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

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