I don’t remember my name from the Dark Days. I’m sure I had one, don’t you think? I mean, everybody has a name.

Names are given to you by somebody who is supposed to care about you. That’s why they call it a given name.

But if the people who used to have me didn’t care about me, maybe they never bothered to give me a name. I’ve decided to think of myself as nameless before I came to Asherpark.

Mom gave me a name as soon as she saw me. She told me she had always wanted a beautiful girl Aussie named Nellie, and so she gave me the name Nellie.

At first I thought she was joking. I mean I am an Aussie and a girl, but certainly not beautiful. I was such a pathetic stinking little rag when mom first saw me I can’t imagine why she gave me such an elegant name.

At the shelter they called me Pisspot and Stinky. Those names hurt my feelings, but since I was supposed to die at the shelter, it was the least of my worries.

When a miracle happened and I got to go to Asherpark, I was more worried about what was for dinner than what my new name would be.

All the dogs at Asherpark have nice names. Asher and Tess and Jack, those are strong beautiful names. And to think that my name, Nellie, is just as beautiful as the other names almost brings tears to my eyes.

Over time something even more wonderful happened at Asherpark. I got nicknames! I know I never had a nickname before. Now I have bunches of them. People call me Nell, Nell Nell, Nellie Bell, Baby, Sweetheart and Squirt. I love all my nicknames because you only get a nickname if somebody really really likes you.

Ash has lots of nicknames too. He answers to Asher, Ash, Ashman, Flyboy, Muttski and Blue Eyes. Me and Ash have the most nicknames. Jack and Tess really don’t have any nicknames. Jack gets called Jackson sometimes. Tess just has Tessie for a different sounding name. Behind her back the people call her the wicked witch because of all the trouble she causes, but that’s not really a nickname.

You may wonder how I can hear my nickname since I’m deaf. That’s easy. Us deaf dogs hear the sounds from the heart. You get a nickname from somebody who loves you and you can hear it clear as a bell, or in my case a Nellie Bell.






Cleaning House


It’s partly my fault again that the barks went silent. I’ve had some problems that cause our mom a lot of work.

My pee trap has leaked ever since I came to Asherpark. It’s a lot better now because I take a pill every day, but I still drip. I’m like a leaky old faucet that won’t shut off all the way.

Sometimes when I fall into a deep sleep my faucet opens and I wake up in a puddle of pee. I’m so embarrassed when that happens.

Mom says it’s no big deal. She grabs the spray bottle of Nature’s Miracle and pretty soon everything smells good again. It’s the same stuff she sprays each morning after Jack has done his stealth marking all around the house.

Mom has a good nose. Oh, it’s not anywhere near as good as a dog’s nose, but for a human it’s right up there. She says she can smell the sweet musky odor of our dog pee even after it’s dried.

Last week mom decided everything had to be cleaned. She vacuumed all the rugs and the floors. Next she steam cleaned all the area rugs. Finally she mopped all the floors twice, first with the miracle stuff and then with good old soap and water.

It was torture for us mutts. We hate the vacuum, so we stayed as far away as we could. We don’t like the carpet machine any better, and we don’t like the smell of the soap. Worst of all, we can’t be in the house when she’s mopping because we keep keep walking on the wet parts.

It took mom almost a week to clean everything. After it was all done mom lay down on the couch. She was pooped. Suddenly she sat up and said real loud, “Oh, No!”

We quick looked at her to see what was wrong. She was pointing at Jack and giving him the stink eye. Turns out after everything else was cleaned up mom realized Jack has been pissing on the couch. She got out her black light and showed us all the places where Jack marked.

Poor Jack. He knew he was in trouble but I’m not sure he knew what he did wrong. Since he’s deaf there’s no point in talking to him. Mom shook her finger at him and pointed at the worst spots on the couch. He looked real guilty and slunk out of the room.

Pretty soon mom was on her hands and knees with the upholstery cleaner. It took hours because the couch is huge and Jack marked everywhere. We took ourselves outside so we didn’t have to hear the cleaning machine.

Now the house doesn’t smell so good to us mutts. It smells of soap. Mom’s happy but plenty tired. I’m worried because I know I’m gonna have an accident any day.

After she rested up, mom called us all together. We sat in a circle in front of her and she slipped some homemade treats in our mouths.

Mom looked at each one of us and talked to us real slow. She said she loved us no matter what we did. Sometimes she wished we didn’t make so much work for her, but that was part of the deal.

Mom said us four mutts bring her more joy than she could ever express and she wouldn’t trade us for all the money in the world.

Jack looked right at mom and grinned. Ash grabbed a stuffie and shoved it at Tess. I stumbled closer to mom and collapsed at her feet, a little dribble of pee escaping when I hit the floor.

Life is good! I am very grateful.



Me and Ash


If you’ve been reading our barks, you know me and Ash promised mom we’d keep up with the DailyBark.

Tess and Jack don’t like to bark much. Once in a while they pitch in, but not often. In the past Ash had to carry the load himself. Now I help him as much as I can.

Me and Ash have this special bond because we’re blue dogs. If you’re not blue, you might not understand.

In the Aussie world, blue is the best. Us blue dogs come in so many colors. Blue eyes, brown eyes, or one of each like me. Gray, black, taupe, tan white, even a color that looks like lavender – all mixed up like some crazy painter’s palette.

Ash has lots of white fur, but not too much. Too much white on a blue dog is not a good thing, even though the stupid breeders like the way it looks.

Did you know if you breed two blue dogs together you’re likely to get mostly white blind and deaf dogs? What kind of idiot would do that??!!!

Besides being blue, Ash and me are tight because Codie sent me to Asherpark. Tess and Jack get tired of hearing how much Ash misses Codie. But I understand. Codie was a blue dog too. You never get over losing a blue dog.

Most boy dogs don’t care much about flowers. Ash is different. He has this one rose bush that he watches over. He won’t let Jack or any other dog pee on it. He’s always asking mom if maybe that rose needs something to eat or a drink of water.

Yesterday I found Ash staring at the beautiful roses on his favorite bush. He didn’t say nothing at first when I came up behind him. Then I saw he had tears running down his snout.

Turns out that rose bush always blooms around the time of year that Codie left Asherpark and crossed the bridge. Seeing the beautiful buds on the bush reminds Ash that it will be three years in July since Codie left him.

I don’t know what to say to Ash except that I’m so sorry for his loss. Words can’t change anything. Words won’t bring Codie back. But when you tell somebody you love that you’re sorry for their loss, maybe it makes them hurt a little less.

Sometimes I feel sort of guilty. I mean I’m at Asherpark because Codie arranged it from the other side of the bridge. I’m here because Codie isn’t here.

I’m old and have so many problems. Sometimes I wonder if I’m too much trouble and my pack should help me move on. Maybe it’s time for me to cross the bridge and join Codie.

When I talk like that Ash gets real upset. He tells me my being at Asherpark is a sacred gift from Codie. Ash says Codie promised him she would send him another blue dog to love. That blue dog is me.

It’s so confusing. Codie is dead. I was supposed to be dead. Codie intervened and stopped the shelter from killing me. Now I’m living where Codie used to live, hanging out with her godson Asher. That’s just the way it is. Two blue dogs together. Me and Ash.