I returned to camp early today exhausted from chasing those goofy chickens out of my yard. They had pooped and scratched their way across the entire yard. They ate all of Mama’s figs in the backyard and boy was she mad about that! Those chickens are finally gone, thank goodness. A good rain and my backyard will be as good as new, washing that chicken poop away.
A lot happened at camp while I was gone for those few days. I learned that coyotes had been heard howling every night from across Inks Lake from the cabins. Poor little Coco, my youngest retriever cousin, was scared to death. She’s a city dog and hadn’t heard coyotes howl before this camp. The sun is setting and the kids are all about to go in for the night. My dog cousins and I are scouting for scraps around the back door of the kitchen. The camp chef has tossed out all sorts of incredible left overs tonight. Yum! A feast of pizza crusts, cheese bread and that delicious cinnamon sugar crust with butter. Hey Felix, I think you’ll love the pizza crusts best! Those crazy kids must be out of their minds to leave even one crumb of the cinnamon sugar crust! It’s my very favorite. Mercy sakes alive what was that piercing howl? Coco, come near to me and don’t leave my side. Radar, where are you? Felix and Bear, what did I just hear? Radar ran and gathered us into our den we had made for ourselves under the front porch of the main camp house. Radar told us not to move and for goodness sake, no barking or whimpering. Radar told us to stay put because he was pretty certain the howl we heard was a coyote. Radar went out to the edge of the lake very quietly. He listened and looked for a really long time. The howling began again along with more howls. There must have been 12 coyotes now all singing together in what sounded like a concert. Then quiet. We then heard Radar began his deepest, meanest growl that sounded very similar to the howls of the coyotes. I’m told that when coyotes howl they are marking their territory, basically saying, this is my spot and don’t come near. I suppose Radar was doing the same in his most stern voice by the way he was growling and howling. Whatever Radar was doing it sounded pretty impressive. Now old Radar has been coming to camp for years. He told us a story a few years back about an encounter he had with a young coyote across the lake. Radar had decided to swim across the lake that night and see if he might find some young rabbits for dinner. He came face to face with a pack of coyotes as he climbed onto the shore on the other side. The coyotes came up to him and surrounded him. Although he was terrified he never let on that he was scared. He stood his ground. Radar asked to see the coyote in charge. A big coyote known as Aztec pranced out and came up to Radar and said, “you asked to see me?” Radar answered with his bravest voice, “yes, I did”. “I have come in peace to find food for my friends across the lake.” As luck would have it rabbits had been extremely plentiful that season. The big coyote, Aztec, told Radar he could have what he needed this time but that he should never swim back across the lake to their side as that was coyote territory. Aztec and Radar growled a sound only the two of them understood that night. Radar returned across the lake with the rabbits and never returned. Tonight we all snuggled close to each other and listened for what seemed an eternity as we heard first Radar and then the big coyote on the other side of the lake. It was if they were talking to each other back and forth as they took turns howling. Was it old Aztec he was talking to that night? Soon Radar was back under the porch with all us terrified pups. “Radar, what was all that howling?” Radar, we’re scared! Are those coyotes gonna come and eat us for dinner? In his most calming voice ever, old Radar began telling us that he had promised old Aztec that night long ago that he would never return across the lake into coyote territory. All that howling tonight was just Radar and Aztec remembering old times and the promises they had made to stay out of each other’s territories. You see when you make a promise to someone you always keep your word. You always do the right thing. Friends forever, old Radar and Aztec.
Whelp, it’s my second week of Longhorn Camp. It’s taken me all week to round up my pup friends. Some were late getting to camp so our sleeping arrangements kept changing every day. Little Coco was a little homesick so I spent lots of time showing her around camp. It’s her first year so she didn’t understand how things worked. Things like where to get her food, water and treats. When I explained that camp would be one big scavenger hunt for food every day she almost fainted! The truth is I thought the same thing my first year at camp. Thank goodness for the friends I made that first year. They took me under their wing and in no time at all I knew where to find everything.
I am very excited to see rat meatloaf is still on the menu this year. It was my very favorite last year. I can’t wait to see the look on Coco’s face when she sees that meatloaf. I bet that beautiful little white furry face will turn green after I tell her what’s she’s eating. But it’s really really good if she’ll just taste a bite. Well rats, no treats tonight; the big dogs beat us to the back door of the camp kitchen. I’ll post a pup there tomorrow evening early to guard those treats.
It’s been such a big day of swimming in the lake, running all over chasing rabbits and trying to dodge all these kids. We try to stay hidden most of the day and come out at night when all those little campers are in their cabins. It’s the first night for all the pups to be in camp and the oldest pup this year is my big Rottweiler friend named Radar. The oldest pup is always the master storyteller for camp each year. It’s great to be friends with Radar because no one messes with Radar! He’s big, bad and loud! He’s got a bark that would scare the horns off a longhorn. Oh my, I just know he’s gonna tell that really scary story that had Felix running under the porch last year. Poor little Coco is about to be welcomed to camp! But don’t worry I’ll take good care of her.
Tomorrow I have to leave camp for a few days and return home. It seems two chickens back home have invaded my yard. Chickens? For real? We’ll see about that!
Merciful heaven, my Mama done turned into a chicken wrangler! So embarrassing! It all began last week when a couple of chickens, Cluck and Peep, from next door decided to come over and eat bugs in my back yard. I named the white chicken Cluck cause she just kept on clucking. The red one I named Peep cause she stayed hidden behind the bushes but continued to peep out. These chickens were gifts for the little kids next door at Easter from their parents. Like all cute little biddies, they grow up to be chickens. Yesterday I went out like always to run my traps and check the perimeter of my yard. Afterwards I always take a little sunbath, stretch and enjoy the fresh air. This day I ran straight for the back corner of my yard when I spied something different in the bushes. Now Mama just thought it was a dove or squirrel because we have lots of both. All of a sudden the race was on when across the yard Cluck ran for her life. Mama screamed at the top of her lungs, “Dallas, stop”! I stopped and laid down in the grass and let that goofy chicken get away. I still can’t believe I let Cluck get away. But I really don’t like to disappoint Mama so I listened and stopped. Mama came and picked me up and praised me greatly for stopping. I was a little confused by all that but at least I got a couple of treats out of the deal. The next day Cluck and Peep were back again digging for bugs in the pine straw. I’m a fast learner so I refused to go out into the yard to take care of business. No way I was gonna get yelled at again because of a stupid chicken! That’s when it happened; my Mama became a chicken wrangler on the spot. Mama went running out into the yard making all kinds of noise to scare the chickens back into their yard. Today it was pouring rain all morning. It’s really hard to go potty in the rain but I manage. What, Cluck and Peep are back again! Now it’s raining cats and dogs, the chicks have pooped on the patio; it smells like a chicken yard. Seriously, I’m going inside Mama. I didn’t sign up to live in a chicken yard. I was watching from the window as Mama put on her rubber boots, her raincoat and grabbed a yard rake from the garage. She yelled and chased those chickens down two sides of the fence hemming them in behind the big fig tree in the corner. She was making all kinds of noise before she managed to scoot them out of my yard and back into their yard. I didn’t know Mama could move that fast and I certainly didn’t know she was a chicken wrangler. Be careful Mama, I don’t know how to call 911 yet.
Dallas Tales – Shopping At Maida’s Belts and Buckles
I think I have this puppy psychology down pretty good by now. I have lived with Mama Gayle almost three years. She’s a sweetheart and loves to travel but I get lonely when she’s gone. I miss her terribly. Last week she was packing to go see her grandson, Carter, graduate high school. I could tell she was not packing my items to be included on this trip. No leash, halter, food, treats were jumping into my travel bag! Seriously? With some quick thinking I came up with a plan. I would lay on the rug leading to the back door and look really pitiful. Well, that didn’t work, so I whined a little. That didn’t work. She gave me some story about needing to go into Houston to this very upscale belt and buckle store. Lots of gorgeous leather items and incredible silver and gold buckles made especially for their store, Maida’s Belts and Buckles, www.maidasbelts.com . Anyway, so what, I know about all those things because my favorite Daddy had one of those handsome belts. He let me sniff and look at his belts cause he was a cool Dad. She was about to leave any second so I had to pull out all the stops and play the ole prayer hands act. This is where I sit back on my little hiney; hold up my little paws together resembling prayer hands and whine. Yep, she fell hook, line and sinker. That whiney, hiney trick always works with her. She proceeded to tell me we had to bring my matching leash and halter since we would be shopping on Westheimer in Houston. She was hoping store policy wouldn’t keep me from entering the store. I told her I’d bring all my charm to the table, not to worry. After the long ride over to Houston she snapped the leash and into the store we went. At first I didn’t think I would get to stay but after a few minutes I charmed my way into the hearts of their employees. Mama made a quick purchase while I surveyed the store. Just about that time I heard a loud squawk! What in the world? Save me Mama! I looked and my eyes fell upon a huge parrot in a cage near the counter where I was standing. If he comes out of that cage he might bite my ear off. The owners quickly dispel my fears and tell me he’s harmless. Nice to meet you, Nelson the parrot. Several employees seemed to think Jack Russell’s were cute. Whew, thank heavens for my pedigree! They spoke lots of nice words to me and even posed with me for a photo. I fell in love with that store. The folks there were very friendly. I liked the smells inside; all the leather reminded me of my trip to the farm. I think Nelson would be a great asset when I escape every now and then on Mama’s trips to Houston. He could swoop down and unlatch the kennels for me and my friends who might be staying nearby. You see, when Mama checks into a hotel, I look around to see what other dogs might be staying as well. I signal those pups with my special soft growl letting them know when their parents are out for the night we’ll be patrolling all of Houston’s finest restaurant dumpsters nearby. Do you realize just how much good stuff they throw in those dumpsters? Geez, Nelson can fly therefore he could swoop at will into those dumpsters for all of us. He would also be a great asset to take care of those pesky rats that lurk nearby. Surely he knows how too finagle opening his cage door to sail out of the store as they lock the door for the night at Maida’s. You think Nelson speaks puppylese? Next time I visit Maida’s I’ll have a conversation with ole Nelson about restaurant dumpster diving with me and my crew. We’ll be best friends in no time at all. I mean, who could resist this sweet puppy face? See ya soon Nelson.
Clue number one…..a broken jar of something red at the entrance to the HEB parking lot. I dodged whatever it was to avoid a flat tire immediately on entering the parking lot. Clue number two….a young male driving a minivan obviously didn’t take drivers training to know the proper way of driving in a parking lot. The minivan driver coming out of a lane doesn’t stop and pulled directly in front of me. O my goodness, he escaped the honking wrath of said driver. OK, so I drive on up to find a parking spot. Since the advent of lazy people too important to enter the grocery store HEB has now reserved 12 parking spots for those call ahead shoppers, and prime spots I might add have been reserved. Across the isle from those reserved spots there are another 5 spots reserved for mothers with small children or expectant mothers, 5 handicapped parking spots. On a late Sunday afternoon those 22 prime spots are virtually empty. I circle the lot looking for a spot to park only to find all available spots are in close proximity to Dowlen Road. Excuse me but I have a problem with all this exclusivity. I pull into a reserved for lazy man’s delivery spot hoping not to draw a ticket from the HEB police. Geez, I only need about two items. What’s the world coming to? I mean, I am a senior citizen! Doesn’t that count for something? I have a handicap parking tag in the console but it’s not for me and being very able to walk from Dowlen Road into the store I do have some pride left not to play that card. First of all HEB did a poor job of designing the parking lot as it relates to leaving the store. Checkouts are all weighted on one side of the store. I learned early on not to enter near the produce section because when you leave the store you are half way across the parking lot from where you parked. OK, they’re not going to redesign the store for Gayle. I get my few items and try to exit using another entrance from where the broken jar will surely cause a flat. Folks!!!!! Did your Mama never tell you it’s rude to walk out in front of a car? Backing out of a parking spot you have folks walking behind you, stop and wait. I pull forward and encounter more cows walking right in front of my car. Stop and wait, while tapping my fingers. It’s as if when folks enter a parking lot they forget all they have ever learned in drivers training or what they learned from their Mama! So, forget Wal-Mart…..it’s now the HEB people!
The fall of 2017 was one of great confusion for me. Mama and my favorite Daddy were gone a lot. They would be here then gone for several days at a time. Mama’s friends took good care of me during those crazy months when I didn’t know what was going on. When they were home Daddy wasn’t going to work every day like he always had before. I really liked him being home with me every day. We could snuggle all the time in the mornings and I got lots of crumbs and treats. Then one day they were gone for a long time, twenty-six days to be exact. I didn’t see them the entire time. Mama’s friends took really good care of me and loved on me. Then one day Uncle Craig come and picked me up to go stay with cousin Felix in Dallas. I had a really great time wrestling and playing with Felix. It sort of took my mind off where Mama and Daddy could possibly be. Then one day it was time to come back home. Gee I was so glad to see Mama, but where was my favorite Daddy? He wasn’t with Mama when she came home. Mama picked me up and held me real close and told me he had gone to live with Jesus in heaven. Mercy I didn’t understand that at all. Every morning I went to Daddy’s bedroom to look for him. I would lie on their bedroom floor like I always used to do when he was getting ready for work in the mornings. Surely he was just out getting the paper and would return soon. Mama would come find me whining in their bedroom. She is so sweet to me and many times she would lie on the floor beside me and cry with me. It’s been three months now since Daddy went to live in heaven with Jesus. I miss him so very much. Mama tries to give me lots of extra attention but I can hear her cry too sometimes so I go and help her just like she helps me. I am really trying to understand this whole heaven thing but it’s really hard. Mama tells me everything will be ok and that together we will be ok. She tells me that God is watching over and protecting us both. I just have to trust her cause I love her very much. She’s a really sweet Mama. But I miss my favorite Daddy so much. I love you Daddy!
I arrived to quite the reception recently at Hyatt Place in The Woodlands near Hughes Landing. I’m sure they heard a star was arriving so they pulled out all the stops for little old me. They greeted me with a lovely packet of my most favorite dog biscuits and a special tag to hang on my door. They wanted contact information in the event I needed anything while Mama was out. The ladies thought I was just the sweetest! Well enough of that, after all Mama told me not to talk about myself so….shhhhh, don’t say anything. She’ll never know.
The room was just lovely. Very large so I could run all I wanted. There were big windows with lots of sunshine for my daily sunbaths. But that fluffy bed with all those pillows, wow, I thought I was in heaven. When Mama rounded the corner and saw me all snuggled into those pillows I thought for sure I was in trouble. Boy was I glad to see that big smile on her face. I could get used to this. Let me see, do they have doggie room service here? I certainly hope they have fresh apples chunks, my absolute favorite snack. Mama peels my apples and cuts them really small. I’m certain they serve peanut butter and spray cheese as well. Just tiny bits, after all I am a dog but I really love my snacks.
Well Mama and my favorite Daddy left me in the kennel so they could go see their grandson play his last football game of the regular season. I took a little nap and woke up to such a quiet room. It’s really quiet here and that’s why Mama always likes to stay here. I lay there for a while and thought; I remember a poodle in the lobby when I checked into the hotel. There was also a golden retriever and a mixed breed golden lab. We barked hello to each other and I gave them the paws up that there may just be a party later on if the parents went out tonight. I also signaled a special bark if indeed I thought the party could happen. Giddy up, the parents are out! I finagled the kennel door until I got it open. Then I began to howl until the management came to find out if I was ok. When they opened the door I made my escape. I began the signal bark that I had arranged when my buddies checked into the hotel. It was a bark only known to my buddies and me. We met on the lawn and escaped into the nearby ditch. I happen to know there’s a great Whole Foods across the street that trashes all sorts of delectable items at closing time. I led the pack across the street, whew; the golden retriever is sort of slow and almost got smacked by a Mercedes! I woofed at him that if he got run over my Mama would punish me with that water sprayer she uses when I don’t obey. She thinks I’m scared of that little wimpy thing, I actually enjoy getting that cool little mist. Oh well, you just have to play the game. Yum, they threw out the salmon and sweet potatoes. I just love sweet potatoes, they are especially my favorite! The golden retriever loves the pizza, he would…..lol. The mixed breed lab was just over the moon with all the muffins that were in the trash. I tried to tell him those muffins had raisins but he wouldn’t listen. Yep, he barfed all the way back to the hotel. Well the persnickety poodle wouldn’t eat anything because she was waiting for the cheese soufflé. No soufflé sister. She put her nose in the air and headed backed to the hotel in a huff. Oh well, you just can’t please some people. And no, there was no room service, well at least for dogs. That’s ok, my Mama taught me to be resourceful! Love ya Mama!
Whelp, my favorite Daddy has been a little under the weather again. Never did quite understand how someone could be ‘under’ the weather but you know those humans, they do talk kinda strange sometimes. Because of Daddy’s condition that means that sometimes I get to visit different folks. Like Miss Ruth and Mr Craig. They have three dogs themselves but they made room for little ole me. Bailey is the elder pup and he keeps us all in line. Then there’s Charlie Brown who’s a bit older than me. Charlie Brown is a sweet pup, made me feel right at home. Their baby is Toby, a schnauzer who’s about a year old and just lots of fun. Toby and I ran all around, wrestled over the chew bone, and just had a ball. My favorite place to hang out at Miss Ruth’s is the sofa. Except that I didn’t know Miss Ruth doesn’t allow her pups on the sofa. Oops! You see I have my own love-seat at home. Mom keeps a cover on it just for lil ole me. I love you Mama! Well, Miss Ruth was trying so hard to make me feel at home she never told me I didn’t belong on her sofa. She just put a cover on there and made me feel right at home. I love Miss Ruth, she made me feel really safe. It was such fun spending the week out at Miss Ruth’s home. She has lots of farm animals. There are longhorn cows, horses, a visiting duck, and who knows what else out in the woods behind the house past the windmill. Boy would I love to have a run in those deep woods. Might be a bit scary but not if Mr Craig was close by. Well, I’m certain Mama would never allow that and maybe I’m secretly glad. Besides we all had great fun playing in the yard watching the baby calf just beyond the fence. It was a very fun week.
Dad’s home and I think I’m on my way to becoming a therapy dog. Surely I am close to being certified. I sit right beside Dad’s chair and follow him everywhere he goes. Geez I am so excited that he is spending more time at home. He’s getting very generous with snacks. He has to sneak around past Mama though, cause she thinks I shouldn’t have anything from the table. Well it all started with peanut butter. Dad always gives me just a tiny taste of peanut butter when he’s making a sandwich. Or it might be a tiny chip or Chex mix. Mmmmmm he’s gonna be in real trouble if Mama catches him. I’ll never tell. I’m loving it! Thanks Dad!
OK, so I just spent my first full day at camp! Wow, what an experience. No one explained this camp was mostly for kids. A small detail left out of the online brochure. I have never been so scared in all my life. Those crickets were singing so loud I thought they were about to dive down and carry me away into the hills. I mean, I had no idea I was gonna be sleeping outside. People, I’m used to being inside. Yeah it’s nice to just go potty anytime of night but geez, it’s dark and scary out here. At least my cousin’s are with me. Bear, Luke, Felix and Lacy the cat are sound asleep. So does this make me a fraidy cat? Well, maybe so. I have a thousand things running through my head about now. Like…..are there bears out in these woods? Bobcats maybe, who might sneak up and jump in our dog yard? Then those rats, yuk! I thought I could count on Lacy to scare those rats away but then I learned she doesn’t even care for rat! Incredible that a cat doesn’t have an appetite for rat after all those great recipes I mentioned yesterday, rat meatloaf being among my favorite. Those rats come out at night gobbling up all the crumbs dropped by the kids during the day. They love it when all those kids roll into camp. Those rats have a big meeting just before camp starts. The rat chairman divides the camp and assigns the rats their territories. The oldest rats get the best territories, which are nearest the kitchen. The young rats don’t really care about their territory, as they don’t need as much food anyway. They just like to chew on things, like dog tails! Yikes! Get me out of here! Mom, come get me, I’m being eaten alive by a rat. Ok, Dallas, settle down, you’re just dreaming. Felix just told you those stories to scare you. Felix came as a young pup to camp several years ago and one of the big dogs at camp told him that rat story. In a few years you will have the pleasure of scaring another young pup new to camp. So go to sleep and in the morning the schedule says all dogs are free to swim in the lake. Just be sure to watch out for that big ole alligator.
Camp Longhorn here I come! Geez, I’m finally old enough to attend camp with my cousins, Felix, Bear, Luke and of course I suppose we’ll have to let Lacy the cat come along too. Besides, having Lacy around we won’t have to worry about rats. Wait a minute, what do you mean Lacy doesn’t like rat? What? Are you kidding me? All cats like rat! I mean, there’s chicken stuffed rat, rat meatloaf, ground rat hamburgers, rat potpie, fried rat and I’ve been told grilled rat wrapped in bacon is to die for!
I have been waiting for this day for a long time. Let’s see, I’ll need a small trunk to hold all my stuff, things like a few extra collars, harnesses, leash, swim trunks, goggles, my favorite cinnamon treats, chew bones, sun glasses, hat, some of those cute doggie boots, balls, chew toys, thunder jacket and oh and I can’t forget my stuffed monkey. I can’t wait to try the dog paddle canoes, made especially for small dogs like me. They’re made with a place for my little legs to hang out and dog paddle the canoe around Inks Lake. I’ve heard that there are lots of rabbits out there at camp. I’m gonna have a ball chasing those little cotton tails around. I have lots of experience chasing turtledoves and squirrels. We even have a raccoon that comes out at night but I steer clear of that dude. They have huge claws and big teeth. My Mama told me to never get close or they might tear me to shreds. I hear they have campfires at camp almost every night. So cool! I’ve never been to a camp so I’m thinking they’ll have smores, popcorn, candy, kool-aid, Hawaiian punch, sour patch candy and all that cool junky candy while we sit around listening to scary stories. Yum! I can hardly wait! Felix just hates those scary stories but Bear and Luke love them. Once while Felix was visiting my house I told him about a giant lizard that resembled a big old alligator. That ole lizard stayed under the front porch and he ate so many bugs that summer he couldn’t crawl out from under the porch. We told Felix to not go near that porch or that giant lizard would bite his leg completely off. Sure enough one very dark night, the crickets were screaming up a storm, the hoot owls were hooting and scouting for rats. Poor Felix was lying very near the porch sleeping that hot night. He had forgotten the story about the giant lizard. Felix was sound asleep when the big owl swooped down to capture the rat that had escaped the claws of the giant lizard. Poor old Felix jumped a mile high as he felt the owls feathers brush by him in the dark of night. Felix ran under the porch and mercy he came face to face with the giant lizard. He scraped most all the hide off his rear end as he was escaping from under the old porch that dark hot night. Pass the smores please!