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

Ollie’s Sixteenth Week: Play Dates & Toys Galore

It finally arrived – my being four months old. In dog years, I was around eight, having learned right from wrong – well, mostly. Also, there was no longer any need to ration my drinking water. Things were getting better for James. At least I thought so.

When you reach the ripe old age of eight, what do you want to do? Well, I wanted to play all the time, except when I was sleeping. Of course, I wanted to chew on anything and everything, so James and Ron kept giving me new toys. I had a ton of them. There were so many that they became obstacles leading to a potential accident. Which meant that James became obsessed with picking them up and putting them in a red, plastic, milk carton.

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

As soon as all my toys were safely put away, I began taking them out one at a time and depositing them around the house. I knew what I was doing. There were things like furniture and rugs I longed to chew, so I placed my toys, what James called “chew toys,” where these items were so I wouldn’t be tempted to gnaw on a chair leg or fringe of a rug. Then, wouldn’t you know, James would remove the toys, making the chair and rug more appealing. We had yet to figure out how to communicate.

I was doing my best to be a good boy, what James and Ron called me when I did my business outside got a delicious treat. However, it seemed to James that I was misbehaving and being disobedient when I would, as he said, scatter my toys all over the house. Then, when my friends would come over to play, I left the toys to their own devices.

Yes, I had fun playing with all my friends. As James has often said, he becomes invisible when other people or fellow dogs are around. My complete attention is on these visitors. After all, James is with me all the time. I mean he won’t even leave me alone for more than four hours at night since that’s the limit to my bladder’s holding capacity. (That’s for another blog post.)

(Ollie having the time of his life with human friends who love to take him for a ride on their toys.)

As I was saying, my toys and playmates took precedent to all else. I thought James was jealous, but the poem he wrote about this indicates he was happy for me. Well, what did I know? I was only eight years old (sixteen weeks – four months).

Without further ado, here’s that poem:


a red lobster
a steely elephant
a black hard-rubber tire
a gray squirrel and green alligator
a brown monkey and a crimson puppy
an orange octopus and a scarlet inch worm
a navy blue shark and a clear sky-blue rubber bone
a yellow crab and a multi-colored ball made of strings
a hard-rubber red barbell and a brown triangle spheres
a yellow and red squeaky rooster and a checkerboard turtle
a couple of wood flavored nyla twigs and a pastel rubber bone
a few kongs on different length rope and several blond nyla bones
a multitude of plastic dinosaurs and a navy with white dots squeaky barbell
and some I’m sure I’ve forgotten

of these many playthings
there are those you consider quite special
such that they comfort you
in your den each night

as you’ve gotten to be a bigger boy
having reached sixteen weeks
every morning you take
each one out of your crate

it seems while in your bed
you no longer want to play
so today they start to stay
in a red plastic milk container

I watch as you
take each one out
of this toy box
to occupy your time and energy
you place specific ones in a long line in the hall
as if for some strategic purpose
yet scatter the rest
throughout the house

some we’ve even taken outside
for your enjoyment in the fresh air
you thrash them about in the grass and dirt
which are then in need of a bath
as are you

we take a few of your favorites
for an overnight at Saddle Mountain
but Jillian doesn’t need a single one
for after being introduced to the other dogs
all you want to do is to hang with the pack

when you have play dates
such as with Scout and Maggie
over to share in your fun
these same desired toys
find a stillness as they are left alone

at home when you are by yourself
it is with these substitute toys that you play
but you frolic with your many friends
when they visit or you are away

something I’ve unexpectedly noticed
while you are occupied with your guests
these same extraordinary toys
are secretly smiling
as they watch you
spreading so much joy

Okay, I think the poem is nice – sweet, actually – but I don’t think any of my toys can really smile. I mean, their stuffed and stuff, if you know what I mean. Sure, one or more might have a smile imprinted on their gob (that’s English for mouth – I am an Old English Sheepdog after all), but that doesn’t mean they were happy for me gnawing on them all the time. James says that’s “literary license,” and he is using “personification” that means he’s giving human features to inanimate objects. James is so smart. (Yippee! A treat!)

We hope you’re enjoying my first year and reading the poems James wrote. Come back in two weeks time and read about sleep – yes, that’s right, what James tries to do at night and what I do most of the time.

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

Ollie’s Fifteenth Week: Frantic for Sweet Sleep

So it continues. Had I known how often James complained when I was but an innocent young puppy, I, well, I’m not sure what I would have done. After all, while he was training me, I was also training him. (James, don’t look at me like that. You know it’s true. What? You typed that? Silly human.)

Here we were in the sixth week of being together. I had already fallen in love with Trek, but he was gone now. It looked as if I had no choice but to direct my love towards James. I mean, he was being so loving towards me, and I had hardly given him the time of day what with my BFF Trek around.

(Ollie trying not to be depressed over losing his BFF Trek.)

I have to admit that I was a little depressed. Sure, so were James and Ron. It seemed we were all sleeping most of the time. At least I know Ron and I were getting shuteye as often as possible. James, on the other hand, hardly got any sleep. Of course, he only has himself to blame. I, on the other hand, was doing all I could not to weep openly whenever Trek’s name was mentioned.

Besides, I wasn’t yet four months old. James says that meant I had to go outside at least every three hours, and after playing, and after sleeping. If you remember, the water was still being rationed, so I’m not sure why James was being so conscientious about my pee.

Think about it for a moment. No one, not even us canines, want to do our business where we play and eat. Of course, I never wanted to excuse myself in the mudroom or stone hall, where I was now confined. Nevertheless, I was dependent upon James taking me outside so I could go. Even out there, he never left me alone. I like a little privacy, if you get my drift.

(Ollie refusing to go since he likes his privacy.)

Anyway, James wrote a poem about how he was so sleep deprived. I have to admit that he doesn’t actually blame me for losing sleep. However, he sure does imply it. You be the judge.

Here’s that poem:


how I miss it
embracing me
within the down comforter’s warmth
lulling my senses
refreshing my mind
conveying comfort
releasing tension

how I envy you
at fifteen weeks
lying on the floor
in peaceful bliss
awaiting your next phase
not knowing what
or when
it will be
but knowing it will come
sooner than I’d like

how handsome you look
extending on the cool slate
hugging one of your fluffy toys
          duck squirrel alligator
while I
longing to catnap
sit on the steps

I put my head back
facing the ceiling
I can feel
the weight lifted
ever so slightly and
you are awake
raring to go

to the door
quickly outside
in a flash
distractions abound
delaying the inevitable
which comes
when it comes
but never fast enough

back inside
to play and learn
and then for you to sleep
but not me

there is no sweet sleep
for me
for I must be ever alert
for you
for your benefit

and for mine

What do you think? Is James saying I’m the reason he’s losing sleep? I have only one further comment to add about this: where was Ron? Enough said. (Wow! James gave me a special treat that tastes like bacon – yummm! I love James.)

We hope you’re enjoying hearing about my first year and reading the poems James wrote. In two weeks I’ll fill you in on some of the toys I had to play with. I have to admit, I had more toys than I knew what to do with, but they sure helped in more ways than one. Join us then to find out in what ways those were.

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

Ollie Offers Remembrance: a Poem Entitled “Ode to Trek”

I mentioned in my last post in a side note how gracious James can be sometimes. Well, I need to begin this week’s dissertation tactfully because it involves a most sensitive issue. It isn’t something I yet understand, so today, and not for the first time, I’m letting James take over my blog. You’ll see why as you read on.

Hi – this is James. I want to thank Sir Oliver of Skygate Farm (Yeah, I know, I can call him Ollie, but for this purpose, I felt a more formal approach was appropriate.) for handing over the reins of his blog to me today. It is a rather delicate topic he and I agreed to discuss at this juncture of his first-year story.

When Ollie arrived at Skygate Farm, we had a delightful, old, Dalmatian – Trek – living with us. We weren’t sure how such an old fellow would take to having a young whippersnapper join our family, but we needn’t have worried. Trek sniffed, licked, and welcomed the new little guy as if he were his own son. Then, like some fathers, he walked away, leaving the child alone. Ollie would have none of it. So long as they were in the same sphere, Trek was like a magnet to Ollie – he wouldn’t leave his side, or under his feet as was often the case.

Our old guy seemed to revert to his childhood. He became much more active and full of himself once Ollie arrived. It seemed as if he had taken on the role of teacher. Ollie has told me that it was the most rewarding part of joining our family – having Trek around. Well, Trek’s revisiting his youth included his going so far as to enjoy being in Ollie’s crate full of toys.

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

Unfortunately, it wasn’t to last. Somewhere, someone has written that all good things must pass. I, for one, don’t like thinking about such things. Still, I have to admit that this one, vastly wonderful, thing did pass – and far too soon. Ron and I were told that a Dalmatian’s life span is on average only around nine years. Trek was four days shy of his fourteenth birthday on the day we were forced to say goodbye to our dearly beloved. We were blessed to have had him in our lives for so many years.

(Ron, Trek & James at Popplewood Farm.)

We are even more blessed to have Ollie with us, not only at the time of our lose, but today when we can look back on a wonderful life shared with a wonderful dog. We are once again sharing our joyous lives with a most spectacular dog – Ollie.

Several weeks after we lost Trek, I began a poem about him. It may not mean as much to anyone else, but it still brings tears to my eyes when I read it. Ollie was gracious to allow me to share this poem with you. I hope you enjoy it.

Ode to Trek

you pranced into our lives over a
holiday weekend during snowy degrees
born outside when your mom was let out to pee

you experienced the first night of your life
lonesome and frosty under a star lighted sky
wondrously surviving to come into our lives

you won us over with your solid-black right ear
your white face with one black freckle
and your watery cinnamon eyes were special

you were initially called Journey
but we christened you with the moniker of Trek
to which you came running to our call and beck

you whined during the trip to the city
in a plastic crate borrowed from the breeders
as we raced into town as if we were speeders

the cause of a neighbor’s first night visit
when she got you to sit we were in awe
knowing instantly you were a superstar

you were twelve weeks and potty trained
yet the vet said no walking on the city streets
until you had your final shots at sixteen weeks

you were relegated to the front bathroom
with daily newspapers on the shower floor
causing confusion to abound even more

you were a trooper as we walked to puppy kindergarten
the twenty-six blocks uptown – entertaining to say the least –
so you could cavort with other dogs off leash

you were then enrolled in an obedience class
where you as the prize pupil
suggesting you take the next training level – quadruple

you had limited interest in the agility class
to the treats you could earn – but no matter
for everyone loved you – so says the chatter

you had a signature mark – “Look, a Dalmatian dog!” –
appended by every child in a stroller
as they passed us on the street before it got colder

you were skilled at socializing with other dogs
all a part of your indomitable style
and it made us happy that they made you smile

you’d beam at us as well each time we came home
a wagging tail greeted us at the door
making us wonder how could we ask for more

you loved the people who came to dinner
for they always greeted you with kibble
for the street people all you did was dribble

you would always saunter off to your special place
whenever we sat down to dine with our guests
which left every single one exceedingly impressed

you went off leash each weekend at Prospect Park
after you’d stood by the door as if lined up on deck
and been driven over in a car with license plates 4-TREK

you slipped into the elevator with leash in and out
while with friends we partied at quite an affair
you were hung and knocked out giving us a scare

you were given mouth-to-mouth CPR by an angel
who then cleaned up the elevator mess
while we grabbed a cab and raced to the vets

you survived yet again to tell the tale
and although you were temporarily paralyzed
everywhere you went you were still recognized

you were a foodie so the paralysis didn’t prevent your eating
as away from food you were not known to cower
food put in front of you took no time to devour

you regained your full movement while on holiday in Vermont
and adventured out to discover the neighbor’s horses
and delightful excrement of which they were the sources

you ran free which gave both of us such a scare
as we’d stand there and watch helplessly
while you’d run into the woods in reckless glee

one particular time you ran into the forest
only to return to the back door in a pace
whining from porcupine quills – another death menace

you were rushed to the vets after we tried to remove them
imagining there were perhaps only a dozen more
yet to our horror we learned there were forty still as sores

you were once observed during the month of November
a hunter spied a white and black-spotted fawn one day
running under his blind ever so gay

you could bound freely at the place we found to call home
for at Popplewood Farm we installed an invisible fence
which helped to suspend and end all suspense

you were left behind while we flew west to ski
into canine camp with your friends you stayed
where you were frolicking and making hay

you had blood in your urine we were informed
from kidney stones that were anything but mush
which we were ensured from afar were flushed

you needed a special dog food after this latest fright
devoured as if it were your favorite treat – liverwurst
we could agreed that it wasn’t the worst

you were such a contented companion
while in our home you were always relaxed
yet while outside you were curious and enthusiastic to the max

you welcomed Pip our Old English Sheepdog rescue
who loved you as if you had always been brothers
who would have been with us longer had we had our druthers

you acquiesced to our bringing home Oliver
even though you had reached the ripe old age of thirteen
you yielded to his puppyness and never was mean

you put up with us these fourteen years
for which you should receive a posthumous medal
even though we know it’s part of your breed’s creedal

you constantly shed your fir throughout the house
appearing on everything like tumbleweeds
yet never thought of as a delinquency

you seemed to dislike my brushing you
to try and remove all the lose hairs while outside
yet it was ever so sweet when brushing your backside

you will always be the best friend I ever had
and I’ll miss you terribly till we meet again
on that you can count I will forever yen

you were so independent which was a challenge
yet it is something we will always relish
even if there were times we were jealous

          I wish I could call out to you one more time
          I wish I could be happy that you’d survived again
          I wish we could be back at the park if for only a minute
          I wish I could see you attack your food with gusto once more
          I wish we hadn’t held you back from the joy of running so easily
          I wish to see you pulling ahead – your muzzle sniffing the ground
          I wish I could ensure you would forgive me for the things I did wrong
          I wish
          I wish
          I wish
                          so many things

as I sit in our white Adirondack chairs
daydreaming of how our lives once used to be
I envision you running over the dam cavorting freely

and as I lean forward in my seat
I can still see you so handsome and smart
as I fancy you running straight back into my heart

Well, if that didn’t bring tears to your eyes, then you’re someone who has no feelings. Yeah, it’s me, Ollie, closing out this blog. Wait. I need to blow my nose.

Okay. That’s better.

In two weeks I’ll be back. I’ll let you know how James felt once I was – drum roll please – finally housetrained. I have to laugh, because it still wasn’t easy for him. Sure, I mean, I was only closing in on four months of age – not even. If you know anything about dogs, we need to be taken outside on the hour of our monthly age.

I’ll clue you in during the next post should you still not understand. I don’t think you’ll want to miss it.

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