Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Reflections of an Old Dog

by Nessie the Monster

Keep your head and tail up and keep running forward and your life will have been full.

My name is Nessie the Monster and I am a Duchess.  The Duchess of Hagg to be exact.  That title was given me when I came to live with WishBone, Duke of the House of Hagg.  He was 4 at the time and I was but a young pup.  What a strong and handsome lad he was.  And stoic and fearless.  I gave him every puppy antic I had in my repertoire and he never flinched.  I remember hearing the staff of the house mumbling behind my back that they were truly worried that something was wrong with him.  I played so hard (and with puppy teeth mind you) that I had ripped his ear causing him to have an operation for 'cauliflower ear'  and his beautiful white chest had turned red with blood from all the scratches.  Yet he was such a gentleman that he never lifted a paw to strike me down.  He just let me play and play.  The staff even took him to my class at school to ask the teachers if there might be something they could do to cause WishBone to stand up for himself against me.  I remember hearing that when the time came, he would.  In the meantime, I remember having much fun at his expense.  

It was about a year and a half later when the time came.  Wow.  I remember the Holy Bejeebers getting knocked out of me.  I was playing as usual and WishBone unexpectedly lifted a very strong paw and made such a terrible growling noise that I thought the sound alone would kill me.  Then that paw came crashing down on my head and the lights went out.  It was a K.O.  But evidently, he wasn't sure he had gotten the message across so he opened his huge jaws and placed them (quite gently) around my head, engulfing me in darkness and fear.  And that noise I shall never forget.  It was a very low, almost inaudible sound emanating from deep within the recesses of his deep  and still bloody chest.  All I could do was play dead and pray that it would end.

When he let me get up, which I was very surprised to find that I could do,  I had a new found respect for him.  Well.  I had to.  I didn't want that to happen to me again.  We became the absolute best of friends and we played together and toured the USA for many years until one day up in Michigan, he died.  I was more sad than I have ever been.  He was my friend and companion.  The staff had taken him away in the middle of the night and came back with only his collar.  When they let me smell it, I knew I would never see him again

Me and my best friend in Michigan a week before I lost him forever.

WishBone and Taylor Bailey Alexander

When we came back to the Palace in our home town, I was so sad and lonely that I sat on the rug by the stair and wailed and cried and howled a pitiful and mournful song.  Everyone in the house was crying with me.  We all mourned together for many days and then one day, we could no longer go on with being sad.  We had to move forward.  It was quieter in those days, but nice and peaceful.  I went about the business of being an only Duchess and did my best to keep spirits up in the house and to make everyone there to feel needed.  Finally, I planned a big expedition and we packed up and went on a long journey for Christmas that year.  We went through Memphis and  ended up in North Carolina.  While I was out walking with one of the staff, I noticed off in the distance another member of my staff playing with what looked like two puppies on a green lawn.  When I approached, both their respective arsses were lifted for me to inspect.  I liked them instantly and hired them to be my Chamberlains.  In retrospect, I probably should have thought about it longer, because I've been sorry more than a few times that I made such a quick decision, but everyone was happy and there was much rejoicing that day.  So we brought them back to the Palace and I had the staff to begin to teach them their duties.

McKenzie Malcolm
They haven't really co-operated in excess about learning how to be dignified members of a Royal Household.  But, I guess I should remember how patient WishBone was with me.  The House of Hagg has not been the same since they came to us.  Where is was once peaceful and quiet, it is now full of life, joy, craziness and frenetic energy at times.  Look here!  Their pictures won't even co-operate and line up properly!  Yes.  Those two have some very bad 'juu-juu' in their blood line.

WishBone, Duke of the House of Hagg and me
Nessie the Monster, Duchess of Hagg
on the beach in Hilton Head

And I do have yet another story to tell of Lord Malcolm eating the 'wrong' thing over the past Christmas holiday.  I'll save that for another day, though.  My main purpose in making this reflection on my life is that it is my birthday today.  I have turned 9 years old.  As I am a dignified dog and try not to call attention to myself, I have celebrated in a quiet way.  No party hats or silly masks.  I'm just thinking of the grand life I've lead thus far.  I've been to Florida, Michigan, North Carolina, Georgia, Virginia, Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virgina, South Carolina, Arkansas, Illinois, Iowa, Mississippi, Alabama, Louisiana, Colorado, New Mexico, Texas, Kansas, Missouri, Indiana, Utah, Nebraska, Kentucky, Tennessee, Wisconsin and Minnesota.  I've been blessed to have a wonderful and caring staff and I had the greatest friend in WishBone that a dog could ever hope for.  And now I am blessed with two adopted children that I am doing my level best to raise properly.  (I'm not mentioning Taylor Bailey Alexander the Tailless Cat whom I drove insane.  It was not a good period in my life).

Lord Malcolm and Lady McKenzie at about 3 months old.

Last night, I completed my series of testing to be a Therapy Dog.  I have passed and am awaiting my license.  I can think of no better way to celebrate such a great life, than to share it with others.  I will be pleased to go to libraries and help young children learn to read; and to go to hospitals and give a little cheer and happiness to children and other patients and I won't forget the older generation as I go and 'hang' with them in retirement homes.   As I have said before, Royalty is for Charitable Giving.  We must always give back to our communities in whatever way we can -- even if it is just by smiling at someone.  Remember to always keep your tail up and keep moving forward!  My life has been full and yours can be too!  May your New Year be full of happiness and prosperity and may you find Peace in giving to others!  That is what a dog's life is about!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Very Merry Christmas

The Royal House of Hagg would like to extend our warmest wishes and heartfelt joy in this beautiful Christmas season to all of you who make our lives richer by reading our blog.  We are glad to be able to share our lives with you and our fondest hope is that you can glean valuable information on how to raise a happy and healthy dog in this hectic world.  If you are thinking of bringing a new dog home for the holidays, please be sure to pick a dog based on temperament and personality and not on 'looks'.  Remember that any breed of dog can be a GREAT family dog provided you choose wisely.  The dog needs a family that it's personality can 'fit' into.  (Just like finding a good job--you have to fit)!  Be sure to look deeply and honestly into your  lifestyle and choose a dog who will be a great fit.  If you never get off the sofa, don't bring a Boxer home.  While we LOVE sofas, we need to have a lot of exercise first.  Do some real research -- and be honest!  Some dogs have higher energy levels than others.  And while each breed has certain similarities, every dog has it's own energy level and it's own personality.  The more effort you put into choosing the right dog for your family, the happier all of you will be and the easier it will be for your new dog to assimilate into it's new pack.

Also, a lot of ads are on TV right now asking for donations while they really tug at your heartstrings.  Please!  If you feel inclined to donate, do so locally.  In this way, you can see where your money is being used.  Always check out the rating of the charity you are giving to.  You want your money to help the animals and not the people running the organization.   And if you choose to adopt a beautiful pet for your family, consider going to your local shelter.  Make sure you are able to assess the energy level and personality before bringing them home.  There are so many wonderful animals just waiting for the right family or person to come along and give them a chance.  Many of these dogs end up in shelters simply because the original family were not honest about their lifestyle and they chose the wrong dog.  This doesn't mean that the dog was a bad dog.  It only means that the humans didn't do their due diligence.   And lastly, please be prepared to train your dog and read some books on dogs, yourself.  We are animals living in a human world which we are very willing to do.  It is your responsibility to give us what WE need to live in and to understand your environment.  Please accept our  many thanks for your continued support of our blog.  May you each have a wonderful and very Merry Christmas and much Peace and Happiness in the New Year!

House of Hagg
Nessie the Monster, Duchess of Hagg;  CGC
Lord Malcolm and Lady McKenzie, Chamberlains to the Duchess of Hagg;  CGCs

"Oh dear!  I winked!  Take another picture"!

"Much better.  Thank you.  And a very merry Christmas to one and all"!
"That danged woman put a Naughty Hat on my Royal Head"!
"Oh.  Be quiet, both of you!  Can we never have a dignified picture?  I sometimes wish I would never have hired you Chamberlains"!

Friday, December 9, 2011

A Crisp Frosty Day, A Pile of Dry Leaves and the Promise of Hot Tea and a Biscuit

A Flat Out Run
with the 
Bike Tow Leash
and a very
Bundled Up Chauffeur

by the Lady McKenzie

Oh my!  I so enjoyed talking with you last week that I asked permission from the Duchess of Hagg if I could do it again.  And yes!  She agreed!  I'm so happy and overwhelmed and excited to be able to tell you about the wonderful day me and me'brother, the Lord Malcolm had yesterday.

Every few days in winter, when the weather is yet crisp but the sun is shining and the wind conditions are just so, Nessie the Monster, Duchess of Hagg decrees that the Royal Chauffeur bundle herself up and take Lord Malcolm and me'self on a wild ride through the streets of Hagg to check on the status of the commoners living on the properties, and to ensure that they are all conducting themselves in a manner well pleasing to the Household of Hagg.  Normally, we would stop and collect taxes along the way, but because the Christmas Season is for Charitable Giving, the taxes are forgiven at this time of year.

Mike Leon's great invention is simple to attach with no tools

Because we don't have to stop, and because the Royal Hiney does not participate Herself, Lord Malcolm and me'self take advantage of the poor chauffeur.  If the Duchess were following along, you know it would be a much more slow and regal occasion.  But, since she is not there, well. (he he)  WE RUN!  That silly woman we have as a chauffeur cannot get her leg over the bike and her buttocks  on the seat before we are all ready speeding around the first corner!

This is Malcolm running 'round a campsite in New Mexico.  Show off!
Ahh!  There is nothing so good as the smell of wood fires wafting through the crisp air, the sound of rustling leaves as you plough through the damp piles and the cold crisp wind catching your jowls as you tear through neighbourhood after neighbourhood. Running and running, faster and faster. Uphill, downhill;  speeding 'round corners and slowing up only for stop signs.  (It seems we must set a good example for the general public and watch the rules of the road, even though we made the rules and they are ours to break).

I will admit that at first I was afraid of the bicycle and the Bike Tow LeashIt made sounds I didn't understand and I didn't know that it was meant for my enjoyment.  But when I learned what a great device it was, well, I just couldn't get enough!

The Royal Chauffeur does take precautions in extreme cold and extreme heat while we run. She always brings water and a chamber pot (we rarely use these things, but they are there if we need them)and she always smears our feet with a product called Musher's SecretThis is to ensure that our beautiful feet are kept from getting cut or injured in any way. Both me'brother, Lord Malcolm, and me'self love the leash attachmentbecause it allows us to manoeuvre 'round obstacles quite easily and the best part is ..... we can RUN, RUN, RUN to our heart's desire. 

Lord Malcolm.  Getting Praise, of course!  Humph!

Why are all the pictures of me'rotten brother!
Really, the product is worth all the hype I'm giving it because of the safety value. Not just for us Royals but for our Chauffeur as well. She has never had an accident while driving us around no matter how hard Lord Malcolm pulls her.  Oh, my!  But he is a boisterous soul! So in the end, I would just like to say that this leashis a wonderful invention and we, as Royal Celebrities are very fortunate to live in such a manner as to have this wonderful deviceAnd indeed, it does serve a dual purpose.  It allows us great pleasure and fun -- and really! Isn't that all that life is about?  But in case you want more;  it de-pleats our energy level so much that we spend the rest of the day (and sometimes two) lounging and sleeping (and of course, and especially in Malcolm's case) eating.  If you need proof of that, just look at the picture at the top of this blog!

Well, that is all I wanted to tell you other than we had a wonderful time running through the fallen leaves and racing 'round the countryside.  It was good to get back to the Palace and take a cup of tea and biscuits with me'Lady, the Duchess of Hagg in the House of Hagg Pub (the Snugg o'the Pub, more rightly).  Ta!

Monday, December 5, 2011

Lord Malcolm's Antics Never Cease

Why Some Royal Families Choose 
to buy
Pet Insurance
a perspective on me'brother by Lady McKenzie

I don't often get the opportunity to speak with the general public mostly because I rarely have much to say and much of my time is consumed with the rigorous duty of running the everyday affairs of the House of Hagg.  I realize that me'wicked boss, the Duchess of Hagg, would have you believe that not much gets done without her constant demands;  but truth be told, she has no idea what a job it is just to keep me'brother on the 'straight and narrow' path.  He is much bull headed, and at times very bossy and selfish.  As you may know, he is a HUGE  animal and is yet, still building his body, as he is not yet fully matured.  He stands staring at his image in the mirror waiting for his "buttocks to fill" and his "chest to drop".  I only wish he would grow into those huge feet and grand head of his.  

His intake around the Palace is as large as his personality.  He consumes more food on a daily basis than the Duchess and me'self put together.  I, of course, am the most demure and petite  of all who live here.   I pride me'self in keeping the most trim and fit of anyone in the House.  The Duchess was once fit, but she has never really been beautiful and fine boned like me and her age is now apparent, such as she no longer goes on extended runs.  It seems she is quite content to walk or if she does take to running, it is for shorter periods than she did when       she was young.  But, as I said before, Lord Malcolm cannot be satisfied with the normal 2 plates of food per day.  No.  He requires much more.  He is served 1 1/2 times as much food as me and fully 2 times as much as the Duchess at every meal and is always looking for an opportunity to snack throughout the day.

In fact, the reason why he is the subject of so much attention in this blog is that he demands so much attention during the course of every single day.  I swear, one would think that he is the only dog living here.  He spends his day doing tricks and making up his own cues (such as the tea kettle boiling) to get cookies and snacks.  It used to be that every time the kettle whistled, we could all come in for a wee cuppa tea and a wee biscuit.  With me'brother, it soon became every time the kettle was filled with water......and soon after, every time any stock pot was being filled.  He is first to show up and demand he be fed.

Lord Malcolm just after he was forced to vomit outside Vet's Clinic

Another way he gets fed is to pretend to bark at something out the window of the Palace.  That's how he manages to keep his job, by the way.  The Duchess thinks he is protecting the premises.  And when he is asked to stop barking, just what do you think happens?  Yes.  That is correct.  He races to the cookie jar and demands a cookie for his obedience. (Well, in actuality, we all race to the cookie jar with him and demand cookies for his obedience). When will they learn that he is playing them all for fools?  And, still, he cannot be satisfied..........

Lord Malcolm has proven over and over again, that he will consume anything.  Why, you remember the incident in which he almost died?  Well.  He recently pulled that little trick again!  The servants were charged with the very important and very complicated duty of decorating the Palace for the upcoming Christmas Festival.  A toy had been placed on the mantle some time ago (to curb my obsessive behavior) and had been kept there so as not to tempt me.  When it was taken down and placed in a box with other toys, of course I found it immediately!  I mean, did that silly woman think I wouldn't find it?  Humph!  Well.  As soon as I found it, Malcolm stole it from me and began to eat it.  Yes.  In the time it took for the decorating committee to get the lights and trim on the mantle, Lord Malcolm had chewed off the end of an indestructible Kong Toy.  

Don't even think about it!  Of course he ate it!  -- Along with a few Styrofoam berries.  What makes this time better than the last, is that the servant woman is constantly checking toys since that last incident.  She found the problem right away and I heard her talking sternly with Lord Malcolm and telling him that she would be ready for him at 5am the very next morning when she expected him to regurgitate the object.

5 am didn't quite make it before me'brother was waking the household with that horrible sound of bile bubbling up from the pit of hell.  All jumped out of their warm and toasty beds, turned on lights, ran for paper towels and disinfectant and waited.  Then it came.  The bile, that is, not the toy.  The servant woman decided to stay up with us (as we were all now wide awake) and leave the Duchess to finish her beauty (Ha!) rest.  It wasn't too long that the sound of regurgitation rang through the Palace again, this time from the Palace Pub.  Still, no toy.

As soon as the hour was decent, a phone call was made to the Royal Veterinary.  The Palace, having made sure upon birth that Lord Malcolm and me'self were covered by insurance, was not hesitant to rush him to the hospital yet again.  In fact, we are covered by Trupanion Pet Insurance.  The Vet, a good man named George Carley, was as distressed as I that me'brother would again place his very large body in such peril.  The good doctor considered all the options and got out his trusty 'roto-rooter' type tool in case the task required fishing it out of the stomach through the mouth.  But the chauffeur insisted on inducing vomiting.   The doctor argued that the object may well be in his intestine by now and vomiting would send it further down.  "No", insisted the chauffeur, "make him to vomit".  So, much soft food was given (and taken gladly by Lord Malcolm) and then he was given a wee drop in his eye.  Quite magically, the piece of kong came floating up with all that wonderfully soft canned food he had just eaten.  The good doctor has now officially saved Lord Malcolm's life two times!  We didn't require the insurance on this visit, but had the object gone into the intestine, we would have needed it to take care of the surgical costs.  It has proven to have all ready paid for itself with the last 2 surgeries where the doctor ended by taking 6 inches of Lord Malcolm's bowel.  In fact, those 2 surgeries, having been paid by the Trupanion Pet Insurance, have paid for the cost of the insurance for both me'brother and me'self for our entire lives.  We are very grateful for the benefits we are afforded by living and working at the House of Hagg.  And again, Lord Malcolm gets all the attention on facebook