Angel Jake at the RBC (Rainbow Broadcasting Corporation)

Angel Jake at the RBC (Rainbow Broadcasting Corporation)

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Oh the Joy of Being Warm to Celebrate the New Year

Hey Pals, We're back! We're filled with new experiences and new dog friends we met in pawson to share as soon as our secretary downloads our gazillion photos.

But first things first:

1. Our many many thanks to all of our friends whose cards were waiting for us when we got home last night. It was so much fun seeing your faces and thinking about the love and friendship that connects us all across the globe!

2. Our warmest wishes to everyone as we enter a brand new decade and -- we pray -- a happy new year. Our hearts hold dear the memory of those we lost this past year -- and those memories will stay with us as we leap into the new year, with a "blue moon" (second full moon of the month) to help us celebrate and commemorate.

3. And, oh yes, tomorrow, January 1, is my eighth barkday and I plan to give my mom and dogdad lots of extra kisses and sniffs for making these eight years so exciting!!!

Lots of wirey love to all,

Jake of Florida (happily warm again!)

Friday, December 25, 2009


This just in: it's snowing here in St. Loulis and we're off to our uncle's house to share our Christmas pressies with the family!!!

We promise a longer report (and pictures) about our road trip!!! But for today, Merry Christmas to all, with our profound wishes for love and peace throughout the world!!!

Jake and Just Harry

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Festival of Lights

Tonight is the first of the eight nights of Chanukah. Because Chanukah happens in December, it's gotten mixed up wih Christmas, especially in the US. But it has its own very different meanings and symbols. It celebrates the rededication of the second temple at the time of the Maccabee rebellion. The temple had been despoiled by the Assyrians . When the Maccabees went to rededicate it, they found oil enough to last for just one day, but miraculously it lasted for eight. Thus we celebrate Chanukah by lighting candles -- or oil, as they did in the time of the Maccabees -- in a special menorah, lighting one candle on the first night, two on the second, and so on. The ninth candle holder is used to light the others each night.

So Chanukah is a happy holiday - all about faith, courage, perseverance, and dedication. And light!

And, of course, no Jewish holiday is complete without special foods. For Chanukah, it's anything fried in oil - latkes for some; doughnuts for others. (Check out Axel's blog from December 2007 to see him help his mom make latkes.)

Our Mom is getting ready to light the first candle as soon as Dogdad comes home. But in the meantime, she wanted to show you the different menorahs she's come by over the years
This one has the most memories. It's the most traditional, made of brass and a tin-like metal, with the lions of Judah and the ten commandments. It belonged to Mom's grandparents, who came from Russia. When she sees it, she remembers happy times - the lights ablaze, reflecting the joy in her grandparents' faces as the whole family said the blessings and shared laughter and songs.The next two are more modern versions, the first made from aluminum; the second from hammered pewter and a bit more stylized. We'll be traveling with the second one so we can light the candles while we're away next week.This one is very special because our sister gave it to Mom - it plays a Chanukah song when you wind it up. The base is wood and the branches are metal.And finally, this more elaborate menorah was a gift from Dogdad's brother and his wife to Mom last year. It's porcelain and engraved with the word shalom - peace.

To get the true picture, you have to see these on the eighth night of Chanukah, when all the candles are lit. As the lights flicker, it's easy to imagine all the menorahs lit around the globe for so many hundreds of years. And it's impossible not to rememember the times spent with those who are no longer here but whose faces still dance in the lights.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Making a List, Checking It Twice...

Dogdad asked me something very important this morning. He said, "Jakey, we've been thinking about what you and Just Harry would like for Chanukah and for Christmas. Why don't you make a list for us?" And so I did.
I pondered and pondered; but after I wrote it all down, I told Dogdad, "You'll see we want treats and stuffies and bones and surprises; but what we want most is to be with you and Mom over the holidays!!"
And then I saw Mom making a list too. It was entitled TRIP: Dogs - food, bowls, beds, collars, harnesses, leashes, toys, sweaters, raincoats, comb, furminator, treats, cups, water, Christmas collars, Christmas stockings, vet papers, etc. After reading it, JH and I realized we'll be getting our wish: like last year, we'll be driving to St. Loulis with the folks. Not for another week though -- 'cause we all still have lots to do.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Terriers, Squirrels, Flamingos, Cardinals, Camels, Seahorses, Oh My!!!

Since we spend Christmas in St. Loulis with Dogdad's family, we don't do too much in the way of decorating here. Last year, though, Mom found a nifty collapsible metal tree-like thing with branches to hang a few of the diverse ornaments we've collected.

Right up front, two wire fox terriers of course -- and a red sqrrl that's part of a set of fiber animals, including a fox, a mouse, and a skunk (not shown, just in case). Then there are the crazy flamingo tourists (we're in Flori-duh after all).
And these are contrasted with several beautful hand-painted cardinal balls (the birds, not our MVP Albert) and one of the St. Louis Arch.

A few itinerant camels join in the fun -- just two of the 250 -- large and small -- that live here. (Oops, that tail on the left in the second picture below is the fiber skunk after all.).And finally, Mom's latest love, seahorses. The frosted glass seahorse came back from Galveston with us.
We're just lucky there's room for us with all these other creatures floating around.
And just so no body gets confoosed, we'll be back with Mom's menorahs to celebrate Chanukah next week before we leave for Northland.
Jake and Just Harry

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

A Place at the Table

Today is December 1 so we're all thinking about what's in store for our annual Christmas expedition to St. Loulis later this month. But there are still a few November details to clear up -- such as how we spent Thanksgiving.

I, Just Harry, for one wasn't too sure what was in store for us. From Tuesday on, we kept smelling good things -- and doing our usual kitchen patrol. But -- horrors -- nothing dropped to the floor. Not the vegetables being chopped for roasting. Not the sausage being crumbled or the chestnuts being halved for the stuffing. Not the sweet potatoes being mashed. Not the canned pumpkin for the pie (although we did get a bit of pumpkin later). Not the cranberries or nuts or raisins for the sauce. And not the turkey. Bummer. But we're used to it. I've had a chronic urinary problem for over a year so Cruella is very careful about what I get to snack on. And since we live in an equal opportunity household, Jakey has to follow the same pattern -- except he eats different kibble.

Nevertheless, when Mom set the table and added the placecards for everyone, why there we were!!! Relieved, I decided to watch the dog show until our guests arrived and the festivities began. (Sadly, if you blinked, you missed the WFT best of breed; but lots of our friends got some good airtime -- incuding "the king of the terriers," a smart-looking airedale.)

So, although I can't report that we were regaled with yummy foods, we did get a place at the table -- and lots of love and scritches. And for that, along with the good wishes of all our friends, we are very thankful.

And now, on to Christmas planning!
Just Harry

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving wishes to all!

We who can bark our heads off for no apparent reason are tongue tied today when it comes to expressing how we feel on this Thanksgiving eve. It's a bittersweet time, for the reasons we all know. We've shared love and friendship and fun and laughter and hope and heartwrenching sadness -- and all those emotions will be with us as we enjoy the blessings of this special holiday.

Wirey love,

Jake and Just Harry

Sunday, November 22, 2009

A sad farewell to the lovely Ms. Snickers

We're sending all our love to the Lamb family as they grieve for their beautiful girl.

Joan and Jake and Just Harry

Monday, November 16, 2009

Going Giggly

We've always heard that "laughter is the best medicine," so here are a few silly photos to help cheer up those who could use some giggles!!

Here's me in my fisherman's sweater getting ready for the Christmas trip to the wild and wooly Midwest last year... (Gabbi, please DO NOT LOOK!!!) Remember Jackson's mustache contest???? Those are my real furs...

And these may not make anybody laugh except our Mom. Pawsonally, JH and I think they're kind of embarrassing, but she thinks they're a hoot. (And apparently, those shiny yellow slickers will be making the trip with us again this year.)

So, we're continuing to tug and pull and bark with our paws crossed for Ms. Snickers and our other dear friends; but we thought it might be time for a few belly laughs (or tummy rubs, if you prefer).

Jake of Florida.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

More Paws on Deck

One of our wirey pals, Ms. Snickers, needs all paws on deck to help her recover from a serious illness. And our buddy, Max, way across the pond is having surgery today. And we know others are suffering too.
Check out Gussie's blog -- and Asta's -- and Archie and Agatha's -- and Scruffy, Lacie, and Baby Stan's -- and more --and you'll see that it's a full-court wirey paw press, joined by all our other pals of every breed and spot in this global community to help heal those who need the Power of the Paw.

You're in our hearts Ms. Snickers!!! And we're sending wirey vibes, Max!!

Jake and Just Harry

Monday, November 2, 2009

Galveston, Texas, One Year after Hurricane Ike

Heron-cam, aka H.C. Bird, here: Last Sunday, I escorted Jake and Just Harry to their favorite animal camp and then flew with their folks to Galveston for an annual seaport convention. These conventions are scheduled at different seaports in the US and Canada years in advance. Ironically, the year it was scheduled in New Orleans -- 2006 -- was the year after the area was devastated by Hurricane Katrina, and the year it was scheduled for Galveston -- 2009 -- was the year after Hurricane Ike. Next year, it's scheduled for Halifax -- so history won't repeat itself just yet -- but the irony was not lost on the hundreds of convention attendees. As someone said, where the sea meets the land is where people (and we water birds?) like to settle -- and that's where they are often most vulnerable.

Once we got to Galveston, I was so overwhelmed by the awesomeness of the sea and the fishing opportunities that I kind of abandoned my post and left it to the Boyz' Mom to describe what they experienced. Anyway, since this is serious stuff, she is probably better at it than I -- a mere flighty bird, despite my impressive wingspan -- might be.

So, the Boyz' Mom here. I warn you, no cute photos of Jake and Just Harry -- just some impressions of the heroic efforts the City and the Port of Galveston have made since Ike hit the Island a year ago September. These impressions were all the more striking because, most of the time we were there, the Gulf of Mexico and Galveston Bay were grey and roiling as several severe storms passed through. Our hotel was right next to the seawall that was built after the 1900 hurricane, so we had a front row seat to observe what it must have felt like in the hours before Ike.

Along the seawall, a monument erected to commemorate the 1900 hurricane has been transformed into a tribute to survivors of the 2008 storm. Letters, photos, mementos, dried flowers -- all dot the low fence that protects the statue -- staying there until the new winds fade them or rip them to shreds.
So the sun, when it shone, was a precious sight and more like the spirit of the community Everywhere downtown are these signs of the community's comitment to the future and markers that show the height of Ike's storm surge and flood waters.
In many instances, the markers compare the level from 1900 with levels from other storms and then -- at the top, -- the high waters from Ike.I'm five feet four inches -- so you can get a sense of those levels from where the marker is on this brick building (that's not a wig -- it's wind-swept hair!).One of the events we attended was at the historic 1894 Opera House. I had visited it years ago when I did a cruise study for the port and remembered that special feeling of being surrounded by wood paneling and carpeting and other elements that dated back a hundred years or more. Before the event started, though, we were advised to look around and imagine 13 feet of water where we were sitting!! To the City's triumph over matter, everything has been restored, to the best of their ability -- new carpet, new wood, new seats - - and the Opera House is used for events throughout the year. --its memories surviving in the imaginations of its visitors. The same thing is true with the historic Tremont Hotel. The water levels weren't as high as at the Opera House-- but the first floor had to be renovated, with new furniture, and now bears just the slightest lingering whiff of the storm. We stopped to see the Bishop's Palace -- which had lower level flooding -- and is still being repaired. And passed by Ashton Villa -- which looks impeccable.

Ah, but then the last two days we were there, the roar of the sea was replaced by the roar of something quite different: the unforgettable sound made by the 100,000 to 300,000 bikers who had rode into town for the Annual Lone Star Bikers Rally!!! Streets leading to the main downtown area -- the Strand -- were closed off so they could be filled with tents and vendors selling street food and BEER.,.
Jack and I ventured along the main drag and drew some curious looks at our inappropriate attire. One "biker babe" approached Jack, who was wearing a sports jacket, and asked:"Did you forget your motorcycle, honey???"

While we were downtown, we stopped in a few shops and talked with Galvestonians -- most of them what they like to call "BOI" -- Born on the Island.
Amazing people. They showed us the photos of what their businesses looked like just after the storm. Told us how everything had to be replaced. And expressed that commitment to starting over which was so evident throughout the community.
And yes, we asked about the dogs (and cats) -- and just about everyone had a story of rescuing five, ten, even sixteen or more animals, finding food for them, and providing shelter until they could be restored to their owners -- or other help could be found.
Having lived through several hurricanes ourselves, we know what it is like to open your door after the storm has passed -- assuming you still have a door -- and find your surroundings completely different. But 13 feet of water is kind of hard to visualize. And even harder to imagine is the tireless energy that went into getting the town and the port ready for business and visitors in one very short year. We were awed.