Why Only Doesn’t Mean Lonely

By Georgie Gurl

I don’t remember much about my original family, my dog family, but I’m pretty sure I had sisters and brothers. I mean, I couldn’t really see them or hear them right after I was born, but I could smell them. And we all smelled the same. Sort of a cross between wet wool, maple syrup and hot puppy breath.

Those early days were a swirl of sweet but simple chaos. Crawling over top of each other to get to Mom. Drinking Mom’s milk as often and as much as we could. And sleeping. Lots and lots of sleeping.

None of us had names back then. We were just Bobby and Hot Shot’s kids. But even though we were nameless, we knew we were family. And it was comforting just knowing that we were all in it together.

A Family Addition?

Not long after that, I learned life’s first tough lesson as a dog: That our littermates aren’t life mates and that our dog family is just a temporary one, until our human family finds us.

But I can tell my humans feel sort of guilty about all this. They worry that our pack isn’t big enough — and that being the only dog in the house is damaging my psyche. They wonder if I’m too isolated and need a sibling.

The sullen conversation usually goes something like this:

Human 1: “Do you think Georgie’s lonely?”

Human 2: “Yeah, maybe.”

Human 1: “I mean, maybe we’re not enough for her. Maybe she needs a sibling,”

Human 2: “But she has her dog friends in the neighborhood. She’s fine.”

Human 1: “Yeah, that’s true. I don’t know.”

They’ve had this conversation many times. But about a month ago, they took it to a whole new level.

“Hey, Georgie,” they said one morning. “Are you ready to go meet your new brother?”

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A Journey to the Sea

I was still pondering the concept of a brother when we jumped into the car and the humans said we were headed a gazillion miles south to a place called Naples to pick him up.

I slept and drooled most of the drive, while they listened to “yacht rock.” It honestly felt like we drove forever. I counted 300 McDonald’s and 24 Cracker Barrels along the route. My bladder almost exploded, because I won’t pee at rest stops.

We drove so far, in fact, that when we finally arrived at our destination, the air even smelled different.

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Sniff. Sniff. Sniff. I deeply inhaled the clean, briny aroma and cocked my head in wonder. What is that wonderful smell?

“You like that? That’s the Gulf of Mexico, Georgie!” Human 1 explained.

Oh crap, my brother comes from the sea? What is he? A surfer? A pirate? A marine biologist? Oh my God, Oh my God, Oh my God, OH MY GOD?????   WHO IS MY BROTHER? Someone tell me, please!

Oh Brother!

He came in like a bat out of hell, this thing they called “brother.”

He was much smaller than me. Half my stature, probably, and he had wiry white hair as coarse as a Brillo pad. And there was a mischievous madness in his teenage eyes. He didn’t look at me the way a brother should ever look at his sister.

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Before I could even say hello, he was at my backside. “What’s your name, again, sweetie? Georgie girl? Ok, I’ve got an idea, Georgie girl. Let’s get married — RIGHT NOW!” he said.

Instinctively, I sat down. I smiled uncomfortably and declined his offer as politely as I could manage. “Whoa, there, little brother. Let’s take things slow here,” I replied.

But he wasn’t having it. He ran around in circles and continued to try and woo me: “Listen, blondie, I’m like, in LOVE here, can’t you see that? We’re meant to be, baby! Georgie Girl, I LOVE YOU!!!!!”

A Dive Into the Deep End

I was really starting to get irritated with this oversexed kid. “Um. Not gonna happen, little boy,” I said, and with one swat of my paw, smacked him to the ground like a badass grizzly.

But my show of strength only seemed to excite him more.

“Whoo hoo! Nice move, baby!” he said, and started leaping vertically into the air like a circus dog on crack cocaine.

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At that point, the humans suggested we all go outside for some fresh air and more space. Next thing I know, I was running like a roadrunner being pursued by Wile E. Coyote.

First little brother chased me. Then I chased him. Then he chased me. Then I chased him and SPLASH! We both tumbled into the swimming pool.

We did the swimming pool stunt about three more times. SPLASH! SPLASH! SPLASH! Then little brother peed on a lady’s leg, and the humans said the meet-and-greet was over.

Why Being an Only Child is Better

I don’t know what became of my little brother. I never saw him again after that day. But in the days and weeks since our disastrous meeting, my humans and I have become much more comfortable with my only dog child status.

While only children sometimes get a bad rap, there are actually a lot benefits to growing up as the only dog in the house.

  • We’re more confident
  • We’re more independent
  • We have better relationships with our parents
  • We’re much better looking

Okay, I made the last one up, but you get the idea. I’m especially happy NOT to have a sibling when my humans bring me a big deer antler or a new squeaky toy. Sharing isn’t bad, but would you want to share your filet mignon or enjoy it all yourself?

Truth is, I don’t know if I will be an only dog child forever. But for now, our family of three feels perfectly complete.

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A Dog’s Best Friends

By Georgie Gurl

When you’re a young girl, there’s nothing quite as important as your best friend. Lucky pup that I am, I have four.

Before I tell you about them, I’d like to share my simple two-part philosophy on friendship.

  1. Don’t take your friends for granted. (I know this because I spent the first 14 weeks of my life in a cage all by myself without a friend in the world and it sucked).
  2. Always try to be the kind of friend you’d want to have.

Since I can’t talk, I can’t do all of the things that best friends normally do, but I try to make up for it in other ways.

I can’t tell secrets, for example, but I can keep them really well.

I can’t cry with you when you’ve had an awful day, but I can lick your face and put my paw on your knee to let you know I feel your pain.

I can’t laugh, either, but I can do silly things to make my friends laugh. When I’ve got that crazy grin on my face, that’s my way of laughing.

Anyway, back to my four best friends.

Lamb Chop

I met my first bestie unexpectedly, right after I moved to Jurassic Park about a year ago.

In fact, I wasn’t even potty trained yet, when my Aunt Dina took her out of a bag and threw her at me.

“Georgie, meet Lamb Chop!” she said.

She was stunning. All white, except for her fancy red paws, her scarlet tongue and her two coal black eyes. The first time I looked into those eyes, I knew she could see right into my soul.

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Hanging with Lamb Chop last Christmas.

At first, I thought we might have communication difficulties, but when I squeezed her, Lamb Chop squeaked. That’s how we still communicate today. I touch her. She squeaks. I touch her again. She squeaks again. We have beautiful conversations.

Our favorite game involves me running all around the house with Lamb Chop in my mouth. I know she loves it as much as I do because she squeaks in delight the whole time.

Oh, what good times we have.

When we aren’t playing our favorite game, we like to cuddle and I use her as a pillow. Everyone should have a best friend who doubles as a pillow sometimes. That’s true friendship.

Ivy The Aussie-Doodle

My second bestie is a real dog. Her name is Ivy.

We met in the neighborhood almost a year ago and our connection was instantaneous. I think it’s because we have so much in common. We’re both medium-sized, fun-loving and gorgeous!

We also play well together. We can wrestle and chase each other for hours and never get tired.

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Ivy and me in our younger days.

Ivy loves to grab my harness and pull me around the yard, prancing like a happy Clydesdale. Since I’m shorter than Ivy, I like to run under her legs and throw her equilibrium off. My other signature move is the butt swing. I just swing my big butt around and BAM! Checkmate, Ivy!

If Ivy and I we were humans, she’d be the friend I go clubbing and shopping with, and we’d probably get in fights over boys. Right, Benito?

The Belles

My other besties are two little humans. Their names are Annabelle and Isabelle, or as their Mommy sometimes calls them, “the Belles.”

I’m pretty sure they are princesses, because they are always at the Magic Kingdom, and they’re also really pretty, sweet and kind. And that’s royalty in my book.

The best thing about the Belles is that they don’t treat me any differently even though I’m a dog.

They always say “Hi, Georgie” and include me in all their games. My favorite one is tag, but I also love to play “baby.” In that game, I’m the lost baby and I run back and forth to them as they call me. It’s spectacular.

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My human besties, the Belles.

I know they love me as much as I love them, because they dressed up as me at school recently. I wish my name was Georgiebelle and we could be triplets.

It’s too bad everyone doesn’t have friends like Annabelle and Isabelle. If they did, there wouldn’t be any sad or lonely kids in this world.

Puppy Love, Unrequited

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By Georgie Gurl

You know that moment when you meet someone amazing and time just stops? Everything around you just fades out and all you see is this incredible, perfect dog? Yeah, that’s how it was the first time I met Benito.

Sounds cliché, and I hate clichés but that’s exactly what happened.

It was the dead of summer in Jurassic Park. Beetles buzzing everywhere and air so heavy even the frogs had trouble breathing and there I was, trudging to the mailbox with my Mom in my fur freaking coat when I first encountered him.

He was the most exotic creature I’d ever seen. He almost resembled a fox with his thick russet hair and gorgeous tail. He was compact. Some would even say small, but he didn’t carry himself like a small dog.

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He yawned as we approached and while our Moms exchanged human pleasantries, I made my move.

I went right into downward dog ass high in the air, face to the ground, inviting this mysterious little fox to play with me.

He cocked his head and backed up and let out a deep growl.

Okay, so maybe it was too much too fast. I’ve been known to come on too strong. My bad, but there’s no playing it cool when you’re a Wheatie. Impulse wins out always. And why wouldn’t this little fox want me as much as I wanted him?

At that point, I leapt at his head to break the tension and put him in the mood to play. I got a whiff of his musky, manliness and felt giddy. He snapped back and showed me his gorgeous white fangs.

“Sorry,” Benito’s Mom said, with a laugh. “Sometimes, he can be a little neurotic.”

Neurotic? As in crazy and unpredictable? My pulse quickened and I knew I was a goner. See, I have a thing for bad boys and this fox lookalike was clearly the BADDEST boy in the neighborhood.

Despacito, Benito

I didn’t see Benito again for a few days after that, but I thought about him. A lot. In my fantasy, he’d spot me across the soccer field by the mailboxes and start singing “Despacito” like Luis Fonsi.

 

Tengo que bailar contigo hoy.
Vi que tu mirada ya estaba llamándome,
Muéstrame el camino que yo voy.

 

Yes, you know I’ve been looking at you for a while,

I have to dance with you today.

I saw that your look was already calling me,

Show me the way and I’ll go.

I imagined us running side-by-side through the fields of Jurassic Park, chasing birds, wrestling, eating mulch and growing old together. Georgie Gurl and Benito The Fox. We would be THAT couple. Impossibly perfect, beautiful and amazing. That annoying couple everyone else wants to be.

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There was just one problem, though. Benito didn’t quite feel the same way.

It was hard to let go of the idea of Benito and me together. I mean, not to brag or sound cocky or anything, but most people like me. A lot. I’m really a great dog. I’m fun and spunky. Good with kids. I’m perfectly housetrained. I’m really quite stunningly beautiful too.

“Give it time,” I thought. “Eventually, he’ll realize what an amazing catch I am.”

For some annoying reason, Benito just didn’t seem to see in me what everyone else did.

But it wasn’t until the day he unexpectedly showed up during a play date with my bestie, Ivy, that I realized he never would.

I tried to play it off when he pranced into the yard and gave me his usual growl and snap. “Oh, hi Benito,” I quipped. “Long time, no see. Wussup?”

But the jerk didn’t even stop for small talk. He sauntered past me and went right up to Ivy and started to woo her!

“Hello, my beautiful lady. Do you come to this yard often?” he said, all smiles.

Ivy did her usual demure act and giggled and trotted away. Ugh. I never realized how annoying and prissy she was before.

But Benito seemed entranced by her girlie, Aussie Doodle ways. Wherever Ivy went, he went. Whatever Ivy sniffed, he sniffed. And then… I won’t even say what he did.

It was truly disgusting. I mean, I was right there.

Trying to appear all innocent and stuff, Ivy shot me this “I’m not really interested look,” but I could tell she was enjoying the attention, and that’s when I lost it.

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“SO YOU WANT MY FUTURE HUSBAND, BENITO? THEN PREPARE TO FIGHT, IVY!”

I did one circle around the air conditioning unit, ran as fast as I could and body slammed my best friend.

 

Moving On

Looking back on it all, I’m not proud of my behavior but I’ve also learned a few things.

Lesson One

We can’t control who we fall for. I can’t explain why I fell so madly in love with Benito or why he didn’t like me back. Maybe it was because I had never felt those feelings before. And just like I couldn’t control my passion for Benito, Benito couldn’t control his desire for Ivy.

Lesson Two

You can’t always get what you want. Just like Benito didn’t want me, Ivy didn’t want Benito and that’s okay. It just means there is someone else out there. Patience, young grasshopper.

Lesson Three

Friends are more important than boys. Ivy and I have patched things up and I’m pretty sure we’ll always be great friends, even if she is too prissy.

Lesson Four

I used to think that there was just one other dog in this entire universe meant for me. But now, I know that there are other fish in the sea. Lots of them, in fact! I even met a very cute boy at doggy daycare named Gunner (see below) and we’re taking it despacito (slowly) and seeing where things go.

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Me and Gunner

The Biscuit Blues

By Georgie Gurl

Have you ever had that one thing in life that you kind of took for granted, but completely depended on, and then it unexpectedly disappeared? *Poof!*

Well that’s me and the Iams puppy biscuit.

Actually, I didn’t even know what it was called until today. I just know that I’ve looked forward to their savory goodness and crisp crunchiness multiple times a day for as long as I can remember.

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When my humans adopted me, they were sent home with a box of these and explicit instructions to give them to me EVERY FIVE MINUTES, and EVERY TIME I DEMAND IT. You can see on the box it even says it: “0% guilt.” Oh yeah! That’s what I’m talkin’ about.

Instead, they put the box in a cabinet in the kitchen and seemed to forget about them. But I didn’t. I would go up to the cabinet and tap it with my nose. “Biscuit. Biscuit. Biscuit,” I would try and tell them with each tap. “Biscuit.”

Sometimes they got it: “Oh, look, Georgie must want a biscuit!”

YES, I DO. GIMME!! GIMME!! GIMME!!

Other times, they didn’t: “Here, Georgie. Let’s try a CARROT!”

Hmmm. Orange. Cold. Crunch. Nope. Definitely not an Iams biscuit. No bueno.

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I decided I had to let them know more concretely that the Iams biscuit was special and what I wanted. So I created a little worship dance. Every time they gave me an Iams biscuit, I would take it, run into the living room, spin around, lay the biscuit down, bow down to the Iams BISCUIT GOD, shake my head around till I felt dizzy, and then devour the small edible piece of heaven. Wheeeeeeeeeeeee!!! Biscuit!!

The humans called it my “cookie dance.” It was probably more like a case of the biscuit DTs. But whatever you call it, it worked. We were speaking the same language and life was good.

Over several months, I received many biscuits and I performed many worship dances. Then one day, I received some seriously bad news.

“Ooops. Looks like we’re out of the Iams biscuits, Georgie. Guess you’re going to get a carrot.”

Noooooooooooooooo!!!! There is no carrot dance, you stupid human! I will eat it, but you will never see me dance again. Me. Want. Biscuit. Hmph!

Time marched on and the human missed my worship dances. As for me, I missed my biscuits. And finally she decided to get me some more. YAY!

There was a problem though. We roamed the aisles of PetSmart. No biscuits.

We went online to Chewy.com and Walmart and every other site we could think of. But no biscuits.

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And finally, we learned the horrible truth from a thread on the Iams Facebook page. The puppy biscuits weren’t just out of stock. They have been DIS-CON-TINUED.

No more biscuits. Forever.

Rut-roh!

If I could cry, I would have. Instead, I looked up at my human with the saddest puppy eyes ever. “Fix it, please,” I said.

“I can’t fix it, Georgie,” she replied.

“But you’re human. You can do anything,” I said.

“I’m sure it seems that way, Georgie,” she said, “But I can’t. I can’t fix this. You’re going to have to find another kind of snack.”

No. There is no other biscuit!

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“I’m so sorry, Georgie. I know exactly how you feel. Estee Lauder is always discontinuing the makeup I use and it’s a nightmare finding a good substitute,” she said.

“Estee Lauder? I’d like a makeover, and maybe some nail polish!” I thought, but quickly regained my focus.

Biscuit. Me. Want. Biscuit.

Turns out I wasn’t alone in my misery. Some Beagle in Maryland apparently loves them as much as me, and he is in a deep depression now. Two Yorkies in Michigan with sensitive stomachs are out of luck too. It’s the only snack they liked, their human complained on the Iams Facebook page, and they’ve been on them for 11 years. I can only imagine the withdrawals they were going through.

The situation has been so bad, that some humans have been carefully rationing out their last biscuits to their pups. Others have been shelling out a gazillion dollars to buy one of the few remaining boxes of biscuits for sale on eBay – but my human said no to that.

What to do? Well that’s tricky.

The Iams people suggested some substitutes, but we’re not going to bother. They all got lousy reviews from the other biscuit addicts. Not as crunchy. Not as appealing. Not. My. Biscuit.

At this point, my human said, the only answer was to try and bake me some biscuits from scratch using flour and chicken broth.

I said, fine – and while we’re at it, we can whip you up some homemade makeup too.

Note: This column is dedicated to the Iams Puppy Biscuit. RIP, sweet snack.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trick or Treat? You Decide.

By Georgie Gurl

There’s a change in the air here in Jurassic Park. It’s not as thick and sticky as it was a week ago, a steady breeze has been helping to keep the mosquito squadron grounded and the pink cotton candy sunsets are happening earlier every night.

But there have also been some other, more unsettling changes in the hood. Odd, menacing creatures have moved into some of our neighbors’ yards and my humans seem oblivious to their presence.

On our walk tonight, for instance, we encountered two homicidal maniacs. One of them, a yellow man with Da Vinci Veneers, no neck and unflattering glasses, was carrying the head of a small orange person he must have decapitated moments before. Ack! And his accomplice, a lumpy white man with a large orange nose and buck teeth, was waving his stick hand at us, trying to lure us into their trap.

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It was a horrid scene, I tell you, and I had to do some fast thinking. At first I growled at them to see if they would stand down — but no such luck. These guys meant business. At that point, I turned around, tucked my tail between my butt cheeks and took off running in the other direction. “Georgie, SLOW DOWN!” the human yelled as I pulled her down the street with all my might. SLOW DOWN? SERIOUSLY? SPEED UP YOU LAZY WOMAN! CAN’T YOU SEE WE ARE ABOUT TO LOSE OUR HEADS?

Fortunately, I got her away from the maniacs, but as we whizzed down the street, I  noted numerous other disturbing items: skeletal remains, rotted pumpkins, spooky gravestones and trees strewn with cobwebs. WHAT THE HELL IS HAPPENING TO MY TRANQUIL JURASSIC PARK?

Noticing my fright, the human giggled as she always does when she is nervous and told me to “relax” — and that there was a perfectly logical explanation for it all. “Georgie, those are just Halloween decorations. They’re supposed to be scary. It’s all part of the fun,” she said.

Ummmm. Ok, you human weirdo.

At that moment, I made a decision. If scaring the bejesus out of cute little puppies is her idea of “fun,” I am going to give her a run for her money.

So that’s where you come in, my dear faithful readers. My humans don’t know it yet, but I’ve been working on Halloween costumes all day. I just need you to tell me which one you think will frighten them the most.

First off, is Georgie The Alligator. GET IN MY JAWS! I WILL EAT YOU!! BAHAHAHA!

 

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Then, there’s Georgie The Intense Coyote! Hello, my pretty! Bring me your pets! I will eat them as snacks and maybe gnaw off your leg while I am at it! BAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

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And last but not least, Georgie The Creepy Clown. Like my makeup? Well, I ain’t your neighborhood Avon Lady, suckers!! BAHAHAHAHAHA!

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Vote on your favorite costumes now and let’s see who gets the last laugh on Oct. 31.

Trick or Treat! BAHAHAHAHA!

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Leaping Lizards and Fetid Frogs: Confessions of a Four-Legged Garbage Disposal

By Georgie Gurl

So I’m just going to throw this out there. I’m a girl who likes to eat. A lot. And pretty much, anything.

Dry kibble? Delish!

Big bugs? The crunchier the better!

Sand? Sure! Why not?

Used, snotty tissues? But of course!

You could say I’m pretty much the four-legged fuzzy equivalent of Fat Bastard from Austin Powers. His motto is my motto: “GET IN MY BELLY!”

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Oh, I see the disdain in my humans’ eyes when I’m nibbling on a beetle or snacking on moths. “Georgie, NOOOOOOOOOO!” they scream as they stick their giant, salty fingers into my mouth and pull the yummies out. So rude.

And let’s be honest. I could bite those fingers right off if I wanted to. They know this too. But, good-natured Wheatie that I am, I play along with their game and use my “soft mouth” and give up my treasures. They can have the moth. They can take the beetle. Because you know what? For every one June bug they steal, there are 10 they never know about that I will chew slowly, savoring every last ounce of exquisite bug flavor.

Tee hee.

But even I have to admit it all spiraled out of control a few weeks back, when on a whim, I graduated to eating amphibians.

I know what you’re thinking. How could you, Georgie? Blech. That’s disgusting! But you have to put yourself in my puppy paws for a second. I have this primal urge, you see, to hunt and devour small prey and these critters are just so enticing—much more fun to hunt and much bigger and meatier than the bugs. Mmmmmm. I just had to know what one tasted like.

The human didn’t even realize it, at first, when I casually picked up a putrefied frog on our walk a couple weeks back. It didn’t even resemble a frog, in fact. It was old and weathered, and looked more like a stick and I very nearly got away with it. But I blew it. I got a little too overzealous about my discovery and that tipped her off.

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“What have you got there, Georgie? Is that mulch?” she inquired.

“Oh, it’s nothing,” I replied with a coy smile as I gnawed on my treasure. She didn’t believe me. In a split second, she was prying my clenched jaws open and fishing around inside my mouth for whatever I was hiding. Of course, I let her have it, and she tossed my prized frog jerky into the storm drain and shrieked “FROG!”

It was a damn shame.

I learned from that experience and I was more careful the next time. I selected my next victim, a small, brown reptile, during a solitary trek into the yard to pee and enjoyed the delicacy in private. No one, I decided, would ever need to know about the untimely demise of Mr. Lizard.

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But as it turns out, even the best laid plans of mice and men, and even brilliant Wheatens, often go awry—and my lizard dinner came back to haunt me.

At some point that night, the satisfaction in my belly turned to a rumble. Gurgle. Gurgle. Gurgle. Oh my god, let me out of this crate!

Needless to say, there was little to no sleep for me or my people for the next several nights. My belly in utter turmoil, I slept fitfully near the back door. My kind and caring humans took turns tossing and turning on the couch as they assisted me with my hourly trips outside.

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I’m almost ashamed to admit that it took a $100 vet visit, a week of antibiotics and a week of chicken and rice to cure me of this bad case of the lizards—but I was relieved that the humans never discovered the cause. That is, until the lizard evidence showed up in one of my deposits. The human’s head almost exploded. “What the heck did you eat, Georgie? IS THAT A LIZARD HEAD?”

I wish I could say that the episode has cured me of my strange addiction—that I’d never so much as lick my lips at a reptile again. But the truth is, just two nights ago, on a nightly stroll, I did it again. I licked a giant, ugly toad. And not just any toad, either. This fat, warty beast was the infamous Bufo toad, which when aggravated by a predator, can shoot a nasty toxin out from behind its ears that will send a dog into a frothy fit and fatal seizures.

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Fortunately, my devoted human (and sometimes enabler) screamed like a banshee and rushed me inside and rinsed my mouth out with water. “Georgie! OH MY GAWD! That toad is poisonous! You can die from licking it!” she shrieked.

I got lucky, though.

Such is the life here in Jurassic Park, where even seemingly succulent snacks can lead to sudden death and Fat Bastard puppies have to work their way through 12-step recovery programs. After my rock bottom moment with the Bufo and battling the lizard flu, I have to admit it’s true what they say—that you’re only as sick as your secrets.

A Terrier’s Legacy

By Georgie Gurl

Long before there was ever a Georgie Gurl, there was another dog named Eli.

He was a terrier, like me, but his ancestors were from the Scottish Highlands, an entire sea apart from the green countryside of Ireland where my canine forefathers rollicked and roamed.

His fur was as white as snow, and I’m pretty sure he wore a kilt, dined on haggis and played the bagpipes. At least, that’s how I imagine him.

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He led an extraordinary life, this four-legged Scotsman. During his youth, Eli was an avid huntsman and not once, but TWICE, actually caught squirrels. But Eli was so kind, he never hurt his prey. He simply released the chattering rodents and went on his merry way.

 

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An athlete in every sense of the word, he also played soccer and dominated the sport of poolside volleyball, never tiring of bouncing a small, blow-up ball back to his humans with the tip of his wet black nose.

Eli’s life was not without its hardships, however. A torn knee ligament in the early 2000s sidelined his sports ambitions—and his distaste for small children, along with an inability to learn any real tricks, ruined his dream of joining a traveling carnival.

But when one doggy door closes, another one opens up, and Eli soon discovered a penchant for politics and embarked on a storied political career. Amazingly, it didn’t even matter that he couldn’t read or write or understand the issues. He just had a way with people on the campaign trail. He was cute and nosey friendly and made everyone he met feel happy.

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After about five years of serving as the unofficial mayor of an over-priced northern Virginia condominium complex, Eli set his sights on a large community of single-family homes in southwest Florida. He won that mayoral non-election handily too—and in spite of the fact that he attempted to kill the mailman every day.

He just had that “je ne sais quois”—a kind of magic, if you will.

At Christmas time, the neighborhood kids would come to his house and sing him carols. And his humans credit just about every friendship they ever made to the 27-lb ball of scruff and fluff, who only walked one way. Eli’s mantra: “Why go home when it’s so much more interesting to be outside?”

Regrettably, I never met Eli the Scottish mayor. He passed away three years ago today—before I was even a twinkle in my sire’s eye. But the universe works in funny ways and it turns out we are inextricably bound because we rescued the same humans, and guard the same hearts.

Sometimes I’ll do something just like Eli used to do and my humans will get a funny, misty look in their eyes. I’ve even heard them wonder aloud if maybe I’m Eli reincarnated. I don’t have the heart to tell them nope, that’s not it. I’m just a little girl, doing my best to make my big brother proud.

 This column is dedicated to my brother, Eli, who was born on Sept. 28, 1999 and passed over the Rainbow Bridge on Sept. 28, 2014.