Tag Archives: night

5/23/14 The First Summer Bonfire

I guess technically, Summer doesn’t start until Monday.  But with today’s fine weather, Jamie and Mom decided to light the first bonfire of the summer.

They waited until the sun began to set and when it was near dark-time, Mom started the blaze in her little outdoor firepit.  I was excited to be outside and played with my stick (which actually is a wiffle bat that I run around the yard with).


Mom brought out a plate of something that smelled delicious, and in short order, she and Jamie were roasting marshmallows on long sticks.  I had forgotten about marshmallows.  It’s been a long time since roasted-marshmallow time!


Mom dropped a marshmallow and said I could have it.  It smelled burnt and at first I didn’t know what to do with it.  Mom stuck her finger inside the confection to show me it was still good.  So I pawed it, licked my foot, then promptly devoured the marshmallow.  Delicious!

The fire was warm, the air was sweet, the grass freshly cut, and the wind chimes sang softly from the front porch.  Mom leaned her head back and started counting stars.  I sat next to Jamie and hoped he would drop a marshmallow, too.  The night was perfect!

It got darker and darker.  Jamie cuddled down into his coat as the breeze picked up.  Here, he’s being all anonymous:


(That coat is huge on him!)

Finally, Mom said I was getting a little too interested in what was going on beyond the woods, and the humans packed up and went inside.

I had a lot of outdoor time today, so I am good and tired!

Woof!  Love, Maggie


11/15/13 My Arrival at Bootcamp

(October, 2013)  After a particularly satisfying day of flashmobbing, sleeping on the human bed, begging for table scraps, and knocking over furniture, Mom and Jamie loaded me up in Zeus and off we went!  I was happy to be going for a ride.  I liked the little car.

The night air was thick with mist and soon we were driving through a pounding rainstorm.  Mom clutched the wheel and swore quietly under her breath.  Jamie looked like he might be sick at any moment. But I didn’t care!  We were out, and that was all that mattered.

Soon, Mom made the left turn at the brightly-lit gas station with the seashell on the sign, and within seconds, we pulled up to the Obedience College.  Inwardly I sighed.  While I was comfortable enough with going to the school, I couldn’t help thinking, “Not this again!”

But when we got inside, something was different.  I didn’t go right into the arena with the other dogs.  Mom talked to a Lady that looked like she was in charge at the counter, and made me “stay” while she filled out papers.  Then, the Alpha Lady came from around the counter towards me.  Jamie and Mom patted my head, and the Lady took the lead from Mom’s hand and trotted me toward the other dogs.

“This will work out O.K.,” I thought.  “I can do my commands with someone else, then go home.”  We got to the far end of the arena, past all the other dogs, which I thought was kind of strange, and I turned my head.  I couldn’t see Mom or Jamie anywhere.  I turned my body partly around and they were gone.  “Leave it!”  Commanded the Alpha Lady, giving my lead a tug.  Life was about to get a whole lot different, doggy-style.

The tall Alpha Lady put me in a cold kennel near some barking dogs and Doberman puppies.  I didn’t bark or yelp along – just decided to wait it out and see what would happen next.  I expected Mom to come back any minute, but she did not return.  Nervously, I chewed the bars on the door of my kennel while my anxiety built.  People moved back and forth in front of my crate, but none of them were my people.  My heart sank like a stone and I got a chill up my back and a sick feeling in my stomach:  They had given me away.  I was a bad dog, and they had given me away.  I felt the urge to howl, and poop, but I didn’t do either one.  I just curled up to await my fate.  What was it going to be:  back to the shelter, or to a new owner?  Was I doomed to stay locked up at school forever?

After what seemed like a very, very, long time, the last training class ended and the lights started going out.  The only ones left were the puppies and kennel dogs.  And me.  What was going on?  Suddenly, my cage door opened and the Alpha female stood before me.  I thumped my tail at her, hoping for mercy, or better yet, to be taken home.  Joke’s over, right?

The tall woman stooped down, snapped a leather lead on my collar, and we rushed out into the rain and then hopped into a truck.  We drove and drove and drove.  We went on the expressway.  I knew it was not the direction of home.  Nervously, I looked out the window and tried to lick my dry nose.  I was terrified.  I wished now I’d pooped back at the kennel.

The Alpha Lady pulled the truck up to a very big house.  She tugged me gently, coaxing me out of the back seat.  She rang the doorbell of the house, and then handed my lead over to a Man whom I immediately sensed was the Alpha-Alpha.  After speaking in a few low words that I couldn’t make out, the Lady left.

The Alpha Male gave me a sit/stay command, which I obeyed.  He then walked me into a crate.  It had my blanket from home in it.  I could hear and smell other dogs – many dogs – in the house.  I was given a biscuit and told to “go to bed”.  The crate door banged shut, the lights went out, and I gave a few frantic, despair-riddled barks.  Then I lay on my belly, eyes wide open, heart breaking.

It was my welcome to a whole new world.  And I didn’t like it one bit.

Love, Maggie


10/30/13 Off to Bootcamp

It was a dark and stormy night.  The car was packed with chew bones, rawhides, treats, and a two-week supply of food.  All that was left was to grab the blanket and leash Maggie.  “Damn,” I thought, “why did it have to rain tonight of all nights?”  Maggie was due to be dropped off at the training facility by 8:30 p.m., and it was already pitch-black outside.

Jamie took the red blanket, jagged with chewing at the corners, while I hooked Maggie to her prong collar.  Jamie carefully and tenderly placed the soft blanket in the trunk of the Fiat, as though it was fine china that he was afraid of breaking.  Maggie didn’t need much coaxing and jumped into the back seat of the little car, anticipating going for a ride with a wide smile and a tail-wag.

As I backed Zeus out of the garage, the rain began to fall in earnest; bucketing down from the inky sky so hard I thought the car would get dented for sure.  A few makeshift clouds scrabbled to take their place in front of the misty moon.

Jamie cut the music off as I tensed behind the wheel, gripping it firmly at the 10-and-2 position, trying to keep from getting washed into the empty lots that were, at one time, going to be a pasture for rescued horses.  Slipping unsteadily out onto the “busy street,” I drove through the rapidly-puddling water and tried to see where I was going.  Zeus’ wipers beat steadily as Jamie and I tried to remain cheerful.  “This is for the best,” I reassured Jamie halfheartedly.  “Maggie is going to socialize with other dogs, and re-learn her commands.  When she comes home, everything should be fine.”  In the bluish-green light of the streetlamps, my son’s face gleamed an upset pale.  He nodded, but I could tell he didn’t believe me.

We white-knuckled it all the way to the facility.  Maggie remained unconcerned, looking out the window at the torrent of water running down.  Even with the wipers going full-blast, I was only able to see where we were going by the rear lights of the SUV in front of us and the “cats eyes” that lined the sloppy thoroughfare.  By the time we pulled into the lot, I felt like I needed a drink, some migraine medicine, and a Xanax, not necessarily in that order.

We walked into the office and the overpowering smell of wet dog hair immediately hit us like a wave at the beach.  Jamie ran in the steady downpour back and forth to the car, unloading supplies, while I held on to Maggie (who was behaving nicely) and filled out paperwork.  I was notified of which trainer would be taking Maggie home and given a cell number.  Then, all too soon, capable hands took the lead out of mine and Maggie walked away to be with the other dogs.  Maggie was excited and hardly gave us a backwards glance.  I was glad it seemed easy on her for now.

We squelched back to the car, not really caring about the rain anymore, and sat down dejectedly.  Jamie didn’t exactly cry, but he did sniffle once or twice.  I reached over and squeezed his hand.  He squeezed back.  Hard.

The ride home was much the same, except for the gnawing, burning, acidic pain in my stomach, and the stone-silence of my sad-faced son.

Jim took the events of the evening in stride when he came home from work. “She’ll come back and be a better-behaved dog,” he told us, with assurance.  I looked at him.  Jamie looked down at his plate and didn’t say a word.

I went to bed, patting my mattress, looking for the white dog snuggled beneath the down comforter.  But she wasn’t there.  My hands reached out automatically, looking for her this morning; patting, patting, patting the emptiness.

In my heart, I know that Maggie is in the best of hands, receiving the best of care, and this was the right thing to do.  But still, we grieve at her absence, and hope and pray that bootcamp works.