Canis Interruptis

Sometimes, dogs happen. After a little over a year with Tank (foster pitbull), his forever home was ready, and he rolled on to happily ever after. He was a remarkable dog, and healed my heart after i lost my canine life partner, Mr. Pickles.

i don’t do well without a dog.

Invariably, i mentioned this to my friend who runs a local rescue operation – between long trips, i might be able to handle a short-term foster. Just a few weeks.

So there was this street puppy, just a few months old. Owners had abandoned her, and she’d been found terrified, hanging out in an alley. A neighbor brought her in to get her out of the cold, and now the rescue was looking for someone to level her out and help find a forever home.

Gidget lap.jpg

Meet Gidget.

A puppy. In general, i like my dogs like i like my men – older, housebroken, and with low expectations. She is all puppy. Energy and few social skills. It became apparent within a couple of days that she was totally adorable, and completely deaf.

Not only had i taken in a puppy, but a deaf puppy. A few youtube videos later, and i’m not only trying to teach her to shit outside, but i’m teaching her sign language. She’s a pretty quick study, or this experiment might not have continued.

She seems to understand the sign for “toilet” – meaning “stop sniffing every blade of grass and do your damn business because it’s fucking cold out here”. She is learning “stop that, damn it”.  i’m pretty sure she understands “good girl”, because i’m now getting wags. Because she’s an adolescent, i have also had to teach her “look at me”, because if she doesn’t want to “hear” what i’m saying, she’ll avert her eyes.

Gidget teeth

“Stop biting me, damn it!” is another sign she has mostly mastered. Fortunately for both of us. Have i mentioned that i’m not fond of puppies. Landsharks. Puppies are, in fact, assholes.

Being deaf brings another issue – she has grown to trust me, and as such, i cannot be out of her line of sight for long. At night? She has to be absolutelyupinmybusiness, as close as possible. It makes sense – if she were in the wild, and under attack, she would have to rely on the reaction of other packmates. i am her only packmate, so when i have to get up to pee in the middle of the night, it’s a party.


But she’s adorable. And tomorrow i am taking her to meet her adoptive momma. A friend with a few other dogs which will make this pup feel far more confident. Fostering dogs may be my only responsible option for the next few years, as the long-term travel gigs are starting to mount up.

Gidget sleep

One more night with this sweet, needy gooberdog wrapped around my head. She’s a lucky pup, it’s been a good run, but i look forward to having my own space back as i prep for the next adventure.

Next up? i have no idea what i’m doing, but i’m fully committed. Gonna take a very, very long walk, with nothing but a 15 pound pack on my back…


Losing Mr. Pickles wasn’t my first dead pet rodeo. i’ve had canine companionship my entire life – losing Slightly and Rupert dropped some darkness in my heart. They were the dogs my ex-husband and i had before we started breeding, and they were the first pets for my children.

Rupert died first. Shortly after we buried Slightly my husband and kids began lobbying for another dog. i wasn’t ready right away, but they started the marketing campaign within a month. It was three months later before i succumbed to pressure, and we stumbled upon Turbo the Wonder Dog.

Mr. Pickles came to us a couple of years later as a companion for her – eventually becoming my canine life partner as my husband claimed Turbo as his road dog when he moved to our place up north.

When Mr. Pickles died last August, i had no plan to get another pup – some combination of shattered heart and lifestyle. Too much travel to commit to a dog. It wasn’t until late November that i noticed something happening. The feeling of missing A Specific Dog was still there, but there was another feeling. The sense of missing having A Dog.

The lifestyle issue remained – so much travel, and hating having to rely on a pet sitter to take care of a dog. i reached out to a friend who works in rescue, and let her know that i could probably foster an old dog, or a hospice dog, for a few months. Within a day things went into motion…

An urgent need for placement of a big doggie, about 5 years old. His owner had a terminal illness and was no longer able to care for him.

“Can you manage a big pit bull mix? He’s a low-energy sweetheart, good with other animals, who likes to sleep and ride in the car! Really need a foster – he’s a big boy and would likely end up as a bait dog if he goes into a shelter”

“Ummm…. sure?”

In December, Tank arrived – delivered by the dog rescue network, and his owner – man with cancer who wanted to meet me in person before handing over this dog. i took one look at A Very Large Dog With A Head the Size Of An Anvil and said “i will do right by this dog” as i shook his hand – even though i had no idea what i was doing…

Tank arriving

When a smallyappydog has a bad day and bites you? It’s an annoyance. Looking at Tank, and getting a sense for his strength, i realized quickly the responsibility of such a powerful creature. If he has a bad day? It’s more than an annoyance… This dog could eat my face.

Within a couple of days, Huey the cat was sleeping next to him in bed. A sweet, resilient and easy dog, Tank got comfortable. At first neighbors were crossing the street as we went about our daily walks, but over the first few weeks, a few came up to meet him – and he charmed them all.

Huey and Tank

Pet Sitter was also immediately charmed – and asked if there was any possible way he could adopt this goofy dog. So nine months later, this short-term foster dog is still part of my life. Pet Sitter is working on getting his own place, and will take full custody in a few months, but in the meantime is happy to take The Tanker out on play dates, and stay at my place with the manimals when i’m on the road.


My life is better with a dog in it – this particular dog. The most important thing i’ve learned after this episode of “I’m Never Having Another Dog Because I Can’t Take the Heartbreak When It Dies”? So many good dogs out there. So many… the best way to honor a beloved rescue dog is to find a way to rescue another one…

Tank smile

Tale Spin

Of all of the whack things i do, taking horseback riding lessons has been one of the most rewarding.  Studley picked up an offer for discount lessons at a local stable last year. Our Monday night rides* have become a weekly highlight.

Due to random signals from the travel planet, we found ourselves at dinner Saturday with my friend Autumn, in North Carolina.  She has had a long-standing relationship with horses**, and shares our passion for the sport.  Yammering our way through a delicious dinner, Studley and i were giddy-up with horse tales.

Autumn:  I love horses, but I just don’t get them.  Never really understood them as animals.  What makes them work…. what motivates them.

daisyfae:  They’re just like big dogs!

Autumn:  That may explain it!  I’m a cat person.  I don’t understand dogs either.

Studley: I used to be just a cat person, but Mr. Pickles has converted me. Horses seem to be a lot more like dogs – just big dogs.  Dogs that you can ride!

daisyfae:  If dogs were that big, you could totally ride them!  You wouldn’t want to ride a 1,200 pound cat!


Last night, we were walking our horses to get them warmed up.  My ride, Rooster, is a clever beast.  An excellent school horse, he is adept at keeping novice riders alive.  At the same time, he is a little lazy, and will often try to get away with the least amount of energy expenditure possible.

He was being particularly sluggish as we worked into the trot.  Mistress Holly, our instructor, brought me her riding crop.

Mistress Holly:  This is how you hold it…

daisyfae:  i’ve used one before, just not on a horse.

Mistress Holly [feigning deafness]: You probably won’t need to use it – he knows you have it.  Try clucking and squeezing first, but if he’s not listening, just give him a good slap with it.  Right here on the shoulder.

To say that Rooster was attentive is an understatement.

Rooster [if he could talk]: Yes, Missy, I was just fixin’ to trot!  I DO like the way you ride me!  Canter?  Anything you want!  Can I get you a sandwich?  Foot rub?

My first full circuit of the arena in a controlled canter happened last night.  And i only had to tap him on the shoulder once.


After our lesson, Studley came in to lend a hand in the kitchen*** as i put the finishing touches on my holiday baked goods.  We also threw together an easy dinner of pulled pork.****

My dog, now fully recovered, was sproinging around at our feet.  A hundred pounds of optimism, waiting for either a handout, or a wayward dropped morsel.  i don’t feed him from the table, but given his advanced age and recent near-death experience, i was in a weakened state of mind.

daisyfae:  OK, buddy.  But you’re going to have to work for it!  Sit! Siiiiiiiiiiit!  Good boy!  Now, Speak!

Mr. Pickles [squirming, sitting, standing, drooling, sitting again]:  ….

daisyfae:  Look, Pickles!  Studley can do it!  Studley!  Speak!

Studley:  WOOF!

daisyfae [pretending to feed porkbit to Studley]:  GOOD BOY!  What a GOOD BOY!

Studley [wiggle-squirming on bar stool and panting with subservient enthusiasm]:

daisyfae:  Ok, Pickles!  Now your turn!  Sit! Speak!

Mr. Pickles [drool-squirm, sit, stand, shake, wiggle]:

daisyfae:  C’mon, Old Dog!  New Trick!  You can DO it!

A few more rounds of getting Studley to speak, and my goofyass old dog did it!

daisyfae:  Speak, Pickles!

Mr. Pickles:  WOOF!  Bark, bark, barkbarkbarkbark! A-WOOFWOOFWOOFWOOF!

daisyfae:  Good boy!  GOOD BOY!  Now, shutthefuckup…

of course of course

 * probably not a euphemism

** definitely not a euphemism

*** left as an exercise for the reader

**** [nhur, nhur, nhur]

Heartworm… of a sort…

Returning from the airport well after midnight on Saturday, it wasn’t until lunchtime today that i was reunited with my canine life partner, Mr. Pickles.  After letting my kids know that i’d had a great time, but was doing battle with a mild case of “Mummy Tummy” after eating some bad nachos at a rasta bar, i got this from my daughter:

Sorry to hear about your tummy trouble, though you and Pickles share similar circumstances. I woke up on thursday to an extremely irritating puppydog demanding his walk. When i let him out, he shat a lovely brown liquid. When going downstairs for my run, i discovered that he had left me a “good morning” present: a splattering of poo all over the theater room floor that loosely resembled a Pollack painting. Dog’s got talent…

By the time i was in the airport on Saturday, my son called to inform me that the gastro-rocketry had gotten worse – now with much pukage.  Including a rather spectacular splat on my bed*.  He took the pup to the vet first thing Saturday morning, and the doggie doc wanted to keep him for the rest of the weekend.  It seemed fairly serious.

Sunday was a very long day.  It’s hard to describe, but the presence of this large brown dog – breathing, rearranging his dulaps, groaning or sighing in his sleep – is something that we’ve all gotten used to.  He doesn’t constantly beg for attention.  He’s just always there.  A quiet, comforting companion.

As we go about our business, he moves from room to room – flopping on the bedroom floor as i put away my laundry, dozing at the top of the stairs if i’m mucking around in the utility room downstairs, coming in to say ‘hi’ if i’m in the bathroom for more than a few minutes.  Mostly, he sleeps.  Hardly an overpowering presence.

When he’s gone?  Everything is wrong.  Feng Shui fucked up to the max.  It’s as though the household heart has stopped beating.

Given that the doc’s office was closed on Sunday, i wasn’t able to get an update on his condition.  Fearing the worst, i called this morning.  I was overjoyed to learn i could pick him up at my convenience! 

Still no idea what jacked his delicate digestive tract, i’m simply delighted to have him home again… even though my current endearing name for him is “Shitstain”…

Still not 100%, but glad to be home...

Still not 100%, but glad to be home...

* The Boy earned himself some bonus points by laundering all of my bed linens – and making my bed – before i returned home… And both of them spent many hours scrubbing the gnarliest of gnarly dog messes from carpeting… Thankfully…

Respecting Boundaries – Real and Imagined

i still have no furniture in my living room – i moved in late August.  My priorities are sound, however, as the billiards table has been in place since October, as has the hard core electronics gagetry…  But it’s time for seating, as the threat of another party lurks for later in the month.  Another farewell party for a young ‘un at the office, he’ll invite perhaps 75 folks, with an expected 40-50 attending.

Yep.  Barbie’s first kegger in the new crib.

i’d been waiting for The Girl to return from her sojourn to the middle east, and have put her MAD DEZYN SKILZ to work to help me select the basics.  My goal is to have a cozy seating area, with lots of flop space.  Focal point is the fireplace, and wall of windows overlooking the deck and trees.  Leather is a must, as the brown dog likes to flop on the couches, too… and nothing is as easy to clean as leather when you’ve got a mutt loose in the house.

Having picked out some cool stuff, i wasn’t sure it would all fit properly… so i did my anal-retentive best to draw the room to scale, using simple computer-based layouts to try several arrangements.  Despite my best efforts, it still seemed too crowded. 

So i did what any self-respecting dork would do.  Taped out the layout for the sofa, coffee table, and then built cardboard cut outs for the footprints of the chairs under consideration.  And then worked through several arrangements to assure that it all fit comfortably.

you have to use your imagination a little...

you have to use your imagination a little...

Much to my complete and total amazement, i discoverd that Mr. Pickles would not walk on the imaginary furniture.  Much like Les Nessman, of WKRP in Cincinnati, the dog is treating these taped boundries as “real”.  Even after i “sat” on the couch and tried to get him to hop up and join me?  He’s a good boy…

Dogs are just goofy…

Downward Dog

Downward Dog

"Is that new?"

"Is that new?"

"Don't wanna piss her off..."

"Don't wanna piss her off..."

"She's the goofy one... taken minimalism to a new low..."

"She's the goofy one... taken minimalism to a new low..."

Canine Retentive

i spend a lot of time looking at my dog’s ass.

Now that i’m living in Oldsville a condo, Mr. P must be walked at least twice a day, with a few mercy pit-stops off the porch.   We both adapted fairly quickly to the new routine.  At first he walked along a bit skittishly, sniffing and zig-zagging all over the place as he acclimated to the new smells.  Within a few weeks, he was striding along confidently – lord of his domain, with spring in his step and his tail held high.

Which is why i spend a lot of time looking at his ass.

And for the life of me, i am mystified by one particular aspect of his behavior.  How does he choose that special location upon which to drop his dog logs?  This is not a casual process.  He will sniff each individual blade of grass, retracing his steps to see if he missed something the first time, eventually either moving on to a different patch of grass, or finally pulling in the back legs into that classic scrunch that says “This is the chosen place”.

Further mystifying me?  He executes the challenging “Walking Poo” maneuver.  Rather than stand still in the international “dog crapping” stance (inverted triangle position), he steps forward as he unloads.  Sometimes covering 10 feet in a single dump, he walks in a counter-clockwise arc as he lays dog cable.*  His unique signature may someday come to my rescue, however.

Some of the local dog owners are not doing a very good job as Poopie Police.  Yes, they rudely leave the droppings where they lie – which is in violation of the homeowners association rules.  And the non-dog owners are cranky.  Violators are on notice that if caught, they’ll be fined.

Since Mr. P is the largest dog in the development, we are quite recognizable**.  Wanting to be a good neighbor, i’m diligent about picking up Mr. Pickles solid waste – and it’s not the highlight of my day to put the ol’ blue baggie on my hand and squish up warm dog turds that are large enough to be visible from LANDSAT.  But i do it.

On these walks, as i’m staring at my dogs ass and wondering what goes through his head*** when choosing the perfect dumping ground, i have contemplated being brought to the Homeowners Association “court” for Dog Poo Violations.  In my fantasy?  i am representing myself at the trial****, explaining that Exhibit A could NOT POSSIBLY have been unloaded by Mr. Pickles.  Exhibit B is a video of my dog taking a crap – and walking in a perfect nautilus arc as he paints the grassy canvas brown… 

Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, i rest my case!  “If the poo doesn’t fit, you must acquit”


* Could you do this?  Walk while you’re “dropping off the kids at the pool?”  Pretty impressive, if you think about it…

** Since it got cold, i wear a bright purple ski parka, an icelandic wool cap covered in Puffins- with ear flaps, and black and white polka dot boots.  It’s always about fashion over function with me…

*** “Not here, nope, nope, nope, not this one, nope, nope, nope, maybe this? nope, nope nope….”

**** Wearing a stunning suit.  With boots.  Yes, tall, scary boots….

Repatriating Mr. Pickles

Based on the short “test run“, i expected it to be bad… And with further data, supplied while i was en route to South America? Oh, it was gonna be WAAAAAY bad… in the sense that he would never want to come home!

My flight landed around 1pm on Monday, and by 3pm i was driving madly southbound, headed to The Park, to retrieve my canine life partner gently retarded dog. Mild trepidation – mostly around the thought that with all of that 24-hour attention, he would be loathe to return to my quiet home, where – unlike my niece – i have this pesky day job that keeps me away from him 10 hours a day…

After a quick, smothering hug when i first entered the trailer, i knew he hadn’t forgotten me.  i also realized quickly that he smelled like a biker bar, oozing stale smoke the way a homely sorority girl reeks desperation.  But i also realized that, unlike the sorority chick, my dog could be bathed…

My niece, DQ, gave me the “scores and highlights”.  She apologized for the mess – but her vacuum cleaner had choked and died from all of the plastic pieces-parts ingested when cleaning up the dog/baby toy shrapnel.  Seems Mr. P doesn’t like stuffed animals or rubber chew toys, and has a deep-seated hatred for tennis balls.  Oops*.  He also managed to chew through a wide swath of carpeting – which my niece assured me was old, and in need of replacement anyway.  Double oops**.  He did, however, excel at cleaning the cat litter box, and drinking from the toilet came quite naturally.

On the plus side of the equation?  My dog apparently got more sex than he’s ever gotten in his life.  DQ explained that the floor was a roiling 24-hour humpfest, with her two female dogs sharing in the lovin’ from both sides of the fence.  He was nearly permanently attached to one or both of his cousins.

Perhaps more disturbing?  She mentioned that the Shar Pei puppy, 9 months old***, was a bit precocious.  Every time Mr. Pickles “Red Rocket” made an appearance, the li’l skank liked to treat it like a cherry popsicle.  Really surprised that my damn dog would even get in the car after that….

Mr. Pickles enjoys "Girl on Girl" action

Mr. Pickles enjoys "girl on girl" action...

The best part?  He seemed to have developed a special bond with the 1 year old, DQ, III.  Not just serving as her “doggie horse”, i got to watch them both begging for pizza scraps together, as DQ ate dinner on the couch.  And share a sweet moment shortly thereafter****.

Sharing worms with the baby...

Sharing worms with the baby...

But he’s home.  He’s happy – sleeping for the better part of 12 hours after repatriation.  i missed him.  Nice to have the big doofus taking up space in my bed, drooling on my floor, and breathing my air again…


* i ordered a new vacuum cleaner for them.  it should be delivered in a couple days.  it’s called the “Pet Hair Eraser”.  kinda liked the sound of that… if i ever purchase a vacuum cleaner for myself, i might get that one.

** and yes, i’ll be contributing toward new carpet when they put their house on the market.  damn.  dogs are a lot of work…

*** At 9 months old, this pup isn’t even 7 in dog years.  So, my brain-damaged mutt had his little doggie knob polished by a 5 year old?  AAAAAAAAARGH!

**** Looks like a kiss, but in fact, i think he’s swiping a pizza crust from the baby.  Every critter for himself…

Lost dog…

While still in the Lima airport, i received an update from my niece on how my canine life partner dog Mr. Pickles was doing in his new environment.  It’s pretty much what i expected – and that’s a good thing!

Here he is bonding with his human cousins.  That’s DQ, Jr and DQ, III on dog-back.

And here he is bonding with one of his canine cousins.  Of course, he’s neutered…

But to me – most frightening of all – getting tons of wonderful attention.  My Little Brown Hole of Need will never want to come home again… but he’s happy… and with BJ off work with the back injury, i suspect he’ll be getting lots of attention.

Going to the dogs….

In less than a week i leave for an 11 day trip to South America*.  i’m starting to get excited about the adventure.  Unfortunately, i’m also pretty overwhelmed with all of the things that must be done before i hop on a plane…

The biggest challenge, of course, is what to do with the “Brown Hole of Need”** – also known as my 100 lb chocolate lab… For short trips, i use a charming pet sitter.  She brings her dog along for “Play Dates”, plays with him and keeps him company!  When i return i always find him happy, healthy and slobbery – rather than emaciated, mute and showing far too much skin after he’d stay in the kennel…

When my niece’s husband, BJ, made his last SuperHero visit to rebuild parts of my house, he offered to take care of Pickles if i ever needed to find him a home.  Got me thinking.***  Asking the obvious question, i learned that they would be quite happy to pet sit while i’m out of the country!  They have two small dogs, two cats… and at the moment, with BJ off work due to that pesky broken back, they’re all home full time.  No shortage of company for my attention-whore dog.

Two weeks ago, on a run to The Park to take Mom out for her birthday, i brought Mr. Pickles along for a “test run” to see how he got along with their critters.  Leaving Pickles at their house, i went off to spend the day with Mom.  BJ asked if it would be ok if the dog drank from the toilet – since keeping water bowls on the kitchen floor makes the tile too slippery. 

OK.  The dog licks his own ass and eats poo, so how much worse can toilet water be?

Returning several hours later, i walked in on a beautiful tableau!  DQ on the computer, shopping for bargains on eBay.  BJ, in full back brace, resting on the couch with a cat curled up on his chest.  The Baby wheeling about happily in her walker.  And Mr. Pickles, lying subserviently on the floor.  The 9 month old Shar Pei puppy joyfully humping his ass, and the sproingy Miniature Pinscher skull-fucking him with fierce determination…  Did i mention that these are two female dogs?

Assured that he’ll get along just fine with the Trailer Park hounds, i decided at that moment that i would be a terrible “doggie mommy” if i didn’t allow my pup to spend some quality time with his “cousins” while i’m gone! 

It makes me wonder what i’m going to find when i return to pick him up.  Scary visual of a morbidly overweight, partially toothless brown hound dog sleeping on the porch… barely raising his head to lazily look at me… as if to say “What are you lookin’ at, shithead?”


* i’ll be sharing close quarters with a man i barely know, but M is delightful!  Damn the cancer, full speed ahead!  As unprepared and excited as i am about the trip ahead, he is over-prepared and more excited!  Trying Peruvian cuisine locally, shopping for durable, washable travel gear… he’s just glowing on the eve of adventure…

** Like a “Black Hole of Need”.  Only brown… and furry…

*** Usually quite dangerous…

Wisdom from 6062 miles away…

The Girl has settled into her university gig in Beirut.  It is beyond awe-inspiring to read her words as she shares details of her days getting acclimated to the people, culture and program.  From her earliest teen years, she has exhibited a quiet grace, and a “beyond her years” wisdom that has left me speechless on more than one occasion.

Tonight’s “update”?  Brought tears to my eyes as she shared unexpected insight.  Could not be more proud than when she brought the following possibility into my frame of reference – perhaps forever altering my perspective on that remarkable and gifted creature that shares my daily existence…

She’d read my last post – including the reference to the mess created by the random neural firings of Mr. Pickles, my canine life partner functionally retarded dog.  Because the dog has destroyed the rug where i was planning to install the billiards table, i had to regroup, adjusting plans for full “move in”.  Rather than get the pool table, i now have to address the underlying problem* and install ceramic tile.  To continue with the planned condo modifications, i moved forward with the purchase and installation of the home theater/audio system throughout my domain…

Sorry to hear about Pickles acting upon his dog signals and digging up the rug. Bastard. Gotta love him though, he just ain’t that smart. Or maybe he is and just wanted you to build up the home-theater/man-trap/man-cave first**? He knows that the theater guy he was cracker-dogging*** for would be the one to install it and that The Boy would become a constant fixture afterwards, and he just wants a buddy. The more I think about it, the more I think that Pickles is smarter than us all.

Perhaps i’ve completely misjudged the large, brown, and frequently aromatic, creature that shares my daily existence?  In an idiot savant way, perhaps the dog serves as a guiding force in my life?  Maybe he is my protector and “yoda”, teaching me the ways of life in his slow, slobbery and “get the fuck out from under my feet when i’m going down the stairs, you numb-nutted bastard” way?

So much to be gained from a fresh perspective…  Primary beneficiary?  The fur-encrusted destruction machine… who will live to see at least another week…


* Cheap and easy… yeah, i know.  But if i don’t take the occasional verbal bunny shot, then i’m losing points.  At least that’s how it works on the basketball court.

** “home-theater/man-trap/man-cave” perhaps requires some explanation.  The new condo is truly going to be my “bubble”.  Barbie Dream House for middle-aged party girl.  Several years ago, i decided i wanted a pool table – i enjoy billiards, but suck at it due to lack of practice.  i also decided i wanted an integrated whole-house audio system, multi-zone, all digital, remote controlled.  Oh, and ya just gotta get wall-mount HDTV, Blu-Ray and all the fixins if you’re going to do that!  The Boy has begun referring to the new place as “Mom’s Man Trap”.  At the same time, he refers to the theater room as his future “Man Cave” as there are no windows, no clock, and he will be able to cocoon there with no interaction with the outside world…  All i know?  i ain’t building this for anybody but me… but if it tends to collect boy toys?  Who am i to complain?

*** “Cracker-dogging” – ummm, perhaps that also requires explanation.  i believe the term can be attributed to James Herriot, from “All Creatures Great and Small” fame… To anyone who has ever seen it, you will know what it means… Sometimes, when playing, a dog will simply go bonkers, racing wildly around a room, doing banked turns off furniture, demonstrating great “tires” through abrupt directional changes at high speed.  Mr. Pickles – for reasons only known to him – had a powerful response to the gentleman who came to do the site assessment for home theater/audio installation.  For quite a while.  The Boy and i (not to mention the salesman) were laughing our asses off as 100 lbs of smokin’ fast dogmeat tore around the room demonstrating banked turns, frantic bursts of speed, ferrari-like ground-hugging maneuvers…and a big ol’ tongue flapping along beside him…