MASKS DON’T SCARE ME

I keep watch and I keep cheerful. I bark at suspicious people from inside our watching place. Masks don’t scare me. But, when people don’t keep their distance, and we are walking, and someone comes up behind us and tries to squeeze in between us and other people, I might jump on them. Last week, I jumped on someone wearing orange pants. He came WAAAAY too close to us and you didn’t like it one bit. I had to show him what happens when he doesn’t keep six feet away, but he didn’t slow down. I think he knew he had done something wrong.

We’ve been walking a lot lately. Even Daddy walks with us now. That is doggone great. When we’re all together, I don’t have to put my paws up on Daddy’s lap to remind him it’s time to go out. There are a lot more dogs on the street than I ever saw before. I like all the good sniffs they leave. Wowee.

We have just as much fun as always, except I really miss going to work, giving therapy to other people.

Advice from Oliver: Wear your mask until further notice. I love you all and don’t want any of my fans to get sick.

OLIVER SPEAKS FROM HOME

IRIS, MY SISTER, PRACTICING SOCIAL DISTANCING
It’s very dark in there. She likes it that way.

Hello, my dear friends, I don’t think you’ve heard about Iris and Daisy, but they are not as sociable as I am. You can see Iris in the photograph above. She is hiding under the covers. She likes it there but you would never catch me under the covers. That’s because our progenidogs come from different climates. Our continents divided us. Mine was Europe as in Scotland. Hers was Africa as in Rhodesia. But now we live in America. We are immigridogs.

This enforced isolation is very hard on me and on my family. We are doing our best. We have had to cancel more activities than you can shake a stick at, and you know how much I love shaking sticks. No more airport. No more children. No more University. No more scarves that show me off as who I am, a therapy dog. No more showing off period–just walks outside in the air with a friend who can’t hug me or anyone else. I love our friends. I am grateful we can smile all over each other and wag our tails.

But, this means you will stay home more and I will stay home more and Daddy will stay home more. We will straighten and clean and read and write and listen to music and all those wonderful things we really do love to do. So it’s going to be okay!!

We are very lucky to have kibble in our bowls and a warm place to sleep. It’s okay to have less to do.

Advice from Oliver: We still have love. We can fill any cart with that.

THE MOST FUN THING: My snow ring

SNOW ON MY NOSE

After rubbing my face over and over making little tunnels on the lake, I made snowballs in a thick delicious ring around my nose. Running and rolling in the snow is my most fun thing.

Today we invited a cute little hound named Wanda to go running on the lake with us. She looked fast, but she was kindof a scaredy-dog.. Her parents were very surprised to find out I am seven years old. If I didn’t run around outside so much, Wanda would have kept up with me, but I ran circles around her and she couldn’t keep up. Fresh air keeps me young.

I have long hair, so I don’t need a sweater or jacket. Just fur–my own long silky fur. I am plenty warm.

On Valentine’s Day, we went to the airport and I set a record for myself. I let 244 people pet me. I have a lot of valentines, the most ever in my lifetime. Then it was time to go home, At home, I lay on the floor for awhile, but you said we needed to go outside to play with our favorite girl dogs named Iris and Daisy.

They are part of our extended family. They are bigger than I am, but, oh, Dog, do we ever have fun running around and chasing after each other. Rhodesian Ridgebacks are really fast. Iris thinks she’s a kangaroo, but Daisy knows she’s a dog. Together we are a trio of tricksters, leaping over each others backs (Daisy and Iris) and barking and nipping at heels (me).

Advice from Oliver: You could look as handsome and happy as I am if you went outside every day and played in the snow.

The Regulars at the Airport

Me and Mom and one of our many friends who love me

We had so much fun at the airport today. Oh, dog, I love going there. You and Dad put on your special green vests and badges and put me in the back with a backpack. We drive for awhile and then we find the exciting valet parking where there’s a lot of pounding. I have a lot of barking I have to do when the woman comes and shines her light and mirror inside the car and all underneath. I let her know I’m the one in charge and you tell her, “We have a dog in back!” When she’s done making sure we’re safe, she lets us proceed into the parking lot. I bet you want to know who the other regulars at the airport are:

Security: My harness sets off the alarm, but they usually pet me down. You and Dad have to hold up your arms and go through a big machine. I watch you patiently until we get together again. You always pet me and give me a treat. I love you. You love me.

Volunteer room: So many people there want to love me up, but first I have to drink from their big water dish. I drink it dry. You sign in and get a clicker to count how many people we see. Someone brings us chairs out to the North Rotunda where we like to be. I like the feel of the cold tile on my body because I have a lot of fur and I get hot. There are a lot of people who smile and laugh at us. That’s why we come. We all get happy.

Pilots: They pretend they’re not going to stop at our station, so they pass right by me, stop in their tracks, turn around, lean over and scratch me behind the ears. That’s my favorite spot and they know it. You give them one of my business cards and they prance away just like the white horses on your blanket.

TSA agents: They smile all the way across the rotunda when they see me. They bring sunshine. “Oliver! I’ve missed you!” they say and walk very fast right toward me to give me some love. I wag my tail a lot and sometimes I lie down and roll over to let them scratch my very private belly.

Passengers: One man who came to the sign that says, “Animal Ambassador, Pet me,” pet the poster with the picture of the dog with one ear sticking up instead of me. He was very funny. Then, after you looked at him and laughed, he decided to pet me too.

One man and woman had an English sheepdog that they showed us on their phone. He’s black and white ands about my size. He herds lawnmowers. He bites their tires and makes them go back in the garage. What a smart dog.

Children: My favorite, especially the ones that still have peanut butter and jelly on their faces. When they sit in their strollers, it’s easier to sniff their mouths to find out if there’s any left. I make them giggle and pet my face.

Airport Police: Today, you asked one if he was one of the mean kind that wouldn’t let people slow down to drop off passengers, and he said no and you said good. I saw that you were smiling, but I don’t think he understood you like I do. Poor man. He didn’t stay long, but he scratched me all over when you weren’t looking. He keeps us all safe so I like him.

To get this photograph of me and you and the wonderful man who drives a cart, an entire family helped. I do not like pictures. I turn around so you can’t see my face. You tried to trick me with treats, but I know how to eat the treat and not look into the camera. A very nice family of father, mother and tall son all stood in front of us and made us laugh. They stayed until you were satisfied with the picture.

I was petted by 161 people. When we came home, we took a nap. You slept for a long time under a big thick grey blanket with horses on it. Dad took me for a walk on the snowy sidewalk while you slept.

Advice from Oliver: When you go to the airport, be nice to the TSA agents and all the other people in uniform. They are some of my best friends and they are very soft and mushy and silly inside.

SNOWSHOEING AT OLD PINES ON SOLSTICE

       

We went snowshoeing on the lake this morning and then again at sunset. Sunset was at   4:26 p.m, a red streak across the lake. I ran after you and Dad and had to stop to bite sticks and snowbits that iced up between my pads. I wrote some doggerel. Read it aloud for special effect. 

SNOWSHOEING ON THE SOLSTICE

    I ran and ran, my pink tongue wagging,

   along with my tail, my body was bragging.

I had to stop to bite off bits; 

between my paws were icy chits.

I bit a stick, a stick I bit,

my favorite snack is well-bit stick.

I bit your snowshoes.

You waved your poles.

We all pressed forward making snow-holes.

Crossing the lake with shoes, poles and paws,

deer families before us

had  just as much cause.

All our patterns are very pretty.

The sky was singing its streaky, red ditty.

         This day was ours to chase and prance

to share the air in an outdoor dance.

         Advice from Oliver: If you snowshoe on the solstice, make it fast.