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Friday, May 27, 2011

The Story of Grady

Duke has given me, his mom, permission to update his blog tonight. We have more sad news to share, but we feel it’s important to tell you the story of a dog with the heart of a dragon.

Grady Foster Baker, beloved Airedale Terrier companion of Larry & Linda Baker, has gone to the Rainbow Bridge after a long and valiant battle against cancer. Grady lived with the Bakers for four human years, which is almost the equivalent of 28 years in a dog's life. He arrived at their house to be a temporary foster dog, but he won their hearts and was officially adopted into the family almost immediately.

When Grady came to Larry & Linda, he was afraid of children and had never been socialized to other dogs. During his lifetime with the Bakers, he went through obedience training as well as becoming a service dog to help Linda during her fibromyalgia flares. Grady walked in the Mobile St. Patrick's Day Parade three years in a row and was always cheered by the crowds.

Visits to LSU for chemotherapy didn't daunt Grady; instead of being assigned to a kennel like the other patients, the staff made him a bed in the middle of the nursing area. He was beloved by everyone he met and towards the end of his life, he was able to meet children of all sizes and ages without problem.

Thank you to everyone who was Grady's friend, and who helped him with his training. Larry and Linda are mourning and the days ahead will be hard as they adjust to their quiet house. We will miss kissing the blond curls on the top of his head, and laughing with him as he rode in the car, with his face turned to the wind.

 Larry and Linda gave Grady an enriched, love filled life that more than overcame his past. He was a happy, adventurous, contrary Airedale Terrier to the end.

Rest in Peace, Grady. And thank you for everything.

C@t Story

I have another c@t story, not because I am really fond of the creatures (except when I’m chasing them) but because this c@t in particular has been special in our family for a long time.

Mom’s oldest daughter, Heather, was working at a hospital many years ago and there were feral cats living out back near a dumpster. Of course, Heather wanted to bring them all home but she could only catch one. It was a skinny, neurotic c@tling about 6 months old. She brought it home, cleaned it up, got it vetted and named it Inky because it’s coat was white with black splotches.

Oh, you want to know why I said she was neurotic? I didn’t make it up, that’s what Heather’s husband said. Inky never got over starting her life as a wildcat. She was scared of people, scared of other cats, scared of everything. Except she wasn’t scared of Heather and Steven. Inky loved them and slept in their bed with them. But, when any other hooman came over to visit, or any other animal came there to live, Inky hid. And she was such a good hider that H sometimes couldn’t find her for days. When Heather and Steven moved to Mississippi, Inky hid for days after the move. And all that stressful evacuation stuff during Hurricane Katrina and then living in the bed of a truck for a few weeks afterward, didn't really help Inky feel any better. But they were able to move back into a real house several months after the hurricane and Inky did adjust to new living quarters even though she would still hide from other people and animals.

Well, of course you know how this story is going to end. Inky’s spirit left yesterday to go on the journey to the Rainbow Bridge. Heather and Steven brought her body back to Hooligan House to be buried in the woods behind us. Mom and Heather cried a lot while Dad and Steven took care of details.

All five of us Hooligans had to stay in the house and we howled and howled because we all knew what was going on and that our family was sad. We howled so much that a storm came up, and some thunder rolled and some lightning cracked. Mom said the sky was crying for Inky but you know sumpen?

I don’t think the sky cries about journeys. Every time one of us goes outdoors, we’re taking a journey. Every time we take a nap, it’s a journey. The sky sees all the journeys and it doesn’t worry about them. Our hoomans can’t see Inky but she’s there with Heather & Steven, just like she has been for the past thirteen years.

She’s just hiding like she always does when things get too weird for her to handle. Heather will find her again, just like she always has. Have a good trip, Inky!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

We Are All The Same

I have a cold and a cough. It makes breathing hard and makes me feel tired. The vet man gave me some antibiotics and allergy medicine to take and I’ve been taking it for about a week and I like that Mom and Dad crush the pills and hide them in stinky canned food. But I am tired of feeling tired and when I cough it sounds like when the grandson used to get croup.

Plus, Mom won’t let me go anywhere while I’m sick. I have to stay home and rest. And last weekend was a special thing at the church. Miss Nancy and Miss Linda and Father Ray put together a memorial service for pets that have gone to the Rainbow Bridge. Lots of people went to scatter the ashes of their pets. If I hadn’t been sickly, Mom would have taken me with her. Instead… she took Buddy!  (Remember I told you awhile back that he’s the golden boy right now???)

Well, anyway, she took him with her and when they got home she told Dad how well behaved Buddy was and how everybody just loved on him and blah blah blah. She even took pictures of him! She even let him drink from the dog fountain in the St. Francis Garden. She even took him to get a cheeseburger after the service… and that is supposed to be a reward just for me and Jack when we have been very very good in public.

It just aggravated me to hear about all of that. Until Mom shared with Dad the Bible verse that Miss Nancy asked Mom to read aloud during the service. Mom said she almost didn’t get through it because she started to cry. I kinda understand that, because it is a nice statement that somebuddy named King Solomon wrote down. I think he was a Real Big Dog a very long time ago. Dad said he was a Real Smart Man, too.

So here’s the Bible verse. I plan on escorting Mom to the next activity at the church. This cold won’t last forever. And I am Mom’s real favorite, you know. Really.


                                        (Buddy drinking out of the dog fountain)

A Reading from Ecclesiastes -20 - I said in my heart with regard to human beings that God is testing them to show that they are but animals. For the fate of humans and the fate of animals is the same; as one dies, so dies the other.
They all have the same breath, and humans have no advantage over the animals…            
All go to one place; all are from the dust, and all turn to dust again.

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Not My Kitty

It wasn’t my fault and the cat is all right.

Seriously. Who puts a cat on the floor in a veterinarian’s office, right next to the door that leads to the examining room?

And what Canine worthy of the name wouldn’t assume, just as I did, that it was a present?

I mean, there it was. The vet tech opened the door to let me and Mom out and there was this kitty, all nicely wrapped up in a pretty little pink nylon tote bag with a only a zippered screen between me and him. It sure looked like a present.

Mom says I should stop right here, that there is no point in dwelling on the stupidity of people who don’t take their pets’ safety seriously. She says a vet’s waiting room is a fun place for hoomans but it’s full of danger for animals. Mom also says to tell you that I never actually touched the feline, just knocked the pretty pink tote bag around a little bit. Of course, I *had* plans to touch the cat, but Mom has a strong left arm and she pulled me away. She took me outside and put me in the car and then she went back into the vet’s office to check on the kitty.

After she made sure the feline was okay, Mom did one more thing. She told that cat lady where she should put her kitty.


Confesstion Time

Hooligan House has a confession to make. Two weeks ago we had a dog fight. Sissy and Dad got the worst of it. Sissy had to have lots of stitches. Dad's hands were, uh, hurt kinda bad. He was trying to stop me and Jack because he thought Jack is too old and slow and unsteady to be in a fight. Maggie and Sissy squared off and it was pretty bad over in that corner. Jack and I just locked teeth on each other and growled and shook each other's head alot. Mom said it was all sound and fury between us. Dad didn't know that and he tried to pry our jaws apart... Jack didn't realize it was Dad... Dad's hands got bitten. Jack and I both freaked out and Dad picked me up and threw me outside on the deck. By that time, Mom had separated Maggie and Sissy. She locked Maggie in the bathroom and took Sissy to the dog den. And Buddy? He's "such a gooooood dog!" (did that sound too sarcastic?)

Mom told him twice, "Buddy, leave it!"
And Buddy did. Buddy the pit bull dog left the fight and went outside like Mom told him to do. Nyah Nyah Nyah. WhutEVAH.

Maggie and I got our butts kicked and Buddy got a treat.
Sissy went to the vet and got her face stitched up. She's doing great, Mom says no one would ever know anything happened to Sis because her attitude never changed from the happy girl she always is. Jack is fine. He feels a little guilty because in the heat of the minute he didn't realize it was Dad's thumb he had in his mouth and not my ear.

So of course, having told you this much I need to tell you what went wrong, what started the fight. See, Mom knows that when there is a very reactive dog in the family (that would be Maggie, Mom says Maggie is "special" -- whatever that means) that the dog pack has to be managed and controlled. Sissy and Maggie have always had a personality conflict, since Maggie was a puppy. Sissy and Maggie have to be kept apart. Well, Mom hadn't double-locked the back door that day and Maggie was able to turn the door knob and she ran into the hallway and saw Sissy there and Maggie went GRRRRRR and Sissy said GRRRR and Maggie jumped right on top of her and went to biting and snarling and Jack and I got excited and went to growling and snarling and then Jack got up on his back legs and I got up on my back legs and we went at each other's ears and Dad got upset and ----

and then Buddy tried to nip one of Maggie's legs and Mom said, "no Buddy, leave it!" and Buddy backed away like a good little boy and ----

Well, everyone is okay but Mom feels like it was all her fault for falling down in her pack management. She said it was the toughest dog lesson she's ever learned. I think it was tougher for me, though, because I'm the one that got tossed outside on his A double scribble.

And Buddy? Oh, he may THINK he's the golden boy right now. But I'm biding my time. I'll get my chance to put him back in his place. 'Cause that's how dogs roll.


Friday, May 6, 2011

The REAL Foot Soldiers!

We canines got some real good press this week when the news broke that a dog was part of the special ops team that went into Pakistan. Me and Jack are feeling mighty proud of being working dogs. I have to try not to grin too much when someone says to Mom, “I didn’t know Airedales could be service dogs or police dogs.” Mom has to try not to growl when that happens.

Airedale Terriers have been fighting alongside two-legged soldiers since the early 1900s. We’ve rescued wounded men from battlefields, we’ve tracked enemy combatants, and we’ve even learned to sniff out and detonate land mines.

We’re some of the toughest soldiers to be found, in fact, our high pain threshold is what really makes us good candidates for military service. We were bred to focus on our job to the exclusion of all distractions and we can ignore just about any level of pain long enough to fulfill our duty. Why, there was one Airedale named ‘Jack” who was a messenger for the Red Cross during WWI. He had to go through half a mile of enemy fire to get a message to Headquarters. When Jack got there, his jaw was broken and one of his legs was in splinters. He delivered that message though. And then he died.

Airedale Terriers were real popular during the Wars. And after the wars, we went to work for police and security forces all around Europe. Several American Presidents had ADTs in the White House, too. Teddy Roosevelt, Calvin Coolige and Warren Harding! President Harding even had a special chair made for his ADT so he could sit with him during important Cabinet meetings. Obviously a man of discernment and wisdom.

Now, Mom says the dog that jumped from the helicopter with the special ops troops the other night was most likely a Belgian Malinois and not an Airedale, but that’s okay by me. There are almost 3000 canine soldiers in the United States military and I’m proud to be associated with each and every one of them!


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Feline Fotography

C@t photography? As in, photos taken by one of the creatures. Some hoomans bought their kitty a timed camera and hung it around his neck so that they could see what he sees while they are at work. Two-leggeds all over the internet are buzzing about how cool Cooper the C@t and his photographs are. Well sure, if you want to see the world at 6 inches from the ground. I don't know about you, but that sounds kind of boring.  Right now Cooper does seem to be okay with that little box thing bumping against him as he walks sedately down the sidewalk. But what's gonna happen when it flies up and hits him in the eye or bangs him on the snout while he's pouncing after a mouse?

No, Mom, don't even think about trying the same thing with me. I may be a clown but I don't do slap-stick.