Category Archives: papillons

Papillion Therapy


Friends of Padre Steve’s World,

Dean Koontz wrote: “Petting, scratching, and cuddling a dog could be as soothing to the mind and heart as a deep meditation and almost as good for the soul as prayer.”

I do believe that Mr. Koonz is correct. We don’t have kids, not that we didn’t try, but we have always had dogs. Our first two dogs were Dachshunds, Frieda, a Wire Hair that we got in Germany, and Greta a smooth hair that we got in Texas. They were both great dogs and we still have a soft spot for Wiener Dogs. 


But today we are blessed to have the three best dogs in the world, Minnie Scule, Izzy Bella, and Pierre. They are all Papillons, a small breed of Spaniels from France. The breed is ranked in the top ten most intelligent breeds and they are in my view scary smart. But they are also incredibly sweet, sensitive, playful, decidedly quirky and sometimes obnoxious, in a good way.


I love spending Saturday and Sunday morning with Judy and our babies. Sometimes we sleep late and then after they have gone out to do their business just lay in bed with them, and let them play or cuddle. It is one of the most therapeutic things in the world for both of us since we both suffer from PTSD and have struggled with depression. They are so therapeutic that I often stay off the internet and social media just to enjoy them. 


Our Papillon experience began with Molly, a half-Papillon and half-Dachshund mix that we got as a rescue in September of 2001. We lost her at age 14 in May of 2015, but she was an amazing dog. Exceptionally sensitive and sweet, Judy nicknamed her “Nurse Molly” because if we were physically sick or depressed she would be there doing whatever she could to comfort us. In 2011 Molly decided that she wanted to live with me when I was stationed in North Carolina as our home in Virginia with Judy couldn’t compete with chasing deer off my lawn or running on the beach. So a few months later we got Minnie.



Now Minnie was only two and a half pounds when we got her and she became Judy’s baby. Until she got too big she would sit on Judy’s shoulder like a Parrot. Minnie is funny. She’s very smart, and sweet, but very quirky. She talks like Scooby Doo and has something to say about everything. She’s now five years old, when I walk her in the neighborhood she likes to chase the ducks, geese, and rabbits occasionally diving into the water after a duck. She’s also my drinking buddy. She loves to steal my beer and is an incorrigible thief, but we love her. She can be aloof at times and acts like she’s the Queen of the manor. Minnie grew up a bit. We thought she would be about 7-8 pounds but she topped out at 12 pounds, sometimes a bit more. She has the light bone structure of a classic Papillon and is a Black and White with the black ticking that looks like freckles and a crooked blaze that makes her almost look like a dwarf Australian Shepherd.


A couple of months before we lost Molly we got Izzy. Izzy is fascinating. She like Molly is our nurse and once when we had a friend over and he was mourning the loss of his parents, she glued herself to him trying to make him feel better. In fact it is my plan to get her certified as a therapy dog. We got Izzy at the same age we got Minnie but she was already four pounds and built like a tank. The first time our vet met her he picked her up during the examination and said “My, she’s sturdy!” Sturdy is not a word commonly associated with the breed, but Izzy is just that. Slightly smaller in height and length than Minnie she outweighs Minnie by a pound or a pound and a half. She’s built like a tank, not an ounce of fat on her, just solid muscle and bone. When she jumps on you, especially if you’re not expecting it can take the wind out of you, it’s like being blindsided by a linebacker. Izzy is a very distinctive looking Tricolor who is also incredible agile and loves to dance doing pirouettes when she wants attention.



Izzy and Minnie have been together now a bit over two years and in February we ended up getting our little boy Pierre unexpectedly. Some friends found that his owner could not afford surgery for a luxating patella. They helped arrange for us to get him and he is a joy. He’s a year old and at 4.5 pounds is about as big as he is going to get. He’s incredibly sweet, has a bit of a grumpy side when he doesn’t want to do something, and like Minnie he is talkative, and like Izzy he is incredibly playful. Despite their size difference he and Izzy play constantly and when they wrestle they grapple like MMA fighters with Pierre fighting a bit out of his weight category, but he gives as good as he gets. Sometimes when we go to bed it is time for them to launch their evening Pappy War.


Our life is better for having our puppies, they are amazing therapy. So I guess when I get home from work I’ll get greeted by the three pups and when we get back from our time out with friends we’ll have our evening play and snuggle time with Minnie, Izzy, and Pierre.

Life is good. Have a great day,

Peace

Padre Steve+

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The Great Hampton Roads Blizzard of 2017

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Friends of Padre Steve’s World,

I live in southeastern Virginia and beginning last night we have been under a Blizzard warning. Blizzards are not uncommon here, but normally when one wants a Blizzard here they go to Dairy Queen, but this time Mother Nature has given us a real blizzard.

It’s crazy enough here that the Weather Channel’s Jim Cantore is in town. Parts of the area now have over 10 inches of snow although our neighborhood only has about 6 inches on the ground right now and I expect by the end of the storm our total will be between 6 and 8 inches of snow. The one thing that has kept our snow total down is the fact that we began the storm with sleet and freezing rain, which has also been interspersed with the heavy snow and high winds. The combination has left the roads very icy and dangerous.

We lost power for a couple of hours when according to the police some idiot crashed into a power line pole. When that happened we bundled up, defrosted the Escape and took a short drive over to Gordon Biersch until we knew that power had been restored. Since there were very few people there we had some wings and a couple of beers and Judy introduced me to a fascinating tile game called Quirkle.

The road conditions were bad. The snow was heavy and the roads icy and though few people were on the road, it was obvious that many had no idea what they were doing.

Now our Papillons love the snow, especially Izzy. It is so fun to see them play and get what Pappy owners call the “zoomies.”

So anyway, wherever you are I wish you a great day while I eat my special recipe chili and drink beer.

Peace

Padre Steve

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The Papillon Gambit

Izzy and Minnie on the Hunt

Friends of Padre Steve’s World

I love my two Papillons, Minnie and Izzy. Minnie is coming up on five years old while Izzy is coming up on two. They are from different breeders and have completely different personalities but they are a perfect pair and a great team.

They both are sweet and incredibly intelligent; in fact they are scary smart and they continue to surprise us with their scheming and attitude.

I try to walk them around the lake near our home two to three times a day. There are a lot of ducks as well as geese, not to mention other birds, squirrels, and rabbits for them to track and chase. I know that is nothing unusual for anyone with a dog, most dogs love to chase and to hunt. However, lately these two have pulled something new that none of our other dogs have ever done and which we have not taught them to do, though I wish I had. I hate to admit it but I do encourage their bad habits.

Recent they have adopted a classic military strategy to outflank and surround the ducks and geese. One will go down the bank of the lake and chase them toward the other who goes higher and then comes down to cut off their retreat. It is amazing to watch. They both have different methods of the hunt. Most of the time Izzy plunges headlong to the attack, but Minnie, she quietly sneaks up, almost crouching and tiptoeing as she stalks her prey. 

When they perform what I now call the Papillon Gambit, it is Izzy who goes down the bank to flush out the prey, while Minnie sneaks around the flank, but last night they switched roles. It was amazing to watch. Yesterday, during their morning walk Izzy took the low road on some Muscovy ducks while Minnie went high and dove down. This time the ducks didn’t realize it until the last second and for the first time I actually saw them take to flight in order to avoid being trapped. But this time they barely escaped. In a near panic the ducks turned and flew away from Minnie and a large drake barely avoided being snatched out of the air by Izzy. Had she got him it would have been really interesting. 


Minnie and Izzy 

Now mind you, Minnie and Izzy are not very big, even though they are large for Papillons, Minnie is 12 pounds while Izzy weighs in at 13 pounds. Papillons do vary in size, some as small as 3 pounds and some up to twenty, but most fall into the 6 to 8 pound range. Minnie is actually a bit taller and longer than Izzy, but Izzy is built like a tank. She doesn’t have an ounce of fat on her, but as our vet said when he first saw her as a puppy, she is sturdy. The ducks in question are bigger than either of them, the males (drakes) average 10 to 18 pounds in weight while the females are a bit smaller. It is really funny to see such little dogs stalking such big prey. The one Izzy almost caught was large, probably in the 15-16 pound range. 

For those that don’t know much about the breed, they are Spaniels. Like other bigger breeds of Spaniels they are not afraid of water, or mud and occasionally will dive into the water to go after ducks or geese. They are also considered to be among the top dog breeds in terms of intelligence. They are incredibly sweet, loyal, and unfortunately sometimes they are a bit headstrong, with an attitude that you wouldn’t believe. That being said I have never seen two dogs work in tandem as these two girls do. They execute perfect flanking movements in order to trap their prey, you’d think that they were foxes or wolves, but they are Pappies.


Back in the 17th and 18th Centuries Papillons were a favorite among French royalty, in addition to being great lap dogs they doubled as great ratters, keeping the royal palaces free of vermin. It is written that Queen Marie Antoinette carried her pet papillon with her to the guillotine;  nothing is written as to whether the dog shared her fate, but I can imagine that the Papillon took a bite out of the executioner’s leg. Likewise, Madame Pompadour, mistress of King Louis XV, cherished a papillon called Inez. Despite being small, they are tough little dogs, and while incredibly sweet and friendly they are fearless. I find that quality quite endearing. 

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The papillon also appeared regularly in paintings featuring the 17th and 18th century royal children and ladies at court done by such old masters as Rubens, Titian and Van Dyck.Since we haven’t had problems with rats, Izzy tries to catch any flies or other insects that might come into view. It is fun to watch her trap and kill flies. 

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I have to say, that these two girls bring me a lot of joy and are exceptional therapy dogs for my continued struggle with the ongoing effects of PTSD. God I do enjoy them and how can I not?

Have a great weekend,

Peace

Padre Steve+

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The Saddest Day: Rest In Peace Molly Fur

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Friends of Padre Steve’s World

It has been a tough day at Padre Steve’s home as we had to put our oldest dog, Molly Fur down. It has been a day where we have shed a lot of tears.

Dean Koontz Wrote:

“Dogs, lives are short, too short, but you know that going in. You know the pain is coming, you’re going to lose a dog, and there’s going to be great anguish, so you live fully in the moment with her, never fail to share her joy or delight in her innocence, because you can’t support the illusion that a dog can be your lifelong companion. There’s such beauty in the hard honesty of that, in accepting and giving love while always aware that it comes with an unbearable price. Maybe loving dogs is a way we do penance for all the other illusions we allow ourselves and the mistakes we make because of those illusions.”

Molly was fourteen years old, a half Dachshund and half Papillon mix who was a rescue. Molly was the most amazing dog that we have ever had the honor of loving. Some people talk of being dog-owners, but we are dog-parents as we have never had any children of our own. Our dogs have been our children and we have been blessed to have all of them. Frieda, who was literally the “Dog from Hell” held us hostage for sixteen years was smart, beautiful, devious, and conniving. She fought us to be the Alpha of the family to the end of her life.  To her we were just the incompetent help.

Greta, our second baby, was sweet and lovable. But Greta was basically a “cookie-cutter” Wiener Dog. She was serious, and dour, and one hell of a tough dog. She was strongly territorial and woe betide any big dog who infringed on that territory. She took a mouthful of fur out of a Chow once, but I digress, this is about Molly…

Molly the Wonder Fur… I have a feeling that this article will eventually become the outline of a book, because Molly was amazing. I posted a short note about her loss with a picture of her running down the beach in North Carolina on my Facebook page after we put her down. Both Judy and I have been crying a lot today, even though it was time and Molly was suffering. Since posting that note I have been comforted by the comments of many friends, especially those who knew and loved her, of course reading those made me cry more, but I think that is okay. Anyway, let me tell the story of Molly Fur here. Gilda Radner said: “I think dogs are the most amazing creatures; they give unconditional love. For me, they are the role model for being alive.” 

We had lost our first dog, a Wire Hair Dachshund named Frieda while I was deployed to Okinawa, Mainland Japan and Korea in April 2001. In October 2001 my wife Judy was at the veterinarian with our other Dachshund, a smooth-hair red named Greta, or Greta-Poo for a routine visit when she met a lady holding what Judy presumed to be a long-hair Dachshund puppy.  The lady explained that she had found the puppy along North Carolina Highway 24 in Carteret County covered in tar. The lady had cleaned her up and had brought her to the vet to get checked out and to get her immunizations. 

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Since we had a great deal of experience with Dachshunds Judy told the lady that they could be quirky and that if she needed any help to let her know. Three days later we received a call from the lady explaining that she could not hand the puppy as it was too much for her older dog and asked if we wanted her. Of course I said yes. We got to the lady’s home and were confronted with a dog that certainly was not a full-blooded Wiener Dog. The puppy had legs and her ears were mounted wrong, but she had a long Dachshund body and brilliant red fur. She looked like a little red fox. I fell in love at first sight and we took her home, thus began the saga of Molly the Fur.

Now Greta our Dachshund was not thrilled to have a puppy. Greta was mommy’s baby and was not going to let anyone come in the way. She was not happy and ensured that Molly knew that, however, Molly was undeterred and one day when Greta tried to bully Molly, the Moll kicked her ass. After that the too maintained a state of detente, not really liking each other but working together to raid the cupboards, steal food and to raid the kitchen garbage can. When Greta had to put down in June of 2003, Molly became an only dog-child.

Molly was always smart, in obedience school she was not the most obedient but she charmed people and she was the class clown. As she got older she became scary smart, but unlike Frieda who used her brains for nefarious purposes, Molly was simply inventive, resourceful and undeterred in finding solutions to any obstacle that she faced. Likewise, Molly’s cheerfulness and sweet demeanor was something that endeared her to everyone who ever got to know her.

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Looking for Birds and Squirrels 

Molly was also became daddy’s girl and despite the fact that I was often deployed or frequently on the road that never changed. Molly was daddy’s girl from day one until the end.

We almost lost Molly when she was seven, when she developed a strange spinal infection. It was a difficult battle and she was in a lot of pain but she overcame it and had completely recovered in about a month’s time.

However, that infection and Molly’s recovery showed us that she was even smarter than we had imagined. As I mentioned the infection was painful for her.  She was basically put in enforced bed rest in a large laundry basket, which we were the enforcers. Molly handled that well and let us know that if she was hurting that she did not want to be picked up.

One funny thing that she did was to start screaming like a two year old child whenever Judy approached her basket. It was amazing. If she didn’t want to be picked up she didn’t bark, she screamed a blood curdling scream. When she recovered she went back to normal, but continued to amaze us with the new and inventive ways that she dealt with obstacles.

Molly loved Christmas. Her first Christmas we wrapped her up a toy and gave it to her. She immediately unwrapped it and began to play. thereafter every Christmas we did this and every Christmas she opened her presents with the joy of a child.

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She also came to love the snow, she was never much a fan of rain, but she loved the snow. It was funny during  our “Februwinter.” Molly was not in the greatest shape but handled the amazingly severe winter weather with aplomb, she with Minnie and Izzy who we had just got, had fun in the snow.

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Molly in her first snow, December 1983

Molly always had a sense for when we were hurting or sick. If we were not doing well she became “Nurse Molly.” Judy gave her that name because of her devotion to trying to make us feel better whenever we were sick or down. Since I am basically a Chaplain version of Doctor House, Nurse Molly was a tremendous comfort.

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When I returned from Iraq I was a mess. PTSD, anxiety, depression, chronic pain, night terrors and chronic sleep problems plagued me, and often still do. However Molly looked after me and I give her credit for helping save my life during those incredibly dark times when I often saw no hope and wanted to die. Over the years it was Molly’s amazing resiliency and devotion that helped keep me alive.

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When I was assigned to Camp LeJeune a second time in 2010 Molly decided, after a visit where Judy was recovering from Achilles Tendon surgery that she wanted to stay with daddy. How could she not?

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Molly Tracking a Deer in my back yard in Emerald Isle

I lived in an apartment under a beach house in Emerald Isle. Outside my door there were deer, squirrels, birds, and did I say deer? I lived about three-tenths of a mile from the beach and every day she and I would take a walk, she would chase deer and then were would hit the beach. In Virginia we have a small back yard and though there are squirrels and birds it could not compete with Emerald Isle.

One of the things that happened in Emerald Isle was on July 4th of 2011. Judy and Molly had come down for a short visit and Judy wanted to see the fireworks which were being launched from the Emerald Island Pier. The three of us went down to the beach and it was packed with people. I don’t do crowds well, I still get panicky in crowds. I also don’t do explosions well. It wasn’t the main show that got me it was the fact that everyone and their brother’s cousin’ father-in-laws next door neighbor’s roommate were there and were shooting off industrial grade fireworks right on top of me. I was melting down and flashing back to Iraq, Molly sensed that I was not doing well and moved close to me. Then to defend me she looked up and started barking at the fireworks. She was unfazed by the explosions and was determined to protect me. I love her to this day for helping to save my life.

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Visit to the Pet Store: Can I Have one Daddy? 

When Molly came to North Carolina she really came into her own. She almost bagged a few deer, including one which was sleeping just off my porch.Thankfully I was able to stop Molly’s attack with a big tug on the retractable leash with Molly just inches from taking a bite out of the left flank of the unsuspecting deer. I would have hated to explain to the local Department of Fish and Game officials how a 15 pound dog had taken a bite out of a deer.

Molly went everywhere with me and loved the rides in the car. She also loved the visits to the pet store which we call the “cookie store” and the walks on the beach. Just before I returned to Virginia in 2013 Molly went blind, just before this she had caught a butterfly in mid-air. She held onto it for five minutes before releasing it unharmed, except for the PTSD that the poor insect must have had.

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As I have already mentioned Molly, loved to do things with me, and one thing she really enjoyed were the long rides between Virginia Beach and Emerald Isle. On those rides we would stop to get something to eat, usually going through various drive thru restaurants where I would get her what I called a “Molly Burger” a plain hamburger that she would scarf down. Of course she tended to get a Molly Burger any time we went out when I lived in North Carolina.

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So Much to Choose From…

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Turn left at the drive through

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Keep the Window Down…

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Daddy and his Girl, Molly always was interested in the computer

Molly was also responsible for us having Papillons. We came to love Molly’s cheery, happy and funny Papillon side. Now Molly did have a Dachshund side of her personality as well, but she operated as either one or the other, so we never knew if we were going to get the “happy Pappy” of the serious Dachshund. But Molly’s Papillon side caused me to get Judy a Papillon just about a month after Molly a abandoned Judy to move to North Carolina with me. This Papillon is Minnie, or her full name “Minnie Scule.” In February we got Minnie a pappy-puppy named Izzy, or “Izzy Bella.” They are a joy. They are not Molly and they, even though both are full blooded Papillons have wildly different personalities. They are now best buddies and partners in crime.

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Minnie and Izzy 

Molly also shares some of the responsibility of bringing Frieda back into our lives. The vet that I took Molly to in North Carolina was the same one that Frieda and Greta went to, as well as the first that Molly went to. In 2012 Molly had to have a painful but benign tumor removed from her shoulder. When she came back from the surgery I felt a strange presence in the apartment and began to see Frieda sized shadow figures. Judy noticed them too in her visits and when Molly and I returned for good Frieda came with us. Both of us occasionally feel her presence and see her shadow.

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The Wind on the Beach

“The dog is the most faithful of animals and would be much esteemed were it not so common. Our Lord God has made His greatest gifts the commonest.” Martin Luther

Anyway, as I mentioned Molly went blind just before returning from North Carolina. The blindness was very quick to develop, and according to the veterinary eye-speciallist was congenital. However, that did not stop Molly, she adapted and overcame. To prevent injury to her eyes we got her a clear visor which covered her head and eyes but still allowed her to function almost normally. She would use it like a blind person uses their cane to figure out where she was, and if needed as a weapon to get our attention. If we had to move furniture around, she figured out what was moved and proudly let us know what she knew. 

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Molly at Age Seven, Not long after surviving a serious Spinal Infection

About a year ago she was diagnosed with the beginning stage of renal failure. She continued to do relatively well until a few months ago when she began to shed a lot of weight. Even so until a couple of weeks ago she still got around fine and gave us little cause for concern. She took a serious turn for the worse last week. On Thursday she stopped eating as she was occasionally throwing up and had developed a bloody diarrhea but Saturday. Judy and I knew that she was in pain and suffering and while I was at Gettysburg we decided that today would have to be the day. I got home from Gettysburg last night and we loved on Molly. Since she would eat nothing else we got her some hot and fresh Krispy Kreme glazed donuts, which she ate joyfully.

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Molly Giving Orders

This morning we made arrangements to take her in. Minnie and Izzy both gave Molly gentle kisses and nuzzled her before we left. I am sure that they knew that Molly wasn’t coming back. The look of concern on Minnie’s face was heart-warming. Judy drove as I cradled Molly in my arms. With the exception of her time in North Carolina this vet, Dr Robin Knoppf of Abbey Animal Hospital has been her vet. Many of his staff have known Molly for years and a number were with us, one a tech named Sean were with us shedding tears for the Amazing Molly Fur.

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Happy Trails Molly…Until We Meet Again

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Just before eleven A.M. Dr Knoppf gave Molly the injection which helped Molly into the next phase of her journey. Judy and I were holding her and Dr. Knoppf had a hand on her as he listened to her final heartbeats. Molly died surrounded by people who loved her.

It was sad, but it was also reassuring for as we looked at her we could see that she was not longer in pain and was at finally at peace. Some believe that what we see in this live is final, but I am not so sure.

I fully expect that we will see Molly again. That being said I have been crying more that I have for any reason since I can remember. Judy has been too, and thankfully the Pappies, Minnie and Izzy have been wonderful.

Thank you for allowing me to share this, and remember to love your furry babies.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Snow Days and a New Puppy

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We got hammered with some pretty good winter weather here in Hampton Roads, below freezing temperatures for several days followed by 5-6 inches of snow followed by sleet, ice and freezing rain. While not New England, and believe me I am not complaining this is a bit much for our local resources. VDOT and the local city workers are doing a good job clearing the main roads, but secondary roads as well as business, government and school parking lots are a mess.

The road network on the base where I work dates from when it was built in WWII. It is now the site of a number of Navy, Marine, Joint and NATO  headquarters, along with the Staff College. It takes forever to clear everything as the roads are narrow, developed land at a premium and nowhere to put the snow and ice. As a result, we were shut down yesterday and today. But we are not alone, school districts, colleges, businesses throughout the area are either shut down or running at the bare minimum capacity. Such as life in the coastal mid-Altantic. I would hate to see what would happen if we experienced what Boston and New England are going through.

Tonight, more snow in the forecast followed by extreme cold the next two days before things start warming over the weekend.

But the snow days have allowed me to have some daddy-puppy bonding time with the newest member of our little family, Izzy Bella.

Izzy is a Papillon and she and her breeder flew here yesterday from South Dakota. Izzy has already adapted and our two other girls, Molly our nearly 14 year old Papillon Dachshund mix, and Minnie our three year old Papillon are as well to having a new little sister. By the way, Izzy’s breeder has two boys still unspoken for, and if you want I can help you get in touch with her.

If you don’t know Papillons, they are a wonderful breed. They are in the top ten breeds for intelligence, very smart, very sweet, very playful and funny and great companions or therapy dogs. Molly, though only half-Papillon helped keep me alive during the worst of my PTSD times after Iraq. If either of us are having a bad day it is hard to be depressed as Minnie won’t let that happen.

For little dogs they are great dogs for guys. I am amazed at all the pictures on the Facebook Papillon sites of big brawny men with these dogs. They are playful, funny and tough.

Anyway, I digress. I hope you have a good day wherever you are and look for some more scintillating commentary, hard hitting articles and of course a lot of history on the site in the coming days.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Molly and the End of Padre Steve’s Strategic Pop-Tart Reserve

Pop-Tarts and Twinkies are two foods that one needs to survive the apocalypse. Both are durable foods, nearly impervious to decay, the half life of both is rumored to be classified at the highest levels of government.  This has to be true because RJ the Raccoon in the comic strip Over the Hedge maintains the Strategic Twinkie Reserve for such emergencies.

In light of this I used to keep Pop-Tarts in my car. They would be my breakfast on the way to work or sugar to meld with caffeine on long trips. I also wanted them in in the car to be prepared in case some great calamity would occur, Zombies, hurricanes, earthquakes, an invasion of 100 foot long Iranian backed terrorist Cockroaches or the Cubs winning the World Series and forcing Jesus to move up his plans for the Second Coming. I am one to prepare for such emergencies.

The great thing about Pop-Tarts is that unlike most foods Pop-Tarts do not go bad. The weather can be hot and dry, warm and humid or cold as blazes and they will survive. This is true even if you only eat one of the two Pop-Tarts in the packet, and leave the packet open in the car. Even if you do this the other will remain edible for weeks, months, maybe years. They may dry out a bit, but they will survive. This makes them ideal to keep in the car because unlike a candy bar they will not melt.

Pop-Tarts, like Twinkies contain an inordinate amount of sugar. If you need a kick that only a sugar rush or amphetamines can supply Pop-Tarts are one of the most indestructible sources available.

Back before my little Papillon-Dachshund mix Molly came down to live with me I would only see her when I visited Virginia Beach or Judy brought her to see me. On one of these trips home to Virginia I left one opened and and one unopened package of Pop-Tarts in the storage area under the front passenger seat of my Honda CR-V. I had left them there and forgotten about them because there really was no need to do anything with them. They were there for emergencies, like my flash light and warning triangle and they were indestructible. This was my Mobile Strategic Pop-Tart Reserve or MSPTR.

However, on that Saturday morning I needed to go to the local Farm Fresh grocery store for a few breakfast items. Since it was a cool winter morning I asked Molly if she wanted to go with me. Molly loves rides and didn’t need to be asked twice. She bounded to the car, which at the time was my old 2001 Honda CR-V. Molly jumped into the car and took her place in the passenger seat.

I left her in the car as I went in to the store. As is her habit she barked at me, quite offended that she was not going with me. I was in the store for about 10 minutes and when I came back to the car I saw a very hyper dog and empty Pop-Tart wrappers all over the front seat and floorboard. Molly had discovered the MSPTR. The really interesting thing was that she did not simply rip open the unopened package. She had neatly opened it along the seam, like you or I would do, as if she had thumbs.

At this point there was nothing that I could do but laugh. Yelling at her would not do anything because the Pop-Tarts were gone and I had left them in easy reach. The dog is not stupid and she took the target of opportunity. However, she did not count of the sugar rush. For the next hour it was like she was on speed. She darted around the house running around in circles, grabbing toys and bouncing off furniture until she finally ran out of gas. When she ran out of gas she crashed hard.

Judy and I could not help but laugh as we talked about it and the event had long lasting implications. I discovered the one vulnerability of the MSTPR. It was not Molly proof.

That was the end of the mobile Strategic Pop-Tart Reserve. After that I switched to fresh fruit which could not be left in the car without the danger of melting down, forcing me to eat it and throw away the remains or take it into work or the house.

Perhaps one day I will start another MSPTR in my Ford Escape, but since Molly now lives with me and rides with me more often I will have to do a better job of securing the MSPTR than I did in the past. To put in in military terms I will need to increase my force protection level if I want to do this. Molly is not to be trusted around food. This morning I left my bowl of cereal next to the bean bag and turned my back to get my coffee and when I turned around Molly was happily eating my cereal. I looked at her and said “what do you think you are doing?” She backed off and I finished the cereal. When I was done I put the bowl down for her to finish the residue. Some people would find that part gross but when you have had dogs as long as us there are some things that you just get used to. Evidently I need to increase my force protection level at home as well.

The scary thing is that our new Papillon puppy Minnie is a very smart little dog and I’m sure that when I am back in Virginia that she will begin to ride with me as well. Minnie likes to try to steal sips of my beer and my coffee, sometimes with me looking right at her. She will also attempt to go behind my back in order to steal food from behind. Since she is not ever 8 pounds and very light of step she can make a stealthy approach. So I know that nothing will be safe from her.

Peace

Padre Steve+

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Filed under Just for fun, Loose thoughts and musings, papillons

Dog Treats can be Expensive but Butterflies are Free: Molly Catches a Butterfly

My half Papillon half Dachshund mix Molly never ceases to amaze me. She is a connoisseur of the finer things in life such as dog treats and whatever daddy is eating. She is actually somewhat picky in what treats she will eat and prefers the more expensive ones.  When I get home from work after the obligatory joyful welcome and walk she has taken to telling me when it is time for me to eat, meaning that she will get to eat something from my plate. Our Papillon puppy Minnie likes to drink my coffee, beer and Judy’s wine.

Molly was a rescue dog. She was found along NC Highway 24 in 2001 when she was about 6 months old and we ended up with her when she proved too much for her rescuer. Molly has always had a thing for the outdoors and the hunt. She has chased and caused a number of birds, chases the deer that roam near the Island Hermitage and has nearly caught one more than once. I always wonder how I will explain that my 15 pound dog took down a deer.

However Molly also is into exotic foods. I am sure that when I am gone she watches those exotic or extreme food shows on the Food or Travel Channel. Among her targets are flies and other assorted bugs but she especially relishes Dragonflies and now for the first time that I have witnessed a Butterfly. Minnie has taken this up at home in Virginia stalking flies on the French doors.

Judy and I had been out and about this morning and when we came home this afternoon it was time for the obligatory joyful greeting and walk by both dogs since Judy and Minnie came down for the weekend. I had the task of walking them and things began to happen. When we pulled into the driveway there were deer in the front yard. There were also birds and butterflies. Molly being the Uber-Alpha dog that she is led the way looking for the deer, which had by then wandered to the back of the house with Minnie following, at 7 months of age still learning the ropes.

As we started down the street I spied a flock of what appear to be Palamedes Swallowtail Butterflies. I have no idea if that is the correct terminology for a bunch of Butterflies but it seems right to me. Molly also spied the flock and took off on the retractable leash like a bat out of hell. She missed the first attempt but as the flock began its evasion attempt Molly grabbed one. If butterfly grabbing was an Olympic event she would have received the maximum score for both technical merit and artistic achievement. The grab was perfect and the unfortunate Butterfly found its body in the middle of Molly’s mouth with its wings hanging equally out the side of her mouth.

It was hard to know what to do. One thing I do know is that there are some things that one does not attempt to remove from Molly’s jaws is freshly acquired game, be it wild or store bought. Molly is a tad bit food aggressive compulsive. I couldn’t help but laugh and grab a couple of pictures with my phone.  It seemed that though she was quite proud of catching it she didn’t quite know what to do with it. We walked back to the house with Judy standing in the driveway.

I called out to her “I don’t know quite what to do about this” and when she saw the wings protruding from Molly’s mouth she started laughing hard.

After a few minutes of stalemate Molly dropped the unlucky creature which was still alive, albeit covered in dog slobber. It lay on the driveway and when Judy went back later to check on it it was gone. I presume that it either recovered or was eaten by a bird.  As we walked back to the house Molly spotted the deer in the woods behind the house and drove them off, the close of a successful mission.

Molly is happy with herself. She can put another symbol for a kill wherever she keeps her display of kills and we can go back and wonder what she will get next and when Minnie begins to learn the experience of hunting.

It should be fun.

Peace

Padre Steve+ `

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Filed under Just for fun, papillons