A Public Service Announcement

A Public Service Announcement

I thought it might be a good idea to inform you, my adoring public, that I have been undergoing some health issues lately, which have kept me away from the blog.

I have been experiencing problems with my back, which (according to Dr. Todd) may or may not be indicative of a more serious problem which may or may not require surgical intervention, and/or may or may not result in the loss of use in my haunch region.  Honestly, Dr. Todd is just  FONT of helpful and specific information.

Basically, what happened was this:  I tried to alert Mama Dog that I was ready to go out for my morning constitution before breakfast.  As I was gesticulating (because she is quite deaf to my cries of hunger in the morning, it seems) I wrenched a tender spot in my back, causing pain and temporary spasm in the muscular tissue of my lower half.  She completely freaked out, called the vet and took away all things good and fun in my life.

I was immediately put to bed and given medicinal cheese.  That part isn’t so terrible.  She rubbed some smelly essential oils on my feet and my back.  I would never tell her this, but the oils and the massage helped with the pain … but the smell was still very weird.  Bachmann mentioned the odor repeatedly.  Every time I had to go outside to conduct *business* – she or Daddy Dog carried me.  And watched me.  Rude.  And this turned out not to be some ‘one day only’ type of thing …

It’s been a few weeks and I’m still not allowed to do anything I like to do.  No jumping on the furniture — even when the sun is beaming in on the couch and I’m in desperate need of recharging.  No going out on the back porch … unless someone carries me.  No working with my Companions unless being closely supervised (ie. watched like a hawk) by Mama Dog, Daddy Dog, or one of the Children.  It’s so limiting.

I continue to get the medicinal cheese, which is good, though very small in dosage.  And they continue to apply the stinky oils to my feet daily, which Bachmann continues to complain about.  And apparently, I’m not a *cooperative* little dog, because now, they have started blocking my access to furniture completely with what they refer to as “baby rails.”  Honestly, I jumped onto my favorite perch the other morning and you would have thought I sprouted horns and a forked tail … Mama and Daddy Dog raced into the family room and removed me from my spot, scolded me and next thing I know – BAM! – blockades on all the furniture.

They never leave me alone now, either.  I mean, I am supervised all the time.  If someone has to leave the house, they make sure someone is left at home to monitor my activity.  (Which is part of the reason I’ve been offline so long … how am I supposed to get any quality work done with people watching me all the time?!)  If Mama and Daddy Dog both have to go out, they leave Big Kid home.  He’s not so bad, I guess … I can usually get him to lift me onto the couch where he sits watching television or playing one of his ‘games’.   Still, I miss my privacy a great deal.

I’ve been told I am a good dog.  I’ve been told I’m so sweet and precious and that everyone loves me.  But I’ll be honest … it feels very much like they want Georgie to suffer from boredom and lack of activity.  I smell Dr. Todd’s quackery all over this.  Especially since this whole *treatment* thing has also started to involve fewer treats, reduced food portions and an overall *weight loss protocol* that is supposed to reduce the stress on my spine.  Uh huh … Dr. Todd and his hatred of the Irish-Viking Dachshund continues …

Now … Mama Dog claims this is a temporary situation.  She says I am going to be traveling to the university veterinary college where I will undergo an evaluation by a neurologist, and possibly a CT scan and second examination by an orthopedic surgeon.  She says this will lead to me being able to resume my normal activities.  She says a lot of stuff while she’s barricading me from my favorite places to climb and blocking me from the back porch steps and carting me in and out of the house to go pee, which is just humiliating.  Most of what she says is “for my own good,” and I’m getting pretty tired of hearing that crap.  All this ‘for my own good’ business is leaving me … disgruntled.

So. There you have it.  The sad tale of my existence these days.  Confined to ground level, monitored every minute and prohibited from fun and excitement.  The only thing I have going for me these days is that I get to ‘sleep out’ at night and am no longer confined in my crate.  But the couch is still off limits and they always leave the remotes for the TV up there so I can’t even watch my favorite programs after everyone else has gone to bed.  Plus, Mama Dog always puts this stinky stuff in her essential oil diffuser at night that she says will help me relax and rest during the night.  All I’ve been doing lately is rest and relax!   But it does serve as a nightlight and I can see to supervise some of my Companions if I’m quiet and remember to put everyone and everything back exactly as it was before Mama Dog gets up in the morning.  And if I remember to act really tired and weak when she comes into the family room.  That sure makes her agreeable, when she thinks I’m all stiff and sore from my ‘condition’.  Ha ha ha.  Georgie still has a few tricks up her sleeve!

I will try to keep you posted, gentle readers, on my progress with physical therapy, medication and the like.  I believe Mama Dog has been keeping her readers updated on my condition on her social media account, but I wouldn’t know, as, again, I am locked out of most of my technology because it requires more physicality that I’m allowed at this time.  But I would greatly appreciate your thoughts and good wishes.  And, as always, I thank you for your support.

Dachshund Chronicles:  Chapter 31 The L.A.S.E.R. Room

Dachshund Chronicles: Chapter 31 The L.A.S.E.R. Room

Dachshund Chronicles:  Chapter 31 The L.A.S.E.R. Room

“Did you ever find out what in the world Harley’s building over at her Brownstone?” Roper asked Harry.

He was sitting behind his desk flipping through a catalog of fabric swatches the day after the party.

Harry nodded briskly. “Yes, Sir, I did. I went over there the other day as you asked, Sir. She took me into the basement addition she’s putting in to create enough space for her new bionic hippo, Sir. You met him yesterday at the adoption party, remember?”

“Oh yes,” Roper said. “I do remember. Unusual looking fellow, wasn’t he? But I thought she was getting a horse. I distinctly remember her telling me she was adopting a horse.”

“Well, Sir,” Harry began cautiously. “She referred to him as a water horse, but -”

Roper paled and reached convulsively for his ever-present glass of mole waters. “Water horse?” he whispered.

“Now, Sir,” Harry spoke quickly. “Sir, you remember we talked about this? A water horse is just a very snooty way of referring to a hippopotamus. Harley adopted a bionic hippopotamus, Sir. Not a water creature … completely,” Harry murmured the last bit so quietly that Roper couldn’t hear clearly.

“No water?” he asked.

“No, Sir, no water,” Harry answered blandly, not even a little bothered by the lie.

“Oh, well,” Roper said, considerably calmer. “That’s good. You had me scared there for a minute, Harry,” he chuckled. “I wouldn’t have put it past Harley to try and sneak in some sort of swimming hole or some other thing having to do with – well, you know …” he trailed off and took another sip of his drink.

“She thinks I overreact to danger, although I can’t imagine why,” he said confidentially. “I believe strongly, as you know, Harry, in being 110% prepared 110% of the time. And as I’ve said many, many times … danger is dangerous and it lurks in every corner.”

After another healthy sip of his drink, Roper continued, “Harley’s much too careless regarding matters of safety. Don’t you remember when she suggested pulling up the carpet in the streets at last month’s Council meeting? I mean, that would be terrible – cars speeding along over 4 miles per hour, careening around corners, screeching tires! And suppose there was an accident? Suppose you needed to get out of your car suddenly and had to step out on bare cement??” He shuddered dramatically. “Can you imagine anything more dangerous than cold paws on a hard surface, Harry?”

Harry shook his head solemnly. “No, Sir. Certainly not, Sir. Cold, hard surfaces are clearly listed in your Decree of Most Dangerous Things, Sir. I believe they fall in between venomous insects and hot beverages, Sir.”

“Exactly!” Roper cried. “Harley is known to be reckless and unconcerned with not only her own safety, but the safety of everyone else. You just cannot be too careful when it comes to safety. Am I right, Harry?”

“You’re certainly correct, Sir.”

“So. What is she building to “accommodate” her new bionic hippo horse thing?” Roper asked. “Some sort of cage with hay or one of those clear tube thingies people put around the ceiling?”

“You mean a hamster run, Sir?”

“Sure, sure, a hamster run,” Roper replied, absently flipping through fabric swatches again.

“Harry, do you think this color of red velvet would clash with my gleaming butterscotch pelt?” He pointed to a swatch.

“Uh, no Sir, definitely not, Sir. Red is a very good color for you, Sir. Powerful.” Harry glanced at the fabric sample then tried to steer the conversation back on track.

“Well, Sir, with regards to Harley’s addition …” Harry paused, thinking of the right way to word his response. “Well, Sir, it’s really more of a garden-like setting, Sir. No water, of course,” he lied quickly, “but very bright lights – she’s installed Solar Tubes that let sunlight come directly in while keeping air, weather, nature, and the like out, Sir.”

Roper looked up sharply from his swatches. “Bright lights?” he shrieked. “Solar Tubes?” He reached for the glass of mole waters. “What in the world is she thinking? We can’t have sunlight in the Under Dome! It might cause widespread panic and blindness! We could have some sort of skin dissolving epidemic on our paws!”

Harry tried to soothe Roper by saying, “Sir, I’ve been assured by both Harley and her engineers – one of your own Architectural Engineering Vole Squads, Sir – that no sunlight will ever leach out into Greater Under Dome, Sir. It will be completely contained within this …” Harry tried to recall the name Harley had used. “… this ‘Laser Facility’, as Harley calls it, Sir.”

That did not have the effect on Roper Harry had hoped. His eyes bugged out and he began to pant in fear. “Laser Facility???” He began to chant about deep shallow breaths and swoon in his chair.

Harry struggled to think. “Yes, Sir,” he said crisply. “A L.A.S.E.R. Facility – it stands for ‘Long Awaited Spot (for) Everyone (to) Relax’, Sir. It’s an acronym.”

“An acronym?” Roper asked tremulously. “What’s that, Harry? I thought she was getting a hippo!”

Harry fought the urge to roll his eyes and answered patiently, “An acronym is an abbreviation – a word that is formed from the initials or parts of other words. Like T.E.N., Sir. It stands for The Under Dome Emergency Network. Do you understand, Sir?”

“Oh.” Roper visibly relaxed. “I do understand. That was a very gentle and clear explanation, Harry. Thank you. So, if I’m hearing you correctly, Harry, Harley has built some sort of botanical jungle room for her hippo horse and it’s completely water-free?”

“Yes, Sir. You are completely correct, Sir. No water of any sort involved, Sir. Completely safe and waterless, Sir. Just plants and light and a juice bar,” Harry confirmed.

“Ooooh,” Roper clapped his paws together. “She’s added a juice bar? I just love juice! Maybe I should go and visit her – see what this thing is all like?”

“Uh, Sir, have you forgotten about the Solar Tubes, Sir? You wouldn’t want to accidentally get sunlight on your pelt, Sir.”

“Oh,” Roper said, “You’re quite right, Harry. That wouldn’t be good at all. And since sunlight is dangerous, well, you know how I feel about danger, Harry. Perhaps I’ll just send her a nice card and a fruit basket or something.”

“Yes, Sir,” Harry sounded relieved. “I think that would be most wise, Sir.”

Justice For Georgie

Justice For Georgie

Friends, you simply cannot imagine how harrowing and difficult the past few weeks have been for me.  And so I will tell you, in great detail.

I was born in the Gulag, to a poor peasant dachshund.  In spite of my humble – impoverished, even – circumstances, I overcame my indigence to become the successful entrepreneur and dachshund rights activist that I am today.  But it wasn’t easy.  There were many obstacles and hurdles placed in my way, by those who resented my ambition and even those who claimed to love me.

Eight years ago, I was adopted by Daddy and Mama Dog.  They brought me to live with them in their run down shack in the middle of nowhere.  While my new surroundings were only slightly better than the gulag, I was at least part of a loving, caring family … or so I believed.

The entrance to our hovel is impeded by a fragmented pile of ruptured concrete, which my family refers to as “a porch.”  Daddy Dog has staunchly refused to repair this death trap – he believes, apparently, that it will serve as a deterrent to unwanted salesmen and wheeled robots. Over the years there have been numerous injuries stemming from this dangerous assemblage of mutilated rock.  Mama Dog fell once and her injuries almost resulted in the amputation of both legs.  And still, Daddy Dog did nothing.  Negligence is what I call it, but … whatever.

Which brings me to my current condition …

A few weeks ago, I was outside, doing my dog chores.  I had checked in (verbally) with all the “damn gophers,” and conducted a thorough physical examination of all their communications portals.  As it was a sunny day, I spent a little extra time recharging my haunches and enjoying the warmth of a particularly potent sunbeam.  It was quite restorative and lovely.  Because it had been almost a week since my last mandatory ablution, I had built up a substantial musky veil and I was exquisitely pungent.  I felt powerful and robust.  Invincible.  My fey instincts should have warned me that menace lurked in the shadows … but they must have been dampened by the days’ solar emanation.  Or maybe I was just sleepy.  In any event, I was unsuspecting of the impending calamity.

Later that evening, I prepared for my nighttime retirement.  I had taken a fairly substantial pre-bedtime nap and was looking forward to settling in with my cookie and the new issue of “Noveau Viking Cuisine.”  The Big Kid began his silliness … dragging me out of The Family Bed and trying to sweet-talk me into going out into the dark, frigid night for one last constitution of the day.  I went, against my better judgment.  I did my business – we don’t need to go into detail about that. I announced my readiness to come back into the house.  The Big Kid ignored me.  I cried out again – it was cold and I was quickly losing core temperature. Finally, he came slowly out to free me from my shackles.  I sprinted toward the door.  I leaped onto “the porch,” and suddenly … I felt a wrenching, agonizing, excruciating pain in my foot.  My rear passenger-side foot had become wedged in one of the deep chasms riddling the mass of debris.  I let out a wail of distress.  The Big Kid was unsympathetic – he insisted I quit lollygagging and get in the house.  I cried out, trying to communicate my pain to him, but he was impatient and unmoved.  Finally, in a final attempt to gain his attention, I barked out one last groaning bellow.  He belatedly knelt to see what was troubling me and discovered my predicament.

Gentle readers, the pain from this incident was beyond unbearable.  Panic began to set in as the Big Kid clumsily tried to free me from my bondage.  He wiggled and yanked and tore at my limb until I thought I was going to black out from the torment.  At last, he called for Daddy and Mama Dog, who came slowly, grumbling about my inconvenience and inconsiderate temperament.  When they realized that I was injured, they instantly became solicitous – no doubt in an attempt to avoid litigation.

Daddy Dog was able to wrench my foot loose and I was free to move.  Unsurprisingly, no one offered me medical attention, nor did they offer to carry me to bed.  They immediately went back to their television program, leaving me to limp painfully to my cold, solitary room where one tiny cookie waited.

I passed the night in terrible discomfort, alone, unloved and betrayed by the family who was supposed to be my support system.  I was distressed to say the least.

The next morning, after Bachmann witnessed me limping into my office in the Family Bed, he suggested that we might be able to seek legal justice for my suffering.  I gave him a small retainer and told him to get to work on a case.

Now, Bachmann isn’t really a very good lawyer, but he does work cheap.  Even so, he was able to determine that because my family doesn’t actually own the shanty where we live, I cannot sue them to recover medical expenses, nor can I seek punitive damages for my pain and suffering from them directly.  However, Bachmann also determined that I can seek legal recourse from the landowners … which, as luck would have it, include Tootsie Wootsie – my human grandparents’ chubby, yippy, silly, insufferable faux-dachshund.  Well, isn’t that just a big basket of day old toast?  Ha, ha, ha.

Unfortunately, while he works cheap, Bachmann is terribly undependable.  And just as we were beginning to build a strong case against Tootsie, he absconded with my retainer and fled to the hinterlands of the Little Nokasippi wilderness to pan for gold with his childhood friend, Arlo.  I haven’t heard from him in days.

Left in the lurch, so to speak, I was unsure how to proceed until Hobart the Holiday Hedgehog came to see me two days ago with an interesting proposal.  Apparently, he has spent quite a bit of time clerking for Bachmann and felt that he could handle my case on his own.  He had put together some notes on a plan of attack, and after looking them over, I felt confident that he could do at least as good a job as that no account beaver.  I hired him on the spot.

Hobart enlisted Ernst to clerk for him and to be assistant counsel.  While his verbal communication skills are lacking in almost every way, Ernst actually has quite a keen legal mind.  Hobart set him to work researching case law and precedent.  And after I provided him with a wide-button keyboard, Ernst was able to write several briefs and file multiple motions against Tootsie, who has evidently decided to represent herself in court.

This morning, during our consult, Hobart informed me that he has secured Judge Molly Mae – a very wise, fair-minded half breed who lives in the neighborhood – to oversee the court proceedings.  And he also mentioned that he’s hired Raoul the Raccoon as an investigator, to see what other dirt (besides being a slum lord) he can dig up on Tootsie.

I am trying to heal, both physically and emotionally.  The pain, though … the deep, deep pain is with me all the time.  Some of my Companions have sent cards and notes of well wishing, though I suspect they are secretly happy to have a hiatus in their training regimens.  I have consumed many cups of bone broth, prepared for me lovingly by my Mama Dog, who saw the error of her callous treatment and is now working hard to make amends.  Daddy Dog has still not fixed the gaping maw in the “porch” and I am forced to try and maneuver around the mocking fissure every time I have to go number 1 or number 2.  I am considering naming him as an accessory in my lawsuit, especially after a humiliating incident this morning.

I was deeply cold and tired and Daddy Dog’s fat haunch had taken up the entire seat of the comfy couch that was in a strong sunbeam.  I needed the restorative power of that sunbeam to help me heal on a cellular level, which he well knew.  But not only would he not move over and make room for me, he would not reach down and offer me any assistance, instead choosing to make me attempt a dangerous jump that very well could have exacerbated my injury.  And when I was unable to make the jump from floor to furniture … he laughed at me.  Cruelly.  Fuckler.  So.  We’ll see if he’s laughing so hard when I slap him with a subpoena and name him as a co-defendant in this suit.  Won’t we?

This is a photo of the crevasse that almost claimed my limb and very possibly my life.  Notice the dark, evil vortex shafting down into who-knows-where.  Can’t you feel the malevolence oozing from it’s depths?  I certainly can.

Justice For Georgie

Here is a close up … (Warning:  This photo is not suitable for children)  It’s TERRIFYING, isn’t it??

Justice For Georgie

I will keep you posted, dear readers, on the status of my legal struggle, as well as my journey back to health.  I know the road will be long and arduous and I do ask for your thoughts and well wishes.  Donations to my legal fund can be sent in care of this blog to:  Justice for Georgie, PO Box 123, Family Bed, postal code 56789.  I look forward to speaking to you again from a stronger and more vigorous status.  And as always, I thank you for your support.

Dachshund Chronicles:  Chapter 30 Welcome Home Mandrake

Dachshund Chronicles: Chapter 30 Welcome Home Mandrake

After several awkward moments following Harley’s unorthodox speech, the group filed quietly into the Brownstone, where, in their absence, caterers from the Southside Cafe had set out a buffet of food in the dining room. Harley directed everyone to change out of their ‘going somewhere’ clothes and then gather in the dining room.  A Welcome Home Mandrake party was in progress, with guests from all over the Under Dome in attendance.  Everyone was excited to meet Mandrake … and find out what he actually was.

The dining room table was laden with an array of sumptuous foods, and additional tables had been brought in to hold even more. Harley’s instructions to the caterers has been explicit: “If it’s made from cheese, meat, or gravy – I want it.” Consequently an endless supply of rich, cheesy dishes was laid out over one entire table. There were cheese sauced Brussels sprouts and several different versions of macaroni and cheese. A copper fondue pot bubbling with white cheddar surrounded by cubed bread, chopped vegetables and crispy tater tots sat in the center of the table next to a tall cup filled with long wooden stiicks. A second table held platters of deli-style meats, cubes of ham, kabobs of chicken, jerky, and colorfully wrapped meat sticks. Both of these tables were cordoned off with red braid attached to brass poles and marked with signs declaring, “No Buffaloes Admitted.”

Another table boasted a gravy fountain, gravy punch in a decorative bowl, gravy shooters, sparkling gravy, and a gravy keg that was just being tapped.

And yet another, significantly smaller, table was filled with vegetable trays, colorful vegetable and fruit juices in tall glasses with fancy straws, fruit platters, fruit and vegetable kabobs, grilled vegetables and a large beverage dispenser filled with what appeared to be wheat grass juice. Gordy and Prescott moved in that direction and both filled glasses with the thick green liquid, gulping it quickly before swiping hooves across their mouths.

Harley surveyed the room and nodded in satisfaction. “This is great!” she enthused. “Just what I asked for.”

Looking around, she noticed Mandrake and B.H. hovering at the cheese table. Mandrake was pointing at one of the macaroni and cheese casseroles and B.H. seemed to be explaining something to him. Mandrake shyly put a small amount of casserole on a plate. B.H. handed him a fork and the young hippo timidly took a tiny bite. Suddenly, his face split into a wide toothy grin and he began to quickly shovel the remaining macaroni and cheese into his mouth. When he was finished, he helped himself to larger portions of the other varieties of casseroles on the table. After watching his clear enjoyment of the fare for a few minutes, Harley turned her attention to her own growling stomach.

She moved from table to table, filling her plate, sampling the offerings as she went. The thought crossed her mind that she should be paying more attention to her guests, but that was quickly dismissed upon her discovery of tiny grilled cheese sandwiches. After her initial pass was complete, she took a moment to survey the crowded room.

Roper, Fluffy and the children had arrived at some point. Roper was surreptitiously sipping from a flask he pulled out of his jacket pocket, all the while glancing furtively at Fluffy, as though he was afraid she would notice. Meanwhile, Fluffy herded the children around the various tables, putting food on their plates and continually cautioning them to hold the plates steady. When at last they had all they wanted, she scooted them out the door onto the back patio where the Southside Cafe Catering Company had set up tables and benches. Once she had settled the children, Fluffy returned to the dining room, filled her own plate efficiently and quickly and, with a slightly disgusted look in Roper’s direction, joined the children at their table.

Some of B.H.’s friends and their parents were there, as well. They spent a few minutes making small talk with Harry, then introduced themselves to Mandrake, congratulated B.H. and moved on to partake of the bountiful buffet.

Harley, munching on a cheese covered little cabbage, watched with amusement as Harry tried to talk Roper out of his little flask. Finally, after Roper had snatched it back for the third time and hidden it deep inside the pocket of his dark purple blazer, Harry shook his head and began to fill a plate for himself.

B.H. suddenly appeared at her side, tugging gently at her leg.

“Hello, B.H.,” she said, swallowing the bite in her mouth. “Are you having a good time?”

B.H. nodded vigorously.

“It’s a nice party, isn’t it?” Harley agreed.

B.H. nodded again.

“Is Mandrake enjoying himself?” she asked.

B.H. nodded and looked over at Mandrake, who was still standing beside the cheese table.  He waved, and Mandrake waved back.

Harley followed his gaze. “So, I guess Mandrake likes the macaroni and cheese, then?”

B.H. giggled and pantomimed eating with great gusto.

“Well, that’s fine.” Harley nodded. “That’s just fine. He’s going to fit in great, isn’t he, B.H.?”

B.H. nodded once more and then scampered off to join Mandrake. When he touched Mandrake’s hoof, the hippo glanced down, smiled, and continued to eat happily.

The party began to wind down and guests left a few at a time. It was, after all, a work day in The Under Dome, and many had come only for a few minutes over their lunch break. Most wanted to get a good look at this new Water Horse creature Harley had brought to live among them. And all had enjoyed the free food.

As Fluffy carried, steered, and drug her children towards the door, Roper followed behind looking everywhere but at Fluffy, who was casting pointed and irritated looks at him. Seeing that Fluffy needed assistance, Harley stepped in and picked one of her nephews up and took the hand of a niece. She led them out onto the front porch, chatting with Fluffy.

“He’s not much into paws-on parenting, is he?” she asked her sister-in-law.

Fluffy growled and glared over her shoulder at Roper, who had now stopped in front of the mirror by the door, and was preening.

“I’ll be honest,” Harley confided, helping the children into their car seats, “if it weren’t for those boy-parts he flashes every chance he gets, I’d swear he was a female.”

Harley heard Fluffy’s snort of laughter, then saw her quickly cover her snout with her paw. She tried to level a stern look of reprimand at Harley, but failed completely and let a giggle spill out. Shaking her head, Fluffy continued to buckle the quadruplets into their seats, then turned to make sure the twins were also fastened in safely.

Turning, Fluffy let out a shrill whistle, which made Roper turn abruptly from his primping. Seeing Fluffy standing by the passenger filled Vole-Vo station wagon he rushed down the porch steps and across the lawn.

While Fluffy situated herself into the passenger seat, Roper addressed Harley.

“Thank you for inviting us to your little party, Harley,” he said politely. “Even though I don’t know what a Water Horse is and despite the fact that you didn’t bother to put out any of the foods I like to eat, it was quite festive. I guess. I think twinkle lights, some glittery party hats and maybe some of those fancy paper lanterns would have added some pizazz, though. But, whatever. I think Fluffy had a good time and maybe that will translate into some log time for me later. I’ll have to let you know about that.” He got into the driver’s seat of the car and roared away down the street, narrowly missing the mailbox on the corner.

“Boy, I sure hope he doesn’t let me know about that,” Harley muttered to no one in particular. Then she turned and went back into the house to oversee the clean up. And make sure that no food was thrown away.

She reentered the dining room just in time to hear Gordy and Prescott direct the caterers to load out all the leftover meat and cheese trays and disassemble the gravy fountain.

“What?!” she said, rushing forward. “No! No, no, no, no,” she said, snatching trays from the paws of the vole staff. “These things are to be left here,” she said firmly. “I paid for this food and I don’t want to waste any of it.”

Prescott snuffled loudly.

“I don’t care what you say, you-you-you Buffalo!” she sputtered. “This is my party! Well, mine and Mandrake’s party. And B.H.’s. It’s our party and we’ll keep this food if we want. Which we do!” She moved to stand between the Buffaloes and the tables.

Both Buffaloes snuffled again, louder.

“Huh uh!” Harley growled. “I’d be willing to donate some of the food to one of the homeless vole shelters down town, but I will not recycle a bit of it. Unless by recycle, you mean put it in my snout.”

Gordy shook his shaggy hump. Prescott snuffled again, but softly.

“Fine,” Harley said, then turned to the caterers, who were standing well away from the fracas of the bison/dachshund argument. Stories about their ‘disagreements’ were legendary around town and the voles on staff at the Southside Cafe were well aware of Harley’s feelings towards food.

Harley spoke to the service manager. “I want all the vegetable trays, fruit and vegetable juices and that wheat grass juice loaded into your trucks and taken directly to the Home for Homeless Voles and Moles over on Butterscotch Circle.” She ignored the loud snuffle and huffing from the Buffaloes and continued. “Take all the leftover desserts down to the wiffle ball diamond and let the Brown Dogs little league team sell them as concessions at their game this afternoon.”

She looked smugly at Gordy and Prescott. “All those yummy veggies will provide very nutritious meals for those poor homeless voles and moles. And think of all the money that will be raised for those sweet little kids through selling concessions. Maybe they can even afford to buy wiffle bats for next season so they don’t have to use breadsticks anymore.” Satisfied that her orders would be followed, she left the room, swishing her tail at the Buffaloes on her way out.

She wanted to know if Mandrake and B.H. had had fun at their party, so she began to look for them. They weren’t in the family room, the kitchen, or down in the new water park arena. Walking back upstairs, she heard laughter and what sounded like mooing coming from B.H.’s room.

The door to was slightly ajar. She paused outside, listening for a few minutes before carefully peeking in. She saw B.H. perched on a chair talking animatedly. Shifting slightly she was able to see Mandrake, sitting on the bottom bunk eating something.

She knocked lightly, grabbing B.H.’s attention. “Can I come in?” she asked.

B.H. nodded and leaped up from his seat to rush over and open the door all the way.

“So,” Harley began, looking from B.H. to Mandrake. “Did you have a good time at the party?”

B.H. nodded eagerly and began to chatter excitedly about all the fun he’d had, the food he’d eaten and the people he’d met. Mandrake didn’t look up from his snack, but grunted and snorted occasionally.

Harley tried engaging Mandrake in the conversation again. “So, Mandrake, I see that you liked the food. What was your favorite thing?”

Mandrake glanced up briefly before returning his attention to the container he was dipping food from. He grunted again.

“Oh,” Harley nodded. “The macaroni and cheese. Yes, I thought that was tasty, too. You know, Mandrake, macaroni and cheese is one of my favorite foods as well.”

When Mandrake didn’t respond, only continued to spoon food into his mouth, Harley sighed. Maybe she and Mandrake weren’t going to be as close as she’d hoped.

Her shoulders sagging sadly, she stood up. “Well, I’ll leave you two to your snacks and conversation. Maybe later we could watch a movie together in the family room? Mandrake, have you ever heard of Mary Lou Retton?” she asked as she walked toward the door.

Mandrake’s head snapped up and he grunted loudly.

“Yes, I think she’s pretty amazing, too,” Harley said, feeling better. “Let’s watch her Olympic Gold Medal winning performance on the vault together after supper, okay? I know B.H. likes that video a lot.”

Mandrake grinned suddenly, his mouth full of macaroni. B.H. laughed excitedly and began to chatter to Mandrake about his Mary Lou Retton t-shirt. Harley was smiling, too, as she left the room.

“I need to see if Jose has enough time between now and supper to make a bionic hippo sized Official 1984 Olympics Gymnastics Team Warm Up Suit replica,” she planned out loud. “After all, we can’t have Mandrake feeling left out when the rest of the family suits up for a Retton-Fest.”

Georgie Speaks

Georgie Speaks

Well, it is January, and I, along with many other Irish-Viking Dachshund Americans are starting the new year with the idea of being healthier.  My promise to myself, and my Companions, was to spend 2016 trying to exercise more, eat more nutritiously, and generally take better care of myself.  Of course, my loyal Companions were eager to join me in this endeavor.

To this end, I began incorporating healthy habits in the Family Bed right away.  I’ve eliminated in between meal snacking by putting a retinal scanner on the Commissary door.  Since none of the Companions have actual retinas – it’s been working very effectively.  Of course, Bachmann has tried to outsmart the locking mechanism several times, but he’s only accomplished getting himself zapped by the alarm system.  It’s amusing, but growing tiresome.  I do hope he finds a better way to occupy himself soon.

Another health-conscious change to the Bed has been increased workouts for all Companions.  We are all benefiting from these expanded conditioning sessions.  In fact, I’ve already seen a huge difference in Candace’s balance and Je M’appelle Claude’s eye/claw coordination.  Even Ernst is looking more svelte and sleek.  I, myself, noticed a significant increase in my own haunch-flex ratio after just a few weeks of daily work.


Georgie Speaks

Naturally, diet is one of the most important components of good health.  Nutrition has always been a priority in the Family Bed, and now, more than ever, I am making decisions about food choices with that in mind.  I’ve added many more nuts and legumes to the menu plans – a change that most of the Companions are quite pleased over.  Of course, many of the aquatic creatures are disappointed with the lack of variety in the seafood department, but as I’ve explained many times, we just don’t have sufficient refrigerator space to keep seafood fresh for any length of time.  And no one wants old fish stinking up the place.  Except Bachmann, but he’s always the dissenter in any conversation.  I do try to bring in organically raised, sustainably-sourced wild-caught salmon when possible and Raoul likes to grill it with just a little lime juice and dill.  Very tasty.

Additionally, I’m regularly attending local farmer’s markets to obtain the freshest possible produce for my vegetarian Companions.  Well, and for myself, of course – who does’t love a fresh, crisp apple right out of Mama Dog’s hand?  Hmmm??  While I have been forced to outsource for some of our dietary needs – dairy in particular (Candace doesn’t like to talk about it, but she’s lactose intolerant, which is quite embarrassing for a cow, as you would imagine.) – most of the Companions don’t mind only having goats’ milk cheese or yogurt a few times a week.

We’ve been working to eliminate artificial food from our diets, as well, including sugar.  And believe me, that hasn’t been easy.  Dijon in particular has quite the sweet tooth.  I’ve been substituting stevia in my dessert recipes with good success.  Dijon has not seemed to notice any loss of sweetness or richness in his nightly dish of flan, for which I am grateful.  He becomes absolutely unbearable when he doesn’t have his nightly flan … breathing fire over the other Companions as they try to watch television in the Commons area, slashing his tail around the room, bellowing, and generally making a real scene.  It’s just better to avoid that sort of theatrics altogether whenever possible.

Overall, I believe the Companions are much more focused mentally with the addition of these changes in physical activity and nutrition.  I’ve kept careful notes in their behavior charts over the past few weeks and have seen an upswing in both their general happiness and gross motor function.  It’s very rewarding to see a plan achieve such success.

As we move forward, I will be increasing the number of discussion group sessions for the Companions, as well.  I think giving them more opportunity to work through their individual issues through group discourse will bring them closer together and create a real sense of community within the Bed.  As I have mentioned before, Family Bed harmony is often non-existent.  And I plan to incorporate even more options for physical training as the weather warms up and the Companions can work out of doors.  Tai Chi on the Lawn; Gopher Hole Digging 101; Voice Projection; Releasing Your W.O.I.D. (Wrath of Irish Dachshund); and Quiet Wandering are just a few of the new classes that will begin in the spring.  There is already considerable interest in this area.

I sincerely hope each of you is experiencing the success with your own goals for the new year that we in the Family Bed Education, Training and Rehabilitation Center are experiencing.  I just can’t express how rewarding it is to lead this group of Companions on a path to better health and well-being.  Oh, yes, a few are not really coming along willingly.  But you always have a few stragglers and late-bloomers in any educational setting, don’t you?  You just drag them along until they get tired of fighting you and then … well, everyone’s happy, aren’t they?  Indeed.

So.  Good luck to all of you, dear readers, in your New Year’s goals and objectives.  Good Day, and thank you for your support.

Dachshund Chronicles:  Chapter 29 Adoption Day Part Two

Dachshund Chronicles: Chapter 29 Adoption Day Part Two

Dachshund Chronicles: Chapter 29 Adoption Day Part Two

The ride home was a little tense and a lot crowded. Mandrake, the bionic water horse, was uncomfortably wedged into the third row seat of the van. The seatbelt wasn’t quite long enough to latch around his substantial middle, so Harley was laying on her back in the seat next to him, holding the buckle-end of the extended belt as tightly as she could. Her hind feet were braced against the side of the van, her front legs extended over the top of her head as though trying to execute a lateral pull down with the seatbelt. The strain of exertion was beginning to make her cranky.

“Are we about home?” she demanded, sounding slightly out of breath. “I’m not sure how much longer I can hold this belt in place.”

Gordy turned around from his position in the front seat and snuffled loudly.

“Well, that’s good,” Harley panted. “My legs aren’t long enough to have the proper leverage for this kind of activity. Also, I’ve got an itch on my snout but if I let go with one paw the ricochet of this seatbelt might kill someone.”

Mandrake reached over and gently scratched Harley’s snout with his hoof.

Harley started, then realized what he was doing and relaxed slightly. “Why thank you, Mandrake,” she said. “What a thoughtful young hippo you are!”

Mandrake smiled shyly.

B.H. turned around in his car seat to grin at Mandrake. Then he began to chatter away, telling Mandrake about the Brownstone, his room and how much fun they were going to have once they got home.

The van pulled to a stop in front of the Brownstone and Harley let go of the seatbelt. It zinged out of her grasp with lightning speed, arcing wildly toward Mandrake’s head.

“Look out!” Harley shouted, scrambling into a sitting position.

Mandrake turned his head sharply to look at her. As he did, the belt zipped by, narrowly missing his ear. He heard the whine of the fast-retracting belt, felt the wind rush by the side of his head and squeaked in alarm.

Harley leaped into his lap and began patting him on the head, face and shoulders. “It’s okay,” she murmured. “There, there, it’s all okay. You’re safe and loved and there’s no reason for you to become a cutter.”

Mandrake looked at her with big eyes, blinking slowly. He nodded, then awkwardly patted her on the head with his hoof. He snorted softly, indicating that he wanted out of the van.

“Okay, everyone,” Harley demanded loudly, “get out of the way. Traumatized hippo here! Make some room before he starts cutting!” She all but pushed Mandrake from the van.

Standing on the sidewalk in front of the Brownstone, Harley observed Mandrake carefully, looking for any signs that he might be feeling emotional distress. Satisfied that he seemed calm and happy, she took his hoof in one of her paws and B.H.’s small paw in the other.

“I feel like we should say a few words since this is such a special occasion,” she said. “Anyone want to, I don’t know … do that?”

Prescott and Gordy both turned away uncomfortably, snuffling and shaking their humps. B.H. whispered something too quietly for Harley to hear then looked intently at his cowboy boots. Mandrake gazed down at her, expectantly.

“Okay, then,” she muttered, “I guess I’ll say something.”

She cleared her throat, took a deep breath, then said dramatically, “Today, we welcome Mandrake into our family. We are a diverse and multi-cultural tribe of indigenous nomads who have come together to create an intricate and aerodynamic nation.” She paused as though collecting her thoughts, not noticing the odd looks she was getting from the group. She continued speaking, warming to her task. “Though we have many differences, we are one in spirit. As my Native American Dachshund ancestors believed, I, too, believe that we are all endowed with the gift of gab, the ability to come together as a family and pursue warm gravy. On this day, we bring Mandrake, a bionic water horse, into our family. Welcome, Mandrake. We are proud and glad to receive you into our clan. May your life with us be fulfilling and abundant and may you not become a cutter. Amen.”

The View From the Family Bed

The View From the Family Bed

The view from the Family Bed is rarely a peaceful one.  As is so often the case, Bachmann has made himself a nuisance in The Family Bed once again.

Over the past weeks, since before Thanksgiving, he’s been causing all sorts of trouble for the other Companions and for me.  His porky mouth and reckless beaver antics have crossed numerous lines of Family Bed etiquette and socially acceptable behavior.  At times, he’s been almost unseemly.

Now, I consider myself to be a very patient, loving, and understanding dachshund.  But that beaver is certainly creating a tense, and uncomfortable situation with his conduct.

At first, he was just shooting off his porky mouth.  He would taunt some the other Companions and make fun of their various and sundry deficiencies. For example, one afternoon, I heard him jeering at poor, sweet, harmless Ernst.

“Hey, Eggplant!” he was gibing.  “How’s about you and I mix it up with a game of Boggle?! You know what’s a four-letter word for stupid??  E-R-N-S-T!”

He was deliberately mocking poor Ernst’s lack of vocabularical prowess.  It was sickening.  I reprimanded him immediately, but he exhibited not a single shred of remorse.

Another time, I caught him following Candace down her narrow hallway, poking a piece of string cheese between her two feet, trying to trip her.  He was making mooing noises and ridiculing her awkward mobility.  Disgusting.  And even though I took away his electronics privileges and his dessert privileges for a week, the horrible comportment continued.

It all came to a head the other day, when Bachmann decided to make what I can only assume was his Bull Run stand by challenging me to a staring contest.  He’s always been so very dramatic.

Georgie vs. Bachmann

Now, at first, I didn’t realize what he was doing.  I was in the middle of a well-deserved and much-needed nap when the sound of him wheezing through his front teeth roused me.

“Bachmann,” I pleaded, “I’m exhausted.  Can’t you go pester someone else for a while?  Or better yet, go find something constructive to do – don’t you need to clean your room?”

But he continued to stare at me with those beady little beaver eyes, not saying a word.  Which was very unusual, because generally he can’t keep that porky mouth shut.

I became instantly alert.Georgie vs. Bachmann

“Bachmann,” I sighed.  “What are you playing at?  Can’t you see I’m busy and don’t have time for your shenanigans?”

Still, he continued to challenge me with his bore-like gaze.  I began to wonder if he was experiencing a medical situation that was preventing him from speaking or moving … or blinking.  Even so, his insubordination could not be tolerated.Georgie vs. Bachmann

“Bachmann,” I warned.  “Cut it out.  If you continue with this defiant and threatening provocation, you will be sorry.  And by sorry, I mean you’re going to end up crying like a little she-beaver.  You better knock it off and leave me to my nap.”

Honestly, I gave him every opportunity to retract his confrontation.  I offered him multiple activities and constructive ideas as alternatives to this hostility.  I entreated him to rethink his folly and each time he refused to back down.  He didn’t simply refuse to back down, he grew more and more belligerent.

And then this happened …The View From the Family Bed

This is me, setting out to open a can of Whoop-De-Do on Bachmann’s Beaver butt.  Note the terror his his expression as he tries to scramble out of the path of my wrath.  But his short little beaver feet couldn’t move fast enough to avoid me dealing him a heaping helping of comeuppance.

I worked him over pretty good.  I’ll grant him this much … he took the waling I gave him with dignity – for a short minute.  Then he started blubbering and crying and apologizing and begging for mercy.  It was most satisfying.  I even took him back inside the compound so the other Companions could watch.  And since Bachmann had been making their lives uncomfortable and difficult for weeks, they were very enthusiastic about the entire affair.

Afterwards, Bachmann slunk off to his room to lick his wounds, while the rest of the Family Bed enjoyed cake and punch courtesy of the Festivity Committee.  Overall, it was a lovely end to the day.

It’s been just a few days since what is being referred to around the Bed as ‘The incident’.  Bachmann resurfaced just this morning, took his toast and coffee alone in the Commissary and then retreated again to his room.  He hasn’t spoken to anyone since his beatdown, but many Companions have reported receiving letters and notes of apology via Inter-Family-Bed mail.  So it would seem Bachmann has possibly learned a lesson.  Or not.  Only time will  tell this beaver tale …

Dachshund Chronicles:  Chapter 28

Dachshund Chronicles: Chapter 28

Adoption Day had finally arrived and Harley, Gordy and Prescott were having a difficult time keeping B.H. calm. He had leaped out of bed at 5:20 a.m. and raced into Harley’s room. He’d proceeded to jump on her bed, shaking her out of a sound sleep, which had not pleased Harley in the least. After shooing him back to his own room she’d tried to get a little more sleep, but found it difficult to reclaim the totally relaxed state of rest she’d been experiencing.

When she finally gave up on sleep and trudged slowly into the kitchen for a mug of gravy, she had found Gordy and Prescott, each of them in a similar state of bleary-eyed exhaustion. From their snuffling and hump shaking, she determined that B.H. had visited his overwhelming excitement on them, as well.

Now, after she had finally managed to settle B.H. enough to eat some breakfast and brush his teeth, she was trying to wrangle him into his ‘going somewhere’ clothes so she could comb his hair. “Darn it, B.H.,” she said crossly, “hold still. I can’t tie your shoes if you keep wiggling and jiggling around so much.”

B.H. ceased his fidgeting briefly, but was soon overcome with excitement again and he began to squirm and bounce, chattering about how much fun the new hippo was going to be and how much he was looking forward to having a playmate.

Exasperated, Harley jerked off the still untied sneakers and went to B.H.’s closet. “Here,” she said, turning back to the vole. “Wear your cowboy boots. Then I won’t have to fight with you over tying your shoes anymore.” B.H. happily pulled on the bright blue boots, all the while continuing his happy jabbering.

After several minutes of dodging and ducking, B.H. finally held still just long enough for Harley to swipe a brush over his head. The vole’s fine hair went smooth for a short minute before springing back up in an unruly looking wave over his forehead. “This darned vole-lick of yours won’t lay down, B.H.,” she muttered, trying to smooth it down again with first the brush, then her paw. Finally, she sighed. “I think that’s as good as it’s going to get, B.H.. Maybe you should just wear a hat.” Shaking her head, she took his jacket down from the closet and handed it to him. “Better wear a sweater, B.H., that adoption agency is always really cold.”

At last, the family was loaded into the van. Prescott was driving while Gordy had claimed shotgun. Harley snapped B.H. into his seatbelt and then, adjusting her own, announced, “Alright! Let’s get this bionic waterhorse show on the road!”

Traffic was light and the drive unremarkable as the van wound its way through the carpeted streets of the city. B.H. had suddenly stopped his excited chatter and now sat quietly, looking out the window of the van with big eyes. Harley noticed that both Buffaloes were unusually quiet, as well. She felt her own excitement turn into something more like nervousness as the van turned into the parking lot of the Under Dome Rehoming and Adoption Center for Voles and other People.

Prescott parked and turned off the engine. The group sat in silence for a few moments. Harley looked at B.H., who was quietly working at the buckle of his seatbelt. She watched Prescott adjust his tie in the rearview mirror and saw Gordy pull down the sun visor to check his hump and swipe a hoof over his beard. Harley unlatched her own seatbelt and smoothed her eyebrows with her paw. “Are we all ready?” she asked anxiously.

Each of the others nodded and the group left the van, walking quickly toward the entrance of the building. Prescott held the door open and Harley and B.H. entered the lobby, looking around curiously. Harley spotted the manager coming toward them and bent down to speak to B.H. quietly.

“Are you sure you’re ready?” she asked. B.H. nodded solemnly. “Now, B.H., this is serious – we can’t bring him back once we take him home. So if you’re having second thoughts or want to adopt something else, now’s the time to speak up.” B.H. shook his head and whispered that he was very happy to meet his new hippo. “And you’re sure about the name we picked out?” Harley added. B.H. grinned happily and nodded again. “Okay, then, here we go,” Harley said firmly, straightening up to greet the manager, a slightly overweight but attractive vole.

“Hello there, you must be the Harley Bishop Family,” the manager extended a neatly manicured paw. “I’m Noreen.” Harley shook her paw, as did the others. “I know this is a big day for you, but there are just a few details we have to take care of before you can take the newest member of your family home,” she smiled. “If you’ll just follow me, Harley. The rest of you can wait right over there.” She pointed toward a seating area filled with comfortable furniture, a book shelf and a large television. B.H. scurried over and plopped onto a fluffy chair. He located the remote control and immediately turned on the TV, settling happily into his seat. Prescott and Gordy each patted Harley on the head and went to sit with B.H.

Harley followed Noreen into a small but neat office and sat where Noreen indicated she should.

“There are just a few papers that we need to review and sign and then you’ll be all set to go home,” Noreen explained, shuffling through a stack of files on her desk. “I understand that you’ve been told about your hippopotamus’s special needs?” She slipped on a pair of reading glasses and looked up at Harley.

“Well, yes, if you’re talking about his bionics and such,” Harley said. “Although I’m not entirely sure why it’s such a big deal.”

Noreen looked at her a moment before dropping her gaze to the now open file in front of her. “Well,” she began, “aside from the obvious issues presented with a bionically enhanced being – super strength and speed, enhanced motor function, increased appetite, and the like – there may be some emotional issues that arise. It’s very difficult for non-bionic people to understand the strain of maintaining the control necessary for a bionic – in this case a bionic hippo – to exist in a normal world. Chairs may not be designed to hold his heavier frame, for example. And a broken chair could lead to him feeling insecure about his size. We wouldn’t want him to begin to exhibit any self-harming habits such as eating disorders or cutting, for instance, as a way of expressing emotional distress. It’s very important that you recognize any signs of depression or trauma, therefore, and be prepared to deal with anything that arises.” She gazed at Harley expectantly.

“So you’re saying I need to watch him and make sure he’s happy?” Harley said.

“Exactly,” Noreen confirmed. “We do offer a series of counseling sessions for all our new adoption families, at a significant discount, of course. You’re more than welcome to sign up for them before you leave today, in fact. Most of our families have found the classes to be invaluable while integrating their adopted children – or whatever – into their households.”

“I think I’ll pass,” Harley replied. “We’re pretty laid-back at home and we’ve been doing a lot of research into what will make him feel comfortable. I think we’ll do okay on our own.”

Noreen pursed her lips in disapproval, but only said, “Well, fine, then. Sign here and you can meet your hippo.”

Harley scrawled her signature at the bottom of the page.

“By the way,” Noreen examined the paper, then looked at Harley, “have you picked out a name?”

“Yes,” Harley said, rising from her chair. “We’ve decided to name him Mandrake.”

A Public Service Announcement From Georgie

A Public Service Announcement From Georgie

I’m not one to belabor a point. Really, I try to say what needs to be said and move on. I simply do not have the time to spend on rehashing, revisiting, reiterating or otherwise continuing to yammer on about a subject once it has been discussed.

However …  It has recently come to my attention that a particular subject, which is very dear to me, is in desperate need of revisiting.

I have mentioned before, the importance of having access to a constant heat source.  I discussed in detail here the need for public awareness on Nook Neutrality.  And I warned, gentle readers, most vehemently of the dangers of living without a cold weather plan here.  Yet every day, I receive countless emails, letters and text messages from cold, miserable pets who are living without even the most basic of cold weather essentials.  And it concerns me.  Greatly.

Friends, if you do not currently have access to a Nook, a hot blanket, a generously sized sunbeam, an oven in the ‘bake’ setting, or a chuffy Daddy Dog beside whom you can nestle and absorb heat — you are in trouble.  You must prepare NOW.  Winter is coming.  I daresay it’s arrival is imminent.  You are running out of time to procure the items which will make possible your survival in the frigid, bitter temperatures of the coming season.

In my own home, I am still lacking access to the Nook I am certain is in the basement.  But on cool mornings, Mama Dog often turns on the oven in the kitchen to bake or roast something and I am content to lie pressed up to it’s base, soaking up precious warmth and delicious aromas.  In the evenings, Daddy Dog frequently places me next to him on the sofa, allowing his overwhelming body heat (from the extra winter pounds he carries year-round) to pass directly to my flank, haunch and bank – my primary heat absorbers.  Many days, the children will open the curtains in the family room just enough to allow a Dachshund sized sunbeam to land across the floor so I can replenish my energy stores.  Or they will cover me, as I lie in repose on the back of the little couch, with a blanket, towel or Mama Dog’s sweater (which she thoughtfully leaves on the arm of the furniture upon her nighttime retirement).  So you see, while I am without Nookability, I am not left to wither and die from the cold.

Ask yourselves, dear friends – how is your human family accommodating you?  Do they go out of their way to assure your warmth and comfort?  Or do they simply swath you in a tacky holiday-themed sweater or coat and send you into the frigid abyss to be mocked for a fashion disaster over which you have no control?  If the answer is the latter – well, you have a serious problem and it needs to addressed immediately.  Or sooner.

Do whatever is necessary to make your comfort a priority in your house.  Petition your humans.  Call your Senators and Representatives.  Make your voice heard and heard loudly.  DEMAND a Nook.  Withhold your household services if you must.  Make your needs KNOWN.  Your continued comfort and existence depends on your willingness to stand up for your well-being and your ability to convey this very important message to your family:  I am COLD and I will not TOLERATE these conditions any longer!

I will be sharing, over the next weeks and months, many tips and helpful plans of action you can use to turn your home into a haven of warmth and comfort throughout the cold weather season.  Some may seem drastic, but my reader feedback has shown there are many, many, many of you who are totally unprepared, completely unready and most likely destined to perish without intervention of some sort.  I would prefer that not happen.

For the time being, make sure you are seeking warmth wherever and whenever possible – even if it involves rolling yourself up in piles of dirty laundry waiting to be washed.  Some of my warmest naps have taken place in Daddy Dog’s discarded shirts.  Do your best to express your needs to your humans and take heart for I am here to guide and advise you to a winter season of absolute plushiousness.  Thank you for your support.

Dachshund Chronicles:  Chapter 27

Dachshund Chronicles: Chapter 27

Harley led Harry through the Brownstone and down a set of newly constructed stairs. She looked over her shoulder and said, “Now, you’re sure I don’t need to be concerned that you’re going to run tattling to Roper with what you’re about to see, aren’t you, Harry?”

Harry shook his head. “As I said earlier, Harley, I would never bother Sir with any details that would have an adverse effect on his mental state.”

“Okay, then.” Harley continued down the winding steps which finally opened into a large, cavern-like room. Direct sunlight beamed into the space from what looked like an enormous skylight carved into the ceiling. Harry could see B.H. scampering around the construction equipment and workers, a tiny orange hard hat perched on his little head.

Harry looked around in wonder. “What is all this?” he asked in awe.

Harley grinned widely and handed him a hard hat from the nearby work table. “You gotta put this on, ‘cause we’re in a construction zone and you can’t take it off until we go back upstairs, okay?”

Harry put on the hat. “I’m ready.”

“As you know, we’re adopting a water horse,” she explained.

Harry nodded. “Also known as a hippopotamus, right?”

“Yes, that is the common name,” Harley said in a superior tone. Harry rolled his eyes behind her back.

“Since we will be bringing a water horse into our home,” she continued, “we had to make certain adjustments to our living space in order to satisfy the adoption agency’s requirements. Namely, we had to have some water.”

“Of course, of course,” Harry agreed.

“Because of the unnecessarily strict building codes Roper implemented, I couldn’t very well apply for a permit to build a swimming pool. But,” she pointed a paw at Harry, “I could get a permit for a basement addition in The Under Dome Deeper facility. So here’s what we’re doing …” she began walking around the room, gesturing and talking. Harry followed her around, listening intently as she explained the project in detail.

“Here,” she said, pointing up at the source of sunlight, “is our sun tube. It’s designed to let in natural light from Above Ground through very deep layers of earth. Roper will never know it’s here and even if he does find out about this whole water park, I’ll just tell him it’s a laser room and he’ll never come near it – even to shut it down.” Harry started at her use of the term ‘water park’ but since she was already resuming the tour, he quickly followed.

“This will be the pool itself,” she pointed to a giant hole in the floor, currently bustling with activity as dozens of voles in hard hats laid colorful tile across the surface. “I had the tile specially designed to show a jungle theme so the water horse would feel right at home.”

Harry snorted, “Would you please quit calling it a water horse? It’s a hippo and you know it. In fact, you probably would have been able to sneak the whole project by Roper if you had called it that in the first place. You knew using the word ‘water’ would immediately put him on high alert.” Harry sounded slightly winded – he rarely had so much to say in one pass.

Harley blinked. “Ooookaaayy,” she said slowly, unsure now of Harry’s position on the whole situation.

“I’m just saying that continuing to call the hippo a water horse only makes you sound pretentious,” Harry added quietly, looking at her steadily. “I’m sure that wasn’t your intention.”

Harley pursed her snout and refused to meet his gaze. “It might have been my intention,” she conceded. “But if it bothers you, fine … we’ll call it a hippo. But he’s not just an ordinary hippo, you know,” she said forcefully. “He’s a special needs hippo. He’s got bionics. And they can’t be cured. So there.” She pointed her paw accusingly at Harry.

“I’m not sure you’re understanding what bionics are, Harley,” Harry said cautiously. “It’s not a disease.”

“Of course it is!” she said indignantly. “The adoption agency said he was a special water horse who had been ‘augmented for enhanced bionic performance’.” She used her paws to make air quotes around the term. “I know what that means – he’s sick and his bionics need to be treated with medication!”

Harry couldn’t prevent the chuckle that slipped out. Ignoring Harley’s glare, he tried to explain. “Bionics is not an illness,” he began. “Bionics is the incorporation of cybernetic systems into living organisms.”

“Like the Borg?” Harley asked in a panicked voice.

“Well, sort of,” Harry said. “Think ‘The Six Million Dollar Man’, instead.”

Harley was quiet for a few minutes, clearly thinking about this new information. Suddenly, her expression brightened considerably. “You mean I’m getting a robot hippopotamus?!”

“Yes,” Harry confirmed. “A bionic hippo.”

“A ‘bionic hippo’,” Harley breathed reverently. “A bionic hippo! Wow! Hey – did you hear that, B.H.?” she shouted. “We’re getting ourselves a bionic hippo!”

Across the room, B.H. stopped and looked at her, a confused expression on his face. After a moment, he shrugged and laughed out loud, clapping his paws together excitedly.

“He really has no idea what that means,” Harley said to Harry confidentially. “But he’s got such enthusiasm. It’s really adorable, isn’t it?”

“Hmmm, yes. Adorable,” Harry agreed. “Now that we’ve cleared that up,” he said, “why don’t you show me the rest of your project plans?”

“Oh, sure,” Harley responded. “This way.” She trotted off happily with Harry trailing behind her.

“Over here,” she pointed, “is going to be the snack bar. And we’re having lots of tropical plants put in – really elaborate landscaping. Some of it, I’ll be handling myself of course, because you know how much I enjoy gardening.” She chattered on, listing features and details of what she started calling ‘The Laser Room’.

Harry pictured the completed space – lush green plants and colorful flowers surrounding the huge, beautifully tiled swimming pool. Harley explained there would be a water slide at one end of the pool and a diving board at the other. The deck area was to be surfaced with stamped concrete so as not to be too slick and dangerous when wet. Over in the corner, a small sitting area with comfortable and waterproof furniture would surround a fire pit so the family could roast marshmallows or slabs of cheese over an open flame. In the opposite corner, a grassy fenced-in lawn in case anyone needed to take care of any ‘private business’ would ensure the total comfort of everyone.

Harry pointed to a small partially-constructed building off to one side of the pool deck. “What’s that?” he asked. “A changing room?”

“Nope,” Harley smiled mischievously. “It’s a special space just for Roper Lee.”

Harry looked at her sharply. “I thought he was never going to set foot in this space?”

“He won’t … knowingly,” she giggled. “You know how every time we want to have some kind of family outing and Roper always complains that he’s too scared or too sensitive or whatever to come along? And then Fluffy gets all mad at him for not spending enough time with his family and she gets a little mean? And how Roper starts drinking too much mole waters and eventually sneaks off to his office or his closet to drink and listen to Little Texas?”

“Go on.” Harry wasn’t sure where this was going, but he was certainly intrigued.

“Well,” Harley said. “That,” she pointed at the structure, “is going to be his spot. All we have to do is get him to Butterscotch – which, is, let’s face it, not that hard. Then while he’s out, we get a Vole Squad to transport him to that little building and put him inside. I’m going to have it tricked out with a big screen TV where he can watch videos of himself or Little Texas and there will be a mole waters dispenser so he can drink as much as he wants. I’ll get some really soft furniture and he can spend the day with the family, without actually being with the family. He’ll never know he is anywhere near water! When it’s time to leave, we’ll just broadcast an armadillo documentary over the TV and he’ll Butterscotch again. We have the Vole Squad take him home or wherever and – POOF – everyone’s one big happy family.”

Harry stared at her for a long time. Finally, he said, “That, is, quite frankly, one of the most under-handed, sneaky, devious plans I’ve ever heard. It’s … brilliant. Well done, Harley.”

Harley smiled smugly. “I know. I know.”