There are a lot of things in life that I always wanted.  To put things in perspective, first and mostly.. a dog.  As I type this, there is an odor in my living room so effervescent it can be only one thing. Puppy poop. Good and bad about that, poop is an indication of life.  Baby poop is more pungent than anything out there.  Back to those things I have wanted or considered for myself, I would like to write.  Well, this is America, so I am going to write.  Not wanting to impose myself upon an unsuspecting public, my intention is to keep track of my dogs life.. for many reasons actually.  My dog never lied to me, never left me and always loved me.  Why would anyone want more than that?

Not wanting to change the subject, the subject being my dog.. but I guess that I need to lay some foundation for what is to come.  What is to come is the story of a little life, the inspiration for this writing came to me on the day that Rocky died.  "Marley and Me", a 2008 movie that I had not seen before was playing on HBO within minutes of having buried Rocky on the side of the house.  Rocky had been in declining health since we got back from Oregon in 2016, a loss of appetite with increasing loss of sight and hearing.  He couldn't go up the steps anymore and my heart wrenches just thinking about it.  We did have a good summer, he got to spend time with my Mom's dog.. got to explore the bottom property on Logie Trail and swimming in the Klamath.  When I say that I have a great love for dogs would be an understatement.  I am defined as a person for my love of dogs.

You can't save them all.. Rocky was recuperating in the Fairmont Animal Shelter when I went in to look at the dogs after work one day.  I used to visit several shelters and take the dogs for walks.  Rocky was being fed a high calorie diet to get him to put on weight.  He had been run over, scars on his face and a broken femur.. 7 or 8 years old, the future looked bleak.

That was 2008, a year after my motorcycle accident.  Rocky and I were together for almost 9 years.  I love him still.

About Hale.  I had called a woman in Fresno, who between a rural Postal Route, a newborn, 3 other kids and a husband was also an animal-do-gooder (for which there is a special place in heaven) who decided to find homes for the litter of 8 pups on her farm route.  6 girls dogs and 2 males.  All the others had the coloring of an Austrailian Cattle Dog, the Black-White-Gray Specks with Dark Brown.. Hale has the classic bovine looks: reddish brown and white.  He was the runt and when set down on the carpet, headed for the barcalounger and crawled underneath it, rolled up into a little ball and tried to hide.  His sisters had been pushing him aside and the first time he let out a BM at the back door, it was plain to see that his diet was not of paramount importance to the farmer.  He has been chowing down on Salmon Puppy Kibble, NULO.. 38 grams of protein per cup.. and I can almost see him growing.  

For the last week I have been sleeping on the couch so I can be near him.. it is also my intention to give him the best life I can.  I am devoted to this dog.

WEEK TWO - 10 weeks old

Hale is afraid of concrete lions.. he barks at the fountain incessantly.  I have covered the face of the lion with black week barrier but he still squares up with the feline foe and does not take his eyes off it.  I will not poke fun at him because I was reminded of a Disney film that I saw at the San Leandro's Stadium Drive-in Theater (torn down in the early 70's) "Peter and the Wolf", the scene I clearly remember was when Peter was walking through the winter forest at night with the wolf lurking behind the trees.  And who do you think decided to leave Ricky in the back seat while everyone else made their way to the Snake Bar for Popcorn.. The film was made in 1946 but I think I saw it in the late 50's.. we came in a 1948 Chevy with Mohair seats and the rope handle run behind the front bench seat.  I kept ducking down behind the back seat frightened both by the music and the appearance of the WOLF..  When I warned Hale about the yellow eyed malevolent feral cat, I guess he took it to mean ANY cat.  There is a house a couple of blocks from here with a couple of cement lions on either side of their walkway that we passed whilst out on a walk.  Hale freaked.  Now he is almost 3 months old and with the exception of the feral cat visit (Hale took to barking at the cat and the cat took to spitting) he has no experience with EVIL.  Now the cat and the wolf were just being themselves, but there is an underlying condition that the each share.  They are wild and look at everything as a potential meal.  

WEEK ONE - 5lbs. - 9 weeks old

Just before writing this, I had to remove a cornbread rich BM next to the computer.  I can only imagine that a prudish puppy chose the spot for its virtues.. out of my line of sight from the couch, a spot almost in front of the fireplace.  

My general feeling is that he scores high in all areas, save one.  He does not exactly come when called.. something not as important to me than 'gettin one' on the mat.  We took a walk alongside the water out by the Marina, he was mostly a shadow following at about 10 feet.  We both go out to the back yard (I lead by example) at midnight for passage.  Two nights in a row he made BM outside during our midnight excursion.  This is week 9 for Hale (7x9=63 / 1yr 3mos human..) and he has gone with me every morning for coffee, chews a chicken jerky strip and takes a nap while I listen to classical music and read my book in the sun.  Next stop, the park.. couldn't go on Sunday morning as the pic-nic spots were filling up.  Can't much blame them, it was sunny without much of a breeze but still damp cold.  Anyway, Hale has been well behaved but looks like he will be teething soon.  For now, I wear leather gloves to fight with him and protect from needle teeth and help him work new muscles.  I take great joy in seeing him grow.. I believe he weighed in at the Vet @ 5lb.  The Vet was day 3.  Stare down with the cat in the back yard.. day 4 & 5.  Now sleeping with his paws in the air on the couch.  Put him in the back yard today, on his own.  He found a place on the brick steps in the sun and rolled up into a ball, sleeping.  He usually stays behind me when outside and we are easing into how to communicate that you either want in or out.  No need to be clingy.  After vigorous stroking, he will push himself away and go to the further end of the couch.  I am going to try and keep him on the salmon kibble exclusively for the next couple of months.

Hale does have a tendency to collect and surround himself with his toys, either outside on the mat or in his bed.  Hale still does not come when called, but I have concluded that there is a good likely-hood that Hale will respond well to tennis balls.. he is somewhat of a soccer star on the patio.  Other significant trait is that he behaves well in the car if I leave the radio on.. he ate a Pig's Ear in less than an hour.  He's napping again right now.. when he wakes up, I'll take him outside.  Water in one end, pee out the other.  

Week Three - 10.5 lbs.

My last dog was named due to his physical appearance.. Rocky (after Sylvester Stallone) was a rescue dog from the Fairmont Animal Shelter (closed 5 years ago) and had been in at least 1 significant accident where his face was scarred on both sides and his rear femur was broken.  Looked like Clubber Lange opened a can of Whoop Ass on him.  It was apparent that he had a run in with a car and lost.  After naming Rocky, I came up with several alternative names based on personality, attitude and actions.  Pesto and Hump (fixed later in life) were possibilities.  Based on his inability to hold fluids, Hale could have gone with Tube, Peter or Squirt.  I have purchased another mop and now buy my potty pads from the dollar store.  As much as I may whine about it, I am very happy with this little guy.  We have been working on potty training, I suppose this will go on for a couple more months.. but every once in a while he gets it right.. BULLSEYE!!  Hale travels well, laying between the front seats of my van, he sleeps while I read and have my morning coffee.

Constantly I need to remind myself that this little life has only been around for less than 3 months and every day is split into several adventures.  After breakfast, he bounces back again with pent up energy and takes about an hour to wind down.. then another nap.  This goes on several times a day and if you consider the "lives in the moment" mantra of dog trainers, it is easy to see that "his" day is separated into several dog days in one.  I like the salmon kibble for a few reasons.. one is that his BM is easy to deal with, the other is that he gets 30~60 grams of protein every day.  He is almost double the size he was when he first got here.  I bought the bed for Rocky, but Hale has taken to it leaving only his blankets on the couch.  The first day I put the bed on the floor, he scurried (yeah, cracks me up too..) around the floor and got all of his toys in his bed.  Mr.Peeps (sleeping above) was his first squeaky toy and his favorite.  I have had to sew Mr.Peeps ear back on and sew his eyebrow back on.. but there is no repair for my 600 thread count pillow case that I found him chewing on at 3 a.m. this morning.  I was asleep on the pillow and kept hearing the smacking next to my ear.. 

Hale does not come when called, a problem as I do not trust the feral cat that sets on the fence, on the roof or other advantageous observation position.  Yesterday he was playing with his ball and ran under where the cat was setting and then went to chase her.. I am only cutting this cat a little slack because she's pregnant again.. but when he started barking at the cat, the cat spit at him.  Could have gotten ugly, hope Hale doesn't think we are afraid of the cat.. just that the cat is almost twice his size and often travels with her only survivor from her last litter.  When the time comes, I think he is going to win out. For the time being, he needs to restrain himself.

I continue to carry on with my method of keeping half the house closed to the dog.. I let Rocky into the bedroom once and he crapped on the carpet at the foot of the bed.  Maybe he was mad that I was holding out on him or not sharing or letting him sleep in the same room.  Hale will sit outside the closed hall door near the front door and after a few minutes starts crying.. we have worked on this for 2 weeks now, and I personally spend very little time in the bathroom.  He slowly has been giving me a little more time away and when he is left in the car I can expect to find him rolled in a ball on the drivers seat or stretching to look out the window.  He travels well and behaves well on trips.  It is almost noon and he is napping on the couch as I write.

Week Four