Friday, November 29, 2013

Hurricane Sandy Revisited by Mango Momma

My grandfather owned and operated a diner in Ortley Beach, New Jersey.

Ortley Beach is part of the barrier islands along the New Jersey shore. On one side is Barnegat Bay, on the other is the Atlantic Ocean.

Growing up, my family spent a good portion of our summer at our grandparent's Ortley Beach house which was located on the bay side at the end of a lagoon. We'd take our boat out into the bay, zoom around, catch crabs off the dock, visit the boardwalk arcade, and just generally have a good time.

After my grandparents passed away, the house went to a second cousin and although it was always available for our use, I never seemed able to find the time to make a trip.

When Hurricane Sandy hit, the bay met the ocean.

A couple of months ago, my parents made the trip down to Ortley Beach to see how the old house fared during the storm.

Not well. Very not well.

You might think that this is the front of the house sagging a bit into the bay. You'd be wrong. This is the side of the house. The front is to the left and was set back from the lagoon a good 30 feet and elevated above the highest possible tides by a safe 10 feet.

Now the bay is permanently in the side yard.

This is the back of the house and you can see the lagoon. Clearly no longer where it should be.

You see that nice sand bar? Nice except it used to be my Aunt Jean's house. Gone without a trace. Washed away, as was the house on the other side of our family lodge.

My parents said that the landscape was unrecognizable and even after dozens of trips there over the years, they had a difficult time finding the house because landmarks had vanished. 

For me, seeing the house sagging into the sea (a house which is awaiting demolition) means saying goodbye to childhood memories. It means that a place I always meant to revisit no longer exists. That's not so bad.

But for so many people, the hurricane took away their homes, their communities. Gone. Washed out to sea. And that makes me sad. A year has passed and the areas so devastated by the storm have barely begun to rebuild. 

I think of the wild fires in the west, the tornadoes in the central part of the country, the freakish snowstorm in South Dakota, hurricanes and I am reminded of how quickly one can lose everything and how long the road is back to normalcy. 

I wish I had a good ending for this post, but I don't, I guess I just wanted to share.

Mango Momma

Thursday, November 28, 2013


Had I known that a mob of turkeys would be arriving at our estate just in time for Thanksgiving I would have counseled Master to skip that trip to the grocer.

Curiously, momma was reluctant to let me have a go at them and I had to observe from indoors as she stalked the gobblers with the flashy

They were remarkably complacent. Likely familiar with the firearm discharge regulations here in the Commonwealth of MA.

One could call the following an "action" movie, but they don't seem very agile to me.

As for yours truly, I am conserving my energy for the day ahead. I find that some time spent in an inverted posture helps one's innards fan out to make room for Thanksgiving day noms.

Have a safe and happy holiday!

Dexter done!

Monday, November 25, 2013

More Noms from

I'm a pretty lucky chap because I can get just about any fancy foodable I desire right in the Doggie Daycare Gift Shop.

But not every doggie has such great shopping close by, and that's where Mr. Chewy comes in.

Mr. Chewy has just about anything a doggie could want and sometimes they offer to send yours truly free stuff to sample. How can I say no?

Recently, I received a bag of Organix Dog Cookies. Yum. These tasty treats are made right here in the USA and certified organic (and wheat free for doggies with sensitive tummies). 

Nothing in there but chicken, chicken, and more chicken. OK, some brown rice, oats, and flax seed, but that's good too, right?

Momma put them in my good dog cookie jar. Here you can see me being a very good doggie in anticipation of nommy treats.

Ignore disarray in the background. Hard to get good help.

"Yes, Dexter, but are actually tasty?"

Oh indeed they are. Quite delectable and they go down in one smooth swallow (hardly any chewing required).

Sparagases eyes good!

Dexter done!

P.S. From Momma
Mr. Chewy is pretty cool. Not only do they have great stuff, but their delivery is amazing. I usually get my package the next day. We're lucky enough to have a couple of excellent dog stores close by that offer just about anything you could want, but if you don't have access to a good dog store, I suggest trying Mr. Chewy. Great customer service and lots of healthy foods and snacks to choose from. Plus you have to love their marketing campaign. Send some free stuff to dog bloggers and ask for a review. Great advertising, right? In addition to a wide selection of treats, they also have regular dog food, both kibble and canned. Stuff for kitties too.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Remembering Peanut - a goofy, striped nutter

Our long time pal, Peanut, left blogland several years ago, but we kept up with his adventures via FB.

Momma always had a special place in her heart for the little nutter. Can you guess why?

Well, first of all, he was one of the very first dog pals that she and the RH found on the Interwebs, but there are other reasons too...

Peanut had a big blocky head, stripes, and plenty of jowls for slobbering

He was a total whack-a-doo. Always giving everybody a piece of his mind.

And at times, kind of a jerk...

But he was very much loved, especially by his dada.

Peanut made his final journey last week, and we were both sorry to see him leave us.

Run free, Peanut, make mischief, and open up all those Rainbow Bridge refrigerators.

Dexter done!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Celebrating Slobber Day - a photo essay

Sherman and Leroy's Slobber Day Celebration!

Once again, it is time for slobber day, sponsored by Sherman and Leroy.

The truth is, that yours truly, well, I just don't slobber. Subsequently, momma has been attempting to stage a slobber photo as in this one where she is withholding my breakfast.

Momma! Please! Breakfast!

But we both agreed that was not only a bit mean, but also not in keeping with the spirit of slobber day. A day which is all about embracing the glorious slobbering abilities of the talented doggies with impossibly wet jowls.

My primary experience with slobber is having it placed on my person by the Relentlessly Huge.

I often felt like the RH's facecloth.

But I bow to his superior abilities to generate a never ending supply of the stuff. 

Thus, I give you:

Remembering Mango
The King of Slobber

The subtle foam.

The suds machine.

The artful placement.

The partially frozen stringer.

The blowing in the wind with lipstick.

The toxic water bowl.

The full facial.

The debris collector.

We all miss The Mango. Yes, even me (sometimes). And while most of the time momma is happy not to have to be cleaning up all that slime and goo I think that sometimes she'd relish slobbery walls, ceilings, guests, clothing, and labradudes if it meant having her big old Bubba back.

Dexter done!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Slobber Day is Coming and Puppy Photos from the Archives

My pals, Sherman and Leroy, are hosting the second annual Slobber Day.

Mark your calendars for Saturday, November 16th and post your slobberiest photos.

Yours truly is working hard at producing some suds (why not, since it involves treats).

Read all about it here.

With under 10G of storage remaining, Momma has been feverishly working to consolidate the information on our hard drive. She's not keen on having to install a larger drive. In the process, she unearthed some heretofore unseen photos of the doggies who have lived at our estate and since everybody likes puppies (in small doses), I decided to share some SQUEEEE puppy pictures with you.

Angus the Airedale was the first doggie that momma and master had. For reasons I cannot fathom, they seemed agreed that they both wanted an Airedale more than anything. This is a picture of an impossibly young momma with the Baby Shark Angus.

Yes, that is a picture of a particle accelerator in the background. Nerd art. Sigh.

By the time Angus was two years old, it was clear that his boundless energy was a bit more than momma and master could handle, so they decided to get him a companion. Now herein lies a tale, but you can skip it if you want, because lots of you have heard it before.

Master was driving around town and spotted a little lost Basset Hound dog. He popped the wee beast into his truck and brought him home. Apparently, the hound dog and Angus really hit it off, but the dog police found the people who owned the hound (named Elvis, well, you can imagine) and so he was returned to his family. But the dog police told Master that Elvis had been caught wandering before so Master told her to call us if his family ever decided to give him up.

Not two weeks later, the dog police called Master and said Elvis was at the orphanage. Momma rushed to the orphanage only to find that Elvis had already been adopted, but the people said there was another little hound that had just arrived and would she like to have a look.

Well, that hound was very scared to be in the orphanage and it broke momma's heart, so she called Master and he brought Angus down to see what was what. Apparently it was love at first sight and the little hound came home and was named Pi.

Ask Master who his favorite doggie ever was, and he will always
say "Pi." She had his number.

After Pi made her final journey, well, it was obvious that there would be another doggie. Momma and Master had talked about getting an absurdly large doggie for some time and so, Beautiful Raja came to the estate.

Poor old Angus had no idea that in another month, Raja would be flinging him about like a stuffy.

Angus was already a senior citizen doggie when Raja came to the estate and just not in to baby dog hi-jinks. One day, Momma and Master were at a doggie show and they met some mastiff people who said they just happened to have some puppies.

When momma and master went to visit the puppies, they found one idiot dog trapped in a water bucket. That's the one they brought home.

The Baby Mango practices extreme mastiff meditation

It's no secret that Mango was a big baby and without his Raja he was lost. But he was also a grumpy bully and finding a doggie that could be his pal without getting eaten alive was quite a task.

Back to the doggie shows where momma met Miss Peggy, the Nightwinds Labrador lady. After listening to momma's long tale about her relentlessly huge cry baby big bully momma's dog, she said that she had "just the right puppy."

None other than yours truly, seen here shortly after my arrival at the estate.

Does that dog ever put his lipstick away?

So there you have it. A brief history of puppies at our place. And lest you get any ideas, I can assure you that I have told momma repeatedly that I do *not* want a puppy of any sort to actually come and live with us. I like things just the way they are.

Don't forget to work on your slobber photos! The clock is ticking!

Dexter done!

A longish postscript by Mango Momma

What struck me most looking at these photos was how my capacity to "do stuff" has diminished over the 20+ years since Angus entered our lives. 

When we brought Angus home, we had two children in residence, I had a job with long hours and a 50 minute commute that required me to "dress up" and do my hair every morning. Somehow I still found time to walk Angus, take him to obedience club once a week, and do all the necessaries of running a house containing children. Heck, Angus even competed in obedience (albeit just once and at the sub-novice level).

Pi didn't slow me down. More often than not Pi and Angus had private walkies (different speeds) and Pi achieved her therapy dog certification and went on to do weekly nursing home visits with me.

For a while we had three dogs: Angus, Raja, and Mango. They required THREE individual walkies and at the time I was deeply invested in my mid-life ballet career and going to dance class three times / week.

Now? Well, I've slowed down.... A LOT. Or maybe I've just learned to relax and enjoy life. The kids are grown up with families of their own (fortunately both kids within a 15 minute drive of our estate) and one dog seems like more than enough. No more ballet class (although I miss it) because my 9-5 job with a short (25 minute door to door) commute is quite wearing and in the evening I want nothing more than to read a book or watch a movie. 

I had a long conversation with a dog trainer who is around my age. He breeds Bernese Mountain dogs and recently kept one of the puppies (after many years of placing all his pups in good homes). He said that it is very different having a puppy when you are on the down side of 50 and that even with momma dog in residence to help out, it is exhausting for him and his wife to have a puppy to chase around after so many years of calm, adult doggies. I get that.

I suppose you get the right dog at the right time. Pea is the easiest dog we've ever had. No fuss, no muss. I wish I spent more time training him tricks (I'm sure he does too).  But I have grown to love our twice daily (except on daycare days) walkies and the odd games of chase, tennis ball, and labrawrestling. 

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Blurry Photos - a conversation with momma

Momma, why aren't there more action photos of me in the flashy?

Well, Dex, you're so fast, by the time I even think about taking a picture, the moment has past.

Couldn't you just work on your reflexes?

I suppose. But you know you are very camera conscious.

How so?

Whenever I have the flashy you think you are going to get a cookie and you stop acting naturally and start doing tricks.

It's always worked in the past.

Yes, but it isn't what I'm looking for and, oh, never mind. How about we get out the tennis ball and try to get some super action pictures?

Roger that.

MOMMA! Can't you please adjust the f-stop or hold your hand still? I'm all blurry!

How can I show off my soaring abilities when you throw ground balls?

This is better (even though it makes my head look kind of big).

And now a cookie perhaps?

Dexter done!

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Cheap Shots

Momma has developed an annoying habit of taking photos of yours truly and posting them on her Facebook with what she considers to be witty comments. Comments which she attributes to none other than me, Dexter the Wonder Dog.

It's one thing to capitalize on my labradorableness to lure traffic to her otherwise drab Facebook page. Quite another thing to misrepresent my thoughts at any point in time.

Thus, I am now going to publish this week's Black Dog photos with momma's blue italicized words and the actual captions. Ready?

Black dog has no need for more wisdom

Partially true. I'm wise enough to know that the college dining hall is right across the street
and apparently they are cooking up some BACON!

Black dog pleads with momma to consider measurement system intrinsic variance after scale at evil vet shows 4% weight gain. Fears punitive withholding of whosagooddoggie noms.

While I did go to the vet for my kennel cough and weigh in, this is really just a picture of
me standing around not thinking about anything in particular.

Black dog curbs his enthusiasm

Ha ha ha, very clever. Next time try "Black dog is disgusted that he is only doing the short parking
lot walk because momma is late for work.... again."

Black dog disturbed by rocket launcher at local church.
Fears assault on neighboring UU eminent.

I always knew the Congregationalists had it in for the UU's. 

Dexter done!