Welcome to The Levi and Cooper Chronicles. I'm the 'Cooper' and my baby brother is the 'Levi.' We're not siblings in the literal sense of the word. He's a miniature schnauzer and I'm a miniature poodle but our differences go far beyond our breed. You see, I'm the famous angel dog who blogs from the Rainbow Bridge. Well, not famous down on earth but up here in doggie heaven all canines get to do whatever we like and I like blogging. We dogaroons up here can also gaze down through the magic water under the bridge and keep tabs on our humans. Isn't that cool! After I discovered the magic water, I decided that little Levi---who got adopted into the family shortly after my departure from earth---could use a guardian angel. When he blogs he types in pink and when I put my two cents worth in I type in blue.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Houdini Dog

Levi should be renamed Houdini. He managed to escape between the four-inches-apart slates on the white, plastic fencing while Mom sat reading the paper only eight feet away. She thought he'd gained too much weight to fit through them so he was in the dog yard without his retractable leash on. Surprise! All that hair of his is deceptive.

He was gone five-six minutes after Mom noticed him missing and she went into a full panic attack. She did manage to grab the dog whistle and she alternated calling his name and blowing the whistle, forgetting to yell "come" as she'd been practicing with him in their mini training sessions. On her second pass through the back yard she found him chasing one of the robins he's been barking at since they came north. That boy is going to a sissified ornithologist when he grows up. He loves birds so much he even barks at the life-size polyresin owl who watches the house from the pine trees. Anyway, Levi came right to her and it was a good thing, too, because he was about to go up a hill too steep for Mom trail after him without having a heart attack in the process.

That afternoon Mom spent several hours putting plastic lattice work around the outside of her beloved white picket fence. Mom can fix anything with duck tape, bungee cords or electrical plastic ties. This job called for the ties and the left over material that was used to enclose the bottom of the deck, keeping out the wild animals---well, sort of. The rabbits have chewed themselves many access points of entry and departure. But I digress. Mom only had a cheap hand saw for cutting plastic so it took her forever to accomplish the job. Mom told Dad she'll probably have to put bricks at the bottom of the fence when Levi figures out that he could dig his way to the backyard bird sanctuary.

Speaking of digging, Mom got the patio stones down over my grave but my baby brother likes to dig in the soft dirt around the edges, so mom is going buy more of them to stop his chances of getting to my bones. But what if he keeps digging around the edges of the new row of stones and she keeps buying more stones? By the end of summer the dog yard will become a patio! And all because my grave is taking up a couple of feet near the garage wall.

Mom read something in a book about setting up a kid's sandbox for puppies to dig in. In theory you bury toys in the sand to get the puppies started digging in their only approved digging area. I'll have to ask around and find out if any of my new pals up here ever had their own sandbox. I'd hate for Mom to buy one and have Levi dig all around the outside of it instead of inside. She could fall over dead hauling bags of sand to the back of the house. Unfortunately, my dog-to-human telepathy doesn't seem to work from up here so I'm going to have to find another way to let her know what I find out. ©

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

We've Been Tagged!

We've been tagged by Petra! Here's how the game goes. Each player that is tagged answers a set of questions about themselves. At the end of the blog entry, the player tags 4 or 5 other dogs to play. Then they post their names and go to their blogs and leave a comment, letting them know they have been tagged and asking them to come read your blog for the rules and quiz. After answering the questions, you then go back to the person who tagged you and let them know you posted your answered the quiz.

1) What was I doing 10 years ago?
Me (Cooper): I was earning a living getting paid a quarter every time I'd go some where with my humans. My piggy bank stash came in handy, too, when I'd get to go shopping at the pet store.

Levi: Being just a puppy at 18 weeks old, I wasn't clear on where he was 10 years ago. So I consulted with my angel brother and found out that before Levi's birth he had been a wee little angel. Sometimes when puppies die too young they get another chance to find humans to love and be loved back. Time has no meaning up here at the Rainbow Bridge so there's no telling if he'd been up here a week, a month, a year, or 10 years.

2) What are 5 things on my to-do list for today?
Me: I want to pee on a hundred trees, snatch a steak off a grill, snooze in the sun, roll in deer poop, and check on my humans through the magic water at the bridge.

Levi: His to-do list is pretty much the same each day: sleep, play, pee, eat, chew and then start all over again.

3) Snacks I enjoy:

Me: I never met a snack I didn't enjoy. My favorites were Pupperoni Sticks and Pedigree Breath Busters.

Levi: His experience with treats is very limited. So far he's only got to try Old Mother Hubbard puppy biscuits and Iams Smart Puppy bits.

4) Things I would do if I were a billionaire:

Me: I would make sure all the dogs on earth had good homes with plenty of love.

Levi: He's probably buy a billionaire dollar's worth of rawhide chew sticks. That boy is having a hard time cutting teeth!

5) Three of my bad habits:
Me: This is going to sound like I'm bragging but I didn't have bad habits.

Levi: Barking, wanting to chase birds and chewing on Mom.

6) Five places I have lived:

Me: Before Mom and Dad got married I used to bounce back and forth between their two houses. My mom called Dad 'Doggie Daycare.' I lived in an apartment for a year after Dad's stroke and after that we had a brand new wheelchair accessible house.

Levi: He lived as a wee little thing up here at the bridge and was born to make sure Mom and Dad got a very special puppy when they needed one.

7) Five jobs I have had:

Me: Oh, my! I could never do the neat jobs that Petra did. I was awestruck by his creativity. I was a snowplower's companion, a clown, a singer, and a poodle stereotype buster.

Levi: He's too young to work. Right now his job is to pee and poop in the right place, play, eat, give puppy kisses, and look cute.

The dogs I tag now to answer this quiz are as follows. Have fun!

Hershey and/or Kaci
Bailey and/or Baxter

Monday, May 26, 2008

Have Tote and Truck, Will Travel

"Savor every moment in Saugatuck/Douglas, where the majestic dunes rise and the gorgeous sun sets over a decidedly unique and unspoiled town. The natural beauty of the lakeshore community will steal your heart and renew your spirit, as it has for millions of visitors since the early 1900s." That's what the visitors guide says about the place where Mom and Dad took Levi on his first day trip, and it's true what the guide says. Every time Mom and Dad go there and look out over the deep blue of Lake Michigan a level of peace comes over them.

Levi wasn't too crazy about sand but he sure liked driftwood and seagulls. And he liked the dandelions outside of the antique mall better than he liked shopping inside. It's a dog friendly place but I didn't like shopping there any better than Levi did, but I indulged my humans---as he will learn to do---because it's part of the ritual of going to Lake Michigan.

The day they went with Levi it was on the cool side, a perfect day to see how well he'd travel, Mom said. He did good, didn't upchuck his kibble or get out of sorts when he had to stay in his crate when they ate lunch at a quaint mommy/pappy restaurant on the outskirts of town. He peed and pooped in full view of the boardwalk lined with boats just as I had done many times.

Mom had fixed Levi a nice little area in the back of the Blazer for him to stay. It was covered with several layers of quilt and it had a fence of cardboard that kept him from wandering into the area where the wheelchair is stowed away. All and all, my folks were happy that Levi turned out to be such a good little traveler.

Back in my day of traveling, we always took my rolling dog house but that got sold after my dad's stroke because it was too big for Mom to want to drive. Too bad. Levi would have liked that. My angel brother up here, Jason, says I had it made. When he traveled with Mom and Dad they used a pickup truck and a tent. And when they traveled with Sarah, their first poodle, they traveled with just a pick up truck and they sleep in the back end. It did have a cap over the truck bed but there still wasn't much room back there. She told me a story about a time when they were sleeping at a rest area and a bat flew in the window of the cap. She was very brave and chased it back and forth, running over Mom and Dad, until it left the same way it came in. Jason, Sarah and I could swap travel stories all night and still not run out.

Ah, but back to the present day.... Mom gets a little crazy with it comes to canvas bags. She can't resist buying them and any old excuse will do. Like the one in the photo here. She bought it to tote all of Levi's stuff for when they go on day trips, to puppy classes, and visiting. It's actually one made for two legged babies but don't tell Mom. Sometimes she thinks Levi is a human baby. I had a regular little suitcase for my travel days, the same one Jason used for camping. It got packed first and taken out first so we'd always know we were included in the fun. That suitcase is an antique now and it still sits on a shelve in the closet with some of my old stuff still inside. ©

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

The Cost of Raising a Puppy

First Year:
422.94---Adoption day costs 4/25/08
048.88---First pet store purchases
078.38---First trip to the vet
050.00---Puppy socialization class fee
012.53---Kong toy and treats
005.59---3rd trip to pet store - Kony toy
013.99---Eagle Holistic puppy food
125.32---2nd Vet appointment, shots and vaccinations
018.01---Colossal playmate duck
337.80---Animal Emergency, hurt paw 5/17/08
009.99---Doggie day pack
004.91---Travel blanket
033.00---Grooming, puppy intro.---bath & pretend haircut
020.00---Dog license 5/20/08
003.49---Rope for training 'come' command
110.00---Obedience class fee
028.51---Bag of dog food and two bags of treats
028.74---Bag of dog food and two bags of treats---again
100.00---Fee for Puppy Obedience 101 class 6/08
004.99---Gadget to clip leash and Levi to stationary objects
041.00---Grooming---haircut, bath and blow dry 6/18/08
007.90---Grooming comb 6/22/08
004.49---Kong football for playing outside
303.74---Neutering, blood work and micro-chipping 7/30/08
006.24---Onsie to wear so he can't pull out his stitches
028.74---Bag of dog food and two bags of treats
006.85---Flea comb for combing schnauzer beard
010.00---graduation day photo, obedience school
022.24---Bag of dog food and untangling comb 8/13/08
021.90---Easy Walk Harness, on line
003.99---Blinker for collar to use at night
110.00---Adult obedience class fee 9/13/08
028.61---Large bag of dog food
010.99---Winter coat
008.99---Pet bath wips
037.80---3 sentinel tablets, flea and heart worm medication
011.67---Squeaker duck and puppy treats 10/5/08
010.00---Homemade dog treats, farmer's market
026.95---Furminator - grooming tool
045.00---Grooming appointment 10/14/08
006.00---Squeaker toy
033.98---Eagle Holistic dog food 10/10/08
010.80---Wellness treats and new stuffie toy
028.61---Large bag of dog food 12/10/08
003.59---Christmas neck scarf
010.98---Small bag of adult dog food to mix with puppy food
020.07---Large frog stuffed toy - 12/31
045.00---Grooming appointment
037.80---3 Sentinel prevention pills 01/03/09
006.98---2 bags of training treats
011.65---Pull toy for Levi's play dates
033.36---Dog food and a $5.99 fleece toy
037.80---3 Sentinel pills 03/03/09
015.49---training pouch for walks
160.60---one year vet check up with shots
$2,666.88 grand total spent for the first year in our puppy's life. This does not include the hat, bathrobe and two throw rugs Levi chewed up. We also had two cages and a dog bed left over from our previous dog plus assorted leashes and collars that we were able to recycle for Levi's use.


Another New Experience for Baby Levi

Today Levi got a pretend haircut at the grooming salon. It consisting of a bath, a blow dry and they ran the clippers over him with the guard on so it didn't take any hair off. The groomer also scissor trimmed his face and feet and Levi looked so cute. He did well, stayed calm and didn't bark or whine in the cage. He'll go back in a few weeks for a real haircut.

After his Saturday afternoon experience getting his paw hurt with Dad's wheelchair Levi recovered very quickly. By night he was back to normal, not limping or showing any signs of pain so Mom didn't give him any of the pain pills the emergency animal hospital sent home with them. The veterinarian at the hospital said that sometimes when puppies have their first experience with getting hurt they can get really distressed and overreact. That's what the little guy did. By the next day Mom could move the two toes in question around and it didn't bother him a bit.

Thursday he'll get another new experience---a day trip to Lake Michigan to get sand in his newly washed fur. ©

P.S. Mom tried to get a close up of Levi's new face cut but he doesn't cooperate with the camera.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Animal Emergency Care

My angel siblings here at the Rainbow Bridge and I have been on pins and needles for the past few hours while our baby brother on earth had his first accident resulting in a trip to Animal Emergency Care. Oh, my God Levi cried so loudly when he accidentally got his paw rolled over by our dad's wheelchair! And here I thought he was doing such a good job learning to stay a safe distance away.

When he tried to walk afterwards, his leg gave out on him and he went face down on the floor. It was SO hard to watch! He looked like a drunk every time he'd tried to take a step. In no time at all Mom whisked him from the floor and off they went to the hospital. A set of x-rays later and a lot of sympathy, Levi was back home in two hours, but not without getting a few drugs that made him act really odd-ball when he was leaving the hospital, pooping and peeing all at once and dragging his butt on the pavement. Mom was really scared! It was a reaction to the pain injection he was given and something else they gave so they could do the x-rays without him moving.

Mom took him home and he spent several hours in bed except for one slow-as-molasses trip to the living room to see if he could find Dad. Levi didn't have any broken bones but two of his toes are pretty sore and he'll be on pain pains the rest of the weekend, if Mom gives them to him. She's kind of afraid to after seeing his reaction to the pain injection. Later on, we all knew he was feeling better when he started chewing on his hospital blanket.

Watching this all unfold made me feel bad for Mom and Dad and guilty for all the times I was rushed off to doggie emergency when I was a puppy. Once while I was in my time-out cage I managed to get my flea collar off and eat everything but the buckle. Once I ate a cork coaster, and one time I got my leg and belly burned. That time, my dad had put a cup of coffee on the floor and I thought it looked like fun to play in. So I stuck my paw all the way down to the bottom of the cup and then pulled it up quick to my belly. Mom put got me in some cold water and then off we all rushed to the animal hospital, me crying all the way. For a while there, the hospital people knew me on a first name basis.

Levi's pain will be short-lived, I know that. Like my angel brother Jason says bad
times teach us all to be more appreciative of the joys in life. But still, it doesn't seem fair that a helpless little puppy has to learn about pain at such a tender age. I think I'll mosey on over to Philosophy Square where the wisest of the wise old dogs up here debate the meaning of life, death and everything in between and beyond. Maybe they can help me understand why bad things have to happen. ©

Friday, May 16, 2008

Bad Boy, Bad Mom

Over night, my good two shoes brother turned into a bad boy in training. He found his voice. Literally. And he decided that barking is fun. It started in the morning after he'd been outside when he found Dad still asleep. Bark! Bark! Bark! Translation: "Get up and play with me." He was thinking if he couldn't get the canine-to-human mental telepathy going right, he'd try something more direct. But Mom intercepted his action, shooed him out of the room and then she played with him in the living room. "Fetch. "Drop it." "Good boy."

Later on, Mom was helping Dad with his shower and Levi was in the kitchen behind the baby gate when he decided to try out his new vocals again. She ignored him and he laid down to contemplate what he'd done wrong this time. His first venture into Barkland had brought Mom running and all things being equal, she should have come running again. He couldn't figure it out.

The afternoon brought more barking. The hole he tried to dig, the stuffie that wouldn't move, the cut green bean our dad dropped on the floor all seemed like barkable situations to little Levi. But the big-time barking party came at puppy socialization class. He talked to the other puppies and they talked back before they all got freed from their leashes.

During the question and answer time at class Mom asked how she should handle my bad little barking brother and the instructor told her to ignore him when he's barking during play. When he's barking and not playing she's suppose to distract him by calling him over to do a 'sit' or 'down' and then give him a treat.

The instructor admonished Mom when she found out that Levi isn't being crated at night. To defend herself, she tried to explain that he is crated in the car with no crying or whining and he's as good as gold when she puts him in the laundry room behind a baby gate at night and when our humans go away. Still, no excuse was acceptable. Mom told Dad on the way home that they are too old to lock a dog in a cage with no food or water. If something happened to her, it might be two days before anyone found them since Dad can't dial a phone or go get help. At least with free-feeding and no cage, Levi would have a chance. Bottom line: Levi is going to make Mom into a liar at the next puppy class or she's going to flunk out of puppy parenting if she doesn't lie. Poor Mom! She wants a well-mannered dog but she questions if there really is only one way to achieve that. Except for his recently discovered barking skill, Levi truly is a goodie two shoes so my money is on Mom doing it her way. ©

Photos from puppy class

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Humpy and the Vet

Yesterday Levi got his rabies vaccination and the rest of his puppy shots. He weighed 12 pounds 4 ounce---a gain of 2 pounds 2 ounces in two weeks. He's going to be a cow when he grows up! Mom says he's like picking up a Beanie Baby because he folds, bends and drapes as if he doesn't have a bone in his body. But he's still going to be a COW! A huge COW compared to all his poodle siblings up here at the Rainbow Bridge. The vet gave him a 'puppy love' neck scarf for being so brave---he didn't even cry when she plucked hair out of his ears---and mom got a bill for $125.32.

As if the little bugger didn't use up enough money from the metaphorical cookie jar, Mom took him to the pet store after seeing the doc and let him pick out a toy. The new stuffie was named Humpy because he looks like he was made for---well, you know. His butt is always in the air and he has a distressed look on his face. Levi likes him because he's got five squeakers implanted. He's addicted to squeakees.

Levi is trying really hard to figure out how to do canine-to-human mental telepathy and Mom is trying to figure out if he's doing it, or not. He is but he's sending his messages off into space without aiming them at any particular person. And you know what else that screwball does? He goes to the window, instead of the door, when he wants to poop or pee. Our angel sister up here at the bridge says Levi's misdirected telepathy reminds her of her time on earth. She says Levi is a space cadet like she was but our angel brother Jason says, "No, Levi's lack of skill is age-appropriate for a puppy." Sarah is sweet but she's still a space cadet. Most of the time we just humor her and her silly notions.

I'm signing off for now. Jason is on the orientation committee up here at the bridge and he's taking me along to greet a couple of newbies. We'll show them all around and make sure they find some friends so they won't ever have to be alone. ©

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Angel Puppy on Earth, Trouble Bubble in Heaven

I've been at the Rainbow Bridge just over two weeks now in human time. Up here, though, there is no such thing at time marked by weeks, months or even years. What is IS if you know what I mean. Mom and Dad still talk about me every day or I should say Mom talks and Dad listens because he can't talk since his stroke. She tells him stories about me as a pup and how much different little Levi is from me at the same age. They laugh and smile at the memories and pour the love on Levi that they can no longer give to me. I may be absent physically but I'm still presence in their hearts.

Levi is the perfect pup for them at this time in their lives. He is sweet and obedient and God knows I was anything but obedient. I was nicknamed the Trouble Bubble for a reason. Adopted at five-and-a-half weeks, I turned out to be a hell-raiser on four paws and didn't make an effort to get civilized until many months later when I had some sessions with a doggie shrink. (See this blog entry for details about Dr. Spock of Dogdoom.) But Mom and Dad were younger back then and they couldn't go through all they did with me again.

At fourteen weeks Levi was the last of his litter to find a home and many of the problems adjusting to living with humans that I had he never developed. He is so tender hearted that he gets his feelings hurt with the slightest reprimand and he takes Mom at her word when she says 'no' to things like chewing shoes laces and table legs. He also doesn't whine or cry when he has to sleep behind a baby gate in the laundry room or ride in a crate in the car. He accepts everything except the vacuum cleaner in his new world including the fact that he can't poop and pee in the house anymore. I'm bragging here but my baby brother even sent his very first mental telepathy message to our mom and she got it! He stood with his front paws on the window sill and kept looking back and forth between the view of the dog yard and Mom, asking her how he can get out there to do his job. Yup, God and I did a great job matching my humans up with little Levi.

Not that Levi is a perfect puppy. He has a stubborn streak about things like Mom's requirement that he not pull weeds in the dog yard and toss them in the air. And forget about the Fooey brand bitter tasting stuff she sprayed on the bark still left along the edges of the fence. Mom got some on her fingers and about gagged on her cookies when it got transferred by accident to her lips, but Levi likes it. He's also a puppy who loves to roll in the dirt and yesterday he discovered the joy of digging holes. Mom better hurry up and get those patio stones over my grave before Levi decides to dig up my bones.

Well, I'm off to my first Mother's Day party up here at the Bridge. I hear tell there will be grills set up where we can snatch all the hamburgers and hot dogs we want and there will be a champaign toast to our earth mothers everywhere. ©

Friday, May 9, 2008

Puppy Socialization

Man, I've got to quit watching Mom with Levi in the mornings or I'm going to get diabetes from the sweetest of it. At nap time he was laying on his back in her lap and she was holding his Kong puppy pacifier like a baby bottle for him to chew on. If that wasn't "cutesy" enough she was rocking him as well. If my uncle Jerry had seen that, he would have teased her with, "He's JUST a dog. He needs to go live under the porch like a REAL dog." Uncle Jerry likes to sound tough but he secretly has a soft spot for canines.

Little Levi went to his first puppy socialization class last night. He wasn't too sure he was going to like puppy kindergarten the first six-seven minutes. He hid under Dad's wheelchair when they let all the puppies off the leash but the instructor told Mom to let him stay there until he was ready to come out on his own. One other puppy---a tiny white Pekingese that came to class in a prissy pink carrying case and wearing a matching dress---hide from the action. The white puppy never did come out from her behind her mom's legs but once Levi ventured out of hiding, he had a great time playing. And as play time wound into full gear, under Dad's wheelchair became the 'time out' place for all the puppies. Some of the bigger breed dogs managed to get themselves soaking wet in the water bucket so Dad got slobbered good between happy kisses and wet paws in his lap.

Mom's not sure she likes the training method the instructor endorses of using food as incentives and only giving Levi three feeding times a day, picking up the dish a half hour later if he doesn't eat right away. Levi is doing well learning to fetch, sit, come, down and heel without using food incentives. Plus all of us furry kids' of Mom's up here at the Rainbow Bridge have been free feeders and she's not sure she wants to change that with Levi. He pretty much eats most of his food just before the roosters metaphorically crow and is ready to poop and pee when Mom gets up at eight. The rest of the day he lightly grazes a kibble bit here and there.

Mom forgot to bring her camera to puppy class. Like I've said before, she is an airhead sometimes. I wish she'd also remember to take some pictures of Levi pooping. He does it with his back to Mom and his little head hanging out between the white pickets of the fence. ©


Wednesday, May 7, 2008

National Stuffie Appreciation Day

In honor of National Stuffie Appreciation Day, May 8th, I'm sharing photos of Levi's and my stuffed toys. Levi is using all my old hand-me-downs. Mom says he can get some of his very own when he's old enough to go shopping on a leash.

This is the Blue family, Mr. Dippy Dog and Miss Teddy-Do. Mom likes the blue family because she can see them on our gray floors and Dad can run over them with his wheelchair and not get stuck.

When I was earth bound, I hated the White family, Mistress Lamb and Wacky Duck, because they were too noisy for my tastes but my baby brother loves to make them squeak and squeal.

Levi and Wacky Duck.

These are the Rainbow Buddies. Both of them were fun to play with and triangle was my very favorite stuffie. Today, Levi got his first lesson on retrieval with the rainbow ball. There is a bigger triangle in the closet but Mom is waiting for Levi to grow up a little bit more before giving it to him. I used to stick my head right inside of that triangle and Levi is trying to do the same thing with the little one.

This is a photo of my very first stuffie and it was taken on the day my humans brought me home for the first time. Can you believe it! They made me live in a cardboard box until I got housebroke. You can just barely find me in this photo. My eyes are in between the yellow and blue.

When I was three years old my Dad sent away in the mail for this Energizer Rabbit stuffie. He really did spoil me rotten. Mom sold it when they downsized, but there's still a little one packed away.

This is Dad's stuffie from when he was a toddler in the '40s. Boy, did Dad get mad when I tried to take him for a walk one day. Teddy lives in a glass cage now.

This is another of my dad's stuffies, Mr. Froggie. He won the green guy playing a carnival game called 'frog flopping' back when he and Mom were young. Dad would never let anyone play with Mr. Froggie either. He lives on a high shelf in the library.

These are Mom's stuffies from the '50s. They do things. One walks and one has a radio in its nose. The small one is into voodoo, he's full of pins.

This stuffie lives in the guest bedroom. I feel sorry for German Dog because no one plays with him. Mom says she rescued him from a flea market, so I guess the guest bedroom is a better place to live than a flea market. I hate fleas.

Happy National Stuffie Appreciation Day!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Monday, May 5, 2008

It's All Mom's Fault!

I shouldn't laugh at Mom. I really shouldn't but she can be an airhead sometimes. Yesterday she got up promptly at eight to take little Levi outside. Right away he peed and she got all happy-wiggly with him, human style, making him feel good for doing his job so quickly and in the right place. So far so good, right? Then she called him up the steps from the dog yard and he came but he didn't want to go in the house. He plunked his little butt down on the deck and here's where Mom made a big mistake. She picked him up and made him come in the house anyway and he promptly pooped on the kitchen floor. Levi is going to be SO confused if Mom doesn't learn to read his very obvious body language soon. Jeez, a blind monk on a mountain top could have seen that one coming. Hello! It was morning and he'd had another poop and pee free night.

Levi is getting five minute training sessions several times a day. He almost has it mastered to come when called, sit when asked and is no longer resisting walking on a leash...well, accept for when he wants to poop and Mom has her blinders on. Yesterday he even went to the door for the first time and sat down waiting for his leash to be attached so he could go outside. Fortunately, Mom saw him do it. Holly molly, she needs to find a better way for him to let her know its poop and pee time in the old corral---and quickly. She can't always be near the laundry room to see him sit patiently waiting for her to open the door. Oh, and add this to little Levi's list of accomplishments: he finally figured out how to go down as well as up the required three steps off the deck.

Speaking of corrals, when I was earth bound I never had an issue with my bathroom duty yard being covered over with shredded bark, but Levi does. He goes out there and tries to chew on every single piece of bark, all 300 pounds of them. Mom got so exasperated trying to dig bark back out of his mouth she finally took a rake and rounded up all the bark she could into one corner. That exposing the dirt which created another fun activity for Levi---rolling in the mud and getting himself tangled up in his retractable leash. He's so little that he can fit through the slats of the fence so he has to be leashed out there for now. I sure gave Mom a run for her money when I was Levi's age---I was bullheaded compared to him---but he's no slouch at creating his own brand of doggie drama.

Every day at tea time when I come to the Rainbow Bridge to check up on my humans, I meet the nicest canines doing the same thing. We laugh and cry with our families and trade stories about our time on earth, but not in a sad way. We are happy and contented here because even though our humans don't always know it, we're still with them in spirit. ©


Friday, May 2, 2008

Rainy Days and Sing-Alongs

Oh, my gosh, baby Levi has so many new things to learn. Today it was a lesson about rain. It was coming down very lightly when Mom took him outside at noontime and he acted like a kitten trying to wash its ears. First one paw, then the other came up and over his head, trying to brush the raindrops off his furry little head. He never did pee. He just parked himself at Mom's feet where he was getting some protection from the rain and contemplated what was going on in his newly expanded world. On his next trip outside it was pouring rain and the spoiled little puppy got an umbrella held over him. He still didn't pee but he discovered mud is fun.

Mom thinks it would be nice if people threw puppy showers the way they do human baby showers. There are so many new puppy things on her 'want list' including an electronic press paw door bell. Isn't that silly? I used to just stare at Mom until she'd have a moment of clarity and let me out. She also wants a doggie 'travel bag' for Levi's gear, another bed for the bedroom---if Levi ever gets potty trained enough to be trusted on the carpet---and a puppy rain coat. For a minute and a half she even wished for a doggie stroller until she remembered that it would be quite a feat to push our dad's wheelchair and Levi in a stroller at the same time. It never occurred to her that Dad could push the stroller while Mom pushes Dad. But, heck, he's a DOG. He should walk like a dog. Years before my time on earth, my human grandma used to tell Mom when she had Sarah: "Put that dog down! She's got legs." Sarah still laughs about that up here at the Rainbow Bridge.

Still, a stroller would have come in handy when our humans take Levi on day trips. He won't get to be the travel dog that I was but our folks still go to some fun places. Every week in the summers, for example, they attend an outdoor blue grass concert in the park and dogs are not an uncommon sight there---some even in strollers. The park runs along side of a jogging trail and lots of dogs and their humans stop mid-way along their trek to listen to the music. Me, I was never invited to go with them to the concerts because when I was earth bound I would have sung along with the people on stage. I was quite famous, you know, in the days when we used to give 'birthday grams' over the phone to everyone we knew. Dad would play the harmonica, mom would sing and I would howl HaaaPPPPyyyyy BirthDAAAAyyyy to YOOoooOOUUU. I used to sing with Mom and Dad a lot. Levi, being a schnauzer, won't be encouraged to sing I heard our humans say.

Speaking of music, I've got choir practice in a little while. The Rainbow Bridge Chorale is giving a performance tomorrow night. ©

Stroller photo: Petzip Urban Vague

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Goodie Two Shoes

Levi and his teddy.

Goodie two shoes---my new earth brother---finally did something to upset our adoptive mother. Or I should say it's what Levi didn't do that upset her. He didn't pee for twelve hours today and she was thinking he was getting sick from the vaccinations he got yesterday or from being outside last night in the frosty cold when she was trying to get him to pee before bedtime. Worry wart that she is, she called the veterinarian's office and they said, "No, the vaccinations shouldn't cause that to happen." And, "Are you sure you he didn't pee when you weren't looking?" (I was watching, too, and the little guy really didn't pee over night or in the morning.) "Is he acting listless?" "Is he eating?"

"He's acting the same way he has since we adopted him," Mom replied, "and he's eating well," to which the vet's receptionist advised Mom to call back if anything changes.

After hanging up the phone, Mom started worrying that her pop-can-turned-rattle with the pennies inside scared Levi TOO much when she'd caught him squatting where he shouldn't be squatting. It was the last time he'd tried to pee---before the twelve hour dry stretch---and she'd startled him so bad he'd stopped mid stream.

Finally, mom decided to give Levi some filtered water instead of the tap water in his dish and he drank like he'd been out on the desert for a week and promptly peed all over the kitchen floor five minutes later. Mom was so happy that she didn't even ball herself out for missing out on the action until it was too late to rattle the can or scowl him.

It's a good thing Levi is a good puppy and nothing like the trouble bubble that I was at his age. The veterinarian's phone would be ringing off the hook. ©

What do you mean blankets aren't toys?

Total trust, total comfort.