Bailey…Our Pet Store Beagle

My family had the great fortune to find our family pet, Bailey, at a pet shop…in the mall. Now I know by the look on your faces, some of you may disapprove of our purchase. I will tell you in this case, your perception doesn’t match our reality. Let me say, this isn’t a post about where people get there pets from, and what is or isn’t right, it’s just about my family’s great fortune to find Bailey.

Looking back at it, I’m sure we paid more than we would have if we had purchased Bailey from a “responsible breeder”. Probably twice as much. A responsible breeder would never place a puppy in a store and pet shops are filled only with puppies born in puppy mills, unhealthy dogs kept in small cages or some would have you believe.

Does that mean these dogs don’t deserve a good home? Of course not. As for Bailey, he was the right dog, for the right family, at the right time. No matter where he came from or how much he cost. If you were to see him on the street, all you would see is a friendly beagle who would love you like family. An instant friend.

Now Bailey came with all the A.K.C. papers. Just like beagles from responsible breeders. He was current on any required shots and all of his paperwork listed not only where he came from, but his lineage as well. Was it all legitimate? While I will admit it mattered when we bought him… it doesn’t matter now. We were more than satisfied that he would be the perfect family pet. And he has been.

One of the great things about Bailey is the relationship he has with each member of the family. My son is more like a den mate, a sibling, equals in every way… brothers. Two straws stirring the same drink.

My wife? Bailey is her constant shadow, following her from room to room during the day, by her side as she works at home. Many a conference call has been interrupted by one of his sudden howls for attention. When she comes home from a trip, he is the first to greet her at the door. Usually before she can get her suitcase in the house. I’m usually asleep in front of the T.V. (don’t judge me, I work hard too).

Bailey absolutely adores my daughter. After college she moved to Florida, but she tries to come up a couple of times a year. From the minute she comes home he is by her side. They couldn’t be happier. And when she turns in for the night, we know just where to find him.

As for me, the so-called “master” of our domain? I’m the hand that feeds him. And he knows it. And since he constantly wants to eat, I see his big brown eyes staring up at me often. I also wrestle with him, usually over his smelly stuffed mallard (he has 4 but will only use 1). One of my lasting images will be of him standing next to me, staring up at me with that mallard in his mouth, daring me to take it from him.Once in a while if he lets me… I even get to win.

Beagles can be great service animals as well as wonderful hunting dogs. Bailey is neither. I have no doubt he could be good at either, we just never trained him. From day one he has always been a family dog, an “inside dog”. Deer and other animals who frequent the yard know they don’t need to worry about him. He will usually regard them with a classic hound greeting when he first sees them, but after that he could care less. One summer morning, while out for a bathroom break, he caught the scent of a rabbit in the yard and was in full chase when he suddenly stopped, remembering why he was outside in the first place. The rabbit got away and Bailey got relieved. Certainly not the great hunter.

I have watched Bailey grow with my kids. After we brought him home we enrolled him, and I guess the kids too, in obedience training (they all needed it) and it gave the kids the chance to learn responsible pet ownership and how to handle our newest member of the family. In turn, Bailey has taught us how to follow schedules…HIS. From how he jumps at the backdoor to go out, to how we know he’s hungry or thirsty by kicking his bowl across the kitchen floor, he has become the great communicator. His loyalty and companionship have gone far beyond what we could have imagined that Saturday in 2003 when we picked him, and him us…at the pet store.

We will be celebrating Bailey’s 13th birthday this year, that’s 74 to me and you. He moves a little slower, sleeps a little more, and his face is a little greyer, just like me. His birthday is July 14th, the same as my wife, so as we enjoy cake, Bailey will be right there with us, staring at us with his big brown eyes ( just like my wife’s) and enjoying his Frosty Paws. He’s certainly earned it.

Let me stop here and include a public service message about choosing the right pet for your family. The following 2 links are from the A.K.C. (American Kennel Club) and the ASPCA and discuss their opinion of responsible breeding, pet ownership, and selecting the pet best for your family. A third opinion comes from P.E.T.A. and says that choosing a pet from anywhere other than an animal shelter is irresponsible. While I understand that position, I don’t agree with it.

https://www.aspca.org/about-us/aspca-policy-and-position-statements/position-statement-criteria-responsible-breeding

http://www.akc.org/press-center/facts-stats/responsible-breeders/

 

 

 

Six Degrees to the…

Oval Office…or how I know the Clintons.

As you’re reading this you’re probably asking yourself…

“Didn’t Facebook disprove the Six Degrees Theory?” 

Or maybe…

“How is a nobody like this guy connected to the former President and his wannabe President wife?”

Let me answer those 2 questions as best I can?.. and remember you asked for it…

First, who gives a hoot about Facebook anyway and…

Back in the 2nd grade I appeared…

On camera…

on The Gene London Show which was a local Saturday morning kids show starring…you guessed it…

1. Gene London 

As we were waiting to enter the Cartoon Corners General Store for the beginning of the program, a classmate…let’s call her Lisa…because that was her name…asked me to switch places in line…making Me the first to run in and lead my classmates into the store. What an amazing break in my young life…THANKS LISA! (Like most girls she generally ignored me after that until our senior year of high school…) Anyway, someone, I don’t know, director, producer, janitor, told me that I should run in and jump up on the counter (remember, I said it was a general store) and Gene would throw a box to me…

a little clarity here…

First of all they should have put a spring board next to the counter…I swear it was higher than me…and Gene had about 3 boxes he tossed to kids around the room until the last one, with confetti, fell on his head. Ha ha ha, we all laughed. They told us to. So I ran in, made my one giant leap for mankind…nailed it by the way…turned to face Gene…and sent the gum ball dispenser sliding across the counter. “Cut, let’s do it again. Can somebody move the gum balls before he breaks the machine?” I was humiliated. They did however, let me do it again, and this time, perfection. Now as I waited on the counter…

praying like a 9-year old right fielder that I wouldn’t drop the fly ball (box) and cost my team the game (Take 3)…

Gene tossed the box, I caught it, once again without breaking the gum ball machine or falling off of the counter, and the rest as they say…is television history.

Now Gene, who was an artist and puppeteer in his early days, is my first step to the Oval Office because he worked with…

2. Shari Lewis & Lamb Chop

That’s right, Shari and that silly little sock puppet, are the second degree on my way to Bill and Hillary.

As a kid I can remember, kind of, Shari doing a show in which her and Lamb Chop (is anyone getting hungry?) hosted a show for kids…of course it was for kids…that showed movies you probably never heard of. My favorite was always Skinny & Fatty, a film about 2 children in Japan, one was a skinny and the other was a fatty…the kids made fun of fatty because he couldn’t climb the rope in gym class…

no wait, I think that was on  Kukla, Fran, & Ollie. Oh well. Who cares?

Shari and her little sock puppet however did appear on the final episode of Sesame Street (Season 27 show # 3525) which leads us to number 3 on our journey to the Clintons…

3. ELMO

By no means am I a fan of Elmo. Elmo was indirectly responsible for Kermit the Frog leaving the “Street”, as well as less air time for Big Bird, Oscar, Bert & Ernie, and other popular characters. I think his status as a “fad toy” clearly went to his head (remember, Tickle Me Elmo?). However much resentment I have for this 3rd person talking, scene stealing, too big for the room puppet, he opens the door to my relationship with…

4. Barbara Walters

Barbara Walters is the glue that holds all of these relationships together. She was in 2 Muppets productions, Stars and Street Forever, The Sesame Street Special (Put Down the Duckie), and in 2005 she hosted the Annual Sesame Workshop Benefit Gala. She obviously knows her Muppets. The other thing about Barbara Walters…she has probably interviewed every political newsmaker who was, well, in the news at that time. So with that you know she had to interview…

5. Monica Lewinsky

Monica was interviewed on March 3, 1999 by Walters while 70 million people who had nothing better to do watched. If you don’t remember Mons…she was Bill Clinton’s favorite blue dress wearin’ White House intern. That is of course until their friendship was Tripped up in September of 1997 by phone recordings and some kind of a stain on previously mentioned blue dress. We can send a man to the moon but we can’t get the spot out of a blue dress? Wonder how they will write that up in the history books? It was a real stain on the Office of the Presidency. So, while I would not invite Monica and Hillary to my backyard barbecue, I will say that Monica is responsible for the erection (too much?) of my last degree of separation to the Clintons…

6. Mr. And Mrs. POTUS(s?)

Is this whole thing a stretch? Without question. But it is possible. Hillary might be able to beat Bernie Sanders in the primaries, and any candidate the Republicans can Trump up making Bill the first First Man. First Husband? Current 3-term President? President Bill-ary Clinton? Whatever…Bill, just leave your sax at home when you come to the barbecue, I have Spotify and a good Bluetooth speaker. Oh, and Hillary, there is no WIFI in my backyard, so leave the laptop at home. Take a break from checking emails. And NO, you cannot borrow my iPad for an hour!

So there you have it. Six degrees to the Oval Office. Better known as Six Degrees of Separation, or the more popular, Six Degrees to Kevin Bacon.

I may not have remembered everything about the Gene London show correctly, I will tell you I did switch with Lisa, yes that was the last time we spoke until high school, and yes I did run in and hop up on the counter. Twice. A little fuzzy on whether it was gum balls or something else in the dispenser and if we all laughed when the box fell on his head. We might have cheered.

I also could not find a rule that said everyone on the list must be living. Shari Lewis is currently deceased, however the current state and location of Lamb Chop is unknown to me. If anybody knows…?

Monica Lewinsky probably doesn’t need to be on this list. Pretty sure Barbara Walters knows the Clintons herself and doesn’t need an introduction from Monica. That would put my Clinton # at 5 and not 6. Just thought it would be more fun working her into the group. The sacrifices…Once again my final 6…