My Turn

Journey

I asked Finn what he wanted for Christmas. He told me he wanted me to help him with BarkingProse. He’s right to ask me. I haven’t been doing my share. So here goes. This Bark is for my buddy Finn.

It’s funny how Finn found his voice at a young age. He barks from the heart. Even though Finn never knew the other dogs at Asherpark, he’s read about all of them and keeps asking mom to tell him stories about the Asherpark dogs.

I told Finn not to make his Christmas Bark about Asher, but he told me he couldn’t get Ash off his mind and he really wanted people to remember Ash.

Truth is when Finn started asking me questions about Ash I could hardly talk. My head got light and I could feel the tears coming to my eyes. Ash raised me and when I lost him my world changed forever. Finn doesn’t know how much I miss Ash every day.

Here’s a picture of me and Ash when I was still a little mutt. I felt so safe around Ash and we always had fun together. He taught me to play bump and run and how to make mom laugh.

Journey and Asher

When Ash died I was the only dog left at Asherpark. I was young and didn’t have anybody to hang with. Mom took me everywhere but there were times when I felt lost and lonely and didn’t know what to do with myself.

That’s when I got interested in hunting. I would sit in the big front yard for hours. When I was very still, I could hear sounds from under the ground. Suddenly a little furry thing would pop out, run across the grass, then dig a hole and disappear underground again.

One day mom told me those furry little things are moles. She said they dig tunnels under the ground and ruin everybody’s lawns. She asked me if I thought I could catch one.

I wasn’t sure but I told her I would try. Looking for moles took my mind off of Ash and it was kinda fun. It was a game I could play by myself, so I started trying to dig the moles out when they came close to the surface.

The first few times I’d dig a huge hole, get dirt all over myself and end up with a mouthful of nothing. Mom would laugh and encourage me to keep trying. I kept practicing but it wasn’t easy.

 

Journey

One day I heard a mole surfacing right next to me. I pounced on the mound of dirt and dug as fast as I could. Then instinct took over. I plunged my snout into the soft ground and came up with a mouthful of mole!

The mole tasted awful and it kept wiggling in my mouth. I spit it out and watched it dig its way back underground. A couple times I brought the moles to mom. One time she picked up the mole to keep me from playing with it. The mole bit her hand and wouldn’t let go. Mom said a couple words I hadn’t heard before and finally shook the mole loose.

After the mole attacked mom I decided I’d better learn how to finish the job. Next time I caught a mole I shook it real hard and the little bugger stopped breathing. That’s how I learned to kill my prey.

The Mole

Pretty soon I was hunting moles every day. I caught eight moles in a single week. Once I was playing in the front yard when I saw something running along the fence line. I chased it down and caught myself a big fat rat. I was so proud of myself. I took a victory lap around the front yard so mom could see my trophy. Just then the rat twisted in my mouth, so I spit it out at mom’s feet. She grabbed the rat by the tail and threw him over the fence. I didn’t mind because that rat didn’t taste too good either.

After Finn came to Asherpark I had a buddy again. I didn’t feel so lonely and I quit hunting every day. Now I just hunt when I see an easy target. Like last week when a giant rabbit thought he could outrun me. Let’s just say things didn’t end well for the rabbit.

Most of the time I use my snout for the sport of Nose Work. I’ve been going to classes for a couple years now and just got my badge for the odor recognition tests. I’ll tell you more about that later, but for now I gotta run.

 

A Christmas Long Ago

Ash

I was looking through old pictures and I found this one. I never met Ash but Journey has told me all about him. He’s the reason we live in the country in a special place called Asherpark.

Mom and Ash had a special connection. They were soulmates and did everything together. Mom relied on Ash to help the new dogs learn the ropes. Even the scared rescue dogs knew they were safe around Ash.

Journey told me when a person and dog love each other their hearts begin to grow together. It’s kinda hard to explain. The dog’s heart becomes part of the person’s heart and the human’s heart grows inside the dog.

I know it sounds a little weird, but you end up with a person and dog that are one with each other. Their hearts beat in harmony and they know what the other is thinking without words or gestures. It happens slowly over time until their souls merge. That’s what mom and Ash shared.

It’s all so confusing. I’m at Asherpark because Ash died. If Ash hadn’t died mom wouldn’t have had any reason to find me. It’s like Ash gave up his place at Asherpark to make space for me and now my heart is growing inside mom and she loves me too.

If you’re thinking ahead you can maybe see the one problem with sharing hearts. When your soulmate dies you lose a big part of your heart. People say your heart breaks but it’s more like a part of your heart gets ripped out and it takes a long time to mend.

Us dogs don’t live long enough to stay with our people throughout their lives. That’s why young pups are so important. When we’re really little and don’t know much about the world, we constantly love on our people and make them laugh. When our people cry we lick their tears away and then they laugh more and their hearts begin to heal.

I’m not brave like Ash but he trusted me to take care of mom after he left. He told me to be sure and grab her socks and race around the house. He told me to look her in the eye and argue with her when she scolds me. He told me to do silly things and make her laugh.

I asked mom how much of her heart was hers and how much came from the dogs she has loved.

“Finn, I’ve loved so many dogs. Each has a special place in my heart and always will,” mom said. “You and Journey are knitting your hearts to mine and we are sharing our hearts with each other.”

I guess that’s the way love works. In time our hearts become one with those we love.

On Christmas Day we’re gonna do our best to make mom laugh. And then we’re gonna have a giant Christmas bone.

 

Merry Christmas Everyone!

Ash

 

 

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Finn and Mom

It’s a tradition for us mutts at Asherpark to post a Bark on Thanksgiving. I was hoping Journey would step up and help me out, but no way. She’s busy tracking all the wildlife that ran through our yard last night.

It’s a sunny cold day and I have so much energy I just want to run circles in the frosty grass. But I promised myself I would say something on Thanksgiving, so here it is.

See me in the picture with mom? This is how Thanksgiving feels to a dog. I’m giving mom a big hug and loving on her. She’s looking at me like I’m the best thing in the whole wide world. That makes us both thankful.

Here’s me messing with Uncle Dan.  You already saw this picture in another Bark, but I gotta share it again on Thanksgiving. I sure love my Uncle Dan.

 

Finn and Uncle Dan

Here’s my final picture and a few words to go with it. Thanksgiving is a special day.  We all should think about what we’re grateful for. I’m grateful I get to be the voice for Asherpark. I’m grateful I have the best ever sister in Journey. And I’m super grateful for all the humans who love me and Journey. Life is good!

 

 

 

Dearest Finn

Finn

When you last barked you were very hard on yourself. You said you are not brave and you’re a loser. You were embarrassed because you got carsick on our last drive.

It makes me sad to know you hold these thoughts. I do not share the same opinion and hope you will listen to what I have to say and ponder these things in your heart.

Being brave is not the same as being unafraid. It’s easy to do something if you are not afraid. It’s much more difficult to acknowledge your fear and do it anyway.

You and Journey are very different even though you come from the same place and have relatives in common.

Journey was born confident and happy. Life has been easy for Journey because she sees the world as a welcoming place.

You were born thoughtful and wary. You are not sure what the world holds for you and you need time to decide how to respond to new people and places.

You, Finn, are a sweet soul. You have unique spiritual gifts and your ability to feel what others feel is remarkable for a young boy dog.

You have already had success in your young life. You excelled in all your classes. You walk politely on a leash and listen when I ask you to do things. You wait for me when we leave the house and look back to make sure I am with you.

Your job is to be the very best you can be, not to emulate Journey or any other dog you admire. Your courage is of a different sort but you are brave nonetheless.

It’s not easy being the little brother to a diva, but you are the best little brother Journey could have asked for.

In closing Finn I want you to  know how much I love and admire you. You are a blessing to all of us and I am very grateful to be your mom.

So don’t be hard on yourself. Know that you are loved and you have powerful gifts. You will find your way in this world…..I promise.

Love, Mom

Feeling Bad

Finn

Yesterday wasn’t a good day for me. I screwed up big time and feel like such a loser. Everything I did was wrong from start to finish.

It began when mom decided to take me and Journey for a walk. I don’t like to go in the car so she had to lift me in. I know it’s hard on her back but I can’t help myself.

We drove half an hour to a nice park where mom and Journey go all the time. Mom put me on a long leash and hooked Journey up to her harness.

Journey is a hand full to walk. She pulls and circles and follows her nose like she’s a bloodhound on the scent. I stay close to mom and always keep a loose leash.

We’d only been on the walk a few minutes when we came across a man playing frisbee with his dog. The dog ran over to us to say hi. I didn’t like his looks and started growling real low. When he got close to Journey I told him to back off or we’d have trouble.

Mom stepped between me and the dog and told me she’d take care of things. The dog lost interest and went back to his owner.

Right away I started drooling. I do this when I’m upset or stressed out. I guess I was both after the car ride and the encounter with the uppity dog. Soon I had three inch strands of drool hanging from my mouth. Mom cut the walk short and put Journey back in the car. Then she walked me near the car for a while in hopes I would relax and settle down.

Finally it was time to leave and I jumped into the car just like Journey does. I was happy knowing I was going home and felt safe in my crate.

I guess happiness wasn’t enough though because on the way home I puked in my crate. When mom pulled into the garage and let me out first like she always does, she found a big puddle of what I ate for breakfast hours earlier.

I felt so bad. Mom had to hose out my crate and wipe off my fur. Journey had to wait in her crate until I was all cleaned up and my crate was upside down to dry out.

Mom told me not to worry and everything was all right. She told me I have special gifts and it’s her job to help me be the best dog I can be.

Problem is I want to be brave like Journey. I want to go places with mom and make her proud. Yesterday I wasn’t brave and I’m sure mom wasn’t proud of me.

Journey says it’s not a big deal. I can be the stay at home dog and look after dad while she rides shotgun with mom. I guess that would be okay but it still leaves me feeling like a loser.

Mom said she’s gonna take me to a fun class where I get to learn tricks. Maybe at least I can show off for company and feel better about myself.

Journey said I should visualize myself being brave. Maybe I’ll do that. Or maybe people who read this bark will give me some suggestions. I’m trying to stay hopeful.

 

Finn