Saturday, December 25, 2010

Gifts from Santy Paws

When we had only two small dogs, Santy Paws delivered toys and treats every Christmas. Since then, Santa has spent too much money on vet bills and food to afford Christmas gifts. But today, Grampy Santa delivered a basketful of slightly used tennis balls. They were a great success. Each dog spent hours (well, maybe minutes) chewing the coating off each ball. The balls ended up looking like sickly but beloved navel oranges, as you see here...

The Great TP Mystery

When the puppies were younger, we had to keep the bathroom door closed because the toilet paper was too much of a temptation for them. They would grab one end of the roll and festoon the living room with TP. Eventually, that game lost its appeal and we started leaving the bathroom door open again.

In the past week or so, we've noticed that some critter has been chewing on one end of the TP roll..but who? Was it one dog, or were they taking turns?

Today I caught the criminal in the act. You won't be surprised to learn that it's Goober, and that he experiences not one ounce of shame or regret about this bad new habit. His response to my reprimand: "So what?"

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

So what?

Goober says, "So what? So I'm bigger and fatter and shinier than all the rest. What did I do to deserve all this? Not much. I just had to creep down the driveway, quivering and crying, get Grammy to pick me up and hug me, and the rest is history. Yeah, so I'm part pit-bull. You got a problem with that? Huh? Huh?"

The 9 Dogs Howling Version of the Vulcan Mind Meld

Teddy: I'm thinking Florida Keys.
Berry: I'm thinking Mediterranean Food Tour.
Teddy: But I'm too relaxed to get up and make the reservations.
Berry: And who's going to pay for it?
Teddy: Grammy & Grampa?
Berry: Get real! They keep asking me when I'm going to get a paper route and earn my kibble.
Teddy: They're so mean!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Let sleeping dogs lie

Even Goober looks sweet and angelic when he's asleep.

When they're awake, Jinx and Goober argue constantly about who's Top Dog, but come nap time, it's kind of nice to snuggle up with your brother.

Goober's First Snow Day

Every kid loves a snow school, building snowmen, throwing snowballs, catching snowflakes on your tongue, making snow angels. This photo shows Goober enjoying snow for the first time in his life. The other dogs, who are more blase about snow, stayed inside where it was warm and dry, but Goober stayed outside, sometimes playing, sometimes just enjoying the magic of a snow day.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Possum and the kittens

Possum's kittens turned out to be boys. Possum's going to the vet to be spayed this Friday, and the kittens will go with her to be boarded that night, because we don't trust Trudy with them if Possum's not there to protect them. They're feisty little guys, but they're still far too small to stand up to a big dog.

Holiday greetings

A friend of Mr. P's who lives in Connecticut sent him a Christmas card and wrote on it:

"My best to the wife and 4000 dogs."

You'd think he'd actually been here to visit, saying that. It might feel like we have 4000 dogs, Roger, but it's really only 10.

Only 10?

Friday, December 3, 2010

Where's Waldo?

You might look at this picture, taken at 7:00 this morning, and think there's enough dogs in the living room. But there's only 6 dogs: Polly, Georgie, Berry, Teddy, Jinx and Patch. Meg and Goober were AWOL, Blackie and Trudie were outside, and goodness knows where Waldo is.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A Man & His Weiner

I can't decide who's cuter in this photo, John or his little weiner, Lionel.

In the final analysis, Lionel wins because of those chubby, kissable paws. I'm not saying that John's paws aren't kissable, but I don't kiss any appendages of other women's husbands.

If dogs love to chew...

I've lived with dogs for 56 years, and I think I know the canine species pretty well by now. I think I can say without fear of successful contradiction that dogs love to chew. They love to chew bones, furniture, shoes, toes, you name it. But not food. They wait all day for a cup of crunchy dog kibble, greet it with joyous enthusiasm, and inhale it all without chewing it once. Then they look up at me with eager, inquiring faces, saying, "Where did all my food go? Can I have more?"

Why? Why do they do that? These aren't wild dogs who don't know where their next meal of dead squirrel is coming from. These are spoiled domesticated dogs who have never known true hunger or need in their entire rotten lives. But they would rather chew the carpet than chew their delicious dog kibble.

I just don't understand it.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Possession is all...

In Jinx's world, POSSESSION means everything. He must possess the bone, or the chair, or the pillow, even if it causes him discomfort. And of course, once he possess whatever it is, he can't relax. Possession requires constant vigilance.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Sad News

Sadly, I must report that 4 of Possum's kittens disappeared and only 2 remain. We suspect that Trudy took them out into the back yard or pasture to play with them and left the poor little things to fend for themselves there, and there they perished.

Possum is extra vigilant about protecting the 2 remaining kittens. Even when Mr. P. or I gently pet or hold them, Possum is close by, watching and waiting. When Trudy gets near one of those kittens, Possum bops the crap out of her. Hell hath no fury like an angry feline mom.

One kitten is black and named Licorice. The other is a grey tiger like Possum and named Spice. Like their mom, they have very long, skinny tails. Unlike their mom, their tails bend at a 90 degree angle at the end.

As soon as I can manage it, I'll post photos of them. But man, do those little guys/girls move fast!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Our new neighbor, the Incredible Mr. Ed

About a month ago, one of our neighbors, a retired farmer, put a horse in the pasture that adjoins ours. I know virtually nothing about horses, but as far as I can tell, this is a brown gelding of unknown heritage. I don't know if horses are social animals, but it seems to me that this guy is lonely. He has a big pasture with trees and plantlife and hills and valleys...but no other critters
(except when our kitties and outdoor dogs venture out there).
Of course, Mr. Parker immediately started a horse friendship campaign, offering Mr. Ed a variety of treats like corn stalks, turnip greens, tomatoes, bell peppers, and other items from our garden. Mr. Ed was not impressed. A week ago, Mr. P.. declared loudly that he was NOT going to give Mr. Ed any apples, but yesterday he gave Mr. Ed a few apples with such great results that we are now feeding Mr. Ed apples several times a day.
After munching his requisite apples, Mr. Ed is willing to let us pet and admire him. He seems like a fine man to me, but Mr. P. says his hooves are split and there are other signs of neglect. Why would a horse owner put Mr. Ed out to pasture like this? Mr. Ed sure seems like a great guy to us. Of course, we can afford to feed another critter about as well as we can afford to re-build the Brooklyn Bridge. But it's pretty nice to pet Mr. Ed's fuzzy muzzle as long as you don't look too closely at the discolored teethb covered with foamy saliva and partially-chewed grass.

Arwen's Halloween

Can you find the kitty in this picture?

Saturday, October 23, 2010

Design advice from Reiki

My friend Nina learned to sew recently and has already made dozens of nice things as gifts and for her home. This week she decided to stitch her grandmother's table runners together and then make them into a quilt. Of course, Reiki is close by, offering design advice.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Berry's in the dog house

For the past few weeks, every time I open the door to the master bedroom (where dogs are not allowed), Berry (who feels that he is the #1 candidate for Indoor Dog) has raced in like a rocket and landed triumphantly on the bed, smiling and wagging his tail after first checking my nightstand for used Kleenex (a yummy treat). I regret to say that I have rewarded him for this behavior by laughing and kissing him.

But no more.

Tonight he did the bed-rocket routine and while I was reaching out to pet him, he squatted and peed on the bed. Marking his territory, no doubt. I instantly switched into Psycho Grammy mode and cast him out of the room. He slunk out into the living room, where Psycho Grampy accosted and scolded him.

When the bedding was in the washing machine and everything had calmed down, I went back into my study, sat down, and attempted to work again. Within a few minutes, Jinx, Meg, and Teddy and Patch came up to me in turns to remind me that they are good dogs who never pee on the bed. They all said, "Vote for me as the Indoor Dog!"

Sanford & Son move to west Tennessee

Trudy's prospects are not looking good today.

While I was at work yesterday, she took one of Possum's kittens out into the back yard, almost to the edge of our property (we have over 4 acres). The kitten wasn't hurt, just frightened and yowling. Mr. P. told her (very loudly) that kittens are not toys.

This morning I looked out at our front yard and saw that Trudy has set up sort of a play area near a lilac bush. I haven't inspected it closely, but it looks like she's got 2 blankets, 3 large pieces of styrofoam, a piece of plywood, and 2 small garden statues. Fortunately our house is set far back from the street so passers-by can't enjoy the white-trash view.

So Mr. P. locked Trudy out of the garage last night. I see this as a temporary solution. A long-term solution would be for him to clean up all the crap he's got in the garage, the inside of which looks like a scene from Sanford & Son.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Kitten Bouquet

This afternoon I managed to gather a beautiful bouquet of kittens. It would have been a bigger bouquet, but some of the kittens were too intent on exploring the garage to bother being scooped up in my hands. Which is too bad, because they passed up a great opportunity to claw my hands into shreds with their tiny needle claws.

Sunday, October 10, 2010

How to use your Schnauzer as a blanket

You'll never be cold as long as you have a handy dandy dog like Fritz. I love the way he's got his rear legs spread out behind him in order to achieve Maximum Mom Coverage.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

The Mona Lisa Smile

The reason for the Mona Lisa Smile on my face is pure, unadulterated, grandmotherly joy.
Would you smile too if you had a snack-size kitten like that to cuddle?

Nursery News

Mr. P. made a nursery /playpen for Possum and her kittens on a big shelf in the back of the garage. They all like it and settled right in to have supper. Possum has her paws full. She has SIX kittens, 3 grey striped just like her and 3 black just like who knows who. Their eyes are open and their lungs are working just fine...plenty of mewing and yowling. When we gently pet the kittens, Possum watches carefully but doesn't protest. Even Mr. P., an avowed cat hater when we married (he had a dog and I had 2 cats then), admits that these kittens are very cute.


When I was a little girl, I wanted more than anything to be able to fly like a bird. My experiments with "flying" down the stairs (from the 2nd to the first floor of our house) were not successful even when I used a bath towel as a cape (a la Superman), and they were not at all popular with my mom. The only time I could fly was in my sleep. I would have marvelous dreams about flying and wished I could dream those dreams on command. At intervals throughout my adult life, I've had other dreams about flying - in some of them, I couldn't NOT fly - could not keep my feet on the ground (that probably says something about my personality, but I don't have the time to analyze it right now).

I think Patch has dreams about flying sometime.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Update on Trudy's creeping crud

Mr. P. took Trudy to the vet yesterday. She has mange on her face and the vet thinks the crud on her legs is warts. A lot of warts. We'll put mange salve on her face and wait and see what happens with the warts. If she gets warts in her mouth, the prognosis is not good. The warts could be an allergic reaction to something in her environment, or from a virus, and/or from an immature or poor immune system.

The warts look horrible but Trudy doesn't seem to notice them at all. I guess she's too busy stealing stuff our of our garage and toting it around the neighborhood. And our small bunny garden statue is now her favorite toy. Mr. Bunny travels far and wide.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

The centerfold photo for Dog World magazine

Jinx is an extremely earnest, serious young man, but occasionally I catch him in a silly pose like this. I especially love the upside down smile.

Meg's thinking, "Yeah, whatever."

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Color Trends

Black is in, I tell you. I've got a year at JC Penney under my belt, and am on my way to becoming a fashionista. So, pay attention, black is IN!
Isn't it Polly's glossy coat amazing?

Cheesecake a la Blackie

Listen, Mom, you need to take my picture, not Trudy's. I'm big, black and bee-yoo-tee-ful. No one wants to see a photo of that scrrawny, mangey mutt. They want to see a photo of me, Blackie, and my movie-star smile!

Trudy blows a photo opp

Jean: Look at Grammy now, Trudy.
Trudy: What was that?
Jean: Please look at me, Trudy girl.
Trudy: I think it was a cat parade.
Jean: Gertrude, pay attention to me!
Trudy: But it was cats! Hundreds of cats!
Jean: I just want to take a picture of your smiling face. One measly picture!
Trudy: Sorry, gotta go. I got places to go, things to do, cats to chase.

Another danger of dog ownership

I can't recall if I've mentioned before that our dogs treat me like a large chew toy. A beloved, favorite chew toy. I'm always covered with bruises and scratches, arousing the suspicion of medical professionals who have never met our dogs and are worried that Mr. P. is abusing me. I freely admit that I am terrible at discipline. I am fair skinned and have always bruised easily, only more so as I get older (and acquire more dogs). One of the more spectacular injuries resulted from the collision of Goober's cement skull with my left shin. That produced a bump the size and shape of a jumbo chicken egg, shown here. The bump has been replaced by a bruise about 4" in diameter. Thanks, Goob.

Trudy's Creeping Crud

Here's a picture of the creeping crud on Trudy's legs. No, not the white leg wearing black sandals. The black leg wearing creeping crud. Anyone care to offer a preliminary diagnosis?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Good news, bad news

This has been a week of ups and downs here at 9 Dogs Howling. Mostly downs. But there is good news. Mr. P. figured out why our clothes dryer wouldn’t start (a little actuator arm broke off) and fixed it with Superglue and a popsicle stick (we do live in the South, after all), thereby saving us a $129 service charge. But there's still bad news. Trudy (Goober’s sister) now has these strange bumps, like brown moss growing in spots all over all 4 legs. I have never seen anything like it before. It could be a reaction to insect bites, but maybe not, and we don’t want it to spread to the other dogs, so she’s off to the vet on Friday. She’s not in pain or scratching at the bumps, and the other day had enough energy to steal the foam pad out of one of the cat crates and shred it all over the back yard. Let me tell you, if that ever happens to you, don’t laugh out loud. Husbands who have to clean up the mess don’t think it’s nearly as funny as their wives do!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Drunken stupor

It seemed to me that the dogs were being extra bratty today, like they took a double dose of stupid pills this morning, and I think I've figured out why.

I noticed that they keep going over to the antique sideboard that stands next to our 2nd refrigerator (the small one) and licking the floor. I wondered if they were attracted by a puddle of pee, but even Polly is too big to squat under that sideboard. I investigated. The puddle wasn't pee. It was pale pink and spreading fast around the little fridge and the sideboard. With great misgiving, I opened the fridge door. One of Mr. P's jugs of home made wine was leaking from its spigot. I fixed the spigot, mopped up the wine, and the party was over. Now the dogs are lying around in a drunken stupor, and I've got to find a way to get them outside before the puking hangovers start.

The cemetery

Today is a beautiful, mild, sunny fall day, but I woke up feeling lousy - a bad pain flare, and my pollen allergies acting up. While getting organized for the day, I took a bag of trash out to the garage and greeted the garage critters (Blackie, Smokey & Possum - don't know where Trudie and Miss Kitty were). Looking out at the back yard, I decided to walk out to our cemetery, which is at the edge of our property under a dogwood tree. Buster, Bessie Lou, and Mom are buried there. Mom's veteran's memorial plaque was still in place, but I had the most horrible feeling that she isn't there any more.

Last week I had a conversation with one of my work buddies, Alicia, about grief. Apparently Alicia's roommate can't understand why Alicia still grieves the loss of her parents, who
passed away a long time ago. He thinks she should just let go of it. I thought the same thing in the past, but now I know I was wrong. I told Alicia, "I don't think the grief ever ends."

Friday, September 17, 2010

Introducing Trudie

For about a month, we've been seeing a charcoal grey dog running loose in the neighborhood (if that's what you can call a small settlement of houses out in the farm lands). We thought it was Goober's brother.

Today, Blackie (our town crier and goodwill ambassador) brought the grey doggie up to the house with a canine letter of recommendation. Turns out it's a sister, not a brother. Much smaller, scrawnier, and mangier, but most certainly she is Goober's sister. And like Goober when he arrived here, she is sweet and needy and cuddly.
At first I thought that Mr. P. would cast her out, but apparently she had worked her charm on him and when I got home from work, he was talking baby talk to her and giving her Milk Bonz. So I named her Gertude, or Trudie for short.
And now it's 10 Dogs Howling, plus a basketful of kittens!

Slim & Trim

Possum is finished birthing the kittens, and we can hear very cute, super adorable, heart-melting mewing noises from the crate. Mr. P. forbids us from peeking at the kittens, which is a very dire pronouncement here in cute-animal land. Meanwhile, Possum is enjoying her return to her slim, trim pre-baby body.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

We have kitten(s)!

Possum (the new kitty) has been very cranky for the past few days, and no wonder, with that belly full of kitten. This morning I looked her skinny hips and thought, "How are those kittens going to get out of there?"

At about 7:00 pm, Mr. Parker charged into my study saying, "You're a grandmother again!" So we went out to the garage to investigate. Possum chose the kitty crate in the most protected spot (Mr. P.'s workroom at the back of the garage) and as far as we could tell, had birthed one little kitten. It was mewing and nursing while Possum licked it. It looked like a maggot with fur.
According to Mr. P.'s Royal Proclomation, we are not to disturb Possum and her family for the next week. NO photo ops! That's OK, but I think I'll have to tiptoe out there at least once a day and make sure the family's OK. Don't tell anyone, OK?

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Reiki's new hobby

Money's tight, so Reiki has decided to make her own costume for her upcoming dance recital.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Personal Hygiene

Excuse me?
I have PRIVATE things to attend to here. You just throw that camera into the pasture and mind your own business, you hear?

I love ya, man!

I love ya, man! Like, I really, hey, I love ya! Not the way you're thinkin', just as a bro', ya know? Like, we can share the bones and the breaks, ya know? How about it? Ya gonna share that, bro?

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Baby On Board

Possum is a skinny little girl with a bunch of babies in her belly. What's your guess? Four? Six?

She's getting cranky. It's time for those kittens to come out!

Looking Forward

Our latest feline arrival has been named Possum (or, Miss Possum) because she has a round body and a long skinny tail. She looks 1000% better now than when she first arrived. This photo captures her in a meditation about her life and her future.

Life at 9 Dogs Howling looks pretty good.

Life with all the kittens in her belly...not so good.

Excuse me?

Excuse me? We were in the middle of a Magical Moment. You can turn off that camera or I'll smash it with the hammer of my indignation. Just leave us alone!

The Reunion

As regular 9 Dogs readers will remember, Polly's One True Love was her stuffed white squirrel. Mr. Squirrel has had several incarnations (and, sad to say, gory deaths). About 2 years ago, I obtained 2 Mr. Squirrels for Polly, gave her one, stored the other, and promptly forgot where the extra squirrel was stored. Last week when I was rifling through a storage closet for a box of Epsom Salts, I found the last Mr. Squirrel, still in his plastic bag. Since the only dogs in the house at that moment were Polly, Georgie, and Patch, I felt it was safe to give Mr. Squirrel to Polly.

Patch tried to join the reunion party, but Polly only had eyes (an mouth) for Mr. Squirrel.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Polly at work

Polly is our smallest dog in physical size, but perhaps our biggest dog in terms of attitude. All of our dogs must submit to her daily inspection, with a special emphasis on detailed ear-licking and the expert removal of eye boogers. At least once a day, she moves into kick-ass mode and torments a bigger dog until they cry "Uncle!" Unfortunately, that kick-ass ritual tends to happen on top of my bare feet, in the confined space under my desk. Her favorite victim is Goober, so you can imagine my surprise to discover them cuddled up on a chair this afternoon.
As always, I ask you to ignore the dirt on that chair. We just can't keep up with the dirt. I dust and sweep every other day, but I really ought to do that twice a day.

Black licorice

I have a number of friends who are addicted to licorice. That's one kind of candy that doesn't call to me, though I will admit I've chewed my way through plenty of Twizzlers. But I do love canine licorice, like these two chewy delicious chunks.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Still here

The new kitty is still here, and looking much better. She has eaten and drunk plenty of food and water, groomed herself, napped in one of our many kitty beds (in the garage), and seems to have decided that this is a good place to stay. And why not? We're still worried about the big belly - kittens? worms? She spent much of today sitting on the door mat outside the front door, acting as if she's in charge of this joint and always has been. That infuriated the dogs almost beyond bearing. Oh well, they have to have something to protest.

But according to Mr. P., now that the heat has dropped, the outdoor dogs will no longer be allowed to roam the back yard freely at night. When they're loose, they bark, scream and holler for hours and hours. Some of us wear ear plugs, and some of us don't. Effective immediately, outdoor dogs will be confined to seg (segregation) at night, locked into their own shed where we hope their barks and howls will at least be muffled by plywood, MDF, and insulation.

Night, all!

Goober's report

Hi, it's me, Goober, reporting to you tonight from the 9 Dogs Howling Ranch. As you can see, accommodations here are comfortable and colorful. The food is plain but plentiful, and my already handsome coat is shinier than ever. This is truly a no-worry resort. You don't have to handle cash at all and the staff does not accept tips. Just play, relax, drink 9 gallons of water, piddle, eat, poop, sleep, play, relax, bark, eat, drink 11 gallons of water, poop, sleep, scream and holler, run around the yard 11 times, work on The Tunnel to China, and so on as your heart desires. My only complaint is that there are only 9 chewy bones for 9 dogs. Anybody who knows anything about dogs understands that the only bone I want is the one that another dog has. In this photo, I'm in possession of the Good Bone, but 2 minutes later, Berry had stolen it, and 2 minutes after that, Meg had stolen it, and I haven't seen it since. I've spent many weary hours (OK, maybe 16 minutes) searching for the Good Bone, but Someone has hidden it.

Goober & Jinx take a nap

Goober was not allowed on the bed in my study until very recently. That wasn't a human was a dog rule. He was quite capable of getting up onto the bed, but the other dogs told him it was off-limits so he rarely even tried. Since his neutering surgery, though, his burning need to dominate the world has cooled down and he's now allowed on the bed provided that he allows the other dogs to use him as a pillow.

Contemplating Nature

I took this photo because I wanted to capture the funny position of Teddy's rear right leg, but now the photo strikes me as the revelation of a previously-unknown aspect of his personality. Teddy is not a pioneer or a loner. He was the only puppy of the litter that did not want to explore the world outside the whelping box and cried piteously whenever we tried to set him on the floor beside the box. He loves to be with the other dogs and is rarely seen on his own...except in this photo, where he's all alone in his quiet contemplation of nature.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

We're here to help you

In my 30+ year work experience, I have many times had to deal with internal auditors or accountants or financial experts whose appearance in my office sent a flaming spear of dread into my heart. As far as I know, none of those number-crunchers ever found anything bad enough to send me to prison (or the unemployment line). But I will always remember a very straight-laced but devilishly funny accountant named Scotty who would say, "Don't panic. We're from the Accounting Department, and we're here to help you."
A few days ago, I glanced into the kitchen and saw a gang of dogs supervising Mr. P. as he made his lunch, and I could vividly hear Scotty saying, "We're here to help you."

Counter Food

Until Patch and her pups arrived, we had never had a dog tall enough to steal food off the kitchen counter. Gradually we figured out that food must be set at the back of the counter. And then we discovered that SOME dogs (like Teddy) will go to extreme lengths to capture Counter Food. It doesn't matter what the food is: tomatoes, apples, peppers, thawing meat, you name it, it's all game.
Last weekend, Mr. P. set a trap on the counter: a hot pepper. He figured that its fiery taste would teach Teddy and the gang that counter food isn't always good food. At 2:00 pm on Sunday, the pepper lure was poised on the edge of the counter. At 2:05 pm, the pepper was 75%gone, with just a sprinkle of masticated flesh and seeds left on the carpet. No one seemed to be the worse for wear. So much for THAT experiment.

The new arrival

We moved to Tennessee because I got the job of a lifetime here, but I didn't stay at that job for very long and lately I've been thinking that God sent us here to take care of unwanted animals. Like our newest arrival, a scrawny kitty with a swollen belly (either she's a pregnant female, or a kitty with something bad going on in there) and skinny, matted legs and tail. At first there was some growling and hissing because the Resident Cats (Miss Kitty and Smoky) objected to the new arrival and the New Arrival objected to the unfriendly welcome. After everyone had some kibble and water, things were much more peaceful, and the New Arrival settled down to nap on a chair in Mr. P.'s garage work room.

Friday, August 27, 2010

Everything goes better with DOG

Dog Pile

If you look at this dog pile very carefully, you will see one gleaming, smiling human eye. It belongs to my dear friend Lisa, who as you can see is just as nuts about dogs as I am.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Sweet Dreams

Today I was working at the computer in my study and most of the dogs were outside enjoying the cooler weather (upper 80's instead of 100+). I paused to mentally search for a word (which I do more and more often these days), swiveled in my chair, and saw that I was alone in the room except for Berry, who was conked out on the spare bed (that's the bed that guests used to sleep on before dog pee made it useless for that purpose).

As usual, Berry's eyes were closed and his face was smiling. And why not? He's a lazy guy resting on a cushy bed in an air-conditioned house with his head on a pillow and his Grammy a few feet away. Who wouldn't smile? That scene happens a dozen times a week. A dozen times a day. But this time it was different, because Berry's tail was wagging. Thump, thump, thump against the bed. I thought, maybe he's awake after all. But on closer inspection, his eyelids were closed while his eyeballs did the rapid eye movement that indicates deep sleep. My boy was asleep and dreaming a happy dream. Not the anxious kind of dream that Jinx has, with twitching, "running" legs and desperate, muffled woofs. No, Berry was wagging his tail at something wonderful.
When Mister P. got home, I told him about Berry's dream and asked him what it could have been about. Mister P. said, "He was dreaming about eating a cat."
Maybe. But I think he was dreaming about being a sultan in a luxurious tent, with apricot poodles fanning him and bringing him sweet-meats and flagons of chicken liver wine.