They Are Yankee Doodle Dandies!

IMG_0342Since the 4th of July is next week, I was thinking about how lucky I feel that I was born in the United States. I know a dog is not technically a citizen, but because Doc is, I get all the advantages that she does.

Even though not everyone that is a US citizen thinks this country is great, there are many others that leave their own countries to come here every year, in the hope that they will be able to be granted the right to enter the USA and then become a naturalized citizens. Today I am going to tell you some stories about some people I know that did that very thing.

Robert one of my co-workers and friends came to the United States from Hatti in December 2009. His first trip to the US was New York City with his soon to be wife. Later after getting married and settling in the Midwest, Robert decided that he would like to start the process of becoming a United States citizen. He felt he would have more opportunities in the United States and so he started the long process of filling out forms and taking the citizenship test. So on April 6, 2016, Robert went downtown to the federal building and was sworn in as US citizen with forty-nine other people. What a happy day!

Tanya, another favorite co-worker of mine, moved to the United States from Jordan when she was a young girl and as she became older, decided to become a US citizen for the same reason Robert did, she wanted the opportunities that the United States would provide for her. She has been a proud citizen since August 20, 2001.

Doc’s sister-in-law, Svetlana was born and lived in Armenia before coming to the United States. One day when Doc was over at her brother’s house, Svetlana was listening while Doc and her brother were complaining about politics, when Svetlana spoke up and said “people born in the United States take their freedoms for granted and don’t appreciate what they have.” Doc was quiet for a while, knowing what Svetlana had experienced in Armenia and told her she was right. Svetlana is still in the process of becoming a US citizen but hopefully she will be sworn in soon.

Doc’s family immigrated to America from Scotland in the mid 1700’s when it was still ruled by the British. It must have been both exciting and scary being part of establishing a new nation.

The great part of living with Doc is that I get to meet people who come here from all over the world. Since the first colonists arrived from Europe, over one million people per year continue to immigrate from all over the world looking for many of the same things that those early settlers did. On July 4th I will be thinking about my friend Robert celebrating his citizenship for the first time along with all the others that now call the United States home.


groverpic” Dogs have so many friends because they wag their tails and their tongues.”

— Proverb

It’s Not My Birthday

FullSizeRenderCan you celebrate your birthday even when it’s not actually the date of your birth? If you ask a five-year old named Mitchell, he would answer a resounding yes.

One Saturday evening, Doc invited her nephew and his family over for a nice summer cook out, complete with Bratwurst, potato salad, slaw, chips and angel food cake and strawberries for dessert. After dinner and a walk in the park, we all came back to the house for dessert when Doc’s family pulled out some cupcakes and a birthday card. They started apologizing for missing Doc’s birthday. Looking puzzled, Doc said, “you didn’t miss my birthday, it’s not until October.” After some discussion, it was determined that her nephew had gotten some incorrect information from another relative, or at least that was his story.

Thinking that the celebration was cancelled, poor Mitchell sat there looking very down trodden. I have to admit I was disappointed too, after all, who doesn’t like a good birthday celebration? Noticing the sour look on everyone’s face, Doc exclaimed, “who says you have to wait for your actual birthday to celebrate your birth?” Woo Hoo!! The party was back on.

Since they forgot to bring candles, Doc fished one out of the junk drawer that happened to be in the shape of the number 3. She told us she was only three this year. Neither Mitchell or myself missed the humor in that one since we both know she is older than dirt. She even found an old Happy Birthday banner to hang and some red and blue balloons to blow up. After decorating, we lit the candle, sang Happy Birthday and then Doc asked Mitchell to help her blow out the candle and make a wish. It was so much fun we decided that from now on, we shouldn’t wait if we want to celebrate the birth of someone we love. Lets be more spontaneous from now on we decided.

That’s the great thing about five-year olds, they don’t follow the rules. They remember what many adults have forgotten, that any time is a good time for a party.

groverpic” I once had a dog who really believed he was man’s best friend. He kept borrowing money from me.”

— Gene Perret

Over Nighter

FullSizeRender-4Doc’s leaving town again, but she says it’s just for one night. I overheard her tell a friend that she’s going to a concert with those old college friends of hers. So I better get my bag packed, because I am going to stay with those nice people at the veterinarians office.

Lets, see, what should I take? Dog food…..check, fluffy dog bed…..check, favorite chew toy…..check. Packed and ready to go in under ten minutes.

Doc on the other hand, needs a lot of stuff, especially what she refers to as beauty supplies. For instance, she takes a whole jar of that anti-wrinkle cream that she likes to slather all over her face morning and night and that’s not all. For a one night stay she takes her curling iron, blow dryer, make-up, a few changes of clothes, shoes, jewelry and pajamas. The one item she takes on special occasions that is fascinating to me is an undergarment she calls Spanx. I have to admit it is quite comical watching her hop up and down, tug and pull trying to get it on. She says she wears it to suck everything back in place, but it looks like a torture device to me. I’m afraid she going to hurt something putting it on one day, but I digress. By the time we are ready to go, it’s almost two hours past the time she wanted to get on the road. Doc could learn a lot about time management and  packing light from me if she would just pay attention.

When we finally get to the veterinarians office, we have to wait until the vet tech comes to check us in. While waiting, a nice lady comes in the door carrying a crate and there is something alive inside. I go over to investigate and I see two green eyes looking back at me. Just as I get closer and start sniffing, the beast hisses and tries to scratch my nose with it’s long dagger claws. I about jump out of my skin, lurch backward and almost knock Doc over in the process. I find out it’s a cat and she is staying all night too. I hope the cat isn’t going to be my roommate or Doc won’t be the only one that has an overnight adventure. Yikes!

groverpic” Every dog has his day unless he loses his tail, then he has a weak- end.”

— June Carter Cash

A Salute to Walden’s Pond

Boyer ParkMany of us dream of traveling to exotic lands, but often times the most magical places can be found very near our own back yards.

Our adventure started with a simple conversation I overheard Doc have with her nephew Scott while they were having Sunday brunch. He asked her if she had ever been to a wetland park within walking distance of her house. Now Doc and I regularly explore every park in the area, but had never heard of this one, so our interest was piqued. Scott said the entrance was very hidden and as a young boy he and his friends stumbled upon it one day while they were out riding their bikes.

Even though it was suppose to be an overcast day, we decided that on Monday after work, we would set out to find the park. After driving down a few streets looking for the entrance, it appeared before us, the path hidden between two houses. Exiting the car and heading down the sloped gravel path there was a sense of excitement about what we would find. The smells were all new to me, so I was in hog heaven. As we came to the clearing I heard Doc gasp. I looked up to see the most beautiful large pond teaming with lily pads, ducks and geese swimming and fish bubbling to the surface. Rounding the corner,we looked up in the trees overhanging the pond to see a large Blue Herring sitting quietly observing the scenery.

Around every corner there was something new to explore. A babbling brook running into the pond, yellow wild flowers in full bloom and a fallen tree making a bridge for the squirrels to cross over the water. It was almost too much for my dog brain to take in all at once.

Heading down the path and across a low bridge, Doc paused to take some pictures. That was when the honking of the male goose sounded the alarm. Doc oblivious to the warning, didn’t even notice as the gestapo gaggle of about six geese and four ducks acting as backup bouncers came swimming toward us at a rapid speed. I began to growl to get her attention and she looked up just in time for us to hightail it across the bridge to safety. Crisis averted.

As we were heading back around the pond to the entrance we saw three young boys coming down the path on their bikes. Holding buckets and fishing nets, Doc smiled to herself and I knew she was thinking of her nephew Scott, long ago as a young boy the day he found this magical place with his friends.

groverpic” Life is like a dogsled team. If you ain’t the lead dog, the scenery never changes.”

— Lewis Grizzard

Unlikely Partners in Crime

IMG_0265My new partner in crime is only 3 years old and about 26 inches tall. His name is Mason. Don’t be fooled by his small size and angelic face, as the two of us have been quietly working on an escape plan since he was two.The only thing that keeps us apart is a 4 foot picket fence with a latch. I have been dreaming about the day when Mason would be tall enough to reach that latch and open the gate so that we could play together in the big field behind us. Now that time has come. I watched from the window the other day as he unlocked the latch and the gate swung open. His horrified mother told on him and Doc now has secured the gate with wire, but I think Mason is smart enough to figure that out before long.

Mason and I have a long relationship. He has come over to that fence since he was able to toddle, pushing toys under the fence and letting me lick his popsicle on hot summer days. I know he is the perfect boy for the job because I have watched his parents become exasperated, trying to get him to listen to them. They say he breaks the rules like that’s a bad thing, when in fact Mason is just following his own path in life. Mason is a rebel and like all the rebels before him, I think he will eventually channel that energy to do good in the world.

I can really relate to Mason, as I fancy myself a rebel as well. I try to defy authority but like the John Cougar Mellencamp song goes ” I fight authority, but authority always wins.” The  problem for characters like Mason and myself, is we still have to rely on older humans to provide food and housing so we have to let them boss us around for now, but very soon our day of freedom will come.




groverpic” People teach their dogs to sit; it’s a trick. I’ve been sitting my whole life, and a dog has never looked at me as though he thought I was tricky.”

— Mitch Hedberg