He looks innocent and it’s true. He was. Once. But that was a brief and precious time. Biscuit has ingested a lot of things I would never taste. He licks up hair and fuzz from the carpets. He noses into the wastebasket and snatches whatever he wants before you can stop him. Yukkydoggy.

He fooled you, didn’t he? Now you have to keep him forever. He won you over but I was never fooled. Now that we all know what he has inside that sweet little fuzzy brain, I have been furtively instructing him how to get treats. Slippers, shoes, dishtowels, sweaters, just about anything loose…my specialty. We are both quick. You didn’t even notice this morning when we grabbed your good sweater and played tug with it in the living room.

Our friend Sylvia called it. She said Biscuit is my accomplice. I have taught him how to run away as soon as you call him. How not to sit when you say sit. I’ll explain: he was sitting so well and you kept loving him up. Well, he was outshining me and so I had to teach him not to sit. I sidled up and wagged my tail and now he doesn’t sit when you ask him to sit. What a fast learner.

It seems that our friend Lucy gave you a puzzle. You couldn’t wait to open it up. I put my paws up and had a look myself. It said New Yorker on top. I can read, of course. The puzzle box showed snow everywhere and people playing and shoveling and bringing Christmas trees on toboggans and in the back of trucks and beautiful green wreaths everywhere. There were no Menorahs, of course, because this puzzle was from 1984 when religious freedom was just a notion. Everyone c celebrated Christmas, and it seemed so simple. People trudged through the snow, their arms laden with gifts. Oh, so beautiful and happy. You tore open the puzzle wrapper and dug right in, playing “Silent Night” on the radio.

Biscuit lay at your feet. You thought he was keeping you company. I knew better. I’ve seen him eat gravel and acorns. He was sneaky. They must have been delicious. Look at the puzzle. Can you spot the pieces Biscuit chewed raw?

Advice from Oliver: Do not be fooled by sweet looks. Those loving eyes can be loaded with mischief.


My first horse, Cricket

Yesterday, I went to a farm belonging to a very nice person named Ellie. She let me go into her barn and meet Cricket, a good horse. At first I thought I was supposed to work there. Since I’m a sheepdog, I’m always ready to round up the herd. I wanted to herd her, but you explained she didn’t need to be herded, so we walked together peacefully all around the pastureland: Cricket, led by Lucy, her best friend, you and I. We were a beautiful foursome. Cricket is my first horse. I wasn’t sure about her at the beginning. I’ve never known a horse before, but now I like everything about her. I like the delicious way she smells. I like her beautiful eyes, outlined in white. I like her big feet. I like her red coat. I like her long swishy tail that has grass at the bottom. She is a glamorous Arabian. If I lived closer to her, she and I could talk dog/horse talk. That’s a language we would develop over time. I wonder if she could outrun me.

When we left the farm, there was a committee of four to say goodbye: two goats, a llama, and a mule. I had a great time. Biscuit was too little to come. He stayed home. Maybe next time. We’ll see.

Photographs courtesy of Cricket’s best friend, Lucy.

Advice from Oliver: It’s never too late to meet a horse. I’m eight years old and I have a very open mind.


Okay, I admit it. He’s my new best friend. 

At the beginning, I had my doubts.

He thought my tail was dental floss.

A few warnings and he quit. He learns fast.

I am very happy we have Biscuit. 

We play tug.

He cleans up after me when I drop treats

from my mouth. 

Maybe I can teach him to bring in the paper and mail.

He keeps us company on my early morning walks.

He sits outside on the deck with me and

we guard the perimeters together.

He’s almost up on the window seat

where I will share my favorite spot with him.

We’ll see how that goes.

Life without him was wonderful, but I like this too.

We haven’t been left alone yet.

He likes classical music when he naps in his crate.

Stephanie has brought many, many toys for Biscuit,

and he and I have been destroying them one by one.

Disappeared are a one-eyed red octopus,

a snow-man with a tempting scarf, several stringy thingies,

and lots of other things I can’t remember.

Advice from Oliver: Change can bring opportunity. Take Biscuit, for instance.


A lot has happened in our lives. It’s been very hard to write. You and Dad have spent a lot of time crying. Sometimes, your voices get very loud and then you cry some more. I don’t know who needs me more–you or Dad, so I go to my Daddy and put a paw up on his lap and look at him dolefully. He thinks we need to go outside, so he leashes me up and takes me out and, it’s true, it does make both of us feel better for awhile. Snow smells extra good when we walk outside. That helps too.

Your crying hasn’t stopped but it has diminished. (I have a very large vocabulary, in case you forgot).

We lost a human member of our family–my Uncle Josh. He loved me. I loved him. One of my predogcessors, Cedars, was buried with him. Cedars watched over Josh as long as he could.

I am an uncle to Biscuit, our new puppy, who came to live with us. I am learning to love Biscuit who is a little brown Beardie. He doesn’t play like a big dog yet, but I’m teaching him. He learns fast. He’s almost up on the window seat already, where we can look at the world together.

Biscuit is a happy spirit who makes us laugh. His whole name is Brown Biscuit, Liberty for All. He is way too small for me to crash around after him full bore around the house, but I keep trying anyway. I chase him, sliding around on the wood floor, and he hides under the dining room table, where he can’t reach me.


Biscuit shares his toys with me and I share my toys with him. We try to keep him in one place, but he is a very good climber, as you can see. Pretty soon, he’ll be able to climb over the gate.

Advice from Oliver: Humans need dogs and dogs need humans. We have learned to domesticate one another.

In the Convertible

As long as I’m with you, I am a happy dog. I’m even happier if we’re in the convertible where the wind blows through my Beardie “blowout.” A blowout is a special kind of windblown effect that some humans pay a lot of money to achieve. As far as I can tell, they look a lot like me after I’ve been in the convertible. I also like the feeling of freedom in my face with sky all around my ears. And green trees to watch faster than I can run. And grass to smell. And the sound of tires under my paws. It’s dogalicious to move through the air. I see birds who flap their wings when they’re on their way somewhere, but I don’t have to do anything except sit quietly in the back seat. I am a good dog in our convertible. Lucky dog. Lucky me.

Advice from Oliver: Hook up a ride in a convertible. You’ll feel about as good as you can possibly feel.