Toodles pulling in unison at the opposite
end of the 12-pack. For such young pups (9 weeks) it was a most impressive feat of
cooperation, strength, and intelligence, although Mom wasn’t so impressed since she
was entertaining guests at the time.
My brother Labs are extremely tolerant of the Toodles, to the point I believe they
are over-indulgent. They have endured incredible indignities, most of which have
been heaped upon Monty. Monty is approximately 80 pounds and could easily crush 1
or both of the Toodles in a heartbeat if he chose to. Fortunately for them, he has
not chosen to. Instead he has, with the aplomb of Cary Grant, allowed himself to
be used at various times as a pacifier (1 of the Toodles fell asleep with the end
of Monty’s tail in his mouth), a springboard (Monty was sleeping soundly next to
the sofa when 1 of the Toodles jumped on him, and then launched onto the sofa), and
a chew toy (no explanation necessary).
Another member of our pack is a Chihuahua named “Caesar.” He is interesting because
he considers himself part cat and actually possesses many feline traits. Among them
is a compulsive need to groom. The object of his grooming is always “Wesley,” the
other Lab. It is really funny to watch the process because Caesar is so methodical.
He always starts with one of Wesley’s ears. He inserts his small head under Wesley’s
large ear, flips it over, and commences intense licking. He licks the perimeter and
then works his way down Wesley’s ear canal until his entire head is inside Wesley’s
ear. Caesar is a wonderful Q-Tip! And, he has actually had a medicinal effect on
Wesley – before Caesar joined our pack, Wesley suffered unrelenting, painful ear
infections. However, for the past 14 years, since Caesar joined us, Wesley has not
had so much as 1 ear infection.
As for Caesar’s technique, once he has finished with Wesley’s ear, he moves to the
closest eye, thoroughly licks it clean, moves to the other eye, and then ends with
the other ear. He is very fastidious and runs a tight ship when it comes to Wesley’s
The other night the Toodles observed Caesar grooming Wesley for the first time. They
watched the entire process intensely, and as soon as it was complete, they tentatively
approached Wesley. They gingerly stuck their tiny heads under his ear and routed
around inside Wesley’s ear looking for whatever delicacies (i.e. treats) Caesar had
gotten. They had seen Caesar licking the ear, and his lips afterwards, and figured
that Wesley’s ear must contain some thing delicious. For the past several
days they have periodically checked Wesley’s ears in the hope of finding something
to eat but have been disappointed every time. Last night they even checked Mom’s
ears as she was trying to exercise on the floor.
The other night the Toodles were playing around under the sofa when all of a sudden
there came the sound of ripping fabric. Since Mom was in the shower there was nothing
to be done but listen. The ripping continued for at least 5 minutes, until Mom entered
the living room in her pajamas, ready to relax. Suddenly she stopped dead in her
tracks as she heard the fabric tearing. Then, before she could do anything we could
hear the Toodles running around INSIDE the sofa. They were racing from end to end,
and slamming in to the sides, having a grand old time. Mom immediately laid down
on the floor on her back, and slid head first under the sofa just like a car mechanic.
There she found the hole that the Toodles had torn to access the bowels of the sofa.
Mom valiantly tried to extract the Toodles from the sofa through that hole for more
than 45 minutes. They thought it was a wonderful game but Mom kept muttering about
how it was like trying to deliver a baby. Ultimately she succeeded in nabbing one
by the head and pulled it through the opening and I must admit, it really did look
like a birth. As soon as Mom had the first one out the second one popped its head
out to see where his buddy went and Mom promptly nabbed his head and plucked him
from the sofa – game over!
This morning was another episode in the saga of “what will the Toodles do next?”
Mom got a late start leaving for work and rushed to get to her office because she
had a lot to do. She had worked at home on her laptop computer for the past 2 days
to keep the Toodles company but today she had to be in the office. When she finally
got there she set up her laptop and tried to boot it up. However, all she got was
an alert stating that her battery was dangerously low and that she needed to plug
into a power source. That puzzled Mom since she had had her laptop plugged in the
past 2 days so the battery should have been fully charged. Mom’s co-worker joined
her in trying to solve the problem and discovered that the Toodles had chewed the
power chord almost completely in half. That brought Mom’s entire business to a screeching
halt because all of Mom’s work was on the laptop. Fortunately her co-worker saved
the day by racing to a town 10 miles away to get a jury-rigged power cord for Mom.
Mom’s a tough old broad and she’s really held up pretty well under the Toodle-pressure.
In fact, I think she deserves high marks for endurance although her form has sometimes
been lacking. For instance, she ended up calling in sick to work the other day and
went back to bed after stepping in Toodle-Doo-Doo 3 times before even getting out
the door. First, she was on her way to the kitchen from her bedroom when her slipper
slid through some Doo-Doo, prompting her to hop on the other slipper into the bathroom
to wash off the soiled slipper.
To relax and get a new start, Mom decided to put on her prettiest business suit and
then have a cup of coffee. After donning her suit and putting on her beautiful new
pumps, she stepped in it again, literally. She once more hopped to the bathroom to
clean off her footwear. While her shoe dried off, she decided it was time for a well-deserved
cup of coffee (with extra sugar) and as she bare-footed it into the kitchen, she
got it between her toes, sending her hopping once more to the bathroom, this time
to shower off her foot. With that, she called her secretary and said she was taking
the day off and went back to bed – good thing she is her own boss.
TERMITES – THE TOODLES HAVE BECOME FURRY TERMITES!! All day it has been difficult
to sleep because they have been gnawing on all the furniture they can get their teeth
on. First they left a trail of sawdust under the dining room table as they worked
over the entire dining room set (4 chairs and the table). Then they moved on to the
chest that doubles as a coffee table – they have now chewed off all 4 corners – top
and bottom. Their handy work on the chest was more akin to a wood-chipper than a
saw, but putting their technique aside, it made for a noisy day and a nasty surprise
when Mom discovered their “redesign” of her furniture.
Housebreaking is not going so well either. Mom had hoped that the older dogs would
teach the younger ones to do their business outside. Unfortunately, not only has
that NOT happened, the older dogs have decided that if the Toodles don’t have to
go outside to do their business, then neither do they! In an attempt to correct this
problem, Mom decided to use the “puppy pads” that have been developed for housebreaking
puppies. She made a special trip to the store and purchased 3 packages. She no sooner
placed a pad on the floor than the Toodles attacked it, playing tug of war, and shredded
it to little pieces inside of 1 minute. When they finished, it looked like the pad
Recently Mom has been letting the Toodles sleep in bed with us. She had let them
do it originally, but that ended in disaster when they whizzed in bed and Mom had
to clean all the bedding in the middle of the night – she was not a “happy camper.”
However, Mom feels certain that they have gotten past that stage so for the past
few nights they have been sleeping with us.
For the most part things have gone fairly smoothly, although they did get a little
dicey this morning when Mom woke up. Now, the puppies get on the bed the same way
the rest of us do – up the handicap ramp Mom has set up for the geriatric members
of our pack. The first time the Toodles used it they used it as a slide and thought
it was a wonderful toy. Now they use it solely for getting into and out of bed, or,
as they did last night, to bring things into bed after Mom is asleep.
In the middle of the night last night the Toodles scampered down the ramp and returned
shortly with some rather large rawhide bones they had squirreled away during the
day. Mom slept through their caper and the ensuing gnawing and chewing. One of the
Toodles did its chewing on the pillow right next to Mom’s head and after a while
lost interest in the bone and moved to another spot on the bed, leaving the gooey
raw hide bone on Mom’s pillow. Well, none of us really gave it any thought (other
than we were surprised Mom could sleep through all the commotion) until Mom woke
up this morning.
During the night the gooey rawhide bone had re-solidified with a large wad of Mom’s
hair in it. In other words, the rawhide bone was firmly stuck in Mom’s hair. Good
thing it was a weekend day because so much of Mom’s hair was incorporated into the
rawhide that it took her quite a while to re-soften it in the shower, so as to extricate
This morning Mom invented a new game. I call it “Toodle Hockey.” It’s a great spectator
sport. As a warm up you chase a Toodle around the house in high heels and a business
suit, until you are completely winded. Then you move all of the furniture that the
Toodle runs under in futile attempts to catch it. After you have moved so much furniture
that your back is killing you, you grab a broom, lay down on your stomach facing
the piece of furniture under which the Toodle is hiding, then you line the bristles
of the broom up with the Toodle and you make an enormous swipe with the broom to
send the Toodle sliding across the bare floor. The Toodle will be so astonished that
when it comes to rest in the next room, you can simply stroll over to it, pick it
up and place it in its crate while you go put on a clean business suit. This is an
especially fun sport in our household because the Toodles are actually black and
they curl up under the furniture so that when Mom sends them sliding across the floor
they look like large, fluffy hockey pucks.
The Toodles have now torn a hole in the bottom of the love seat that faces the sofa
in our living room so that they get in there to play as well as in the sofa. In fact,
they have taken to using the sofa and the love seat as their “hide outs,” just like
a couple of outlaws – like canine Bonnie and Clyde. They have stashes of all sorts
of things in the sofa and now the loveseat. The other day, when Mom came into the
living room she saw part of 1 leg of her jeans sticking out from under the sofa.
Without thinking much about it, she picked it up to put back in the laundry pile
but her effort met with startling resistance. She then laid down on her stomach to
inspect the situation. She could see that the leg of the jeans disappeared into the
hole so she put a bit of umph behind her pull and out came her entire jeans
with a Toodle attached to the bottom of the other leg.
Well, I must give credit where credit is due. The other evening Mom came home from
work very sad. She was worried about the fate of a large number of animals and was
on the brink of crying. As usual, she put us all outside to relieve ourselves but
one of the Toodles was concerned about Mom and kept looking at her through the glass
door. Mom usually prepares our dinner while we are outside but this night she just
sat rather dazed at the end of the sofa. She looked as if someone had whacked her
in the head with a 2 x 4.
When Mom let us back in the house, the concerned Toodle raced to jump onto the sofa
next to where Mom had been sitting. When Mom sat down again, the Toodle deliberately
placed something in Mom’s lap and then sat down facing Mom with an enormous, wide-mouth,
smile. Mom absent mindedly picked up the “present” and immediately burst out laughing
– it was a frozen poop, a “poopsicle” if you will! Mom looked at the Toodle and realized
that given the copious amounts of snow that we had received the last couple days,
the Toodle must have labored strenuously to excavate down to a level that he could
obtain the “poopsicle.” Mom was very touched! She hugged the little Toodle and told
him that that was the only thing in the world that could have cheered her up at that
moment. He, in turn, looked at Mom as if the say, “Well, it always works for me!”
The Toodles have now firmly established an evening ritual – when Mom takes her shower
they play. And by “play” I really mean seek-and-destroy. The other night, while Mom
was in the shower they raided the bathroom and took as many rolls of toilet paper
out as they could (about 4 altogether) and TP’ed the kitchen, tossing the rolls around,
the toilet paper unrolling with each toss like streamers on New Years. They also
shredded a couple of the rolls. It took them relatively little time to accomplish
As I said previously, I believe that Monty is far too indulgent with the Toodles
and this episode was no exception. While Mom showers, Monty always lays in the doorway
to guard her. When Mom emerged from her shower she found not only the demolished
toilet paper in the kitchen, but she also found that the Toodles had wrapped some
of the toilet paper around Monty as well as covering him with shredded toilet paper.
Monty was so thoroughly covered that all you could see of him were his eyes. In fact,
he bore a strong resemblance to a mummy!
It’s odd sometimes what you grow accustomed to. We are now so used to the Toodles
racing from inside the sofa, across the floor to the inside of the loveseat, and
back, that we don’t give it a second thought. Consequently, Mom was surprised the
other night when a friend stopped by and was startled when he witnessed this occurrence.
He exclaimed “does this happen often?” Mom explained that it does, and that the Toodles
actually use the furniture more as their dens than as furniture. He then jokingly
offered Mom the use of his live-trap if she ever wants to catch them.