Family Meeting with Henry & Oliver

Henry, when will you understand, I’m not booking you a passage to England. You’re staying put. Now, let’s get to business, shall we? As you know, because of the drought, the Governor of California issued an edict that we must all cut back our water use by 25 percent. As such, it is our duty to make the sacrifice, and I need to know what measures you each plan to take. Continue reading

The Dog Who Lives on the Stairs

The Dog Who Lives on the Stairs

This is a true story, I kid you not.

There is a little Maltipoo who lives in a little townhouse. He’s friendly and playful, and sometimes a bit of a scamp. But there’s one thing you should know about him:

He has a thing for steps.

Indeed, he NEVER is far from the stairs.

Never ever!

In fact, you could say this toy-sized dog lives on the stairs. Continue reading

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.

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.


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?

Henry’s Obsession

I’ve always said, nothing but the best for my dog, Henry. As a Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, he has royalty in his blood. Which is why, when he was a mere pup, Henry went to daycare.  And not a daycare for pets, mind you. Henry was enrolled at the best home childcare center for little tykes in the county, and it is run by my very good friend, Gale (who, you might remember, is the Real Ms. Fix-it).

Henry wasn’t really enrolled in Gale’s daycare, but two days a week, I’d drop him off on my way to work so he wouldn’t be alone and miserable all day, pining for me.  As soon as we pulled up in my car, Henry’s heart would start racing with anticipation. He couldn’t wait to get inside. He’d jump excitedly out of the car and make a beeline to the front door.  Whereupon, he’d look at me expectantly and bark, as if to say,

“Chop-chop! What are you waiting for?  Let me in, already!”

Once inside, he’d run eagerly through the kitchen, past the family room, and out the door to the backyard where he’d check out the kid action, then return inside to play with Gale’s dog, Blanca. Well, sort of. Blanca was a bit older and it was all she could do to tolerate Henry and his wild, puppy antics.

A dog, a baby and two pacifiers.

Henry and Gale's grandson enjoying their pacifiers.

But while there, Henry developed an unusual obsession–a fascination for pacifiers.   Yes, it wasn’t long before Henry discovered pacifiers and became obsessed with watching the kids use them. He’d stare intently at a child’s mouth, patiently waiting for the pacifier to drop to the floor. Maybe he’d wait five minutes. Maybe longer. He knew that inevitably, the pacifier would fall, and when it did, it was his. The big pay off!

Henry developed many a strategy for swiping pacifiers from innocent babes. He’d feign interest in playing with the toddlers and run and let them chase him in the yard, all the time keeping his eyes on the prize–until he hit pay dirt. Bingo! He’d also watch them at snack time, sucking on their pacifiers, while playing with their Cheerios. As soon as a child reached for the cereal to put in their mouth, the pacifier would pop out and land on the floor. Henry was on it like a hawk swooping down on a mouse. That dog owned the ground and any pacifier that fell on it was his.  I’m pretty sure that Henry’s obsession led to a shortage of pacifiers that year.

I never did figure out why Henry had such a thing for pacifiers. Could be he liked it for the same reasons little ones like it–for teething or for the comfort it brings. Or maybe he just wanted one so he could feel like a kid, himself. No matter the reason, he sure did love sucking on them.

It’s been a while since Henry went to daycare and pinched a pacifier or two. Now, he’s a stay-at-home dog with no more unlimited access to his obsession. Though occasionally, he does find a discarded or forgotten one when he takes a walk in the park.   And every year, for his birthday, I let him be a kid again. I buy him a pacifier of his very own.