Our New Beardie Pal

Hello, all my fans and loved ones. Notice the little pup trying to upstage me? His name is Doyle, a nine-month-old puppy without a permanent home. Biscuit and I tried to ignore him at first. Then I mounted him.  He is beautiful so I thought that was the right thing to do. You shouted at me, “No, no!” so I stopped momentarily. Then I let Doyle play tug with my favorite toy. That was very generous of me. Next I knew, he was a part of our pack…Biscuit, Iris, Daisy and I, and…ahead by a tail, Doyle. We all chased around the yard, and Doyle was pretty speedy. After that, we three Beardies ran in circles around the log pile, behind the trees, around the house, circling the fire pit, making much bark noise. “Come inside!” you yelled after we had circled the yard ten times. 

I like puppies for a few minutes, but they make me quite tired. After we came inside, we slurped water from a stainless bowl and fell asleep. 

Doyle’s whole foster family wants him to live with us, but you say it’s too much work to brush and comb three Beardies. I say we are worth every brush stroke. I felt a hole in my belly when he jumped up in Stephanie’s car and left us. He’s gone now and you say Biscuit and I are enough.

Does anyone have a home for him? Beardies are adorable. How can you resist us? LMK if you want him (that’s an acronym for Let Me Know.) Remember I have a very large vocabulary, and I occasionally whip out my hip 2022 lexicon as well.

THE END OF SUMMER AND THE BEGINNING OF A NEW JOB

I love our new deck. I play with my pal, Biscuit, and watch the beautiful world go by. Biscuit has finally agreed that when the morning newspaper comes, I am the only one who can bring it into the kitchen. He used to try harder, but I growled and shook my head until you convinced him it was my job, not his. At least I think that’s what you said. Biscuit pretends to put up a fight, but I am the obvious Number One Champ at newspaper delivery and he respects that.

I had my tenth birthday, but no one gave me any cake. I overheard you mention it and it is on my badge that I wear to work: 8/12/2012. If you want, wish me a happy birthday anytime.

I was a beautiful puppy and now I am a handsome adult. You tell me that when you comb and brush my long hair. You say, “Oh Oliver, you are SOOO handsome!” and you stroke me behind my ears. I lie down and feel happy all over my bones. I will tell you a lot if you look into my eyes.

Biscuit and I are good cons. We went on an eating strike several months ago and would not eat anything. Now you feed us fresh ground hamburger every morning and every night. You stir in fresh kibble and cool it all off with chicken broth. You feed me first and Biscuit waits in the bedroom for his bowl. It is dog-licious. I drool all over the floor while I wait for you to set it down. Who is smarter…Biscuit and I or you?

We still go to the MSP airport and to the University of Minnesota where I get petted and look cute, and we also started working at Methodist Hospital. I get a LOT of attention at the hospital, mostly from the nurses who work there. They love me very much. We starred in the newspaper as new volunteers and there was a photograph of both of us sitting in the hospital hallway. I am positively magnetic. I don’t have to wear a mask, but you do. That’s because I’m a star and stars don’t have to wear masks. They never get sick and they never give sickness.

Advice from Oliver: Sometimes it’s okay to take advantage of your position in life, especially as you get older.

WE PASSED!!

Whew! Talk about stress. All these people were sitting around on chairs looking at me.

I did not like it. It was really hard to pay attention when you asked me to follow you around

and lie down when you told me to. I like to lie down when I feel like lying down which I

demonstrated right in the middle of the test. I needed to show them I could lie down. One of my

distractions was the distinct smell of bacon on the table behind the nice lady who kept telling us

what to do.

I wanted the bacon in a big way. That was a problem because you wouldn’t give me any. I am

used to getting treats when I do what you want, and sometimes even just because I’m so cute.

The third time you asked me to lie down, you smoothed the hair back away from my eyes and I

could see your eyes, and your eyes showed me love and patience and confidence that you knew

I was just kidding all along. I knew what to do. So I did it.

Now we can go back to the airport and back to the University of Minnesota, and well, just a lot

of places where I love to go sporting my special “North Star Therapy Dog” scarf and leash. You

wear your badge that says Pet Partners. I am your partner. I’ll always be your partner. I may be

nine years old, but we ain’t done yet.

Advice from Oliver: If you don’t pass the first time, you may need to go back to school to be a better dog. I know I did, and we’re better off for it. You gave me lots of treats and love afterwards, but you would’ve done that anyway.

We’ve Been Suspended

ME LOOKING FORLORN

This will be short: I’ve had to hang up my special scarf and leash for awhile. We’ve been suspended. I wouldn’t lie down on command during my re-evaluation for Therapy Dog re-licensure. No airport. No University. No official work with people to let them pet me. No distribution of my business cards. We hope this is a temporary situation. It better be. I will try very hard to do what everyone wants I can get what I want too. That’s what is called a woof-woof or win-win.

I know you are trying your best to help me pass the test. We are taking lessons from a very special teacher named Patti who makes you laugh. I remember her from when I was a puppy. I like the way she smells. Like bacon. Yes. She has it in the pocket of her vest. She gave you some today during class because you did something nice for her. I don’t know what it was. I’m only a dog and I don’t know everything. At least not people stuff. I know a lot about dog stuff.

Patti remembers me too. She is very patient. We take our test again soon. I am very sad, as you can see from my picture, taken with Biscuit and our dear friend Raven. I am getting help working through this period. Biscuit leaps and jumps all over me. He fights with me over sticks. You walk with me around the lake and sometimes you take me to a neighboring field where I can run free and forget it all. That helps me a lot.

All I can say is, we’re going to try harder to pass the test in March.

Advice from Oliver: Neither one of us likes to quit .I’ll keep trying as long as you do.

LIFE THESE DAYS

You and Dad are home all the time. I like it.

I have discovered that you pay a lot more attention to me than way back before Biscuit. 

Things changed. I don’t know why. We don’t see as many people. We walk outside and around the lake with one person at a time. I like them all. I still do not like skateboarders and I don’t like those people with long sticks on their feet or poles in their hands either. They could mean trouble. You tell me they’re okay, but I make my own judgments.

Speaking of trouble, sometimes Biscuit is a pain in the fur. I used to collect the mail from Tim. I’d get one treat, sometimes two, from Tim and then I’d bring it in the house and get another treat. I’d collect the morning newspaper and get a treat. I’d bring in funny-tasting boxes from a man in uniform and bring those in between my powerful jaws and get another treat. Life was one treat after another. That was many barks ago.

Times have changed. Biscuit jumps up and down and whirls around and bites at everything in my mouth. He tears and shreds all of these things. You don’t like the barking noise. You put in earplugs. You don’t like his attitude. Me, me, me.  My mail. My newspaper. My package. You have tried to teach him how to bring in things made of paper, drop them in your hand and get a treat. He is a slow learner in this department. It’s hard for you. I understand. Sortof.  You get a treat from Dad who calls Biscuit’s work “an assist.” I don’t agree with that but I’m not in charge, at least not about treats.

I like having Biscuit around—most of the time. Sometimes I don’t.  I have taught him many things, like making sure no one is treading on our perimeter. He’s doing very well in that department. I have also taught him to bark when we go downstairs to get ready to take a walk. You put those little things in your ears. I’m trying to teach Biscuit how to fetch, but he is not catching on. He has taught me how to jump on the bed. He’s good at it. But I’m better.

I know I’m really The Boss because I was here first. I have to let him know when he acts too woofy, like when there’s an especially delicious stick that one of us finds during one of our five walks during the day. I growl and act fierce, but he isn’t too impressed. It’s only when I snap at him that he pays attention, but it’s hard to do with a stick in my mouth.

Advice from Oliver: It’s good to fight for some things and ignore the rest.