Monday, August 22, 2011

Doggy humor: A letter from the White House

By Hobo Hudson

When I pawed through my mail this morning, I saw a very fancy envelope with a return address of The White House, Washington, D.C.  Knowing this must be important, I instantly tore it open to find a letter addressed to me from Michele Obama. The letter read as follows:

“Dear Hobo Hudson,
The Surgeon General has reported an upsurge in young squirrel obesity in your neighborhood, and I wonder if it has anything to do with your Squirrely Happy Meals. I know you are trying to assist your young squirrels with their nutritional intake and wonder if you would be willing to make a slight change in the content of your meals. If you could cut the boiled peanuts in half and substitute celery sticks, it would be a great step forward in our war against squirrelhood obesity.
Thank you for anything you can do to help the cause.
Michael Obama.”

This came as quite a shock to me because I hadn’t thought about the consequences of the young squirrels’ meals which consisted of parboiled corn, boiled peanuts and also a small toy consisting of either a plastic acorn or a plastic peanut. The squirrel moms loved the meals, saying the toys provided hours of entertainment to their little squirrels. They push them all around the nest, chew on them to help with their teething and even bury them to start their training in collecting food for the long winters. As for the partially cooked corn and boiled peanuts, the squirrel moms found them easy on their children’s developing teeth and also easier on their developing digestion systems.

Of course, I was willing to do anything to help Mrs. Obama. Following her suggestion, I immediately began planning for the changeover but hit a minor problem when I notified my customers about it. The young squirrels all wrinkled their noses and exclaimed, “Celery, ugh,” and their mothers explained to me their kids just won’t eat the stuff.

In order to reach an agreement, we all put our heads together and came up with the perfect solution. I will start selling small orders of boiled peanuts as a side order and the little squirrels can just leave the celery on their plates and eat the side orders of peanuts. That way, everyone is satisfied.

Yep, I think this is a great solution. Michael Obama will be happy; the squirrel kids will be happy and I’ll really be happy because my sales will increase.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Doggy humor: The refugees—Part 1

By Hobo Hudson

I was dozing on the back of the sofa in our living room, peeking out through the window now and then to make certain everything was all right in my front yard, when I heard a tiny scratching sound at the front door. Pushing the sheer curtains out of my face and pressing my nose against the windowpane, I saw a very scraggly mother squirrel with her daughter that appeared to be about 1 month old sitting on the door step of the house.

I jumped down from the sofa and opened the door. In a hesitant voice, the mother squirrel said, “I really hate to disturb you, but would you mind if my daughter and I harvest the seeds out of the grapefruits on the ground at the tree out front? We’re starving and you’re our last hope.”

“Of course I don’t mind,” I said, “but I can do much better than that for you. Just stay where you are for a minute, and I’ll bring you a little something to eat, and then I’ll show you my cafeteria out back.”

I quickly loped to the kitchen and came back with a paw full of peanuts. “Try these as an appetizer,” I said as I halved them between the mother and the daughter.

The mother squirrel frowned and suspiciously eying her half, said, “What’s this? I’ve never seen anything like this.”

“Those are peanuts,” I said. “They’re delicious. Try one.”

“Pee nuts?” she asked.

“No. Pea nuts,” I repeated. “They grow underground, and you have to bite them open to get at the nut inside.”

“I’ve never heard of such a thing, but I’m desperate, and I’ll eat anything right now,” she said while she turned one peanut over and over with her paws worn-out from heavy work. Then, quickly biting the end off, she extracted the nut and took a tentative bite, and an expression of pure bliss came over her face. “This is the greatest thing I’ve ever tasted,” she said. “I didn’t know anything this good existed. Go ahead, child,” she encouraged her daughter, hovering behind her, “do what the gentledog said and bite the treat open and eat the pieces you see inside, just like I do.”

The little squirrel watched her mom with big eyes and followed her lead. Once she had cracked one peanut and found the nuts inside, she cracked another one and another one, munching happily on the scrumptious treasures the open shells revealed.

After both squirrels finished eating the few peanuts I had brought, I suggested we lounge for a few minutes in front of the house. I wanted them to digest the light meal I had provided before I showed them the bounty of food I kept in the back yard. Since they hadn’t eaten anything for quite a while, I didn’t want them to eat too much too soon.

When we had stretched out on the grass under the living room window in the shade of a few bushes, the mother squirrel began to relate the sad story of her life. It seemed as though she owned an oak tree at the edge of a large corn farm about six miles east of my home and had gleaning privileges over the entire corn field. Between the corn and the acorns she was able to cache, she had been living a nice life until the drought struck. There were no acorns this year, and the corn didn’t even come up.

She began harvesting what little grass and weed seeds she could find and supplementing those with a carefully doled out ration of corn or acorns she had left, but, as her pantry emptied, she reluctantly came to the conclusion that she would have to leave the home she treasured and relocate. She packed up her dwindling supply of corn, acorns and various seeds, and she and her daughter headed west in search of a better life.

As she and her daughter traveled westward, the conditions didn’t get any better, and her knapsack was empty by the time she reached the front yard of my home and saw the few old grapefruit on the ground under the tree. Hoping against hope that I wouldn’t chase her off, she finally mustered the courage to scratch at the front door of my house.

My heart went out to this poor mother, and I knew that I would be doing the right thing by giving her free lunches until she got back on the feet. I told mother and daughter to follow me to the back yard where I showed them the post attached at the corner of the sundeck to climb to enter my cafeteria.

When we neared the post, the mother squirrel and her daughter stared at the large pile of small corn kernels and small peanuts on the grass at the base of the post. “Wow,” they both cried, “there’s enough food piled up here to last us years.”

“The best ones are up top,” I said. “Climb up there and have a taste. My dad just refilled the dish with fresh food.”

With two jumps, onto the sundeck and onto the rail, mother and daughter got hold of the post and clambered to the top.

They slithered around the dish, eyeing and smelling the plump kernels of corn, the chunky peanuts and the shiny sunflower seeds. “Don’t you dare touch any of these delicacies while the perfectly good food on the grass might spoil,” I heard the mother squirrel hissing at her daughter, and nipping at her daughter’s paws, she vaulted with her back to the ground at my feet.

“My regular customers just toss the small kernels of corn and the peanuts with only one or two nuts inside down here so they can reach the large ones,” I said to the mother squirrel.

“What a waste,” she exclaimed. “My daughter and I will just sit here in the grass and eat these kernels and peanuts. Waste not, want not, I always say.”

This was sure a refreshing change of attitude compared to the squirrels that had thrived on free handouts because they couldn’t pay. I guess having to work for a living makes a difference in your attitude.

To be continued

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Doggy humor: The refugees—Part 2

By Hobo Hudson

I wasn’t able to sleep a wink the night after my encounter with the refugee squirrels knowing that so many other squirrels were in danger of dying because of the draught to the east of us. Determined to take action, I got out of bed before daybreak, and without waking Mom or Dad, I slinked into the kitchen.

After gulping down a few kibbles, I threw a pawful of treats and my PayPaw credit card into my backpack and ever so quietly slipped out of the house through the garage. Pulling my little red wagon behind me, I loped off to Walmart, where I filled my wagon with bags of squirrel food and a couple of cases of bottled water and started tugging it along the way to the east.

As soon as I passed our local airport, I began seeing small families of squirrels slowly making their way to the west or slumped on the ground too exhausted to trek any further. Each time I met a group, I stopped and doled out a small pawful of food to each squirrel plus one bottle of water per group and encouraged the ambulatory groups to keep walking, telling them there are better lands ahead. To the squirrels lying exhausted on the ground I made the promise to pick them up on my return trip and told them to be patient and rest for now.

I continued trotting eastward and helping as many squirrels as I could until I ran out of the supply of food and water I had bought at Walmart. After taking a short break, I turned around and began walking toward home, picking up the worn-out and frail squirrels along my way who thanked me with a sigh of relief for the ride I offered them in my little red wagon.

As I neared home, I spied a tract of land covered with large oak trees and acorns lying all over the ground. There was a creek running slowly through it and also a large plot of plain soil. Thinking this would be an ideal home for the refugees I had picked up on the way, I stopped to let them clamber out of my wagon. Before they hobbled off and began collecting acorns and slurping water from the creek, they thanked me again for all my help.

When I arrived home, Dad was standing at the front door waiting for me. He wasn’t too happy that I had left all by myself and hadn’t even told Mom or him where I wanted to go. I explained what I had been doing and that it had been a spur of the moment deal. Hearing about my helping the poor squirrels appeased Dad, and he said he wouldn’t punish me this time because my actions spoke for themselves and wouldn’t need any more explanations.

Pleased with myself, I followed Dad into the office and handed him my receipts from Walmart so that he could deduct them on my income tax return as a charitable expense. However, Dad explained that my expenditure for a good deed, although admirable, wasn’t deductable because it was direct from dog to squirrel. He further said that if I wanted to really help the squirrels, I should set up a qualified organization under IRC Sec. 501(c) (3). That way, all my expenses would be deductable plus I could accept donations from any dog that would like to support my mission.

I immediately got on the phone with my attorney, Ms. Foley Monster, and requested her help. I knew the law was somewhat tricky and I would need professional assistance to insure I complied with all the rules when setting up an organization like Dad suggested.

Ms. Foley Monster agreed to set the entity up pro bono and assured me it would be legal or almost legal, depending upon how many folitinis she consumed while drafting the paperwork. Since her answer sounded pretty good, I told her to go ahead but I wanted her partner and sister, Dr. Pocket, to sit by her side to insure she stayed off the sauce until she had completed the assignment.

After having made the agreement with my attorney and got off the phone, I asked Dad to drive me in his car to locate the owner of the land where I had left the squirrel refugees earlier. It didn’t take us long to find him, and I discovered him to be a very old dog, lolling on his porch gumming a dog bone.

As I approached him and sat down in front of him, he looked up at me, clutching the bone with his paws, and pricked his ears when I explained what I wanted to do. He smiled and started telling me stories of his youth and all the fun he used to have chasing squirrels. Pointing his nose far out and nodding his head, he explained there was about 15 acres of oak trees plus about 5 acres of cleared farmland and he had never known the creek to run dry.

He agreed to let me use the land free until I completed the paperwork and would then sign a long-term lease with the sanctuary stipulating the monthly rent to be $1,000 but would waive it on a month-to-month basis. That way, he said he could receive a tax deduction for the value of the rent. I thought things couldn’t get any better than this, so I quickly agreed.

To be continued



About Hobo

This was Hobo Hudson, my doggy brother, a little terrier mix with black fur. He became famous after his first attempt at writing stories, which was an article published in the newsletter of our local animal shelter, the same shelter in which I ended up years later before Hobo and his parents adopted me. Hobo’s fame quickly spread as he made a name for himself as a business dog and an adventurer. To keep his memory alive, my doggy sister, my three kitty siblings and I, Wylie Hudson, are continuing his blog. Our mom is the blog’s editor.

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