Sunday, November 12, 2017

Kobe, My Brother (a Memorial)

Kobe James Burton Lare, aged 11 years, lost a brave battle against heart disease on September 13, 2016. Kobe was born in 2004 in the town of Racine, WI and at birth was named Cubbie. Although there are no surviving pictures, the little pup had to be cute as a bug’s ear! He was born with a club foot and was not able to walk on four legs. But his birth family had a vet perform surgery that allowed him to use his foot and walk with a little hop.

Kobe Relaxing on Coach
His early years were marked by chaos in a crowded household of 18 whippets. He lived with his littermates, parents, grandparents and cousins. After their owners died, all 18 were taken in by the national breed rescue group WRAP (Whippet Rescue & Placement).  Among the youngest were Cubbie and his sister, Precious.

The two were adopted by parents Kriss and Mary in Ypsilanti, Michigan and were thrilled beyond belief to be reunited. Cubbie was renamed “Kobe” after their dear friend. He and his sister, now renamed “Barcelona” started a new life in a two-dog household.
Kobe quickly discovered a new reality - it is not OK to pee in the corner! Of course he didn’t let such concepts stop him. He had to adjust to annoying new rules, staying in a crate at times and having to visit the vet. However he also experienced soft beds, chewies, warm coats, romping in the large back yard and lots of attention and unconditional love.

Kobe’s many hobbies included barking at dogs passing the front window, counter surfing and stealing all his sister’s boney bone bones. His enthusiastic forays into plastic containers and bags yielded many wonderful and unexpected rewards, such as ground coffee and thistle seed.  The latter ended in the famous “thistle turd” story.

Kobe was unsurpassed at scavenging. His highest achievements included moving an entire glass cake pan from counter to floor without breakage (and removing the cake). Honorable mentions go to sampling hot pans on the stove, unwrapping Christmas gifts and tearing into the Halloween candy.

Kobe with Halloween Candy
Although he tested the human’s patience again and again, his loving personality and his wish to remain, like the Carpenter’s song, always “Close to You”, endeared them to this creative and sweet whippet.

He was preceded in death by his adoptive mother and father, several litter mates and many aunts of uncles. He always had a kind nuzzle for every human he met. 

Kobe shared his entire life with surviving sister Barcie, who misses his terribly. His human parents will never, ever forget this lovable boy who never failed to exasperate and delight them both. 

With sister Barcie, (left)
He will also be remembered by neighbor whippets Deuce and Tallie. His owner’s friends and family always enjoyed the “Kobe stories” while each privately resolved never, ever to adopt a whippet.

Kobe Posing as Orphan
Kobe’s family would like to thank his expert veterinary team, including All Creatures Animal Clinic and Dr. DeSana. Kobe was cremated in a private ceremony. His favorite possession, - a food bowl, along with his ashes and collar are now enshrined in the family home.  

And Kobe, wherever you are, I hope there is lots of food!

Friday, July 1, 2016

The Big Nuptials

We found out that our parents are getting married. Once I learned about the nuptials it started me doing thinking about cute outfits and how Kobe and I could participate in the wedding! You know, little “His & Hers” outfits, me in an elegant gown, Kobe in a tux or a smart herringbone suit with a snappy tie.

We could even carry the rings although I realize Bro is not too trustworthy and might do lose the rings and do something untoward with the jewelry.

So, the big day of Dec 31st arrives. No outfits have been tried on, modeled or purchased. No wedding rehearsals, nada. Where are the bridesmaid, the favors, the rehearsal dinner and all that. Is it still ON, we wonder?

Although booze, appetizers, horns and hooters had been purchased this was definitely a seat of the pants . The humans made a surprise announcement at a New Year’s Eve party that they were getting hitched. No one was told ahead of time, no family invited. Of course we whippets knew!

After all that, we were delegated to STAY IN THE CRATE – like, well, (huff, snort) like ANIMALS!

Whew, that is making my blood pressure rise just thinking about it. I’m trying hard not to take this personally, no it wasn’t about us as dogs I guess. Kobe would definitely have had his snout in the appetizers.

We did get into the pictures (enclosed) and the video; I guess that will have to do.

That’s all for now.


Saturday, November 14, 2015

Days of Canine Yesteryear: the Life Of a Whippet In the old days

Kobe and I were stuck inside on a rainy day and my mind started to wander. I began to ponder the life of dogs during the “olden days.”

No, I’m not talking about 1995; but back when some of the first whippets lived in England. Did you know that whippets were bred by mixing greyhounds and terriers?

So I said to myself, “Barcie girl, enough of this pampered, coat-wearing, toy squeaking, kibble-crunching life. What would it be like if I lived like my ancestors did?”

Back then whippets were known as the “Poor man’s racehorse”.  And why? Because whippets could compete in races for the “purse” or catch game to help feed the family. And we needed less grub than our larger relative, the greyhound.

A whippet could earn more in a single race than their owner working in the mines. That’s why we were treasured family members.

So, I would have been a working dog; a contributing part of the family. Even If I didn’t race I could go running after a wild rabbit and bring in food for the table.

English Miners racing their Whippets. 
Ouch, this picture makes my ears hurt!
The master would dress and cook the rabbit in the stew pot or roast it over a spit. After the family ate, they’d throw a few scraps to the side for me. I’d sprawl on the bare earth next to the hearth. The fireplace was the only source of heat in our humble little hovel. Ah, a simple and genuine life.

Life was so much shorter and harsher. There was no pampering. Dogs had to earn their living. We weren’t just pets! And my skills in running fast and pursuing prey would have been necessary and truly appreciated; in fact my purpose in life!

Finally I began to realize that for all its nostalgic appeal the past had a few flaws. Even people had hard lives, especially if they were poor. Dogs most likely didn’t fare much better.
So, while canine history has given me a very pleasant daydream, I don’t know about the reality. Hardships like scratching fleas, going hungry and sleeping on the cold ground just doesn’t sound like fun. And working all the time?

Being a dog in the 21st century beats living during any other era. Why would I want to give up my soft little bed, fleece coat and central heating? In fact, right now I’m jumping onto the sofa and laying my head right on the upholstery. I want to honor my ancestor’s experiences – even if I don’t want to imitate them.

Please note:
Much of what I actually learned about the history of dogs came from these sites:  “Sniffing out the Past (

Saturday, May 9, 2015

This Dog's View of Mother's Day


A letter to my (human) mother:

Dear Mom, I know that you are trying to avoid Mother’s Day. I understand, since your own mother died barely six months ago. I am putting paws to keyboard in the hopes that I can help you feel just a little less gloomy. 

Since you are our mother, Kobe and I would love to put on little aprons and make breakfast for you and Dad. Can you see Kobe cracking the eggs and frying bacon while I whomp up a delicious omelet? But, as dogs we can’t hold cooking implements, or shop for groceries, much less follow a recipe.

I don’t even know if our dear mother (Hattie Mae or Mattie Mae or whatever the heck they called her) is still alive. We got to spend the first 5 years of our lives with the extended family back in Wisconsin. Brother Kobe and I only had a few minutes to say goodbye when we were rescued.

So, Mom, please remember that you had a mother for a very long time, one that loved you very much and just to hang onto that. She may not be here but you will always have her with you.

Love, Barcelona

This Mother’s Day, my human mom and I will be together. While I sit in her lap and put my head on her leg, we’ll both think about our mothers. We can savor the choicest memories and believe wherever they are, Mom knows that we still love her very much.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Miss You Grandpa!

Well, I guess I’m finally ready to write about Grandpa. He passed away last spring. For many months I couldn’t even talk about him, but now I'm ready to write a remembrance.

Now, I tried to do a little Internet research on this topic, but when I typed in "eulogy by a dog”all I found was “eulogy for a dog!" Hmm, I wonder what that means?

Our Grandpa had lived a long, healthy life before we came along. But recently he'd had a couple of really difficult years. Kobe and I were quite distressed to hear he was diagnosed with “Barkinson’s!” What the heck is that? And more importantly, could Kobe have it since all he does is bark?  That beast is always yapping out the front window at passing dogs and anything else that moves. 

I didn’t know him in the prime of his life, when he enjoyed his own dog, Buddy (some sort of mongrel I’ve been told) as well as all the “granddogs.” Grandpa was a really smart, creative guy, with a wry sense of humor. Mark Twain would have referred to him as a “wag” – no pun intended.

Grandpa was my human’s father. Most importantly, he was a dog lover.  My predecessors Jessie and Russel had wonderful relationships with him.

By the time Kobe and I came along he was going through a lot. Our relationship was short but sweet; he appreciated us but couldn’t get on the floor to interact with us. But I know he would have loved to watch me and Kobe scamper around the living room in Midland.

To close, allow me to borrow a quote from the 2014 Dog Calendar Page -A -Day (by Patricia McConnell.)  He took my heart and ran with it, and I hope he's running still, fast and strong, a piece of my heart bound up with his forever.

Tootles, Barcelona 

Friday, June 27, 2014

My New Best Friend Tock

Oh, camping out in our pop-up was ever so much fun! For one thing, Barcie almost fell out of the camper. (She was found one night, dangling with only her front legs up on the camper bed.) They managed to scoot her back in. The little princess sucked up all the attention with that trick; then managed to work her way into the human’s softer bed. 
The best part of the trip is that I brought home a new little friend! I thought, “instead of BEING the pet, I’ll HAVE a pet!” My new pal is Tick, an American Dog Tick, who I wittedly named “Tock.” Tock was probably a resident of the campground’s woodlands who hopped on me during a walk.

Now I was very excited about having a new friend. But once discovered Tock was plunged into a baggie for identification. I do hope his death wasn’t too traumatic or painful.
I do not think that Tock was able to feed on me, but frankly I wasn’t paying attention. Instead I was just thinking about all the fun we could have together, having thoughtful conversations, taking long walks in the woods, looking for some of Tock’s friends. Now my dreams are all for naught. Maybe I should look for a tapeworm or flea next time.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Got Those Winter Blues

Dear Readers,
Like most of you I've endured all the winter I can take.  The temperature is so frigid I haven't even circled the block in weeks!

I've been trying to hibernate during this long cold and snowy season, but that is just wishful thinking. We have to go outside night and day to potty. The wind whistles around our ears, our skinny legs quiver while squatting in freezing temperatures. Kobe and I have stomped out a little icy arena in the corner of the snow heaped lawn.

We haven't seen the earth in months. Kobe and I want to suggest going on Spring Break, although frankly we lack both any jobs or school attendance from which to need a break.

But, just the other day I came across a great product. It's called the Porch Potty Premium. It's a box with a patch of faux grass where a dog can tinkle (see right).
A way to use the necessary at room temperature!

Now to alert the humans to this great idea. So, I tore out the page, chewed around the ad and dropped it at their feet. Without verbal communication skills I had to try  alternatives (pointed glances, snorting, cheek puffing and beseeching looks.)
For now we are stuck hopping over poopsicles and dodging freezing rain. Spring better be on the way!
Toodles, Barcelona