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 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.”

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.”

Dachshund Chronicles:  Chapter 26

Dachshund Chronicles: Chapter 26

“What in the world is a ‘water horse’?!” Roper ranted. “And why does Harley need a building permit to add that much space to her Brownstone? It’s like she’s building a whole additional structure! And why is she even considering bringing something that clearly requires water – I mean it’s right there in the name, for Pete’s sake! – into the Under Dome? She knows darn good and well there’s a city ordinance that prohibits water being inside or anywhere near the city limits! She’s always been inconsiderate of others, but this really takes the rice casserole – I can’t let her just ignore policy this way. It’ll set a bad precedent, Harry. If the public finds out Harley has brought a water horse into town, it’s just a short way to a watertrough. Pretty soon, we’ll have voles wanting to add water features and water fountains to their yards. And before you know it, the whole Under Dome and all its Territories are completely underwater and we’ve all got webbed toes!” He glared at Harry and punctuated his words by flapping his paws in a swimming motion.

“Right, Sir,” Harry agreed, “webbed toes, Sir. A real threat, Sir.”

“But what can we do to stop her?” Roper whined. “I tried to deny her permit and she threatened to sue the City.”

“On what grounds, Sir?”

“On the grounds that she said I had no legal cause to deny her permit and if I tried to do it again she’d put an armadillo in my office.”

“I see, Sir. Have you considered finding out exactly what a water horse is, Sir?”

“Well, of course I have,” Roper huffed indignantly. “I tried to Voogle it but the security features I had the Vole Technical Squad install on my computer made it butterscotch as soon as I typed the word ‘water’. I tried going to the Library but Fluffy had the Vole-vo that day and I didn’t feel like driving the Tram all the way across town. Plus, you know the Library makes me uncomfortable. All those books – it’s just a paper cut waiting to happen.” He shuddered. “I tried calling Harley and asking her, but she said she was much too busy with her construction project to talk and she hung up on me. I thought I might be able to lure her to a meeting at the Southside Cafe so I could talk to her in person but then Fluffy said I go with her to take the twins to the bus station and see them off to New Vole City. And she wouldn’t take no for an answer. I’m just at a loss, Harry.” He hopped down from his chair and walked to the mini fridge where he extracted a bottle of mole waters.

“Well, Sir, if you’d like, Sir, I could go over there and see what’s going on, Sir,” Harry offered.

“Yes, Harry, that would be wonderful. I know you’d never allow Harley to bring water into the Under Dome and put all our lives at risk.” Roper sipped from his bottle then smacked his lip. “I don’t know where you found the imported mole waters, Harry, but this is so much more,refreshing than the domestic stuff I’ve been drinking. Let’s make it the official mole waters of the Under Dome,” he said.

“And all its territories, Sir?” Harry asked.

“Absolutely,” Roper nodded. “And all its territories. Now why don’t you head on over to Harley’s and find out what she’s doing over there, then report back to me in the morning? I’ve got to get home and console poor Fluffy who must be missing the twins horribly. I bet she’s just laying around the house eating Grub Butter Cups and crying. She’s probably been working all day to prepare all my favorite foods in an attempt to make herself feel better.” He shook his head in sympathy.

“What about the quadruplets, Sir?” Harry reminded him.

“Oh, they practically take care of themselves,” Roper replied breezily. “I’m sure Fluffy just puts them out in the yard and lets them play all day … no trouble at all.”

“Right, Sir,” Harry said skeptically. “I’m sure, Sir.” Shaking his head, he left the room to run his errand.


The sound of the doorbell irritated Harley. She didn’t have time for visitors and as she hurried toward the front door, she went over her rehearsed statement to get rid of whomever it was. Opening the door, she began, “I’m sorry, no time to chat. I’m on a very tight deadline and you’ll have to make an appointment …” she broke off upon seeing Harry on the front porch. “Oh, Harry, it’s you. Hello. Let me guess – Roper sent you here to find out what I’m doing?” Harry nodded. Stepping back she allowed him entry. “Well, follow me,” she said, already moving back toward the source of loud construction sounds.

Harry took notice of her dust covered fur, the hard had perched on her head and the clipboard she held in one paw. “I’m technically here in an official capacity,” he said to her back. When she nodded, acknowledging that she could hear him, he continued. “Though I must admit to being rather curious as to your plans. I want you to know that I will not take any information back to Roper that might jeopardize his emotional or physical well-being.”

“Well, that’s a good thing,” Harley snorted. “Because what I’m about to show you would most definitely put him into a butterscotch of epic proportions!”

Dachshund Chronicles:  Chapter 25

Dachshund Chronicles: Chapter 25

Early Tuesday morning, Harley and B.H. were settled into their favorite booth at the Southside Cafe. Harley bit into a gravy-filled donut and smacked her lips in appreciation. “You really can’t beat a nice, healthy breakfast to get your energy up in the morning, B.H.,” she told him. B.H. nodded and eagerly tucked into his own breakfast – a stack of bacon cheese pancakes and gravy.

“I know things have been pretty chaotic around here lately,” Harley addressed the top of B.H.’s head as he bent over his pancakes. “I wanted to talk to you about, you know, things,” she added. “Like, are you feeling comfortable in your room? Do you like living with the Buffaloes and me? Things like that.”

B.H. looked up, mouth full and nodded happily.

“Okay,” Harley continued. “Well, that’s great, B.H., because we really love having you in our family.” She drank from her mug of gravy and belched loudly. B.H. giggled, drank from his own, much smaller mug, belched and giggled again.

Harley chuckled and patted him on the head. “Anyway, I know you were pretty scared back at Thanksgiving with that whole ‘Isis’ thing. And the parade last week was certainly more excitement than I bargained for,” she shook her head in disgust. “So, are you scared or worried or anything?”

B.H. shook his own head and kept eating.

“Oh, well, that’s good,” Harley signaled the waiter to bring another plate of donuts. “I want you to feel, you know, comfortable and everything. I don’t want you to think you’re in any danger or whatever. I mean, Roper’s kind of ridiculous and obviously Cookie – I mean, ‘Isis’ – is crazy, but that’s just sort of the way things are here. It’s perfectly safe – I’d never let anything happen to you.” She was watching B.H. earnestly, hoping to convey the care and concern she had for him without expressing any actual emotion – which made her very twitchy.

B.H. continued to chew his pancakes and looked at her, wide-eyed.

She drank more gravy and shoved another donut into her snout. Swallowing, she looked seriously at B.H. “B.H.,” she began gently. “I was thinking that you might be a bit lonely. You haven’t really made any friends since you came to live with us, and even though I’m very exciting and dynamic, the Buffaloes are pretty boring. I mean, Gordy likes to play board games and Prescott has that super cool button collection, but, well, I thought you might like to spend time with someone different once in a while. Someone you have more in common with.”

B.H. looked thoughtful. Then, he nodded his head excitedly before returning to his breakfast.

“Okay,” Harley declared. “Well, then it’s settled. I think we should get you involved in some clubs or maybe a sports team. Maybe you could enroll in a class or two at the University? Would you be interested in joining Vole Scouts?”

Harley and B.H. discussed a variety of social opportunities over the rest of their meal. Afterward, Harley paid the check while B.H. used the little vole’s room.

On their walk back to the Brownstone, Harley listened as B.H. chattered happily about the many exciting activities that had been proposed.

“You know what, B.H.?” Harley asked suddenly. “I think we should consider adoption.”

B.H. looked up at her questioningly.

“Well,” she explained, “we adopted you and that’s working out great.” B.H. grinned. “So I think we should adopt again. Maybe not another vole, though. I mean, voles are good and all, but we should diversify. Bring someone from another culture into our home,” she reasoned.

B.H. nodded.

“We’ll visit an agency after we talk to Gordy and Prescott,” she said. “Now, let’s go home and look at The Under Dome University course catalog. Maybe we can find a film class to enroll you in!”

B.H. giggled and turned in a circle as they continued to walk.


After supper that night, Harley and B.H. sat with the Buffaloes in the family room and discussed their ideas for adoption. Harley also took the opportunity to tell them that she had enrolled B.H. in a class at the University. Upon further questioning, she informed them that he had been particularly interested in “Circus Stunts,” a semester long course that would prepare him for life under the Big Top. Gordy also thought the class sounded like fun and announced he was going down to the college and enroll himself. B.H. responded with much clapping and enthusiastic jumping up and down.

The next morning, Harley and B.H. went to the Under Dome Rehoming and Adoption Center for Voles and other People. Harley explained that she was interested in the adoption of what the Center called a “Non Traditional” placement. Which was a snooty way of saying ‘someone who wasn’t a vole’, in Harley’s opinion. They looked at well over a dozen portfolios and finally narrowed the field to three potentials.

With the portfolios spread over a conference table in front of them, Harley and B.H. discussed each one carefully. Harley was prepared to defer to B.H. in the final decision, but wanted to make sure he understood the permanence of the adoption.

“Now, B.H.,” she said firmly. “I want to make sure you understand that which ever portfolio you choose is fine with me. But it’s not like when we go to the shoe store. You can’t pick out a pair of shoes and then take the shoes back in this case. Because we’re not really talking about shoes. We’re talking about people. And people aren’t shoes. I mean, you’re going to pick one and we’re going to take him or her home and you’re going to have be satisfied with that. We’re not going to bring them back and tell the adoption people that the shoes didn’t fit, or they weren’t the right color or they didn’t go as well with that pair of yoga pants as we thought they would. And we’re not going to be able to put them in a closet and leave them there until we have our spring yard sale, then sell them for fifty cents to the vole down the street who likes sparkly flip flops. Do you understand what I’m saying?”

B.H. shrugged and shook his head.

“Let me see if I can explain it this way, B.H.,” Harley tried again. “When we go to the shoe store and I buy you a pair of shoes, it’s because you like the shoes and I want to make you happy so I get you the shoes you want. But then, when we get home with the new shoes, sometimes you decide youdon’t like the shoes after all and so I take you back to the shoe store and we return the shoes for a different pair or sometimes I just get my money back because you can’t find a pair of shoes you really like. When that happens, we just go home without any shoes at all and then you don’t have any shoes. Do you understand, now?”

B.H. looked at her for a moment, then he untied his shoes, took them off and put them on the table in front of her.

Harley rolled her eyes. “No, B.H., I don’t want your shoes,” she said, handing them back to him. “I’m saying this is not like shopping for shoes.”

The vole shrugged again and began putting his shoes back on. He muttered something quietly.

Harley sighed. “What I’m trying to tell you, B.H., is that once you make a decision about who we’re going to adopt, you can’t change your mind. It’s forever. Like when we adopted you. We can’t send them back. So I want you to be very, very sure. Okay?”

Nodding in understanding, B.H. finished tying his shoes and then pointed to the portfolio lying open in front of him. He tapped it with his paw and smiled.

Harley looked over the information carefully. “Are you sure, B.H.?” she asked. “This is going to be a big responsibility, you know. Are you sure you’re ready for that?”

Grinning happily, B.H. nodded emphatically and tapped the portfolio again.

“Okay, B.H., let’s go let them know we’ve made our choice. We’re getting a water horse!”

Dachshund Chronicles:  Chapter 24

Dachshund Chronicles: Chapter 24

“I’m so exhausted,” Roper whined to Harry. “I had to come into the office last night, just to get some sleep, you know. Those new kids are so loud and Fluffy is still refusing to let me sell them. She won’t even let me send them to The Beaver Military Academy until they’re older.” He spun lazily in his chair, and watched Harry file papers in the cabinet near his desk.

Harry nodded sympathetically and continued to work.

“And now,” Roper tapped his foot in agitation, “the twins are saying it’s time they go out into the world on their own and Fluffy is all upset about that. I tried to calm her down and said it would be a great idea for them to leave because we wouldn’t have to mess with taking care of them anymore and she thumped me. Right on the snout!” he declared indignantly.

“Where are the twins planning to go, Sir?” Harry inquired, hoping to lead the conversation away from a rant about Fluffy’s abuse.

“Well, it seems that Griff has a school chum who lives in New Vole City. Griff says he wants to go there and be an international play-dachshund. I’m not sure exactly what that means, but it’s got his mother pretty unhappy.”

“I think, Sir, that it means he wants to move to the city and party all the time at your expense, Sir.”

“Oh, well. I don’t see why Fluffy’s so mad about that? Sounds like a greatjob to me!” Roper sipped from his mole waters. “What do you think, Harry? Doesn’t that sound like a great job?”

“I don’t think it actually qualifies as a job, Sir,” Harry pointed out, filing the last of the documents. “Perhaps that’s why Fluffy is less than thrilled?”

“She never wants anyone to have any fun,” Roper said sourly. “You get a new log and all you want is for her to help you test it out and she gets all angry and says you never do anything she wants to do. She’s so selfish – it’s no wonder she’s against poor Griff. The poor boy just wants a chance to live a little and there she is, squashing his dreams for a bigger, better log.” He gulped his drink and spun the chair.

“What about Taffy, Sir? What’s her plan, Sir?” Harry tried again to steer the topic to something less volatile.

Roper snorted indelicately. “She says she’s signed some sort of contract with a modeling agency in the city. She’s going to be on the cover of magazines and do television commercials and such. She’ll make tons of money. Says she’ll be wearing the latest fashions and have a team of professionals who follow her around making sure she looks good every minute of the day. Fluffy’s practically packing her bags to go along, she’s so excited over the whole deal. Can you imagine a more frivolous waste of time than spending day after day doing nothing but thinking about your clothes and how you look and having people chase around after you taking care of your every need?” He rolled his eyes. “Really,” he added, “I always thought she was the smart one!”

Harry’s tone was mild. “Of course, Sir. It’s terribly embarrassing. I don’t know how you’ll be able to show your face in the Under Dome in light of her mortifying shallow-ness.”

“Exactly,” Roper replied. “It’s humiliating. At least Griff will be doing something noble and worthwhile.” He shook his head. “Fluffy has her priorities all in a jumble.”

“Indeed, Sir, indeed,” responded Harry sardonically.

Georgie Speaks

Georgie Speaks

I realize it’s been some time since my Independence Day post.  I have been struggling with such fatigue and have found it most difficult to manage both my duties within the Family Bed and my obligations to you, gentle readers.  Additionally, my Mama Dog has been in desperate need of a Social Secretary – someone to screen visitors and make appointments with other family members – and I simply could not refuse to offer her my assistance. It’s a rather mundane job, but my work with troubled Companions has made me specially suited to the task.

I have been resting as much as possible, though I am still deeply, deeply tired from the release of my W.O.I.D. (Wrath of Irish Dachshund) over the Fourth of July holiday.  An unexpected water outage on the 4th delayed the actual celebration until the 5th.  Bachmann swears he had nothing to do with the leak in the water line, but I don’t believe him.  Forcing the celebration to be held on the anniversary of the Battle of the Manolada in 1316 is just too much of a coincidence.  Bachmann is well known to have a fetish for the Infante Ferdinand of Majorca, and any opportunity he can find to dredge up that old chestnut … well, he takes it.  If I have to hear him rant about how Ferdinand was robbed of his rightful claim to the Principality of Achaea, I’m going to boil his macaroni art.  Gah …

Even though my family’s celebration was a day late, it was no less spectacular.  I’m told the grilled hamburgers were quite tasty.  As I wasn’t given the option of trying one for myself, I must go with popular opinion on that subject.  I tried to preserve my strength as much as I could during the day, anticipating the release of my W.O.I.D. later on.

Once the fireworks began, I was able to put out a prolonged and impressive display of Irish Dachshund power.  Here I am in the initial phase of W.O.I.D. release.

Release the WOID 1

Note my upright, curled tail position and the focused intensity in my face.  This is classically perfect form.  I am leaning slightly forward on my Fraunches, allowing for more flexibility and torque in my rear quadrants.  If Daddy Dog had not insisted on that ridiculous and heinously unflattering harness, I would have had the fireworks by the throat.

Here I am, approximately mid-release.

Release the W.O.I.D. 2


In this image, I am in a relaxed, yet alert and ready position.  My tail is still elevated, signaling my preparedness for the battle.  My haunches are flexed and in a widened stance, which gives me a powerful leaping ability.  Again, the wretched harness is clearly holding me back and diminishing my impact.

The wind began to blow quite hard shortly after the mid-point of the fireworks display and Daddy Dog declared that we would be stopping for the night.  But I was able to release the final vestiges of my W.O.I.D. before everyone dispersed.

This photograph captures me in meditation as I prepare myself for the recovery period.  This process is crucial to my mental and physical well-being.  Had I known Mama Dog was filming, I would have looked away, as it is a very private moment.  But I’m choosing to share it with you, dear readers, in the hopes that you can gain further understanding into the mind of the native Irish Dachshund.

After the WOID

As I said, the recovery period for a total and complete W.O.I.D. release is substantial.  I am still in partial convalescence, even though I am trying to keep up with my responsibilities both to my Companions and my human family.  My humans have been most understanding  over my need to take frequent and prolonged naps.  My Companions have not.

I have found the Family Bed in complete disarray on a daily basis, despite my attempts to keep them tidy.  Je m’appelle Claude, Plato-pus, and of course, Bachmann have been the biggest culprits in Family Bed disharmony over the past few weeks.  My plan is to rest enough over this weekend and begin intensive training with them next week.  I only hope it’s not too late.

Despite the delay in celebration, the utter exhaustion from the release, and the resulting chaos in the Family Bed, I am satisfied that this Independence Day will be remembered, as it should be.

Remember, dear friends, Independence is a right.  Swimming through water lines and causing breaks and leaks is not.  As always, thank you for your support.



Dachshund Chronicles:  Chapter 23

Dachshund Chronicles: Chapter 23

Harley settled more comfortably into the fluffy cushions of the sofa. Beside her, B.H. snuggled under his soft blanket. Gordy and Prescott bustled in to the room with bowls of fragrantly steaming popcorn and, placing the bowls on the square table in the center of the seating area, took their own seats in large faux-leather wing chairs. Harley pressed some buttons on the remote control and the large, flat-screen television flared to life.

“I love movie night,” Harley declared as she popped several kernels of popcorn into her snout. “I’m really glad we recorded the Mary Lou Retton gymnastics special so we could watch it together, as a family.” She crunched noisily and Prescott slanted a narrow gaze at her.

The whole family was wearing Mary Lou Retton themed apparel. Gordy and Prescott each wore an exact replica of the 1984 Olympic women’s gymnastics team track suit/cover up, in a much enlarged size. B.H. still wore his oversized MLR t-shirt, but had added a tiny trucker hat with the slogan “Are U Retton It?” across the front. Harley had many articles of Retton-inspired clothing to choose from but for tonight’s viewing she had chosen a leotard in the same style and pattern as Miss Retton had worn during her historic and gold medal winning performance. As a Mary Lou Retton purist, she was loathe to make any changes to the outfit. But for practicality and comfort’s sake, she had given in and added a snap-closure at the crotch and a small hole for her tail to poke through.

Harley fidgeted with the leg holes of the leotard. “I want to look authentic,” she complained to B.H., “but I’m telling you – this thing is constantly wanting to crawl up my butt. I wonder if Mary Lou used some kind of glue or tape to keep her leotard from giving her a wedgie?”

B.H. shrugged before scrambling to the popcorn bowl and digging out a few of the buttery puffs. He had just settled back into the nest he’d made in the blanket when Harley pointed the remote at the TV.

“Here we go!” she shouted excitedly. And everyone’s attention focused on the screen.

About forty minutes into the program, the images of Mary Lou Retton and gymnastics routines abruptly disappeared and the screen projected a picture of Roper Lee’s face. His large snout seemed to poke itself into the room. The image smiled toothily.

“Is this on?” the giant snout asked. “I mean, can they see me?” The face turned to look at something off screen. “Well, I know it’s going to be live … Oh – you mean it’s live now? So they can see and hear me? Okay. Good. Let’s get started.”

Harley bolted up from her relaxed position. “What the heck?” she cried. “Where is this coming from?? Where’s Mary Lou??” She frantically pushed buttons on the clicker but every channel showed the same thing.

“Citizens of the Under Dome,” Roper began. “And all its territories. Tonight I am coming to you live from an undisclosed location with a very special announcement.”

Prescott snuffled loudly.

“I know!” Harley yelled. “I’m trying to get the show back. How’s he even doing this?” she snarled. “That gymnastics program was on my DVR – he can’t interrupt a show I’m playing back!” She continued to click and point without success.

“I’m sure many of you may be wondering how I’m able to broadcast this live over any pre-recorded programming or dvd’s you may be watching,” he said conversationally.

Harley wanted to throw something at the television.

“Well,” Roper said eagerly, “I don’t really know all the technical mumbo gumbo. But I can tell you that’s it’s a pretty exciting new invention that my – I mean, our – top notch Under Dome scientists have come up with. And,” he paused to sip from a glass that appeared in his paws from off camera, “it means that I will be able to interrupt your television viewing with my important announcements any time I want! Hee hee! Isn’t that neat?” he tittered.

Prescott and Gordy snuffled. Harley growled. B.H. shook his small fist angrily at the screen.

As if sensing their hostility through the TV, Roper’s expression changed and he looked scared. “So. Anyway,” he sipped his drink again and glanced off screen. “Um, I guess you’re all probably really wondering what the announcement is, right?” he said awkwardly. “Sooo, I should probably tell you,” he looked off screen again, then back to the viewing audience. He was beginning to look panicked.

“He’s really going to get it!” Harley fumed. “First he schedules a stupid parade at the same time our program is supposed to be on. Then he causes a riot in the streets and makes us miss our supper reservation at the Southside Cafe. Then he interrupts our replay of the program he made us miss in the first place. And now he can’t even remember why he interrupted!” She threw her paws in the air in exasperation. “I’m going to kill him!”

She flopped back in her seat and then tugged at the leg of her leotard. “And now my stupid leotard is trying to floss my butt!” she ranted. “This is all Roper’s fault.”

B.H. patted her paw with his smaller one and offered her a piece of popcorn he had just found in the folds of his blanket.

“Thanks, B.H.,” she muttered, cramming the corn into her snout.

Roper could be seen and heard from the television just then, clearing his throat loudly. They turned their attention back to the screen just in time to see a stack of disembodied note cards floating at the side of Roper’s head. He caught sight of them through the corner of his eye and was visibly startled. He swatted at the cards briefly before another voice could be heard from somewhere off camera. “Take the cards, Sir.”

“Oh, well, yes, of course,” Roper stammered, trying to recover his composure. He snatched the cards and glanced down at them.

“As I was saying,” he said. “I have a very special announcement to make.” He shuffled the cards nervously. “As many of you know, there was a bit more excitement than usual at this afternoon’s parade.” He glanced down at his notes, then off camera, then back to the camera. “I am referring, of course, to the Beaver Military Escort that we were fortunate enough …” he trailed off and look around, confused, as a loud “No, Sir!” could be heard in the background.

“I don’t mean the Beaver Military Escort?” he asked, puzzled. “But it says right here, “Beaver Military Escort – see?” He turned from the camera completely and appeared to be showing the note cards to an unseen someone. “Of course I can read your handwriting – it says very clearly Beaver Military … well what is it, then? Oh, Maternity – so it’s a Beaver Maternity Escort? No? It’s a what? Oh. Okay.”

He turned back to the camera. “I am referring, of course, to the blessed maternity event that we were fortunate to witness this afternoon in my Very Important Roper and Harry Box.” He glanced off screen and winked.

“I am very proud and excited to announce that my darling Fluffy, my Treasure Pup, my one and only log – I mean love – has given me four more children today. They’re pretty gross looking – I mean they’re all hairless and squirmy … just really unattractive, generally …” He made an expression of disgust and shivered. “But she tells me they’re mine and so I guess they are. There are two girls and two boys,” he leaned forward and whispered, “although I don’t see how you can tell the difference. I mean, they don’t have big boys like me and they all look exactly the same, which is icky.” He straightened up and continued in his normal tone. “We have decided to name them as follows …”

He looked around and saw the pair of reading glasses waving off to his right. Taking them and slipping them onto his snout, he looked down at the note card in his paws. “We have named them Prince of the Realm BoJack Blackburn; Princess of the Realm Rio Carolina; Prince of the Realm Niles Alistaire; and Princess of the Realm Winn Dixie.” He looked up and blinked. Then he spoke to someone off camera. “Really? That’s what we named them? Those are horrible names. I mean, where’s the flair? Where’s the flash? This is what happens when I let Fluffy pick the names. Remember when she wanted to name the twins Donny and Marie? And I said those were too plain and she hit me with a newspaper? But in the end, I got to name them and I think ‘Griff Alouicious Fauntleroy Lee’ and ‘Taffy Gleaming Star Lee’ are much more impressive sounding than ‘Donny’ and ‘Marie’. What? Oh, right.” He turned back to the camera. “So. There you have it. I have four more kids and Fluffy says we can’t sell them. Have a nice evening.”

And with that, Roper was gone and the screen changed to the Great Seal of the Under Dome and All Its Territories.

“That was weird,” was all Harley said as she pointed the remote at the TV and turned the Mary Lou Retton program back on. “Now let’s watch something really important.”

Dachshund Chronicles:  Chapter 20

Dachshund Chronicles: Chapter 20

Harley heard the doorbell and leaped up from her desk chair.  Racing to the front door, she called out, “I’ll get it!  I’ll get it!”

Yanking open the door, she expected to see Fluffy on the other side.  She didn’t manage to hide her disappointment very well when she saw that it was Harry instead.  “Oh,” she said glumly, “Hi, Harry.”  She noticed Prescott watching her from the kitchen door and immediately tried to recover.  “Happy Thanksgiving, Harry,” she added in a brighter tone.  She stepped aside to let Harry enter and noticed Roper standing in the front yard looking around.

“What’s Roper doing out there?” she asked Harry.  “Looking for turkeys?”  She chuckled at her own joke.

Harry giggled before answering, “I believe he’s looking for a butterscotch carpet.  He seems to be under the impression that his arrival would be a major media event.”  Harry cast a glance toward Roper before entering the Brownstone.

Harley shut the door. “We’ll just let him wander around for a while,” she said, shrugging.  “When Fluffy gets here, she’ll bring him inside.  In the meantime, do you want to come watch the replay of last week’s parade with B.H. and I?  It’s all that’s running on Under Dome TV today.”

Harry declined, saying he’d rather help Gordy and Prescott in the kitchen.  Harley told him she understood – she figured he must get pretty sick of all those parades.  And he had to put up with Roper’s constant planning meetings, too.  She shook her head and wandered into the den where B.H. was watching television.

“I thought Fluffy was here, B.H.,” she said quietly.  “But it turned out it was only Harry and Roper.  But Fluffy should be here soon, so be ready.”  B.H. nodded, then turned back to the parade.

“You like the parade?”  B.H. nodded eagerly. “I know you’ve only been here a short time, B.H., but you’ll get to be in plenty of them from now on.  Roper loves parades.  He has them several times a week.”  B.H. looked excited at the prospect.

A short time later, the doorbell rang again.  Harley ran to answer it, calling, “I’ll get it! I bet it’s Fluffy!”  She pulled the door open and saw Cookie – or at least she thought it was Cookie – standing on the porch.  Cookie, or whoever it was, was wearing a purple caftan with pale yellow fringe around the cuffs and hem.  It wore a silver headband over its forehead with some sort of stone set in the center.  Multiple beaded necklaces rattled and clanked around its neck, along with several bangle bracelets which jangled noisily when it lifted its paws in apparent greeting.

Harley stood in the door, blinking.  “Cookie?” she asked slowly.  “Is that you?”

The ‘entity’ shook its head.  “Uhhh.  Unnhh.  Uh.  Unnnn.  Uhhhn,” it said.

Harley nodded.  “Oookay.  Well, you sound like Cookie, but I can never understand what the heck she says, so that doesn’t help.  Anyway, Happy Thanksgiving, come on in.”  Harley motioned the new arrival inside and started to shut the door.

Roper scurried up the steps and through the door quickly. He looked around furtively and whispered to Harley, “Did you let Isis in?  I don’t think that’s a wise move, Harley.”

Harley looked at him in confusion.  “Who the heck is Isis?  What are you rambling about, Roper?  And where’s Fluffy?”

Roper wrung his paws.  “I saw Isis standing at the door.  Did you let her in?”

“Who is Isis, Roper?” Harley demanded.  “You saw Cookie at the door.  At least I think it was Cookie.  She said something, but I never can understand her.  I let her in because she was invited.  I don’t remember inviting anyone named Isis.”

“You’re going to be sorry, Harley,” Roper warned.  “Cookie has had some sort of mental break – she’s calling herself Isis and thinks she’s a cat!  Why am I the only one who ever seems to know about these situations??  Where’s Harry?  Did Harry come in?  Did he bring my mole waters?  I can’t find it in the car.”  Continuing to talk, Roper pranced down the hall, calling for Harry as went.

Harley shook her head in dismay.  “Sounds like Roper’s already had quite a bit of mole waters,” she said.  “And if he starts rattling on about Cookie being a cat, the Buffaloes will never take anything he has to say seriously.”  She smiled smugly.  “One more piece of my plan that is falling into place perfectly.  Now where is Fluffy?  I’m starving.”

She rejoined B.H. in the den and found that Roper and Harry were also present, watching the re-broadcast of last week’s Pre-Thanksgiving Parade.  They were seated at one end of the comfortable sofa and at the other end was Cookie.  But instead of watching the television, Cookie sat licking her paw and swiping it across her head, ears and face repeatedly.

Harley plopped down in the big chair where B.H. sat, nibbling on a piece of broccoli from the vegetable tray Prescott had thoughtfully placed on the table in the center of the room.  “What the heck is Cookie doing?” she asked B.H.  B.H. shrugged, his eyes never leaving the screen.

Harley leaned over and whispered to Roper, “Roper!  What is Cookie doing over there?  Looks like she spit-washing her face.”

Roper looked at Harley sourly.  “I told you – she thinks she’s a cat.  Calls herself Isis now and she’s going to go live in a yurt down by the Badger Docks.  You should pay more attention when people talk to you Harley.”

Harley began to get an ominous feeling in the pit of her stomach.  Watching Cookie ‘groom’ herself like a cat was making her feel nervous and worried.  What if she did something crazy and ruined dinner?  Or somehow revealed Harley’s plot to the Buffaloes?  That would be very, very bad.  Before she could work herself into a proper state of anxiety over the situation, though, the doorbell rang again.

Harley launched herself out of the den and to the front door with such eagerness that Prescott, who had come from the kitchen to answer the doorbell, gave her an odd look followed by a hump shake and some snuffling.

“I’ll just get that,” Harley said solicitously, “since I’m right here.”  She added quickly, “It’s probably Fluffy and I know she could use some help with all the food she brought to share with everyone.”  With one paw on the door handle, she waved Prescott away with the other, calling out, “B.H., come help me help Fluffy with her packages!”

Prescott gazed at her steadily for a long moment then started back to the kitchen.  Not before a speculative look entered his eyes, however.

B.H. arrived quickly at the door and Harley opened it wide, a welcoming smile on her snout.  Fluffy stood on the other side, arms full of containers from the Southside Café.  On either side of her, were Griff and Taffy, their small paws clutching carryout bags, also from the Café.  Harley stepped out of the way, allowing the three entrance.

“I was getting worried,” she said to Fluffy as she began taking containers and bags from them and handing them off to B.H. who scurried away to the dining room.  “You’re the last one here – what took so long?”

Fluffy glared at her and pointed to the twins, who were jumping excitedly around B.H.

“Oh,” Harley said.  “I guess I didn’t think about how hard it would be to run one little errand with the twins.  Next year, you can bring them by here first and then go get the food,” she decided.  Fluffy rolled her eyes, but carried the last of the food into the dining room, placing it where Harley and B.H. indicated.

At last, Gordy announced that dinner was ready and everyone filed into the dining room and took their assigned seats around the big table.  Once everyone was seated, Prescott looked expectantly at Harley, who stood and took out a piece of paper.  She began to read.

“We are gathered here today to partake of the bounty of giving and receiving,” she began.  “The receiving of the giving is the most important part of Thanksgiving, even though it’s called Thanksgiving and not Thanksreceiving.  Which it should be.  Because without the receiving, there can be no giving.  And when we receive that which is given, we give the gift of happiness which is then received by the person that is doing the giving.  And so the circle of giving and receiving is given and received again.  In order for there to be giving, there must be receiving.  And it is that receiving that is the giving back to the giver, who receives it. Let’s eat.”  She sat down, oblivious to the confused looks around the table.  “Pass the potatoes,” she added.

After a few minutes during which the assembled guests tried to assimilate Harley’s somewhat unorthodox speech, food began to make its way around the table.  Harley was thrilled that her plan was going perfectly – she took large helpings of the special foods and only tiny amounts of the vegetarian dishes, which she mixed together on her plate.  Prescott and Gordy were told that Fluffy’s contributions to the meal contained coconut and pineapple, which kept them from even smelling the dishes as they went around.  They ate, Harley ate, B.H. ate, Roper, Fluffy and Harry ate and Cookie/Isis licked  at the food on her plate, purring in contentment.

If Cookie’s bizarre actions bothered anyone during the meal, no one said anything about it.  Although there were a few tense moments when Harley thought Cookie was going to stick her tongue into the gravy boat.  In the end, Cookie simply turned her head away from it completely and went back to alternately licking her plate and her paws, eventually leaving the table and wandering off in the direction of the kitchen.  Harley saw Roper watch Cookie leave the room, then turn and whisper something to Harry.  She watched Harry shake his head emphatically and both of them turned back to their food.

Harley ate with gusto, stopping only to request more food.  And when she thought she wouldn’t be able to stuff another bite into her snout, Gordy announced it was time for dessert.  Harley employed her favorite power eating technique to prepare for the creamy, sweet pumpkin pie that would be appearing.  She focused on a single spot on the table in front of her.  She swallowed.  Focus, swallow.  Focus, swallow – don’t blink.  Swallow, swallow.  Her meal was staying put and she felt like she could eat more.

In addition to the pumpkin pies from Fluffy, there was the wheatberry soy pudding, some gluten free, almond butter and carob chip cookies, and a dish of something that looked like what Harley had left AG on her Monkey Romp this morning.  When asked, Gordy said it was a sugar-free mock-chocolate mousse.  Ick, thought Harley.

While Prescott dished up servings of the soy pudding and passed around the cookies, Harley waited impatiently for the pie.  Finally, Prescott took the knife and reached out to cut it into thick, sweet, creamy slices of heaven.  As the knife lowered to the pie’s surface, something jiggled in the custard filling.  Prescott pulled the knife back and leaned forward to see more closely.  The filling jiggled again, then began to crack and separate.  Prescott leaned back in alarm.  Harley jumped up from the table and watched in horror as the surface of the pie erupted, splattering everyone with bits of crust and filling.  A moaning sound emitted from the pie dish.  Something was in the pie!  Or, as Harley soon realized – someone was in the pie.

Cookie emerged from the ruined remains of the pie, moaning and swaying, covered in pumpkin custard, bits of crust and whipped cream globules hanging from her head and face.  She spun slowly, then faster and faster until she was swirling around the table, stepping in the leftovers of the other foods, flinging bits of pie in all directions.  All the while, she was chanting over and over, “Uhnnn uhnnn!  Unnn!  Uhhhh unnhh!”

No one could understand what she was saying.  Griff, Taffy and B.H. had been pushed under the table by their parents and Harley.  They cowered there, huddled together, waiting to be told it was safe to come out again.  Roper’s eyes were wide and terrified.  He was breathing shallowly and deeply, clutching Harry’s paw, making a high-pitched keening sound as he struggled not to Butterscotch.  Prescott and Gordy simply looked on in shock, unbelieving of what they were seeing.  Fluffy excused herself to the bathroom and raced away.  Harley sat, dumbfounded.  Eventually, she came back into herself enough to focus on what Cookie was saying.  She couldn’t make sense of it.  She banged her paw on the table loudly, startling everyone, even Cookie.

“That was my pie!” she raged.  “Who do you think  you are, you crazy poodle!  You’ve ruined Thanksgiving!!”

“Uhh unnn Uhnnnn uhh!” Cookie moaned loudly.

“Oh for crying out loud!” Harley yelled in exasperation.  “Roper!  What is she saying?”

Roper gulped mole waters from the tumbler Harry pressed into his paws.  He looked around, glassy-eyed, unsure of who was speaking to him.  Harry patted him reassuringly.

“Roper!” Harley repeated, out of patience.  “What is she saying?”

Roper blinked.  He drank another healthy amount from his glass before whispering in a trembling voice, “She says, ‘I am Isis, Queen Cat of the Realm.  All shall love me and despair.”

Dachshund Chronicles:  Chapter 20

Dachshund Chronicles: Chapter 20

Thanksgiving day dawned grey and blustery.  Not that anyone in The Under Dome (besides Harley, who had already been out for her early morning Monkey Romp) would ever know the outside weather conditions:  Roper’s edict that nothing AG (Above Ground) ever enter the Kingdom ensured that no one dared venture a thought as to what weather conditions, economic woes or other current events might be occurring outside the protective cocoon Roper had spun around his home.  Nevertheless, the mood in The Under Dome was festive – everyone in Roper’s family and extended family was looking very forward to a traditional holiday celebration at Harley’s Brownstone.

While Gordy and Prescott toiled companionably in the kitchen, preparing a variety of low-fat, low- calorie, vegan foods, Harley and B.H. worked feverishly to bring their dream of a full-fat, full-calorie, meat-laden Thanksgiving feast to life.  Harley had made arrangements the previous day with both the Southside Café and Fluffy.  Since Roper always brought a separate vehicle to any family gathering, Fluffy promised she would stop at the Café and pick up the food Harley had pre-ordered the day before.  She would come in the front door, laden with containers of food, which the Café would have already labeled with a special marking.  Harley would immediately take the food into the dining room and place it at the end of the table where she and B.H. (and Fluffy, since that was part of the agreement Harley had made with her) would be sitting.  B.H. had been up early that morning, creating special place cards with a Thanksgiving theme to indicate where each guest would sit.  He had arranged them around the large table so that Gordy and Prescott, Harry, Roper and Cookie would be sitting at the opposite end as Harley and what she was referring to as her “Meat Crew.”

If the Buffaloes asked about the special foods Fluffy had “brought,” they would be told that she had added peanuts, pineapple or coconut to the dishes.  Since both Buffaloes suffered severe allergies to one or more of those ingredients, they would obviously bypass them, ensuring Harley and the “Meat Crew” complete and total ownership of the food.

Harley was delighted that the plan had come together so smoothly.  She could already taste the pumpkin pie, which was going to be so much more delicious than the wheatberry soy pudding Gordy had announced as being dessert.  Of course, she’d probably have to choke down a helping of that so as not to arouse suspicion and avoid hurting Gordy’s feelings.  But if she ate that first, she could purge the foul taste from her mouth with the creamy pie.

Satisfied that everything would go according to plan, she turned her attention to the blessing she was supposed to deliver before the meal.  Settling in at her desk, she worked on the speech, sipping tea and dreaming of turkey until the time Fluffy was set to arrive.


Roper had a bad feeling about this family dinner.  He said so to Harry as they rode together in Roper’s plushly appointed Vole-vo.  “I just have a terrible sense of forebowling, Harry,” he said as he sipped mole waters.  “I just know something is going to go wrong at this dinner.  Remember I told you Cookie has been acting strange, Harry?”

Harry nodded.

“Well,” Roper went on, “She came by my office yesterday afternoon and asked if I would help her apply for a building permit.  I asked her what she wanted to build and she got very secretive.  I finally got out of her that she wanted to build a house on the edge of town – over by the Badger Docks.  Only – and this is the really weird part, Harry – it’s not a house she wants to build.  It’s something she calls a yurt.  Have you ever heard of a yurt, Harry?”  Roper sipped his drink again and flapped his paw in the air.

Harry shook his head, “No, Sir.  I am not familiar with a yurt, Sir.  What is it?”

Roper sighed and shook his head.  “It’s some sort of big tent, Harry.  Cookie wants to build and live in a tent.  In my city.  It’s ridiculous, of course.  Which I told her.  But she started scratching at the floor and yowling – she sounded like some sort of wounded animal – and it scared me so bad that I told her I’d fix it and she could build whatever the heck she wanted wherever she wanted if only she’d get out of my office.”  Visibly shaken from describing the encounter, Roper drank deeply from his mole waters and took several deep shallow breaths.

Harry patted his shoulder and murmured words of comfort.  “Then what happened, Sir?”

“Well, after that she calmed down but said she wanted the permit by Friday.  I said, ‘But Cookie, tomorrow is a holiday!  I can’t possibly guarantee a building permit on Friday!’  And she looked at me with this terrifying expression on her face and she said – I’m not kidding you, Harry, I thought she was going to lunge at me and tear my throat out!  I was so scared, Harry!  I don’t know what I would have done if she’d attacked me – I mean, I could Butterscotch but that wouldn’t protect me from her vicious claws.  And I wasn’t even near my desk – see, she’d followed me into my office and cornered me right by the door – and I couldn’t get to my panic button to call a Vole Squad or anything!  I didn’t even have my whistle!”  Roper began taking more deep shallow breaths in an effort to calm himself.

Harry refilled Roper’s drink.  “What did she say, Sir?” he prompted.  Harry noticed they were near Harley’s house and he was anxious to get the story out of Roper so he would have an idea what to expect from the day.

Roper’s glazed expression cleared and he looked at Harry expectantly.  “What did who say, Harry?”  He sipped calmly from his drink.

“Cookie, Sir.  What did Cookie say, Sir?”

“Oh, yes, Cookie.  She said, ‘I am Isis.  Cookie is no more.  Isis will rule.  Isis is all.’  Then she purred and left the office.  I was petrified, Harry!  I’ll tell you, I got on the phone to the building department and got that permit right away.  I’m going to give it to her today.  I’m also going to tell her she’s fired as the children’s nanny and  my Director of Under Dome Security.  Actually, I was kind of hoping you’d do that for me, Harry.  You have such a way with people.  Also, I don’t want to do it.  She really scares the Butterscotch out of me!  And, on a side note, we’ll be needing to appoint a new D.U.D.S on Friday.”

Roper drank more mole waters and settled back into his car seat.  The vole chauffeur buzzed a short time later, announcing they had reached the Brownstone.

“Oh, we’re here, Harry.  Well, great.  I’ll just give you the building permit and let you take care of Cookie.  I can’t tell you how much I appreciate it, Harry.  And, after all, if she mauls you, we’ve got the clones in reserve so we can either fix you up or replace you completely!  It’s a win win for everyone, isn’t it?”  Roper tittered.

Harry looked at him for a long moment before answering.  “Yes, Sir.  Certainly a win win, Sir.  Good to know you have a plan, Sir,” he said with a touch of sarcasm.

Harry’s tone was completely lost on Roper as he began to primp and fuss over his outfit.  “I really hope everyone notices my special Thanksgiving suit, Harry.  What am I saying?  Of course they’ll love it! It’s one of the best holiday ensembles Jose has ever put together!  Don’t you agree?”

Harry sighed resignedly.  “Yes, Sir.  It’s quite a look, Sir.”  Taking the permit from Roper, he exited the Vole-vo, holding the door for Roper.

As Roper exited the car, he looked around expectantly.  “Where’s the butterscotch carpet, Harry?”