They Call Him Fluffy

Every dog has a signature move.

They have some weird quirk, or funny game, or strange physical ability.  Every single one.  If your dog doesn’t, it just means you haven’t noticed it.

Riker, our two-hundred-pound Anatolian shepherd was, literally, a big crybaby. 

He cried when he wanted love.  He would lay in the living room, look as pitiful as caninely possible and weep and wail.  He also cried at night when he went to bed, until I went over and tucked him in with his blanket and gave him a goodnight kiss.

Yeah, he wasn’t spoiled at all.

But the big payoff was when you went over and showed him some love, he would actually purr.  Like a sofa-sized kitty.  Purr.

When we go on walks, Crowley, our current pup, has one of the nuttiest moves I’ve ever seen.

He’ll take a few steps, lower his left shoulder, and drop like he’s been shot.  Then he lays there, on his side, and laughs while looking to see if I’m watching him.  If it’s not 1000 degrees or I’m not in a rush, I run over and make a huge fuss over him, “Oh poor Crowley fell over!  Whatever shall we do?”  He thinks the whole production is hilarious.

Our boy, at 4 months.

Turns out, it’s the actual technique for stuntmen to fall dramatically and also something the army teaches for hand-to-hand combat.  I’m not quite sure how Mr. Crowley Pants learned it, but I’m seriously thinking about trying to get him a gig as a self-defense instructor.

 All the love and knowledge that I have to show my dogs came from the original dog; Fluffy.

We got him when we lived in Puerto Rico.  He was the surprise love child of a chow and a Borinquen terrior, which was the colloquial term for a mutt of indeterminate lineage.  He and I would sit on the curb, watch the world go by, and share a Charms pop (I took a lick, he got a lick…).

My big brother Homer who was also stationed in Puerto Rico adopted Fluffy’s brother.  Unlike his black, extremely hirsute littermate, Eric was short-haired and as red as Opie Taylor’s tresses.

Just like that.

As for Fluffy’s move, he jumped.

He didn’t leap into swimming pools like those frenetic pooches you see on ESPN when there are no human sports to televise.  He didn’t jump over felled trees and across brooks and streams like National Velvet.

From a sitting position, he would leap straight up.  If you held a piece of cheese as high as you could, he would vault toward the ceiling, grab the nosh, and land again into a sitting position.  And all in the blink of an eye.

My dad is 6’4” and his reach is somewhat north of eight feet.  No sweat for Fluffy.  That dog would make Zion Williamson weep with jealousy.

He had one other odd “talent”.

In San Diego, we lived in a house with a chimney.  In that chimney was a beehive.  Periodically a bee would fly out of said chimney.  The first time we saw it after we moved in, Mom freaked.  She was just about to call an exterminator when Fluffy walked over and caught it and ate it.

We were afraid he’d get stung and swell up and get sick.  Never happened.  The dog just loved the taste of bees.  And for the entire time we lived in that house, Fluffy never missed one.

That dog and his insect predilection would have come in very handy a few weeks ago.  Instead of stinging me more than twenty times, Fluffy could’ve just gobbled them up.

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It’s a Doggy Dog World (and we’re just living in it)

2016-05-06-22-32-45The Kid has a rescue dog; a beautiful little husky (we think).  Her name is Bella, and she has eyes the color of a Luna moth’s wing.

She really is the sweetest thing, but dumb as a box of soup and a tad squirrely.  She also should switch to decaf as soon as possible.  I’ve never in my life seen a dog with more energy.  There is no off switch.

The Kid is in Chicago this week.  That means we have grand-dogger duty.  With Bella in the house, there’s never a dull moment.

You should witness my child around any dog.  There is squealing, baby talk and high-pitched cries of “Puppy!”

They’re the only thing The Kid gets squishy and sentimental over…

But the response is entirely to be expected.  Aside from time taken to mourn lost companions, we’ve had dogs almost our entire marriage.  When we brought The Kid home from the hospital, our seven-year-old chow, Harry met her outside in order to minimize any territorial instincts.

Harry was somewhat different.  The night we brought him home, our puppy hid under the bed for three days.  He was so skittish and easily startled many of our friends called him Scary Harry.  It was pretty apt—among many other things our boy was literally, no foolin’, afraid of ice cream.  Even the kind made specifically for dogs.  We think maybe his mom drank heavily while pregnant.

While this looks like Harry, it is not him.  The only photos we have of him are of his butt, as he ran away in terror.  He was afraid of cameras, too.

On my 21st birthday Petey gave me Harry.  Seven years later he had the meet & greet with our brand new baby in the driveway.

He watched over his little person, and taught that little person to love dogs, and treat them kindly.

When The Kid was in Kindergarten, we lost our Harry.  Six months went by and we decided it was time to share our lives with a four-legged again.

The doggy gods were smiling upon us the day we met Steve.OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAEven though he looked like a text book Akita, we’re pretty sure that he was a 105 pound heart, wrapped in a doggy suit.  He was the gentlest dog we’d ever had.

If there were children playing outside, and one of them screamed, regardless the reason Steve had to go outside and do what looked like a head count to make sure all of his children were safe and sound.  Once he adopted a roly poly bug.  He kept it for three days until he loved it to death.

Steve and I had a game where I would do an imitation of a dog growl.  We would slap our hands/front paws on the floor in a mock attempt to catch each other.  All the while he would be doing his best imitation of my growl.


He was a goofball who indulged my every odd whim.  He’d do anything to make us smile…

The day before he died, he was so weak, but he still made his best effort to slap my hand and growl my growl.  I think he didn’t want to disappoint me.  His whole life long he never disappointed me.  It’s been ten years, but thinking about him still breaks my heart.

Dad and Riker.png

My dad and Riker.  To give you an idea of the size of our pooch; Dad is 6’4″.

Now we have Riker, who’s named for a character in Star Trek.  He’s a 200-pound Anatolian shepherd with sweet, caramel-colored eyes.  When you scratch him behind the ears, he honest-to-goodness purrs.  He is the most loving pooch we’ve ever owned

We all think, with dogs, that we’re in charge.  But if you serve someone breakfast in bed, and clean up their lawn bombs, it doesn’t matter what you think.  That dog is your boss.

And then to top it off, we go and let them use our heart as a chew toy.snuggy-buggy-riker



She broke him.


Thanks for your time.