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• Just a Dog's Day
• Giant!
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• Darren and the Circus
• The Surreality of It All
• Voice of God
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TTOK[sic] thoughts from the artist

Just a Dog's Day! (11/30/20)

I was just about to catch that cat in our yard when I awoke to the sound of rustling in the kitchen. Oh boy, oh boy, it’s breakfast! I jumped to my feet and started the long run from the hallway into the kitchen. As I got up, so did all my friends, some of them asleep in the other rooms, but we all started our frantic journey into the kitchen. It’s always one of our favorite times of the day.

It’s Danny! Our favorite. And he is ruffling through the big steel box where they keep our food. I was right from the beginning, it’s breakfast. And it’s Danny. Did I mention he was our favorite? Well, our second favorite. Darren is actually our favorite, but Darren is not here all the time.

It seems Danny is here everyday and is responsible for the wonderful breakfasts we get every morning. Which explains why he’s our favorite. Duh! He is spooning our food into our dishes. And there goes Hound, howling like Hound does every morning.

There’s something about the ringing of the spoon and the bowls that gets Hound all agitated, with her entire hind quarters wildly swinging from side to side as she howls. Actually, that seems to happen to all of us bigger dogs when Danny is making us breakfast.

The ringing of the spoon in the bowls used to be more pronounced, more tinny, but somebody suggested that Danny use a wooden spoon instead of a metal one, so that ringing is now much deeper and more resonant. I like the word resonant, it makes my tail wag, though I have no clue what it means.

I do know that the wooden spoon sounds better, and regardless of the spoon used, that always means that our breakfast is on its way.

I think I digressed?

Hound always has something to say while breakfast is being prepared, and everybody’s tails are wagging away like crazy. With my smaller friends, their entire bodies really don’t shake because their tails are so much smaller, instead they tend to run and jump all over the place.

It should be obvious that breakfast is one of our favorite times of the day. Though, I have to say it’s right up there with treat time - always in the afternoon and always stuff we really shouldn’t be eating. I guess that’s why they call it treats.

Which brings up our favorite again, because when Darren comes over, we always get special treats. He brings special bags of treats for us that are better than our normal treats. Not that our daily treats are bad, I salivate just thinking about treats in general. But for some reason, Darren finds the best ones in town.

Most of us have grown up with Danny, since he was here when we all got here. Darren is newer in the mix. Some of us met him on a walk one day, then didn’t see him for a while. Then he showed up again and was here with us everyday for quite some time. Darren got us breakfast, got us treats, took us for our walks. Oh, walks, did I mention that is our favorite part of the day?

Actually, we appear to have a lot of favorites, both in our selection of food, activity and the humans that surround us. And by the way, my name is Slate. I’m an original, I think some of the guys refer to me as an OG - or is that DOG. Nevertheless, I was here first, and had to accept the fact that I had to share my house, food, toys, and humans with some new friends. But in the end, I love all my new friends. Let me tell you about them.

Wait, bowls are on the floor and breakfast is ready. Oh boy, oh boy, it’s gonna be a good day as usual!

How about you take a quick break while we all finish breakfast, head outside to see who was in the yard overnight, and I’ll get back to you in a few.

Ah, that felt so good. It’s like our morning ritual, we hear the ringing of the bowls, get to have breakfast, then all race each other out that flapping thing in the door to get to our favorite spot in the grass! Sometimes too many of us get stuck in the flap and have to bark and snarl at each other to get through.

There is a reason we all rush outside, it’s because we have to see who was in our yard overnight. Right!? But we do have to check out our territory to make sure those overnight critters are not doing anything nefarious. Another word I love to use. You can look it up. We can see them on the fence sometimes in the morning, just sitting there waiting till we leave.

Because of where we live, we have neighbors of all sorts that think they can come over and invade our yard. I hear the humans refer to them as cats, squirrels, raccoons, and skunks! We are allowed to chase the cats and squirrels, not that we have ever caught one, but we always give it our best effort.

For some reason though, the humans aren’t so keen on us chasing the raccoons, and boy oh boy, we don’t dare chase the skunks. From what we can tell though, the skunks don’t bathe quite as frequently as everyone else does - but they are still quite cute! I hear they make good hats, though I bet they have to be washed before wearing!

Once we all get back in the house, it depends on what day of the week it is on what our next activity will be. Several days of the week it means we just get to come back in, find ourselves a warm rug, blanket, or pile of clothes, or if nobody is home, a chair or bed, and hunker down for a quick nap.

Naps are one of our favorite things. Well, not as favorite as those walks. I think I was telling you about the walks before breakfast was served. We all get to go for a walk every day, sometimes twice a day, and we know we are going for a walk when we hear the clink of the leashes. Yes, us dogs are auditory in nature!

Sometimes though, we know we are going for a walk just because one of the humans smiles at one of us, and that gets us all going. Walk, treat, walk, treat, and always a treat following a walk.

I just checked with the others, and we all agree walks are our favorite, though breakfast and treats were in the running. Misty especially liked our walks. Thinking about Misty makes me and all my friends sad. But we’re told she gets even more walks and treats now than we do, and anything she wants for breakfast, so I hope she is really enjoying herself.

Did I mention, my name is Slate, the OG. Oh yeah, I said that earlier. I’m a black lab that was the first to come live in our beautiful house. Oh, oh. I haven’t mentioned Dave yet. He truly is the favorite favorite of all of us, but for a deeper reason than the other humans.

We don’t get to see Dave as often as any of us would like, but boy oh boy oh boy when he comes over, it’s a special occasion. Remind me to tell you about why later. But I have to tell you why Dave is our favorite favorite. He is the one that chose all of us! None of us would be here if it wasn’t for Dave. He came to where I used to live and picked me up and brought me to my new house, and I have been here since.

Dave is special too because he has a deeper understanding of all of us. He knows when we are happy, or sad, or not feeling well, and he is always concerned with us, and how we are doing, above everything else.

Darn, I just thought about Misty again. She was the second friend to come live at the house, and was a lab like me, but just the opposite - she was pure white. She was a little older than I am, and like all the rest of us, Dave chose her to come live with us. I miss Misty, but I don’t ever say anything to the others, because they all get sad too if I do.

Of all the humans, Misty and Jesse were best friends. Misty is now with Jesse and we are told they take walks all the time together. I know they are happy because we all liked Jesse, and miss him too. Dave told me Jesse and Misty came by the other night at the other house. I wish they would have stopped here too.

I don’t think I mentioned Nick yet. He lives with us at our house and is the funniest of all the humans. He has wavy dark hair that looks like a mop and likes to chase us all around on all fours, barking and growling and snarling the entire time. He will chase us all around for hours laughing up a storm. That is always followed by a treat, so Nick sometimes bumps the others out of our favorites spot at times.

I digress once again. Or was that twice again. I can’t count.

I need to reiterate why Dave is the favorite favorite of all the humans, and that is because he chose each and every one of us to come live with him and his friends. From the time I first came to live with all of them, every so often, Dave comes home with a new friend, and we are all told we all have to get along, accept our new friend, and have to remember each other’s names, and learn to live with each other’s ‘nuances.’ One of those words I don’t know, but I think it means we have to be aware of each other’s differences.

I probably should try to finish telling you who we all are. Everybody comes with a story, as do all the humans. I haven’t mentioned Ryan yet either, he’s the strange one in the mix. He’s always talking to us in languages we don’t understand, then finally turns to English and takes us for walks or gets us treats. That makes him another favorite, even though we don’t understand a fraction of what he says. I don’t know what fraction means, but I think the term is appropriate in that sentence. Rabbit hole.

Oh boy, oh boy, I am really digressing now. Digressing too, not sure... Stop, on with the story.

Though not sure which story I should be continuing with.

Oh, who we are. My name is Slate, the OG. You forgot I told you that earlier. I’m the first dog of the house, and am a black lab. I also have the best personality, am the smartest, best looking, and by far that most intelligent. I mean, the fact I am telling you this story says it all. And, I am everybody’s favorite, though I’m not allowed to tell that to the other dogs.

Misty was the second dog in the house, and she was a white lab. She was older than I am by a couple years, and just recently went off for another adventure. That made us all sad, but the humans said she is in a good place, with our other friend Jesse, and that we would all be together again one day. Speaking for all of us, we are looking forward to seeing her and Jesse again one day.

Next came Bernice, but Dave said he didn’t like that name, so everybody just calls her Bernie! She is a terrier mix that is sometimes referred to as a mutt. I think that is a derogatory term, but since I have no clue what derogatory means, I think we’re good.

Bernie has more energy than most of us, and loves to run circles around us larger dogs. She’s about 18 lbs., about a third my weight. And yes, I can’t count, but I do know my multiplication tables.

Then came Hound, who is about 35 lbs, brown, with big ears. And no, I’m not making fun of her aural challenge! Hound originally had a different name too, again a name Dave didn’t like, and so he named her Hound. None of us have ever figured out what hound means, and we hear the humans talking in circles about Hound being a hound. That is beyond even my intelligence.

But boy oh boy, Hound can wail! When she gets excited she winds up like an air-raid siren, at least that is the description I keep hearing, and howls like a hound. Hmmm.

There I go again, I digress.

The humans chase Hound around quite a bit more because of that howl of hers. They tell her and all of us that the neighbors don’t appreciate when we show our excitement, and should keep our excitement to ourselves when outdoors. Do you know how difficult that is when one of those squirrels comes running into our yard - excitement overtakes sensibility.

We are allowed, and I think encouraged, to be as excited and loud as possible when our humans come home though, and that we do. We run and jump and howl and bark and growl until they give us our afternoon treats, or take us for a walk. Those are two of our favorite things, in case I didn’t mention it.

I, nevermind, moving on.

Next came Jackie. Jackie is beyond a special friend. She is probably the smartest of the bunch, aside from me, and is definitely the most energetic, which I never would have thought was possible with Bernie around. I am told Jackie is a Jack Russell terrier. I have no idea where they came up with the name Jackie. Dave said she had no original name, so Jackie was the first thing the humans decided would fit. I’m hoping one day they will tell us the story behind the name.

Then finally, just a little while ago, we got Ben, whose formal name is Bentley. It’s easier for all of us to remember just Ben, though he is a she. I hear from the humans though that hes that are shes are popular now, so I guess that makes Ben a popular dog!

Ben is another mutt, about 30 lbs., and with a very pleasing disposition. The humans say that mutts always make the best pets because they get the best aspects of each of their parents. I heard Ryan mutter that wasn’t something mutts had in common with most humans. Huh?

That sums up who we all are, and even though there are quite a few of us, we all get along really well. I guess we take after our humans, because they all get along really well too, and every one of them is a dog lover, so that makes one big happy family.

Dave said not to bring it up, but a while ago the humans let a non-dog human move in.
That didn’t last long!

Speaking of Dave, he is our favorite favorite because he brought us all together to live with him and his friends in our beautiful house. It’s always warm in the winter, cool in the summer, has a giant backyard that we can run around in, and plenty of blankets, clothes, chairs and beds for all us to have our own space to nap and sleep. Danny is always the best at leaving his clothes around for us to use, though I hear the word slob all the time. If I ever learn how, I’ll have to Google the relation between slob, clothes, and Danny, because I’m just not getting it.

All of us love the backyard because the grass is always kept at its best. Lush, green, and fun to run on, roll around in. When Dave comes over he loves to lay in the grass with us and bark and snarl and growl while we all swat at each other’s paws. We can lay there snarling for hours. He gives us all belly rubs which make our back legs twitch. For the life of me I can’t replicate that, but Dave makes it happen all the time.

There is plenty of room for us to chase those bouncy bright green balls around the yard, and we have a bunch of knot ropes that we get to play tug-of-war with. The smaller dogs like playing tug too, and it’s fun watching their legs leave the ground when we are spinning around in circles. They’ve learned to gang-up on us bigger dogs.

Oh, one of our favorite things, those darn rubber toys that make noise. Remember, we’re aural! We can sit for hours and chew and squeak, chew and squeak, chew and squeak.

Back to the yard! The humans care so much for us dogs that they let a couple of us help plant their gardens each year, and even let us help them move the plants around to make sure they are growing in the best spots. Sometimes the humans don’t seem to agree with the new locations of the plants, but they always honor our selection, though sometimes when we are not looking, the plants move somewhere else.

We leave the plants that move on their own alone, just something not right about them.

We know when Dave comes over, it’s going to be a special occasion. We always get to go on these special walks when Dave is here, and Darren always goes along. We all get loaded into the SUV, or is that SVU, not sure, but I think you’ll know, the big machine with wheels. Ryan built us this special ramp that we can run right up into the back on. Then we all go for what’s called a ride, and that always means going for a special walk.

After our ride we get to go out into the great outdoors on this trail with trees and rocks and water and all sorts of new and exciting sights, smells and sounds...remember, aural. And even though we are all on our leashes, we get to meet new friends, see new sights and get lots and lots of exercise.

Every once in a while we see friends that we are told are really not our friends, which always makes sense because they never quite look have that pleasant disposition like all of us. And they definitely smell different and leave lots of mess on the trails.

One time on one of these walks we saw this giant cat! It was huge, and the humans could barely keep us all from running at full steam to chase it off the trail. We’d never seen a cat that big before - well, one day while the humans were taking their naps, we saw one on TV, but the humans were not exactly thrilled that we tried catching it. We’ve all learned that we can bark and growl at the TV as much as we want, just no touching. Making all that noise and rukass never seems to have an effect on the characters on the other side anyway.

Every once in a while though we can bark at the TV and turn it off. Now that is a special skill!

Once we get home from our walks and our ride, we get back to the house, get our treats, go outside to the yard to make sure nobody has moved the plants we moved, and then back into the house for a nap.

When the humans are not home, we spend most of our time rearranging clothes, napping, and dreaming of that big cat we saw on the trail. One of these days we are going to catch that big cat!

I would be totally remiss in not mentioning Graeme. I have known Graeme since I first moved into the house, but he only comes with us on our special walks. We all know that there is a special part of the backyard that belongs to Graeme, and we are not allowed to assist with the gardening in that section, though that is always the best smelling part of the yard.

Graeme is so much different than the other humans. He comes over, chases us around for a while, goes out to his section of yard, clips all sorts of greens from the garden, then sits and tells us stories and gives us treats. Like Ryan, Graeme talks funny and is sometimes hard to understand, but we like to listen to his stories anyway. Like Dave, he is always concerned with how we are all doing and asks us repeatedly if we have been good. Really, we are dogs, of course we are always good!

Graeme always tells us that ‘we’ are the reason why all the humans are doing so well. That even though Dave chose all of us, each of us has brought something special to all the humans that have made them all better. I think it’s my looks, and Jackie’s energy.

As I finish my story, I notice Dave is looking at me. He doesn’t have to say anything, I can see he is smiling at me, I know that means he cares. And that smile always gets bigger the more I thump my tale on the floor. He always comes down and lays with us on the floor, giving us belly rubs so that we sound like the percussion section. Don’t understand how, but it feels so good!

Then it’s back to another nap. I’m hoping to catch that cat this time, but who knows. They are sneaky, elusive, aloof creatures that probably taste bad anyway. Not sure why we bother chasing them, guess it’s all about the journey. Dave has his arm around me, and Bernie is laying on his chest, and after a couple tail thumps, we all head off for a short nap.

Dave said not to say anything, but he snores!

#dogs #treats #walks #cats #squirrels