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.