Monday, December 16, 2013


Maurice the Dog
FC 12/9/13

Remember when we took the puppy
to the snow?
His black nose
black fur
amongst the white
He'd nibble on my bearded chin
I was handsome then
so young and beautiful
(no, you haven't changed much)
We threw snowballs
that Maurice the dog would chase
We tried to slide on disks down the hill
bogging down more than sliding
We've rescued more than one
puppy in our time
And you rescued me
from years full of winters
all the snow's gone to my hair
and I've been bogged down
for as long as I remember
but for those days
when I felt the cold
when I nibbled at your ears.


Saturday, November 2, 2013


There are lots of important things to remember when moving—including the health and welfare of your pets.
While I am happy to share tips from personal experience, I’m not an expert on moving—one move in thirty years does not an expert make. But I do know that some pets are extremely vulnerable to the stress of moving. One of my dogs gets crazy with a car ride of even a few minutes. If your dog (or cat) is similar to my dog, moving any distance can be a nightmare. So, plan, plan, plan in advance. A move across town will be difficult. A move across country could be near disaster.
As far as relocation goes, moving companies do not take pets. You will either have to fly your pets to their destination, or drive them out. If you drive them, remember to check on pet-friendly hotels. There are lists of them on the internet. Plan for lots of potty breaks for your pet. Remember to bring water, perhaps a favorite pet toy, and confine your pet to a carrier. While your dog may be used to riding in the car, surely most cats are not. And imagine having your cat freaking out and sinking its claws into you while you’re driving across country.
Make sure your animal has its tags with a contact number that will find you—no sense having your old phone on the tag—or better yet, micro-chip your pet. Keep health certificates near and available. Some states require health certificates for your pets. There are a bunch of other tips available on the web. Check out the SPCA website (see link at the bottom of the page.) Also, no one is as in tune with bizarre pet behavior as Allie from Hyperbole and a Half, the hilarious web-comic. I also included that link.

This blog originally appeared on the Junk King website in a different form. (More of a Junk King-centric blog, but thanks to them for allowing me to use this subject.)

Tuesday, October 22, 2013


I admit. I love dog toys. No, it isn't like I sit about chewing dog toys. My dogs love them. We have two dogs. Lulu, pictured, and little Sophie. Lulu shows such unconditional joy with new dog toys. It doesn't matter what the toy is. She loves it to death. She destroys any squeaky toy immediately. She still plays with it, after death so to speak. Squeaker gone, no matter, though that is the point of it right? To remove the squeaker.

Sophie too finds the squeaker objectionable, but not because of the noise. It matters not if the squeaker works. She is a dog that wants the squeaker out. Another destroyer--Sophie the destroyer. A soon-to-be Hindu (no offense intended) goddess. All fuzz inside also must be removed by Sophie.

Now Sophie has little interest in anything unfuzzy, unless of course, Lulu happens to be playing with it. But Lulu loves any new dog toy. Anything that resembles a dog toy. She pulls down the basket in the bedroom that contains her toys, and chooses one. While both dogs shake the daylights out of any fuzzy toys, Lulu cares little of their make-up. She checks the grocery bags when they come into the house. "Anything for me?" she seems to say. (Take a metal bolt and give it to her as her own, she will love it.) Sophie, even though new to us, came into our home with her peculiarities. She has her own choice of toys.

Some weeks, we bring home new dog toys two or three times. We seek inexpensive toys for sure, with an occasional splurge. I want to cringe when I say that. Dog toys, six new ones per week! Yes, we occasionally cull through them and get rid of a few. That we babysit our grand-dogs, Xena and sometimes Moo, gives us further "justification" for our purchases, but I admit, it feels almost like the practice of dressing our pets in doggy outfits, something I don't like.

But dog "coats" are a yes. We keep our house cool, and sometimes our dogs get cold. Moo, our youngest daughter's chihuahua/terrier mix, especially gets cold. So dog coats are okay.

Doggy Halloween costumes are barely a no. Yes, barely. Really, come on. Not necessary. (Gosh, so cute!) Doggy jingle bells? An unqualified yes.

So, what is the story with me? Am I becoming senile in my early-seniorhood? Not exactly. But, we love our dogs and so...

Look, it's not like we don't give money to charity, or slip the homeless guys a couple of bucks now and again. I don't read book after book about cute dogs or cats. I don't have six cats and five dogs. No, there is nothing wrong with such multiple pets as long as the animals are cared for well. I think people are more important than animals, though animals are more moral. It's just that I like to watch the dogs play. So sue me.

So, what to do? Okay, more to charity, less to dog toys. I get it, but darn, one of my charities is the SPCA, so there.

Darn, I love dog toys.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Our Dog's Celebrity Look-alike

Been awhile since I posted. This one will be short. For those of you counter-culture geeks, near my age perhaps, or film buffs, perhaps you will remember David Lynch's Eraserhead. Well, in case you don't, it is a typical Lynch vision of a very odd future, haunting and weird--very weird. The film may be one of the most disturbing I have ever viewed. One recurring scene is of the "Girl in the radiator." Well, my newish dog Sophie is the almost spitting image of this girl. If you haven't seen this film, well, this post may make little sense. If so, well, God knows, if this blog had relevancy it might be more popular. It doesn't, so it's not.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

New Dog, Different Attitude.

So Sophie has settled in. We got Sophie from the Peninsula Animal Shelter on June 1. I admit, her attitude seemed a little "bitchy" at first. We did not properly introduce her to Lulu, pictured on the masthead of this blog. Lulu is 11, Sophie is but four. Immediately, Sophie tried to assert dominance over Lulu. She plays one-on-one,, but not fetch or with other dogs.
At a recent outing at my daughter Kirsten's house, Sophie had to be "prey" to Xena. Admittedly, it was on Xena's home turf, but Xena attacked Sophie, and Sophie got into it with Moo, my other daughter's dog, but not Lulu. Now, there are no more wars, or few wars anyway, between Lulu and Sophie. It is toleration for now. Lulu is pretty sweet. She waits for Sophie when she goes outside. Maybe I am kidding myself, maybe Lulu is just making sure that both dogs have to go outside.
The other day Lulu, and we think it was Lulu, peed on the bed when I had carried Sophie outside without her to meet the neighbor. Lulu didn't pee on her bed, she peed on our bed. She is making her point about being ignored.

You know, introducing a dog, not a puppy into the house with another dog isn't all that easy. It isn't a slam dunk. It wouldn't be that easy to introduce one dog into a household without a second. Dogs have personalities. Sophie is devoted to Lynn, my wife. She would follow her to the ends of the earth. Lynn has started to teach Sophie to back off and not follow. Sophie is lovable. She does this thing where she lies on the ground, rolls on her back, and moves her front paws back and forth, like "rub my belly." She will stand up and do this as well. After the 330th time, it isn't as cute, but hell... Look folks, dogs aren't interchangeable. Lynn hopes to make Sophie a visiting, therapy dog. If Sophie the dog doesn't work out, we aren't going to return her. She's mostly housebroken, but still makes a mistake now and again. She does her business on our back patio, which is frowned upon. No problem. We will deal with it.
But thousands and thousands of dog people dump their dogs every year, either at a shelter or worse. Pit bull people dump their dogs because they don't understand what they have gotten themselves into, or chihuahua owners dump their dogs because they think they are cute and don't poop or eat or need care. I mention these two breeds, or more accurately mixed breeds because I seem lots of them at the shelter every time. Dogs are not something that should be dumped if they don't live up to one's expectations. They are noble beasts, who would give their very lives for their owners. 

So, in regards to the pit bull attack and death of a six-year-old within the last few days in the Bay Area--surely you will not expect what I am going to say next. I admire people who adopt pit bulls and raise them. Kristen Johnson has a pit bull that she loves. Many people have pit bulls that are fine dogs and they trust them. On the other hand, I think a lot of people have no idea what they are getting into when they get these dogs. The child in this case was riding the pit bull like a horse. The father and mother were not present. This is bad parenting, not necessarily bad dog raising. Nonetheless, the dog was put down as one would expect. The owner was a police officer. What an idiot. I admit, I don't entirely trust pits. I think pits and children are a bad idea. Nevertheless, if you have a pit that is a great dog, bless your trust, your humanity, and your luck.

Sunday, April 21, 2013


Lulu, our dog, is 11-years-old now, Shelley Baker Bridgman, a high school friend, has a dog 18-years-old--wow! I can notice Lulu's age catching up with her. Her face is a little whiter, she tires more quickly, and doesn't chase balls with much gusto.
As our pets age, they begin acting a little goofy sometimes. We had a cat that became impossible. Her habits became so anti-social that we had to transfer her to the garage. She died not long after. It was a shame, but her behavior no longer suited the inside spaces.
Pearl, a good-natured lab mix, got so gimpy, she couldn't stay clean. She was covered with feces and urine. I think about the day we took her into be put down... My wife was crying, I was distraught, and instead of staying with her, we just dropped her off. If I had it to do over, I'd change that.
Poor Geoffrey, a two-year-old Scottie we got to be with Pearl, only harassed that poor old dear with his constant nipping. He reached his end due to the loss of use of his back legs. He could drag himself about--that was it. I took him in and sat with him when they put an end to his life.
Now, our first dog we owned as a couple, Maurice, took his death in stride. A sufferer of heart disease, he strolled down our long driveway at a slow pace as if to run away. I think I called him, startled him perhaps, and he dropped dead on the spot.
We have suffered the deaths of rabbits--this rabbit chased the cat--Lucky, the unluckiest parakeet in the world, turtles, hamsters, and a finch, in our years as a couple and parents.

Now Lulu is 11, but she seems to be holding up pretty well. I don't think her eyesight is very good anymore, she seems to be underfoot a lot. And she won't hang out in the kitchen when people are cooking lest we set off the smoke alarms--yeah, no cracks about our cooking... She is very attentive to us, and to her home--guarding it. We don't take Lulu for walks much anymore. She tires and sometimes gets gimpy, but could her nails just need clipping? We've never had to cut dogs nails before, so this is on my list of things to do, get her nails clipped. She still chases about our fairly large yard without much of a slow down. There are squirrels, rats, birds, lizards, gophers, frogs or toads, etc. to chase.
Lulu has probably slowed down as much as I have slowed down. We are both kind of gimpy after a hard day. My wife is going to take another crack at getting Xena (our daughter's dog) into a therapy dog program. We make noises about adding another animal to our little extended pet family.
Maybe I have one dog left after this one. In other words, our next dog can easily outlive me. Perhaps, I have two dogs left in me. But let's face it, our pets are wonderful friends, family members, and like our stories about how old, deceased Uncle Charley used to say "Cheerio" before when he said goodbye, we will remember how Maurice once stole a stick of butter and ate it,  how the kids would sit on Pearl, or how Geoffrey was impossible to catch when he ran off.

Enjoy your pets while you can.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

When I Squeak, People Listen!

No one seemed interested in my squeaker blog. How was I to know that large breasts, squeakers, breast inserts, squeaky inserts, etc. etc. were passe? Come on. I'm old and not up on current trends. I had no idea large breasts were of no interest to animal lovers, well except for maybe cow lovers. Oh, this is udderly ridiculous.

Anyway, since last I wrote, I truly am retired...and old. We have grandpets. Pictured is Xena. We watch her sometimes. She is my oldest daughter's dog. Sometimes Xena comes with my actual granddaughter, Anika. This is great fun. We've watched Moo as well. Moo is my youngest daughter's dog. And sometimes, Moo comes with Holly, our other granddaughter.

Watching dogs and grandkids is great. You can walk them both. Buy them things.

Here's the deal, sometimes all I've really got is grandkids and granddogs. I'm happy as heck to sit around the house, petting the dog, or watching the dog, or the grandkids. Life isn't all that complicated,

I got to stop overthinking.

Friday, March 22, 2013

MAJOR PROBLEM PLAGUES THE DOG WORLD! Your dogs are being cheated by poorly-made squeakers.

Breast implants!

So, you bring home a dog toy for your best friend, little Rover, and before you know it, the squeaker in the toy is broken. How is this fair? The booming dog toy industry is making a fortune off you and your pet by placing poorly-made squeakers in dog squeaky toys. 
Is this your dog after his hard-earned squeaky toy breaks?
Ms. Van Peltz.
A victim of greedy dog toy makers.

Fight back! Mona Van Peltz, a former victim of poorly-made inflatable breast inserts, has started the group, Keep Our Squeakies Squeaking (KOSS) to fight this crippling problem.
Ms. Van Peltz is tried of being ripped off for dog toys and think you should be too. Please join her by sending in your donations, any amount is welcome, to the author of this blog. Remember, make your check out to KOSS--Frank Criscenti. Someday we will no longer be afflicted by non-operational squeakers. Do it today so we can end this problem ASAP.

Saturday, March 2, 2013


I've been gone awhile. So, I want to post something. You will get gripes, kudos, maybe something humorous, and perhaps an almost unrelated dream or two.
We had granddaughter and grand-dog care this last week. Always fun. The pictures here are Lulu. Xena, a black, long-haired retriever, a large medium-sized dog if you will (50 or 60 lbs) was staying here. She is cuddly, friendly, and really wants to be a lap dog. She is pretty gentle if a tad clumsy. 
We have a decent sized back yard for a dog or two. There's a gentle hill behind us, critters, and bushes to run through and dirt to dig in. The dogs run up the hill to bark at the dogs on the other side of the fence, run back down the hill to bark at the people who are irresponsible enough to walk on the public street, and back up the hill to bark at any squirrel, blue jay, or chickadee that dares enter their yard.
Inside, our house is long. Running from our back bedroom to the front window to bark is a mad dash, running down the hall, a slide on our poor hard wood floors and either a look under the picture windows at the side of the living room, or as you see here, a look, bark, and whine at the walkers. I might mention, there are a lot a dog things to stare at out the windows. Those dog walkers, joggers and walkers, bicycle riders, an occasional horse and rider, cats, birds, skunks, and possums.
You know what, I love the sound of the galloping through the house. I love yard patrol those dogs put in. In no way am I a fan of the digging, but well, they are dogs.

I will tackle pit bulls once again. For any fans of these dogs, I have caved a little. You want a pit bull, feel free. They are not my particular favorites. They are overbred. Too many get sent to the pounds. And, while I see pit bulls and interact with them personally fine, professionally they are a pain in the ass. Let me explain this. I was a mailman for a good many years. I did not tolerate loose pits. I don't trust them. Don't now. Never will. And a pit bull that gets loose, whether it is when the owner opens his front door, or when the dog escapes a fenced yard or garage, they are not under an owner's control. I hate that, and whether anyone wants to admit it or not, pit owners have a duty to protect the public from their dogs from really injuring someone. Many pit bull owners think they can allow their dogs to roam without controls. Technically that is true as long as the dog is in a fenced yard or in the house, but hey, pit bull owners, once you open your door, once that dog jumps or digs out under a fence, you are not in control of the dog.

I will guarantee you that every day this happens to a mail carrier in the U.S. He or she comes to the door with a package or letter to be signed. The customer brings their barking dog to the door (it's worse if the dog doesn't bark, much scarier) the door opens and there is a dog going crazy right at the carrier's feet, The carrier changes first white, then red, and then he or she starts chewing out the customer. If it is a pit bull that charges out the door, the carrier could be in trouble. If it is a girl scout selling cookies...

Sorry guys, I will never be a fan of these dogs. I feel sorry that any dog suffers mistreatment. In this situation though, I fear people still don't care to understand the danger. If you are one of those great pit owners, sorry to offend. You are doing a great job, but realize, no matter what, the best dog is still at heart an animal with instincts. 
Again, if your pit is sweet as pie and would not hurt a flea, God bless your great work. But I would never have a pit or pit mix around my grandchildren.

Finally, through the years I have had this dream several times. I think I had it just the other night. We raised chickens for awhile when the kids were little. The raccoons got them I think. Anyway, I dream that we are keeping chickens again, or other birds, and sometimes other small animals. I dream that either I, or some other person has not fed these birds for months at a time. They are living in a big coop, and while sometimes in the dream I find some dead creatures, most are living still--kept going by poking around through the scattered seeds they make such a mess with during the good times, when they were being fed.

Most of the time I get my dreams. When I used to dream I was crawling on a path in Yosemite, I knew it was because of my back injury and my fear that it might cripple me. 
Now, last night I dreamed I lost a very personal piece of human equipment. Yes, I mean personal, like it had been cut off and it was in my pocket. Freud would have a field day with that one I suppose. I sure as hell hope that will not be a recurring dream.
Peace all. Remember, area shelters have a lot of dogs. If they don't have the one you want one day, try going a different day. Try going to a different shelter. Also there are great organizations like Baja S.A.F.E. run by great people like Isabelle Ann Tiberghien. 

If you see a dog you like on her site, you may be able to adopt that dog and have it sent on to you.
They can always use donations as well. It is safe and easy to donate to these guys.

Sunday, January 20, 2013


This is our dog, Lulu. She's older now, about 11 and she has taken to peeing in the wrong places to note her disapproval of us locking her in the bedroom if we go away--she pees on our bed. She's apparently fed up with car rides--she pees in the car. And, most recently, when her "cousin" Xena showed up for us to keep this week, she peed on Xena's dog bed. Xena is my daughter's dog.

So we have a rotating pack of three mutts racing around this house at any time. Xena, Moo my other daughter's dog, and Lulu. Our backyard is larger than the kids. We have critters--squirrels, skunks, raccoons, rats, mice, birds, and possums. They chase up our hill, then down to the gate by the front yard and back, perhaps to check the gate at the other side of our house. They run behind the bushes, and sometimes they come out smelling like rosemary or lavender, two herbs growing in our yard.

They race and bark as they run through the house to look out the front window at any passing human walking their dog. This demands barking, whining, running to the backroom, only to come charging back to the front for another grumble. It can be canine chaos whenever two dogs gather at Grandma and Grandpa's. (I admit, my own dog leads the others in this behavior.)

I'd like to say this noisy behavior bothers me, but in general, it doesn't. While Lulu is not a particularly social animal, she reluctantly suffers her company, and even can be caught joining in a game of tug of war with Xena. Sometimes, Xena will put her black furry face in mine in the middle of the night to check my wakefulness. A warm tongue in the face usually does the trick. Yes, I was awake.

So, the point? These three former pound puppies are always welcome. They join us here, all, for holidays and functions. They're family after all.

Perhaps the one of the things my wife and I can be proud of creating in our children and hopefully our grandchildren, is the love of dogs. It couldn't hurt.