To Ollie, What are the Terrible Giants in the Sky?

There are giants in the sky. There are big tall terrible giants in the sky. Or so Stephen Sondheim has informed us in his wonderful musical “Into the Woods” (one of James’ favorites). And so I would have James believe from the way I carry on from noises and bright lights up in the sky.

The continuous drumming sound that grows louder before becoming quieter sends me into a tailspin. Every time I hear the noise I begin to bark in response. It reverberates as if it is surrounding me, coming at me from every direction. Yet there is nothing visible. When I snuggle up to James for assurance, he’s always looking at the sky. I’ve figured out that it is way up high where these giants are making their noise.


Okay, so I was around ten months of age when James decided he needed to memorialize my reaction (he calls it my fear [see earlier post on Ollie’s fear]) to the noise way up high in the sky. James claims the sound is from airplanes. What’s an airplane? It’s interesting, but he keeps pointing at a speck in the sky, but the noise isn’t coming from where the speck is – the noise hasn’t gotten there yet. Now, it’s not that I don’t believe him, it’s just, well, sort of strange, if you get my drift.

Truth be told, I rarely bark. I mean, when I go to the kennel to play, some of the other canines are yapping their gobs off. I don’t get it. They keep yowling for no apparent reason. At least when I bark it’s for a reason. Take that white light that appears nearly every month in the night sky. James calls it the moon. It gets my pup up when it’s what he refers to as full.


That’s right – a full moon is one of the spookiest things in the world. As the daylight begins to fade, and the twilight shows its face, what comes up over the distant mountains but this big terrible giant keeping the dark of night at bay. How something that isn’t the sun can be so bright, I’ll never know. It’s like an overgrown baby sun.

Watching it poke its head over the horizon and begin to climb ever higher in the sky send me into a tizzy. We have these huge windows in what James calls the living room. This enormous globe looks like it’s not going to climb up into the sky, but come crashing into our home. I bark to warn James and Ron to take cover – the glowing goliath is on its way. Luckily, because of my howling, it keeps its distance. Of course, neither James nor Ron thanks me. Just sayin’.

See. Still no treat. What gives? Oh, James wants everyone to cut me some slack for being fearful when I was still a puppy. Now that’s sweet of him, don’t you think? Well, it was sweeter still for him to write a poem about airplanes, full moons, and me. We hope you enjoy reading it.


there’s a noise way up high in the sky
you cock your head towards the sound
there’s nothing to be seen

you know there’s something there
a small metal bird with propeller wings
flying lower easy to spot

yet sound travels slower
than the slight metal bird
so where you look
is not where it hovers
way up high in the sky

the distant light
on a clear night
appears even closer
it is so round and bright

you bark at the noise
from a speck in the sky
you howl at the light
from an orb in the night

do you imagine they hear your call
even though neither has ears

do the droning vibrations
irritate your senses or
are you trying to warn me from
the one-eyed monster in the lessening light

or is it simply something

driving this head movement
this unusual response
begun as fear at ten-weeks

yet now in your tenth month
I would assume
you would grow accustomed
to things like airplanes and full moons

Okay, so this was back when I was but a young whippersnapper. It only goes to show that I’m a normal canine – whatever normal means. Am I still afraid, one might ask? Well, of the unknown, sure. I’ll bark at strange noises and such. Wouldn’t you? My advice: until it is known what is lurking in the dark, or even the light of day, let it know you aren’t afraid of it by yapping your best yap.

I do have to laugh from time to time when out of the blue I let one rip and James screams. It cracks me up that he, too, is easily scared. (I can’t believe he’s admitting this – gosh, he’s so good – YIPPEE!!! Scored a treat – and not just any treat – one flavored with bacon.)

Well, that’s enough about my limited howling. What? Oh, James wanted me to mention that I also yowl at other noises. Come back in two weeks and find out how I feel about birds.

As always, I hope you’re enjoying reading about my first year and the different poems James wrote. If so, let us know in the comment section below. I always like to hear from you, so please feel free to leave me a note about this or anything else that’s on your mind.

Until next time,
Sir Oliver of Skygate Farm (you can call me Ollie)


Paw Prints courtesy of
All photos © James Stack 2018 unless otherwise indicated

The Proven and Startling Influence of Ollie’s Tin Cans.

How does one imagine empty tin cans having an impact? They aren’t very large. In fact, some are quite small. Oh, I suppose if there were an industrial kitchen near by that some oversized cans might materialize. What is it about those cylindrical pieces of metal? Does removing the top make them more powerful?

Let’s start with an opener. There are manual ones and then there are electrical ones. When I first arrived at Skygate Farm, James and Ron were using the physical method to pry open cans. Every so often the manual means wouldn’t work correctly. Watching someone you love become frustrated over such an effort is painful at worse and funny at best. One day an electrical version arrived. This one made a whining noise, but at least it worked every time.

(Requires no explanation.)

After the contents of these metal containers were rinsed, they were put into the recycle bin. Now that is where, to my way of thinking, they should have stayed. But, no! After James dropped one, scaring the holy crap out of me (yes, we dogs can be frightened in that manner), they began appearing out of thin air or strategically placed in shoes and on top of trash baskets. My days of foraging for paper products were over.

Even barking at these items does no good. They don’t appear to care that I’m angry with them. In fact, they don’t appear to care about anything except making clanging noises when they fall on the floor. No matter how many times one of them falls and makes their tinny ringing, they still scare me half out of my wits.

Some might think it cruel to have these tin cans used in such a manner. Well, I happen to agree with you. It is cruel.

(The filthier the shoe the tastier – only watch out for the cans that seem to grow inside.)

Oh, really. James says they’re training tools. One would think that since I’m now in my fourth year of life (yes, I’m only three years old now, but I’m told this is my fourth year of life) that training tools wouldn’t be needed.

Good grief. James now says the cans will remain in certain locations forever. I must admit that when they aren’t in items on the floor or in shoes (please note that the older and dirtier the shoe the better), I do tend to make off with them and give them a thorough chewing. In which case, I suppose James is right in leaving them there. (Wow! A treat. I wasn’t expecting that one.)

I suppose that means it’s time to mention James’ poem about tin cans and yours truly. Here’s it is for your reading pleasure:


by accidently dropping an empty tin can
I discovered a handy training tool
when the clanging caused you
at eight weeks to jump and run

after you returned and saw
what it was made such a racket
you lowered your head and front paws and barked

two weeks later you found a shoe to chew
so within it I placed one of these containers
and you’ve steadily given it a wide berth

at week thirteen you observed
the draperies waving in the wind
thinking it would be great fun
to thrash them about with your mouth
until a quickly tossed rattle
fell mysteriously from the sky and
since then it’s curtains for drapes

as you have grown in stature
able to reach up and into wastepaper baskets
a handy vessel
sitting nonchalantly on the edge
deters any and all thoughts
you might have entertained

as you start getting taller
still in your ninth month
the sight of one of these noise makers
is enough to keep you from putting
your paws on the kitchen counters
or stealing a food item from above

when guests come over
they have an odd question
they can’t help but ask
why I have so many tins decorating my house

I politely tell them
as I glance in your direction
they help me make it calmly through the day
and sleep peacefully at night

Speaking of sleeping peacefully, I do that quite often. Except when James or Ron toss and turn in the bed while I’m trying to sleep. There are nights neither of them get any shuteye. That’s when we’re up for hours. Well, I do lounge on the carpet, rug, or floor while they hang about the house during the wee hours of the night.

One of the things I particularly like about this poem of James’ is how he speaks of me over time. Not that I’m partial to what was happening to me, but I like seeing my progression from little to bigger. I still wasn’t fully grown when he wrote this. Being close to [tk] months, I had more height and weight to add.

Discovering that I could reach into wastepaper baskets, well, that was discouraging. Think about it. I took so much pleasure in finally getting my head into a place with such exotic smells only to have it dashed in an instant.

It might appear as if I’m a wussy. (On, no! James is not at all pleased that I used that word. Thank goodness looks can’t hurt other than egos – and mine is sunk. But how else do I know about that word unless I heard it in my own house?) [He must have heard it at the kennel – that’s the only excuse of which I can think.] (That last part came from James himself.)

Where was I? Oh, yes. It might look like I’m a scaredy cat. Truth be told, I have been afraid of things during my short life. I discussed the fact here. Tin cans have proven to be one of the things of which I’m afraid. Just sayin’.

Speaking of sayings, come back in two weeks and find out what airplanes and full moons have in common. Never thought they were similar before? Well, there is a connection, and I’ll tell you about it. But you have to visit with me again.

I like it when you stop by to read my blog. I especially like it when you let me know what you think of it and the poems James writes. I always like to hear from you, so please feel free to leave me a note about this or anything else that’s on your mind.

Until next time,
Short Stories - Author Webpage Help Needed
Sir Oliver of Skygate Farm (you can call me Ollie)

PS: I noticed there’s no picture of me this time, so I’ve added one here. I hope you like it.

(Ollie during his ninth month enjoying the snow.)


Paw Prints courtesy of
All photos © James Stack 2018 unless otherwise indicated

Ollie Is Obsessed With Leaves: Finding Joy in the Little Things

Yeah, so we’re in winter and I’m going to talk about my obsession with leaves. What gives? Well, it’s all because I was nine months old when James finally sat down to write a poem about leaves and me. It’ll be clear once you read the poem.

Suffice it to say that obsession is not nearly a strong enough word for how I took to leaves as a growing puppy. During the autumn months as they fell from the trees, it was all I could do to restrain myself from going after them long enough to do my business. Quite a few times I’d be going after the leaves, leaving a moist trail behind me. (I don’t know why James is laughing at this. Oh, sweet, a treat!)

Let me say that some people think canines are color blind. I’m here to let you know we see colors. The leaves in Vermont during the fall exist in vibrant shades of red, orange, and yellow. If you’ve never been here for “leaf peeping,” you have missed a wonderful experience. And I’m not simply saying this because I’m manic about these particular leaves. You’d have to see for yourself.

(Ollie’s playground full of colorful leaves.)

During the fall season, I’ll bound out of the house and run to where the leaves have fallen. If there’s no wind, I all but freak out since they aren’t moving. However, when it’s windy, I’m giddy with excitement. They grab my attention as soon as I’m out the door. I race after them, trying desperately to catch as many of them as I can. Oh, it’s heavenly.

When I catch them, I shake my head from side-to-side with the leaves stuck between my teeth. Then more leaves being blown by the wind will divert my attention, and I sprint after them. Stopping as many as I can with my paws, I continue to race after yet more as they skip and hop down the road and across the yard. It’s all I can do to dash from one leaf to another. At times it can be overwhelming.

Of course James simply strolls along watching me. His face does shine during these outings. He evidently enjoys my hounding after the leaves as much as I do. He’s even been known to take videos of me pursuing my target. If you’d like to see a video, let us know, and he’ll send one to you.

The only downside to my passion is that it seems to be over almost as soon as it begins. That’s because even when the wind hasn’t blown all of them away, the snow comes and buries them. That is until they find a way to escape during the middle of winter. Now that’s when it is even more exciting to gallop after them because the snow and ice is so much fun to play in along with the leaves. Sliding on the ice with a leaf under a paw and one in my mouth is the height of exhilaration. Believe me you.

These winter leaves are fragile things. They tend to fall apart easily. Mostly they are like ghosts of the autumn variety. I can see through some of them, with only a thin fiber for a leaf supported by exposed veins. Still, they are joy to behold after having missed them for so long.

But we no longer need to miss reading the poem James wrote about leaves and me. Here it is. We hope you enjoy it.


fascination fluttering
as they drop from skies
quiver flicker flittering
right before your eyes

what is this thing
causing an itch
making your bean
swivel and twitch

this way they swerve
around in the air
that way they curve
with nary a care

with a mind like a mill
you investigate to find
they’ve stopped perfectly still
like a lead weight fishing line

suddenly they shudder and rise
in the breeze they veer
you high-step hoping for a prize
like a white-tail deer

catching one with your mouth
another with your paw
you tilt your head towards the south
for there an abundance you saw

rushing after them in a trot
they gust around not to be grounded
moving in tandem and then not
it causes you to be astounded

starting stopping hither and yonder
it is confusing to say the least
so you lie down and ponder
what you’ll make of such a feast

abruptly there’s a stirring
as a commotion begins beside
there seems to be one moving
perhaps the commencement of a tide

sure enough there’s motion
made by yet another one
hastily a propulsion
well now your fun’s begun

a third and fourth and fifth
with a sixth pick up steam
as you try for the next forthwith
yet get distracted by the team

eight nine ten and twelve
fifteen nineteen twenty-three
towards which you delve
seeming to reach ecstasy

swirling and swirling
around as they goad
into the fielding
that’s recently mowed

then over the drive
and stopped by the trees
falling amongst you strive
to satisfy your needs

how many did you snatch
in your desire to stop them all
before they found the escape hatch
being frazzled you fall

your enjoyment reaches new heights
when encircled with various pieces
bare branches and shrubs bring delights
as if you’d applied psychokinesis

for weeks you attempt to make them mind
from racing away in such a mess
the autumn winds begin to unwind
conveying a stretch for a recess

the snows entomb the shoots
other things snag your interest
for four months as if in cahoots
you leave the leaves at rest

and then you see a skeletal dross
out of the corner of you eye
skipping and dancing quickly across
the twilight season’s hard-packed ice

a leaf that’s so melancholy
having hung on all this time
and it’s calling out to Ollie
“come and catch me for I’m thine”

bound away after on the run
slipping and sliding from ample vigor
you hear a new invitation
during this time of year who could figure

the spirited leaves have returned
within the depths of winter
patiently they waited and earned
this moment in time to stir

as always you are game
at nine months still a playful puppy
to you it’s all the same
simply a bit goofy and nutty 

a bright light crosses my face
happy to see you having so much fun
and exercise from a chase
having been indoors unable to run

you have excess energy to be burned
and dashing after leaves
it is perfectly natural and earned
watch out for the frost heaves

run hard efficient and fast
my adorable pup Ollie
never give up till the last
even if it is a folly

you’ll have victory in the end
that I will guarantee
for surely there’ll be treats to lend
when you run back to me

There are always treats for me. James is the most generous person I know. (Score! A treat.) Well, now that I’ve had my treat, I must add that Ron ties with James when it comes to generosity. (WOW! Another treat. I didn’t see that one coming.) Oh, and I always run back to James. [Almost always….]

Okay, so that last comment was from James. True. When the heady leaves take me away, it’s nearly impossible for me to go James’ way. I mean, think about it. I’ve mentioned before that wood is like an opiate for me. And where do leaves come from? Right. They grow on trees that are made of wood. Now you know the connection. Just sayin’.

Speaking of saying, we’d love to know if you’re enjoying reading about my first year and the different poems James wrote. If so, let us know in the comment section below. I always like to hear from you, so please feel free to leave me a note about this or anything else that’s on your mind.

Oh, and come back in two weeks to find out the secret behind tin cans. Yes, you read that right. There is a secret.

Until next time,
Short Stories - Author Webpage Help Needed
Sir Oliver of Skygate Farm (you can call me Ollie)


Paw Prints courtesy of
All photos © James Stack 2018 unless otherwise indicated

Ollie’s Bathroom Secret: Urgent Needs for One and Two?

This is a story about love. I mean, one has to love someone to spend time with them in the bathroom – don’t you agree? Think about it. The things one does in the privacy – or not – of the room where a shower, sink, and toilet are should remain private. As such, I won’t be divulging any details here. (BTW: It took me the longest time to understand what a toilet is. Think about it. I mean, I never use one. Just sayin’.)

Oh, are those sighs of thanks I’m hearing? What happens in the bathroom stays in the bathroom. Think of it as Las Vegas. (Someone, please tell me what Las Vegas is. James is the one who told me to say that, and I have no idea what that means. Oh, okay. He kind of told me, but it seems like a strange place. I’ll leave it where it lies, so to speak – pun intended. Score! A treat. Of course, I’m not sure why….)

(A groomed Ollie out for a stroll to do his bathroom business.)

Like I said, this is all about love. Being James’ shadow takes an enormous amount of work. Trying to keep up with him after I’ve been snoozing on the carpet can present its own set of problems. Think about how it feels to wake up suddenly and you are on the move without any type of aid – like caffeine: coffee, tea, or soda (your choice). Yeah, that’s what it’s like.

Still, love is why I do it. James means more to me than anything else. (Score! Another treat.) Okay, now that I’ve been rewarded, here is the truth. There are some things that mean, well, maybe not more to me, but they mean nearly the same. (No, I will not throw up the treat – stop – I won’t.)

(One of Ollie’s favorite places.)

Okay, did James really need to show you his bathroom? I mean, sure, he and I and Ron spend time in there, and it is clean, but honestly, was that necessary? So, you might ask, who am I to gripe like this. You know what? You’re right. After all, I’m the one who goes in there and snuggles up to be rubbed. I don’t like the shower or tub, and I don’t do anything in the sink or toilet, so who am I to complain? After all, I’m only in there because I want to be with James. Why do I want to be with him like that? Because I love him. (Score! Score! Score! Trifecta. And I wasn’t even trying, simply stating the truth.)

Which leads me to ask: are James’ poems a trifecta? I love them like I love him, so I think so. After all, they’re about me. So, of course I’d think they’re special. I hope you like them as much as I do.

Oh, and here’s one about bathrooms. It’s okay if you skim it first to make sure there is nothing stinky within it. Good luck….


you follow me everywhere I go
as if I needed another shadow
my still growing eight-month
Old English Sheepdog Ollie

I’ve informed you it’s truly a pleasure
to always have you beside me
whether walking sitting or lying down

but there comes a time
when I’d rather you weren’t
yet upon closing the door
you whine such to break my heart

your complaining doesn’t stop
as my heart races out to comfort and
demands I remove the partition

now I’m never able to go alone
for even when I bathe
you lie beside the shower door

I ask myself why you
always want to be with me
during such private moments

when a bluebird tweets
outside the open window
          perhaps it’s because you’re always
          with Ollie when he goes

yet the answer I hear
you silently reply is simple
          I have so much love to give you

as the sound of flushing fills the air
I follow your lead out of the bathroom
admitting it’s a little of one and a lot of the other

I’ve never understood what James means by a little of one and a lot of the other. Is he talking about his pee and p…. [A gag order has been put in place. Please excuse Ollie’s language as it is totally unnecessary. Thank you.]

So now that I’ve been allowed out of “quiet time,” let me tell you that the “lot” has to do with the amount of love James has for me – at least that is what he told me. I’m still not sure it doesn’t also mean something else, but that is for others to decide.

As I said earlier, love is everything. Without it, there’s nothing. My advice is to embrace those who follow you into the bathroom because they are willing to suffer – the flings and arrows of outrageous misfortune. (Those are James’ strange words, not mine, just sayin’.) As to my opinion, I’d follow James anywhere, regardless of arrows and flings, whatever they are.

Come to think of it, I experienced a flashback the other day while we were outside. It wasn’t a drug induced flash, but a memory flash. I never told you about the leaves that fell this past autumn, and, speaking of love, how much I love to chase them. Well, stick around and in two weeks I’ll fill you in.

I hope you’re enjoying reading about my first year and the different poems James wrote. If so, let us know in the comment section below. I always like to hear from you, so please feel free to leave me a note about this or anything else that’s on your mind.

Until next time,
Short Stories - Author Webpage Help Needed
Sir Oliver of Skygate Farm (you can call me Ollie)


Paw Prints courtesy of
All photos © James Stack 2018 unless otherwise indicated

Ollie Ate My Homework: Is the Old Excuse Still Valid?

James tells me that’s the oldest excuse in the book. Of course, I’m not sure what or where “the book” is, but suffice it to say, I – did – not – eat – anyone’s – homework. Besides, what is homework? Okay, so maybe I ate it since I have no idea what that is.

Oh, no! I do not like what James told me about homework. I hope you no longer have to hand in (I would have to paw in) research papers and the like, much less take mid-semester and year-end exams. I can’t think of anything worse – except I’m not even sure what exams are either.

Oh, no! Take two. Exams sound like torture. How dreadful. I have to say, I like being a dog.

(Ollie playing in fresh fallen snow. Thank goodness he has long hair to keep him warm.)

This is what should be done with all homework and exams – that is if they’re still being done. Drum roll please….

Give them to me.

That’s right. I’ll gnaw on them, slobber all over them, bite into them, rip them apart, and even eat some of them. That’s right. I love to play with paper.

James asked what kind of paper. Well, I never thought about that before. But now that I am, I have to say it doesn’t matter what kind. Leave it lying around or unguarded in the trash and it’s fair game. I’ll take it and make a mess of it – at least a mess of what James might find me with. The rest will most likely be in my stomach.

(It doesn’t matter the type of paper, Ollie loves them all.)

Now I have to confess. I love it when we have guests come stay. They always leave the bedroom and bathroom doors open. That means any tissues or papers or candy wrappers they leave behind are quickly mine with which to abscond.

For some reason I don’t usually go far. Most likely James will find me in the hallway leading to our bedroom – yes, I sleep in the bed with James and Ron. Back to the paper – I like to lie on the carpet and use my front paws and mouth to rip into the envelope, document, newspaper, wrapping paper, any kind of paper. It’s so much fun. And it tastes good too.

Which reminds me. James wrote a poem about my making off with paper – he finds me every time – nearly, that is. Here’s the poem he wrote for your reading pleasure:


the house is festively garlanded
inside a delightfully decorated tree
underneath there are many presents
covered in colored wrapping paper

family and guests come a calling
their visits enhance the holidays
entertainments add to the joyous spirit
of the gift giving season

yet not when they absently leave
their residue lying around
for a stealth thief roams among us
my seven-month English Sheepdog

the bandit is my enquiring Ollie
who I see hankering after
discarded gift wrapping
for you possibly feel left out

yet beside you patiently waiting
packages you choose to ignore
inside are many gifts for you
of brand new chew toys

any easily accessible paper
          left on the floor
          accidentally dropped
          in a wastepaper basket aptly named
is fair game for your enjoyment

while some documents have a sentimental value
          letters and postcards
others might be considered purposefully dropped
          bills and invoices due
for your and my ongoing amusement
          but no that won’t do

while I’m not pleased about the mess you make
a smile does cross my face when
I realize the excuse could be true
          my dog ate my homework

yet it is now the wrinkled book pages
I find unsettling when you place
your wet face in the crease
of a book on my lap

such a demonstrative fellow you are
my dear sweet loveable Ollie
such a small price to pay
I wouldn’t have you any other way

The other day when I was taking a nap, right before I fell asleep, a thought came to me. Paper is made from wood. That’s right. The twigs, sticks, and limbs I told you about earlier, are the very things used to make paper products. How do I know this? James told me. So it makes sense that I’d like paper as much as I do.

And like James said in the poem, he wouldn’t have me any other way. Well, I wouldn’t have him any other way either. (Score! A double treat fell into my mouth – excuse me for talking with my mouth full.) I didn’t say that so I could get a treat. I said it because it’s the truth.

So, when you eat something, it has to go somewhere, right? First it goes into my mouth, then my throat, then my stomach, then…. You get the picture. Why am I telling you this? Well, come back in two weeks and find out about bathrooms. That’s right, the room inside the house, not my business. I’m sure you’ve heard enough about that.

But then I don’t know if you have. You can let me know in the comment section below. I always like to hear from you, so please feel free to leave me a note about this or anything else that’s on your mind.

Until next time,
Short Stories - Author Webpage Help Needed
Sir Oliver of Skygate Farm (you can call me Ollie)

PS: Have a wonderful, safe, happy, and merry holiday.


Paw Prints courtesy of
All photos © James Stack 2017 unless otherwise indicated

How to Have Fun in the … Snow: Ollie’s First Winter

What is it about snow that brings out the adventurous athlete in us? I prefer to run and jump and roll around in it. James chooses to snowshoe, ski, and sled. Okay, so his type of sledding isn’t exactly the type with Bob in front of it. Still, it gets him outside to have fun, and that means I get to go with him – except when he goes skiing.

Yes, the operative word here is FUN.

Now some canines – some hum drum canines I know – don’t like the snow. They fly south for the winter like the birds. Sure, they don’t have a choice since their families are the ones doing the driving (their paws won’t reach the peddles), but because they spend the winter months in places like Florida, the Islands, and the Keys, they’ve never grown to appreciate the benefits of the winter months in a cold clime. I’m here to tell you that there is nothing – and I mean nothing – that compares to the enjoyment I have in the snow. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I know sun rhymes with fun, but it’s the snow that I love.

Maybe it’s because I have long hair – at least most of the time – that I don’t mind the cold weather. Maybe it’s because I was born in a cold clime and spent my first year in one. Or just maybe it’s because I know how to have fun – there’s that word again – in the snow.

(Ollie having fun in the snow.)

It is interesting that I was frightened of some things when I was but a wee lad. Considering that one would assume I might have been frightened of the snow the first time I saw it. But, no. It was nothing like the white rock that seemed odd to me. It was nothing like the yellow pipe that stuck out of the ground and confused me. And sure, it was nothing like the clear, wet rain that fell from the sky. To me it was more like the leaves that fell from the trees. The flakes were things to be chased and, like the leaves, caught, and then forgotten once they melted in my mouth.

Then again, James kept telling me not to eat the snow. I couldn’t figure out why since it was like drinking frozen water. But it was the yellow snow he didn’t want me to eat. Now, that I can understand.

(Ollie kindly posing during a leisurely walk on the plowed road.)

The thing about snow in Vermont is that it lasts from November until April. It’s even been known to snow in May, but not since I’ve been here. Now six months of white – the roadsides are quickly gray – takes a toll. Every time we venture out I get small snowballs between the pads of my paws. Now imagine having an extra large marble stuck between your fingers and toes while trying to walk, much less run and jump. Yeah – that’s what it’s like.

Thank goodness for James. When I collapse and stick my paws in my mouth trying to remove those spheroids, who do you think comes to my rescue? Yes – James. (A treat! I wasn’t even trying for one, simply stating a fact.) He’ll bend over and inspect my paw. He’ll then take his gloves off, even in frigid cold, and work the snowy orbs from between my pads. I’m then able to continue in comfort for a while. As we continue on, still more snowballs collect between my pads. Believe me, it can be frustrating.

But here we are at the beginning of the snowy season, so I shouldn’t be complaining. I should be rejoicing. And I am by sharing one of James’ poems that he wrote about me and snow. Here it is for your reading pleasure:


I’m proud of you at six months
puffing out your chest as you
move onto the snow covered grass
your excitement shows
in a solo tango you perform
and the gurgling laughter
we can ever so slightly hear

prancing as if Rudolf through the snow
in an abundance of excitement and joy
the fluffy snow flies around you
as if you were truly a reindeer
about to take flight

running back on the driveway
the crystals settle behind you
leaving random patterns
as in a crazy quilt

your long Old English Sheepdog hair
that covers your feet
releases the clinging snow
and leaves powdered paw prints
like the tops of cupcakes
the icing on our outing

multiple mini snowballs
append to the hair on your legs
and between your pads
you nibble away at each
as if they are flavored slushy’s

this was the first of many yet to come
and it’s a good thing you favor it
since there will be more
and I will find great pleasure
in hiking and snowshoeing
through the depths with you

my fun
your fun
our fun
has begun

If you’ve been following me along every two weeks, you would have seen an earlier poem about the impressions I’m leaving in James and Ron’s lives. This poem has another example of the impressions my paws make in the snow, and it reminded me of that poem. If you missed it, you’ll be able to find Impressions here.

Which reminds me that the fun we are having is not something we experience alone. It is to be shared. Otherwise it’s only having a good time. Truly pleasurable times are shared with the ones you love. Yes, I love James and Ron. (Score! A double treat for me.) BTW – James says he loves me too.

So, I have to admit, I would never trade anything in the world for the time I spend with my two daddies. I do believe I’m one of, if not the, luckiest canines in the whole wide world. [Time for some hugs and kisses.]

Return, if you will, in two weeks and find out how such a simple thing as paper could draw my attention. You might think it’s the crinkly or crackly aspect that makes me interested in it. You might even think it’s the texture that has my taste buds salivating. Come back and find out.

Speaking of finding out, we’d love to know if you’re enjoying reading about my first year and the different poems James wrote. If so, let us know in the comment section below. I always like to hear from you, so please feel free to leave me a note about this or anything else that’s on your mind.

Until next time,
Short Stories - Author Webpage Help Needed
Sir Oliver of Skygate Farm (you can call me Ollie)


Paw Prints courtesy of
All photos © James Stack 2017 unless otherwise indicated

Twigs, Sticks, & Limbs: Some of Ollie’s Favorite Things

Two weeks ago I told you about chewing with my baby teeth. One thing I neglected to mention was how, when James and I were outside, I still loved to chew on things. My favorite was anything made of wood. Now James and Ron have four Adirondack chairs made of delicious cedar. So what do you think happened?

James would gather up ten to twenty twigs, usually from sugar maple trees, and every time I went after a leg of one of the chairs, he’d put the woody limb between me and said chair leg. I have to admit that it was as if he was giving me a drug. That’s right. I became addicted to chewing on sweet, sugar maple twigs.

(Ollie having graduated to sticks.)

At first it was merely twigs. When I began snapping them in half and quarters and eights, James quickly gathered sticks. Now sticks are somewhat larger twigs. They have a nice heft to them, unlike the twigs that are light as paper. In other words, there’s more material to them. They feel better in the mouth, on the tongue, pressing against the teeth.

I outgrew sticks during my fifth month of life. Suffice it to say, my mouth and teeth enlarged and developed strength. Sticks simply didn’t cut it any longer. My addiction grew more pronounced, so I needed substantial timber. This is when I began chewing on tree limbs. Of course, it was the ones that were dead and fell to the ground. Believe me when I say bigger is better.

(Ollie using an almost limb as a cigar.)

Of course, I was yet to reach even half my full size or potential. It’s my belief that since I was going after tree limbs when still a puppy, James was worried about every piece of wood in the house. I have to admit that it only takes the smell of wood to drive me crazy. My saliva glans gush at the slightest scent. Wood is my opiate.

Which begs the question: are poems James’ opiate? It seems like he’s writing them night and day. Their topics are about various things, but the ones I like when he reads them out loud are the ones about me. Here’s the one he wrote about my chewing wood. I hope you like it as much as I do.


at twelve and one-half pounds
tiny twigs were found to be of relevance
even though in your sweet petite mouth
they seemed so immense

fascinating you for multiple hours
shreds of shoots were torn for their flavor
almost as quickly as they were found
as if rice paper attacked by multiple razors

there was a subtle fear that
you might ingest one or more pieces
but that was quickly put to rest when
the slivers became releases

as your weight increased
your attention graduated to sticks
to accommodate your enlarged jaws
on these you were now transfixed

with your teeth still baby sharp
they tore into the switches with ease
as they moved deeper to assault the molars
on your tender gums putting a squeeze

relaxing on the lawn
as one-by-one the stems you would decimate
we passed many an hour pleasantly
as if we had something to celebrate

the weight you carry
is approaching fifty pounds
in your twenty-second week
now five months have come round

your interest progressed
to timber the size of a branch
that fell from a tree we came across
while walking the ranch

the dimensions of the wood are quite wide
with segments you find of significance
so you drag the hefty limb longingly back
as I ogle at its magnificence

it keeps you busy
for the better part of an hour
as you gnaw at the meaningful parts
with the goal being to devour

with adult teeth popping through
your chewing has taken on a new style
you no longer use them as before
but give your molars a stimulating trial

it makes me wonder
if tomorrow you’ll begin
going after the trees
as if their bark were skin

it is the shade you love
much more than the sun
so you’ll never mow down
the canopy trees even for fun

it is the simple things
the unassuming elements
that satisfy us
giving the greatest contentment

whether it’s twigs sticks or limbs
that make for you a joy
I hope you know it’s you for me
for you are my sweet boy

Oh, I do love this poem. James is the one who is sweet. (Score! A treat fell into my mouth.) But it’s true. Not only that, but I love the shade when we are outside. Especially when I was young. Half of the hair on my body was black back then. It absorbed the sun’s rays, making me hot. Even now my hair is a blue-merle color where it isn’t white.

As for chewing, we canines communicate with our mouths, similar to humans. Only we use out mouths not only to bark, but also to bite. Ninety-nine percent of the biting we do is in jest. It’s how we play with one another besides the running and chasing we do. Never fear that one percent, for it’s only done for protection. So long as we are treated well and provided with vast quantities of treats, we will never bite in that manner. (Yes, several more treats have found my mouth. See how much fun James is.)

Which reminds me. When we received the first snowfall of my first year, I discovered a whole new form of fun. Come back and visit with me and find out what I mean.

By the way, James has nothing to fear. I’m not going to chop down a tree with my chewing.

Before I go, I wanted to say I hope you’re enjoying reading about my first year and the different poems James wrote. If so, let us know in the comment section below. I always like to hear from you, so please feel free to leave me a note about this or anything else that’s on your mind.

Until next time,
Short Stories - Author Webpage Help Needed
Sir Oliver of Skygate Farm (you can call me Ollie)

Paw Prints courtesy of
All photos © James Stack 2017 unless otherwise indicated