Good Housekeeping

“We’ve been having a couple of small housekeeping issues as of late. Not “housebreaking” issues. We’ve been all set there since David was a young boy. Seems like I’m always picking up after him.”-Editor/Mom

Picking up? I’m not sure what that means. What am I supposed to be picking up?

“Well, let’s start with your bed. What is this? This isn’t how your bed is supposed to look when you’re done using it, and honestly, I’d like to know how it gets this way to begin with. You don’t even sleep in your own bed.”-Editor/Mom

“See, I make my bed every day when I get up. I know you don’t have thumbs, but you could at least straighten it out a little bit.”-Editor/Mom

You know how much I like to play in my bed. You never told me I was supposed to fix it afterwards. I’ll give it a try.

There. Is that better?

“Much better. Good job.”-Editor/Mom

Anything else you need me to do?

“Well, since you asked, how about putting your toys back in the toy box I gave you when you’re done playing with them? I’m always tripping over your stuff. I know you can do it, because you always put your outside toys in the box when you leave the yard.”-Editor/Mom

All you had to do was ask. What about all my other stuff, like my collars, jackets and blankets? Shouldn’t they all be in one place where I can find them?

“You’re so right, David. And that’s why I’ve been working on a little surprise for you. This is your very own armoire. It’s even got your name on it. We’ll put all of your belongings in there, and you can decorate it any way you want.

Wow! I Love it! Thanks Mom. Can we get some pictures to hang inside? You know, like of my friends and family? That would be really cool.

“I don’t see why not. I’m glad you like it. And now none of your things will get misplaced.”-Editor/Mom


Can you believe it’s Thanksgiving already? I didn’t really want Summer to be over, but since it is, might as well enjoy the Holiday Season. Thanksgiving is my third most favoritest Holiday, right after Christmas and my Birthday, which, in case you didn’t know, is the 3rd of July, which is kinda like having two Holidays in one since it’s right before the 4th of July..

“Okay David, you’re rambling. Where are we going with this?”-Editor/Mom

Oh, right. Okay, so you’re probably wondering what I’m doing with this pen. And no, I’m not writing my Christmas Wish List, although that’ll be happening soon enough. You’ve gotta get your requests in early, cause all the best toys are in high demand. I’m pretty sure Santa plans his route on a First Come, First Serve basis, and you don’t want him to run out of the funnest toys before he gets to your house.

“You’re rambling again, David. And shouldn’t we get through this Holiday before we start talking about the next one?”-Editor/Mom

Alright, alright. Where was I? Every year we put on a really fancy Thanksgiving Dinner at Free Dog for everybody that’s staying with us while their families are away, cause it’s important to make everyone feel at home. This year my Mom made up menus so all of the dogs could pre-order what they want for dinner. It’s like a check-list. What a great idea!
So I figured I ought to order my meal ahead of time too, cause what if they feed all of the Boarders before me, and all the good stuff is gone? Imagine Thanksgiving with no turkey, no gravy, no carrots, no green beans or no squash…

I could hardly wait to lie down and fill out my order form. First on the list is Turkey. Yummy, I’ll have two, maybe three helpings of that. Potatoes? Hmmmm, I don’t care that much about them, but I like Carrots and Green Beans, so I’m thinking two servings of those, after all, veggies are good for you, right? I don’t know what Cranberry Sauce is. What if I don’t like it? I’m thinking if I put a question mark there my Mom might let me try it first. Finally, the best part, Gravy! I Love Gravy. I want tons of Gravy, smothered all over everything on my plate.
This is going to be delicious, I can hardly wait. But wait, there’s something missing. What about Squash? I didn’t think you were allowed to have Thanksgiving without Squash. It’s the best thing next to Gravy and the Turkey. Aren’t we having any Squash?

“Yes, we’re having Squash! Don’t panic, I just forgot to put it on the menu. But don’t worry, I’ve already contacted everyone and told them to write it in if they want it.”-Editor/Mom

Phew! This is going to be the best Thanksgiving Ever! 

“You know that Thanksgiving isn’t just about the food, don’t you David? It’s about taking the time with your loved ones to be thankful for everything you have. This would be a good time to tell us what you’re thankful for, and wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving.”-Editor/Mom

I’m thankful for my Mom and Auntie Jen, my Gator, all my Friends at Camp, and Holidays with Turkey Dinners with all the Fixin’s, cause they’re way better than the same old dry food I get every other day.
Happy Thanksgiving Everybody!


“If you’ve been following David’s Blog Posts, Weekend Updates and Daily Reports, you’ve likely seen a number of pics of him sleeping and hanging out on his ottoman. This is his favorite spot in the office, and I even moved it closer to my desk so we could hang together when we’re both inside working. I say when we’re “both” working, but he’s usually sleeping while “I’m” working. Either way, it’s basically his designated spot. Honestly, since Jazzy passed, he thinks every place and toy is his. So you can imagine his shock and surprise when our new Staff dog, Axel decided to make himself at home on his ottoman while Dave was outside playing with his Camp friends.”-Editor/Mom

“I saw him first, and had a feeling David wasn’t going to take it well.”-Editor/Mom

Well, what would you think? How would you feel if you came home and found someone sitting in your favorite chair? It was his first day here. I just met him. I wasn’t mean to him or anything, but I thought he should have to at least wait ’til I offer him my stuff.

“I did understand his confusion, so I explained that he would have to share some space with him in the office for the few hours a week that he’ll be here while his Mom is working, just like he does with his Auntie Vida. Not to mention Axel is a lot older, and might need a comfy place to rest.”-Editor/Mom

And I thought that maybe he should have his own bed, cause there’ll be times we’re both in the office together.

“I thought that was a good point, even though I’d like to see him have a little bit more respect for his elders, so we came up with a solution that mutually benefits everybody.

“See, that wasn’t so hard now, was it? I think we’ve got to work on your Sharing skills. Sharing is Caring, David. What I don’t understand though, is why you only seem to covet things inside. When you’re outside playing, you don’t seem to care who plays with what, or hangs out where.”-Editor/Mom

Well, I’m the only dog living here. Since there’s nobody else around to claim anything, I’m thinking possession being nine-tenths of the law, my house my rules.

“Ah, I believe we’ve found the root of your problem David. You see, it’s not actually “your” house. Houses belong to humans. Everything in the house, including you and the toys you think are all yours belong to us. Maybe it’ll be easier if we use the Transitive Property of Equality. If A=B, and B=C, then A=C.”-Editor/Mom

What the Heck does that mean?

“We’ll use your possessions as an example. It means that if your things belong to you, and you belong to me, then your things also belong to me. And If things belong to me, I get to decide how they’re used.

What about the toys you give me for Christmas, and my Birthday, and presents when you go away? What about all my collars, and jackets, and tags, and bandanas? And my bones? And my beds, and blankets? Aren’t those all mine?

“Okay, I see how this can be confusing, but again, Sharing is Caring. The collars, jackets and tags are definitely all yours, but bandanas, bones, beds, blankets and toys can all be shared.”-Editor/Mom

ALL my toys? What if someone wrecks my Gator, or my Bunny, or my Cow?

“Step back from the ledge for a minute and think about it. Don’t I always protect your special toys from visiting dogs? It’ll be harder when someday there’s a new dog living with us again, but remember how we protected Jazzy’s Teddy Bears from you? We promise to do the same for you, but you’re going to have to learn to give and take a little bit.”-Editor/Mom

A new dog? Are we getting a new dog?

“Did you think you were going to be an only child forever? We’ll definitely be getting a new addition to the family someday. And she might not be as nice to you as Jazzy was, so you’d better start working on improving those Sharing skills now.

“I fear there may be a rude awakening coming your way, David.”-Auntie Jen

Yeah, but won’t our new dog have to learn to respect my stuff, too?

“Oh yeah, this is going to be fun.”-Auntie Jen





Keeping things current, we figured posting about our treks to our Nation’s Capital would be appropriate. But where to start? There’s just so much to see and do. We’ve been twice now, and have barely made a dent in the list of “must sees”. The first time was a day trip on the way to St. Louis, not that DC is actually on the way to St. Louis from New England. It was before 9/11 and we had Berrie-Girl and Wesley with us. We walked around ALL day taking pictures of them at various monuments we encountered throughout the day.

Speaking of monuments, there are just too many to count. We really know how to commemorate events and honor our people. Most things you “have” to see are within walking distance. We saw The White House, Washington Monument and the National Mall.

The Vietnam Memorial Wall is a somber reminder, and Lincoln Memorial an amazing tribute.

That was all we had time for in our first visit. Quite awhile has passed and a lot has transpired between then and when we returned two weeks ago. Security is everywhere now, and there are many areas of the city closed to pedestrian traffic. They say their Metro system is great, and I would highly suggest using it. We probably could’ve walked the short trip to Arlington Cemetery quicker than it took us to drive. What an amazing place. You’ll pay to park, but admission is free. We saw the eternal flame at JFK’s grave, and watched the Changing of the Guard at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, a very moving tribute performed every hour by the 3rd US Infantry Regiment, Company E of the Old Guard. The Tomb is guarded 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, and you can find the complete history of this and all things pertaining to the cemetery by visiting

We chose to find a Patriots-friendly place across the river in Alexandria to watch the game on Sunday. Murphy’s Irish Pub was just like being in New England, and everyone cheered as Rex Ryan cried after each Pats score. Old Town is a fun area where you never know what you might find going on. Halloween Wkd. brought a parade of Pet Trick-or-Treaters and a costumed band of motorcycle riders.

We stayed at the Hamilton Crowne Royal, another stop on our tour of Historic Hotels of America. They “are” pet-friendly, but you might want to think twice about bringing your dog. Most Museums and some historic sites will not allow them. Where did we eat, you ask? Well, Greenlee & Fiera’s Dad told us about “Founding Farmers”, and it happened to be a three minute drive from our hotel, even with the constant gridlock. All locally sourced, home-cooked, amazing meals. Jen had the glazed salmon and I had their signature fried chicken and waffles, which sounded weird to me at first too, but trust me, you’ll go back again. Which we did, for breakfast and another dinner.

All in all, both successful trips. Next time we’ll plan time for the traffic, security, Smithsonian Institution, some of the other notable Museums and, of course, a couple more meals at Founding Farmers.


Had a Grooming appointment this week. I know I’m supposed to be an advocate for all of the Services we provide here at Free Dog, and I love Auntie Lisa, our Groomer, but I’m really not into the whole Grooming experience. I keep myself pretty clean, and go swimming in the lake every chance I get. I don’t think I need to have baths like, every 6 weeks.

“Do you like sleeping in my bed?”-Editor/Mom

Sure I do. What’s that got to with it?

“Well, when you run around wrestling in the dirt with your friends, and get covered with their slobber, and your fur grows out and gets gross, it’s not all that appealing.”-Editor/Mom

Wow, I thought you loved me unconditionally. I don’t care what you smell or look like. I love you anyway.

“Oh, I still love you, don’t worry about that. And I like you a little scruffy around the edges. It’s just a lot nicer snuggling with you when you’re all clean and smelling good. What is it that bothers you about being Groomed?”-Editor/Mom

Smelling good? You seriously “like” that perfume smell? Don’t you know how hard we all work at getting that perfect funky odor? It takes weeks, and then, in two hours, it’s gone and we have to start over. And that’s not even the worst of it. I don’t know what happens when you go to get a haircut, but I bet they don’t throw you in a tub, naked, and spray hot water at you. And not just once. They gotta suds us all up, rinse, and sometimes they do it twice. Then they rough us all up with a towel and put us in a cage with with a really loud machine that blows hot air at us. Then they put us up on a table and brush us all out. They violate our private areas and stick things in our ears. The lucky dogs are done after that, but if we need a haircut we have to stay on the table for, like, forever while they use scary trimmers and sharp scissors on us. They wonder why we’re not into it.

“Actually David, it’s pretty much the same for us, except for being thrown in the tub naked and violating our private areas, unless, well, never mind, we don’t need to get into that. Anyway, there are some things you just can’t do yourselves, and we pay good money to keep us all looking and smelling respectable.”-Editor/Mom

What? You PAY for this?? Well, that’s just wrong. In fact, I was thinking “I” should be getting paid for having to endure this cruel and unusual punishment. Not to mention, the humans never let us out to play with our friends when we’re done.

“Oh, come on now. It’s not that bad. You’re in and out in a couple hours, they’re never mean to you, and even “you” have to admit that you’re pretty darn handsome when you come home from the Salon all clean and spiffy. We just like keeping you clean for as long as we can.”-Editor/Mom

Well yeah, I do get lots of compliments, and everybody wants to pat me. I guess there are worse things, like it wouldn’t be very comfortable if some of the stuff that lands on me got stuck in my fur forever. Maybe we could just skip the shaving of our private parts part. They embarrass us enough when we go to the Vets, but that’s another story for another day.


So, you all know what tomorrow is, right? It’s Election Day. The day we exercise our 15th Amendment Right to Vote.

“Unless they’ve been asleep for the last year and a half, I’m pretty sure everybody knows.”-Editor/Mom

Yeah, but does everybody know that we’re not only electing all kinds of local officials, a new Governor and US Senator, but this is the year we choose a new President? Of the whole United States? This is huge.

“Yes it is, and it’s pretty much all we’ve been hearing about.”-Editor/Mom

Well, some of you might be tired of it, but this is my first time voting, and I’m very excited. Voting is not only our legal right as citizens, but our moral obligation to ensure our leaders are the choice of the people. We are privileged to live in a country where we have a choice. Did you know that some places don’t have any say about who their Presidents are?

“You ‘have’ been studying, haven’t you? I didn’t realize you were this politically motivated, David. I’m glad that you’re interested and concerned, but I fear the whole electoral process may be a bit over your head.”-Editor/Mom

I’m not sure about all that, but I know there’s a lot at stake. I’ve been watching the debates on tv with my Mom and Auntie Jen, listening to the news on the radio and reading all of the Candidates reports that come in the mail. I want to make the right choices, especially picking the best one for our 45th President, but it’s all very confusing. 

Every time I hear one of them talk or read what they have to say, they sound so convincing. Then I hear from another one, and they sound credible too, even though they’re saying completely different stuff. Then the humans all start arguing about who’s telling the truth and who’s lying, and they all have different opinions, too. I don’t know who to believe. And what’s with the elephants and donkeys?

“Yes, politicians have a way of spinning things. It can be difficult knowing who to trust. Looks like you’ve done the research, sometimes you just have to go with your gut. And about the elephants and donkeys… In the 1828 Presidential campaign, Andrew Jackson’s opponents called him a “jack-ass”, which he found amusing and decided to use donkey images on his campaign posters. It was later adopted as the symbol for the entire Democratic Party. In 1860 the elephant was shown in political cartoons for the Republican Party. “Seeing the elephant” was a phrase used by soldiers who had experienced combat. It was again used by reknown political cartoonist Thomas Nast in 1874’s Harper’s Weekly, and subsequent elections until it was basically adopted as their symbol in 1880.”-Editor/Mom

Hmmmm, okay that’s interesting, but it doesn’t really help me. I think this would be easier if I could meet them in person. You can tell a lot about someone with a handshake and a few good sniffs. 

“That would be nice, and they do try to meet a lot of Americans, but there are just too many places and people for them to be able to touch everyone. Like I said, trust your gut feeling, and choose who you think will best represent your ideals.”-Editor/Mom

Good advice. I think I’ve heard enough from the Candidates. I’m gonna stop listening to everyone else, cause even your best friends can have different opinions, and you have to use your own best judgement. I’m ready to go to the polls tomorrow to cast my vote, and I hope that everybody out there goes too, because every vote counts. Maybe someday I’ll even run for office, and you all will be able to vote for me. I might even start my own Party. The cow will be our symbol. Which one of these pictures do you think I should use for my campaign poster? The one that shows my serious side, or my happy-go-lucky persona?

“Well David, I admire your ambition, but I have some bad news for you, that I think you ought to be aware of before you put a whole lot of time into this endeavor. You are a dog. And I’m sorry, but first of all, you are not allowed to vote. And secondly, you’re not allowed to run for office.”-Editor/Mom

What?!? Are you serious? I’m an upstanding member of my community. I have a job and a family. This is very disappointing, not to mention very unfair. That’s it, I’m going with the serious photo for my posters to bring this injustice to light. I’m going to start the “Canine Suffrage Movement”. It worked for the other long-suffering members of different races and sexes that weren’t allowed to vote. It’s time for another change.


My bag is packed, I’m ready to go. My Mom and Auntie Jen are taking off for the weekend without me for the first time since Jazzy died. I don’t know why I couldn’t go along. I like to go places.

“I know, and cut it out, you. I already feel bad enough leaving you.”-Mom/Editor

Did I do something wrong? Was I bad?

“No, no. You’re a good Boy. We’d bring you if we could.”-Editor/Mom

I’m not sure I’ll know what to do with myself without Jazzy.

“Oh, don’t you worry. It’s only ’til Monday, and it’s not like we’re shipping you off someplace you’ve never been. You’re going to 118 for the weekend to help Auntie Sarah, just like you help us on the weekends that we work. Briar Rose will be there, and…”-Editor/Mom

Briar Rose? I LOVE Briar Rose!

“I know you do. And if you let me finish… Your friends Buck, Jackson, Judd, Abby and Penny are all staying over this weekend, too. There’ll be lots to do, and you’ll have tons of fun without us. You’ll get to sleep with Aunties Heather and Lisa. And then you’ll get to see Auntie Kristine and Vida Mae when you come back home Monday”-Editor/Mom

Okay, I guess it won’t be so bad after all. I’ll miss you guys, but I’ll try to have fun.

“There you go. That’s the spirit. I have to say, you look like a really Big Boy all geared up. Did you notice that I packed your Gator?”-Editor/Mom

I did, and thanks, but what if Briar Rose kills him?

“Right, good thinking. Maybe we’ll keep him home and you guys can play with the toys that are already over there. I’ll miss you Buddy. See you Monday night.”-Editor/Mom


I know what you’re thinking. You’re thinking this is just another picture of a dog shamelessly begging for food. On the surface, at a quick glance, that could appear to be the case. If, however, you look at my perfect posture, and notice the respectful distance I’m keeping from the bowl, even as my Mom is holding it close to me, you might gain a different perspective.

“You’re absolutely right, David. Things are not always what they seem.”-Editor/Mom

I often hear the humans say that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and I couldn’t agree more, although I have to say I enjoy my dinner just as much. I was taught to stay away from the table and not to beg for food when I was very young, but I’ve since learned there is one exception, and I think I’ve figured it out. The humans seem to like having company when they eat.

“Yes, we are a social species.”-Editor/Mom

Yeah, but there’s only one time that hanging out close by without being in a “down” is allowed, and you’ve gotta know when all the signs are there, or else you get in big trouble. There are three things to look for that make it okay:
1) It’s gotta be breakfast time.
2) Your Mom (or Dad) has to be alone
3) They have to be eating cereal

“Okay Mr. Smarty Pants. Now that you’ve figured out the Who, What, When and Where, what about the How? I mean, there has to be rules, right? You don’t want your friends getting into trouble trying this.”-Editor/Mom

Yup, there are always rules.
1) You’ve gotta watch and wait while your human prepares the cereal and sits down.
2) Then you sit next to them, but not too close.
3) You’ve gotta be patient. You can watch, but you’ve gotta be still. No barking, No whining, No drooling, No fidgeting, No nudging and No giving them your paw. You want them to know you’re there, but you don’t want to be in the way or interrupt.

If you do all of these things, your Mom or Dad will see what a good Boy or Girl you are, and you’ll no doubt be rewarded with not only praise and some morning conversation, but the best part of all, they’ll save just a little bit for you and let you lick the bowl. This is when you’ll know you’re true Cereal Buddies.

“You nailed it, David. And the kiss you always give me afterward helps, too. I have one more question for you: Obviously, this means a lot to you. Why do you think being Cereal Buddies is so important?”-Editor/Mom

Well, I can only speak for myself and guess what it’s like for everybody else. Even though I’m lucky and get to spend lots of time with Mom and Auntie, we’re really busy most of the day, and I know most dogs don’t get to see their Moms and Dads as much. I firmly believe this five minutes of personal time and sharing food together whenever we get the chance makes us closer and strengthens our bond.

“Wow. I’m truly impressed with your grasp of the importance and benefit of this concept, David. I couldn’t agree more, and always look forward to this time we share together over my Honey Nut Chex. You are indeed, a great Cereal Buddy.”-Editor/Mom

Thanks Mom, and since we’re talking about all this, can I make one request? Can we try a different cereal once in awhile? I mean, I eat the same food every day and night, a little variety would be nice. Maybe some Captain Crunch, or Cocoa Puffs? I hear they’re delicious.

“Don’t push your luck, David.”-Editor/Mom





A couple of weeks ago I told you about how my Mom showed me the new Frisbee game, and how much fun it was to play, even though it’s kinda hard. Well, we’ve been practicing together since then, and I think I’m starting to get the hang of it.

“And I’m starting to get the hang of humming it so he has a chance to follow it, catch up to it and snag it before it hits the ground.”-Editor/Mom

I’m hoping to get really good at it, cause I hear they have competitions where you can play against other dogs and win stuff. How cool would that be?

“That would be really cool, David. But I think we’ve got a ways to go.”-Editor/Mom

Oh, come on. You said I did really good last time. I caught like, three in a row. I ran really fast, and jumped really high. You even got pictures. Action shots. Show ’em the pictures.

“Yup, I’ve got to say, you did some fine tracking in this sequence, buddy. You might not be quite ready for the pro circuit yet, but we’ll keep playing and see how it goes. And maybe I’ll try to get a video of you in action, since the pictures are a little far away.”-Editor/Mom

A video? Yeah, that would be really cool. Meantime, I enlarged my favorite picture, just in case anybody had a hard time seeing my best catch so far. It was epic!



October Pet Profile

This Month our Pet Profile is a longtime South Shore Travel Care Member, Charlee.  Charlee joined our then, A Doggone Good Life Family when he was nine years old.  He enjoyed his 30-minute Mid-Day walks to the beach & around the block.  He was nervous with new people & was very head shy although it didn’t take long for him to warm up to Auntie Sandy. Charlee could be very stubborn about starting out for his walk; he would be under the couch where he usually liked to sleep when Mom & Dad were not there.  He was a home boy & didn’t like leaving his home.   Auntie took her time with him & would entice him out with patience & treats, which helped a lot because Charlee Loves his treats. Coming out from the couch was just the first step in getting Charlee ready for his walk.   He didn’t mind having his harness & lead put on but leaving the house was not always what Charlee had in mind unless of course he REALLY had to relieve himself.  Once outside he loved exploring his yard but was resistant to leaving the property.  So Auntie Sandy would carry him partly down the hill, once he got down he was eager to walk, he would bark at everyone he saw especially other dogs.  Auntie would gently correct him & let him know that wasn’t nice.  When Auntie started bringing friends for him to walk with he put on his big boy low rider pants & walked from his front door & beyond….

As the years have passed by Charlee is taking things at a slow & steady pace. He has loss of  vision, some hearing loss, although I think he’s fooling us at times & it’s selective hearing (wink). He is now enjoying short visits with Auntie.