Thursday, January 29, 2009

What I Wouldn't Do

Newbie spoiler: You'll want to dig back a few stories for context...

Truffles has been through the ringer.
Many of you know her history. For those who do not, and are not inclined to click on links that might make them smarter and more popular, the short version is as follows.

She's handicapped. Her right front leg has required multiple surgeries to correct a very bad case of ALD - angular limb deformity. The surgeries have been successful when one considers that she might have lost the leg if not for our veterinary efforts. Yet she is not at 100 percent functional capacity. She will always be left with a limp, and from what the vets tell us, she'll never be able to vote.

We love her just the same. While she may not be able to run, jump and play as fast, high or hard as Nigel and Sola, she is still constantly on the move, fluttering about the house to visit each of us and distribute slobber kisses.

Our love for her (and a genuine desire to see her find happiness) led us on a journey of exploration, a journey fraught with frustration, twists, and a surplus of laughter. We hoped to help her find her way, no matter the cost - her way to gainful employment, so that she may begin to pay back the mountain of money she owes us-

Truffles: Hey stop right there. You want me to pay you?

Author: I thought you were sleeping. Ignore that part and follow along.

We set out to investigate vocational possibilities for little Ms. Fudgepants. Our venture commenced last spring as winter subsided, leaving random snowbanks deposited about the property. I wanted to break up the snow to help it melt and make way for warmer pursuits, and took Truffles and a snow shovel out for a test run.

My first mistake: not factoring firewood proximity. Sola and Truffles have developed an affection for logs that finds us constantly rebuilding the woodpile, replacing pilfered pieces with regularity.

Truffles: Foolish mortal, was there really a decision to be made here? Did you think I could reach that shovel handle?

Author: Determined as I was discouraged, I abandoned the snowbanks in pursuit of a more suitable chore. I scanned the grounds for a more appropriate career path for Truffles as a soundtrack of grunts and and splintering wood played in the background.

Raking perhaps?

I may as well have tried to sell WeightWatchers memberships to Greyhounds. Not a second had passed before she took a sniff, turned up her nose and moved on.

Truffles: It smelled like Nigel peed on the leaf pile. Pass.

Author: I grabbed the rake and finished up angrily. Truffles watched, her head cocked in mockery. I was on the verge of running amok when it struck me: With her diminished capacity, maybe outdoor chores were not the right call. I tossed the rake aside and grabbed Fudgepants, headed for the house. I was inspired.

Truffles: I was not.

Author: Shoveling snow and raking leaves are fairly strenuous activities, so I sought out something a little easier for a limping lab with forty extra pounds of junk in the trunk.

Dusting was a bust, plain and simple.

Truffles: Do I look like a domestic goddess?

Author: We spent the ensuing months putting our proposals before her, but Fudgepants wasn't having it.

Slain by proximity again. The floors were trashed, the recycling spilling over out of the can, but what does Truffles see?

Truffles: Only kibbles silly human.

Author: Additional attempts were thwarted my various means.

Cooking was a loser. No interest whatsoever.

Truffles: Hey I like pancakes, but it's the cake I'm after, not the pan. Do I look like Julia Child?

Nigel: You look like you ate her. At least I considered vacuuming.

Author: I appreciate your offer to chip in, but we all know that you just want to be vacuumed you big dust collector.

We took time off to reflect, and as I sipped my coffee one morning my brain awakened and bingo! I was certain I had victory in my grasp. I had spent months trying to engage Truffles in physical activities. What was I thinking? She's got a fragile, fifteen thousand dollar leg and I am trying to impose manual labor on her.

I was sure I had the answer. It was time to measure her capacity for intellectual challenge. Beaming with glee, I shared my idea with Truffles.

Truffles: I lack thumbs brainiac. Something tells me you are not exactly qualified to determine my mental prowess.

Author: I was as disappointed as Nigel at a BBW dance. I gave up.

Months passed. I had set aside the notion of employment for Fudgepants. Truth be known, I had forgotten about it completely until Sunday morning. I stretched and yawned on my way down the stairs and was instantly jolted awake by an encouraging sight.

Truffles had found her muse.

It's so easy to get caught up in the bustle of the daily grind. With so much political coverage, bad economic news and such, the little stories get buried. Stories of environmental issues, recycling, of going green. For the past year, Truffles had quietly tolerated my dimwitted attempts to show her the way; all the while paying close attention to the happenings of the world, and choosing to make a difference.

She had embraced her new position with vigor. I rubbed my eyes and surveyed the damage. Truffles was expressionless, save for the twitching snaggletooth that stared back at me

I was brimming with parental pride, bursting to tell the world that Fudgepants had settled in to her new job quite nicely. A job in the recycling business - as a paper shredder.

Truffles. How incredibly sad. I don't have the heart to tell him, so let's keep this a little secret between the reader and I.

Author: I gathered the scattered bits of drool soaked paper, placing them in a neat pile in order to share them with Mrs. Author. I knew she would be thrilled to hear of this important development. I had just about finished when I grabbed what was left of the magazine, skimming the torn pages. My heart sank as frigid winter clouds passed over the house.

It had nothing to do with going green, earth friendliness, or recycling. Not at all. For in my hands, glaring at me from a tattered page, canine punctures and tears surrounding it, was the following picture - the true source of destructive motivation...

I guess there is always college.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Wordless Wednesday, really.

See you tomorrow when the real fun resumes...

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Recently Overheard

Truffles: Nigel, you're so skinny I can see through you.

Nigel: You're so brown I keep expecting to see little bits of toilet paper hanging off you.

Sola: Owned again Fudgepants.

Truffles: Oh please. You're so yellow I won't eat the snow you roll in.

Sola: What if I put gravy on it?

Truffles: Deal.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

And the weiner is...

While watching SNL last night, brain churning, riding a sugar high from having eaten a Dunkin Donuts apple fritter the size of my head; a faint bulb ignited as I noticed the date in my taskbar.

It's freebie time!

Inspiration to invest time and effort in this journey comes from two sources: the dogs, and you, the kind reader. While I can reward the critters at will, something tells me a peanut butter stuffed Kong is not quite the ticket when it comes to recognizing our loyal human friends.

And because so many of you have made this a rewarding experience for us, I'm breaking the rules (as always) and picking two winners this month.

Congrats to:

Chester's Mom - And Chester likes paper, so maybe we are just sending him a snack :)
Dughallmor Beagles - Looks like I'm in for some international shipping charges, but they are well worth it :)

Please drop me a line at lneilb at with a shipping address - home, work, even a PO box is fine.

And my sincerest thanks to each of you for making this an incredibly rewarding experience.

We'll draw again early in February before changing the prize to mix things up! And watch for a post in the near future which describes the random, if somewhat bizarre means by which winners are selected.

Be well...

Sunday slack.

Sundays and lazy go together quite nicely, especially when the wind chills drop below zero and the desire to hibernate takes over. While I toil away at the keyboard, digging in to some inspiration for the next real post, Nigel and Sola own the couch, and embrace leisure.

Happy Sunday all!

I think I hear a faint drum roll coming...

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Wordless Wednesday, derailed.

So here I am, minding my own business, thinking of the right pic for wordless Wednesday when a new e-mail arrives. Chester's Mom tagged me, so I must go to the fifth folder in my pics, and grab the fifth file.

This lovely lady parked in front of our house one spring and decided to stay a while. We had the pleasure of seeing the little ones grow, and eventually take flight.

A fitting picture for this week. It's a beauty : )

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Celine Dion is not a dog.

Conventional wisdom, old wives' tales, the guy down the street - all hold that dogs cannot see television.

All are wrong. A quick trip around the internet returns many tales of dogs stalking televisions, barking; getting ticked about something they see. Sola is no exception, although her ability to identify and verbally assault TV critters was not immediately known to us. Her first few months were more furniture, wall and carpet focused. But have no doubt about it, she's a fervent viewer.

We first learned of these talents on a quiet, lazy Sunday. Nigel was passed out on the couch with Mrs. Author as I clicked away on my laptop, burning my way through a mountain of e-mail from work. Pausing, I reached for my coffee and changed the TV channel. A simple act, one we have all committed countless times with little regard.

The air literally exploded in a cacophony of noise, Sola wailing with her hackles reaching for the sky, the television locked in a death gaze; her fiery breath warming the room perceptibly. Nigel and Mrs. Author found themselves launched from the couch by this wall of noise and hot breath and fur - landing somewhere near the kitchen, deafened and spattered in drool.

Nigel: I'll never forget that moment. The headache is with me to this day.


Author: That did make a lasting impression. I tossed my laptop aside, coffee spilling in to the remote as I attempted to ascertain the source of Sola's distress. She ran at the television, screaming and fussing.

It was a dog. She sees them all (
but only dogs - nothing else has ever elicited a response). With the passing of years we have observed and learned, eventually coming to the realization that dog movies, Animal Planet, dog shows - all were now off limits unless the family was properly equipped with ear muffs prior to engagement. Sola despises canines delivered to our home via airwaves, satellite or cable: She does not discriminate.

One must imagine our surprise when a few weeks ago, the family settled in front of the TV bellies full from dinner, selecting an animal free program only to hear -


Nigel: What the bejesus was tha-


Author: Sola was berserk, her eyes bulging from their sockets, throat open wide and going full bore.

Truffles: I came to this party late, the rest of you should have warned me. You have lived with her for years after all.

Author: Sorry Fudgepants, this one came as a complete surprise. Having passed hundreds of evenings with Sola in front of the television I was not prepared for what I witnessed. There in front of the TV - standing upright for a closer good look, howling with total abandon, was Sola in full-on TV dog attack mode. As the rest of us gathered our wits and replaced our underwear I looked up at the screen to see what was to blame for this latest outbreak of Sola rage.


Author: I'm struggling for an explanation this one, so I'll just say it: Sola was barking at Celine Dion while she sang at the Grammy nomination concert.

Nigel: Come on, she might be a little horsey...then again, I'm partial to the long face thing.

Author: Stop that.

Truffles: Maybe it's 'cause she's Canadian.

Author: Hey! That's a cheap shot Fudgepants.

Truffles: Then how do you explain it?

Author: I really cannot. She seems a lovely person, and has an amazing voice.

Nigel: Those legs aren't too bad either, they kind of remind me

Author: All of you knock it off. I know Sola is losing it, but Celine Dion is not a dog!


Author: Sola has never been the same. If I leave the radio on and Celine comes on, she rises again to her back legs, eyes glazed over in a death stare, and stumbles around in a zombie trance.


Nigel: Creeps me right out.

Author: I think we had better stop here. Sola is agitated again, the TV is off; the Grammys are almost a month away, and we have the radio turned way down.

Sola: Drove all night my butt.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Wordless Wednesday and....

--end wordless Wednesday--

We've been tagged! Thor and Dughallmor Beagles both got us at the same time, so I'm it!
According to Thor the limit is eight. In the interest of avoiding anything political (we've had our share of that for while) I'm picking the first eight followers that signed up. Not in the list? Don't fret, there will be more fun to follow! :)

The fine print: Here's the Friend Bloggy Award Scoop:These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text and pic into the body of their award.

The list:

The Painter Pack
Poopsie aka Blue
Two Greyhound Town
Holly & Zac

Feel the link love folks!

P.S. Rumor has it that a big, fat, offensive and ridiculous post is soon to follow. Stay tuned...

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Saturday Flashback

I'll be the first to admit that with my hectic work schedule, writing takes a backseat, and when Saturday rolls around I lack the discipline required to create. In this spirit of slack, I offer you a few visual tidbits....

I don't know why this picture of Nigel cracks me up, but it does - and not because Sola has her nose buried in his fruitbowl. I chose not to use photo correction in order to preserve the glowing bug eyes.

Baby Sola. This pic was not staged, but could not sum up the attributes of Sola more perfectly - she is all tomboy. A little pink, a little blue, a little batsh*t.

This one is not as much fun - it's Truffles sporting some bling. Those rings hold metal rods that pass through holes drilled in the bone. She can decimate a paycheck in a hurry.

We had to tighten the nuts daily to bend the leg back in to shape. I'll never eat shish kabobs again.

I'll leave you with this, the essence of a wintery Saturday afternoon.


Happy Saturday!

Sunday, January 04, 2009


What are any of us, but the sum of our parts?

Here are a few of the many facets of Fudgepants:

There is the old frankenfoot. Yep, you read that right.

Take a gander at the job she did snacking on some stitches from a surgery to remove a small growth from her back leg. Since she found it necessary to suck them down like spaghetti noodles, we were fortunate to pay for the stitches twice. Hence the scarring, and my bitterness over not being able to buy Britney Spears concert tickets that week.

Truffles also has a gorilla belly.

Similar in appearance, scale and smell, it's undeniably gorilla.

Finally, there is the monkey lip.

She hangs that thing out there for all to see if she is excited, engaged in deep thought (about food, no doubt) or if you have asked her about;

a. her gorila belly, or
b. her frankenfoot

This is where the real party starts. In a show of appreciation for these unique characteristics, we have devised a tune that incorporates and pays homage to all three in succession.

Truffles: That's all I can take people. I flat out lose it and start panting, shaking my tail like Monica Lewinsky at the inaugural ball. I'm not wired to sit still after hearing a song about my parts. Must be the bloodlines.

Sola: Must be the cat litter on your breath.

Author: That is another story unto itself. Until we get to that, we will continue to marvel at the joy that is Truffles.

And sing about it.