Perfect Poop

Before you say, “Oyy,” I found the expression “perfect poop” featured on the American Kennel Club website. It was part of an article about how our dogs can’t tell us how they’re feeling. But that their excrement can tell us lots.

As guardians, most of us know this but are embarrassed to talk about it. Except maybe around close friends. The other day, my Golden buddy, Liz, announced, “Abby has diarrhea. She doesn’t like me watching her when she goes.” We all chuckled.  Shortly thereafter, I went to the local post office to mail a package where another friend, Marsha, a Golden Mom, works. She was on the phone when we arrived, after she hung up Marsha said, “That was my husband reporting on our dog’s poop. Our vet wants us to watch Phoebe so we can bring her a sample for testing.”

“We know that routine,” I said, smiling. “Has to be fresh.”

Since our furry companions aren’t able to tell us when something is wrong it’s up to us to look for the evidence. One is by monitoring their bowel movements. I do it on a regular basis. It helps me to decide what goes into Franklin’s next meal.  I’ve done it with all my Goldens.  Sometimes it involves searching the yard for a deposit. I don’t mind, it actually serves two purposes, the healthy things, of course, and by picking it up there’s one less for me to step in.  That’s a sure quick way to ruin my day.

I always keep a box of Uncle Ben’s brown rice in the cupboard. If something doesn’t look right I take a package out and mix it with some ground beef. This really helps with the runs. It was recommended by Dr. Long, my vet for Angel Nicholas way back in the 80s and I’ve been doing it ever since.

I thought I knew it all until I went online to the American Kennel Club website, I found that there are five things to look for – shape, size, content, color, and consistency.

There were two things I hadn’t thought of, though. First, the perfect poop ought to be sized proportionate to the amount of food your dog eats.

This never crossed my mind before. On occasion I might say, “That can’t be Franklin’s. It’s not big enough.” Or I might say, “That can’t be all he has.”  But I never made a health connection to it.

The AKC also wrote, “If you notice any changes in your dog’s elimination schedule and you haven’t changed his food recently, it may be worth contacting your veterinarian to rule out any potential problems.”

This is another point that I never made a health connection to.

What are some of the things you do to monitor your dog’s health?

And, if you want to read more about the “perfect poop” below is the link to the AKC website. You’ll find a more detailed statement on the importance of monitoring your dog’s movements complete with cute colorful graphs. It might be more than you needed or wanted to know. But check it out. It could make a difference to your dog’s well-being and your peace of mind.

 

 

 

 

Does Your Dog Like the Water?

The dog days of summer are fast coming to an ending. Soon, Labor Day will be a memory. Franklin and his dads have been making the most of the hot weather and getting into the water as often as possible. There’s been a prolong drought happening here on Cape Cod, so we’ve been cooling off by the shore nearly every day. We’ve paid a lot of attention to the tide charts for Provincetown Harbor and Buttermilk Bay, the two places where we’ve spent most of our time swimming this summer.

People on the beach always stop and watch us as we toss the ball using our “chucker” as far out as safely possible. Franklin barrels through the water like a torpedo swimming as fast as he can. He loves being in the water and we love watching him swim.

I’ve always enjoyed letting my dogs play in the water. In fact, when my first Golden, Nicholas, had all his puppy shots, we went straight to the beach. Luckily, in Coastal California, beach time can be all year long. I just loved seeing him wet, looking like a seal. When Willy came into my life we were living along the Russian River and we couldn’t wait for our daily swim and ball fetching games. We all remember how Morgan swam up and down the Pacific Ocean, Naples, Rehoboth Beach, Maine, and of course, Cape Cod. Now Franklin has joined them as our current water boy. It’s such good exercise. When he arrived at our back door he weighed ninety-five pounds. But now he’s lost all that extra weight and there isn’t an ounce of fat on him. When he’s wet and his long fur is damped down, he looks so lean, like a racehorse.

Dog lovers always come over to share stories about their dogs and the water. Of course, not all dogs like the water. Loki, my brother’s young dog, who we’ve been babysitting, only goes into the bay up to his belly. Then he runs back onto shore.

Tell us a story about your dog and water.

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Mr. Franklin Goes Camping

When the temperatures recently climbed towards triple digits, Franklin did what patricians have often done – head to Maine. All the way north to Acadia National Park. Just like the Rockerfellers, Vanderbilts, Roosevelts, Morgans, DuPonts, Fords, had done.

Franklin had heard his dads talk about Angel Willy and Angel Morgan going there in the summer and he was eager to check it out. This vacation was a family affair as our nieces, along with their dog, Loki, were joining us on the six-hour trek.

We arrived at Smuggler’s Den Campgrounds before dusk and just before the rain began – sprinkles at first. Immediately, Franklin and his cousin, Loki, raced around the vast open spaces bordering the forest.  Our nieces helped their old uncles (us) set up the tent. It’s still shocking to me that I’m now sixty-five. But I digress as I often do. We were all exhausted and a bit cranky after the long drive. The prediction of light rain and some thunderstorms throughout the night, worried us. No one wanted to cook that first meal. For dinner my brother’s family had pizza, we had soup. Food is a good healer of emotions.

There wasn’t much room in the tent for two air mattresses and a large golden retriever, but Franklin found a spot at the entrance to the tent and settled down. Even though I wasn’t too thrilled at the lack of room for him, things seemed to work. That is until the first bolt of lightning lit up the sky; the first boom of thunder echoed down the valley; the first deluge of rain pelted the roof of the tent.

Surprisingly, Franklin didn’t seem too upset by the inclement weather. But after an hour of this, I’m the one who was uncomfortable with the set up. “Franklin, come on up!” I patted the bed. This is one command Franklin obeyed immediately. It was tight quarters on my blow-up mattress, but knowing Franklin was safe and dry was more important. With him next to me, I could stop worrying about him. Throughout the night the wind howled and the tent shook. It was difficult to sleep. Both James and I thought the tent might rip apart or become too wet. We were afraid we might have to escape to the car.

We awoke the next morning to blue skies and a sense of relief that we had all survived a night of storms, unscathed. My brother scrambled some eggs and cheese for our first communal meal. While we went about unpacking and setting up our camp. This was our third time on a camping trip together. The first was in New Hampshire with Young Morgan, Young Casey, with MJ on her way. (Not yet born.)  The second trip was five years ago in central Mass, with an older Morgan and now included Young Hannah. For that adventure we stayed in cabins. These family outings brought us closer together. It made us realize that we wanted to be with them year round. Not just for a few brief weeks on summer vacation.

We’re a family of bookworms, so after the breakfast dishes were cleaned and put away, we all grabbed a chair and a book and found a comfortable place to read for a while. In the afternoon, we took a casual walk on the trail leading around Echo Lake.

Franklin was thrilled about dinner on the grill that night where he got real beef burgers. James and I had plant-based, “Impossible Burgers.” While the dinner plates were cleared and cleaned, Steve got a campfire going. It was time for dessert. We had to be especially careful to keep our furry boy far away from the open flame and any cinders. We didn’t want any singed-fur on our hands. To avoid even a near miss, I grabbed the leash and kept him by my side.

Once it was dark, we all collected long thin branches and it was time for s’mores. Most of us had traditional ones with chocolate. But Courtney doesn’t eat chocolate, so she brings peanut butter, which she generously shared with Franklin. I don’t normally partake of this kind of treat. (James just shouted, “Oh sure!”) It’s only when we’re with our nieces that it happens. It’s quite delicious and decadent. Holding a marshmallow on a stick above the flame is fun watching it melt.  Everyone believes they know the right amount of time to heat the marshmallow. Mr. Franklin devoured his peanut butter s’more which I made for him.

There was another special surprise that night – fireflies. Shimmering magically around the tent. What a delight. I hadn’t seen fireflies since at my parents’ place on Cape Cod ten years earlier.

As I stated earlier, the tent we had wasn’t big enough for the three of us. We decided to give one of the air mattresses to Franklin right from the get-go. James and I would share the other one. They’re pretty wide. As we settled in, Franklin started to bark. At first, I feared it was an animal outside our tent. Oh my God, I thought, what food did we leave out?! But then I saw flashlights and realized other campers were walking by chatting away. So much for quiet hour.

Day three started unexpectedly when we opened the zipper of the tent and Franklin darted out to visit our neighbors next to us. Luckily, their dogs were still in their kennels in their SUV and James got to Franklin before there was too much commotion. We have no idea what got into Franklin, perhaps he heard something that we didn’t. But as they say, boys will be boys. Even the best-behaved kids and dogs get into mischief on occasion. We made sure it didn’t happen again.

Acadia Park, is the eastern-most point in the United States, which means it’s the earliest sunrise. There’s a tradition for park-goers to climb Cadillac Mountain, where during the winter months, it is the first place to see the sunrise. Don’t ask me to explain the “earliest place” for the summer months, click the link and you can read it.  https://newengland.com/today/living/new-england-environment/where-in-the-united-states-does-the-sun-shine-first/

My brother’s family decided to hike the 1526 feet to the top of the mountain. Driving up requires reservations which they didn’t have. Yes, it’s that busy there. It was a warm day and James and I decided to forgo this activity. We weren’t sure how Franklin would handle the climb in the heat. I’d been to the top with my parents and Angel Willy back in the 90s and it is dramatic. James and I drove to the top with Angel Morgan in 2018 but it was fogged in.

Instead, we chose to revisit Seawall Campground, in the southwest, less crowded section of the park. We had stayed there on our trip to Maine with Morgan. The picnic area is right down by the rock-covered sea-level beach. Here’s a description from their website:  Powerful ocean storms created a massive seawall. As waves break, they carry rocks from the base of the beach and carry them up to shore. As the tides come in and out, heavier stones get piled at the top and smaller, lighter stones remain down the slope.

Don’t miss the pictures of Franklin and his dads. This quieter part of the park is definitely worth a visit. And a second one, as in our case.

That night for dinner James prepared fish tacos over the flame for everyone. The girls were surprised that you could have tacos on a camping trip, but everyone gobbled their food down.  Hannah especially loved her meal.

We were all too tired to stay up for more s’mores, but we did take time to lay in the grass in the field and stargaze. It takes a few moments to adjust to the darkness. But if you lay still the stars come to life. Clearly, the Big Dipper is “the Big Dipper” and can’t be missed. To our left was the Milky Way, in all its softer glory. Here, in Acadia National Park, the Milky Way shines bright in the largest expanse of naturally dark sky east of the Mississippi River. Neither Franklin, nor Loki were as enthused with stargazing as their humans were and started wrestling in the grass. They were even less impressed when we saw the International Space Station pass by.

Both James and I are advocates for protecting the night sky. We were pleased when we read about the Acadia Night Sky Festival, a four-day celebration in late September each year that promotes the protection and enjoyment of the star-filled night skies of Acadia National Park.

The threat of severe evening-hour thunderstorms returned on Thursday. Our spirits sank. The last thing we wanted to go through again was another rough night of sleep, before a long drive. It would be hard to say good-bye. As difficult of a decision that it was, we decided we had to head home after breakfast.

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Mr. Franklin Goes to the Library

Hello folks. We’re home again. Back in Buzzards Bay. Having just completed a whirlwind tour of many of the libraries and bookstores on Cape Cod, where we screened James’ film, Wild About Harry, and then I sold copies of my book, A Golden Retriever & His Two Dads, as well. It was an exciting adventure. Our tour started in the small town of Mashpee. Before we moved on to Sandwich and Provincetown. Then we hopped on a ferry over to Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard.

We met hundreds of people everywhere we went. We made new friends and visited with old ones. Of course, Mr. Franklin was the star attraction everywhere we went. I admit there were moments when we had to let folks know about the passing of Angel Morgan and that was difficult. But Franklin’s big heart won over people’s sadness.  Franklin is now the face of the book and they seemed pleased with that.

Doing a book tour is a lot of work and I’m lucky to have had my hard working and handsome partner, James, to organize it.  We’re all pretty tired tonight, even Franklin, so this blog is going to be short. I want to share some pictures we took along the way. I know you’ll enjoy them.

On a closing note, Franklin and his Dads wish everyone a Happy Fourth! Please keep your fur-companions safe.

 

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Mr. Franklin Goes to Cape Cod

A Field Trip to Boston

It was a day of firsts for our recently rescued Golden, Mr. Franklin. We began our adventure in Quincy, where he experienced his first Mother’s Day brunch. We brought a bouquet of red tulips for both, Courtney, our sister-in-law, and my mother. Then we took a sweet photograph of our handsome boy and our equally as pretty, sister-in-law, substituting for my mother, just for the day.

Franklin is a big boy with a big appetite. Though his dads are vegetarians, my brother’s family is not. Franklin got his first taste of bacon. And boy did he gobble it down. Both he and I were disappointed that he only got one piece. Especially since there was a big plateful of pig leftover. But let’s move on with our journey.

It was a blustery Sunday, too blustery for the beach walk, so our first stop was indoors at our favorite museum in Boston, Institute of Contemporary Art (ICA). It would be Franklin’s inaugural visit to a museum as my service companion. To get to the exhibits we had to take the glass-enclosed elevator to the fourth floor. Another first for our boy. He watched curiously as we rose between the floors. When the doors opened, he proudly marched out.

I wasn’t sure how Franklin would do surrounded by crowds of people and art displays. There were a few times where he got excitable, but I held his leash tightly and he heeled perfectly. I could tell from the expressions many wanted to pet him. A nicely dressed, matronly woman couldn’t resist taking a photo of him. He posed like a star. She off handedly said, “I know I’m not supposed to pet him, but…..”

I replied, “I know it’s difficult to resist him. But if I let you…,”  I looked around the room. “Then all these folks will want a turn.”  Several onlookers smiled and nodded their heads. Even the security guy grinned and said, “I’ll be the first in line.”

She understood my conundrum and we moved along. I always feel bad when I say no to someone. Under other circumstance, I would have let her pet Franklin.

The exhibition that day featured works of bright colors. We chose a sculpture by Raul de Nieves, a Mexican-born, New Yorker, for Franklin’s first art pose. It’s a life-size horse, rearing up on its (his) hind legs, covered in sparkling beads and sequins.

As we were leaving, Franklin said, “I never knew museums were so much fun.” (I told you he could talk.)

Now we headed across Christopher Columbus Waterfront Park and walked to the famous North End of Boston, the Italian neighborhood. Along the way, we couldn’t resist stopping for pictures of Franklin at several flower beds of tulips. Another first for our big boy. Tulips were the theme for the day. There were bright red ones and sun-shiny yellows and ones with an orange and yellow mix. My favorite was the reds. They looked like a 3-dimensional painting. They almost looked fake. And Franklin’s light blond fur and my red skull cap contrasted vividly against the rows and rows of red. Passersby stopped to watch us and took pictures of Franklin.

We finally made it to Hanover Street, in the heart of the North End. My grandfather used to take us here for the St. Anthony’s Feast Street Festival. It was where he shucked for me my first quahog when I was a young boy. We’d often go there to buy homemade raviolis, and for pizza at Regina Pizzeria.

It was a crowded Sunday on this Mother’s Day and lots of people said hello to Franklin, but due to the congestive traffic and throngs of tourist we weren’t able to get any pictures of him. We bought four plain cannolis and a whole ricotta pie at Modern Bakery, opened for ninety years and just a two-minute walk from the Paul Revere House. If you’ve never heard of a ricotta pie, it’s a creamy ricotta filling with a hint of lemon and almond that is baked inside of a sweet Italian pie pastry. This dessert is traditionally served at Easter time, but now it’s eaten all year long.

It had been a long fun-filled day of firsts for Franklin, but we could tell our big boy was getting tired. He seemed disinterested in sniffing the grassy field, a clear sign that he was ready for a dog-nap. We decided to forego an Italian dinner at one of the cafés and drive home. Heading back to the garage, along the Rose Kennedy Greenway, something utterly amazing happened, we found a beautiful bouquet of flowers lying on the ground, still wrapped in cellophane, and tied with a ribbon. It’s as though someone had left them there for us.

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A Mended Heart

A Mended Heart

My heart is still fractured from the recent loss of Morgan, my faithful Golden service dog. We had been inseparable the last 13 ½ years. He passed away quietly in his sleep next to me in bed.

My brain is filled with thoughts of Morgan every day and our unimaginably epic life together. Now, I can only tell him he’s the “prettiest boy in the world” in my heart. I can only see his smile in my mind. I can’t run my hands through is curly fur while I say those words. The fact that those days are over brings me immeasurable sorrow.

Right now I feel like Morgan was the greatest of my three dogs. But truthfully, he wasn’t. But this by no means lessens his importance. It’s just that time causes you (me) to forget the details of my first two Golden Angels.

I remember how devastated I was when my first Golden, Nicholas, crossed over. I truly believe that his love and devotion saved my life. He was the one sure thing when my partner got sick and died of AIDS. He was the reason to get up in the morning. He was my crutch. Having him in bed with me and my arm around his shoulder got me through lonely and painful nights. I was lucky (blessed) to have him in my life.

It was a good thing I had Willy, my second Golden, when Nicholas passed. I wouldn’t have made it through the loss of Nicholas without him. Not on top of so many other losses. Not on top of my own declining health.  If I hadn’t of had Willy, I truly would have been alone.

But Willy wasn’t like Nicholas. He never tolerated being on the bed, never mind sleeping in the bed. He was a wanderer. This was a being who had too much love to share with other people to be confined by the fence I put up around the property.

Willy had a girlfriend on the road above my house. Some afternoons my neighbor would telephone me and say, “He’s up here. Come up when you want him.”  Once, security at the Bohemian Grove, an exclusive men’s encampment in the redwoods, where world leaders gather every summer, such as both Bushs, Schultz, Kissenger, and Ford, phoned and asked me if I had a Golden Retriever named Willy. When I said yes, he told me I had better come and get him. He was in their dumpster. I got an armed escort into the main grounds where I found Willy eating their leftovers. The staff stood around laughing.  They told me he could come back anytime he wanted to. AND HE DID!!! Now the caller said, “He’s back.” That was the problem. Everybody loved his visits.

Around this time, AIDS treatment improved. There were prophylactics for some of the opportunistic diseases. There were three HIV drugs to choose from that stopped the virus. The disease became manageable, but not over.

With dying on hold and living a possibility, it was time to reevaluate my life. I know in my mind and heart that the only reason I was able to sell my house in the redwoods and move to Palm Springs was because of Willy’s guidance. Our afternoon talks gave me confidence that we could do it.  If you’ve read A Golden Retriever & His Two Dads, you know that Willy introduced me to James, my life partner.

When Willy died of congestive heart failure at 11, I was distraught. He died too soon. For the first time in twenty-five years the house was empty, dog-less. Grief never really goes away, you just learn how to live with it. I thought I had. I discovered quickly, I hadn’t learned how to cope without a dog. My thoughts were scrambled, my heart was ripped apart. I relived the AIDS epidemic. I relived Nicholas’ death. I couldn’t leave Willy’s gravesite.

It took five months before Morgan jumped into the truck and it seemed like five years. Despite Morgan’s behavior problems my heart healed. I learned to love again. As did Morgan. He changed my life. He was aggressive to other dogs. To keep him safe we took off for our adventures at 5 am. This may seem extreme. But it actually worked well. In Palm Springs, you have to go out before sunrise, anyway. To see the sun rise against the mountains was exquisite. To have the trail all to ourselves was not only a relief, but magical. Morgan became such a ham. He loved posing. He loved the attention. He wore hats and antlers and glasses. We referred to him as “The Talent.” We especially loved when he was finished and just walked off the set. We called these photo ops, “And he’s done!”

Morgan represented our life in Palm Springs. Our travels out of the heat. Summers on Cape Cod. He represents our time sheltering from COVID in the desert. We had the town to ourselves. Wagon-walks along the golf course. Against all odds, he made it across the country with us to our new home in Buzzards Bay. We buried him here in our back yard. We didn’t leave him behind. We worried so much we might have to.

When Morgan died in bed next to me, it took me a couple of days before the tears flowed. I was so exhausted and relieved that we didn’t have to lift him and carry him any longer.  For the last two years of his life he couldn’t walk. I know he felt the same way. Those final days he stared at me with glassy eyes. I knew he was ready. He was tired as well.  But once I rested up a bit and got a full night’s sleep, the realization he was never coming back crept in, and grief hit me.  All the things we would never do again.

I’ve now done this three times and each loss was different. Each Golden brought their uniqueness to the relationship. I’m not the same person I was with Nicholas, or Willy or Morgan.  I think, because of my history, mending my heart takes more time than most people.

Now we have a rescued, 95 pound, giant Golden, named Franklin. He’s big in a lot of ways. Big head. Big personality. And most importantly, a big heart. That’s what has won us over. Morgan’s passing is still recent and raw, but Franklin is helping my heart to mend and to open again.  I leave you with this poem I discovered:

It came to me

   that every time

I lose a dog

they take a piece

Of my heart with them,

And every new dog

who comes into my life

gifts me with a piece

of their heart.

If I live long enough

all the components

of my heart

will be dog, and

I will become

as generous and

                             loving as they are. – Anonymous

These Golden Years

Many of our friends may have heard about our successful book signing at Edgartown Books on Martha’s Vineyard. What you may not know is that I was a complete nervous wreck. It was my first book signing and I could barely write my name. In contrast, Morgan lay on the ground next to me, totally relaxed, with a big goofy smile. People walking down the street couldn’t resist him. I was afraid that no one would show up to buy the book, despite the fact that it was featured in two newspapers and the local radio station.  But as it turned out the best advertising was a smiling Golden Retriever, named Morgan. The line that formed to pet him, turned into the line to buy the book.

Whenever my nerves got the better of me, I would lean down and rub his head and the jitters in my fingers dissipated. For those who have read the excerpt from the book, you know that Morgan has not always been a source of tranquility. He was a swirling dervish of energy when we first rescued him. He was aggressive with other dogs and around his food. One of the things that calmed him to help him sleep was to rub his head gently. In those days I never imagined that he would ever be a source of calm for me. Or that he would become my assistance hearing dog.

But after a two-year, rigorous training course with a police-canine officer/instructor he’d come get me if someone was at the door. On our walks he alerted me to cars and people approaching from behind me. One night he stopped in the middle of the street for no apparent reason.  Then suddenly I saw two coyotes jump over a wall up ahead of us. Even though he is unable to walk now, in his senior years, he continues to assist me.

Just last week, from my bedroom, I heard him barking loudly and incessantly. Suddenly I smelled smoke in the air and rushed out into the kitchen, where he was lying, to find bellows of smoke pouring out of the microwave. I threw open the door to find a charred sweet potato. Thanks to our houseguest! Gratefully, I patted Morgan on his head and rewarded him with his favorite treat – a banana.

It’s impossible for me to believe that we just celebrated Morgan’s 14th Gotcha Day and that we’re back swimming together again. This has given us renewed quality time with Morgan which I pray will continue for as long as possible. Our boy may be 14 but in our hearts he’s still that year old, crazy boy, who jumped into my truck when we rescued him all those many years ago.

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How I Learned About Love

Many of our long-time friends and followers know that I was born in a tough, Irish, working-class neighborhood in South Boston. My mother had to contend with four sons, of which I was the oldest. You don’t need a crystal ball to figure out where love fit into the list of priorities in our family. It was there somewhere in the midst of the chaos. I have no doubts.

It wasn’t until my first Golden, Nicholas, came into my life in 1982 that I finally understood what unconditional love was all about. Of course, everyone loves a sweet puppy. I certainly was crazy in love with him. It’s easier to love when the times are good. But when things became unbearable during the worst of the AIDS epidemic: when the love of my life had died; when sickness and death surrounded me; when my own life teetered precariously on the edge, it was Nicholas’ unconditional love that pulled me through it. With Nicholas, each and every day, there was love in my life.

I lost so many friends and colleagues during the AIDS epidemic that my heart closed shut. I didn’t want to make any new friends for fear I would lose them. Then this sweet, blond, fluff ball, I named Willy, arrived in my life. Slowly, this loving, gentle entity forced me out of the shell I had built to protect me. On our walks he insisted that I share my love for him with everyone we met. I resisted it at first. But as they say – Love Wins.

Now, my life has been blessed once again with another amazing Golden, Morgan. He is my first rescued dog.  It was during the great recession, in 2008, when animals were abandoned, sometimes left behind in homes. I knew that I had to do my part to repay the love that I had been so generously given.

Morgan was difficult at first. He was broken, in the same way that I had been. It was time for me to learn about giving unconditional love. With loving kindness, an open heart, and a lot of training, Morgan became a funny, photogenic boy that we’ve all come to love and care about and I can’t imagine my life without him.

So on this holiday dedicated to “Love” I am so grateful to my Goldens who have taught me to be open to love and to give it.

Toys For Homeless Pets

Our family has a different kind of tradition for New Years.  I always sit Morgan down the day after Christmas, when all the packages have been opened, and I tell him about all the dogs down at the Palm Springs Animal Shelter who don’t have a warm home like he has, nor family and friends to love them and take care of them, like he has.

I remind him that he has a lot of toys that he never plays with and that now he has even more than before. Morgan always gets a serious look on his face and then without even the slightest pause, he gathers up several of his old toys and puts them in a basket. I ask him if he is sure he wants to do this and he nudges my arm with his nose.

So we get into the truck and drive down to the shelter. He never wants to go in with me, he prefers to stay outside. I can’t blame him, it always breaks my heart going in there and seeing all those dogs in the kennels, staring out, hoping for a miracle. The volunteers are grateful and let me know that they’ll be put to good use. When I come back out, Morgan has his old smiley face on. I think he knows he’s helping his cousins. The occasion always calls for a good walk somewhere as a reward for Morgan’s generosity and caring.

This year, with COVID, the shelter is closed to the public and a large blue bin is stationed outside the front door for donations. Inside the container, alongside Morgan’s bag of toys were also gifts of pet beds, blankets and clean towels.

Our New Year wish is that until all homeless pets find their forever homes, everyone make a stop at their local shelter and give an unlucky dog or cat some new toys.

Happy New Year everyone from Morgan and his Dads.

Thankful & Grateful on the Golf Course

Hello friends. It’s Morgan. My Dad is letting me write this year’s Thanksgiving blog. First and foremost, I’m grateful for my Dads and how they take care of me. Especially since my legs have gotten weaker. I love my wagon-walks so very much. I’m also grateful that we’re remaining in Palm Springs for the winter. It’s so much more convenient for our walks than when we were living in LA. At our apartment in the city my Dads had to carry me up and down three flights of stairs which wasn’t easy as I’ve gotten a little wider as I’ve grown.

I’m also thankful the election is over and my Dads have stopped obsessing and bickering about it. My Dads always get wound up about elections but this year it was insufferable. I’m grateful that we’re now in a time of healing.

I’m thankful that there might be a vaccine soon. I feel sad about all the people who have been sick and have lost their lives. But it also means hopefully I will get to take walks again with my Golden pals, Rocky and Samson. I miss them both.

As I write this I’m sitting out on the front patio in the shade. The temperature is a mild 79 degrees. I’m grateful that the heat has released its grip. Soon we’ll be able to take some of our walks in the afternoon.

As I’m now in my senior years, or my Golden years as I like to tell people, I’m thankful for the very handsome undercover FBI agent who moved in two units down from us. I feel so much safer with Vincent around. Not that it’s an unsafe neighborhood, mind you, but you never know when something might happen. I’m sleeping much more restful with the law close by.

I am grateful that my Dads adopted “Ferris the Turkey” this year. See his picture below. He is quite the “Hot Shot.” But I am not grateful that we are having Tofurky for Thanksgiving – again. If anyone has any leftovers, donations are accepted.

My Thanksgiving Prayer is that all animals have food on this day of thanks and giving. And may they find their fur-ever homes like I did.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

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