Happiness is a Warm Puppy…

…and a Cool King

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photo credit: Monica Medina

Oliver Twist, our Maltipoo puppy, is almost three months old! And, in case you’re wondering how the little tyke is getting along with the Master of the House, aka, Henry, my Cavalier King Charles Spaniel who descends from royalty, you need wonder no more.

Turns out, these fellows are as happy as can be. Two peas in a pod. Actually, more like, two pigs in a pen. In other words, they’re getting along just peachy!

Or, as Henry would say, “We are treating each other with the respect and civility befitting a royal of good standing. That would be me.”

So herewith, some recent photos of the dynamic duo in action, showing how they spend their day. After all, the proof is in the pudding!

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photo credit: Julienne Aquino

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photo credit: Julienne Aquino

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photo credit: Julienne Aquino

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photo credit: Julienne Aquino

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photo credit: Julienne Aquino

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photo credit: Julienne Aquino

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photo credit: Monica Medina

Until next time!

Meet Oliver Twist

Editor’s Note: Lightning in a Jar will return. In the meantime, you can catch up on the installment series by visiting the High School Years page.
This week, Henry, my Cavalier King Charles who descends from royalty, has written a post about our new arrival.
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Oliver Twist is so much healthier now, which is good news for Henry. Or maybe not.

Cook says I’ve been remiss in not revealing something of significance, but if truth be known, I saw no point. After all, why stir up news of a troubling nature?

Yet, Cook says it’s not troubling at all. It’s wonderful news, she adds, a tad too happily.

Ahem. I beg to differ.

It seems we have a new addition to our household. A Maltipoo, of all things. Of course, as a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel who is the only descendant of royalty (and of sound mind) residing in this abode, I ought to have had the power to veto bringing in a new soul, even if the soul in question is an orphan, rescued from the ravaged streets of our fair city.

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When Oliver Twist arrived, he was underfed and ridden with Sarcoptic mange and roundworms.

But alas, Cook seems to have forgotten that little fact of my lineage, and left me unceremoniously out of the loop the day she decided to take the imp into our home. Make that, my home.

Naturally, I would be delighted with the arrival of said dog had Cook brought him here to serve as my footman. One can never have enough, you know, particularly when one has none at all. Thus, that would have made sense, especially when you consider the rascal is always underfoot.

But, there you have it. That is our, ahem, splendid news. Oh, did I say splendid? I meant disastrous.

Oliver Twist is the name he bears. Cook says it’s an homage to a hooligan from a Charles Dickens novel.  I wonder if that other Oliver would have given me a case of mites. I’ll never know.

Young Oliver Twist arrived to our familial tableau weighing a mere 1.75 pounds, about the same amount as one of my meals. Hmm. Not that I’m getting any ideas, mind you.

Cook says a man of questionable circumstances, no doubt, with a nefarious look in his eye, was selling the ragamuffin on the streets–practically in the gutter. Feeling bad for the scamp, she took him in, only to discover Oliver, at four weeks (not eight weeks old, as she’d been told), was undernourished and laden with a slew of ailments. One of which was passed on to me. Bloody mites.

Thus, Cook was duped and royal that I am, I had no choice but to suffer in silence as I took the medicinal cure that awaited me.

Feeding time!

Feeding time!

And now, it’s been nearly four weeks since his arrival, and–blasted!–he now seems to be thriving. Nothing like a little R&R I’ve always said, which is something I myself strive for every hour of every day.

The rapscallion is slowly gaining weight, and getting perkier by the day. Confound it. I despise perky. He’s rather a bit of a bloody nuisance, too, and insists on playing with my handsome, feathery tail, and on pulling at my leash.

Oh, the things a royal must bear. Noblesse oblige, I suppose.

Not a word to Cook, but first chance I get, I’m teaching young Oliver how to be my footman. That is, once I figure out precisely what it is a footman does. There’s still hope for him yet.

Incidentally, speaking of Cook, she has added two videos here of the boisterous lad, so that you can see what a bother he can be. Frankly, I don’t understand what Cook sees in the little fellow. Perhaps you can tell me?

From the Animal Shelter to Dog Beach

On Saturday, Henry, my Cavalier King Charles Spaniel who descends from royalty, awoke with a start, and announced in his usual, kingly fashion, “Cook, we must prepare for our walk!”

“What walk, Henry? We take walks everyday!”

“No, Cook. I mean the Walk. The San Diego Humane Society and SPCA 2013 Walk for Animals, of course! We must practice at once!”

“Why do we need to practice, Henry?”

“For starters, there’s bound to be legions of my fans and followers, so I need to be ready.”

“Ready for what?” I demanded.

“Ready to give my royal wave and ready to discourage autograph seekers, and anything else that might slow us down. We are on a mission, after all.”

“Hmm…” I mutter. Then, changing the subject, I say, “How about, instead of practicing, we go take a trip down to the Humane Society and visit the dogs there. We can let them know all we’re doing and see how they’re doing. What do you think?”

“A formidable idea, Cook. Let’s do it!”

So,we climbed into the car and headed to the Humane Society’s main branch in San Diego. This is what we saw:  Sweet-faced dogs needing a family to love them.

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Afterwards, Henry was woefully crestfallen. “Dash it all, Cook! I feel helpless, seeing my brethren looking so crushed and despondent. We need to make sure they find good homes soon.”

I gave Henry a hug, wanting to hold him close, and thanked him for doing his part. Then, to give his spirits a lift, I suggested we head to Dog Beach, one of his favorite spots. Here’s what we saw:

Joyful dogs, roaming and playing freely in the sand!

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And one more: In the midst of all these dogs running around, this little girl kept trying to dig a hole. The dogs would poke their noses in it, but she kept trying to work around them.

As we drove home, Henry, curled up in the back seat, and asked,

“Why can’t all dogs be as happy and free as my friends and I were today on Dog Beach?

Good question.

Friends, it’s not too late to help our team, Clifford’s Crew.  Henry and I have reached our personal goal, but our team still needs to raise $435. If you make a donation this week, of $10 or more, you’ll be automatically entered into my opportunity drawing to win a Kindle copy of Little Boy Blue, the true story of a puppy’s rescue from death row and his owner’s journey for truth, written by Kim Kavin. The winner will be announced next Monday, March 4th.

Remember, your gift will help provide food, medical care and a safe haven for thousands of animals in need. And, it’s tax-deductible (for U.S. residents, anyway).

You can make a donation by clicking here, or mail your contribution to the address listed below. Whatever you give will help—every dollar makes a difference!

Please send checks, including team name (Clifford’s Crew) to:
San Diego Humane Society and SPCA
Attn: Walk
5500 Gaines Street
San Diego, CA 92110

To all those who’ve already given to this walk or to helping animals in shelters, thank you!

Henry Gets On His Soapbox

Last fall, my local hardware store was having a sale on soapboxes. So, I brought one home for Henry, just in case he’d have something important to say and would need a special place on which to say it. After all, with dogs like Henry, who descend from royalty, you just never know.

And, lo and behold, yesterday the soapbox was put to good use.295403_408276825923190_671456636_n

As  I was driving home from work, singing along, at the top of my lungs, with the car radio, I came upon quite a commotion in my front patio. A gathering of dogs, at least a couple of dozen great and small ones, and they were all feverishly wagging their tales in semi-rapt attention. And, who should be the one basking in the limelight–standing tall on his soapbox?

None other than a certain Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, whose claim to the throne is as genuine as yours or mine. In other words, it was Henry.

Henry was barking like the Dickens, in his high pitch voice, a tone that usually means he means business. He was also making all sorts of hand gestures with his front paws, while trying to balance himself on the soapbox on his hind legs. The precarious situation was compounded by a flurry of dogs trying to climb on the soapbox with him. It seems they didn’t understand that only one dog at a time could stand on the box and speak.

“Friends! Countrymen…,” he was saying. “I beseech you to listen carefully, for what I’m about to say is of grave importance. The time has come to help our fellow canine friends, who have not been adopted by nice humans, as we have.”

“Henry,” I interjected. “What’s going on here?”

“Cook, I’ve decided to sign us up for the San Diego Humane Society and SPCA 2013 Walk for Animals. We need to take a stand and walk for all the dogs of the world!”

“All the dogs?”

DSCN5707“Ahem, yes,” he said, adding, “Of course, it’s really just like a constitutional but instead of just enjoying the fresh air and scenery, we’ll also be raising money for dogs, and cats, I suppose. Maybe a few rabbits, too. For, did you know that each year, 5 to 7 million companion animals enter animal shelters nationwide? And, 3 to 4 million are euthanized?”

“That’s terrible, Henry.”

“Indeed, it is, Cook, and we need to do something about it straight away. Which is why I’m telling all my friends, that you and I are walking to help raise awareness and funds for the animals that end up in shelters each year, in the hopes that they’ll sign up, too.  Or, if they can’t, perhaps they’d consider helping us reach our goal? What do you think?”

“Did you say, our goal? I didn’t know we had one.”

“Oh, Cook! I daresay we do! I’ve committed us to raising at least $250 ($1,000 for our entire team!). Imagine if everyone who reads your blog gave just $5 each?  Why, think how far that would go in helping the animals at the San Diego Humane Society!”

“Henry, I’m not sure everyone will be able to help us.”

“Well, all it takes is one, and that’s a start.”

“So, what do we need to know?”

Henry then informed me of the work that has been done by the San Diego Humane Society and SPCA. For example, last year, they:

  • Cared for 7,440 animals
  • Increased adoptions to 4,882 animals, and returned 977 animals to their owners
  • Spayed/neutered 6,437 animals
  • Responded to 1,845 reports of neglect or abuse
  • Touched the lives of 12,876 people who enjoyed the unconditional love of a Pet-Assisted Therapy animal

“Henry, I’m glad we’re doing this. It’s wonderful you to want to help the Humane Society.”

“Noblesse Oblige, Cook. Noblesse Oblige!”

Henry then put his soapbox away and went to bed, claiming the strain of the day had done him in.  So, I’ll fill you in on the rest.

On Saturday, May 4th, Henry and I, along with our team—Clifford’s Crew—will be walking alongside thousands of animal lovers in support of the San Diego Humane Society and SPCA’s 19th Annual Walk for Animals. According to Henry, this fun event raises awareness and funds for animals in need.

Readers, Henry and I hope you’ll help by supporting our participation. After all, the event gives hope to so many animals in the face of uncertainty and, though the challenges they face are hard, offering them a second chance at happiness is simple.

Your gift will help provide food, medical care and a safe haven for thousands of animals in need. Besides, it’s tax-deductible (for U.S. residents)!

You can make a donation by clicking here, or mail your contribution to the address listed below. Whatever you give will help—every dollar makes a difference!

9780764165269

You can win a Kindle version of this book! Just donate $15 or more by end of month. Winner announced March 4, 2013.

Please send checks, including walker’s name (Monica Medina) to:
San Diego Humane Society and SPCA
Attn: Walk
5500 Gaines Street
San Diego, CA 92110

Plus, good news! Anyone who donates $15 or more by February 28th, will be entered into a drawing to win a Kindle copy of Little Boy Blue, the true story of a puppy’s rescue from death row and his owner’s journey for truth, written by Kim Kavin. A must read.

Henry and I thank you from the bottom of our hearts. I’ll be sure to let you know when we reach our goal. I’ll be posting photos of the day, when the time comes.  Because, if you ask me, it’s sure to be a fun day for a good cause!

Out of Commission

I was incommunicado last night.  Not because I wanted time alone or needed to zone out. Not because I didn’t want any distractions while I gathered my thoughts. Nope.

I was incommunicado last night because I left my cell phone at work, and longtime readers will know that I no longer own a landline.

Henry and I go into safety mode, covering ourselves with blankets to protect from possible disasters. "Oh, bother," he says.

Without a phone to use in case of emergency, Henry and I do all we can to stay safe, which includes covering ourselves with blankets to protect from possible disasters. “Oh bother,” Henry sighs.

So, I was out of commission. Had I been a contestant on the show, Who Wants to be a Millionaire? I would not have been able to phone my lifeline.

Which is why I immediately went into action.  I sent an e-blast to all my friends alerting them of my unavailability to talk should they have a hankering to do so.

They never do.

I sent an email to all my credit card companies, should they want to call me to discuss a, ahem, late payment or something, and let them know that I’d be unreachable.

I then sent a desperate email to my children. “In case you need me, as I’m sure you will, I beg of you to please email me as my phone was inadvertently left in the office.”

I was certain they’d respond lickety-split and commiserate with my lack of phone. I even took my iPad with me on my walk with Henry, my Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, as I didn’t want to miss their email while I was out and about.

Of course, they didn’t write. Though, a few hours later I did get a short reply from my son. “Okay,” is all he wrote.

Okay?? Didn’t he grasp the seriousness of the situation, and how, should something terrible happen, there’d be no way of notifying me and no way of asking me to bring the bail money? This was a grave matter, indeed!

On the other hand, what if something happened to me?? How would I get word out? What if I fell down the stairs or tripped in the bathtub? And, as I gasped for breath, dragging myself across the room, and digging my nails into the carpet to help pull me along, there’d be no phone to reach for and no 9-1-1 to call and send help!

I suppose I could send out smoke signals through my gas fireplace, but it hasn’t been working of late. I could attach a can of Diet Coke around Henry’s neck and send him off into the dark of night in the hopes he’d bring back help, but Henry would no doubt get distracted and fall in a heap on the grass to take a nap.

Dash it all! When did I become a slave to my cell phone??

So, what was I to do?  Well, I did what any practical person would do in such a case as this. I battened down the hatches, hook, line and sinker.  I got into bed, with a blanket wrapped tightly around me to make sure I’d get into no accidents. Henry, begrudgingly followed suit and curled up beside me. I left all the lights on to ward off burglars. We didn’t budge all night. At least I didn’t. I stayed awake, keeping my eyes open to ensure no funny business would go on while I slept. Meanwhile, Henry fell asleep within minutes and snored the night away.

I did all I could to make sure we survived the night, without needing to call 9-1-1.

The next morning I drove ever so slowly to work, to avoid getting into an accident. Cars wildly honked at me. Someone even cursed and muttered something about holding up traffic, but I didn’t care. Safety first, after all. Life is challenging enough, and even more so without a phone handy.

Finally, I arrived at work and headed to my office. There was my phone, nonchalantly lying on my desk, and I swear it gave me a wink.

And, that was that. Another catastrophe averted. Oh and by the way, in case you’re wondering, The Fish Who Came to Dinner, is alive and well! And, also, still here. Sigh.

Now tell me, how do you manage when you forget your phone?