A Trip to the Vets

Mother took father to the vet today. When he came home, we walked with a big thingee and limped. The dog and I actually had a conference about it. Sometimes he isn’t as stupid as he looks. Max said that he stunk of shots. He hoped that they hadn’t “fixed” him. I heard Mother say something about his sleeping downstairs.

The gall! How am I going to nurse him back to health with licks, kisses, and fur therapy? Loud purrs are clinically proven to be a valuable tool in promoting healing.

The dog and I worry that Mother took him to a vet for humans rather than our doctor; Dr. Balderelli is the best. I hope that where he went is OK.

But they must be foolish. They forgot to put the Collar of Shame on him: incompetence, just plain stupid incompetence.

What if he attempts to bite his stitches?

Super Hero

My superhero costume just arrived. OK, it’s a bit tight, but it displays all my muscles just fine. I asked for red, but mom got this color instead. So it will do for now. I want the red one with a blue cape by Halloween, though.

Super Dog has already been used too much; I don’t like “Caped Crusader being my cape has not arrived yet. So let’s see, not Wonder Dog, but Dog of Wonder has a certain ring.

Dog of Wonder!!!!! Protector of Mom, Dad brothers and sisters…and the cat. Slayer of small rodents, protector of the innocent, capable of leaping whatever fence Dad puts up in a single bound.
Dad says most of the other superheroes have contracts with DC or Marvel. So he thinks something like Mad Magazine might work for me. So why is that damn cat snickering and rolling on the floor?

Being a superhero is serious stuff. But, unfortunately, you get no respect at home!

Creative Food

I am being careful and trying hard not to distract myself from the important stuff. I have hit a nice pace. I am creating product and producing it at a rate I can sustain. I know that the warm weather helps. I’m in the shop – door open- dog wandering in to check on the status of any possible treats, and wondering why I am so fixedly gazing at the plank – it’s not food.

Well, it’s a sort of creative food – Feeling optimistic about the creative juices flowing. I’ve found that creativity begets creativity, so keeping in the flow helps. You don’t want to get stopped, distracted, or pulled in too many directions.

Yes, I know that it’s five in the evening, and you and the cat need to be fed…OK.

You can’t create on an empty stomach…say the cat and dog.

Max Makes His Moves

Hi, I am Max. Mad Max to my family. My specialty is home decoration and renovation – they redecorate and renovate after I’ve torn everything apart. Marie Kondo has nothing on me.

Life for them was so banal before I arrived last month, The lilacs were blooming, and I automatically sensed that mother had a spark of joy for them. I went digity, digity—Father pointed out that this was the exact opposite of what I was supposed to do. But I’m still a puppy; I’m allowed a few thousand learning experiences!

My new sister, the cat ( Xenia, empress of all she surveys), says that I should be immured in a deep dark prison; and locked away until I mature. Can I help it that cat food tastes so good?

Well, this is just the start of the day. Father’s garden needs weeding, and I’ve offered to help. What did they do before I came along?


There was nothing obsequious about the Gray Menace. Assume that he was some cuddly, cute kitten, and he’d attack. I do not think the term feral was widespread for loose urban cats of his type back then. But that’s what he was. He was curious enough about how the other half lived to try it out. I did not rescue him; he rescued me. And he made that amply clear often in the years that followed.

Living in “chambers,” so to speak, was different than on the street. There was a steady supply of food, warm places to sleep, and a human to harass at need. He rapidly showed command of his new environment. He soon figured out how to flush toilets and turn lights on and off at night. He was the master of his universe.

Sometime in the spring of 1970, I moved to a new apartment. Again, there were many windows to occupy, fire escape to escape to, and multiple rooms to zoom in. But most of all, across the hall, was Fifi. Fifi was a white Toy Poodle who loved to get loose in the corridor and come to yip incessantly at our door. I was warned by Fifi’s owner that should anything untoward happen to her little darling; terrible things would happen.
My reply was that if she wished to avoid terrible things, she should keep her mutt away from my door. Things got frosty after that. After all, Fifi was a pure breed dog, and the Menace a ruffian cat.

It took almost half a year for the inevitable to happen. The Menace got loose in the corridor at the same time as Fifi. Two humans ran around in panic as the cat stalked the dog, and the dog barked at the cat. After a few minutes, it was clear that the combat would be a ritual one between cat and dog, as one hissed and swatted while the other yipped and barked. Both Fifi and the Menace had a good time as the humans screamed and yelled at each other. The threats grew extreme, and soon the neighbors came out of their apartments to see what the commotion was about. Bored, the Menace was studiously cleaning his claws while Fifi demanded her human feed her, taking the edge of her robe in her teeth and tugging her into the apartment. This ended the First Battle of the Corridor.

The Menace and Fifi enjoyed this event so much that it became a regular part of entering and exiting the apartments. One of us would come home, go shopping, or take the trash out, and the Menace and Fifi would be at the doors desiring a rematch. When Fifi moved out, the Menace was bereft until a cat moved in. Then the howling and hissing matches started.


A new inductee to Xenia’s Palace Guard, Max shows off his zippy new dress uniform. H.I.M. Xenia states that she had the design created at a famous couture house specifically to give a new look to the Guard.
Max, like all recruits, feels the new uniform needs tailoring to his physique.
He also awaits concrete confirmation of what sort of remuneration he can look forward to. Dry kibble as morning rations just doesn’t cut it. So he joins a long-established lineage of recruits who complain about boot camp food. But on the other hand, Xenia claims that the glory of membership in such a storied organization should be an ample reward.

The empress has begun to take an active role in training and recruit Max has already learned to keep his nose clear of kitty paws. However, undue familiarity with the Imperial personage has earned young Max several “gentle” rebukes.


Art according to Xenia H.I.M, Empress of all she surveys:

The remarkable consensus among cats is that they invented great art. Humans merely did a monkey see, and monkeys do routine in admiration of the feline example. 

Kittens do roister about, but adult cats inherit an elegant poise from the feline mistress of creation. This model inspired the dramatic arts of ancient Greece, the might of the Sphinx, poetry, and great literature. 

Now it is true that cats did not invent all art, only great art. As my cousins in Florida, Canada, England, and Virginia agree, melodrama is an invention of dogs. I mean, watch them piteously roll about seeking the affection of those pathetic humans. With those great carbuncles of noses, only a human could love them. Hummphhh!

Well, it’s time for the mid-morning snack, TTFN!

With great thanks to Lois for promting this post!


A bit of Churchillian wisdom was a famous quote used by my parents “a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.” If either parent quoted it, they looked to the other seeking corroboration. Most often, it got trotted out when they chose not to answer some question I had asked or didn’t want to admit directly to ignorance, and so wrapped it all nicely as a mystery.
As a child, it worked nicely. I had no idea what an enigma was, and with the solemnity with which it got used, I became certain that ignorance was blissful.
This time of year, with presents appearing under the tree, Churchill had to work overtime in our house. ” Daddy is Santa going to….”, “Louis, it’s a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma.” So I could shake, look and measure, but not poke. Besides, as I later realized, my parents only put the decoy presents under the tree before Christmas.

As a child, I did have an ally in snooping. Honey, our family dog, was a chronic poker, pryer, and digger out of closets. Additionally, there was also little that she would not do for treats. So there was a reciprocal arrangement she poked and pried, and I discovered. Our technique and the partnership worked best from Thanksgiving till just before Christmas, while presents were stored but not wrapped. Then, after wrapping, we could confirm size, shape, and weight – but not contents.
Of course, the contents were of interest to me, and Honey received no treats if the hunt was not on. We were both very frustrated until the cat entered the picture. Wrapping paper and boxes were what motivated Daisy. She was curious about contents too, but the wrapping paper and bows were her absolute pleasure.

We were back in business. No present was safe. Even my older sister, too mature to poke and pry, would inquire about what Daisy had torn open. But, of course, our success couldn’t continue. So my parents found more secure ways to store presents away from the three-year-old ( me), the dog, and the cat.

What came of all this was an enduring sense of partnership with my furred siblings. These days I am above shaking, poking, and prying. But if Xenia should tear, claw or chew something open, I am not above taking a quick peek. Xenia frequently strolls into the kitchen afterward for a treat. After all, one partner should help the other, right?

A Dogs Work

This picture is of Sam. Unlike her imperial majesty Xenia, Sam works for a living. He is pretty proud that he still handles the herding duties in the household with aplomb and dignity at fifteen years of age. He is a mix of German Short Haired Pointer and Australian Cattle Dog. The cattle dog influence takes the lead.
At any family gathering, Sam will gently but undoubtedly move to gather the herd together. There will be no and, if, buts or maybes about it. Then he can retire to sit where he can watch everything.
The cat is a problem; Xenia believes all this imperial bushwa and flaunts the rules all the time. Among Sam’s essential duties is providing her security escort service in the garden in the mornings. Xenia considers him to be her Secret Service. He feels like rolling his eyes.

A few years ago in the fall, Sam decided to show me exactly how good a herder he was. Approaching a large group of squirrels from a distance, Sam first moved wide around a large oak tree. Then, circling them, he gradually worked them in closer to the tree. At last, Sam moved in and smoothly encouraged them to climb the tree as one group. Having done this, Sam sat down at the base of the tree and gave me a look that seemed to say, ” …and that’s how you do it! You want to try?”

Sam doesn’t like to be photographed, and if asked about his herding, I am sure that he would maintain that he was merely doing his job as a working dog.

%d bloggers like this: