Monday, June 24, 2013

A Visit from the Missus

By Hobo Hudson

As my readers know, I am quite famous for my great squirrel buffet. The main serving line consists of a mixture of corn and sunflower seeds with a few berries, etc., thrown in for additional flavor. One end of the buffet counter has a wire basket in which I place an ear of corn, and the other end has the same wire basket which I fill with peanuts for dessert.

A short time ago, I began to have trouble with a blue jay who would visit my buffet and steal peanuts. He would peck two or three open and eat them and then grab a big one and take off with it, winging his way to who knows where. He would make several trips each time the cafeteria was open, but I could never apprehend him. I wanted to catch him to demand payment or to hold him until I could call my social network friend, Sheriff Ben, to come and arrest him.


I finally got fed up a couple of weeks ago and instructed Dad to select the peanuts with pinched centers and cut them in half for the dessert tray, thinking the blue jay would get tired of doing all the work for such small reward. To my surprise, the guy just started making twice as many trips.

Everything became clear to me this morning when the blue jay landed on my sun deck rail accompanied by another jay.

He chirped at me, “Good morning, Hobo. I’ve got my wife and son with me for the first time today. She’s been stuck in our nest taking care of Junior.”

I looked at the female blue jay next to him and sure enough, a small jay was peeking out from under her wing.

Smiling at me, the blue jay’s wife chirped, “I want to thank you for cutting those peanuts open for me, Hobo. I was wearing my beak to a nub pecking open enough peanuts for me and Junior. Now, stand up and come close so I can reach you.”

I hesitated for a second but then stepped over to her, and she leaned forward and gave me a gentle peck on my cheek.

“There,” she said. “That kiss is to thank you. There aren’t many dogs that would help a bird raise her family.”

I was a little embarrassed about receiving a thank you from the blue jay’s wife for halving the peanuts when I had cut them in half to save kibbles and not to help her, but I kept my barker shut and said, “You’re very welcome. I hope you enjoyed my food as much as I enjoyed serving you.”

I’m still feeling guilty and wonder if I should confess the next time I see her. What do you think?

Monday, June 17, 2013

The call of the wild manatee

By Hobo Hudson

When I trotted out into my backyard to make my inspection early this morning, I noticed a lot of commotion in the water in front of my dock. Fearing a critter had fallen into the water, I naturally loped over to see if it needed any help. I saw a bunch of monsters under Max's, my friend’s, boathouse and barked at Dad to come look, and this is what he saw:

"Is that big one dead?" I asked Dad. He laughed and replied, "No, Hobo, they're mating. The big one is the female and the smaller ones are the male suitors. The lucky one is underwater, and you can just see his flipper out of water and wrapped around the female. Take a good look because you'll probably never be lucky enough to see this again. It's the first time I’ve seen it, and I've been around the manatees all my life."

Monday, June 10, 2013

The death of a dear friend: Foley Monster, July 5, 2000–June 9, 2013

By Hobo Hudson

My dear, dear friend Foley Monster died Sunday from incurable cancer. She went to the Rainbow Bridge long before her time, and like so many of my fellow dogs and also like many cats, it was an unexpected voyage. She didn’t show any signs of having to depart from this world until it was too late for even the most advanced medical treatments to be of any help.

Foley Monster was a great and prodigious girl even though she was small, a tiny Yorkshire terrier. She had a heart of gold and never failed to help others in whatever situation they found themselves. She was thoughtful, brainy and witty, just perfect in every way.

Instead of going on writing about Foley Monster, a friend I got to know and love like a sister even though she was my attorney, without being able to express in words the sorrow I feel by her death, I decided to call people’s attention to how to react toward pet parents who have lost one of their pet family members and how to help console them. I will also address how to ease the pain of family pets who are grieving their lost sibling.

Everybody deals with grief in their own way, and there are many different words and expressions a grieving pet owner will appreciate hearing. But often, people with the best intentions choose the wrong words when expressing their sympathy because they do not know how painful those words are. 

Here are some of those expressions that will upset, if not enrage, a person who had just lost a pet:

Do not tell them you know exactly how they feel because no one can ever experience pain, grief and loss in exactly the same way.

Do not ask, “Have you thought of getting another pet?”

Do not say, “You still have your other pets.”

Do not suggest, “You can always get another pet.”

Do not comment, “He or she is in a better place now.”

Do not say, “He or she was just a pet.”

Do not say, “It’s not as if a child died.”

Do not comment, “Are you really that upset about an animal?”

Do not tell them, “There are so many other animals who need homes.”

To know this is especially important for people who do not own a pet or do not have any connections to a pet. They might not be aware that a pet is a member of the family and treated like a son or daughter.

These are some suggestions on how to react to grieving pet owners:

Tell them, “I am so sorry.”

Tell them and let them know that you care.

Reminisce about the pet who died if you have known him or her and talk about the good times and the fun you shared with their pet.

Tell them that you like to hear stories of their pet.

Listen to what the grieving pet owners have to say about their pet.

Show grieving pet owners empathy, understanding and compassion.

Be there for grieving pet owners and support them even if it is sitting in silence.

Offer help, any kind of help.

Give cards, flowers or donation to a local shelter in their names.

Pet siblings often suffer like humans when their sister or brother leaves for the Rainbow Bridge. The following advice is for pet parents on how to help other pet family members cope with the sudden emptiness:  

Maintain their daily routines.

Keep the usual meal and treat schedules.

Take longer walks.

Increasing exercise.

Add more play time.

Give extra love and affection.

Talk to them.

Provide them with something that still holds the scent of their lost sibling to be comforted by it.

Foley Monster, my dear friend, run along with all the other pups at the Rainbow Bridge and let them take care of you until we meet again.

Your everlasting friend,


Thursday, June 6, 2013

Proverbs fit for a dog

 By Hobo Hudson

My life has been so hectic since I published my book “The Richest Dog In Town” that I haven’t even had a chance to dig out my little book of proverbs for some inspiring words of wisdom. I shouldn’t have let it go this long because it always helps me to maintain a clear perspective of the life around me.

This morning, with the wind howling and the rain pounding on the roof as Andrea defied all travel restrictions and raced unhindered from Cuba to Florida, I retreated to reading some muse to calm my nerves. It worked until I read the following quotation by Channing Pollack, an American actor: “No man in the world has more courage than the man who can stop after eating one peanut.”

I became so agitated by this plainly wrong chain of his thoughts that I forgot all about Andrea. What the heck is he talking about? I barked to myself. Does he know anything about squirrels?

Now, I know something about squirrels. I employed them as entertainers, as diggers, as farming specialists and as this and that, and today, I provide them with food from my   one of a kind 24-hour cafeteria. They are some courageous animals.

Who would dare, in their right mind, to walk high above the streets along power lines? Yet, those squirrels do it day in day out. And while many do get electrocuted doing it, they still don’t shy away from it. That’s courage!

Who would dare, in their right mind, to cross the road right in front of a moving car? Yet, those squirrels do it even before daylight. Many don’t time it right to run between the front and back tires underneath the car and get killed, yet they try it anyway. That’s courage!

Who would dare, in their right mind, to risk a jump far beyond their capabilities? The squirrels do it all the time, either just for fun or to escape harm, and not always hit their marks but never give up. That’s courage!

Who would sit, in their right mind, outside during a hurricane and munch on free food while lightning and gusts of wind are on the attack? Squirrels will do it no matter how bad the weather is. That’s courage!
But I also know another thing about squirrels and that is they will not, I repeat, not, stop after eating one peanut.

So, to revise the proverb, I say: “No one in the world who has more courage than a squirrel had better not stop after eating one peanut—there might not be another chance.” 


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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