Ollie’s Twentieth Week: The Distractions of Pebbles and Dirt

It’s not easy for me to admit. Still, I must confess. I chewed pebbles and ate dirt when I was but a little lad. My breeder, well, I don’t like disparaging anyone, but the truth is she didn’t feed me enough. (James says she may have fed me plenty. With eight brothers and sisters and my pacifying personality, I may not have gotten enough food. That’s fair.)

Anyway, every small stone I’d find could have been spilled kibble, so I’d saunter over to it and put it in my mouth. I wouldn’t even smell it. When I arrived at Skygate Farm, James was worried that I’d swallow these nuggets, but all I did was chew on them. Besides, they felt good against my baby teeth.

Now rich, black soil was another matter all together. That I gladly savored before swallowing. I grew accustomed to eating it before coming to live with James and Ron. It helped fill my nearly empty stomach. James was afraid eating dirt would give me worms. (Well, if you’ve forgotten, when I entered James and Ron’s life I was being given medication for the larvae I’d gotten while still at the breeders. We’ll never know if these bugs came from dirt or one of my siblings – just sayin’.)

Since no one at the breeders had cared whether I chewed stones or ate soil, I was under the impression it was okay. When James started trying to get me to leave or drop them, I thought he wanted to deprive me. I was so confused. The good news was he offered me more kibble when I left them alone. That taught me that if I kept going after both the gritty pieces and compact ground that I’d get more and more food from James. It was only rational that the rewards made me want to go after the gravel and grime more often. It became a cruel cycle; but what did I know? I was but a lost sole unsure of what the future held.

Version 2
(Ollie attempting to look like a lost sole, unsure of his future.)

Once I knew that I could trust James and Ron, I was still convinced that they would give me more food if I kept implying I was going to eat the pebbles I found. After all, I had trained them to do that. (It should be noted that they were quick learners.) As for dirt, well, I still liked the taste of it. I can’t explain it. Take my word for it that dirt is delicious. (Okay. James asked me to let you know I no longer eat dirt. Like he says, I surpassed the age when it was meaningful.)

That reminds me. James wrote a poem about my interest in pebbles and dirt. When I think about it now, it is a little embarrassing to admit. Still, when you understand that I was using them as training tools to get more food from James and Ron, I think you’ll understand.

Here’s that poem.

Pebbles & Dirt

down the driveway we go
on early morning excursions
with Ollie stopping along the way
to pick up tiny pebbles

I figure out by week twenty
after you started this at week eight
since you were hungry when you arrived
these small stones resemble kibble

I think to myself
therein lies an opportunity
to impart the lessons of
“drop it” and “leave it”

of course
since you believe them to be food
the last thing you wanted to do
is to let them go

I worry
they might be swallowed causing
indigestion requiring your stomach
to be evacuated

perhaps it’s their salty taste
or when you can’t chew them
the realization sets in
that they aren’t what you anticipate

and since it’s the season
the tractors are out and about
depositing pads of soil
you find to your liking

you eat dirt by the ounce
or pound if I’d let you
soon I learn drop or leave doesn’t work
with rich black top soil

these globs of gravel and grain
are not of the substantive sort
yet populate our drive and yard
thrilling you and disturbing me

of this I am convinced
that when the pebbles and particles
are frozen solid and hidden
you’ll soon forget them

the spring arrives
the stones and dirt will freed
you’ll sniff at them and realize
they’re to be ignored

as you grow into your lose skin
filling out your form handsomely
your body will adjust nicely
to the size of your too-large paws

it will
be time to drop and leave
the pebbles and dirt you once prized
as well as the kibble known as puppy food

as you mature into adulthood

When I think about the stuff James says in this poem, there are so many more things I have to tell you about my first year. There were so many new experiences for me. At least once a week James would take me for a ride in the car to a new place. He wanted to expose me to as many things as he could while I was young so I wouldn’t be afraid of them.

Stick around and I’ll fill you in on all of them. Every other week I’ll keep you informed about what happened. James wrote a poem about each of them, so there’ll be a new verse each time.

There is one in particular for which we didn’t have far to go for me to experience it. The thing about it that is most peculiar is it’s invisible. It can’t be seen. Only what it does is visible. Any guesses what it is? No? It’s wind. That’s right. Come back in two weeks to see how I reacted to the concealed force that caused things around me to move without any sign of their having legs.

We hope you’re having as much fun reading about my first year and the different poems James wrote as we are in telling you. 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 www.pawsitivelyloved.com
All photos © James Stack 2017 unless otherwise indicated

Ollie’s Nineteenth Week (Continued): Summer’s Rain Brings Rainbows

It came to me out of the blue, or perhaps I should say the gray. Whenever it rained, I had to sit by the door and wait while James put on his yellow slicker. Instead of wearing one of his hats, he’d don a baseball cap so his head would fit under the raincoat’s hood. As I drummed the nails in my paw on the slate floor, anxious to get outside, he’d place a water absorbent mat on the floor he’d been given by his niece, Liz Hartzman. (Thank you, Liz.) While I was still tapping away, James would get a huge, black umbrella out of the chinoiserie umbrella stand by the front door.

You’d think he was made of sugar. Oh, I mean, he is made of sugar. He has to be, he’s so sweet. (Where’s my treat? Good grief, I was only kidding. Can’t you take a joke? Score, a treat!)

Like I was saying, James was covered from above his head to his toes so as not to get wet when it was raining. Even the slightest drizzle would be cause for him to bundle up tight. Well, he does have a mind of his own, something I know about since I, too, have a mind of my own.

It was my mind, and being covered with hair that was mostly repellant to rain, that led me to enjoy wondering around in the rain. After all, a little water never hurt anyone. While I might have been anxious to go outside, it had nothing to do with why James thought we were going out there. No, indeed. I was in no hurry to do my business, as James calls it. There were too many other distractions for me to even consider relaxing and letting it flow.

(Ollie with soaking legs, paws, and mouth – and beautiful China-blue eyes.)

Of course, I did learn early on that if I waited, it meant more treats for me. James took a behavioral course where he learned to use a clicker. When I do my business, he clicks it. When he clicks it, I get a treat. The size and amount of the treat, I’ve learned, depends upon how happy James is that I’ve completed our time outside. I love what that course did for James’ behavior.

You see, I learned that if I went right away, we’d turn around and go immediately back inside. However, if I waited, we’d not only stay out longer, but I would get a big reward for finally having gone. I also learned there was a limit to how long I could wait, depending upon how forceful the water was falling from the sky. It’s all in the timing.

(Ollie’s first double rainbow on a gray day.)

Speaking of timing, have you ever seen a rainbow? The first time I saw one, there were actually two of them. That’s right, a double take by both nature and me. I lay there in awe. As for timing, the sun has to be at the right angle to reflect those vivid colors off the moisture particles in the sky. How do I know this? James told me. He’s so smart. (Score! Another treat for me!)

Well, getting back to the rain, James wrote a poem about how he hates it. I can’t say that I agree since it not only waters everything that grows, it also has the potential to end in a brilliant rainbow. Still, I love the end of this poem.

Here it is. I hope you like it.


god how I hate a downpour
having to use an umbrella
            with a leash
while attempting to give you a treat
with that training clicker tool
to indicate a reward

god how I hate a shower
straining to keep us dry
            with only two hands
bidding you stay beside me
when at nineteen weeks
you have a mind of your own

god how I hate a cloudburst
having to cover myself with nylon
            with a zipper and hood
remaining for the duration
knowing at my age not to play in the rain
but at yours you have no idea

god how I hate a soaker
toweling dry your long hair
            with a loud blow-dryer
stopping you from biting it or
pulling away from the noise
providing treats to occupy your nibbling mouth

god how I hate the condensation
brushing your soft locks
            with they’re moist hair
keeping you from gnawing
unable to do it alone
feeding you more treats and praying

god how I hate a sprinkle
hurrying to return indoors
            with you’re bladder full
keeping one eye on the clock
the other on you to
catch an accident before it happens

god how I hate the rain
leaving the world soaked
            with it’s constant falling
striving to keep my shoes dry
with your paws getting saturated
having to repeat the toweling blowing combing and

god how I love you lying asleep
after being out in the rain
            damp to the core
knowing we’re at peace
while the hands of my heart
reach out and envelop you

It is a fact that James’ heart has hands. I know because I’ve felt them – warm and moist, and a little salty when I lick them. Come to think of it, everyone’s heart has hands. Some choose to use those extremities. We dogs know who those people are.

As for the rain, James never has gotten used to being out in it. For me, it’s a time to splish and splash like I’m taking a bath even if it isn’t Saturday night. Oh, the simple joys of life have such pleasant reminiscences. To think, I’m still making memories when it rains.

In two weeks I’ll tell you about my early experience with pebbles and dirt. I’m not sure James wants to go there, but he did write another poem about that. Come back and see what he wrote. He said I could share it with you.

We hope you’re enjoying reading about my first year and the different poems James wrote. Let us know your opinion 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 www.pawsitivelyloved.com
All photos © James Stack 2017 unless otherwise indicated

Ollie’s Nineteenth Week: Summer’s Surprising Golden Dandelions

I’m an artist. At least that’s what James called me after I painted the carpet. You see, when I ran around outside in the fields and got dandelion pollen on my legs, I came inside and painted the rug with yellow stripes, streaks, angles, and curves. He called me an impressionist. Not only because of my artistic talents, but also because of the delightful impression I made (and still make, if I may be so bold) on people.

That was back in my nineteenth week. I have to admit that it appeared strange to me when James told me he didn’t like dandelions. I love the vibrancy from their golden flowers. At the time there were so few of them, while his garden (into which I am not allowed to step a single paw) had plenty of other yellow blossoms that didn’t interest me at all. None of them turned into magic fairy wands. Nor did their seeds explode into the air, twirling around in the wind.

Okay, so James claimed his yard was full of them, but I only saw a dozen or more. He called them weeds. Well, as everyone knows, a weed is simply a misplaced flower. (Credit for this expression goes to my cousin and James’ niece, Laura Tebbitt.) Regardless, I found them to my liking, especially when they became the enchanted puffballs. While I tried to gobble them down, James used his walking stick to whack at them.

Like dandelions do for me, I hope I bring pleasure into James’ life. He gave me a childhood of constant love and encouragement. (Score, multiple treats!) It’s true.

Well, around my nineteenth week I was beginning to sprout like a weed, or so James said. When I look at the pictures he took, I don’t see it. Do you?

(Ollie at nineteen weeks, sprouting like a weed.)

Weed or not, dandelions are natures way of providing rays of sunshine on cloudy days. Their pollen is rather potent. It attaches to my hair, be it on my legs or elsewhere should I roll around on the ground. I don’t know why the bees and butterflies like it so much. When I try to lick it off, it doesn’t taste like butter, or honey for that matter.

James says he doesn’t mind brushing it out of my hair. I do laugh when the pollen is simply spread across my paws into a lighter shade. It’s either that or because my paws are ticklish.

Like butterflies and shoelaces, James wrote a poem about my interaction with dandelions. At the time he wrote it, I didn’t understand what he meant at the end of it. Now I do.

Here’s that poem. I hope you enjoy reading it.


bright yellow attracts your attention
as the late summer’s rustic oracles
populate the yard and meadow

you run around them
turning your white slipper paws
the color of a vibrant sunrise

the radiance is licked off
as each day passes
until there is no more to absorb

puffs of powdery amulets materialize
magnetizing your curiosity
appearing to request you play with them

snatching these blow balls with your mouth
you want to carry them away
or swallow whole

puff – they disappear
as if the grass fairies
waved their magic wands

by your nineteenth week
long gone are the parachuting seeds
and the only thing sprouting is you

yet in the spring
they will return in abundance
as will you

my Old English Sheepdog pup
and wiser

Being older and wiser has its advantages. Still, it was so much fun when those fairy-wand puffballs were larger than my nose. I thought they would taste like cotton candy. (Okay, so that’s what James thought I thought. I’ve never had cotton candy in my life.) The thing is, they tasted like dust. So, of course, after trying a few, I gave up eating them.

Now the green leaves, those are a different matter. While they don’t taste as good as the grass growing in the hay fields, they are tasty when they first arrive in the spring. James says they add a kick to a spring salad. Being older and wiser, I know that I don’t want anyone kicking me, especially when I’m eating.

Come back in two weeks and I’ll disclose how I feel about rain. Not that it’s a secret. Only I’m covering one topic at a time. Oh, yeah, and James wrote another poem about rain and me. He said I could share it with you.

We hope you’re enjoying reading all the different poems James wrote during my first year. Let us know your opinion 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 www.pawsitivelyloved.com
All photos © James Stack 2017 unless otherwise indicated

Ollie’s Eighteenth Week (Continued): Chasing Elusive Butterflies

There came a day when I discovered things that flitted around in the air. They arrived in colors that looked delicious to eat. We all know sweet, sugary things come in bright, bold colors. All, that is, except chocolate. Of course, I am never allowed to eat chocolate.

James said these fluttering things that were about the size of my nose (okay, some were larger – remember, I’m eighteen weeks old) are called butterflies. The very thought of eating butter makes my mouth water to this day. Have you ever gotten hold of a used cob of corn that’s been doused in golden butter? No? What? (James says I need to stay on topic.)

As soon as I would spy these flying, slender-slabs of butter, I would begin the chase. They had an advantage. They could fly higher than I could jump. Another benefit they possessed was their capacity to change direction in a nanosecond. I, on the other hand, once committed to a direction was required to follow through. Their soaring and darting abilities were enough to make me even more determined to gobble one down.

(One that got away.)

It wasn’t as if every time we went outside I found a butterfly to challenge. Still, when I did see them, and the biggest ones started appearing around my eighteenth week, I would charge. It would have been nice had James tried to help me catch one or more, but all he did was laugh. What was so funny? I don’t know. He said I looked adorable dashing around after them. To me, adorable earns a smile, not a laugh. Just sayin’.

(Ollie giving a little attitude – just sayin’.)

Well, James had so much fun at my expense he wrote a poem celebrating my inability to catch even one of these little critters. I remember the first time he read it out loud. He thought I was sleeping. I admit that I didn’t find it funny at all. No siree bob.

Today I think it’s a sweet poem. I especially like the part about butterflies being toys. It was great fun trying to snare one. Anyway, here’s that poem. I hope you enjoy reading it.


running with abandon
through the newly mowed
or tall grass
you frolic
at the white
hoping against hope
chasing against chase

darting left
then right
changing direction
the winged creatures

at eighteen weeks you relish the joy
in a flash it passes
into the grass or
doubles back over your head
never even aware it‘s being dogged
searching for nectar
pursuing a mate
while you hound in vain
or for the fun of the hunt

it’s merely amusing
an exercise for you
for what would you do with success

a moment of pleasure for me
bringing a smile to my face
as I watch you romp
with a spontaneous toy
brought by Mother Nature
during early autumn

James tells me it was better that I was running after butterflies than cars. Of course, we live more than half a mile from the nearest road, so, even if I wanted to chase cars, there are none around. That is except for the occasional visitor.

A butterfly never did make its way into my mouth. After they disappeared in the fall, it wasn’t until the following spring they reappeared. By then I had lost interest in them. Well, truth be told, I did begin going after them again, but gave up the chase quickly when I remembered how industriously they acted at escaping. Besides, they are one of the more beautiful wonders of nature.

Also, James told me that birds don’t eat them, particularly the monarchs, because they taste bad. Now if he had only told me that when I was a youngster, I might not have bothered to try so persistently. Then again, I might have. One of the things we’ll never know.

Stick around, and in two weeks I’ll tell you about my experience with dandelions. Of course, James wrote a poem about that as well. I’ll be happy to share it with you – with his permission, that is.

We hope you’re enjoying reading all the different poems James wrote during my first year. Let us know your opinion 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 www.pawsitivelyloved.com
All photos © James Stack 2017 unless otherwise indicated

Ollie’s Eighteenth Week: Shoelaces Prove Irresistible

Simply Irresistible! I heard that song the other day for the first time. James said it was an old song from the last century. Wow! Now that’s old. Okay, so age has nothing to do with the topic at hand, but the song did remind me of the topic for this post.

For some unknown reason I can’t possibly explain, shoes are seductive to me. James thinks it’s because of their odor. I do know that when I was a puppy, before my adult teeth had arrived, I loved to chew on shoe leather and rubber. (Yes, there were other things I liked to chew, but shoes were mouthwatering.)

James and Ron took to putting their footwear on high surfaces to keep them away from me. However, at the first sign of either of them having forgotten, my mouth became a magnet. Before anyone knew it, one of the shoes was being ground by my sharp, baby teeth. They both still have multiple pairs with signs of my calling card: bite marks and tears.

Then again, even when James was wearing his shoes, if they had laces, BANG! Those stringy, flopping things always had my attention. I especially liked the tennis-shoe laces that had a hard, plastic tip. I could snap those off with one quick crunch. This same action would unravel the lace, leaving it to drag behind and in the dirt, making it all the tastier. Yummmmm!

(Ollie focused on James’ tennis shoelaces instead of taking care of business at the Orvis fire hydrant.)

Sometimes, while James was watching me (You remember. He stayed with me so I wouldn’t do my business inside.), he’d start to read a book or play with his cell phone. I’d saunter over and gently begin chewing on his laces. It felt so good when my pointy teeth would snare on one of the bows or my aching gums where a new tooth was trying to come through would chomp on the fabric. I can’t explain it. I was in ecstasy.

I’ve heard James say, “Life is not a dress rehearsal,” at least a hundred times. (Okay, I exaggerate, but only a little.) Well, I’ve taken him at his word. Even at eighteen weeks, I knew to live life to the fullest. If it means being chastised for chewing footgear, then so be it. (Yeah, I still chew shoes to this day – I simply can’t help myself.)

Anyway, James wrote a poem about my chewing on his shoelaces and his attempts to prevent me. Little did he know that giving me a treat when I stopped only served to reward my having been chewing. (Oh, he asked me why I didn’t let him know back then. It was because we couldn’t communicate like we do today.)

Regardless, here’s that poem for your reading pleasure:


your eighteen-week-old puppy mouth
is repeatedly attracted
to chewing on my tennis-shoe laces
for some mysterious motive
          perhaps from their many years
                    of use and abuse
          there is a steaming stench
                    of a puppy magnet

substitutions are placed
directly in front of your mouth
on which it would be okay to chew
but to you
nothing tastes as tangy
as my ripened ties

these are no ordinary footwear
on which the laces reside
to Southeast Asia and Europe
they have traveled wide
          perhaps something loiters
                    from those locales
          a splash of spilt fish sauce
                    or splattered boeuf bourguignon

whatever it is
I wish you’d stop
making them a priority
whilst you linger at my feet
although I’d gladly give them to you
had I another pair

          rethinking that proposition
                    it isn’t such a grand idea
                    as then shoes
                    may become
                    a permanent object
                    of your desire

no – leave well enough alone
replace the laces with chew toys
as in time they will be exchanged
with other ties that bind

Shoelaces don’t hold the same allure today, but I couldn’t get enough of them when I was eighteen weeks old. Shoes on the other hand, well, they are an all-together different matter. Still, James and Ron have figured out a way to stop me from chewing them. I’ll fill you in on that secret later.

If you stay tuned, in two weeks I’ll share with you the poem on butterflies James wrote, and my attraction to them. Well, maybe it was more of an interest than an attraction. They are beautiful to behold.

We hope you’re enjoying reading all the different poems James wrote during my first year. Let us know your opinion 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 www.pawsitivelyloved.com
All photos © James Stack 2017 unless otherwise indicated

Ollie’s Seventeenth Week (Continued): Effects and Affects of Morning Dew

Mornings in Vermont during the summer are wonderful. The outside temperature drops overnight to the low sixties and upper fifties. The air is crisp and invigorating. Since I’m an Old English Sheepdog, I have long hair. The cool air makes me want to run – and run – and run. Of course, I could only do that if I were off leash. Since James was still “leash training” me at seventeen weeks, I had to behave.

However, that didn’t mean I wasn’t allowed on the grass. In fact, James often took me into the field after the “training” period. There I could sprint to my heart’s content. Carrying on without a care in the world meant the morning dew would not only soak my paws, but somehow climb up my legs and onto my belly and even my back and face.

No, James doesn’t have any pictures of me soaked like a dishrag, thank goodness. Actually, it would have been nice if he did. Suffice it to say, the dew did a number on my puppy coat. It was that pelt that James hesitated for the first full year of my life to cut. As such, all summer he was required to dry me when we came in from our outings in the morning.

(Ollie with grass clippings clinging to the morning dew on his mouth.)

Nearly from my first daybreak at Skygate Farm, there was dew on the ground. Select towels were designated as belonging to me. They were, and still are, to be used when bathed or wet from the pond (I never did go in there when I was a puppy.), rain, or morning dew. At first it evolved into such a chore for James to dry me. I, on the other hand, thought it was great fun to play tug-of-war with the towel. Only James stopped drying me as soon as I refused to release the cloth. Oh, well, some people don’t know how to have fun. (Oops! I thought I was thinking that to myself.)

As it is, today I’m so good when being dried. I stand there allowing James to massage my back and belly with the towel. I lift each foot, one at a time, as he works the muscles and tendons in each, especially the area between my nails. I feel so fortunate to have someone like James take such good care of me. (Hey, where’s my treat? What do you mean my treat is in the drying? Oh, yeah, got it.)

Anyway, James wrote a poem about the morning dew and his frustrating attempts to dry me when I was but a young lad. I think it’s quite funny, and I like how it rhymes. Here’s that poem for your reading pleasure:


how I detest the morning dew
as I sit and simmer and stew
while it travels all over you
and covers my new tennis shoes

with soaked socks straight through
I’ve walked round in haste
and without a clue
we’re wet not from waste

it’s bad enough having to dry you
from top to bottom after it rains
but the damnable dew
is quite nearly the same

your legs and belly are soaked
your back and head are misty
your sides and neck are coated
with your pads downright steamy

you like the cloth masking your face
where it’s advantageously placed
to ensure it goes directly in your mouth
with me playing the devil to get it out

you struggle chewing the towel
as I try to dry your four feet
yet before you can cry foul
it’s rub-a-dub-dub and you’re neat

who knew I’d grow to despise the dew
something I’d never given its due
but now I do
because of you

soon there’ll be no strain
when this moisture becomes frost
until then tis my refrain
“all is not lost”

Truth be told, James still finds it somewhat painful to have to dry me nearly every morning we go out. I, on the other hand, take it in stride. What? Oh, he told me he takes it in stride now, too. If I could, I’d give him a treat. Since I can’t, I’ll simply put my face on his hand and kiss him with multiple licks the next time he bends over to tie his shoes.

Speaking of tying shoes, come back in two weeks and read about his shoelaces. That’s right. Those stringy things are so inviting to a puppy’s mouth.

We hope you’re enjoying reading the poems James wrote during my first year. Let us know your opinion 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 www.pawsitivelyloved.com
All photos © James Stack 2017 unless otherwise indicated

Ollie’s Sixteenth Week: Nighttime Is the Sweet Time

It was during the beginning of my fourth month that James finally realized that he could get some sleep. Of course, he wasn’t yet able to sleep through the night, as I needed to go outside every four hours – or so he thought. As such, James would put me in my crate at ten and sleep until two when his alarm would awaken the entire house and everything around for miles. Okay, it wasn’t quite that loud, but it always woke me and I was down the hall a good fifty feet. (No, I was not yet allowed to sleep in the bedroom.)

Version 2
(Ollie sleeping peacefully after eating.)

I had fallen deeply in love with James by this point. He was my sole source of food after all. There’s an expression James used to say to me, “Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.” It was clear to me that hand belonged to James.

Now I don’t remember if I’ve mentioned this before, but I’m a kisser. Yes, I like to lick all over. Okay, I call it licking, but James always refers to it as kisses. Every time he took me out of my crate, I would give him kisses all over his face. Of course, I was still sleepy, and needed to stretch and shake out the muscles before doing anything. Besides, I liked being out of my cage. (Yes, it had bars on it – more like prison – but it was comfy and all mine except when I allowed Trek to use it.)

(Ollie sharing his crate, and toys, with his BFF Trek.)

It also meant that we were going outside. Now, sometimes when James woke me, it was dark outside. Even with the porch light turned on, it was still dark in the distance. The smells coming my way through the wind, well, let me tell you, had James been able to detect those odors I don’t think we would have ventured out. Regardless, we did.

Wouldn’t you know it, James always wanted me to – BANG! – do my business as soon as the night air hit me. Oh, no. I was too worried about the scents I sensed to be able to do anything. My sphincter was tighter than a knot. After a good fifteen minutes or so, I realized that the foreigners in the distant dark were not coming to get us, and I could relax.

It should be known that because I was put back inside my crate as soon as I took care of business, I often delayed it on purpose. I mean, it was nighttime; we were out of the bed/crate; my toys were beckoning me to play with them; I did what any red-blooded Old English Sheepdog would do – I stalled as long as possible. Sure, I had to go, but at least pretend we’re going to hang out together after I do my business – then I would have done it sooner.

(Ollie sleeping peacefully and snuggling with his toys from which he can’t seem to be separated.)

Like I said in my prior post about toys, they took precedent to all else. Well, being out of that crate was also rather nice. Sure, I did like how cozy it was inside, but playing with James and my toys was the cat’s meow. (I’m not real sure what that means, but I think I’ve used it correctly – besides, James wouldn’t have included it if I hadn’t.)

Without further ado, here’s a second poem (the other was about my toys) James wrote during my sixteenth week:


is the sweet time

sleeping soundly
safely in your crate
so calm and precious
as I peacefully breath
for a few hours
before we wake
I from the sweet time
you from your slumber
to go outside
to do your business

you greet me with sweet kisses
as if I’m Saint James
nary a bite nor nibble
sleepy-eyed and yawning
stretching your entire length
a football field would envy
before leaving your nest

drowsy as you are
slowly walking to the stairs
taking them leisurely
pausing half way up
as if climbing Mt Fiji
finally stepping on the top
then to the door
the open-air

sweet success

returning to the entrance
pausing to lie down alfresco
on the cool flagstone
yet with a whistle you rise
look longingly at me
as I provide an incentive
a sweet treat
to enter

it wont be long
being sixteen weeks
before you’ll sleep
through the night
or so they say

yet this night
getting you back to your bubble
as I must
is not easy
for once released
you find freedom refreshing

back inside
an incentive
a sweet treat
is tendered

your countenance is tenderly longing
and I find myself sympathetic to your plight
but it is the nighttime
and I long for bed
and sleep
for a few hours
before our next excursion

nighttime is the sweet time

Awe! Isn’t that a sweet poem? Yes, I was often lured back behind the bars with a treat. I know, I’m a sucker for a treat. (Don’t let on, but I had trained James to give me a treat to get me back in the crate. I’m a rather clever fellow.)

We hope you’re enjoying my first year and reading the poems James wrote. Come back in two weeks time and read about my business. Oh, that poem may not be appropriate for all audiences, so James may want to skip it. We’ll see who wins that battle – stay tuned.

Also, let us know your opinion of these stories and the poems James wrote. I always like to hear from you, so please feel free to leave me a comment 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 www.pawsitivelyloved.com
All photos © James Stack 2017 unless otherwise indicated