Hobo's blog

Hobo Hudson, business dog, author and farmer, shares his latest news and stories about his life and gives prudent advice to his fellow dogs, cats and other animals—humans included.


Thursday, December 20, 2012

A vacation home and new business

By Hobo Hudson

As many of you know, I was married Dec. 2, 2012, to the beautiful Lily, and during the course of our honeymoon, we stayed at a lodge in a tropical paradise in an unnamed Central American country. Although a hooman owned the lodge, the Oasis, most of the staff were dogs who did a great job of taking care of us.

The morning after a deep sea fishing trip, I moaned and groaned when I tried to get out of bed.

“What’s the matter, Hobo?” Lily asked, looking at me from across the bed with her big brown eyes.

“I can barely move my forelegs,” I said. “They’re stiff from hauling in all the fish.”

Lily rolled over next to me, and gently massaging my sore legs, she gazed through the window at a mountain to the west of our lodge.

“Hey, I know how to make you feel better,” she suddenly yapped. “There, look, I can see a trail leading up the mountain. We could climb to the top for a picnic. The hike will limber you up, and we will have a spectacular view from the mountaintop while indulging in an outdoor feast.”

I liked Lily’s idea. As quickly as my legs allowed, I tracked down the lodge’s cook and told him to pack a large picnic lunch for us. With a basket full of goodies, we set out along the trail, following a raging river and soon trotting along the side of a plantation of young mango trees. Covered with baby mangos, the sweet-smelling trees guided our way until we came to the river base at a large waterfall. We stopped for a second, looked up the mountain and then looked at each other. A steep rocky trail awaited us. Without uttering a word, we took each other’s paw and scrambled up the mountain side. Huffing and puffing, we finally reached the top and, out of breath from the exertion, collapsed on the patch of grass in front of us.

After a few minutes, we were able to pant again and sit up. What a marvelous level landscape spread out in front of us: a lush area of about 20 acres with an abundance of beautiful trees and a boiling spring, the source of the waterfall and raging river we had followed. We jumped to our feet, ready to explore the mountain top.

Strolling through the vegetation, we soon found a spot for our picnic under an avocado tree with a panoramic view of both the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Golfo de Nicoya to the east. Lily and I spread the blanket the cook had provided and arranged the picnic goodies, dragging out of the basket a bottle of cool wine, a number of sandwiches, and cheese for dessert. The last thing Lily pulled out was a large bunch of bananas, and at its sight, Lily and I shook our heads simultaneously. We both are not fond of fruit. Nevertheless, Lily left the bananas on the blanket just in case.

Sitting close together on the blanket, we munched on the sandwiches, fed each other bites of cheese and lapped the wine, toasting to another magnificent day of our honeymoon. Suddenly, a shrill shout coming from behind us made us drop our sandwiches and spill some wine. Before we could turn around, a small monkey holding an avocado in his paw leaped from behind us onto the middle of the blanket.

Without introducing himself, he said, “Pardon me, but could I possibly trade this luscious avocado for one of your bananas?”

“Sure,” I replied, licking up the spilled wine and scraping together my sandwich. “But why don’t you pick your own banana?” I asked.

The monkey squatted in front of us and told us about the struggles in his life. There are no bananas in the part of the country where he lives because the ground is too dry during the dry season. Even the raging river is reduced to a trickle, and there is barely enough water to keep the animal population healthy.

I counted our bananas. We had eight and, not wanting to possibly offend the monkey by giving them to him for free, I offered to trade all eight bananas for eight avocados, thinking the cook at our lodge might like to use them for a salad. The monkey promptly climbed up the avocado tree and tossed us seven more avocados, then raced down and, grabbing the bananas, scampered away.

The same evening, Lily and I were having a drink with Enrique, the owner of the lodge, and I asked him about what we had heard from the monkey. Enrique confirmed the arid condition of the land during the dry season and told us that was why he had only planted mangos since they love a combination of wet and dry seasons.

Woefully shaking his head, Enrique said, “I’ve got a great crop of mangos growing but no way to pick them. Humans can’t afford the ferry passage to come over here to work, and my dog employees can’t climb the trees. I’d give all that land to anyone who would take it just to get out of the taxes. Of course, it would be nice if there were a way I could get a little benefit out of the deal.”

A few days later, when we had arrived home, I began to mull over our conversation with Enrique, and now, I have come up with a mutually advantageous solution. Before I let my attorney, Ms. Foley Monster, draw up a contract, though, I will have to make another trip, of course together with Lily, to Enrique’s lodge to confirm my following ideas:

The key to the whole problem is water. There is too much available during the rainy season and most of it flows into the gulf and goes to waste, while during the dry season, there isn’t enough water to support agriculture.

I seem to remember, from the walk along the trail, a very large depression of possibly 50 acres very near the river. If I were to wait until the next dry season, I could bury a large diameter pipe about half way down the river bank and run it over to the depression. During rainy season, the river would cover the pipe, and water would fill the depression, and closing a simple gate valve would prevent the water from draining when the river level falls. This would provide ample water for me to irrigate a large area. Part of the land could be used to grow bananas for the local monkeys in exchange for their labor in picking the fruit, and the rest could be used to grow fruits, such as papayas and pineapples, for export.

I could also build a large home for Lily and me on top of the mountain and invite all our friends to visit. Since it would be nearly dark by the time they reach Enrique’s Oasis, most of them would eat dinner at his restaurant, spend the night at his lodge and walk on to our home the next morning, thus increasing the Oasis’ revenue. Enrique might also offer rickshaw rides to the base of the mountain for a small fee. The rickshaws could also be used to haul free fruit to the Oasis for their kitchen, reducing their food costs. Yep, this sounds like a win-win deal for me and Enrique.

Now, I first have to convince Lily to live somewhere close to the lodge for part of the year and also hire engineers to confirm my ideas. Next, I will have to discuss my proposal with the monkeys to see if they are willing to work for me. Then, I can present the proposal to Enrique and see if we can make a deal.




Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Advanced dad training

By Hobo Hudson

As my readers know, I have been very successful in training Dad in the proper implementation of all the basic commands such as: give me a treat, keep records of my bone market investments, do the work my farm requires, etc.

A few days ago, I had Dad outside on my sun deck throwing peanuts to my squirrel friends while I sat and watched them scamper to collect them and then run for their old oak tree. One particular squirrel, braver than the others, began edging closer and closer to Dad.  Dad’s muscles were all atremble, and I could tell that he was just itching to grab that squirrel and throw him in the stewpot. I began barking at Dad in a low, soothing voice to stay calm as the squirrel inched closer and closer while eying the peanut in Dad’s hand.

About the time the squirrel reached Dad’s foot, I heard a whistling noise coming from behind me and peeked over my shoulder. I saw a strange bird sitting on the sun deck railing and asked Dad what kind of bird it was. Dad turned his head sideways to look at the bird but must have felt a tugging on the peanut he was holding in his hand because he jerked his head back forward and looked down. I saw Dad’s eyes open widely as he realized that the squirrel had climbed his pant leg and was busily trying to get the peanut out of his hand. Caught off guard, Dad let go of the peanut, and the squirrel scampered off to his oak tree with his prize.

Dad was so enthused by what had happened that he rushed to tell Mom about it.  The only problem was that he told Mom that he had taught ME to sit and not chase the squirrels while it was actually I teaching HIM not to try to grab one for his stewpot.







Monday, October 22, 2012

Walking the cats

By Hobo Hudson

I read a newspaper story the other day about taking cats on a walk and thought it was a great way to give the constantly snoozing cats some exercise by walking them around the backyard. My kitty sisters surely needed it, and the only things needed were harnesses and leashes, according to the newspaper story.

To save money, I decided to use my own harness and leash and teach each one of my kitty sisters separately to walk on the leash. I would walk Rocky, Pogo and Blondie but not Mama kitty. She has to stay inside because she is blind. The newspaper story mentioned not taking blind or declawed cats or cats with any disabilities outside on a leash in case they get lost and then can’t defend themselves. Thomas, my cat brother, would not participate in the backyard walking exercise. Since he is a rescue from a feral colony, he wouldn’t ever want to go outside again.

With Thomas’ help, I lined up all three cats on the porch and chose Rocky as my first candidate. I grabbed my harness, pulled it over Rocky’s head and tried to fasten the clips on each of the two straps around her belly, but they were too far apart. “Draw in your breath, Rocky,” I barked. She deeply inhaled, following my order, and I pulled as hard as I could on both ends of the straps—click, the clips connected.

I hooked the leash to the harness, and we both stepped outside onto the sun deck. Rocky looked around and started to waddle toward the bird feeder. OK, I thought, let her go where she wants to as long as she walks. Suddenly, she stopped, sat down and stretched out both her front legs, ready to give someone a big hug. “What the heck are you doing?” I asked. “I just saw a lizard sitting at the side, and I want him to come to me so that I can baby him.” “Eh?” I said. “You want to take care of a lizard?” “Sure, he looks lost,” she said.  “No, Rocky, he isn’t lost. He is a wild animal.” “But he could be an orphan, and I could become his substitute mother,” she said, wailing. “Well, I already take care of everyone out here with my cafeteria as you know,” I barked. “But that’s not why we’re outside here now. We have to practice walking on the leash. Come on and let’s go.”

After I helped Rocky leap down from the sun deck into the grass and helped her up on all four paws again, we took a few steps along the path where Dad had scattered bird feed. Not far from us, a bird, who had not seen us approaching, was munching on the seed. Rocky stopped and let out a soft screech. Then, she repeated her former ritual. I couldn’t believe it. She was determined to find a creature she could baby. To prevent her from getting the idea of cradling a bunch of squirrels in her arms, I quickly tightened the leash and dragged her up the stairs to the sun deck as fast as she was able to jump one step at a time, gasping for air in between. 

Back on the porch, I heard Blondie giving a speech to no one in particular about my teaching everyone to walk on a leash and how I was doing everything wrong. I quickly pulled the harness off Rocky and tightened it as snug as I could around Blondie’s waist to shut her up. Unfortunately, it didn’t hamper her talking and talking. The moment we were outside the door, she told me where to go, how to go, this and that and yak, yak, yak.

I even didn’t make it down the sun deck with Blondie. I just turned around and deposited her in the porch, yanking away the harness in one fell swoop. Then I chased her into the living room and tightly closed the door, making sure she was out of earshot.

Now, it was Pogo’s turn to walk on the leash. I was sure she would save the day. I had a little trouble dressing her in the harness, and her claws dug deep into my fur a few times while her spit landed on my nose. She calmed down when I told her we would go outside to see the birdies and squirrelies. In fact, she started to spur me on and pushed me outside the door once I succeeded in fastening the harness around her body and hooked the leash.

The next thing I remembered, I was jumping over the rail of the sun deck, desperately clinging to the leash as I saw the harness with Pogo in it in front of me flying toward the palm tree where three or four squirrels were dangling from the palm leafs. The thump I felt when hitting the ground brought me back to earth, and to my horror, I watched as Pogo started to climb up the tree. I braced my front paws against the tree trunk and held on to the leash for dear life. I knew if Pogo got loose and climbed up to the top of the palm tree to reach the squirrels, she would never be able to come down.

Giving repeated tugs at the leash, I tried to drag Pogo down from the tree trunk, but all I accomplished was tearing the harness as it scraped against the bark. I took a deep breath and screamed, “Dad, Dad, help, help, help…” The screen door of the porch banged against the door frame and seconds later, Dad was standing next to me. He just threw me a questioning look and then reached up high and retrieved my sister Pogo. 

The following morning, I even didn’t want to go in the backyard because I had to go through the porch and face my kitty sisters, but Mom and Dad didn’t take any pity on me and sent me outside that way. I thought I already had enough punishment having to put up with Blondie’s teasing, and worst of all, since my harness was in tatters, I had to buy a new one.
Thursday, October 18, 2012

Proverbs fit for a dog

By Hobo Hudson

I was often pondering why we dogs are superior to humans. While I could always rattle down a long list of traits, character dispositions and behaviors showing humans’ deficiencies and our strengths, I never hit the keynote distinction. The enlightenment came when my kitty sister Blondie shoved a page she’d torn out of a book into my face.

“Look at this, Hobo,” she said, “how could George Bernhard Shaw have known you before you were born?”

I gazed at Blondie with my ears laid back and grabbed the paper to see what she was blabbering about. It was a proverb, and it went like this: “There is no love sincerer than the love of food.”

That was it. The answer to my question was staring in my face hidden in a kind of proverb that only humans can concoct. What pushes us dogs up the rank is our ability to love humans unconditionally and to make it our purpose in life to do so. Humans, on the other hand, always have something else that is more important than expressing pure and simple love toward each other or us dogs, at least not without a condition. Blondie didn’t get it either, and I don’t blame her because she’s a cat and doesn’t understand the mentality of a dog.

No mistake here, I sure love food. Nothing beats a nice big juicy steak, but it’s far behind my love for my mom and my dad. Even if my parents would feed me plain old dog food and cut out all my treats, making me starve, I still would shower them with all the love I have.

So, the proverb Blondie thought applied to me does not fit me or any other of the doggy race. Our proverb would go as follows: “There is no love sincerer than the love of a dog.”


    
Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The pre-market bone market

By Hobo Hudson

You fellows all know about the big bone market up in New York City that opens at 9:30 a.m. and closes at 4 p.m., but did you know about two others? One for the great big dogs opens at 6 a.m. and closes at 8 p.m. The other one for medium sized dogs opens at 8 a.m. and closes at 8 p.m. also.

I heard rumors about them a few years ago, but my bone broker said I didn’t have enough kibbles to get in the door of either one. Then, after I sold my business a couple of years ago and deposited a few million kibbles with my broker, he barked that I had now qualified for admission to the 8 o’clock market. I had him send me a special dog tag that would get me in the door and started trotting in at 8 a.m. sharp.

The 8 o’clock bone market looks just like the regular market room. Each type bone has a blackboard of its own hung on the wall. The black board is divided in half with offers to buy bones on the left and offers to sell bones on the right, and the prices are sometimes pretty wild.

For example, when I trotted in yesterday morning, I looked at a board labeled “GLD.” I saw a series of prices continually going higher on the offers to buy with the latest offer being 173.25 kibbles. Since I had purchased mine Friday afternoon at 172.17, I decided to try to sell and placed an offer to sell at 173.50. Sure enough, some old dog bought them in a few minutes, and I had a nice pile of kibbles in my pocket and hot pawed it out of there.

I walked into the regular market room at 9:30 a.m., and the same bones were selling at 172.95 and going down. I just bided my time and watched from time to time and finally repurchased at 172.06 kibbles just before the market closed. This morning, the pre-market price was 172.54, and I almost sold but decided to wait and see what happens today.

Just before the regular market opened, the price had fallen to 172.32 and then risen to 172.42 one minute before the regular market opened, so I decided to trot over to the regular market and bide my time. The regular market opened at 172.41 but quickly fell to 172.39. This is the normal morning pattern, so I just kept watching and by noon, it had risen to 172.70 and was still going up.

Needing my customary afternoon nap, I placed a sell order at 172.90 but shortly after I retired, it peaked at l72.75 and started falling. I ended up selling just before the market closed at l72.01 and took a small loss.

I guess the morals of my sad tale are if you snooze, you lose and also not to be greedy. Always leave a little meat on the bone for the next dog.


Monday, September 24, 2012

Dad is henpecked

By Hobo Hudson

I was playing “Bite the tail” with Blondie yesterday when she hid under Mom’s desk. When I finally found my kitty sister and started to attack, I happened to look up at the underside of Mom’s desk drawer and saw a very tattered and worn book taped there. I stretched my neck to read the title. It said, “Henpecking for Dummies.” A light came on in my brain, and I began to put two and two together and realized that Dad is definitely henpecked.

I remembered last Saturday morning when Dad and I came home and Mom was just walking out of the garage with a bag of garbage. She shoved it at Dad and said, “Oh good, you’re just in time to take the garbage out,” and she gave Dad a kiss on his cheek. I then remembered that Mom used to do all the cooking and that now, Dad goes out to buy takeout food on Tuesdays. He cooks a lot on Fridays and takes Mom out for supper on Saturdays.

When I confronted Dad with my suspicions, he just laughed and said he’s glad to help out around the house a little since he’s retired.

Now, I think Dad is both henpecked and brainwashed because I don’t think the men should be doing any of this. What do you think?


Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Freeloading squirrels

By Hobo Hudson

I was sitting on the sun deck this morning watching Dad feed the squirrels and noticed something odd. Charlene’s clan from the old oak tree would come up onto the sun deck, run over to the screen door of the porch and perform some antics to entertain my cat employees. As soon as the entertainer squirrels took a break, Dad would throw each of them a small peanut, and they would scamper off to the old oak tree to eat their pickings and then bury the shells.

The squirrels from across the street, however, would simply walk under the gate into my backyard and onto my sun deck and sit at its very edge, and Dad would select the biggest and best peanuts to throw them. After catching the peanuts, the squirrels would jump onto the top rail of the sun deck, crouch down or stretch out to munch on the peanuts and then throw the shells onto the sun deck for Dad to clean up.




I asked Dad why he gave the squirrels who merely came for a feast and didn’t do any work the best peanuts, and Dad replied that he was trying to teach them to work. That didn’t seem right to me. I growled at Dad to start giving them the smallest peanuts and to give Charlene’s clan the biggest and best peanuts.

Then, I trotted over to the gate, stopping the freeloaders from leaving and explaining my new food supply system: While I wouldn’t allow them to starve, they wouldn’t be eating so high on the hog without working for their food.

Oh, they did a lot of squealing about that. They said they had a constitutional right to food without having to work. I just grinned and agreed but pointed out that the constitution didn’t say they had a right to the same food as the squirrels that are willing to work. I also told them I might cut out the peanut provision entirely and just let them eat corn and any acorns they can find on their own.

We’ll just have to wait and see if this tough love approach works. If not, my peanut bill is going way down real fast.

Dad is wondering if this same approach would work with the “Occupy Tampa” bunch. They just lie around a public park waiting for good-hearted citizens to bring them food to eat and don’t even bother to put their trash in the receptacles while city employees have to come to clean up.



Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Pet bowl disaster

By Hobo Hudson

I sent Mom to the store the other day to buy my kitty sister and me a new water bowl. Ever since Blondie started to drink out of my bowl after she decided to share the living quarters with me and my parents, my water bowl seemed to deteriorate from week to week. I don’t know what the cat is doing to it, but it’s all scratchy and has lost its vibrant shine. I like it when the water sparkles in it.

Blondie always hisses at me not to clean my beard in the water bowl, but that comes with the territory. My duties in the backyard include sticking my nose deep into the ground to check for unusual smells and when I come inside afterward, all hot and sweaty, I certainly need a good gulp of water.

Anyway, I wanted to tell about the water bowl. When Mom returned from the shopping trip, I grabbed the bag she was carrying and rummaged through it. There it was. A new big water bowl, and it was a beautiful green one. Green is one of my favorite colors because it reminds me of grass. I love grass, and I love to roll around in it, especially if I find a place that has a pungent scent.

Handing Mom the bowl, I told her to hurry up and fill it with water to make sure I get the first taste out of the new bowl. Instead of following my orders, Mom put the bowl in the sink and gave it a good brushing with dish soap and water. Then she pulled off a sheet of white paper towel and started to dry the bowl. I stretched my neck higher and higher to see better what Mom just did to the white paper towel. Not trusting my eyes standing on the ground, I jumped on the counter. I blinked a few times and stared at the paper towel Mom was holding in her hand. It was not white any more, it was green.

There went my new beautiful green water bowl. It even had a sticker on, saying: “Pet bowl, safe for food and water.” I guess our ancestors did right eating the leftovers of their human parents’ meals straight from the floor and drinking the water out of the toilet. Now, we not only have to worry about poisoned or tainted pet food and treats but also about pet bowls.

Searching the Internet about what kind of water bowl Mom should buy that would be safe for Blondie and me, I ran across another disturbing article. In June, officials in Illinois affirmed the contamination of some stainless steel pet bowls with low levels of radioactive material. The affected products had appeared in a few Petco stores in Chicago.





Proverbs fit for a dog

By Hobo Hudson

Don Marquis (1878–1937) once said or wrote, “The successful people are the ones who can think up things for the rest of the world to keep busy at.”

Whoa, BOL, that’s my philosophy of life. Without even knowing the proverb existed, I acted all along with those guidelines in my mind. Only because of my acute sense to figure out what makes other critters and people click and how to get them moving have I become a famous writer, prosperous farmer and globally admired BIC of more than one lucrative business.

I think it’s in order to adjust the proverb as followed in acknowledgment of my hard work: “The successful dog is the one who can think up things for people and other animals to keep busy at.”




Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Advanced Dad training

By Hobo Hudson

I consider myself pretty accomplished at Dad training. However, I know there is always room for improvement, and I constantly strive to learn new techniques. While recently browsing through our local library as I waited for Mom to pick up the books she had ordered, I chanced upon a book entitled “Subliminal Suggestions” and decided to check it out.

The first part of the book was about how to implant messages into TV shows and then have them flash by so fast that the hooman eye won’t see and read them but the hooman brain would recognize and process them. This, of course, was of no value since I didn’t have the resources to accomplish it.

The second part of the book was more interesting. It dealt with the use of headphones to listen to tutoring lessons while sleeping, and it seemed to work for some people. I immediately decided to try out the method on Dad, and during the following night, I began softly barking into Dad’s ear as soon as he fell asleep. My bark was a continuous series of “Obey Hobo.”

It seemed to work on Dad as I noticed the next morning, but it kept me awake all night. To avoid losing another night’s snooze, I recorded my barks as a continuous loop on my tape recorder and started playing it as soon as Dad fell asleep, and it worked like a charm. I am now at the point that Dad will do anything I ask until he is about at the middle of his fourth cup of coffee whereas prior to my indoctrination sessions, he would begin to fail to respond at about the middle of his second cup of coffee.

After I outdid myself indoctrinating Dad, I looked around to find an even more efficient and permanent way to do it and discovered a doll with a programmable microchip on which a hooman mother and father can record a message for their child. Anytime the child squeezes the doll, the microchip sends out the recorded words. I bought one of those dolls, recorded my message “Obey Hobo” and then destroyed the doll to retrieve the microchip. While I was racking my brains about how to fasten the microchip to Dad’s ear so that it would continuously play my message 24/7, I suddenly came up with an even better idea.

I have become very close friends with a California lollypop. Two days ago, I found out she is a doctor, renowned throughout California for her medical expertise, and professionally known as “Dr. Lily.” My plan now is to visit her in July and to take Dad, whom I will have to drug so that he doesn’t know what’s going on, with me and have Dr. Lily surgically implant the chip into Dad’s brain.

If this works as well as I expect, I’ll form a partnership with Dr. Lily, and we’ll open hooman training clinics all across the country to give all dogs the opportunity to benefit from my new discovery for a reasonable, not yet determined, price. I see the potential for Dr. Lily and myself to pick up a few million bones each in a short time. Afterward, we will have an IPO and be able to retire to live in the lap of luxury forever.




Dove Field

By Hobo Hudson

I supervise Dad twice a day feeding the birds on the sun deck in our backyard. For some time now, after Dad has refilled the bird feeder in the evenings, an old dove lands on the top of the feeder. It continually scans the sky and never jumps down to eat. A few minutes later, a small flock of doves appear, and a series of tweets go back and forth. Then, the flock flies parallel to the sun deck rail, makes a left turn, another left turn and lands on the rail and walks to the base of the feeder. As they begin to land, their bodies tilt upward, and their tail feathers spread wide to cushion their landing.

It struck me how similar their actions were to hooman pilots when they come in with their planes to land at an airport. They always contact the tower and report their position, altitude and intentions. The tower then gives them landing instructions. Just before touching down, the pilots raise the planes’ nose and pull back the elevators for a gentle touchdown.

I bark a variety of bird languages but don’t understand a chirp of dove, and a while back, I asked my pal, Gimpy, next door to listen and give me a translation.

This is his translation: “Sundeck tower. Bomber Brigade-flight of six with you 100 feet north, decending through 50 feet. Inbound landing for refueling.

“Bomber Brigade. Sundeck tower. Enter a left downwind for niner. Wind 080 @ 6, Altimeter 29.89. Cleared to land. Contact ground on tweet 2 when clear of the active.

“Bomber Brigade: Roger.”

The Bomber Brigade is a group of young doves who acquired their nickname when, as rowdy teenagers, they used to sit on electric wires over sidewalks waiting for an unwary hooman to walk under them. They would carefully compute the hooman’s course and speed, and then—SPLAT!  Since growing older, they have mended their ways but have never outgrown their nickname. I guess the reputation you acquire in your early life is hard to live down later.
 




Monday, August 6, 2012

The battle of Hobo’s sun deck

By Hobo Hudson

The Tanner Brigade and the squirrels which have infested Hobo’s sun deck fought an epic battle last month. The battle has been memorialized in song and is presented below:

In July of 2012 we took a little trip, along with General Foley, down the mighty Manatee to the town of Russ kin
We took a little bacon and a whole lotta beef, and we caught the silly squirrels on Hobo’s sun deck.
General Foley said we can take ‘em by surprise if we don’t throw our peanuts till we look ‘em in the eye.
So we held our peanuts till we could see their eyes, and then we threw our peanuts and really gave ‘em….. Well, the squirrels kept a coming, but there wasn’t near as many as there were a while ago.
We threw once more, and they began a running. Down the sun deck, across the yard and through the fence to the safety of their old oak tree.
We fired once more, but our peanuts wouldn’t reach ‘em; so we grabbed a monkey, and we fought another round.
We loaded up his hands with peanuts and sent him up the tree, but he sat and ate the peanuts; so we considered it a battle fairly won and celebrated ‘round the pool, lapping Folitinis.


Thursday, July 26, 2012

Proverbs fit for a dog

By Hobo Hudson

I am a dog who finishes what he starts and doesn’t allow anything or anybody to put rocks in his path. Now, a rock literally has gotten the better of me, and for the first time in my life, I’m at my wits’ end.

I fell in love with a girl and failed to win her over. The cause for this total failure in my life was a rock, a solid and shiny granite, I gave her as a token of my love. Instead of sticking to my intuition offering her a ring containing a diamond, I relented after overhearing her and her girlfriend’s tittle-tattle about her hopes of receiving a ring with a big rock from me. Thinking she wanted a rock because it would symbolize a sturdy and lasting relationship, I was all for it and conformed to her wishes. She didn’t see it that way at all, but on the contrary, she felt insulted and ended our blossoming courtship.

Days have gone by and I’m crestfallen, full of heartache and unable to concentrate. In my despair, I pulled out my little book of inspiration and pawed through it to find words of consolation. My eyes quickly caught a proverb written by the English poet Alfred Lord Tennyson: “'Tis better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all.”


Sunday, July 22, 2012

Bone market report

By Hobo Hudson

As my investors know, my hedge fund has been making kibbles paw over paw by swapping bones for little pieces of paper and then shortly swapping the paper back for bones. As a result of all the favorable reports swirling around the Internet, investors have been clamoring for me to allow them to deposit their bones with me, and our little hedge fund has grown large enough to become a market mover in its own right.

Consequently, it has become more difficult for me to operate since my order for a million little pieces of paper drives the price up, and when I’m ready to swap back, my order to sell a million pieces of paper drives the price down. Dad says this is a normal economic phenomenon called “supply and demand.” When more investors want to buy, the price goes up, and when more investors want to sell, the price goes down.

I’m beginning to venture into the futures market and finally decided the time was right to test the market with a small personal investment. I’ve been seeing gasoline prices going up and up, so I put a 5-gallon can into my little red wagon and tugged it down to our local gasoline station and filled it up, thinking that when the price got higher, I could sell it to Dad for a nice profit.

My opportunity came this morning when we woke to no electricity and Dad hauled out his generator only to discover that he had no gasoline and our local station had no power and couldn’t pump any gasoline for him. I quickly doubled what I had paid for my gasoline and offered to sell it to Dad for that amount.

Dad screamed, “Hobo, that’s highway robbery! You’re trying to scalp me.”

 “No, Dad,” I replied. “It’s simply a matter of supply and demand. I’ve got the supply, so I can demand whatever price I want.”

That didn’t go over too well with Dad. He grabbed me by my collar and snarled, “That’s not the way things work in this household. You’ve got the supply, and I’m demanding it. I need it for generating electricity to brew my coffee, and I need it now. Do you get the picture?”

“Yes, Dad,” I yelped, rasping and shaking my neck loose from Dad’s grip. “I understand now that you’ve explained it to me. You can have the gasoline free.”

I guess I’m going to lose kibbles on this deal, so I’ll be staying out of the futures market from now on.




Thursday, July 5, 2012

Proverbs fit for a dog

By Hobo Hudson

It was 5:30 a.m., and Dad, getting out of bed, rudely woke me and cut short my dream about me buying a truck full of steaks. Too lazy to get up with Dad, I grabbed my book of inspirations, and instantly, my eyes hit a proverb that explains why I have become a wealthy and prominent business dog.

The proverb by FĂ©nelon goes as follows: “The more you say, the less people remember. The fewer the words, the greater the profit.”

Now, I had said earlier that I am in favor of expressing myself loud and clear in order for people to listen and to get my point across. However, compared to people, I am a dog of few words as I quietly put the kibbles in my pockets.





A disastrous new venture


By Hobo Hudson

Mom told me yesterday she wanted to go to Camp Bow Wow, the doggy camp I love to stay at when Mom and Dad go out of town, to take some photos during the camp’s adoption event Find Love on a Leash. Whoa, I thought, what a great idea to bring together dogs looking for a forever home and people looking for a mate without faults.  

Pondering the idea a little bit longer, I thought if I would trot over there myself and take the photos before Mom does, I might meet a sweet little girl, and I also could try my luck at a new profession. I’m always ready for a new challenge and becoming a professional photographer sounds kind of cool.

Early Saturday morning, before anyone in the family woke up, I loaded my little red wagon with the camera I sneaked out of Mom’s office, a jug of water and a bag of kibbles, and off I went. I arrived just in time for the opening ceremony and clicked my first photo. Then, I went from booth to booth and told each dog waiting for a forever home to pose for me so that I could catch him or her from the best possible angle. The right appearance is all important in catching people’s attention. Besides, I also wanted to attract viewers to admire my artistically perfect photographs.

With a thumb hurting from the constant clicking of the camera button, I headed back home after I gave up finding one of the beautiful female doggies willing to accept my invitation for a date. Quickly, I went into Mom’s office to load the photos onto the computer. BOL, I couldn’t find them. There were no photos on the camera. I checked the connection of the cable from the camera to the computer, and then I saw it, the memory card. I had snapped away to capture all those adorable doggies on pictures without having a memory card in the camera. I don’t think photography is my forte.

Sorry, guys no photos from me, but maybe Mom took some photos later and will publish them on examiner.com. It’s worth checking out.






Sunday, June 24, 2012

A peanut catcher’s daughter: The autobiography of Charlene Squirrel

Edited by Hobo Hudson

The rays of the mid-morning sun hit my eyes. Sleeping on my velvet-lined nest atop silk sheets and covered by a down-filled comforter, I woke up, and my thoughts drifted to the long road I have traveled to reach my current position of the world’s pre-eminent squirrel entertainer.

Born a daughter of a poor but proud peanut catcher one cold winter’s morning, I spent the early months of my life with my siblings in a cramped nest hidden in an oak tree while my father did his best to find food for us. I can vividly remember my father struggling awake before the break of dawn. Slipping from under our one tattered blanket, he staggered to the nearest water puddle to wash the sleep from his eyes and bathe and groom his chest. Then, he would scurry back to our nest with his teeth chattering and dive into our midst so that our body heat could warm him. My siblings and I would crawl over him and huddle together to cover every inch of his body. It always made us shiver, and we had to force ourselves not to recoil from his icy fur.

I asked my father one morning why he had chosen a life of hardship. He replied that it was the only way he knew to earn a living but hoped his sons and daughters would grow up to a better life.

Each day, at the first lightening of the sky, my father would leave our nest, taking our blanket with him and tell us to snuggle close to stay warm until he could return with breakfast. After time without end, he would return, always with a load of peanuts inside our folded up blanket. After shaking the peanuts into our nest, he would tenderly drape the blanket over us again so that we would stay warm while we ate our breakfast.

When I had grown enough to become sure-footed and began to scamper about the limb of our old oak tree, I begged my father to let me go to work with him and learn his trade. One morning, he finally agreed. Although I eschewed the icy morning bath, I was ready to take on my first job when my father gently nudged me and told me it was time to leave for work.

After helping me down the oak tree, my father whispered into my ear not to make any noise and to tiptoe because we had to cross a small strip of grass owned by a big dog named LadyBug who would give any critters she spotted on her property a chase for their lives. I followed my father’s lead, and after we had safely crossed the enemy line, he showed me how to climb the wooden fence in front of us. When we reached the top, we crouched down, and my father, draping the blanket over the two of us, explained that we now had to wait for the peanuts.

As the sky lightened, I heard a screen door open and peeked from under the blanket. I saw a small black dog appear on the sundeck of a house next to the fence we were sitting on. The dog, jumping up and down, barked to his giant slave who was following on his heels to hurry with the peanuts. My father quickly grabbed our blanket, dropped with it to the ground and laid it out flat. At the same time, he rushed me to leap down from the fence and told me to take a seat on the blanket and to stay out from underfoot while he would go to catch the peanuts.

Hopping a couple steps away from our blanket, my father sat up on his haunches and exposed his brilliant white chest as a target, and the dog’s slave threw a peanut at him. Unfortunately, it fell a few feet short. My father started looking for it but soon gave up and instead sat up on his haunches again. The dog’s slave threw another peanut, almost hitting my father in the chest. This time, my father grabbed the peanut, sprinted with it to our blanket and deposited the peanut on it, quickly folding a corner of the blanket over it to hide it. Then, he scurried back and returned with the first peanut. I asked my father why he couldn’t find the first peanut earlier when it was so easy for him to see it later. My father smiled and said by pretending he couldn’t find the first peanut, he enticed the dog’s slave, who wasn’t very bright, to throw another even bigger peanut to him.

If you’d like to learn more about my meteoric rise to the pinnacle of entertaining, you can buy my book for only 9.95 peanuts. 




Monday, June 4, 2012

Hoisted by my own petard

By Hobo Hudson

Today began like any other day. I woke up at the sound of Mom slipping out of bed to do her daily exercise program, and I immediately began the ordeal of trying to awaken Dad. As usual, barking and slapping his face with my paw had no effect, and I had to bite him on his big toe and start to drag him out of bed.

When I finally got him on his feet and staggering off to the kitchen to start the coffee, I settled back for a short snooze until I could smell the coffee aroma and hear Dad open the refrigerator. It was my cue to dash out of the bedroom and into the kitchen for my morning treats.

I counted all of them before I gobbled them down, and after barking a few instructions to Dad, I returned to bed for my post breakfast snooze. The moment I fell asleep and a nice juicy steak floated into my dreams, Dad’s hollering woke me up.

“Hobo, you’d better get out and check the farm. You’re not going to like it.”

Dad’s stern voice made me jump out of bed. When I trotted outside to the sundeck, I was flabbergasted. Charlene was sitting at the end of my farm supervising her gang of squirrels as they busily dug up every one of my young plants.

“Charlene,” I barked as I rushed to her side. “What the heck are you doing?”

She turned to me and said, “Good morning, Hobo. The thought hit me last night that we may have missed a few of the peanuts that you wanted dug up, so I’m having my crew re-dig the entire field to make sure we got all of them. By the way, TOM, I sure enjoy reading your farming stories on the Internet, especially the one in which you describe how you found help digging up your garden.”

“But Charlene,” I stammered. “You don’t have a computer, so how did you find out about my stories?”

“Oh, I just go down to the library and use the free computers,” she said, smiling at me.

Rats. I guess I’ll have to be more careful about what I bark from now on. You just never know who will be reading what you post on the internet.





Doggy humor: I’m being waterboarded

By Hobo Hudson

Yesterday started innocently enough when I went out back to make my morning rounds and inspect my farm. I found everything in order and decided to check my latest batch of dead-fish perfume. After giving it a careful sniff, I thought it was just about right and put a tiny drop behind my right ear so that I could check that it didn’t evaporate too quickly.

As I entered the back door, Mom caught a whiff of it and started gagging. “Hobo,” she cried, “what have you gotten into?”

She left me standing on the back porch and scurried inside. Watching her through the sliding glass windows, I saw her picking up the phone and briefly talking on it. Soon after she had put down the phone, I heard a car in the driveway and saw a man entering the house through the front door. He was wearing a mask on his face to resemble Dad.

The man came onto the porch and took a sniff at me and declared that whatever body mist I was wearing fit the classification of a weapon of mass destruction. He snapped a heavy leash to my collar, led me out the back door and through the side gate and into a room I’ve never seen before. It just had bare concrete block walls and plain concrete flooring with one tiny window inset into the door.

After donning a gas mask, the man put me into a large tub of water and began demanding to know where I had the weapon stored. I naturally wouldn’t reveal the location of the perfume because I had left my secret recipe on the laboratory bench. When I didn’t answer, he grabbed my head and dunked me under water. Then, he asked me again. When I still refused to answer, he poured some awful smelling stuff all over my body and rubbed it in until it began foaming and emitting a smell, a smell like roses…yuck!

He continued dunking me under water a few more times and then yanked me out of the tub while wrapping a straitjacket around me. After he finally released me from it, he pointed something looking like a gun at me and blasted me with hot air until I thought my skin would cook and my fur would fall out.

A few minutes later, he left me all alone in the dark cell, threatening that he would be returning later and might repeat the treatment if I will not bark the information he wants. I don’t know how long I can hold out but desperately need help. 

I’m smuggling this note out through a small crack in the door hoping that a friendly squirrel may find it and deliver it to one of my friends. Please help me before my jailor comes back. I’m sure I’ve fallen into the hands of Homeland Security and they have spirited me to Guantanamo. Please contact my attorney, Ms. Foley Monster, and have her file a writ of canine corpus in federal court. I’m a U.S. dog, and they don’t have the authority to do this to me.






Monday, May 7, 2012

Doggy humor: The sad fate of Dad’s old pipe

By Hobo Hudson

My dear friends, it grieves me to have to report the demise of Dad’s old pipe yesterday morning when he absently stuck it into his back pocket and sat on her, thus breaking her neck. Somehow losing her stem in the confusion of trying to save her, Dad had only the bowl left as a memorial to the life and times of this grand old pipe. Because Dad was very upset about the accident, I decided to have a memorial service for her which I hoped would soothe Dad’s mind and help him move on with his life.

We all gathered together late yesterday, and I barked a welcome to all our friends and then asked Mama kitty to meow a few words. Not being able to see, she slowly felt her way to the podium with the assistance of Thomas and began to meow her oration.

As a young cat, she had jumped into Dad’s lap and caught him logging into a computer dating service and seeing him avidly looking over the available girls until his gaze settled on one particular girl sitting sedately all by herself. With a quick click of his mouse, he was in contact with the lovely young girl and, representing himself as a young man looking for a long-term relationship, he asked her to dance. As she rose and turned, Dad’s eye caught her bowl, and it was love at first sight. With a quick click of his mouse, he asked her to visit, and she hopped into a package and was at his door in a matter of days.

Now, 12 years later, both she and Dad have grown old together. Her bowl had two large cracks which she filled with used pipe tobacco, assorted tars and other goodies. Dad felt these only added character to her. When her bowl suffered a hole a few years ago, Dad simply put a dab of clay into the hole, and after it hardened into a rock-like substance, he thought she was as good as new.

When Mama had finished her speech, Blondie took the podium and yowled about the many pleasurable hours she had spent relaxing in Dad’s lap surrounded by a cloud of blue tobacco smoke. Next, Charlene chattered about the lovely aroma she smelled when Dad came out onto the sundeck to serve peanuts, and then, the service closed without a dry eye in the yard.

Dad tenderly transferred the bowl to a small litter, and four young squirrels began to carefully carry her up the old oak tree as a squirrel chorus chattered, “Nearer My Tree to Thee.” The bowl was tightly wedged into a fork near the top of the tree as Dad intoned, “Wood to Wood; Rot to Rot. We consign this old pipe to the mercy of this old oak tree in hopes that the tree will see fit to envelope her and absorb her goodness into life everlasting.”

After the ceremony, Mom presented Dad with a new pipe from the same master carver. Dad hugged Mom and thanked her for the gift, but I noticed a doubtful look on his face as if he was thinking that Mom just didn’t understand the special relationship between a man and his pipe.

Dad has the new pipe lit but says it has an awful taste and will take time to ripen into a treasured companion, and I guess we’ll have to wait to see if the relationship matures.










Thursday, May 3, 2012

Proverbs fit for a dog

By Hobo Hudson

Now, here is a proverb that had me jumping out of bed and barking up a storm early this morning: “He who establishes his argument by noise and command shows that his reason is weak.”

I wholeheartedly disagree with Michel de Montaigne who coined the proverb, and I suspect I have many fellow dogs who are on my side. Especially dogs who engage in people training will agree with me that noise and most of all commands are essential tools for teaching humans and necessary to see results. Without barking at them and ordering them around, we dogs wouldn’t be able to get our point across and would accomplish nothing. Begging, whining and prostrating might get us on people’s good side, but it doesn’t serve the purpose of proving our authority.

The same holds true for defending our territory, our home and our family. We have to tell outsiders and trespassers who is the boss and let them know to stay away from us.
We even have to keep visitors at paw’s length by first barking at them before sniffing them out to decide if they are welcome. 

So, I discarded that proverb from my reservoir of early morning inspirations and wrote my own proverb: “The dog who establishes his argument by noise and command shows wisdom and courage.” 




Sunday, April 29, 2012

A disastrous new venture

By Hobo Hudson

Mom told me yesterday she wanted to go to Camp Bow Wow, the doggy camp I love to stay at when Mom and Dad go out of town, to take some photos during the camp’s adoption event Find Love on a Leash. Whoa, I thought, what a great idea to bring together dogs looking for a forever home and people looking for a mate without faults. 

Pondering the idea a little bit longer, I thought if I would trot over there myself and take the photos before Mom does, I might meet a sweet little girl, and I also could try my luck at a new profession. I’m always ready for a new challenge and becoming a professional photographer sounds kind of cool.

Early Saturday morning, before anyone in the family woke up, I loaded my little red wagon with the camera I sneaked out of Mom’s office, a jug of water and a bag of kibbles, and off I went. I arrived just in time for the opening ceremony and clicked my first photo. Then, I went from booth to booth and told each dog waiting for a forever home to pose for me so that I could catch him or her from the best possible angle. The right appearance is all important in catching people’s attention. Besides, I also wanted to attract viewers to admire my artistically perfect photographs.

With a thumb hurting from the constant clicking of the camera button, I headed back home after I gave up finding one of the beautiful female doggies willing to accept my invitation for a date. Quickly, I went into Mom’s office to load the photos onto the computer. BOL, I couldn’t find them. There were no photos on the camera. I checked the connection of the cable from the camera to the computer, and then I saw it, the memory card. I had snapped away to capture all those adorable doggies on pictures without having a memory card in the camera. I don’t think photography is my forte.

Sorry, guys no photos from me, but maybe Mom took some photos later and will publish them on examiner.com. It’s worth checking out.




Proverbs fit for a dog

By Hobo Hudson

I was always wondering why I become aggressive whenever I encounter a big fellow dog, someone the size of a German shepherd. Even big dogs who start out greeting me with a friendly attitude are taken aback by my rude if not violent response.

Since I mostly act this way toward big dogs when my mom is close by, I thought I did it to protect her and let my dad fight for himself. Last week, while searching for another proverb to lift my spirits in the morning, I suddenly remembered something from my past that would explain my out-of-character behavior. Years ago, long before Mom and Dad adopted me, I lived in a home where nobody in the family wanted me but gave me temporary shelter anyway. Two of the family members were big dogs. They bullied me around, day in day out, and I put up with it without saying a word because I needed the home.

The proverb, by William Blake, that kindled my memory goes as follows:
“I was angry with my friend:
I told my wrath, my wrath did end.
I was angry with my foe:
I told it not, my wrath did grow.”


Monday, April 23, 2012

Proverbs fit for a dog

By Hobo Hudson

I’m making progress with my attempt to be more ambitious in the morning. Instead of growling and telling everyone who wakes me up to shut up so I can snooze a little bit longer, I now grab my dossier of inspiring proverbs. Leafing through it at an ungodly early time of 4:30 a.m. this morning when my kitty sister Blondie meandered through the house meowing she needed something to meow about, I stumbled upon the following quotation: “Some folks can look so busy doing nothin’ that they seem indispensable” by Kin Hubbard (1868–1930), an American humorist and writer.

I don’t even have to alter this quote to adjust it to my life. Cats just have the propensity of doing stuff day in day out that is useless and fails to produce revenue but manage to hold a job. May it be sleeping, eating, grooming, sniffing catnip or meowing like Blondie did before daylight this morning, my cat sisters are totally emerged in their activity which contributes nothing to my profits, but I still consider them key employees.


Monday, April 16, 2012

Proverbs fit for a dog

By Hobo Hudson

I had the idea to start out the day pondering a motivating proverb and ran across the following proverb by James Matthew Barrie: “Every man who is high up loves to think that he has done it all himself; and the wife smiles, and lets it go at that.”

Remembering the story I had published below, I barked at myself, “Hey, I can apply the saying to me if I rewrite it as following: Every dog who is high up thinks that he has done it all himself; and the squirrel employees smile, and let it go at that.”

Just call me Tom

By Hobo Hudson

As you know, I’ve been having an awful problem with something called “root knot,” and Dad and I have been working furiously to try to cure or at least curb the nematode infestation.

We’ve pulled all the plants that indicated an infestation and carefully dug up all the roots. We’ve dispersed a biological control agent, hauled and spread a layer of compost over the entire garden and then dragged bag after bag of rotted oak leaves from my pal Josie’s yard to our garden beds and scattered the leaves over the whole lot. After wetting everything down, there was nothing left to do except watch everything decay and wait for the moment to plant a spring crop.

To while away the time, I sniffed through Dad’s bookcase and pulled out a book to read. It was about a hooman boy named Tom Sawyer. I was rolling on the floor laughing when I read about the time he tricked his friends into painting his fence for him, and I thought there was no way he could have pulled a trick like that  even on a six month old puppy as he had done on the hooman youngsters.

Anyway, my pal Max barked at me the next day that he and his dad were raking oak leaves and wondered if they could put them on my garden beds. He said it would save them the work of bagging the leaves up and dragging the bags to the curb for pickup.

His request sounded like a win-win situation to me. I would get free leaves and Max would get out of a lot of work. However, when I barked at Dad about my deal, Dad told me we needed to dig the old rotted leaves and compost into the top couple of inches of soil first. He said since he had done most of the work so far, he expected me to do the digging.

I stayed awake most of the night worrying about Dad’s instruction. Pictures of me digging into and shoving around mounds and mounds of soil swirled through my head. I felt exhausted merely thinking about all that work waiting for me in the morning, and then it hit me. I wondered if I could trick Charlene, my squirrel entertainer, into doing the work for me.

As soon as it began to get daylight, I jumped out of bed, grabbed a pawful of peanuts and hurried outside to the garden. I buried one peanut here and one peanut there all over the garden beds and then went back inside the house for my morning treats.

About the time Charlene usually appeared, I trotted back outside and, following Dad’s order, began slowly digging. Charlene saw me and scurried over, asking me what I was doing digging so early in the morning. Keeping my cool, I told her that Dad had planted peanuts without asking my permission, and I was going to dig them all up and throw them away. Charlene immediately volunteered to summon her crew of relatives and friends to do the work for me if she could have the peanuts. I quickly agreed, provided she dug up every inch of the garden. She accepted the stipulation.

Turning away from me, Charlene gave out a series of shrieks, and a bunch or squirrels came sprinting from all directions and stood in formation in front of Charlene. She told them to start digging for peanuts. I sat back and watched. Just about the time the squirrels were ready to give up the hunt, one would squeal, “I found one. I found one,” and the rest of the crew would start digging with renewed vigor.

Yep. That Tom Sawyer was one smart cookie.






Friday, February 24, 2012

Doggy humor: Mom’s Christmas present

By Hobo Hudson

I had been racking my brain trying to decide on the perfect Christmas present for Mom this year. I thought of this, and I thought of that but immediately discarded all ideas because they just didn’t seem right. I was still cogitating when I heard Mom scream for Dad to come because the oven was on fire.

When Dad ambled into the kitchen, he took one look and said it wasn’t a fire but, rather, an electrical short in the oven heating element. He turned the oven off and the flame immediately disappeared. After placing a call to our friendly repairman, Dad told Mom the guy would be out in a couple of weeks to “have a look at it.” Mom was none too happy about the long wait, but there wasn’t much she could do except grin and bear it.

Ah, I thought, the perfect Christmas present. Mom’s stove was 25 years old, and Mom had marveled at the new ranges with the ceramic tops for a long time. I knew she would have liked to have one. I also knew she had been hoping Dad would buy her one but, knowing my dad, she would have a long wait because he would rather save a dollar by fixing instead of replacing.

After we had eaten an early supper, I casually announced to Mom and Dad that I had too many bones on hand and was going to deposit a few bones in my bank. I pulled my little red wagon into the office I shared with Dad and opened my safe. I carefully selected a few choice bones, loaded them onto the wagon and off I went to the appliance store.

When I arrived at the store, my nose led me directly to the stoves, displayed on one side of a long aisle. In order to see which ones had ceramic tops and which had the old-fashioned burners, I jumped on top of the first stove and then hopped from one to the next. After sniffing out a few possibilities, I jumped back down to the floor and barked at the salesman to open the oven doors so I could see inside.

It only took me a couple of looks before I decided on the perfect stove and told the salesman to “write it up.” While he typed all the information into the computer, I casually asked him for his current rate of exchange between bones and dollars. He looked kind of funny at me and explained they only accepted dollars, and I would have to exchange my bones at the bank before we could complete the sale.

Being a business dog, I have been accustomed to getting the job done without wasting time. I left the salesman at the computer fiddling with the keys to place a hold on the sale, grabbed my little red wagon full of bones and rushed to the bank only to find it already closed. Since it was a Friday evening, it wouldn’t be open again until Monday.

I quickly decided my best option would be to hightail it to Tampa International Airport which had a 24/7 exchange kiosk. Even though it was 30 miles away, the rates were much better than the local check cashing places. Pulling the heavy load of bones behind me, I switched between trotting and running, and when I finally arrived at the airport, I relaxed a few minutes to get my panting under control. As I started to squeeze through one of airport’s main doors with my little red wagon, a guy from Homeland Security, big and muscular, immediately stopped me and asked with a frown on his face what I was doing with a wagon load of bones at the airport.

Knowing all about the security issues at airports, I looked the guy straight into the eyes and explained that I wasn’t flying—just visiting the bone exchange booth. The guy stared at me kind of funny, just like the salesman did at the store, but agreed to accompany me and helped me avoid going through the X-ray machine or the pat-down procedure on the way to the kiosk.

Looking at the posted exchange rates, I saw the best rates were for soup bones. I inquired at the kiosk window how many soup bones it would take to get the desired number of dollars. After receiving the answer, I bent down to my wagon, counted out the determined amount of bones and threw them on the countertop. The lady behind the window, giving me a big smile, recounted the bones, put the equivalent amount of dollars into an envelope and handed it to me.

With the envelope full of dollars in one paw and the other paw holding the handlebar of my wagon, now easier to pull without the heavy load, I was ready to trot back to the appliance store. Just as I was leaving the airport building, my eyes caught the clock hanging at the wall over the glass door leading to the taxi waiting area, and I realized I would never make it to the store on foot before it closed. Luckily, I noticed an empty cab waiting for passengers, and rushing outside, I was able to negotiate a ride to the store for only two chew bones.

I arrived back at the appliance store a few minutes before closing time. I ran into the store and spotted the salesman who had started to process my order earlier waiting for me at the cashier desk. While I handed him my envelope of dollars, I told him to go ahead and arrange delivery and to haul away my mom’s old stove.

The following Monday morning, the phone rang and Mom heard one of those robot voices saying her delivery would arrive within 30 minutes. She was very puzzled about it, and I explained it was my Christmas gift being delivered a little early. When Mom saw the new range, she was really thrilled and started giving me hugs and kisses. I knew then my efforts were well worth the exertion.

Sometimes it’s not easy being a business dog in a hooman world.






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My name is Hobo Hudson. I’ve always considered myself a terrier mix, and I’m going to leave it at that. I used to share my mom’s website writing about my life, but Mom’s stories somehow got in my way. So, I deemed it more appropriate to open my own blog, which also allows me to engage my siblings in writing posts if I’m running short on time. After all, I’m a busy dog. My mom helps me with my blog now and then, but I think it’s only to safeguard my good reputation. Her website, newsandtales.com, contains some great stories.
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Bruny Hudson, manager and editor of Newsandtales.com, assists as a consultant with Hobo’s blog.
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