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Today is our 34th Anniversary…

Elly dances with Buddy at his wedding reception.

Hard to believe it, but Elly and I have been married for 34 years as of today. It’s almost unbelievable that this wonderful woman has out up with me so long. I’m not the best husband in the world and have been obsessed with my various projects, often ignoring hers and making her life less than happy. Now, with my seizures and health care problems, she is making my actual living circumstances both possible and relatively enjoyable.

But we did have highlights in our combined lives. The major thing, of course, was the creation of our fantastic son Buddy (who now calls himself Will, but we will never think of him without the name “Buddy”) who got married a few weeks ago in Milwaukee. I hope he and Rachel get at least the 34 years we have had.

Together we have now raised four different dogs – it’s amazing how much we care about our pet relationships; Now, with Nestlé and Byron sleeping on our couches, our living room is warm and wonderful.

I guess we will go eat somewhere nice today to mark the occasion.

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The loudest thunder I’ve ever heard…

We’re in some kind of direct thunderstorm path out here in rural Harpers Ferry. The thunder from last night’s storm, which woke me up, was incredibly loud… as it had been the night before.

Both our dogs were upset and  I had to come out into the living room and pet them and calm them down. Byron, the smaller of the two, crawled behind my recliner and put his head under the seat… I presume so he couldn’t see the lightning flash in the windows. Nestle, my big old boy, moved back and forth from couch to couch unable to rest comfortably.

We have even more of these storms projected by the Weather Channel for this afternoon… 60% chance, which is usually pretty good.

I hope my dogs are up for it.

The Philosophy of Friendship…

Sometimes testing is very simple and the results are more than obvious.

I say this after just getting back from my weekly bout with ongoing depression with my therapist and being met at the door by Byron and Nestle, the two demanding dogs who are both thrilled to see me (and who want their lunch.)

I can’t imagine anything more pleasant than being greeted by two furry things who seem to have no other function in life than paying attention to me paying attention to them.

Moving to the new house has been somewhat of a confusing experience for the two of them, but they now seem to have centered on favorite spaces and times when things happen (lunch, walk, etc.) that pertain to them.

Political Humor – The Mutt Romney Blues

This is dedicated to my pals Nestle and Byron (thanks for the great walk, guys.)

Have a nice Thursday evening.

I’ve been trying to convince my dogs that they should help around the house…

… so I showed them this video:

Nestle went back to sleep and Byron picked up a chew toy and ran upstairs.

So much for dog responsibility.

Watching an old friend get older…

Nestle

Our 15-year-old labby, Nestle, is starting to show signs of “dog senility“… in reality, he is having major personality changes and acting like a very old and tired dog.

Where he used to, only recently, run downstairs in the morning to eat his breakfast, he now comes down slowly and ambles over to his bowl. He is very slow on his walks and certainly can’t keep up with Byron, our younger dog, where he used to have no problem.

And he now sleeps most of the day… and doesn’t come up to bed in our room at night without a lot of encouragement where he used to lead the way.

He now has signs of hip displasia and the stairs are getting harder for him (a tough thing in a 3 floor townhouse.)

There are days when he throws up what he eats, so we have limited him to no plate licking, which was his joy, and only 2 small biscuits as snacks.

It’s hard to watch these changes and we are worried that we won’t have our best friend dog much longer.

A salute to my dogs, Nestle and Byron…

…before I take them out for a walk. Here is their favorite animation series:

(if you are like me, a pickup was absolutely necessary this afternoon. Right boys?)

And some Thursday Afternoon Humor: Two Dogs Dining…

Certainly not like my Nestle and Byron

The intelligence of dogs.

Perhaps you saw this in the Huffington Post or elsewhere… there is a border collie named Chaser who has been shown to understand over 1000 words. The previous record for comprehension of words by a dog was

Nestle and Byron

200… so this one, which has been proven over three years of testing, says a lot. (You can see Chaser in action HERE.)

Chaser will retrieve, from another room, various toys by name and always come back with the correct toy. Amazing. My two dogs, Nestle and Byron, respond to the word “Toy”, but it’s always a guess as to what they bring back. I have started keeping a list of words they DO understand… and I determine this by their reaction to the word and how specific it is… and so far I only have about a dozen (including Food, Lunch, Walk, Breakfast, Out on the Deck, go to Bed and, of course, their names.)

I spend a certain amount of time lately marveling at their personalities and the way the interact with each other. Nestle is 11 years old, but is fairly active for an old dog. We don’t know how old Byron is (he is a “pound puppy” and we think he is around 4 years old), but he is the more active of the two and is always challenging Nestle to chase him and try to take the toy stuffed animal he is carrying. They have both worked out what seems to be strategies in this game (my favorite is how Nestle ignores Byron until he puts the toy down… then Nestle grabs it and takes off around the couch.)

I truly believe that dogs are extremely intelligent in their fashion, and I am always happy with their company. They are my friends and make my days extremely pleasant.

The Nativity Scene – Received from my sister…

My dogs, Nestle and Byron, are thrilled that dogs are included in the Christmas Story.

Escaped Dog…

For the last hour and a half I have been attempting to get my younger dog, Byron, back into the house. He wriggled his way off his leash when we were coming back from a walk and now he’s running around the neighborhood.

Has this happened before? Yes… but we try to avoid it recurring since he gives us such trouble getting back into the house. Our other dog, Nestle, can be lured by dog biscuits or by opening the car door and saying “Let’s go bye-bye.” Byron likes to run in large circles… come back to the door and wait till you come out to get him, and then run away again with a big laugh on his Rottweiler Mix face.

So my final solution is to leave the front door open and c0me upstairs to the living room (2nd floor of our town house) and wait until he gets so thirsty he’ll come in for his water bowl. It always happens eventually. Meanwhile, I have to keep Nestle on his leash or he’ll run out the front door looking for Byron. The problem if Nestle, my old Lab Retriever (10+ years), forgets what he’s doing, wanders off and gets lost. I have to drive for blocks to find him, and then he’s happy to jump in the car. Byron never likes to hang out with Nestle if they both run off… something you think my older dog would remember… but he doesn’t. Nestle stays by the window, at the end of the leash, and watches for the escapee.

__________

Wonder of wonders! as I write this Byron has tiptoed up the stairs and is heading for his water bowl… excuse me while I run downstairs and close the front door.

__________

OK, we’re all back where we should be. Byron is exhausted from close to two hours of running around the neighborhood. Nestle seems content to have him home again and has curled up and gone to sleep.

Dogs! The children of our old age!

12 hours of dog chasing is over…

Our two dogs, Nestle and Byron, escaped last night when my daughter, Cassandra, who is in from Connecticut, accidentally left the front door too far ajar when loading her car. That’s when it began.

Three hours later, I found Nestle, the older of the two (10), about a half mile away and across trafficked streets, wandering in an overgrown field. I got him to come to my car and get in… he likes rides and, frankly, he was very tired of running.

Nestle and Byron in quiter moodsByron, on the other hand, had completely disappeared and I drove the neighborhood and surrounds until it was too dark to see. I left the gate to the back yard open, hoping he might come up on the deck in the morning (it’s where he eats), but he didn’t.

At 6 am I heard barking outside and it was Byron bothering another dog being walked on a leash… When I got to my front door (in my bathrobe) he was standing there… but he wouldn’t come in. I bent down to grab his collar and Nestle rushed between my legs and they were both off again.

I got dressed… got into the car, and drove around until I saw them… but they ignored my calls and kept running in the opposite direction. Finally Nestle, who tires out quicker, appeared alone. He walked toward me, but when I got out of the car he ran the other way. So I got in the car and slowly drove in the opposite direction. He followed at a slow walk. When I stopped the car, he stopped. So I went a little farther, and he walked slowly behind. Then I stopped the car and opened the side door. Nestle got in.

That was one.

I got Nestle back into the house and looked out the windows for Byron again, No sign of him. So Nestle and I had breakfast.

While having coffee, I heard barking outside… and it was Byron bothering a guy walking his dog… so I went outside again, but Byron saw me coming and backed off. I walked back toward the house… but Byron was bothering the walking dog again. I called out to the guy walking his dog that he should try to grab Byron’s collar.

His second attempt succeeded. I walked over and dragged Byron back to the house… he didn’t want to come in. I finally lifted him up and got him into the door.

Byron didn’t want to eat… who knows what he was eating through the night? He went up to our bedroom where Elly was still asleep and curled up on the floor.

That’s where he’s been for the last hour or so… and I’m exhausted.