Category Archives: dogs

Coolidge, May 5, 2003 – January 16, 2017



When we got home, he did not greet us at the door with the crusty honey badger toy in his mouth. He didn’t report on the Mongol hordes he chased from the back fence. He didn’t open the pantry door with his smart nose, nudging us with his old-man mutterings toward the Milk Bones.

When we got home, he wasn’t there.

We have a 113-pound hole in our house and our hearts where Coolidge used to live.

Last night when I woke up at 1:40 in the morning, I walked unimpeded in darkness to the bathroom. This morning, when I made coffee, I traversed a hallway free of the old-man turdlettes and tinkles that didn’t quite make it out the dog door. These are now conveniences, but not comforts.

Every dog is good in its own way. Every dog is the best there ever was to their own humans. We have had great dogs before. We still have one by our side, but there will never be another Coolidge.

I will remember him thundering down the stretch of side yard to unleash his fearsome fury on those insidious parents pulling their toddlers in red wagons, threatening our very existence with their need to walk on the sidewalk. I will miss the jowl-flapping relish with which he destroyed his kibble… and his Milk Bones… and Winslow’s Milk Bones. I won’t be able to open a bag of baby carrots without remembering that curious nose at my hip and the necklaces of drool descending to the floor with covetous love. I will always smile at how he ran laps around the dog park, unconcerned about the butt-sniffing and back-biting of the others: He just loved to run.

He was a Viking of a dog, pillaging and plundering every nook of our yard and every treat in our hands. He lived his life big.

I loved him rubbing his face between the couch cushions; studying the front-yard litter of mesquite beans to find just the right afternoon snack; unleashing great, satisfied burps at the conclusion of his epic bone-chewing adventures, and sighing his great contentment at being the G.O.A.T. of dogs.

His list of accomplishments was many: Catching a quail on the wing at the tender age of 2. Snatching a squirrel from the yard at the august age of 13.Recreating a crime scene in our own backyard. Putting all sorts of baby rabbits, turds, dead birds, shoes and sticks in his mouth, and offering this frankincense and myrrh to us as grateful gifts for the rich life he lived.

He jumped on top of tables, terrified Jehovah’s Witnesses, bodysurfed in Malibu, outran a dirt bike, chewed the step off our deck and loved us and Winslow completely.

Rhodesian Ridgebacks have a life expectancy of 10 or 11. At 13-and-a-half, Coolidge well outlived his warranty. We are grateful for the time he gave us, but it doesn’t make it any easier.



CSI: Coolidge Scene Investigators

The victim appeared to be a 110-pound Rhodesian Ridgeback

If you ever have to dispose of a body, do yourself a favor and don’t chop it up and transport it in the back of you car. Just ditch the car – wipe the prints and roll it off a mountaintop.

I can assure you: The trunk of your car will never be the same after it’s housed a dead body. The clean-up is long, loud and ultimately impossible. There will be blood – lots of it – and some day far in the future when you’re thinking you’ve managed to escape the long arm of justice, some crafty crime scene investigator or blood-spatter analyst will come along and bust your ass¹ for busting a cap in someone else’s ass.

I know this because Pat and I spent $354.31 and two hours last night cleaning up the aftermath of Coolidge Carnage™.

Those of you who are faint of heart may not want to read on or access our Gallery of Gore™.

Continue reading CSI: Coolidge Scene Investigators

Dewey: Happily Ever After

Happily Ever After - I think we're gonna get along just fine.

If the best revenge is living well, Dewey will soon be featured on Lifestyles of the Rich and Canine.

Actually he’s in Ahwatukee, but I can assure you he doesn’t know the difference: His Forever Home with his new Dad Kerry beats the carpool lane of State Route 51 by about 16 miles.

He has a swimming pool, a big yard, his very own doggie door, plush parks within walking distance, a nearby duck pond and most importantly, a man who loves him and is committed to giving him a good life.

Kerry is a motorcycle racer. We met him last week at the CCS Southwest Race Series at Firebird International Raceway in Phoenix. Since we had adopted our Winslow from a racer foster-family, I figured we could search among the pits to find some pit-loving souls to take this one in. Unfortunately, as I was trotting our four-legged ambassador of love around, I kept meeting folks who already had one or two or three well-trained dogs at home. Sigh. I gave them my card and told them that we were looking for a good home for Dewey and to please let me or Pat know if any of their friends might be interested. We went back to Pat’s tent to sit in front of the air-cooler and plan our next steps.

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Dewey: Let’s Get This Boy Home!

Lookin' Sharp and Lookin' for Love

Great news: Our veterinarian Dr. Brown has given Dewey a clean bill of health. His eye infections are clear. His incisions have healed, and he doesn’t seem to miss his missing testicles!

Epic news: Living with his Foster Mom 21.3 miles from the State Route 51 HOV lane, he’s come light years from the bag of scraggly bones Pat saved from certain doom. He’s put on 4 pounds and is beginning to understand that in the civilized world, we eat nutritious food (as opposed to rat carcasses), at regularly scheduled intervals (not catch as catch can) and out of clean bowls (instead of Dumpsters). If he had opposable thumbs, he’d probably know the difference between his salad fork and dessert spoon by now. Even more epic, Dr. Brown thinks he needs to gain only 5 more pounds before his spine disappears into his flanks and he is the picture of studly dogness (at a modest 65 pounds instead of our original maximum guestimate of 80 pounds).

Most Excellent News of Triumphant Awesomeness: You have not missed out on this exclusive opportunity to make Dewey a part of your family!

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Dewey: The Right Dog for Someone

Dewey - Lookin' sharp and lookin' for love.

An average of 178,000 vehicles travel Arizona State Route 51 between the Loop 202 merge and the McDowell Road on-ramp each day – the majority of those bottleneck southbound around 8 AM mornings and northbound 5 PM afternoons.

On Thursday, August 26 at 5:15 PM, Pat and I inched northward through this broiling slow-and-go toward the carpool lane, which was stop-and-go.

“What the fuck? The carpool lane? Holy shit! It’s a dog!” Pat said, throwing the TrailBlazer SS into park. I mashed on the hazards and crawled across the backseat to open the door.

A white dog with a black eye sat trembling beside the Jersey barrier.

Pat crouched before him, softly calling to him over the bleat of horns and roar of wheels. If I get out of this car, I’m stepping into oncoming traffic, but if he bolts – he’s gonna get hit. Please go to Pat. Please go to Pat. Please go to Pat.

Pat lunged forward, scooped him up and rolled this bag of bones into the backseat. Within seconds we were underway, cruising at 60 miles an hour. I cranked up the air-conditioner and called our veterinarian, Dr. Jeffrey Brown at Scottsdale Ranch Animal Hospital. He agreed to stay late to see the dog.

A dog doesn’t end up in the middle of one of the busiest freeways in Phoenix at rush hour because his owner took a wrong turn on the way to Bible study.

Continue reading Dewey: The Right Dog for Someone