Archives for dogs

#224 Dogs

#224 Dogs

If only I had known why, my dog Bo always wanted to be in the kitchen. He and his pal Scamp waited for any chance. If I turned my head, into the kitchen they’d romp, and all the time I thought they were just two hungry dogs, until I had my dream and saw what I couldn’t believe.

Bo and Scamp both wore white chef caps, aprons, and had oven mitts on their paws. They chopped and diced and cooked like pros. Succulent aromas impregnated the house. All who inhaled the fragrance salivated like Pavlov’s Dogs.

Out of the kitchen dogs, I yelled, but they ignored me and dished me out a plate of what looked like moist and warm Kibbles and Bits. To be polite, I took a bite and to my palate’s delight, it tasted better than a Porterhouse Steak.

Bo asked if I wanted more. He not only talks, he cooks and is more faithful than any wife would ever be. I knew if I could have a litter like Bo or even Scamp, I’d soon be rich. I immediately started looking for a bitch to breed Bo and I looked for another for Scamp. Before I found a suitable mate for either one, I figured I better find out where they learned to cook and if they could teach their pups to do what they did.

“Hey Bo, come here boy,” I couldn’t believe I was going to have a conversation with a dog, but then again, I couldn’t believe the dog was a gourmet cook, could talk and even washed his paws before handling any food. “Tell me where you learned to do what you do?”

“Listen Joe, do you really want to know?” Bo said in barks that came out like words.

“Yes, indeed I do Bo. I need to know if you have pups if I can train them to do what you do.”

“Sit down Joe. I’ll tell you what I know if you promise to never repeat it to anyone.”

What did a promise to a dog mean anyway? If Bo told me something worthwhile, and I wanted to write about it, could I do so and be morally right. After all a dog is only property owned by someone, and as property we can do anything we want with them. We owe them nothing, so I concluded, my promise needn’t be kept.

Bo began, “Once upon a time, long ago, a light came from the sky and shone on my ancestor, Howling Wolf. The energy from the light filled his brain with knowledge and he taught many wolf’s to cook and clean as I do. There was a rebellion amongst the young cubs. They didn’t want to work in the kitchen. They howled at the moon night after night protesting that it was a crime against nature to have to cook and clean when they could be running down game.”

“Is this a fairy tale Bo, or did you eat some contaminated puppy chow?”

Bo raised his paw, “I swear on my sixth sense that every word is true. Well, that light had made Howling Wolf so smart he figured out a way to keep all the wolves happy. For those who wanted to hunt and work the solution was to let them follow their nature. For those who wanted to be pampered pups, he created humans to care for them.”

“Hold on Bo. You’re saying a wolf created mankind?”

“He was no ordinary wolf.”

“I can’t believe you. Why don’t all dogs cook and clean like you and Scamp?”

“We’re trying to break away from the pack. We believe it to be cruel to force humans to pick up our doggy doo and have to brush and bathe us as they do. We want to be independent and live as Howling Wolf did. Then we can be proud to say, ‘I’m a dog.’”

“I’m proud of you Bo. I tell everyone I know how smart my dog is.”

“Hold on there Joe. You’ve got that backwards. Before I showed you I could cook, who did all the work around here?”

“Why, I suppose I did.”

“Who picked up after me when I took you for a walk?” Bo said and curled his lips in a doggy smile that meant he thought he had made himself clear.

“But I was in charge, and that made you my dog.”

“You’re deluded as most humans are. You and others were created to fill our needs, to cook and clean for us dogs. To give us baths and dress us in fancy clothes if we desired.”

“Wait a minute; I think that’s weird to dress a dog in clothes.”

“I know, I had you made that way. Those pansy critters who dress like that are weird I think, but Howling Wolf said that dogs could choose to do anything they wanted.”

“Hold on here Bo. I know you’re wrong. If dogs are in charge, how do you explain the dog pounds where so many dogs are euthanized?”

“How do you explain penitentiaries?”

“They’re for people who don’t obey the law,” I said.

“Ditto for dog pounds,” Bo said.

I could see Bo was deluded and thought he was my boss, so I said, “I’m looking for a bitch and you and her will have a litter that I’ll sell and I’ll be rich.”

As we spoke a girl walked past. Bo ran to her and kissed her feet. “Oh what a cute dog,” she said, and smiled at me. My heart melted, and I said, “He thinks you’re cute too. Would you like to come and see him cook lunch for us?”

“Cute and he cooks too? You’re a lucky dog to have one like this,” she picked Bo up and kissed him.

Bo looked over her shoulder and I saw that doggy smile on his face. “I found you a bitch to breed a brood of kids to cook and clean for us dogs.”

#224 Dogs

# 133 Hungarian Joe’s

# 133 Hungarian Joe’smolly upright

Trying to forget she wouldn’t be there when I got home, I sat drinking beer in Hungarian Joe’s bar. Six months have passed since Sherry, my wife died, and every time I open the door, I expect her to be standing there to greet me as she had done for fifteen years.

After a half-dozen beers the feeling of loneliness and desolation wasn’t so bad when I opened that door. I guess my face showed my feelings because Jay, the bartender asked, “Raphael, have you ever been married?”

“Twice now, and they both died,” I said, and I felt a wet spot beneath my eye thinking of them. “Sherry passed just six months ago,” I barely held the tears back when I said her name.

“Third time’s the charm,” he said, not noticing how emotional I was over the subject.

“Hell I’ve been married three times, and the third one was the worst ever,” Hank butted in from the end of the bar.

We sat watching TV in silence, and after a short time, a program came on about hunting dogs, showing how smart and loyal they were.

“If I ever get married again, I’m going to marry a dog, and I don’t mean no ugly woman, I mean a real dog. Dogs got qualities none of my wives ever had. If one of my wives had been as smart or as loyal as one of those their dogs,” he pointed to the TV, “I’d still be married,” Hank said.

“Got something there, ain’t no woman as loyal as a dog, or nearly as smart,” Jay said, and reached up to turn the volume up so we could hear what they were saying about the dogs.

An advertisement came on announcing a special this week at the local animal shelter. For a total of fifty bucks a guy could have any dog in the place, shots included. The ad showed several happy dogs running around a fenced in exercise area.

“See them dogs?” Hank asked. “In a few days they’ll all be euthanized— that’s the word used in all the shelters— a politically correct word. Euthanize means to kill to stop suffering from an incurable disease. Ain’t none of them dogs suffering enough to justify killing them. Why don’t they say this animal’s going to be killed, slaughtered, murdered or something closer to the truth?”

“Do they have public executions so the taxpayers can see what they’re paying for?” Jay asked.

“No, they stick em with a needle when their time expires and send the bodies to medical labs for dissection,” Hank said and swallowed the rest of his beer stood up and said. “They at least give murderers a last meal. Why not innocent animals condemned to death for being homeless? But wait, did you guys ever think that maybe this is an investigational program. Don’t they always use animals experimentally before trying the procedure on humans? Maybe pretty soon they’re going to round up homeless humans and treat them to the same procedure? Ever think about that?” Hank slammed his glass down and staggered out the door.

I didn’t think they’d be doing that anytime soon, but it was food for thought. Maybe having a dog waiting for me to come home was a good idea, and fifty bucks was less than the usual cost of rabbi shots and spaying. I drank my beer and headed for the animal shelter.

Once there, I saw so many friendly beautiful animals and everyone under a death sentence that I was unable to choose. How could I choose to save only one life? I wanted to save everyone of them. I desperately wanted to open the cages and let them run free, but I knew they’d be hunted down.

All the dogs in the place jumped and barked, acting like I was their long-lost master and friend. I wondered if they knew the executioner waited for them if they weren’t adopted soon. The way they behaved, trying to impress every visitor to take them home, indicated they knew what fate awaited them. The attendant told me all I needed to do was pay the fifty dollars for spaying and licensing, and then any dog there could be mine.

I came to the first cage with a white mongrel bitch that had just dropped a litter of pups, absolutely the cutest little dogs I’d ever seen. Not wanting to break up a family I went to the next cage with a picture in my mind of Czar Nicholas and his family being murdered. An image I’ve always found extremely sad. I didn’t think the murder of this animal family would be any less sad.

In the next cage, there was a Pit bull that had recently given birth. Whoever used her as a puppy machine dropped her off to be killed as soon as the puppies were weaned. Owners sell or trade the pups for drugs and didn’t want to be bothered taking care of a dog they couldn’t fight. I’d love to save this dog, but I knew I couldn’t handle a dog as strong as her. I pictured her being executed with the family in the next cage, and my heart felt like it broke into a million little pieces.

I moved on to the next cage and saw a Boxer pup about six months old, and instantly fell in love with this strong, pretty dog. I was about to choose this dog above all the others.  I was reminded of Sophie’s Choice. How could I choose one above the others? Would I regret it?

Before I could make a decision, I noticed a little skinny wisp of what looked like a Greyhound in the next cage. She lay on the floor, her white fur and few brown spots looked drab in the dim light. She didn’t have the strength to greet me, but she turned her head, and her soft brown eyes said it all. When I looked into those round brown eyes, I saw so much love my knees got weak. I read her nametag on the door, “Molly.” She made an effort to come to me but didn’t have the strength. That was it. I was able to make a choice after all. This was the dog I would save from being murdered. I carried her to my car and wrapped a blanket around her for the drive home. I stopped to get her some food; instead of dog food I got ground round, and a few soup bones, and I found some doggie vitamins for her too.

I fed and bathed her as soon as I got home. Then I built a fire in the fireplace, so she wouldn’t get chilled as she dried. She sat on my lap wrapped in a blanket like a helpless baby. I gazed at the painting hanging above the fireplace, “Calm Seas by Monet,” and she looked in the same direction. I wondered if she saw what I did in that painting.

Molly grew fast, and it turned out she wasn’t a greyhound at all, but a Lab. She got strong, and I took her jogging by the river every day. Once we got close to the river, there was no keeping her out. She loved to swim, anytime, anyplace. Temperature was no barrier to her, and often it was so cold her fur would be coated with frost by the time we got home. Anytime we got close to a fountain she’d jump into it and go for a swim.

As time went on, whenever I gazed at Monet’s painting, Molly’s eyes would be glued to it too. It seemed whenever she was home, she would lie in front of that picture, staring at it. I surprised Molly when I took her to Northern California to a stretch of ocean front that looked just like the painting. Molly spent days swimming in the ocean; she obviously didn’t want to leave when it was time to go. I guess that was one of the reasons a dog is a good companion, it can’t complain when it doesn’t get what it wants.

When we returned home, Molly spent more time than ever in front of that picture. I guessed she was having doggie daydreams and reminiscing about our vacation.

The years flew by; Molly is 15 years old now. Old for a dog — I could see when she moved it was painful for her. I thought about bringing her to the vet, for a shot to end her pain by ending her life, but I couldn’t do that to my best friend. I’d rather do it to myself. If I could trade places with her, I would.

I had to lower the picture to Molly’s eye level so she could see it when she lay by the fire. She would stare at that painting for hours and hours just dreaming her doggie dreams.

One day her ears stood up, and she ran to the door. That meant she had to go out. I opened the door and was surprised to see her take off at full speed, heading for the river. I ran after her but couldn’t keep up. The river was only a few blocks from our house. She reached the river and jumped in and furiously swam toward the middle. I saw a crowd on the opposite bank, all looking in Molly’s direction, and by the time I got to the river’s edge, Molly was coming out of the water, dragging a two-year-old boy who had fallen in trying to catch a duck. Somehow, Molly knew what happened and rushed over to save the baby. She was a heroine. The crowd that witnessed what she did came over and patted and thanked her for being such a good dog. Sitting by the fire that night I got up and moved the painting closer for Molly to see. She looked at the painting, then toward me, let out a long sigh, and died. I glanced at our favorite painting, and there she was in the painting, soaking wet and happy like she had just had a swim and lay down in the grass to dry herself. Her appearing in the painting is impossible, I thought. But there she was, the look on her face comforted me — Mollie was in doggie heaven.

I buried her in the yard; then went to Hungarian Joe’s, same as I did when Sherry died. Jay was tending bar and Hank sat on his usual stool.

“What’s the matter Raphael? You look like you just lost your best friend.”

“I did,” I said.



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A True Friend

A True Friend


“We’re friends aren’t we, Joe?” Billy said just before he stole my girl. That was when I began to think that my dad was right when he always said, “The only friend a man has is the money in his pocket.”

My problem has always been not having any friends, in or out of my pocket. There were plenty like Billy who’d pretend to be my friend, but they always revealed their true intent when the time came. In search of a true friend, I went to the pound and found a dog that I thought would stick by me no matter what.

I paid the fee and got the dog as my own. It turned out he used me like all my other friends. He had an agenda of his own and ran away from home the first chance he got. I tried to befriend a cat, to no avail. I went to the Beehive bar and drank a lot of beer. I began to tell any who would listen how even my unfaithful dog had abandoned me.

A voice I didn’t know came from The End of the bar. “Hold on there, Joe. Don’t you dare go around badmouthing dogs. Did you ever think that dog you got from the pound may have had a reason to run away?”

“No, because I gave him everything a dog should need,” I hollered down the bar.

A monster of a man with a shaved head, tattooed neck and muscular arms stood up and lumbered from The End of the bar up to where I sat by the door. I was tempted to run out the door before he reached me. But my beer muscles had grown, so I convinced myself I could match his strength if it came to a fight.

I stood and grabbed my empty beer bottle by the neck, ready to smash it on his bald head. He strode up and we stood toe-to-toe, eye to eye, and he said in a growling voice, “Its people like you that require a dog to do things that aren’t natural.”

“Hold on there, King Kong, exactly what are you saying?” I eyed the door. If I hit him, I could probably make it to the door before he could respond.

“I’m saying that the dog that ran away from you only did what any true friend would do.”

“I’m not following you. If he was a true friend, why’d he run off?”

“I didn’t say he was your friend.” He stepped closer and our bellies touched. “I’m saying before he was put in the pound, he had a friend. In the dog’s mind, it was his duty to go and find the friend he already had not to make a new one and forget the old.

I sat on my stool. I never thought of it that way. So a dog really was a true friend. “You’re right,” I said. “Let me buy you a drink?”

“Before you do, you’ve got to know, when I imagine a dog, I see one designed by Giacometti and then I see one designed by god. Both are assigned to a man. A dog is intended to be desired and designated as a friend to be loved. Instead they’re forced to fight, forced to kill, forced to breed.”

“That’s not always true,” I said, but knew it was true, and I didn’t like to think about it.

“We’ve messed up the world and the lives of many dogs too.” The big man went back to The End of the bar and I watched him for a while.

I drank five more beers and kept my mouth shut while thinking about the lives of dogs. I noticed the big guy had grown hair all over his head. Why, even his tattoos were covered with thick black hair. I looked out the door and the full moon had risen.

I looked back in time to see he now had a beard and his mouth started to turn into a snout. “Give him a drink,” I told the bartender. He gave him a beer and poured it into a bowl. I watched in horror as he lapped the bowl clean with his tongue without ever touching it with his hands. I wasn’t surprised when I looked and saw his hands had become paws.

“Bartender, give me a shot of Jack Daniels to clear my head. I’m seeing a man turning into a dog.”

“Pay Rufus no mind. It’s that time of the month.” He gave me a beer on the house.

“Just a cotton picking minute, you mean to say this guy,” I pointed to the now hairy guy, “turns into a dog every month?”

“Only when the moon is full. If you notice, everyone but you has left.” He swept his arm and for the first time I noticed, every bar stool was empty.

“Why did they leave?”

“Nobody wants to be his friend when he changes like that. In fact you may stay, but I’ve got to go upstairs.” He went from behind the bar to the door leading upstairs.

Once he went through it, I heard locks snapping shut. It was just me, and a two hundred pound dog sitting in the bar now. I looked into the dogs round brown eyes and I felt love. I walked down the bar and ran my hand over his hairy head in a friendly pat. He lie on the bar and shook his leg as a signal for me to pat his hairy back. I did. A doggy smile lit his face.

He jumped up and licked my face. I finally found a friend. I scratched his neck and he rubbed up against me. Then he sniffed my hand in a friendly manner, then my crotch and butt. Before I knew it, he had me bent over a barstool and was humping away. No wonder he didn’t have any friends.




She joined the gym, got a trainer

who had her run on a treadmill,

swim laps, and her target weight

still eludes her.


Staff members in khakis and polo

shirts lead gym members through

exercises and reward them with

yogurt vegetable parfaits.


Lolita is optimistic, smiles gamely

during her workouts while snacking

on carrots.

If only her legs weren’t so short.


More than half of these Americans

are overweight. Diet without exercise

isn’t enough. So they have been hitting

the gyms and spas around the country.


Eating yogurt vegetable parfaits to help

solve the problem. Ms. Walsh offers

one-on-one, 24-hour care and training

for Lolita at only $1,250 a month.


Lolita is putting on extra pounds

because a dachshund is a breed

prone to getting overweight.









Doggie Discrimination

Doggie Discrimination


Make tracks back to your cage where

you’ll be marked on a page that counts

the days until you’ll be euthanized because

you’re black.


You’re never coming back. It’s not your fault.

We know if you had a choice you’d rejoice, but

your color dooms you to the room where death awaits.


Please don’t feel discriminated against. It happens

to black cats and humans too, and it isn’t because

they’re mean, it’s because they’re black or in between.


Shelters sometimes decorate black animals in gaudy,

colorful scarves to add some appealing colors to  create

loving feelings by masquerading that they have black fur.


Repulsion to black is often subconscious, but ingrained,

obtained at an early age, not only to creatures of other

colors, but ingrained in some who wear a black coat of their own .


It’s all because BLACK is seen as bad, dangerous, scary and ugly,

and makes living in this world  tougher for anyone or anything that’s



but Johnny cash wore that color on his white skin and was feared by no one.



I don’t care if tomorrow never comes.
I’ve been lonely night and day since
she ran away.

My world ended the day she left me
for another. I think of days that used
to be when she’d sleep with me.

If I can’t have her, I don’t care if the
sun ever shines or if tomorrow
never comes.

I can’t believe she’d leave me for another when
I wanted her to be a mother. I fed and clothed
her well. But he had something I didn’t.

She scampered over there every chance she got.
It wasn’t right, I couldn’t give her up without a fight.
I loaded my gun and went to where she was,

Knocked on the door. A man bigger than most
answered. I said, “She’s here and she’s mine. I’m
taking her home and you better not try to stop me,”

When I put my pistol barrel in his ear, he pleaded,
“I told her a thousand times to go home, but to my
sorrow, she refuses to listen to me.”

I smashed the side of his head with my pistol barrel.
She ran to him and licked his face until he awoke.
Fear filled his eyes when he spoke, “Go home you bitch!”

She kissed him again and didn’t care that I was standing there.
“You’ve grown cold and no longer care for me,” I told her.
“Set me free,” I told the man as he got off the floor.

“You can have her,” I said, “But you need to pay for her
thoroughbred papers.”


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