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Dear Daddy:

We did pee an poo in da frunt an bak yahdz.  We did play berry hard an drank fresh bigdog wadder.  We did play summore an den Misser John came but he tuk a looooong tyme fore he kleent da poooull bekuz he needed lossa puppy bref an picherz furst.  We bited his eerbuds but he juss lafft.

Miss Emily comed ober wif Annabelly an her fren in a beeg strollur.  Miss Emily theenks we are soooooo soff!  We did pee summore an pood for her.

Den Misser John got dun wiff da pooul but he wunt leaf cuz he needed more puppy breff an more picherz…for a loooong tyme.

Mommy finks we played so hard dat we shud sleep but we ar in ower hows now an we are still playeen.

We wacht Nanny Nala an Beegg Bro Micah play, too.  It was mazeen!  Nanny Nala wuz bahkeen an Beeg Micah was jumpeen an dey wuz runneen an ebertheen!  We got a lil bit askaret.  Dey wuz bahkeen an groeleen an runneen in surklez, Daddy!  Nanny Nala wuz trine to play wif us, too but her feetz are reel beeg, an we sed uh-uh-no-way.

Now dey are resteen an Mommy is pikkeen up alla ower poo.  Dat is FUN!  We mayd LOTS!

We miss yoo, Daddy.  We are goeen to tayk a nap now.

Luv,

Pebbles an Murphy

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Posted by on September 23, 2013 in Muddy Pawz, Uncategorized

 

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Giant Angel Lands at Girls Ranch

Micah

Micah

As I close the car door and snap on Micah’s purple Gabriel’s Angels vest, I notice the window blinds separate, revealing big brown eyes and hear, “Micah’s here!  Micah’s here!”   I smile.  Little Sammy bursts through the front door, diapered and bare-footed with his mom on his heels and runs to Micah with his arms outstretched.  Sammy is two years old and has spent over a year seeing Micah every two weeks like clockwork.  He can’t tell time, but his teen mommy says that he has been camping at the window all afternoon, waiting for Micah.  He reaches up and wraps his arms around my 200-pound therapy dog’s giant neck, gives him a huge hug, turns on a dime and runs to the house, announcing that Micah has arrived as only Sammy can.

We have some changes this week!  We visit a group home under protective custody with abused, abandoned and at-risk children.  Normally we have about a dozen teen girls, give or take, a smattering of toddlers and a few infants, not counting the ones waiting to be born.  It’s not all teen moms.  We have had girls from “juvie”, some abused or self-abuse cases and occasionally an abandoned child.  This week one of the children has been released, one has turned 18 and has gone to live with a family member and we see three new faces and a brand new six-pound baby.

I introduce Micah to the new girls as Sammy pats the bag I’m carrying, asking for a brush.  Two of the girls are perched atop the back of the sofa like baby birds, eyes wide, staring at the behemoth that has entered the room.  As I explain the history of the breed, focusing on how the mastiff has protected their families and kept them safe for thousands of years, the girls relax a little.  “Safe” is something they crave. But they are NOT getting down or touching him!  “Keep that big dog away from me!”

Micah is already seeking out the infants who are scattered around the room in their car seats or carriers.  He’s kissing baby toes, and the toddlers are following him with their brushes.  The girls watch in amazement as the toddlers lie on top of the “gentle giant” and run their Matchbox trucks along his brindle stripes. Micah doesn’t move a muscle, even when a one-inch dump truck runs over his head and down his nose.

I pull the treats out and announce that we’re going to play “hide the treat”.  I give each of the girls a treat and have them hide it in their hand…toddlers included.  Micah goes to each child (Sammy FIRST!) and they hold out both fists and let Micah discover which hand contains the treat.  The “baby birds” slide down to the seat of the sofa and hold trembling fists out to “the big giant head”.  I show them by example how to hold their palms flat when he spots the right one.  I stand next to them and give Micah a treat first and coax them to respond.  The hand opens, Micah gently takes the tiny treat, barely brushing their palm with his lips, and they are amazed!  “Miss!  He’s so GENTLE!”  The free hand comes up as I encourage them to touch his satin-soft ear.  “Miss!  He’s so soft!”  Their body language changes and they unwind and slip to the floor as I hand them a brush and they begin their relationship with the biggest Gabriel’s Angel.

They have just overcome two huge barriers that are ingrained in their behavior patterns.  They have overcome fear and they have begun to trust.  Many of these children have lived in fear most of their lives.

I show them how I lay next to Micah on the floor at home, as if he’s a giant teddy bear.   One by one they take their turn cuddling their newfound friend.  One of the girls says, “Miss, I think Micah’s thirsty.  He’s panting.  May I give him some water, Miss?”  I thank her for being empathetic and noticing Micah’s discomfort.  She pours his bottled water into his bowl and she smiles as he tries to take it directly from the bottle.  She gets one of the towels that I carry and gently wipes his face when he’s finished.   I thank her for being so compassionate and loving to Micah.

I remind the children that dogs’ memories are often connected to their sense of smell, and they hold those memories all their lives.  I tell them if Micah sees them somewhere 5 years from now, he will recognize them as family.

Time’s up and Micah gets a hug from each of the children as we leave (each teen making SURE he gets their scent in his nose good and proper).  The mother of the newborn holds tiny infant up to Micah’s face so he will smell and remember her baby.

Once again I load my sleepy fur-baby in the back of my car, slide in next to him and hug him myself.  Good job, Micah!

Copyright 2013 by Mary Watson

 
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Posted by on August 29, 2013 in Angels Have Pawz, Muddy Pawz

 

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The Biggest Angel

Images of a Gentle Giant

 
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Posted by on July 23, 2013 in Muddy Pawz

 

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Good Morning, Majesty…

MajestyThe Micah.  We also address him as “Highness”.  190 pounds of entitlement in a sparkling brindle wrapping.  Bred from some of the finest lines known to the world of English Mastiffs…and he KNOWS it.  His collar is hand-crafted of a 6th Century Roman pattern with the words, “Cave Canem” hand-tooled in leather and adorned with hand-cast silver seals with King Arthur’s pendragon sigil to honor his legendary registered name of Indigo’s Arturius’ Cafall, CGC.  “Cave Canem” was taken from a Pompeian mosaic of a mastiff circa 79 AD and is Latin for “Beware the Dog”.  This is a ruse,  His Highness is 100 percent wuss, and the epitome of a gentle giant.

Highness is suspicious of dew on the lawn and chooses the high, dry spot in the corner for his relief.  Lord only knows what might be lurking in those droplets of dew.  His greatest fear is being attacked by the dreaded chihuahua.

He awakens at 6 a.m., having shoved Mommy onto the floor at 3 from his king bed and having lost the battle for territorial bed rights to Daddy, who clung, white-knuckled, to the edge of the mattress and pushed back with his backside.  As we sit bleary-eyed and sleep-deprived on the patio, Highness stumbles from bed, shuffles down the hall, through the living and dining area to the doggie door…and barks.  You see, he learned early on that the doggie door is actually a wormhole that leads to an alternate universe…never to be broached.  I put down my iPad, glance at my husband who is soaking his mustache in his coffee cup, teetering in his chair, eyes closed. I open the door for his Highness who drags himself to his raised bed and drops onto it with a “whumph”.  I know…I should have carried him.  Poor, furry child.  He is already fast asleep.

Having been gently awoken by singing birds and a slight breeze, he checks his view of Camelback Mountain, finds his spot in “poo corner” and returns to the doggy door.  Now it IS actually possible to cross back into the house from the outside, as the wormhole only goes one way…but only if the interior is well-lit, his staff is inside calling his name and a chilled organic carrot awaits him on the other side.  It’s really much easier to just stare at the damned thing and bark again.  “Yes, Highness.  Coming, Highness!”

Daddy leaves for work and Mommy prepares his breakfast of canned rabbit with organ meat, organic coconut oil, probiotics, digestive enzymes, dermal enzymes, chicken and chickpea grain-free kibble and three chewy glucosamine mini-bones, followed by a fresh 2-quart bowl of water.  When the last bite of kibble has vanished, Highness stands, staring at the vacant bowl as if someone took his popsicle away.  “Micah, would you like to “Hoover”?”  He takes a step back as Mommy moves his raised food stand over 18″,to the right, allowing him to “Hoover” any bits that may have dropped from his jowls onto the woven rug beneath.  In the event that his Highness returns to the bowl, staring at its shiny stainless bottom, one must ask, “Micah, do you need littlebitmore?”  He steps back again with anticipation as Mommy retrieves two more tablespoons of kibble, dropping them into said bowl one by one (so the plinking sound may be duly observed).  He returns to the bowl for his “dessert” and then raises his head in gratitude with three 14″ strings of drool hanging from his chops.  “Please, Mummy…dry my chin…if you would be so kind.”  I retrieve a sterilized white cotton towel from “the drool bucket”, dampen it with warm water and wash the kibble from his face, ears, shoulders, chest, paws, forelegs, the top of his head, his collar…and mop the floor.

His highness will now have “first nap” as he digests on the woven area rug by the open french doors with a gentle breeze drying his face.

His Majesty’s day has begun.

 
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Posted by on May 30, 2013 in Muddy Pawz

 

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Casa de Muddy Pawz at 4:00 a.m.

  • If ya can’t shoot em…hug em.

    Wake up call from Micah – 3:38 a.m. (Mommy, I gotta poop and I can’t open the door.  See?  No thumbs.)

  • Rick usually sleeps til around 6, so I had to stay quiet and busy, so I putzed around trying to find clothes in the dark.  Can’t water because the hose valve is near enough to the bedroom window that it wakes him up if I turn it on.
  • 4:00 a.m. – What the heck.  May as well walk the dogs.  Both dogs ramming me to get their leash on and go first, so I bounced around between the two until I got Nala’s Gentle Leader on her mug.  Held Micah back with one foot in his chest til Nala got through the door, jumped out after her and quickly closed the door.  Took 2 steps and she saw Merriwether, one of our two cats and bolted after the poor ole geezer.  He dove under Rick’s car, and I nearly did a face-plant on the car door before I got “the princess” under control.  Meanwhile, Micah started howling by the door.  Quick-stepped back to the door, cracked it, patted Micah on the head and promised he’d be next.  Nala hot-stepped it down to 38th, up to Montecito and back again.  Dead dark..not a soul awake save me and the dogs…a good thing, since I later discovered I had my t-shirt on inside out…and backwards.
  • Home again.  Nala’s leash off.  Micah’s leash on.  Nala dove into her bowl for a drink (up to her eyeballs) and it sounded like fat kid doing a belly flop into her water bowl.  Splash-splash-gulp-gulp-splooosh!  Water everywhere.  She hit the doggie door.  Micah and I sprinted out the front door…right into Baggins’ face…kitty #2.  Baggins hissed at Micah and he simply gives the cat a confused look and cocked his big head.  Off we went.  Micah wanted to pee on every blade of grass that any other dog has peed on in the last 50 years.  Constantly pulling him off pee spots, we forged ahead.  Micah, stay close…stay close…good BOY!  (MORE PEE!)  Down to 38th, up to Montecito, over to 40th and back again.  Pee, pee, peeee!  And when we got home, I dropped the leash and he went right outside…and peed…of course.  Must have been saving it for days.
  • 5:20 and I wanted to brush my teeth in the worst way, so I tiptoed in and got my toothbrush and ran 4 drops of water over the toothpaste.  I stood outside by the barbecue and brushed my teeth, remembering that there’s an ingredient in toothpaste that’s harmful to dogs, so I spat in the garbage can and in the 1956 barbecue.  Tiptoed back in, grabbed a bottle of water from the fridge, rinsed off my toothbrush in the kitchen sink.  Tripped over Micah in the dark in front of the bathroom door while attempting to put my toothbrush back and ran into the chair in front of my vanity…and heard Rick rustling.  I really didn’t want to flush, but dammit, I had to pee now after walking two piddling dogs!  Turned on the light and noticed the t-shirt tag at my throat.  (Aw geeze!) Turned it right-side out…and frontwards.
  • 5:45 and he’s officially making morning noises.  You know…those strange guy noises that men make when they wake up.  (Grumble, grumble, snort…)   I punched the button on the coffeemaker and went outside and turned on the hose.  There was enough light to see that my zucchini has sprouted.  Rick headed toward the patio door with his coffee and I quickly scooped two piles that magically appeared on the lawn since returning from the walk and it stunk like a barnyard.
  • I checked e-mail while Rick was in the shower, fed the cats and washed out the dogs dishes (there are 10 of them).  My husband always emerges from our room looking crisp and neat and tidy with a ray of sunshine glinting off his smile.  I usually have mascara under my eyes, eggbeater hair and dog spit dripping off one elbow.  He gave me a smooch (I don’t know why…I wouldn’t have kissed me!) as he tossed his badge on, grabbed his briefcase and hit the bricks.  The dogs immediately started body-slamming each other and acting foolish out back.  I grabbed the camera and caught some cute shots of mastiff war as the sun broke over Camelback Mountain.  I finished watering and inspecting my seedlings and, damn, it was warming up quick!  It wasn’t even 7:30 and I was already all sticky.
  • I DID get a bath.  Fed the dogs, picked up cat dishes, and at least 14 phone calls later with our vet, pet insurance, people insurance and various tech support people, I got back to my computer, answered some e-mails, checked Facebook and did my Lumosity lessons to keep my brain functioning at at least 30% capacity.
  • Printer wasn’t working, so spent 45 minutes on the phone with Tech Support to get it working again.  (Crawled under my desk twice for that…)  Fixed the printer, but the scanner died.  Picked up poop again.  Took off the damned bra. I did not pay $75 to have cardiovascular surgery via underwire.
  • Phone!  My prescription was ready!  Up to Tatum and Shea to pick it up and a quick stop at Whole Foods for laundry detergent and organic everything for the dogs.  Got home in time to wash dog dishes (yes…ten…really…) and feed dogs again.
  • Woopsie…PHONE!  Forms were ready at the vet.  Quick run to Dr. Bracken’s and home again.  It was now “Africa-HOT” and my hair is sticking to my forehead and neck!
  • Granddaughter Ashley called, just leaving from her latest ultrasound and it’s a BOY!  She’s just so excited; she’s about to pee her pants…but she’s pregnant…she has an excuse.  I don’t. Hit the door running, leap-frog two dogs…and peeee.
  • While on the phone, I noted that the dogs were milling around the back yard, and I had just ended my call when Micah decided to sample his “leavings”.  I bellowed.  One does not bellow at one’s beautiful dog…or even at one’s homely dog.  But I bellowed loud enough for our blessed puppy to patooey what was in his mouth approximately 6 feet into the lawn and belly-crawl into the house to his casa (kennel)…which is where one goes if one eats their leavings and gets busted in the act.  This was not the highlight of my day.
  • 15 minutes later, I let Mr. Pottymouth out of his casa on leash and marched him to the back yard hose where we cautiously, but thoroughly sprayed what leavings were left out of his mouth.  He refused to look at me for the rest of the day and actually turned his back on me.  The nerve.  The hand, shoe and deck sanitization process followed the oral lavage, and the dog smelled civilized again.  I, however, smelled like something between a gym bag and a dairy farm.
  • That lovely task behind me, it was time to start dinner, pick up dog poop, feed the cats, make the bed, for heaven’s sake, straighten the house and…there was Mr. Wonderful pulling in the driveway.
  • I looked like I’d been ridden hard and put away wet.  Never got my make-up on, hair in my eyes, standing in sweat, drool and dog food stained garb, I greeted my poor, hard-working husband with a frosty beverage and listened to his download of a hard day at the office.  He didn’t even have a wrinkle in his shirt.   I did not love him at that moment.
  • I simply smiled and  thanked God that he didn’t ask, “So…what did you do today?”  I would have simply cried into a slobber towel.
 
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Posted by on June 14, 2012 in Muddy Pawz

 

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They’ve Taken Over!

Micah and Nala – Happy Hour

I have decided that our dogs have totally taken over our lives. With Micah’s new holistic vet, I’ve become a canine chef, doggy nurse and homeopathic administrator.

Between Team Canine, Pet Partners and Gabriel’s Angels, my days are consumed with training and desensitizing the dogs from hospital gear…in case you wondered why there’s a wheelchair and a walker in my living room.

My cabinets are full of probiotics, enzymes, homeopathic remedies and organic goodies…for the dogs.

My car is but an 8 cylinder drool bucket with hydraulic shocks (to prevent jarring of precious joints).

There are 60 slobber towels between my house, car and purse and I just tried to brush my hair with the grooming loop.

My friend who used to bring me bruschetta and pies brought me 8 Frisbees and a wheelchair yesterday. Really.

I may require therapy and a time out in the kennel.

 
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Posted by on June 14, 2012 in Muddy Pawz

 

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Baggins

Mister Baggins

 In May of 2002, I was lifting weights in our side yard when I felt that someone was staring at me.  I sat up on the weight bench and looked around.  Nothing.  No one.  The third time I paused, I noticed two tiny heads with bright eyes peering out at me from between two fireplace logs at the top of our woodpile.  One was black with piercing green eyes and one was white with markings of a Siamese.  Having lost our 17 year-old Siamese, Ness the previous fall, I could hardly wait to tell my husband.

“Rick!  We have two tiny kittens outside!”

“We are NOT having another cat in this house!” <pause> “Where outside?”

“They were in the woodpile!  They must be from that feral black stray.  Come see!”

We scouted the back yard and found no kittens.  Mama kitty must have moved them.  Later, cleaning the windows in the spare room at the front of our house, I spotted the kittens swatting at a thin spray of water from our irrigation valve and pouncing on evil blades of grass.  I called Rick to the window to see them, and he watched much longer than he meant to.

“They are cute, aren’t they?” he said.  “Look at that little guy killing the grass!  Grrrrrr!  Haha!  Well, we’re NOT feeding them.  Got that?  Not!”   (Yup.  Got it, Sir.)

A few nights later I was getting ready for bed and Rick had disappeared.  I looked all over the house and in the back yard with our Doberman, Houston and our Bouvier des Flandres, Tanker.  No Ricky.  I finally checked the front porch, quietly opening the door, as I had a hunch that proved to be correct.  There sat Rick on the bench out front, feeding two tiny, fluffy little souls…albacore tuna…from a crystal dish.  He caught me peeking at him and simply said, “Shut up.  They were hungry and they’re still not coming in the house.”  I sat down next to him watching “Mr. Tough Guy” now hand-feeding the tiny guys bits of precious albacore from his fingers.  Rick then informed me that the black one was to be referred to as Mister Baggins and the white one was Frodo and our front garden was their Shire.  I know when to keep my mouth shut.

Tragically, we lost little Frodo a few months later when he ventured out of the shire and was hit by a dragon in the road.  I thank God I wasn’t home to see it and thank my neighbor for lovingly taking care of his tiny little body.

Baggins learned from the tragedy and now 10 years later, sticks pretty close to the shire.

Oh, yes…he’s still here despite the decree from our faithful leader.  You see, Baggins grew, the seasons changed and it started getting pretty chilly.  One evening as we relaxing in front of the tv with Houston and Tank sprawled and snoring across the floor, we heard the doggy door flap shut.  We looked at each other, looked at the dogs, shook our heads and went back to watching our program.  Out of the corner of our eyes, we caught a black shadow.  Baggins calmly strolled through the living room, hopped over the 117-pound Bouvier, skirted around one neurotic Doberman and proceeded down the hall to our bedroom.  He glanced over his shoulder once as if to say, “Minions, I have arrived.  I am taking over.  Carry on.”   Ya gotta love cats.  They live their lives with attitude.

 A year later, he was pushing the Bouvier aside to taste what the peasants were eating, camped out on Rick’s lap, tap-danced on his keyboard and generally owned us all. 

Dinner with Tank

One evening, a few years into his takeover, Houston, our Doberman was sleeping peacefully in an overstuffed chair that was angled in the corner of the living room opposite the sofa.  As Rick and I relaxed after a long day at the office, we watched Baggins walk into the room, assess the situation and in full kitty-stealth mode, slip under the overstuffed chair.  Now, Houston was edgy at best, likened to a neurotic cobra on Mountain Dew.  One does not poke the cobra whence it sleeps.  Evidently Baggins felt he had the genetics of a mongoose in his kitty-veins, because as we watched our beautiful cobra coiled peacefully asleep, over the back of the chair appeared “ninja-kitty” from the armpits up.  Ever-so-quietly he reached one black paw forward as far as he could…and thumped the Doberman hard on the top of her head, disappearing like a puff of smoke.  Houston leapt to her feet in the big chair, ready to strike, trembling with eyes darting left and right.  Rick and I sat frozen, too astonished to move!  Sensing no immediate danger, Houston once again settled into the soft cushion of the chair and had no more than closed her eyes when Baggins came over the rounded arm of the chair, thumped the Dobie’s skull hard and disappeared under the chair again!  Houston again jumped to her feet in full, fierce attack form…to nothing but air.  After his third attack on the fearsome guard dog, Baggins evidently bored of the sport and marched off to conquer yet another world.

 Houston and Tank went over the Rainbow Bridge and we are now on our third and fourth English Mastiff.  Baggins remains, has brought us three more strays and is neither intimidated nor amused by over 300 pounds of canines. 

 If you would like to meet Mister Baggins, he can be located at the kitchen door at 3:30 pm each day awaiting his dinner (warmed 11 seconds in the microwave), or at 8:00 pm tapping his Rolex and stepping under the noses of two Mastiffs, overseeing the preparation of his evening snack.  If you happen to work late, you can still see him retiring for the night with his attendant, Mr. Tough guy, who will be tucking him into his fluffy bed with two soft blankets…on the hood of his Range Rover. 

Cats actually do rule the world. 

© Copyright Mary Watson 2012

 
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Posted by on March 8, 2012 in Muddy Pawz, Uncategorized

 

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