I’ve Moved…

Dear Readers,

I know I disappointed you last week with my lack of essays… but, it is for a good reason. You see, I’ve been in the process of moving to my new and improved website:

http://www.atticusuncensored.com

Let me tell you, it has been a struggle for me technically, but I’m coming up to speed. Please go to my new website, where pawsitive vibes abound!  See you there…

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Ferricus, I Am

My cousin Hannah, is quite the movie aficionado.  She is one of the few canines I know, who actually pays attention and engages in a movie.  Like me, she’s open to all kinds of films; drama, comedy, action and science fiction.  Note:  Neither of us appreciates foreign films, unless dubbed, as our reading skills are slightly lacking.  (Us dogs who can read, do so very slowly.)

Hannah has been obsessed with one particular movie of late; Lassie (not the original, the 1994 remake).   She likes to view her prized dvd while lounging on her humans’ bed, her head hanging over the edge.  She gets as close as she can to the television, without falling off the bed.  Hannah’s favorite part of the movie, which she has been talking about incessantly, is when Lassie plays in a field with sheep.

You see, Hannah is an Australian Shepherd, and, innately, she yearns to corral sheep.  So, the scenes of Lassie frolicking with a herd of sheep, is delicious torture for Hannah.   She barks at the TV, directing Lassie in how to better herd those little mutton chops, and, every time, she gets frustrated that Lassie continues with his unsuccessful patterns.

I spent an afternoon with Hannah last week, and tried to explain to her that movies are permanent, and eternally destined to play the same story, the same way.  Although Hannah is bright in some regards, she has a disconnect when it comes to the concept of film, and technology in general.

I, myself, enjoy the repetition and consistency that a movie brings.  There are certain movies I can watch repeatedly, and never tire of them.  For obvious reasons, I can watch To Kill a Mockingbird over and over again.  I think that my namesake and I have many similar personality traits, with the exception of one.  Atticus Finch and I are both dedicated, fair, respectable, and, dare I say, brilliant.  But Scout’s dad is also stoic, and, primarily, a serious man.  This is where we differ.

In addition to the highbrow qualities that I possess, I am also playful, silly, often mischievous, fun-loving and spontaneous.   Sort of like a canine Ferris Bueller, but with more dignity.  Maybe my stage name should be Ferricus.  Or, better yet, I’ll use that as my secret, superhero nom.  Don’t panic folks, Ferricus will rescue you!  Yes, I like it very much.

Other flicks I watch repeatedly, and love every viewing, include:  all Harry Potter installments (but Harry needs to ditch the owl in favor of a dog, at some point), Breaking Away (I love the friendships and their ferocious tenacity), Dogma (I mistakenly thought it was about dogs, but no—it’s much better!), and, for mama, anything with that bloke Clive Owen.

What are some of your favorite movies?  You know, the ones you can watch a hundred times and still adore…

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Freedom Fido

I just love the 4th of July!  I love the pageantry of a parade, the smell of meat grilling on a barbeque, the patriotic music, and, this is strange for a dog, but I also love the fireworks.  I spent my holiday weekend espousing my puppy patriotism in a number of ways.

As you, dear readers, know by now, I am a patriotic and political pup, and am keen on participating in our democratic process.  I’ve mentioned, in previous posts, my longing for the right to vote, but, sadly, Freedom Fido (committee promoting canine suffrage) has not yet taken root.  Given the opportunity, I would vote in every election, unlike a certain gubernatorial candidate, who’s trying her hardest to buy the election, but never votes.

Since my rights as a canine citizen cannot be fully realized (yet), I did the next best thing;  encouraged humans to exercise their rights, and register to vote.  Wilbur and I, along with mama, were honored to walk with our Congressional candidate, Dr. Ami Bera, in a local parade this weekend.  This precocious pooch has been involved with campaigns in the past, and I feel very strongly about this particular race and candidate.

Dr. Bera is running against incumbent Congressman Dan Lungren in California’s 3rd district.  In this dog’s opinion, it is imperative that Mr. Lungren be replaced, and I am proud to be supporting a strong, opposing candidate.  Dr. Bera was the Associate Dean of Admissions for UC Davis School of Medicine, and was Chief Medical Officer for Sacramento County.  “I am running for Congress because I know things can be different.  Together, we can change our course and begin to create a more compassionate, sensible, and sustainable America”, says Bera.

Compassionate and sensible are two qualities lacking in our current representation.  For the past 2 years, this Lungren cat, who is supposedly working for us (his constituents), has not been a part of the process.  When a Congressman (or an entire party), decides to become obstructionist, just saying “no” to everything out of resentment towards our  democratically elected President, he is not serving the community who sent him to Washington.  Political debate and discourse are appropriate in the process, but to consistently sit on the side and declare “no”, regardless of legislation, is not working on our behalf.

The humans in my district pay our representative’s salary, his secure retirement package, and excellent healthcare.  For that price, we deserve a thinking-person, who will work the process and stay engaged, for the betterment of our district.  Regardless of position, this dog feels that it’s crucial to have a Congressperson who will work for their pay, and Dr. Bera is certainly not deterred by hard work.

Though my paws were getting hot on the pavement, I was one proud pup, walking with my future Congressman in the parade.  Friends, I encourage you and your humans to get informed, get exited, and get out the vote for candidates who are willing to work for their paychecks.  Even Wilbur and I understand, that if we don’t do our work (stop barking, sit, stay, dance…), we don’t receive treats.  Just saying “no”, without thought, is not working…

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Dogpark Fun!!

This canine is continually curious… My curiosity has turned toward the technical, and I am teaching myself to make videos.  It takes one patient pup to learn new software, but I am up for the task!

The past couple of weeks, I’ve had mama help me film my friends at the dogpark, with the hope of putting together a playful video.  I must say, the editing process is time consuming, and has drastically cut into my nap time, but I persevere.   Once I edited the images, I had the huge decision of what music to choose… ah, the options are endless!   After much consideration, I chose an oldie that screams “summer!”.  So, dear friends, enjoy my dogpark fun, Jungle Love style…

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“Can we all get along?”

I get along with my siblings, Wilbur and Bella, famously, and assumed this was the norm.  But, I’m finding, especially within the human population, that sibling relationships are sometimes tense, fractured, and, in the most extreme, severed.  I’m not referring to childhood sibling disputes and rivalries, instead, I’m noticing this trend with adult sibs.  And, from what this pup has gathered, many of these familial relationships rapidly disintegrate, after the passing of a parent.

Unfortunately, I’ve witnessed this in my own human family, but, in speaking with others, this seems to be a much more common occurrence than I would have thought.  I’ve concluded, through my research of this phenomenon (talking to mama’s friends’ dogs & buds at the dogpark), that many adult children seem to demonstrate their grief over the loss of a parent, in destructive ways.  Deconstructing lifelong alliances with their adult siblings.

It appears to me, that human parents, regardless of the ages of their children, are truly the glue that binds a family together.  When one, or both, parents die, the glue can begin to dissolve for some human packs.  And, as the adhesive thins, I’ve noticed a tendency towards misbehavior.  The common filter that most humans have in place, that prevents them from saying or doing things that are not in the best interest of the family, can evaporate along with the parent.

Could it be, that with the loss of a parent, the grown human children are no longer concerned with parental approval, so, they now have no concern for the consequences of inappropriate behavior?  Or, is it the pain, and grief, that cause these humans to want to isolate?  And, it becomes easier to isolate since they’ve pushed away their siblings, by treating them rudely, and coldly, and, ultimately, fracturing relationships.

We don’t often see this type of thing within the dog world, so it’s baffling to me that it’s such a prevalent response to parental death for humans.  I’m extremely close with my brother and sister (note: we’re all adopted), and I cannot image a scenario where we would abandon each other.  In fact, I’ve heard uncountable stories of multiple-pet families, where one pet passes away, and it’s sibling gives up life shortly thereafter.  It’s because of how closely bonded we canine sibs are; we cannot stand to go on living without our brother, or sister, at our side.

Dear readers, once again, I implore you, to just think like a dog.  Through life’s traumas and dramas, try to remember to hold family close, regardless of circumstances.  If you have any pup-like tendencies, this shouldn’t be difficult.  I will leave you with a quote.  Granted, this one’s been overused (and slightly abused), but, I think it’s perfect, and from an unlikely source, which, for some reason, makes it more poignant.  So, I bark the words of Rodney King:  “Can we all get along?”

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Scaring Sweet Sofia

Dear readers, I learned of some very upsetting news this weekend.   My cousin Sofia, was the victim of a home invasion!  She’s so traumatized, that she can barely speak of the incident.  But, since we’re family, I cajoled her into opening up to me.

You see, Sofia’s dad (uncle Marty), had just departed for work one day last week, leaving Sofia safe and sound in her comfortable home.  Or so he thought….  After her daddy had left for his day, Sofia was just getting situated on her favorite pillow, ready for a little morning siesta, when a large “pop”, interrupted her rest.

Immediately following the loud snap, a rock, (actually, a decorative lava rock), was hurled through the glass panes of uncle Marty’s French doors.  Sofia was shocked, and alarmed, and confused by the noises, and the flying, broken shards of glass.  As Sofia’s heart was resuming to normal speed, two strange men entered the property.

Just hearing my cousin recount this tale, has me in a tizzy!  My heart is beating twice it’s normal rhythm, and I’m feeling, uncharacteristically, angry, protective and afraid.  I asked sweet Sofia to take a moment before continuing her story, as I was beside myself with uncomfortable feelings.

Sofia continued recalling this fateful (and hateful?) day, and I cowered listening to her precise rendition of this memory.  Poor, sweet, Sofia!  She was so frightened by this invasion, that she cowered in a corner, and peed on her daddy’s hardwood floors.  This is an indecency that Sofia has not experienced since her youth, and she was mortified, compounded with being scared poopless (quite literally).

These thuggish troglodytes, after scaring Sofia into silent submission, proceeded to clear uncle Marty’s house of all valuables.  The big screen televisions, laptop computer, jewelry, and all precious mementos, gone….absconded by shifty shoplifters…demonic duffers, I tell you!

When uncle Marty returned home, after a full day of admonishing adolescents (he’s a Jr. High School Principal), he was confused when he entered his home and the alarm system was null.  In fact, the entire electrical grid of the house was dead.  It turns out, that the initial cacophony that Sofia heard, was the power system being manually cut.

I’m just a cognizant canine, and I know my limitations…but, how can anyone, with any decent, moral fiber, nonchalantly invade another person’s property?   In this dog’s world, the worst I see, in the canine community, is the occasional swiping of a treat.  That transgression in miniscule in comparison to what these marauders did to uncle Marty and Sofia.

Thankfully, the local police are on the case.   And, double-thankfully, Sofia was not harmed during this crime spree.  The CSI cats on the scene (not real felines… I’m just playing with some tough, Serpico lingo) told my uncle that he and Sofia are very fortunate, in that many of these hooligans harm any pet present, during their pilfering.  So scary!  My poor, sweet, scared, cousin Sofia, is now exhibiting symptoms of PTSD.  Seriously, she is having a tough time, which is completely understandable, but she is receiving therapy.

Uncle Marty now has a brand new, state-of-the-art security system.  And, God have mercy on any simpleton soul who has the misfortune of trying to infiltrate that fortress!  Not to mention, Sofia is enrolled in a doggie self-defense course.  I always thought of her as bad-ass, but now…watch out!

Ultimately, uncle Marty will be compensated for his loss, through his insurance.  And, more importantly, no one was injured, which is my main concern.  Please, dear readers, take good care of yourselves, and your neighbors.  I know I am going to be more diligent in my surveillance of my house and my neighborhood.  Peace, friends…

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Parched Pup!

It’s bloody hot, I tell you!  This parched pup, of British decent, born in Canada, was not designed for this escalation of heat.  I’ve had my summer cut, but even if I’d gone for the full shave (a doggie brazilian), and was bald like a hairless, I’d still be melting.

I hung my head in dread this morning, after hearing the local, perky, weather girl, speak of triple-digits.  Triple digits on the ol’ thermometer, is the final side of the “triangle of trepidation” for me.  Just add poor air quality, and the absence of any breeze, and we’ve hit the smoldering, summer trifecta of thermogenic terror.  I never miss living in the Great Northwest, with the exception of days like this.

All of my usual pup pep has been completely zapped from me… eliminated, I tell you!   I find myself wandering from the relative cool of the hardwood, to the cooler tile, and back again.  I always enjoy looking out the windows at my neighborhood, regardless of weather, but today, not even the squirrels or local cats are out to watch.  I’m bored, and socially starved, but I’m so exhausted by this fiery forecast, that snoozing is all that really interests me today.

Mama took us to our dogpark bright and early this morning, hoping we could get out some energy before the mercury rose above tolerable levels.  Only a small handful of diehards were in attendance; T-Bone, Holly, Ollie, Wilbur and I.  That’s it.  After one obligatory lap (and sniff) around the park, we all congregated under the shade structure.   We exchanged a bit of small talk, but the sweltering temp even squelched our sociability.  As we drove home, it was already 94 degrees out, and not quite 9am yet!

In addition to my nearly nonstop nap du jour, I have caught up on correspondence and some reading.  So, I suppose, this heat-o-rama day has not been a total loss.  Plus, on these days when it seems we reside in a fireball, instead of Folsom, mama makes Wilbur and I a refreshing treat that is irresistible.  You see, she pours beef stock into ice cube trays, and makes us meat-sicles.  Delicious, and a cooling, revitalizing treat for us, during these dog days of summer.  Stay cool, my friends…

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