Things that go bump in the afternoon…

Pointy knife

Photo: MD Wright

By Freckle

Somebody—I think it was a Labradoodle—once said, “People do the strangest things!” I’ve written about some pretty strange things already but last week tops the list!

So I’m stretched out on the couch beside Shelley. Even though it was noon, the drapes were shut because Shelley was Sniping on the computer. Mmmm… maybe it was ‘Skyping’—it doesn’t really matter. Something to do with backlighting and the computer screen … I dunno. Anyway, I’m dozing peacefully when there was an enormous THUMP on the concrete walkway to our yard—right outside my window!  Shelley leaps up and goes outside to check it out. Nothing. Nobody except a gaggle of guys out on the sidewalk who tell Shelley that somebody with a knife just ran through our yard! Shelley came back inside really fast, opened the drapes and called 911. I was … like … beside myself right? I ran back and forth on the couch looking into the yard but there was nobody there. Shelley was talking to the police on the phone just like there was nothing happening.

Then … all of a sudden a short guy with a trendy haircut popped out from under our little tiny Japanese Maple tree! I mean … a cat would have a hard time getting under there! He was that small. He stood right in front of our big window with his back to us … not even three feet away! Then … he carefully brushed his clothes off. You know how dirty you can get when you hide in the bushes right? Then he tried to put the knife he was carrying down the front of his pants! I was just about to yell out the window, “Hey birdbrain! Not a good place!” But he seemed to figure it out and put it inside the side of his jeans. It was a pointy knife and much too big to fit in a little guy’s pocket.

So he looked like he was just about ready to leave after cleaning himself up and having a little talk with himself. Probably “positive self-talk” or “affirmations” or whatever they call it. Or maybe he’d had a cocktail before dropping by and was just muttering. Whatever. By this time, Shelley had called Mary Doug into the room to watch too. Then … the three of us and the birdbrain were shocked to see two men run into our yard and one of them tackle the little guy. It was amazing! Before you could say “Hey! You broke our birdbath!” [This he did!] the birdbrain was on his stomach on the ground with his hands held behind his back by the good samaritan.  Shelley was still on the phone with the police and was describing all this like a hockey announcer. The good samaritan barely had time to catch his breath when five police officers in uniforms and a few more in black T-shirts arrived and took over. It was like we had 3-D TV and a 12-foot screen!

It seems that the birdbrain had stolen something from the liquor store a couple of blocks from us. Then he ran past a nearby café where the good samaritan and his family were sitting enjoying a latte on the patio. At some point in the race that followed, the birdbrain tried to stab the good samaritan with the pointy knife. Unbelievable right? Birdbrain picked the wrong guy to mess with because the good samaritan used to be a cop in Europe or somewhere. We figured he knew what he was doing by the way he tackled the guy.  So the police put birdbrain in handcuffs and finally took him away after they did a whole lot of “paperwork” and consulting with each other. Shelley and the good samaritan had to write down everything they saw. Then another police officer came with a dog that looked exactly like my friend Saint but it wasn’t. They got the dog to search all the shrubbery up and down the block looking for something that birdbrain had thrown away while he was running from the liquor store. I heard one of the police officers say that he thought whatever it was had been rescued by a “not so good samaritan.”

Pretty wild Saturday afternoon right? I don’t think you need to be a Labradoodle to see that people really do do the strangest things! Mary Doug took some photos to prove it.

Good samaritans at work

Photo: MD Wright


Never underestimate the importance of supervision!

Freckle supervises dishwasher repair man Oct 18 2012

Freckle supervises dishwasher repair man Oct 18 2012

We had our dishwasher serviced yesterday. This kind of thing requires careful supervision and can be time consuming. As the Boxer of the house, it’s my job to keep an eye on unusual people in the apartment… especially when they’re near the kitchen. One thing I noticed right off yesterday was that this guy was just a pup–barely on solid food! I think you can see his knees in the photo here. Boxers in our house have learned the hard way about the importance of supervision when dealing with the repair man (I’ve never met a “repair woman”… just sayin’).

Back in the early ’90s when Bridget ran the ship, the moms decided to call a repair man to look at the kitchen stove. As the story goes, they called the guys with the biggest Yellow Pages ad! Yes, I said Yellow Pages–this was before the Internet! A couple of guys with matching bib overalls and a big suitcase full of tools came right away.

Now Bridget was pretty young and inexperienced and she made the mistake of multi-tasking (again) and leaving the pair unsupervised in the kitchen for a bit. Twenty minutes went by and lots of clattering and banging behind the stove. Then… a deafening crack of electricity, a blinding flash and … silence.

Instantly the moms appeared–one from each end of the apartment–looking for fried repair guy for dinner. Amazingly, the two terrified lumps in overalls cowering on the tile floor were alive and barely scorched. It goes without saying that Bridget didn’t leave them alone for another second. But then they didn’t stay long either–the moms gave them a swift kick out the door and said “Don’t come back!”

Lots of learnin’ happened that day. Bridget learned to never leave bib overalls alone in your house. The moms learned that big Yellow Page ads don’t mean diddly-squat. And two guys with really frazzled hair learned that just because you can afford a full-page ad doesn’t mean you can fix electric stoves. Yep, that was a long time ago and our house is a safer place because of it.

The Tandoori Chicken Boxer

ImageThe Tandoori Chicken Boxer (TCB) is a highly valued variety of the popular Boxer breed. Usually cayenne in colour (also known as “fawn” or “red”), the Tandoori Chicken Boxer is extraordinarily intelligent and is often recognizable by the dark freckles appearing on the muzzle, chest, and other places. Large, kind eyes are common in this breed and are outstanding in the Tandoori Chicken Boxer. The eyes are critical in the feeding habits of TCBs and indeed in most Boxers known to humans. Typically, a soft, loving gaze is utilized, honed through intense visualization and used strategically on the weakest of humans seated in the room. These are individuals identified through rigorous research as EPOFs or Extreme Push-Overs with Food. Success can be attained with other human varieties but this normally requires time and patience not always available. As the EPOF’s bowl of aromatic food is nearly empty, the TCB begins to salivate with rivulets ultimately pouring from each side of the mouth. A questioning tilt of the head often occurs simultaneously. At this point the Tandoori Chicken Boxer is in full-on “hunt mode” and very little can distract its focus. It’s important to note that this procedure is entirely silent, save the sound of the EPOFs spoon in the bowl of course. The TCB’s body tenses and leans forward slightly, ready … ready … “come on for heaven’s sake!!” Finally, the EPOF holds out the empty bowl with only the faintest tinge of Tandoori sauce. Aaaahhhh!! Slurp slurp slurp …. It doesn’t get any better for a Tandoori Chicken Boxer.

CAUTION! Tandoori Chicken Boxers … or any other creatures … should never eat the actual Tandoori sauce but only lick the bowl where said sauce used to be!

Back after a couple of years off …

Freckle has been asking to update the blog for a few months … so here we are.

Ceilidh & Freckle 2007

Freckle whispering wisdom to Ceilidh who doesn't believe a word

We’re sad to say that Ceilidh has gone to the Rainbow Bridge (December 27, 2011) so for now, Freckle is driving solo. More to come.

Sisters take care of each other

Freckle and Ceilidh May 2007


In the past two or three years, Ceilidh has slowly lost her vision and her hearing. Ninety-nine percent of the time she manages perfectly. In fact when we meet new people while out on our walks they’re always shocked to hear that she’s blind because she marches along like any other dog. Having said that, we do watch out for her because she has on occasion hit a lamp post or more likely a branch that may have fallen onto the boulevard during one of our wind storms. She seems able to sense larger objects in her path but not smaller or thinner ones.

Some of the most challenging situations for Ceilidh have occurred in our apartment. We have carpet runners that go from one one end to the other and act as a guide. Once or twice we’ve seen Ceilidh lose her way and end up in the dining room instead of the living room. When she needs help, she sits down and makes a grunting-squeaking sound to call us.

Freckle has always been very protective of Ceilidh. Now that Ceilidh can’t hear us when we get up in the morning, Freckle bounces over to her bed and exhales mightily through her nose on Ceilidh’s face to let her know that it’s time to get up. Ceilidh doesn’t seem startled, just opens her eyes and blinks at Freckle.

A few months ago in the middle of the night, Freckle suddenly appeared beside the bed in an agitated state. She was running back and forth and bouncing up and down–behaviour that we’d never seen at 3:00 AM when the entire house is normally sleeping. I immediately lept out of bed and followed Freckle as she ran down the hallway into the other room. She stopped in front of Mary Doug’s antique desk and chair. Poor Ceilidh had somehow gotten tangled up in the legs of the chair under the desk. She was clunking into them trying to find her way out but seemed to have gotten into a bit of a panic. Freckle stood and watched while I gently pulled Ceilidh out from under the desk and picked her up. Her little heart was pounding and she leaned in the way that Pugs do when they’re nervous or scared (we call it “clinging”).

Ceilidh has always had a younger, bigger Boxer sister to look out for her. When she was young, it meant she could be really mouthy with big dogs in the neighbourhood. Nowdays, it just means that she has someone to run for help when she gets into a jam.

Freckle & Ceilidh waiting for dinner

Freckle & Ceilidh waiting for dinner

Freckle and the bumblebee

Pensive Freckle thinking about bumblebees

Freckle thinking back to last summer and that weird bumblebee in the garden! Photo by MD Wright

I was looking through my files for blog posts I’d started or made notes for and found this one from June 13, 2008. I’d forgotten about it and it made me smile to remember Freckle’s growly throat noises as she stalked a wooden garden ornament. Here it is:

Freckle and I were walking along the railroad tracks/community gardens late this afternoon when suddenly we heard a whirring noise in the midst of a clump of irises. We approached and as I suspected, it was a one of those bumblebees on a stick (the modern kind) but one wing had been incapacitated and was pointing to six o’clock. The other wing was doing double-duty and whirring gallantly in the breeze! Freckle was obviously shocked! She bounced back and crouched down as though she’d just met a Boxer with a strange face. She started tilting her head as only Boxers can do … turning it this way and that… looking at the lopsided bee struggling unsuccessfully to fly away with each gust of wind.

Then Freckle crouched really close to the ground and I could hear the beginning of what we call the “throat noise” … low gurgling sounds that begin just above her chest and rumble all the way up to her front teeth. She began bouncing from one side to the other … all the while gurgling away and tilting her head from side to side. The bumblebee, on the other hand, seemed completely oblivious.

By this time it was approaching 5:50 pm and I was hoping to be home in time to watch the six o’clock news. I said, “Freckle, let’s go. It’s just a bee on a stick… it’ll be here tomorrow.” Freckle wasn’t convinced. She gently planted first one paw, and then the other so very carefully between the plants surrounding the busy bee. Each time I said, “Freckle, not in the garden,” and she’d immediately lift her paw up but kept her eyes on the bee. And all the while, the warbling gurgle continued in her throat.

Soon I heard the evening news theme song wafting along from a nearby apartment building. “OK, Freck … here we go.” It took persistence and a cookie to convince her to move toward home. Later in the evening as I watched her snoozing peacefully on the couch, I wondered if she was dreaming about stationary bumblebees or whether she’d given it another thought.

Grandma comes to visit

Ceilidh, Freckle and Grandma

Grandma tells a joke

by Ceilidh

Grandma came to visit us a few months ago. She’s a very cool lady (actually we were all a bit cool when this photo was taken as you can see by the blankets). She can tell a joke, I tell ya! I was just howling … but Freckle not so much. Not sure if it’s because she’s was born without a sense of humour–which would be very strange for a Boxer–or if she just doesn’t get Grandma’s wit. To be honest, I think it may just be that Boxer thing about wanting to be the centre of attention and not wanting to share the stage with Grandma. Freckle likes to be the “funny one” and is usually full of silly remarks as you can see in the photo below. It’s true that I can’t hear very well these days, but somebody needs to tell her that she doesn’t need to shout into my ear!

Freckle talking directly into Ceilidh's ear

Freckle sharing a joke with Ceilidh (who is hard of hearing)

Ceilidh’s birthday party

Ceilidh's 15th birthday party

Ceilidh's 15th birthday party

August 4th was Ceilidh’s 15th birthday and we had a small party. Ceilidh has always loved to sing and will belt it out at the least provocation. As you can see in this photo, Freckle didn’t grow up with a tradition of birthday song and was noticeably uncomfortable with her lack of familiarity with the words.

After Ceilidh blew out the birthday candle [a custom that Freckle found quite unhygienic but Ceilidh insisted], we asked her if she’d like to say few words. Pulling the cake closer to her side of the table, she said, “Yeah … I do have a couple of favourite quotes about life. My favourite philosopher, Anonymous, said ‘Life is a jigsaw puzzle with most of the pieces missing.'”

With that, Ceilidh sat back on her bum the way Pugs do and started to gnaw on the edge of her birthday muffin. Freckle and Mary Doug and I looked at each other. I said, “Was there another one? You said you had a couple of favourite quotes.”

“Um … sure. Lily Tomlin says, ‘We’re all in this together–by ourselves.'” Smack smack smack went the muffin. Then Ceilidh sighed a long, noisy sigh … the way Pugs do. She said, “But mostly I think that Bette Davis hit the nail on the head when she said ‘Old age is no place for sissies!'” Freckle just stared at her as Ceilidh picked up the remaining piece of her birthday muffin and winked at us.

Freckle’s and my first Rally O seminar and trial

I’m planning to write a longer post on our Rally O weekend October 25-26, but for now, check out the photos of the group of us. You’ll know which are Freckle and me – Freckle was the only boxer. And, yes, it was as cold as it looks – we were in an unheated barn on a horse ranch, but we all had a great time. (posted by Mary-Doug Wright)

Freckle enjoying Vanier Park – what a goofball!

This is one of my favourite photos of Freckle. She’s enjoying the cool spring weather last March and the energy that comes from a looming storm. By the time we walked home from Vanier Park, the rain had begun in earnest.

More photos of Freckle at Vanier that day can be found on my Flickr account, along with lots of others.