I get asked all the time why I write.
First of all, I have to clarify, I type...lol. My paws work better on a keyboard than with a pencil. ;)

The reason I write. 
I had to start letting off steam somewhere, somehow.  When this precious little bark-box  I dubbed "Princess Annabelle" came into my life, everything changed.  I guess you could say she brought out the best in me.  You could say that.  Anyway - if you're trying to catch up on the Who, What, Where and When....she is part of the "Who."  (And not the rock band.)

If this is your first time here, I suggest you start from the beginning (bottom of page.)
Check out the old version for more from Bella while we update this page;)

These People I Live with are CRAZY - December 2017

I’ve told you all about this before, but I thought I would enlighten you some more this month.

The lady that lives here has been on a varmint catching spree. Remember there is a difference between varmints and critters. (I’m a critter....FYI.) Well the lady has been on a mad spree of catching the varmints that keep stealing eggs and harassing the chickens. (Although the lady has been known to harass a few chickens in her day...see picture.) She has become quite the catcher of opossums. I think shes up to four this week!

It’s hilarious to watch her and the girl acting like they are big hunters and yelling “Yee Yee!” You’d think they have their own television series. If only I knew how to set up a YouTube account, I could probably go viral with all the crazies around here.

I just take it all in and wonder what other dogs do for entertainment. I mean, we’ve got opossum catchers, donkey trainers, chicken whisperers and horse collectors all living on this farm. These crazy people keep me entertained all day, every day. What have you got, city dog?

Maybe I’ll look into that YouTube channel. In the meantime, check out this page to keep up. The address is:
Now back to our regularly scheduled program...
We're adding archives below... keep checking back for updates.

"Bell"a 9- October 2017

My cleverness has caught up with me and bit me in the booty. I thought I was being sly and capitalizing on the people thinking I was losing my hearing....well, they decided that in order to keep track of me, I should wear a bell for them to hear.

I did not think this through and now I am paying for it. I now have an annoying ringa-ding-ding with me

Well played, humans, well played.

Until next month, it’s a miracle...do you think they’ll buy into my miraculous ability to hear again? (maybe?)

Jingle Bella

"Selective Hearing - July 2017

The older I get, the more I am able to use my age to my advantage. You see, when the people call my name for anything I don’t particularly care to acknowledge, I just pretend like I can’t hear them.

They really are buying into me losing my hearing. It’s kind of nice to be honest. No offense to the puppers out there who do have a hard time hearing...I am glad I can still hear the wrapper coming off of a piece of cheese or the door opening when I want in (or out.)

Let’s hope they don’t catch on too soon!
What was that?

"There's Critters and Then There's Varmints - May 2017

Last month I was waiting on the egg toting Easter Bunny. I never caught a glimpse of him...but he did leave me some doggy treats in my Easter basket. Maybe I’ll spot the sweet little critter next year.

Shortly after the bunny left all the Easter baskets, we had some chickens meet their demise by a varmint (or varmints) that broke into the chicken coop and terrorized the hens for a good couple weeks. It got so bad that
even after reinforcing the walls and fencing, the lady had to take drastic measures and she moved all the (remaining) chickens into the horse trailer for safety.

That was something to witness every evening at roosting time. All of these hens learned where there safe place was and would line up politely at the horse trailer’s escape door and take turns jumping in one by one.

The funniest thing was when the lady had the trailer out a little too late and the hens would seem lost until they seen their home on wheels returning. Then they would do a happy dance as the lady backed down the driveway. I wouldn’t have believed it if I hadn’t seen it with my own two eyes.

This horse trailer arrangement went on for at least three weeks while the lady tried to capture the chicken terrorizing varmints.

After a late night snack of peanut butter (and maple syrup down my back) from what I now know is a live trap, I realized the lady was trying to trap the varmints too. I won’t elaborate much more on the trapping of this Jack Russell, except to say that the peanut butter was worth the few minutes of panic and the bath that followed.

It took a little while, but the lady was persistent. She finally spotted the varmint one day as she was working around the chicken coop.

Would you believe it was a WHOLE FAMILY of OPOSSUMS! There was a mom, dad and babies!

So, the trap was set in a better location - I stayed away this time - and they caught one! That same day, they pulled up the floorboards of the chicken coop and snared another one!

My people are the real deal when it comes to varmint catching. That thing was pretty scary on the end of the snare! I’m no chicken (pun intended), but I wouldn’t have wanted to wrestle with that mad mama opossum!
The lady and the rest of the crew that live here took the opossums away. Good riddance!

Now the chickens are back in the chicken house and the horse trailer is for horses only.

What have we learned?
Critters = Good
Varmints = Bad

Waiting for that Rabbit - April 2017

It’s that time of year again...time for the rabbit -- or “Easter Bunny.” as the people refer to him. I’ve been waiting for his return.

Last year he left me some goodies, so I am torn as to whether or not I should chase him out of the yard. And which rabbit...errrr, bunny, is this Easter Bunny? I’ve seen several rabbits hopping around the yard and hay field, but none have left me any baskets of goodies. How do I know which rabbits to chase and which ones
to tell, “Thank you?”

Such a dilemma....until next month, I’ll be waiting on the right rabbit and hoping he remembers my basket of yummies.

Just Chillin' w/my BFF, Freckles - February 2017

Good friends are hard to come by. It’s true. Especially as a dog living in a people world. I’m pretty lucky that my people are good judges of character and have picked good roommates for me. I mean, Miss Maybelline
is a pain, but she’s not psychotic...thank, God!

I mean, it would be horrible if I had a giant Jack Russell eating mastiff for a roommate. Not to say all mastiffs eat Jack Russells, but the odds would be in their favor if they so chose, ya know?

Miss Maybelline is the younger of the three of us. I’m the oldest, I’ll admit, and Freckles is somewhere in between. All in all, we make a good team and I consider them my friends. While Maybelline is that whiny friend who is always complaining or crying about something, I can still stand to be around her - sometimes. Freckles is more my speed as far as the friendship thing goes and I consider her my BFFF - that’s Best Furry Friend Forever.

I mean, come on, I love my people and I have one that is my BPFF (the P stands for “P”eople), but I spend way more time with Freckles and Maybelline.

Freckles and I like to hang around the barn and look for mice. Maybelline is usually out somewhere following that long nose of hers into trouble (or food.)

Although, I have to admit that I snuck into the chicken pen this past week and ate so many chicken scraps that I looked like I was about to pop out a dozen little Jack Russell puppies. It didn’t help that is was mostly chili beans - one of the people offered me a treat afterwards and I couldn’t eat it - that should tell you how  miserable I was...I love treats. Anyway, lesson learned - maybe.

Lately, Freckles and I have been laying around the house avoiding the cold outside as much as possible. The man that lives here made us a cool doggy bed and we are even happy to share sometimes.

Until next month,
Choose your friends wisely - and be glad you get the choice.

Gray Hairs are a Sign of Wisdom, Right? - December 2016

Last month I mentioned how people were always asking how old I am...you’ll have to read last month’s Barks N Bits to find out my answer.

I will admit that I have been hearing that question asked a lot more lately and I have come to realize it has something to do with the color of the hairs on my face. They are turning a shade of white not unlike the rest of most of my body, but the people say they are gray.

I guess these “gray” hairs are associated with dogs (and people) that are...... wiser. I mean, I didn’t get really comfortable with the keyboard and computer until I already had a few gray hairs on my face. If you ask me, I
think that the gray hairs brought a sense of self and of confidence.

I kind of like my gray hairs. They give me character and distinguish me from the other pooches around here. They also get me respect from said pooches as well as the people that live here.

I can remember the doberman that used to live here, Sam. She had a lot of gray hairs and was the smartest dog I’ve ever known. Everyone respected her - dogs, people, even cats....I guess it could have had something to do with the fact that she was a vicious looking DOBERMAN...lol! But, she really was a very wise dog.

Sam taught me many things and one of those things was loyalty. She was the most loyal friend to her people family. I always admired that in her and like to think I’ve put some of the things she taught me to use in my life.
I wonder if Miss Maybelline looks up to me in the same way. Well, I know she has to look “up” to me...her legs are only three inches long! (I couldn’t resist!!)

I’ve learned a lot in my dog years and can tell you that I have and earned every one of those gray hairs.

Until next month,

That's in Dog Years - November 2016

I heard someone ask the lady other day, “How old is Bella?”

I stopped in my tracks to listen for her answer.

“Well, she’s getting up there in dog years.”

What does that mean? Dog years..... what is the difference between dog years and people years? The last time I checked we canines weren’t keeping track of time in any sense of the word - unless it is time to eat or time for a nap.

I don’t have a calendar on my refrigerator or my desktop computer (although I do have a desktop computer.)

It seems like the people get caught up way too much in calendars and appointments and especially ages.

I get it, it’s a way to measure, I’m a pretty smart dog. I understand the concept of time....I just have an opinion about it (of course) and think scheduling and rushing around takes the emphasis off of the present.

I read a quote by Bill Keane that says a lot:

“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, today is a gift of God, which is why we call it the present.”

Dogs have no problem enjoying the present. We love naps and laying in the sunshine, chasing butterflies and belly scratches.

People on the other hand are sometimes too consumed with yesterday and tomorrow that they neglect to breathe deep and enjoy the moments they are given....hence the question, “How old is Bella?”

As if to say, “How much time do you think she has left” without really saying the words.

I’ll answer the question for those wondering.... I have as much time left as God decides to give me...and that will be in dog years - enjoying every moment of the present.

Until next month,

Kick the Dust Up - August 2016

I know I’ve complained in the past about too much rain, but I am here to say “I am sorry.”

I cannot remember the last time we had rain here at the farm. It has been so long that the grass is brown and crunches when I walk on it. And of course it has been HOT to boot.

The ladies flowers are becoming very high maintenance and some didn’t survive...RIP. The horse pastures have sections of powdery dust that hangs in the air as they drag their toes walking through and the horse arena - OMG - don’t get me started.

The people that live here don’t have a sprinkler system for their arena like some of the horse show grounds I have been to - (never been a need for one here in the past) but this year, they have went as far as running
hoses with sprinklers to try and keep the dust down. When a large group rides at once it is a complete dust cloud...I don’t know how they see each other, let alone the light colored barrels they like to go around.

I just stay out of the way and lay low - literally - to avoid breathing the powder in the air.

Miss Maybelline is oblivious to the dust...she takes her usual “follow the nose” walk around the property while the people are riding horses. Sometimes she ends up right in the middle of the arena and all of the horses - because “that’s where her nose told her to go.” The people start shooing her, to get out of the way, before
she gets hurt....and either she is a slow learner or she has selective hearing (or a little bit of both), because she ALWAYS takes her sweet time moving out of the people’s way.

Not me, no thanks. Horses are a lot bigger than me - in case you didn’t notice - and when they are going that fast, they probably have a hard time spotting me in all the dust they are kicking up. I’ll just keep my distance and hang out under a shade tree in a cool spot. Then I’ll say a quick doggie prayer for some rain clouds to come our way. I’m too low to the ground for all of this dust hanging around.

Until next month,

The Hip Hangout - July 2016

Word must be getting out that this is the hot new spot to hangout. Or should I say, the best place for stray critters to show up.

In the past few months we have had a few faces show up here at the farm. From stray dogs to abandoned cats (Conway Kitty) and kittens, they show up on the doorstep and the lady that lives here feels obliged to feed them and find them a home.

I can’t say that her good heart upsets me - I mean, if I were one of those critters, I would want to end up somewhere like this. It’s just that I have to share the attention I get with these part-timers until they find a permanent home. It also burns me up that the person responsible for them to begin with dropped them off in the middle of the country. But, then I guess who would want to have a person with that capability as the person responsible for your well being anyway?

It’s a catch 22 - stay with a creep or be dumped by a creep to fend for yourself and hope you wander onto a farm with a nice lady like mine.

I am pretty blessed. And so are Miss Maybelline and Freckles. We all got to come here as youngsters and get to stay and call this place home. And really. it’s not so bad sharing my sunning spots and a little attention with a critter who hasn’t known that security. I mean what kind of a creep would I be (or the lady be) if we just chased them on down the road?

I know you don’t get to see the tenderhearted Bella very often, but it needs said - we are a commitment. If you can’t make the commitment, don’t bring us home - or if something drastic changes in your life, make
arrangements - not a drive to the country.

I can’t even imagine how scary that would be.

Until next month, I’ll be hanging  out with the parttimers (at my home),

Good Riddance and Good Heavens! - June 2016

Farewell, Conway Kitty! I was all worked up last month about him stealing my thunder and my sunning spots for nothing!

Little did I know that the lady was only letting the kitty live here until she could find him another  home...phew!!!!

Conway Kitty went to have a couple parts removed last week and is on his way to his new home as I type. I hate to admit that I do not miss the meowing nuisance and I am happy to say that I now have my sunning spots all to myself again! Good Riddance!

Spring around here is always fun, but this year I am getting more entertainment out of Miss Maybelline than anything else. Let me fill you in.

The lady has once again filled the chicken house up with the little feather covered squawk boxes and Miss Maybelline is OBSESSED!

Each time the door opens to outside, Miss Maybelline heads to the chicken house and her “lookout post” (at least that is what she calls it....it’s really just an old bale of straw that just happens to be short enough that she
can manage jump on top of it.)

She then proceeds to intimidate the chickens through the wire,,,or at least she thinks she is intimidating. The chickens just ignore her.

I hate to admit it but I can’t help but peek in on her....Good Heavens, she is so ridiculous! I keep waiting for the lady to let her in there with the chickens one time! They would scare her to death with their clucking and feather flying craziness. Now that would be worth paying to watch!

In honor of Miss Maybelline and her new obsession with chickens I thought I would include a throwback to my favorite rooster, Chuck.


Who Does He Think He Is? - April 2016

This cat is walking on thin ice with me. You will never guess what I caught Mr Conway Kitty doing this past

He’s not only honed in on my house and my favorite window sill napping locations....now I think he is trying
to get the lady to teach him how to type! THE NERVE!!!

He’s only been inside for a month and now he’s trying to take over my part-time job! I wouldn’t believe it if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes. He spent one whole morning jumping up on the lady’s desk and swatting at
her mouse - on second thought, maybe I don’t have so much to worry about.

I mean, if he can’t tell a computer mouse from a real mouse, why am I getting all worked up? He’s definitely
not going to be able to figure out how to use spell check.

Whew...I feel a little better now that I have thought that through a little.

I guess I can go back to chasing him out of my favorite napping spots and stop fretting over his office skills.

He is a little on the goofy side. He spends a lot of time in the basement and all he ever finds are dust bunnies. I’ve never seen him bring anything back up but cobwebs on his head. Check out this picture I got of him the other day!

No more worrying about cats and their shenanigans...it’s Spring!

Later, Tater!

What is Happening? - March 2016

I realize in the past I have commented on how the cats are funny because they take “cat selfies” or the cats are not so bad to have around because they make life for Miss Maybelline a challenge on occasion. Heck, I even started answering to “Here, kitty. kitty” when I had the itchy skin, remember?

What I never, ever, ever expected was to have a cat as a roommate. I mean, ever since I’ve lived here this   house has been a “Cat Free Zone” on the inside. Kitties in the barn, kitties in the yard and occasionally a sneaky kitty in the garage - but NEVER a kitty in the house.

This trend ended last month.

It all started with a couple of foster kitties who needed a new home. The lady that lives here let the little girl that lives here talk her into “fostering” a couple of supposed “munchkin cats.” I’m not sure what that means, maybe “munchkin” translates to “annoying.” No matter, they didn’t stay too long. The lady found them homes within a couple of days and I said “good riddance.”

Little did I know that the flood gates had been opened on the kitty cat river. The kids that live here were getting ready for school when the lady noticed something in the window. Whatever it was, it was hanging off of the screen and it was apparent to me that it wanted inside where it was much warmer than outside.

Of course, the lady felt bad and went to see what kind of critter was hanging around (ha ha!) outside. It was a kitty. The kitty had a collar so it must be lost, right?

No. Sometimes people are creeps. Someone had dumped this cat (who was obviously a house cat) out in the country to fend for itself in the middle of winter. (Somewhat reminiscent of Duke’s story.) I guess the kitty
was lucky they decided on a road near my house. (Me not so much.)

The lady tried to get the kitty to live in the barn with the other cats. She fed him and even tried to get him to stay in the barn’s office where it was warmer. Nothing worked. To be honest, I think the other cats were mean to the new cat. No matter, he wasn’t having any of the barn life and kept ending up hanging from a screen on a window of the house.

A few days ago the little girl picked him up and found that he was getting skinny so she pleaded with the lady to let him come inside until they could find him a home.

You see where this is going, right?

He found a home. Mine.

Now my days are full of cat attacks and crazy jumping at plants and whatever else might strike it’s fancy. Not to mention I have to share my tv time with the new addition.

Of course, the gave it a name. Conway Kitty, how original.

Later, Bella

MY BFFs - I Have Freckles & Maybelline - January 2016

Sad Day Here at the Ranch - November 2015

You Can't Make This Stuff Up - October 2015

Fun with Freckles.... & #catselfies - September 2015

More Cats.... (Monsters, hint...hint) - July 2015

#catselfies & “Sully” - June 2015

The Circle of Life - May 2015

The Eater Bunny is Back - April 2015

Jack Frost, Get Lost - March 2015

Reality Check (for the Rooster) - February 2015

Time Flies (Roosters Don’t) - January 2015

What A Crew - December 2014

Dog Chicken vs Chicken Dog - November 2014

Duke Still on the Mend - October 2014

Circus or Rehab Facility - September 2014

It’s a 3-Ring Circus Around this Place - August 2014

More Fun with Chuck the Chicken - July 2014

Chuck the Chicken - June 2014

What is the Deal with Cats? - May 2014

Rabbits Baskets of Eggs & Joy - April 2014

Breaking Records - March 2014

I Want Out NOW....... - February 2014

Changed My Mind, Let Me Back In!!

Babysitting “BB” - January 2014

A Diet? Really? - December 2013

This IS Home - November 2013

I Am NOT A Cat! - October 2013

I don’t really have freckles in the sense of pigmented spots on my face and I don’t wear make-up. Come on, I’m a dog! I mean I have a couple of BFFs (that stands for “Best Friends Forever”) named Freckles and Maybelline.

You all know Freckles, the loyal friend who was with Duke until the end. She has been around here for a while, so if you’ve read much of what I’ve written, you’ve read about Freckles.

I was going to enlighten you all on how she got her name, but I thought a picture would do the job.

There you have it. She is the one with freckles. How clever is that name? (And how clever an I?)

Miss Maybelline, you should know is the spotted (people say piebald) dachshund (wiener dog) that lives here with us. She has a makeshift heart on her side and she likes to think she named herself.

The people tried to get her to answer to several different names, but she didn’t like the names, so she ignored the people. They finally came up with Maybelline and she thought it was unique enough to fit her, so she   reacted and the name stuck.

She has the biggest ears....well, I’ll just share a pic of her too so you get the full effect.

Anyway, we’ve all been spending a lot of time inside “hibernating” since it got really cold outside. We mostly hang out in the house keeping the lady company. Life’s pretty good around here.

I’m using the slow time to catch up on my reading and watching some NetFlix. I’ve got Freckles hooked on Grey’s Anatomy.

Later, Bella
We all learn as life goes on that we are only here for a short time. I think living on a farm people get an even bigger glimpse of this fact because animals (dogs included) have a much shorter life span than people.

I’m not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing, but I can guarantee that the people that live here on our farm have learned to appreciate life...both their lives and those of the animals that live here with them (including mine.)

We were reminded of this once again this past month. We knew something was wrong when Duke wasn’t interested in his food or a treat (remember last month...the big dogs got in on the treats at the door too.)

The lady was out finishing up the morning chores and I heard her call for us all to head up to the house for our breakfast. Freckles, Maybelline and I all ran for the house. Duke was still in the garage, snoozing - not unusual. The lady called for him and he came out and ate his treat, but the lady knew he wasn’t himself. We were hoping it was nothing serious.

The lady got on her phone and called the vet (that’s an animal doctor), they made him an appointment for the following day.

Duke hung around the garage the rest of the day and seemed to be doing better. He even ate some food. The little girl that lives here spent some time playing with him and Freckles before the lady made sure they were tucked in their beds in the garage that night after barn chores were completed.

The next morning, when we all went out to start over with the next days barn chores, the lady opened the door to let Freckles and Duke out and Good Ole Duke was gone. He had fallen asleep in his bed and didn’t wake up. He just looked like he was taking a nap.

The lady knew right away and she started to cry. I even got a little teary eyed. We all had a soft spot in our hearts for Duke. How could you not?

We knew that Duke was an older dog (we’re not sure how old, since he just showed up one day.) The vet seemed to think he may have had cancer, but it could have just been age. We may never know.

The people buried Duke alongside some of the other companions that have lived here over the years under a big shade tree in the back yard. They all said their last goodbyes and shed some more tears.

Since this month we celebrate Thanksgiving, I want to share this last thought: I am thankful that I live with a family that appreciates life and I know that someday when it’s my time, they will cry over me too.

Later, Bella
Sometimes all I can do around here is shake my head and play along with the crazy.

I mean...I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried. Now I am not sure if they are training horses or (attempting to train) dogs. Let me go back a little and explain.

So, the lady of the house thought she’d be sweet and get some dog treats for me (and the rest of the canines around here.) She bought this big box of crunchy bones and put them in a jar beside the door going outside. Nice idea, right?

You’d think nothing could go wrong with such good intentions. The idea is that every time we go out and do our “business,” when we come in we get a treat...for good behavior, I guess. Positive reinforcement... or
whatever you call it.

Well, that worked great the first few times because we (me and Miss Maybelline) didn’t know the “rules” the lady had in place regarding treat giving. Once we figured out that there were treats, the rules became

You see...there are dog treats on the window ledge by the back door. So where do you think Miss Maybelline likes to hang out and whine?

You got it. It doesn’t take an Einstein to figure that one out.

Miss Maybelline is very motivated by food. It must be a weiner dog thing...I mean she looooves to eat. She pushes her dog food bowl around the kitchen (like Freckles plays with her ball) until the people get tired of hearing it clanging around and give her food.

Not that I am complaining, because when she gets food or a treat...so does yours truly.

Anyway, so back to the treats....So the lady hears her whining and thinks that Miss Maybelline needs to go potty. Wrong! I wondered how long it was going to take the lady to figure out this game and change the rules. Not as long as I thought. She figured out pretty quickly that Miss Maybelline was pretending to have to go
potty just to get a treat. It’s really pretty smart of the little spotted hot dog if you ask me. I’ll give credit where credit is due.

Well, the lady caught on to Miss Maybelline’s game and now she only gives us a treat in the morning after we do our “business” and in the evening for the same reason before bed.

The lady is really pretty smart. We have to stay one step ahead of her....but the other people in here don’t know the new rules yet.

Whining to go out now.....
Wink, wink...

Later, Bella
This month I thought I’d fill you in on the adventures that Freckles and I have had recently. We always have a great time together. She is such a quiet dog that I sometimes forget she is here. Unless she wants the people to throw a golf ball...then she is almost as bad as Duke at supper-time with her barking! She loves to chase the golf ball and brings it right back to chase it again. I just sit back and watch her. I suppose that she would be a
golfer’s dream dog, hmmm?

Freckles and I did a lot of fun stuff this past month. We went mole hunting with the lady of the farm. We didn’t catch any moles, but got really muddy in the process of looking! Freckles and I like to hunt moles even when
the lady isn’t helping. It’s really fun until you get a nose full of dirt.

We helped the lady clean out the chicken house. (That was a sad day for all of us, especially the lady, since Chuck isn’t here anymore.) I think the lady is considering getting more chickens. I never did understand why she liked Chuck so much - he chased her more than any of the other people around here. They had a
weird understanding. While the lady cleaned, Freckles and I looked for mice. We caught a few that dared to test our mousing skills. Of course the cats were nowhere to be found when there was work to be  done...probably somewhere taking catselfies.

Speaking of kitties - here’s another # catselfie from Sully himself...he’s such a camera hog!

We also kept up the regular farm patrolling/guard dog duties. I usually leave that to Freckles and Duke, but I’ve been pitching in more now that the weather is nice. Come winter they can have that job back. I’m a fair
weather guard dog and will be inside with Miss Maybelline when the snow starts to blow.

Freckles also got to take her first solo trip to a horse show with the people. She filled me in on it when she got home and showed me some pics of the new friends she made. She is quite a people pup...me not so much. She loves attentiona and cuddles - she can have them all. I do like the idea of going to a horse show with Freckles. She can do all the socializing while I do all the snoozing.

That’s it for this month.... Oh, and just in case you didn’t figure out where all the kitty names came from last month...it was Monsters, Inc (the movie.)

I’ll be on mole patrol....

Later, Bella
I introduced you to Sully the cat last month, but I didn’t fill you in on how he got his name.

It seems the people around here try way too hard to be funny. Everything has a “theme” or something along those lines. (You notice my name is Bella - and we also have recently had an Annabelle and now a Maybelline...
notice anything that rings a “bell?”) They are so funny, right?

Anyway, the kitties at the barn all have names from a familiar movie that you all have probably seen. Maybe we should play a game. I’ll tell you the kitty names and you guess the, movie!

Well, “Sully” is actually James P. Sullivan. The little girl cat that looks like Sully is named “Mike,” (yes, a girl named Mike - A boy named Sue...whatever) short from Mike Wazowski. The little boy cat that is scared of everyone is named “Boo.” We call the rough looking white tom cat “Roz” and the slinky black tom cat that is hard to spot is called “Boggs.”

Do you notice a pattern or any familiar characters that align with those names? I’ll let you think about it. In the meantime, I’ll fill you in on some of the other “funny” names the people have had floating around the farm.

There was a theme of adjectives for a time. (and yes, I know what adjectives are...I AM a writer!!) We had “Funny,” “Happy,” “Tuff,” “Sunny” and “Lucky.”

Then we went through a same first letter phase. All names had to start with the letter “B.” We had “Butler,” “Bud,” “Betty,” “Bill” and the people though this one was hilarious... “Newby” - or “New B.” Ha ha ha, right. They
are just so funny.

Now the theme is leaning towards Saturday Night Live characters. We had a litter of kittens that recently went to their new homes. One of them had the cutest markings. It looked looked like he had a Burt Reynolds mustache. They started calling him “Turd Ferguson.” Poor little kitty - I hope the name didn’t stick at his new home.

The other kittens were called everything from “Ed Grimley” and “Stefon” to “Debbie Downer” and “Mary Katherine Gallagher.” The kitties were lucky that none of those names stuck.

I’m just glad I was the first of the “bell” series. I could have easily been called something off the wall crazy the way these people come up with names around here.

The original “bell,”

Later, Bella
I’ll admit, things were a little somber around here last month after losing Chuck. We’re all missing him for our own personal reasons. I suppose, for me, Chuck was a lot of fun to hang out with - he also left some big footprints to fill as far as entertainment and subject matter for this monthly thing I do...

I spent a lot of last month observing the other critters around the farm. I think I have stumbled upon another entertaining critter in the form of Sully the cat.

Sully is named after one of the characters from Monsters, Inc, the movie. Appropriately named, I might ad. We do have a girl kitty named Mike (again - Monsters, Inc.) and a boy kitty named Lisa. Apparently kitties are hard for the people to name appropriately when they are young. Or at least around here that seems to be a pattern.

Back to Sully. He is one of those kitties that likes to hang out with everybody. He wants to be where the action is happening. He is an attention hog.

The other day he was with Freckles (all the kitties love Freckles) nosing around the pastures while the lady distributed hay to the horses. I snapped a few pictures of him to share with you. He must have liked the idea of having his picture taken, because he snuck in a few cat selfies later on when I wasn’t looking. Of course, I shared one of those with you too.

I think Sully might be trying to make a name for himself - I seen the hashtag #catselfie popping up with his picture on some social media. I think he may be trying to cramp my style... Cats are that way.

Watching my back,

Later, Bella
Living on a farm has many advantages. Of course there is always something entertaining going on that gives me plenty to share with you all. Then there is the opportunity (if you will) to witness the “Circle of Life.”

My family has always allowed their kids to experience the good, the bad and the ugly. This means they have witnessed the miracle of birth by watching baby animals come into the world and the beauty of nature from seeds to harvest. This also means they have witnessed injuries that are and aren’t treatable, the aftermath of
the untreatable ones and the untimely death of a precious pet. They have raised chickens for their meat and gathered eggs from the hens to provide their breakfast.

It really is quite a privilege (and dying connection to many natural things) to live on any kind of farm.

This week I was reminded of the sadder side to this privilege. We had to say an untimely goodbye to our friend, Chuck, the chicken who thought he was a dog. The people aren’t really sure what happened, there was no trauma...no coyotes or other critter brought his demise. He just looked like he want to sleep and didn’t wake up.

Now, I know I have done my share of poking fun at the guy, but he really was a part of our family here on the farm. The lady took it the hardest and he picked on her the most. I think they had a love/hate relationship. She was in tears when she found him. (She had went to take him some fruit scraps.)

We’ll miss your antics and your dancing. I’ll miss watching you and the lady go around and around.

Until we meet again one day. RIP, Chuck.

On a little lighter note, speaking of the “Circle of Life,” we have some new baby horses here at the farm. They are really cute and I love their little whiskers. They tickle when they try to get a smell of me through the fence.
So, that’s how it goes...time and life goes on. Times like these are good reminders to appreciate our life and our time with each other that much more.

Appreciating my circle,

Later, Bella
I think I’ve mentioned this guy before. He’s getting to be one of my favorite critters. As a matter of fact, I wish he’d come around more often.

You see, he leaves candy. That’s right - I said he leaves candy. He must be a wealthy rabbit. He leaves candy in baskets with eggs and little yellow baby chickens that taste like marshmallows. (Yes, I ate the marshmallow
chicks - sorry.)

Honestly I haven’t got a good look at the rabbit, I’ve just heard the people talking about him. They call him the Eater Bunny. Of course they do! He leaves us food!!! What else would you call such a wonderful creature?

The Eater Bunny is very fast (most rabbits are) and it is hard to get a good look at him.

I guess I don’t really care what he looks like as long as he is leaving me treats. I mean, I don’t have to beg or try and act all cute like I do for the UPS man. Truth be told, I think the UPS man uses his treats as more of a “piece” offering for Duke and Freckles to leave him in one piece! (It works!)

Back to the bunny....this Eater Bunny also hides eggs in the yard - which I find odd. Where does he get all of these eggs? I could understand if he was a chicken, but rabbits don’t lay eggs, do they?

Oh, and these aren’t your run of the mill white or brown eggs. They are blue and pink and green and yellow with stripes and polka dots and stickers and etc, etc, etc. You get the point - crazy Bohemian looking eggs. None like I’ve ever seen come straight from a chicken.

Maybe the Eater Bunny has a deal with some local chickens who are really artsy and have no market for
their wares. I’m not sure I want to think about a bunch of hippie hens (no offense) in their Bohemian dresses in a henhouse somewhere decorating eggs to sell to a rich rabbit. But think of the marketing options...

Eater Bunny And Hippie Hens present: Bohemian Eggs and Marshmallow Chicks

Enjoying my treats,

Later, Bella
After exploiting last month’s comedy episode that took place in the barn with the dancing chickens, this month I have struggled with something to write about that could compete on that level of entertainment.

Maybe it’s the cold, but my creative (or recollecting) instincts are running a little slow this month. I mean, everything around here is running slow thanks to Jack Frost. Let’s just be clear...hate is a strong word, but I feel no guilt in using it to describe my feelings for old Jack. He needs to find his inner warmth and share it or head north....way north.

Cold makes me cranky. I’m not ashamed to admit it. I have to spend way too much time inside the house. At first the naps in front of the fireplace were kind of nice, but now I’m starting to get a little annoyed. My trips out to do my business are just about the only time I have ventured outside since Christmas.

Then there is Miss Maybelline. She has way too much energy and guess who she wants to play with? Yours truly. I’ll admit a little running around inside is good for my figure, but she takes it to a whole new level. There is running and sliding and barking and jumping and body checking and rolling and bouncing...too much exertion for me.

I’m ready for some outside free time...that means “me” time. I think the rest of the critters feel the same way.
The only time you hear much from Duke this time of year is when it is time to eat. He let’s the people know he is hungry. Woof, woof, woof....and he is VERY persistent. He barks until the bowl is filled and so is his belly. Then he heads right back to his fluffy bed in the garage.

Freckles is right there with Duke in the garage on her own fluffy bed. She is sporting a winter blanket these days and spends most of her time in the garage until the lady goes outside. She loves the lady. She is the lady’s shadow.

The kitties are spending most of their time inside the barn snuggling in the hay or meowing for food at supper. I witnessed this racket one evening and it was almost as annoying as Duke’s barking for supper.

Chuck the chicken has been keeping to himself and hanging out inside the barn during this past cold spell. No chicken dancing for Chuck (or the lady) this past month. Chuck has been spending his time conserving energy.
And maybe plotting his next attack...who knows with roosters.

The horses are all snuggled up in their stalls on most days. I know they would much rather be outside in the sunshine, but -30 windchill is not that appealing to anyone, even blanketed four-legged equine furballs. So, they are content to stay inside and munch on some hay.

There are a few momma horses here this year that will be having babies soon. The lady that hopes they wait a few more weeks. I heard her tell the babies to stay where they are, if they don’t, they are in for a rude awakening.

I guess that leaves me. What else have I been doing with my inside time besides tolerating Miss Maybelline? Well...I have updated my website and added a blog. Check them out online at barksnbits.com (Had to put a
plug in there.) I have also started on my book.

Yes, you heard right. I am in the early, early stages of putting all of my adventures into a book. There is even a lady making pictures!

I thought it would be fun to share one of the pictures with you this month and include a flashback from Seven the donkey.

Stay warm,
Jack Frost, Get Lost

Later, Bella
Our visit to the barn gets the standard laugh from the ranch’s latest animal authority on obnoxiousness, Seven the donkey. He would most likely outdo Annabelle, “little black bark box” in my book if I had to bring him in the house too. He laughs at everything!

Of course, he has the most annoying and loud laugh I have ever heard. Heeeeee Haw Haw Haw Haw....Heeeeeeeee Haw Haw Haw. I mean, come on.....really? Who laughs like that?

Seven has became a topic of laughter from all points of view, but none get as many laughs as the donkey himself. I can assure you that most of the time, I just don’t get it.
Honestly, I think Seven just has a twisted sense of humor. Most of the things he laughs about are “incidents” created by the little pot stirring donkey himself.

Some people (and chickens) need a reality check more than others. This month’s reality check winner is Chuck.

If you haven’t been keeping up with Chuck’s identity crisis over the last few months, let me get you up to speed.

Chuck, the last lone survivor of the chickens after the (we think) “weasel murders,” has been hanging out with the dogs - mostly Duke - for some time now. I think this has caused somewhat of an identity crisis. He has been joining in when the dogs start barking at visitors by sometimes taking chase. This is not a good thing on a farm with lots of visitors.

There was talk of chicken and dumplings over the ruckus he was causing. This led to the lady taking up for Chuck and suggesting he be “relocated” to the chicken house. This seemed like a good idea for all (whether
Chuck wanted to admit it or not) and Chuck had his own bachelor pad with the promise of hens to come.

Well, the bachelor pad must not have suited Chuck, because after a week or so, with or without the help of Duke - no one is talking, Chuck moved out (escaped) from the chicken house. This didn’t seem like that big of a deal at first...there hasn’t been that much traffic at the farm with the winter weather we’ve had lately.

Chuck had went back to hanging out with the dogs and mostly minding his own business with no visitors to ward off.

But apparently Chuck had a chip on his shoulder over the “relocation plan” that the lady had implemented the month before. This is where things got a little out of control. (And a little hilarious.)

This is too good not to document, I just hope the lady doesn’t read this, she’d be so embarrassed. You see,
the lady of the house was out in the barn doing chores the other morning. She was finishing up moving some horses around and making sure they all had hay and fresh water. (She really has a soft heart when it comes to
all of us critters...even Chuck.)

Chuck was playing it cool and pecking around as usual until the lady had her back turned just right. It was then that he swooped in for her the first time and attacked the back of her legs.

She was caught by surprise and responded by kicking some dirt towards him and “shooing” him away. As she turned to continue her chores, Chuck was right back at her with attack attempt number two. Again, the lady
kicked dirt at him, this time before he made contact.

Chuck is not a quitter (he must have learned that from hanging around with us dogs.) He wasn’t giving up and the lady was starting to get a little aggravated at the feather flapping distraction he was becoming. He was ruffling feathers and doing some sort of chicken dance (that he did not learn from the dogs.)

By Chuck’s third attempt the lady had went on the offensive. This is the part I wish I had recorded and I have a hard time talking about without laughing hysterically. She was about to give that chicken a reality check.

She jumped towards Chuck and started flapping her arms in the air. Her coat was a little large and unzipped and she looked like she was attempting a giant version of Chuck’s feather dance. She was flapping her arms and started kicking dirt towards the rooster at a very quick pace...all the while reminding him that she had saved him from becoming Sunday dinner more than once.

This is when Duke got involved. It had to be all of the commotion that caused him to come running. Except when he arrived at the scene he became very confused. You see, Duke had been scolded in the past for “picking on” the chickens and, after all, Chuck was his pal. He couldn’t very well hurt his pal...even if he was
waging an all out attack on the lady...could he?

So, Duke just started barking and running circles around Chuck, the lady and the dust cloud they were creating in the barn.

What a scene.

Chuck quickly realized that he was no match for the giant chicken lady and took off out of the barn.

The lady shook her fist in the air at the bird and claimed her victory as she zipped up her coat and went back to work.

Chuck’s not stupid. He steered clear of the lady for a good week after that, hanging out close to Duke. Probably a good thing since the lady does most of the cooking around here.

Chicken and dumplings do sound good. Just kidding, Chuck.

Moral of the story:
Don’t bite the hand that feeds you.
Later, Bella
That’s right. Time does fly. This month, my little aggravating friend, Maybelline, will be two years old! I can’t believe she has been tormenting me for that long already. No wonder I have so many gray hairs around my
face now.

I thought I’d share a few pictures of her over the course of her younger years. I mean, according to the web she is the equivalent of a 24 year old human. (Not exactly 7:1 like you thought, huh?)

She has turned out to be a pretty good friend (don’t tell her I said that) now that she has matured a little. That first year I wondered if she was going to make it around here.

The other critters and I aren’t planning anything special for her birthday, we are hoping the people will treat us to some cheeseburgers or something of the sort...Duke is already drooling.

Speaking of Duke, you will all be happy to know that he is completely healed from his accident a few moths ago. He is back to his old self - with a few more gray hairs. I’m not sure if they’re from the accident or if he’ll
blame them on Miss Maybelline like me.

I thought you’d enjoy this shot of Duke “Shaking It Off” - he’ll never admit it, but he looooves Taylor Swift! Maybe because the little girl around here does too.

I mentioned how time flies, well... like the title says, “Roosters Don’t. ” Chuck has been relocated to the chicken house. He has a nice fenced in yard to wander around in, so far it’s keeping him contained. I’m not sure if it’s a good thing or a bad thing. I mean, he has his own full-blown “chicken condo” but he doesn’t get to hang out with Duke as much.

It may be part of some sort of therapy for him since he was beginning to take the dog thing to new lengths. He was getting a little too aggressive with any visitors that stopped by the farm. I’m not sure if the people were more concerned with Chuck’s identity crisis or the safety of the visitors.

Chuck actually made a pretty good “watchdog” until the sun started to go down - he wasn’t worth much then...once the whole roosting thing kicked in. We’ll see how this new life in the “chicken-condo” works out for
him. I’ll keep you posted. I think the people are planning on a few girlfriends for him. That should do the trick.

Until next month, I’m dreaming of cheeseburgers with my buddy, Miss Maybelline..
Happy New Year!!
Later, Bella
Yep, that’s us...all of us (minus a few kitties) just a typical day hanging out at the farm.

Honestly, we all get along pretty well. There is the occasional pounce from a kitty on to
Maybelline that send her running and yelping to the people. She has no sense of humor.

Then there are the daily arguments between Chuck and Duke. I’m not sure what they are always arguing about, but it is usually Chuck flapping his wings at Duke until Duke
gets his fill and gives Chuck a piece of his mind. This is where I wish I could insert a video clip for your entertainment.

Things are a little less lively during the cold weather for me. I’ll admit that I tend to spend more time inside the warm house when it’s cold outside. (You all should know that by now.) Maybelline isn’t too bad to snuggle with, she gives off a lot of heat!

Until next month, I’ll just hanging out with the crew and trying to keep warm!
Merry Christmas!!
Later, Bella
Sometimes when I think about what to share with all of you each month it takes me a while.... nah, just kidding....there is almost too much material here to choose from. I’m telling you, this gig is a piece of cake.

I’ve shared with you all about how Chuck the Rooster thinks he is a dog. I’ll add a little to that before I move on to the other identity challenged critter around here.

This past month, Chuck has became more than just your regular chicken that thinks he’s a dog. Now, he has cranked it up a notch and is trying to pass as a full blown watch dog. Well, that’s what he’s letting on to be - I think he’s just showing off.

You see, anytime someone strange shows up at the farm, he let’s them know real quick that he doesn’t recognize them and they had better get back in their vehicle until the authorities (the people) give their approval. I’m serious about this. The people who are “regulars” around here don’t phase him when they
show up. Let an unfamiliar vehicle pull in the drive and when Ol’ Duke and Freckles go to barking, Chuck goes to flapping his wings and threatening. I wouldn’t believe it if I hadn’t seen it with my own eyes.

On the flip side of the coin we have Miss Maybelline. I am convinced that she is the biggest “chicken” I have ever met, Chuck included.

I have watched her time after time walk past a barn cat and give out a loud “Yelp!” if they even look at her. They don’t have to swat at her or even hiss. She is terrified of the barn cats.

What is really funny is when a cat is standing in a doorway that she wants to go through. It goes something like this....
1. She backs up to get a running start...
2. Then comes the wind up (building her nerve)
3. The sprint for safe passage (as fast as her short little legs will take her)
4. The inevitable “YELP!!” as she passes by the cat (who is usually oblivious to her presence)
5. A quick look back over her shoulder to make sure that the cat isn’t in hot pursuit

I’m thinking I need to get this stuff on video and start that You Tube page. What do you all think?

Until next time, Serving as self appointed Identity Crisis Manager.....Meow.

Later, Bella
The “rehab facility” here at the farm has finally closed. Last month you all read about how Duke was injured and had to spend (way too much) time in the house. The poor guy was pitiful with his belly wrap and head cone.

Thank God he finally got the “OK” from the vet to have that disgraceful cone removed and his tubes and stitches taken out. He was one happy dog to have his freedom back again.

I think the lady of the house was just as happy as Duke when he finally got to go back outside to live. I have to give her credit, she was a trooper when it came to “dogtoring.” She was way more patient than I would have been.

I’ll bet I watched her change that belly wrap at least three times a day for a month. (Duke couldn’t go outside and take care of his “business” with the belly wrap covering his equipment, if you get my drift, being a boy and all.)

I do have to admit that he was a very good patient. He would stand perfectly still while the belly wrap was being removed and then replaced. I think he knew he was lucky to be alive and have people that cared enough to treat his injury. I don’t want to think about what the alternative could have been. His injury was pretty bad, I wasn’t sure if he was coming back home when he left that night. I’m actually glad the old fella is still around.

Now that Duke is back outside, Freckles and Chuck seem to be happier too. Chuck has decided that he likes roosting right outside the kitchen door better than in the barn. Now every morning (and any other time he gets the urge) Chuck wakes up the entire house with his “cock-a-doodle-doo.” Just my luck. Not much sleeping in around here. I wonder if they make muzzles for roosters....

Later, Bella
Circus seemed to be the right name for this place last month. This month it feels more like a rehab facility for dogs.

A few days ago Duke somehow managed to get himself in a mess. He’s not talking about it and the people don’t know what happened to him, but needless to say he was pretty torn up.

His whole right flank (you horse people should know that term) was ripped open by something. Like I said, he’s not talking about it. Maybe he’s embarrassed or maybe he doesn’t remember. Needless to say, he had to
make an emergency trip to see the vet. He even spent the night.

When he returned home the next day, he was all sewn up like Maybelline’s bear (she loves her bear.) He was also pretty swollen and sore and wearing a cone like I’ve seen the other dogs wear. I feel sorry for the poor guy - he is in pain and he looks ridiculous. If the cone wasn’t enough, then the people decided that he needed
a belly wrap too. And he has to stay inside until they take out the tubes and stitches. Wonderful.

While he was gone, I realized just how good of friends he and that rooster have become. The rooster slept outside the kitchen window (instead of in the barn) waiting for Duke to return. I should’ve noticed that they hang out all the time. The rooster does think he is a dog, maybe Duke thinks so too.

Forget YouTube, maybe I should just contact MTV or Animal Planet.

Until next month,
Not my circus, Not my monkeys....

Later, Bella
That’s right, I’ll be the first to admit it.... living here is never less than a good source of conversation (obviously.) I mean, i seem to have some pretty crazy stuff to share with you people each month. Can you imagine what I don’t let you in on?

Before we go to much farther, let me just point out that the picture at the top there is not me. That is my new friend, Cotton. He looks a whole lot like me, but he is not a Jack Russell Terrier, he is a Rat Terrier (although I’ve yet to see him terrorize any rats.)

Cotton is visiting with his person for a few months. And to think I was worried about the rooster moving
in...ha! Now I have a “look alike” with a constant smirk on his face.

Oh, I know, the people think he is as cute as can be with his underbite. Hey, I can show my teeth too....wanna see? Just kidding, I really like Cotton. He is a little more mellow, like me, and we get a kick out of watching Chuck the Rooster chase that nosy little weiner-dog, Miss Maybelline around. I’m telling you, that never gets old!! (3-ring circus!!!)

I’m thinking I need to look into starting a YouTube Account and videoing some of the craziness that goes on around here. I’d probably end up in Hollywood on some reality TV show with all of the “likes” I’d get.

Until next month,
Thinking of a YouTube name....

Later, Bella
So, last month I introduced you all to Chuck, the rooster that thinks he’s a dog. I ‘ll admit, I was kind of poking a little fun at the guy with his “cock a doodle doo” and his flogging of Miss Maybelline. (Did I mention I thought I seen him “wag” his tail feathers?)

Anyway, I don’t think I realized how serious this problem was getting until I noticed that Chuck was hanging around the doors to the house a little too much. I think he has decided he wants to be a house dog. Ruh Roh!!

That’s right, the family was enjoying supper one evening around the kitchen table (I don’t think they were having dumplings...whew!) and Chuck decided he wanted to get be part of the meal - not literally, of course.

He flew up as close to the door as he could and let us know he was there with his typical annoying rooster call. To be honest, I got a little worried....I mean, Miss Maybelline and I are the only critters allowed in the house and I was hoping the people wanted to leave it that way.

My people didn’t let me down. Chuck got a little of his own medicine in the form of a people flogging. (Now, that’s something funny to witness if you’ve never seen one!) Chuck took his place back with the outside dogs
and seems to be content once again just hanging out with Duke and Freckles.

I still need to learn that chicken dance....
or maybe that people flogging dance....

Later, Bella
This month I want to introduce you to Chuck. Chuck is a chicken (a rooster.) I am convinced, however, that Chuck thinks he is a dog. This seems very funny to me because he looks nothing like a dog. But, I guess he doesn’t know that because there are no mirrors in the barn.

Chuck hangs around with Duke and Freckles outside most of the day. When they bark, he crows. It is kind of annoying. He has no sense of chicken etiquette or appropriate crowing habits.

I do get a chuckle when he puts Miss Maybelline in her place. She wants to aggravate him like she does me and he is quick to give her a “flogging.” I’m sure he doesn’t realize this is a 100% “chicken thing.” It works for him, though. She leaves him alone.

Maybe I should ask him to teach me how to do some flogging. Heck, if Chuck can act like a dog, why couldn’t I get a few chicken moves down? (At least the ones that can work to my benefit......)

Learning the chicken dance.....

Later, Bella
I got my Easter basket. I sat up half the night and never did see that darned rabbit. It must be pretty sneaky.

Speaking of sneaky....remember those cats I mentioned a couple months ago? Well, I’m not sure if I shared how many the lady rescued, but the original number was eight. “Eight?!?!?” you might ask. Yes, eight!

At first I thought the lady was CRAZY bringing that many cats into the barn, but I guess she knows what she is doing. Two ran off the first day. (Remember, I said they were WILD.)

The remaining six stayed around through winter, hanging out in the hay lofts and eating cat food. There were a couple of them that I actually did spot doing a little hunting. (Mice and birds mostly.)

Now that spring has finally (I think) showed up, it seems that a couple more of the wildcats have went AWOL.
That is Army talk - an acronym - for “Absent Without Leave” - my uncle is in the Army. I’m not quite sure what it really means....how can you be absent without leaving? Anyway - two more cats have LEFT. That is dog talk for “Little Enraged Felines Tookoff.” (Ha Ha)

So, now we are down to four. The kids who live here have tried to tame these last four cats, but it’s not been working very well. I do have to give them credit. They know how to get fed.

They must have been watching and learning from Duke. You see, Duke’s method for getting fed goes something like this: bark until they feed you. That’s it....but it works.

That’s what these cats do. Well, they don’t bark, but they “MEOW, MEOW, MEOW, MEOW.... on and on and on....until the people finally give in and feed them.

At least Duke is on a time schedule. He only runs through the “feed me” drill twice a day (morning and night.) These cats get cranked up every time someone walks in the barn door. It’s like when the barn light switch gets flipped, so does the “feed me, I’m a whining cat” switch.

They are a PAIN! There’s some more dog talk for you - “Pathetic And Insane Nuisances.”

Anyway - I’m on the cat countdown...8, 7, 6, 5, 4....sorry...give me a break, I AM a dog.

Later, Bella
Have you ever heard of a rabbit that lays eggs? Well, I’m not sure if this rabbit I keep hearing about is actually laying the eggs, but I hear that this peculiar rabbit delivers them (and other goodies - including jellybeans) to kids (and some dogs - yours truly) in baskets on Easter morning.

I’m not sure if I am buying into it - sounds a lot like the chubby fella in the red suit that brings presents at Christmas. I’ll leave it up to you to decide where the goodies come from.

I am looking forward to seeing what is in the basket for me should it arrive again this year. (Yes, that’s right, AGAIN.) I have received a basket with goodies in it each Easter for the past several years....I just had never heard the rumor about the rabbit. Makes me wonder. If it’s true, what does the rabbit have to gain from these
“deposits?” Could it be a trap? Ya never know, those rabbits are sneaky. I’ve watched enough Bugs Bunny to know that.

If it is a basket from this frivolous rabbit - what would possess it to leave goodies for the dogs that live here? Honestly, if it is some kind of peace offering - not gonna work, Mr. Bunny. Silly rabbit, treats are for kids...and dogs ALWAYS chase rabbits. It’s bred into us - especially Jack Russell dogs....it’s what we do.

Needless to say, rabbit or no rabbit, I am still looking forward to Easter morning. It’s always a lot of fun to watch the kids that live here find their baskets of goodies. Of course, I find mine way before they find theirs...then I help everyone else. They spend a few minutes deciding which treats to eat first and then they all get dressed up (like most other Sundays around here) and head off to church.

I have only been to the Cowboy Church services when we are at the barrel races with the horses, but I always enjoy listening to the people talk and look forward to them. I know there is something extra special about
Easter. (Much more than a rabbit bringing baskets full of eggs and treats.) I have heard the people here talk about it many times. I have read up on it a bit and you can read about it to in several places in the bible. It’s a very interesting story and it explains a lot about hope and it makes sense as to why my people seem to be
so happy and joyful all of the time. (I like joy.)

I like treats too....until next month.....
Waiting on that rabbit

Later, Bella
I heard my people talking the other day about and old saying. It has something to do with the month of March coming in like a lion and going out like a lamb, or vice versa - that is Latin for the reverse - so in like a lamb and out like a lion. (French now Latin....are you impressed with all of my culture yet?)

Anyway, I didn’t understand the whole idea of the lion vs lamb thing, but I don’t think we are adding to the menagerie (there I go again) of creatures here at the farm. I think it has something to do with the weather.....and I am assuming here, but I’m thinking the lion brings more unpleasant weather than the lamb and one comes at the first of the month, the other at the end.

The people are leaning towards wanting the lion to show up first and just getting the worst of it over with. I can’t say as I blame them....I mean, we have had the most snowy winter ever recorded and as I am writing this we are due to have more snow in the next few days. Not to mention, it has been record breaking COLD.

I’m not sure that those are the kind of records I want to be a part of breaking. “Most Cheeseburgers Eaten By A Jack Russel” or “Jack Russel Terrier Wins Best Of Show Record Number Of Times” seem to be more up my alley.

Speaking of breaking records. Did you watch the Winter Olympics? There were all kinds of records being broken over there in Sochi, Russia. The United States did very well and I was entertained by my people getting excited and yelling for them to “ski faster, jump higher and play harder.”

Even though all of the athletes were really good, I have to admit that my favorite storywas about the US Olympians that decided to help with the stray dogs of Sochi.

I watched a little on TV about how there are lots of dogs in Sochi that don’t have homes (I heard that happens here in the US too), the dogs there depend on the people of the city to throw them scraps. I can’t imagine what life would be like without my people and a warm place to sleep. (Not to mention the food.)

Sorry to be a “Debbie Downer,” that brings up my public service announcement for the month: “Spay and neuter your pets.”

Breaking records - still taking care of business in record time....until that lamb shows up!

Later, Bella
The BB Break (as I like to call it) was short-lived. She went back to her house and things went back to normal
here. I am now Miss Maybelline’s entertainment again and my naps aren’t lasting as long. C’est la vie. (Yes, I know a little French...a little.)

Since BB left, it has gotten COLD! And not just your regular, run of the mill, I hate winter so I’ll complain cause it’s cold, cold. I mean the “If you leave me outside longer than two minutes I’m small and I’ll die” kind of cold.

It has been snowing and below zero with the windchill at negative 40! This make is VERY hard to concentrate and do your business outside. Trust me on this one. The way I work it is I wait until I just cannot wait any longer...not one minute. I just have to hope the people are paying attention when I finally decide to go. There have been a couple of close calls. I definitley make it quick. I think my record is like 10 seconds out and back in.

Miss Maybelline, on the other hand, still thinks she can take her time. (This is her first winter.) She wanders around and sniffs the snow, noses around the shrubs...I’m already at the door saying, “she’s on her own!” She’ll learn. Thank God the people are more patient with her than I am.

Taking care of business (quickly),
Later, Bella
I thought this past month was going to be a horrible mess, but what I thought sounded like a bad idea turned into a little extra rest for me.

Let me fill you in. We (and when I say we, I mean the lady of the house) volunteered to babysit - “puppysit” - for a family member’s new puppy. Of course, this puppy is a weinerdog - I’m beginning to see a trend here. I’ll
admit she is quite a cutie. She is a brown and white spotted, similar to Miss Maybelline, and she has the cutest little tail. It was broken when she was younger (not sure how) and it causes you to give her a double take. Her name is “BB.” Her big brother is “Bullet.” (Cute, right?)

Anyway, when BB arrived I thought Pandora’s Box had been opened in the living room of our house. She was running around, barking and sliding across the floor like a wild thing. I let her know very quickly that I wasn’t interested and was thinking to myself, “how long is this going to last?”

It didn’t take long for me to realize that having BB around was going to take some heat off of me. Remember how Miss Maybelline liked to tug on my “jowl?” Well, guess what....turn about is fair play. It seems that is common among those weiner-dogs and BB has decided to stretch out Miss Maybelline’s Jowl.

While those two are running around tearing up the house, yard, barn....whatever, I’m getting some real peace and quiet. Puppsitting is great!

When they finally wear themselves out, they are content to fall asleep anywhere. That means I don’t have to share my bed or have Miss Maybelline’s feet in my face! Yeah, me!

I have to admit it, I’ll be sad to see the little brown and white ball of energy leave.

Resting peacefully
Later, Bella
Duke is back to his normal self. His sad spell only lasted a few days and now he is back to helping hunt mice in the barn and barking at anything that steps or drives onto the property.

One thing I forgot to mention last month was what Duke found out while visiting the animal doctor. I’m not sure, but maybe this is part of the reason he stayed so sad on our return. Duke had to go on a diet. Yep...I said it. Well, actually, the animal doctor said it....I just repeated it.

The animal doctor told the lady that Duke needed to lose some weight and the only way to make that happen was a diet. That meant less food for Duke - and Duke likes food!

At first Duke didn’t seem to mind. He was happy to eat his ration and not complain. It only took the lady a couple days to figure out that Duke was helping himself to the cat food to make up the difference.

Regroup - with the cat food on a higher shelf in the barn we gave it another try. That worked better and after only a week or so we all started to notice a little more pep in Duke’s step - not to mention his slimming waistline.

I’ll have to admit, Duke is looking better. I did, however, catch him eating the feed that the horses were dropping this morning. I don’t think it’s enough to ruin his diet, but I do think it helps keep him busy and maybe he thinks he’s outsmarting the people.

Needless to say, Duke is on his way to a slimmer and healthier Duke in 2014.

I wonder what I can do to bring in the new year?

Until next month,
Thinking of a resolution....
Later, Bella
The cats have all settled in and made themselves at home - in the top of the barn....and that is fine and dandy with me. The biggest cat is very friendly with the people, she comes out and hangs around with us some during the day. Every once in a while she’ll arch her back, like she’s making sure we don’t get any ideas.

The other kitties are a little younger and a lot more skittish. They pretty much stay out of the way of the people - and us. Needless to say, the dogs and cats have came to an agreement. This is our home and it is their home and we just have to learn to get on with it.

I think this is a pretty nice place to call home. It’s pretty nice to have been chosen to be part of this family. I have been here since I was just eight weeks old.....kind of like Freckles and Miss Maybelline. We were all chosen by the people as puppies and have lived here most of our lives.

Duke, on the other hand, chose the people. I mean, he decided he wanted to live here. I really got to thinking about that this past week when I learned a little more about Duke during a trip to see the animal doctor (they call him the vet.)

I think I’ve mentioned how Duke ended up here, but let me tell you a little more of Duke’s story. My people seem to think that Duke was dumped. By dumped, I mean taken for a ride in a car with people he had grown to love and trust and then left out in the middle of the country to fend for himself. Yes, I know, awful, isn’t it? You see, Duke just showed up at the neighbors house one day with another dog, no collars, no tags - just two big healthy Labs out in the middle of the country.

Our neighbors started putting food out for the two dogs. The other Lab decided to move on, they weren’t sure what happened to him or where he went. Duke decided to stay and enjoy the food and company of their little dachshund. Duke told me that he really loved his new little friend.

Duke also told me that he got very curious about all the excitement happening down the road (at our house), so much so that he had to check it out. That is when we all got introduced to Duke. He meandered down to visit and that is how it started.

Duke started coming to visit every day while the people were out doing the barn chores. He would go back to the neighbor’s house in the evenings after the people (and me) returned to the house. Each evening his little dachshund friend would wait at the edge of the neighbor’s field for him.

One day Duke didn’t come to visit, but we could hear him crying....for two or three days he cried. The people thought maybe the neighbors had put him in the kennel to keep him from wandering down to our house. After talking to the neighbor, the man found out that Duke was not in the kennel.....he was just sad. It turned out that Duke’s little dachshund friend had died and Duke was mourning for his little buddy. I know, I’ll admit, I teared up a little too.

It was probably another day or so before Duke came to visit again. His stays got to be longer and longer until he just decided he wanted to be here all of the time.

Duke has now been a permanent fixture here at the farm for over a year and half. I’ve kidded about how he is a “big lug” and how he leaves “dukies” in the yard....but I really do think a lot of the big guy. Remember how he was with the baby foal that died?

Getting back to the beginning and our ride to the vet and the reason I decided to share Duke’s story. When we all loaded up into the Suburban to go visit the vet, Duke got very quiet. I never really though much about it until the lady noticed. After the people had him and Freckles get in the back, he just got really sad and mopey. He wouldn’t look at the people, he wouldn’t even lift his head when they called his name. The lady thought something was wrong, she tried to cheer him up before we left the drive and he just looked lost.

It was then that the lady said, “I bet he thinks we are taking him away. The last time he was in a vehicle was when he was brought to the country and his last family left him.”

Oh my....you talk about pulling at your heart. I almost lost it, and we all know I am not one for the mushy stuff.
We tried to convince Duke that we were all returning home - together - .....and of course we all did go back home together.

It took Duke a day or so to come out of his sadness. I think he finally realized that this is his home and he isn’t going anywhere. You see, in the beginning he chose us, since then we have all chosen him.

Until next month,
Later, Bella
As usual, this month has been interesting - most of them are around here.

The lady of the house decided that we needed to add some new critters to the “collection.” They are supposed to help reduce the mouse population. You guessed it - we got cats.

Now, I’ve been around cats before and have been civil on - most - of those occasions. Since these new cats are now considered part of the “crew” around here, the lady of the house thought it was necessary to give us dogs a lecture on how to treat them. It went something like this: “Alright, doggies, these kitties are now part of the family....blah, blah, blah.....no chasing, stalking, scaring or chewing on the new kitties.”

What does that leave for us to do with them for “quality time?” (Just kidding...)

The lady forgot to mention to us that most of these “kitties” that she rescued and relocated to our lovely barn were mostly WILD....I mean DOUBLE YOU - EYE - ELL -DEE.....WILD. And it’s pretty obvious to me and the rest of the original crew that they do not like dogs.

I wanted to ask the lady if she had the same sort of talk with the kitties. It should have went something like this: “Alright, kitties, there are doggies that live here and they have lived here longer than you. I have told the
doggies I expect them to be nice to you.... so, kitties, you are expected to be nice to the doggies. That means, no hissing, swatting, biting, scratching or arched back threats.”

I mean, I know Halloween is right around the corner and all, but these are some SCARY cats!

BUT, I do like living here, so I guess I’ll just stay out of their way and suppress my natural instinct to.....well never mind.....I’ll behave.

With all the new cats running around here, we had one that seemed a little under the weather....of course it was the one that is actually tame and civil to us dogs. She didn’t look well and the lady had to give her medicine and I heard the people talking about her using up a few of her “nine lives.” What???? Cats get nine lives? Anyway - the cat is doing much better now and she is still the only friendly one of the bunch.

But this whole “nine lives” thing really had me thinking. First of all, is it really true? I don’t think so. Second of all, do the people really believe it’s true? Surely not. At least I would have thought they wouldn’t believe such nonsense. Until....

I was walking out of the barn a couple of days ago, minding my own business...when all of a sudden, a giant hunk of packaged up dried grass fell from the sky and almost crushed me. Wow! I took a roll and had to catch my breath.

The people were freaking out...they seemed pretty concerned about me (of course.) These giant hunks of grass (they called it hay) come falling from that section of the sky right in front of the barn at least a couple times a day.... this time I was caught off guard.

The lady was looking me over and making sure I was ok (I was fine, by the way), and then she said something about me being like a cat and using up some of my “lives.” (Remember the worming incident? And I’ve been in some close calls with some horse hooves too.....)But, come on!! Really? I am NOT a cat!

I know I like to scratch my back on the lady’s foot when she has her leg crossed and hanging at just the right height....and I do like to hunt mice....but I am sure that I am NOT a cat!

I am also sure that I don’t have “nine lives” and neither do cats! Crazy people.

Maybe I should look this stuff up on Google. I’ve taken a break from the internet lately - the weather has been really nice and trying to bond with cats is kind of time consuming.

Anyway, until next month,
Here, kitty, kitty......
Later, Bella
Hey Bella,
You know, you are quite a BABE! I have been checking out your profile in the Horse Resource every month. I read you are part of a Barrel Racing family (what ever THAT is?). I'm in a Cowboy Mounted Shooting family, we ride horses and shoot guns just like the REAL Cowboys of the Old West.

I'm sending you a picture of me...pretty
handsome, right! Actually this is my "Tuff Enough to Wear "PINK" outfit, I won the "Tuffest Pink Puppy" award at the Breast Cancer Charity Shoot hosted by 1st Ohio CMSA this past weekend.

Hey Girly... I'll have "my people" call "your people" and you & I can get together for dinner sometime!

See ya around kid...

The Dog Days of Summer - September 2013

Boy is it HOT! I think summer was a little late getting here, but now that it’s finally arrived it is making up for the cooler temperatures we enjoyed in July and August. I’m really having a hard time getting motivated to go to the barn and chase mice with it this hot outside. I’ll admit it.......I prefer the air conditioning.

I’ve heard the people referring to these late summer hot spells as “The Dog Days of Summer.” I think Clint Van even mentioned them this month in his Teen Corral. To tell you the truth, I’m actually not sure how to take
that name. I mean, I’m a dog, what do blazing hot, sticky summer days have to do with me? Where did that term even come from?

Guess what....I have GOOGLE!!!

It appears that the term actually comes from the Ancient Romans and it refers to the a period of time when the “The Dog Star” (Sirius) is aligned a certain way with the sun. Wow! I had no idea!

Sirius (the dog star) is the brightest star in the sky - how appropriate - and is located in the constellation Canis Major.

So, “The Dog Days” have nothing to do with yours truly (or my kin.) Hmmmmm...good to know. Thank you, Google.

Honestly, I think I am becoming a little dependent on my computer and it’s ability to answer almost any question I ask it through my favorite search engine.

I have leaned a lot from this new pastime.... some to expand my intelligence...some not so much.

I thought you might like to learn along with me, so I’ll share some things I have learned this past month thanks to my curiosity and Google:

• Dachshunds come in a variety of colors - Maybelline is called a “Black and Tan Piebald with Ticking”
• Flies live for about a month (the one that caused this search didn’t live that long)
• Horses are pregnant for about 340 days (or around 11 months) OMG!!
• Coyotes do eat cats (and small dogs) - even better reason to stay inside after dark.
• Fleas do not have wings...but they can jump reeaalllly far
• Cornstalks grow to 15 feet tall...some as tall as 18 feet! Glad I can follow my nose.
• Florence and The Machine sings “Dog Days Are Over”
• There are several famous Jack Russell Terriers! Including the RCA dog - Nipper, Marty Crane’s sidekick in the TV show “Frazier” - Eddie and of course from the movie “The Mask” - Milo!

Isn’t Google great?

I even had to prove to Miss Maybelline that there is a company out there with her name... she didn’t believe me at first! She thought maybe she was born with it...(her name, I mean!)

She’s always chasing me around asking questions. (Literally, as you can see!)

Until next month,
Always on the run and.... STILL loving Google!!
Later, Bella

I Got My Vacation After All - August 2013

I think the lady of the house felt a little guilty leaving us here last month. Remember, I told you she was gone and we were all happy to see her when she got home? Well, we all needed a vacation after that!

Time for the lake! A well deserved vacation for yours truly, I must say. I included a few pictures of me and my friend, Maybelline, enjoying some sunshine. I think Miss Maybelline liked the lake. She didn’t whine at all on the boat (like she tends to do most of the time everywhere else.....she’s a little needy.) She even went swimming in her cute little life vest like mine. She can doggie paddle pretty well for a beginner.

I did get a chuckle out of her enjoying the boat ride. She does have some ears, you know! Boy, were they blowing in the wind! I have to admit it was pretty cute, but I’m glad I don’t have that problem.

We had a great time chasing butterflies and even a few cats. I felt kind of bad about the incident with Freckles last year, so I didn’t take Miss Maybelline on any crazy chases over any cliffs. She wandered off enough on her
own to keep the people busy.

Needless to say, the family enjoyed getting away together and we left Freckles and Duke at home this time to watch over the farm.

I did have a chance to do a little research this past month. I found out that there really are doctors that do plastic surgery on pets....google it.....unbelievable, that’s all I’ll say about that.

I also found out who “Rosie the Riveter” was - as well as Winston Churchill. (You should already know...but if you don’t, you may want to google them too.)

Lastly, I checked into the reality TV. I think I’ll just write a book. What do you think?

Until next month, I’m loving google!!!
Later, Bella

Please!!! Take Me with You! - July 2013

The lady of the house took off and went on vacation without me. I couldn’t believe it at first. I mean, she told us all she was leaving and would be gone for a little over a week, but she ALWAYS takes me. She even takes me on the boat when they visit the lake. (I really love the boat!)

This time was different. I really do think she wanted me to go, but she mentioned that because it was so far and she would be riding in an airplane that I would have to stay at home. What a bummer - I thought about
pleading with her, “Please, take me with you!”

I don’t think it would have done any good.... and besides, I really don’t think I would have liked the whole airplane thing. I’ve heard all about the tight quarters with screaming babies and snoring old men and that is just not my cup of tea. So....after some thought, I figured staying home didn’t seem so bad.

I did learn that the reason she needed to go to this faraway place was to bring back the young man that lives here with us. His name is Garrett. (I’m glad because I like him. I was hoping he’d come back.) You see, Garrett had been already been gone for a few weeks. It seems he was visiting the girl that lived here with us last year. (Her name was Pauli.) They called her an “exchange student.” I’m not sure what they got in exchange for her coming, but I wish they would have kept her! She had to go back to her home. I really hated to see her leave, she was really nice to me and the other dogs.

Anyway, I figured that while the lady of the house was gone I should step up and take charge of a few things. I mean, I should be able to help out a little, right?

Keeping an eye on Maybelline wasn’t too much trouble. The people bought a pen for her to sleep in when no one was home. Great idea, people! The pen was THE BERRIES! It made my job easy when the man of the house was at work and the little girl (Gracie) was spending time at Grandma & Grandpa’s house with Miss Tilly.

Things actually went pretty smoothly for the most part. I did notice the laundry piling up, but I can’t reach the buttons on the washer and dryer or I would have helped out in that department. (Sorry, Lady.)

I do think that the man of the house and the little girl, Gracie, missed the lady and Garrett quite a bit. They seemed kind of lost without the rest of the family here. To be honest, I did too. I think the one who missed them the most was Maybelline....maybe because she is still a puppy and a little dependent on the lady for
everything...I’m not sure. She spent a lot of time “looking” for the lady.

I do know that when they arrived home it was a happy day here at the ranch. Everyone was very happy to see them, including me.

Now that things are mostly back to normal, maybe I can get back to work and get some internet research done.

Until next month,
Later, Bella

I Think I Need a “Jowl Lift” - June 2013

It all started when Princess Annabelle was a puppy. She liked to grab my neck and pull on the loose skin. She would hang on my neck for minutes at a time. That had to be when the stretching started.

It must be something about puppies....I can vaguely remember the people saying that I did the same thing to my mentor, the Doberman Pinscher named Sam, who lived here when I came.

Now it is Miss Maybelline grabbing my sagging jowl skin and stretching it even more. If I were a puppy, I’d think I still had a lot of growing to do with as much loose skin as I am getting around my neck.

I’ve heard the people here talking while watching those “makeover” television shows....something about cosmetic surgeries and face lifts to remove the extra skin.

I think I need that.

I wonder who I need to get in touch with to make it happen? Maybe they could even do a makeover show about dogs like me having cosmetic surgery? I mean, they’ve made reality TV shows about just about everything else under the sun haven’t they? (Note to self, get information on cosmetic surgery and reality TV shows.)

In the meantime, until I can figure out if the loose skin is worthy of removal, I guess I can let you in on what has been happening lately around here at the ranch.

As I already mentioned, Miss Maybelline has found my jowl skin....and loves it. Other than that, we have had several baby horses born this year and they are always a lot of fun.

The kids that live here like to give each one a barn name - even if the babies aren’t “full timers” here, they still get a name. I like to listen to the conversations about why each baby foal should have this name or that.

This year’s baby names started with historical figures from the World War II era. (I don’t know much more than what I’ve overheard.... dogs don’t study History.) Winston (as in Churchill) and Rosie (as in “Rosie the
Riveter”) were the first two.

The next babies seemed to be named for simpler reasons, like the filly who started out with crooked legs - they are now straight (“Cricket” - sounds like crooked) and the colt who spent a lot of time scooting across the stall before standing (“Scooter.”) Then there was the littlest foal (“Pee Wee”) and the colt who was born while his mommy was cast in her stall and who then managed to get his legs scratched in the fence after two days (“Trouble.)

There were other cute names to match the babies, but my favorite foal name is still “Funny,” the foal from last year who seemed to always have his tongue sticking out when the camera snapped a picture.

Until next month, I’ll be researching “jowl lifts,” reality TV and World War II.
Later, Bella

I Can’t Believe I’m Saying This.... - May 2013

But, I must admit that “Miss Maybelline” has grown on me. Maybe I’m getting softer with age, maybe she is irresistible, maybe she wore me down. Whatever the case, she has won me over and I.....I actually like her.

I mean, I admit, she is quite noisy and she does have A LOT of energy, but she also looks up to me. It’s kind of flattering and nice to have a youngster that follows me around and tries to imitate what I do.

She pretty much is my shadow around the farm. Once the lady that lives here lets us outside and helps Miss Maybelline down the big steps, the little cutie is hot on my heels for most of the day. She does get distracted easily and takes out after Freckles and Duke once in a while, but I think they sometimes frighten her because they are so much bigger. Although, when they are snoozing, she thinks it is funny to run circles around them and bark. And, yes, I think it’s funny too!)

Honestly, she reminds me a lot of myself when I was a pup. (Other than the long ears, long tail and long  body....) She has a mind of her own and isn’t afraid to speak her mind. I respect that.

So...in honor of my new little “sidekick,” I have included some pretty cute pictures of our little ball of energy. I figured it was only fitting that we include a portion of a “portfolio.” I mean, her name is Maybelline!

You have to admit, she is a cute little booger. And check out those ears! They definitely have a mind of their own.

Until next month, I’ll be passing along some wisdom to my new little friend on a daily basis.....
Later, Bella

It Happened.... - April 2013

Well, I still have not been able to get the elusive picture of Duke and his big smile. You keep reading, I’ll keep trying. Maybe next month.

On another note, it finally happened. It happened just like I was afraid it would. The lady of the house has lost her mind and brought home another pooch. I was so relieved when Princess Annabelle went to rule her own
kingdom and I pretty much had the house to myself. (Since it’s warming up outside, Duke and Freckles are spending most of their time outside.) Now we have another potential princess in the house.

I’m not sure what kind of pooch she is. I’ve heard everything mentioned when folks see her.....from beagle and blue tick to dachshund.

She has a longer tail than me and lots bigger ears...even though she is just a pup. My guess is she (yes, it’s a “she”) is part rabbit. From what I’ve heard about that Energizer bunny, they keep going and going....and so does she.

Actually when she first arrived, she just slept a lot. That wasn’t too bad. Then she started running around
like a banshee and wanting to play all of the time. She wants to play with me, with Freckles, with Duke, with
Miss Tilly, with the people, with shoes, bowls, blankets... well, you get my point - pretty much anything
that is in reach and can move or will fit in her mouth. Now she just annoys me.

She has attitude to go with the energy. “Yap, Yap, Yap!” It has already started. Here’s a sample of her vocabulary.

“Yap!” - Translated to: “Pick me up.”
“Yap!” - Translated to: “Feed me!”
“Yap!” - Translated to: “Play with me!”
“Yap!” - Translated to: “I’m bored!”
“Yap!” - Translated to: “Mine!”

Oh, I forgot to mention that she got to pick her own name. They tried everything from “Dixie” and “Penny” to “Whinnie” (horse farm thing.)

She answered to none of the above. I’m telling you, it’s the attitude - she liked “Maybelline” and only answered accordingly.

Maybe it’s the Energizer Bunny....
Maybe it’s Maybelline.
Wish me luck......
Later, Bella

Oh, That Smile...... - March 2013

I was hoping to have a picture to share with you this month. It’s just really hard to get a smart phone camera to work well with paws. (Not quite as easy as the keyboard.)

Maybe next month I can try again. You have got to see this dog smile. Duke, that is. To tell you the truth, it kind of freaks me out. I mean, really? How many dogs do you know that smile? He actually rolls his lip up and shows
his teeth. I think the first time he grinned at them, the people thought maybe he was going to bite. But oh no, not Duke. He’s a big teddy bear.

Now the people think it is so cute, they’ve even let him start sleeping on the back porch of the house. Next thing you know he’ll be on the couch with me! (That’s all I want to do after a nap...wake up to that big toothy grin...ahhh!)

When it got really cold last month, the felt bad for him sleeping in the garage, so they moved his bed to the back porch where there is some heat. I have to admit, it’s only fair. I don’t mind, really. He won me over last year with the way he was over the baby foals.

Other than Duke’s promotion, it’s been somewhat calm around the ranch for the past month. Maybe that’s why the lady of the house started talking about bringing home another little dog for inside the house. I think she wants something to keep me company that is closer to my size. Little does she know, I am just fine the way things are! The last thing I need is another canine to try and keep in line. Good grief! And her other reason is because she says I’m not a “lap dog!” humph! Just because I only rest in her lap when I want and how long I want, she thinks she needs another little dog. Knowing my luck it will be another “Princess!” Heaven forbid.

I’ve been hard at work this month helping the lady at the computer. She gets tired sometimes and that’s when you can fins me doing research on-line. I have to admit, I get sidetracked and end up on You Tube way too often watching videos of little Jack Russell puppies! They are just so stinkin’ cute! And, yes, that cute one in
the hat in the picture is me!
Later, Bella

I’ll Hold Down the Fort -  February 2013

I don’t recall a time in recent history (in dog years, I suppose) that it has been this cold for this long. Maybe it’s just that I am getting older and don’t appreciate the “crispness” in the air....and maybe it’s just been plain cold.

Either way you look at it, below freezing on the thermometer is no place for a short haired dog of 12 pounds. (OK, maybe I exaggerated a bit...I might weigh 13 pounds.) Even with me donning my stylish blue coat - slash- dog blanket, it doesn’t take long for me to get my fill of the chill, if you know what I mean.

As a matter of fact, I’d just as soon stay inside while the people (and Freckles - she has a lot more hair than me...) head out to take care of the barn chores and the horses twice a day. I’ve made it clear that a quick trip out to “take care of business” is plenty for me. I can make that happen with a lap of barking around the yard - mostly for the people’s benefit - and a couple deposits to Mother Earth. It isn’t but a few minutes and I’m
jumping on the back porch steps waiting for the door to open and welcome me back into the warmth and comfort of my life as Bella, Her Honorable Jack Russel Queen of the Ranch.

My people have figured out that I would rather “hold down the fort” while they bundle up in their layers upon layers of additional clothing to head outside. I mean, it really shouldn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that if the people need three layers of clothing, it’s too cold for me to be out there for long.

I have to admit, they are pretty good about understanding “Bella talk,” so when I hear them calling my name while they are all pulling on the coveralls and the Siberian Snow boots, I just give them the “I Ain’t Goin’”
stance. They get it.

There are those few times that I decide to tag along and ask them for my dog coat - slash - blanket. The littlest one likes to be the one to help dress me....go figure.

Anyway, on the occasions I decide to take part in the trip outside, I do like to help Freckles and Duke with the mousing and the trailing of fresh rabbit tracks. It is a lot of fun. But, the fun doesn’t last long.

When the pads of my feet go numb from cold, I have to go find the lady. She really understands “Bella talk” and knows when it’s time to pick me up and warm the footsies. The only bad part about the warming of the footsies is that I have to ride around in the lady’s coat to make it happen. That’s when I have flashbacks of
Princess Annabelle and her antics. She did a lot of riding around in coats in her day. I don’t want to be stereotyped as one of those kind of dogs. (You know those lapdogs that people carry around in bags and purses....gag.)

For now, I’m spending most of these cold days holding down the fort and keeping the footsies warm on my own.
Later, Bella

The Trees Have Left the Building - January 2013

Well, they’re gone. I wondered how long they would get to stay. (They never stay very long.) I’m talking about the trees that the people brought in for Christmas. They were worth the trouble this year, though. I guess
that Santa fellow doesn’t have anyplace to put the presents if there is no tree.

As far as this Santa Claus guy is concerned, he is alright with me. I’ll admit that I did sneak a peak when he was placing all the gifts under the tree. He’s surprisingly quick for a fella with a little extra around the midsection.
I didn’t think he seen me until he turned and winked at me. BUSTED! I then proceeded to close my eyes and pretend to be asleep. He didn’t buy it. I guess he sees you when your sleeping. Anyway, it must be ok for dogs to witness his Christmas outing, because then he walked over to me and scratched me behind my ears - right where I like it. He didn’t try to pick me up (I hate that) and he didn’t scratch long. I guess he had other places to
be, because when I opened my eyes he was gone.

I couldn’t keep this encounter to myself. I told Freckles and Duke. They both said they woke up when there arose such a clatter, they thought about looking to see what was the matter. But they both like their sleep too much.

No matter, Santa was good to me this year! (He must’ve felt bad for me since I never got any popcorn strings.)

Let me tell you what I found that he left for me under tree this year. First of all, I got a new doggy bed! He must’ve heard that Freckles took mine. I guess I can’t be too upset because the people gave hers to Duke in the garage and she isn’t allowed on the furniture (I am...of course.)

Santa also left me a stocking full of treats. The people make us eat them a little at a time. If I had my say, that would change.

The best thing he left of all that he left for me was a chew toy. It’s a stuffed wiener dog! It has a squeaker in the middle which gives me a good reason to gnaw on it all day....of course that would be the only  reason... nothing to do with the fact that it looks like Princess Annabelle.

All in all, it was a good Christmas. Freckles got some treats too and Duke got a new collar. (I guess that means that he is here to stay.)

One other thing, I’ve talked alot about this past year’s Christmas and Santa, but I also want to make a note that we got to eat cake and celebrate a birthday on Christmas too. Thousands of years ago on the first  Christmas, Jesus was born. He was born in a stable and I imagine there were animals there to witness this
special first Christmas gift. How cool is that?

Hoping you all had as good a Christmas as me and that you have a very Happy New Year!
Later, Bella

"Trees" in the House - December 2012

Well, it’s that time of year again. The time of year my owners go “coo-coo” on me and start bringing all kinds of odd things into the house. It may have something to do with the weather getting colder.

You see, they don’t spend as much time outside when it’s cold out there....so I figure that’s why they bring the “trees” inside. I use quotation marks because these are not real trees. I mean, they look real....they kind of feel real.....but they sure don’t smell real.

These “trees” get all kinds of special treatment. They get pretty sparkling lights and other shiny things hanging from their so-called branches. I’m sure the real trees outside are glad they don’t get all of this nonsense wrapped around and dangling from them. (Although I have seen some at other people’s houses who do!)

I’ve heard my people talking about putting popcorn on strings and wrapping that around the “trees.” But I couldn’t be that lucky.... seems that I’m part of the reason they voted against that idea. I overheard the lady of the house telling a story of a dog from her past and popcorn strung on the tree. I don’t think the tree fared very well at the end of the story. And I don’t think the dog was on the nice list for Christmas that year either.

Ahhh....Yes! Christmas! That’s what the people around here keep calling the “trees”.... they are “Christmas trees.” All of the other things that are sitting around have something to do with Christmas as well.

It’s all coming together now! You’d think I would have figured this out before, but I guess it just seemed so odd that I never made the connection.

The “trees,” the little statues of the chubby guy in the red suit, the snowmen that are EVERYWHERE and the baby Jesus (yes, I know who Jesus is) are all part of this Christmas celebration that my people go on and on about through December.

Wow....what a revelation! I know I am rambling, but I can’t believe I just figured this out. I actually LOVE Christmas. I get my own stocking and presents. They turn up every year under the “tree.”

Now it makes sense. Now I get it. The “trees” are part of the Christmas theme in the house! And all of this time I thought they were just trying to bring the outside inside!

I still think my people go a little overboard. I mean, really...two trees and hundreds of snowmen....a miniature village, a nativity scene (or two), chubby “Santas” (I figured out the name) and reindeer, lights and shiny bulbs
everywhere. I guess I should be glad. It keeps life interesting here at the ranch.

Hoping for popcorn strings..... Merry Christmas!
Later, Bella

Extreme Bathing - November 2012

I think I lead a fairly spoiled life....for a dog,  that is. I mean, I have my own bed, my own food dishes and my people let me come and go as I please. All I have to do is look at the door and they are letting me out...give a little bark and they’re letting me back in. I have blankets and sweaters and coats for comfort. I have chew toys and balls and squeaky toys that I like to think of as treasure hunts. (They don’t last long without me finding that squeaker and removing it.)

What I’m trying to say it that I lead a pretty “posh” life. I didn’t know how “posh” my life has really been up until now. You see, my people take great care of me and my fellow dog buddies. We get all the necessary trips to the vet, which until now I really did not appreciate, and my people always put different kinds of stuff on us to keep us smelling clean and to keep the fleas and ticks away.

Up until the past month, I really couldn’t have told you what a flea was. I mean, I’d heard the people talk about
them and heard the lady freak out if she even thought she spotted one. But, as far I was concerned, the only fleas I had seen were dead ones.

According to my vet (and the articles the lady has been reading on the internet) this year has been unusually dry and hot and I guess the fleas like that kind of weather. They’ve been showing up around here more than ever before and the lady of the house has became obsessed with ridding the property (and yours truly) of

Since the stuff the people usually use on us for fleas isn’t working very well this year, the lady of the house has been reading about different “home remedies” and trying them out on Freckles and me. You would not believe some of the things you can find on the internet.... and most of them are ridiculous! Thank God she doesn’t believe everything she reads, but I wish she’d use a little more scrutiny. I mean, really? Would you want to smell like apple cider vinegar?

Needless to say, this means I’m getting more attention than usual. I can’t say that I enjoy this, but it is a necessary evil. I am getting at least two baths per week and being sprayed down with some sort of flea deterrent afterwards. Thankfully, she found something that seems to work pretty well. The stuff she’s
using is called Skin So Soft and even though it makes me smell all froo-froo and sissified, I’ll take it over the little creepy crawlers anyday.

I kind of feel a little sorry for my friend, Freckles, she is also getting the baths and she is a little bigger...and fuzzier than me. She looks like a drowned rat when she is wet and it takes them forever to get her all done and dry and brushed. How awful would that be? Although, I think Freckles likes the attention.

Catcha later....
Glad for short hair,
Later, Bella

My Friend, Freckles - October 2012

I know I’ve mentioned her before in my ramblings, but this month I have to give another shout out to my friend, Freckles. We’ve grown a little closer since it’s just us in the house now. (No more Princess Annabelle
to crimp my style.)

I’ll admit, I have had my moments where I wanted to get rid of her (I kind of still feel guilty about the incident in Kentucky.) Maybe I’m starting to get a little sentimental the older I get, but I really think she’s starting to grown on me.

OK, so she is sickeningly pretty with her big brown eys and long wavy hair....and she is so loyal it sometimes makes me want to gag....but I guess those aren’t really such bad qualities to have in a friend, right?

You see, the “pretty” gets us a little more attention. Kind of like Princess Annabelle’s sad eyes that got us treats....now it’s the pretty puppy face that works it’s magic.

And the “loyal”...well, the other day I got locked out in the garage and apparently Freckles was the only one who could hear me whining. My people were too involved in their conversation and it was Freckles who came to my rescue. She started acting like she was in a scene from Lassie. You know, the one where Timmy falls down the well? (That’s one of my favorites, maybe she’d heard me mention it....anyway....) She was barking and turning circles, way out of her normal “in-house” behavior, until she got the attention of the people. Of course their first thought was to let her outside, but she was persistant and she kept after them until they finally opened the garage door, setting me free. She was happy to see me and I was happy to be out. So, I guess the loyal thing is OK in my book.

In all reality, I’m kind of glad to have another canine who has the same qualities as me. I guess we make a good team, you know what I mean? I may need to work on the loyal thing a little, but it’s all good.

Don’t tell Freckles, I don’t want it to go to her head. Just sayin’......
Later, Bella

The New - "Old" Teddy - September 2012

I’ve got a really neat story for you this month. I know I’m always talking about life here at the ranch, but this month I have a story to tell you about a new member to the family.

My people have family members that aren’t so much “horse people” and don’t hang out down at the barn....but they are still what I would consider “dog people.” One of the family members in particular has a tender heart when it comes to my fellow four legged canines.

The latest member of the family has found his way into the tender hearted family member’s home and this is where my story begins.

You see, Teddy (who is by no means a youngster), had lived out his thirteen years with a couple who loved him dearly. I’m sure he spent many nights cuddled up on one of their laps while they enjoyed each others and his company. He is a lapdog size ball of fur...I think they referred to him as a Pomeranian. (I had to use spell check on that one!)

The sad part of the story is that the couple he spent most of his life with became incapable of taking care of themselves and were advised that they would have to enter a nursing home together. On a good note, part of this decision was that they were to enter their nursing home together, the flip side of this is that with them
both entering a nursing home and with no one to take care of Teddy - they were advised that they should put him to sleep.

Well, the tender hearted lady (my people’s family) happened to come onto the scene and began working with the couple as they were preparing to make the move. They shared their dilemma with her as they struggled with the decision at hand.

Of course after hearing what was suggested, she absolutely would not hear of it. She offered to open her home to Teddy and promised the couple that he would have a “forever” home” with her.

The elderly couple was so thankful and teared up at the thought of saying goodbye to Teddy, but were so relieved that is was not goodbye forever - you see, he can still visit when he wants.

Meanwhile, New/Old Teddy has made himself at home with the other geriatric members at his new home. He’s fitting right in with the dachshund (I know - another wiener dog in the family....) named Otis and the big rescue dog that looks like he’s part Chow Chow (except in the summer when they shave him and he looks like some form of a lion/dog) named Dillon. The youngster of the bunch at Teddy’s new home thinks she is old
because of the company she keeps....her name is Maddie - and she is....you guessed it, another wiener dog.

Here’s the kicker.....Maddie is “Princess Annabelle’s” sister. Small world, huh? I think from now on I’ll call her “Princess Madeline.”

Take care of the “Old Folks” in your life... critters included...
Later, Bella

My Friend, "Miss Tilly" - August 2012

Well, I’ve introduced you to most of the critters that live here at the ranch. You’ve met Duke and Freckles and of course the donkey, Seven. Then there is “Princess Annabelle” the weiner dog. (I haven’t mentioned her much lately since she went to live with Granny.) There is, however, another weiner dog who comes to visit quite often.

Her name is Tilly and she lives with the grandparents that live down the road from us. My people call them Grandma & Grandpa “Honey.” I’ve heard that the nickname started when the little boy that lives here thought that “Honey” was Grandpa’s real name. He heard Grandma calling him that all of the time and it just stuck.  Anyway, “Miss Tilly” lives with Grandma and Grandpa “Honey.”

Miss Tilly and Grandpa Honey come down to visit almost everyday. Grandpa likes to work around the barn
with the horses and Tilly likes to hang out with the crew down here and work on getting dirty.

When I say she likes to get dirty, I mean it. Tilly absolutley loves to get out in the barn and mix it up in the dirt. If she’s not in the “poopy pile” then she is rolling in the arena dirt.

Her other favorite thing to do while she is here is chew on horse hooves that the farrier has left behind after trimming or putting shoes on the horses’ feet. Tilly thinks those are better than Milk Bones and she loves Milk Bones.

I’ve noticed that when Grandma “Honey” decides to come with Grandpa and Miss Tilly to the ranch, she  keeps a very close eye on Tilly. She tries to keep Miss Tilly out of the dirt and out of the horse hooves. Honestly, I can’t say that I blame her.

You see, the problem with Miss Tilly’s adventures here at the ranch are that they create a lot of work for Grandma Honey. Tilly is almost always a mess when she goes home from the trips to the ranch. This is a guaranteed bath for Tilly - and she gets A LOT of baths - compliments of Grandma Honey.

Then there is the issue of the barn lot snacking. You see, the horse hooves are almost always sure to upset Miss Tilly’s tummy. This seems to become evident about the time Tilly makes her way back home and is somewhere in the vicintity of Grandma Honey and a clean floor.

Miss Tilly and I have been friends for a long time. We’ve spent many days lounging around in the shade together and she even likes to join in the barking game once in a while. I like it when Tilly comes to visit, I really like watching Grandma Honey trying to keep Tilly out of trouble more than anything.

Stay out of trouble.....
Later, Bella

Freckles & Her Fall - July 2012

The past month has been mostly rather “blah” around here. There have been no more new babies to write about, and the ones that are here have each other to play with....they aren’t much interested in me anymore. (Although they are still kind of fun to watch!)

The “new crew” has been spending a lot of time in the shade taking it easy. It has been very HOT and DRY here. We’ve all been getting brushed way too often and I feel I have endured more than my fair share of grooming. I am short haired, people. Just because all my hair decided to turn loose at once - they call it
shedding - get over it.

By the way - here’s a tip from me: You know the tear away lint rollers that you can buy? They work great on my shedding hair. Of course, I still need the comb once in a while, but the lint roller is the berries. You should try them on your dogs at home.

Now, back to my adventures from the past month. The family decided to take a trip to the lake in Kentucky and get things ready for the summer trips. Of course, I always get to go on these trips, that’s a “given.” This trip the family decided to include Freckles. Since we are officially the only two permanent members of the “Crew,” I could see how they came to this conclusion. Duke actually, kind of, still belongs to the neighbors, so he stays in Indiana. This would be Freckles’ first trip to the lake.

Freckles did fine for the first few days. She made a couple of trips down the boat ramp to the pier and even did well staying close to the people. They were really bragging on her.

I have to admit, that staying close isn’t my strong suit....I have a wandering mind.... especially when I see a critter. My people  compare my attention span to the dog in the movie “Up.” You know, when the dog is
talking and all of a sudden he turns and says, “Squirrel!” That would be me.

Well, I had an episode. I guess you could call it that. As we were walking down the steep ramp to the pier (with an extremely steep drop off into the Kentucky hillside just on the side of the road) I seen a critter. Off I went with Freckles right behind me. Unfortunately she has never witnessed this kind of terrain before. She is used to Indiana where when you jump a log there is land on the other side. Here there wasn’t. I managed to make my way back up the hillside after scaring the critter off. Freckles was not so fortunate.

Needless to say, gravity was not her friend. She is larger than me and couldn’t get her footing as well either. The people were in a panic trying to spot her and yelling out for her. She finally made it down to the edge of the water (probably about 150 feet down) where some boaters yelled back up to the people and let them know she was alright.

We made our way down and around and Freckles met us on the run. She was a bit shaken, but glad to be reunited. She didn’t follow me anymore, she followed the lady like she was stuck to her after that.

I kind of felt bad, but a little part of me thought I almost had the house to myself again. (Sorry, Freckles.) But the truth is, I kind of like having the furball around. She sheds way worse than me....so it takes the focus away. LOL!!!

Be safe.....
Later, Bella

The New Crew - June 2012

There have been a lot of changes around here at the ranch in the last few months. We have had a lot of new additions with all of the babies being born. We have also lost a few members of our permanent crew for
different reasons.

You all remember reading about losing our friend Puddles (Freckles’ sister.) We recently had two members of our crew move to a new farm to help with the day to day business there.

Princess Annabelle now has her own kingdom to run and she took her sidekick, Shep, with her. Of course they will come and visit us occasionally since they live with “Grammy”- I just hope I get a heads up before the visit so I can make other plans.

This means that we are now down to a reduced staff, so I thought I would give a roll call for those wondering who remains active on the crew.

We still have Duke, the neighbor dog who never went home, living here. He is the big lab with the muddy feet in the picture to the left. He patrols the property at night when all the girls go inside the house. He’s also a
sentimental kind of guy who will grow on you after a while. He even smiles like the people.

We also have Freckles. She is the “pretty girl” of the bunch. She is quiet and loyal and she really loves the lady who lives here. She follows the l a d y so close the she’s ran into the back of the lady a few times when she’s made a sudden stop. She loves chasing a ball and she isn’t bad to hunt with.

And then there’s me. As you all know, my name is Bella. Most people think that I was named for a princess or something of that sort.....wrong. I was actually named after the a horse. He won the Old Fort Days  Sweepstakes the year that my people picked me up while in Ft. Smith, Arkansas. His name was Bellefous.

I’m glad they didn’t go with “Smitty!”
Later, Bella

Loyal Ol' Duke - May 2012

We’ve had an exciting month here at the Ranch with several babies already born and still more on the way.
I’m learning which mammas will tolerate a dog nearby and which ones will try to squish me like a bug if I get
close. I don’t care much for the latter mares.

There has been one revelation made by your truly this month. I hate to admit it, but Duke - the neighbor dog that never went home - is really not such a bad guy. (Even though he slobbers and drools when he begs and he leaves ginormous “dukey piles” all over the yard....) I have witnessed a softer side of Ole’ Duke that has left a lasting impression.

Let me share. The first baby that was born was witnessed by most of the people that live here. I was out in the barn looking for mice during the excitement, but Duke, he was engrossed in the miracle happening on the other side of the stall door. He was on the floor, as flat as he could make himself with his head as close to the door as he could get it....all to get a glimpse. He was hooked...in love....mesmerized....whatever you want to call it, but I think that he thought he had found his calling. He was now “Duke - Protector of the Baby Horses.”

I would get a kick out of him trying to visit with them all. He learned real quick about the mares I mentioned before. He’s a much bigger target than me and almost got squished himself a few times. He witnessed a few more miracles and just like the first time, he would get as close as the people allow to get a peek.

One of the foals born was very weak and the people were spending a lot of time in the stall with him, several times a day and all night they were feeding the baby, trying to get the little guy up to walk and working with the vet to get him well. Each time they would enter the stall, Duke would follow and stay as close as he could. Sometimes the people would make him leave the stall and then he would just stand in the doorway, watching and whimpering. That would kind of get to me.

Unfortunately, the little foal just wasn’t strong enough to stand and nurse and after about three days he gave up the fight and went on to horse heaven. (And yes, I believe there are horses - and dogs - in heaven.)

Duke took it very hard. The people had to leave the foal in the stall next to his mamma until they could make arrangements for his little body. Duke would not leave the foal’s side. He stayed right there in the straw with his head sometimes resting on the foal’s hind leg. He had us all tore up.....it was bad enough losing that foal, but then watching Duke’s loyalty gave us all a peek at unconditional love and loyalty.

The only time Duke left the stall was when the people called for all of us dog’s or someone pulled in he  driveway....then right back to his post.

It was sad to watch them take the little fella away, but we all knew he was better off and Duke was satisfied that he had done his job well. And I have to say that I agree.

Stay loyal.....
Later, Bella

Flashback - The Barking Game - April 2012

It has been a year or so since I introduced you all to what used to be one of my favorite pastimes - The Barking Game. For those of you who missed the last journey into the world of doggie fun and games, I’ll shed a little insight. The Barking Game was played like this: I bark and start running towards the driveway, then the other dogs immediately join in and begin barking and running. I then stop, sit back and watch as it quickly becomes a chaotic mess and all the other dogs get scolded for barking and causing a ruckus - all for nothing.

As I mentioned, the Barking Game used to be one of my favorite pastimes. It seems things have recently changed. I always liked playing the Barking Game because the Barking Game is fun when you are the instigator. I have always been the instigator and I like being the instigator. But like I said, things have changed.

It appears that Princess Annabelle has learned about the best part of the Barking Game. It seems that she likes to be the instigator as well. I hate to admit it, but she has “got me” on more than one occasion lately. I also
hate to admit that the Barking Game is not as much fun when you are not the instigator. (As I have recently learned.)

Needless to say, I have lost interest in my old pastime and tend to ignore Princess Annabelle’s instigating barks. I kind of feel sorry for the other dogs, they haven’t figured her out yet and end up halfway up the barn
lot and in trouble before they realize she was bluffing. Maybe I should let them in on her antics.....naaaahh, ya never know, I may want to play again someday. (And somebody has to play with me.) In the meantime, I just have to keep my guard up and remember to double check the driveway before taking off when Annabelle is sounding the alarm.

On another fun note. We have babies!! They are arriving and they are sooooo cute! I love watching them run around kicking and playing. They are funny when they are trying to learn how to use those long legs. The other dogs aren’t quite sure what to make of all the running and bucking and kicking. I like to hang around by the edge of the fence hoping that they will get a little curious and want to smell noses with me. Their noses are so soft! Of course, getting close is hard for a little dog like me when those big protective mommies are right there all the time.

Our neighbor dog (now “live-in” dog), Duke, witnessed his first baby foal being born last month. It was the cutest thing to see big ‘ole Duke laying so still with his big head flat on the floor trying to get a glimpse under the stall door at what was happening on the other side. I wish the people here would’ve taken a picture. (It would’ve went well in my article.) Duke was mesmerized until the baby was on her feet. Then she was as tall as Duke and he wasn’t sure what to think of that. I just laughed.

These other dogs have a lot to learn about life on a horse farm. However, their naïvety does provide some great entertainment for yours truly.

Enjoying life’s “home” made entertainment.......
Later, Bella

RIP Puddles - March 2012

This past month we had a very sad occurance here at the ranch. I have never witnessed my people become
so worried and so upset so quickly. I definitely have a deeper respect and a different perspective of them after
being present during such a traumatic time and watching their reactions.

You see, one of “the girls” from outside - the one named Puddles (my hunting buddy) - lost her life this past month. From what I could gather, she somehow managed to get into something that poisoned her. That’s
what our vet seemed to think.

The series of events that morning included a frantic trip to the vet with Puddles (the people not yet knowing what was wrong) followed by a frantic trip back home to check on all of us other dogs once they realized that toxins were involved. Puddles’ sister, Freckles, was the only one that acted like she may have ate whatever it was that had affected Puddles, so Freckles got rushed to the vet next. Then we all waited. We didn’t know what was going on, but we knew it was serious.

It wasn’t long until the very sad people returned with Puddles - she was already gone - but Freckles had to stay with the vet to so they could watch her and treat her if need be. The entire time I was watching, I could tell that my people were so sad over the loss of one of the girls, and so worried over what may be the fate of her sister.

Later that afternoon (after I heard the lady make a few calls to the vet checking on Freckles) we all went for a ride to pick her up. Good news - the vet said she was going to be fine. They didn’t think she was exposed to as much, if any, of whatever had taken her sister. We were all relieved.

The saddest part of the entire day was when the big people had to tell the little people (they call them kids) about what had transpired that day. They all wept and hugged each other. The little girl was especially sad.
It was a very emotional moment, even for a tough Jack Russsel like me. I may have even had a tear in my eye.

I realized that my people really do look at us as part of their family. It only enforced my notion when they promoted Freckles to a house dog. She had lost her littermate (after four years of always being together) and they thought it would help the little girl get over the loss. I’ll not comment on that action at this time, due to the circumstances I’ll suck it up and share my inside time.

Anyway, sorry to be such a downer this month.....but I just wanted to say that I am very happy to be part of a family that values the animals that they have in their lives. It was such a sad time to lose part of our family, but we do know that while she was here she lived a great life. She was never hungry and she was always given plenty of love and attention.

Use this as a reminder to appreciate your loved ones - four legged as well as two legged. Give them a little praise and a little love today. You never know how long you will have them in your lives.

Thank for the memories, Puddles.......
Later, Bella

Happy Valentines Day - February 2012

I have to admit, so far, winter in Indiana has not been so bad. Compared to my past experience, this year has been extremely mild. (There was a cold spell there at the end of December, but it passed rather quickly.)

I am enjoying being able to head down to the barn without having to be dressed in my doggie coat. Yes, I admit it.....I have a coat (I mean, a coat besides the one God gave me.) I love my doggie coat when it is cold. It keeps me really warm. It also gives me clout with all the other dogs. The only problem is that it kind of hinders the mouse hunting. Sometimes it gets wadded up under my feet and trips me up if I work too hard while I’m out and about with it on. As long as none of the other dogs see me all tangled up in the thing, no harm done. I just have to wait for one of the people to come and straighten it out.

It is a “hand me down” from a dog that lived here long before me. I think I’ve heard them refer to my  predicessor as “Dauber the Dachshund.” He was a weiner-dog, just like Princess Annabelle. If I’ve learned
anything about those kind of dogs after living with one for two years, it’s that they think they are in charge of everyone....and that people were put here to serve them. If Dauber was anything like my roomate, Annabelle, I don’t think we would’ve gotten along very well. (Although I am happy to have inherited his doggie coat - and may he rest in peace.)

The people around here are getting all excited, I guess I am too. It’s almost time for the baby horses to start arriving again. I just love playing with those little boogers. They are way more fun than ol’ “Yee- Haw” the Court Jester.

I don’t think the Donkey likes dogs very much. He tends to kick quite often in my general vicinity and pins those super-sized ears back whenever I - or any of the other dogs - am within striking distance. Maybe it’s just me...he is smaller than all of the other horse-like animals around here, but I’m a little leary when a foot that is as hard as a rock comes flying at my head. He just laughs his ever-so-annoying laugh, but I don’t see the humor.

On the other hand, sometimes I do get a chuckle out of him. He is rather funny to watch from a distance. The other day he got tangled up in a horse blanket (he’s quite the nib-nose.) He ended up spooking and dragging the thing around the yard thinking it was attacking him. I could hardly move for days afterwards, I laughed so hard - my sides ached.

He also thinks he can escape from under corral gates by rolling under them. He did it a few times when he was a baby and hasn’t forgotten that it worked at one time. When he gets mad (and he does quite often) he throws himself down next to a gate and starts rolling over and over. Then he stops and looks around to see if he has managed to roll over to the other side of the fence (where the grass is greener...Hee Haw Haw!!sorry, I couldn’t resist.)

The donkey is quite a trip. They need to put him on YouTube. Maybe I’ll see if I can master the video camera next.

Countin the days til the babies arrive...... (Yes, I can count....)
Later, Bella

Happy New Year! - January 2012

Happy New Year!! I hope everyone got all they wanted for Christmas and that you have made your New Year’s resolutions.

Christmas was good for me, as usual.....I got some doggy treats and a new doggy bed. We’ll see how long this one lasts with the “Princess” around. She got a new bed too....so that may prolong the life of mine for a while. I managed to get lots of scraps over the holidays, probably put on a little holiday weight, but hey....my New Year’s resolution is to lose that, just like everyone else around here.

We’ve had a couple of interesting days at the ranch - guy in red suit with reindeer landing on roof and sliding down chimney for one thing. Also, our neighbor dog, “Duke,” has made his return. He hadn’t been here for a month or two - not since the day he tried to kill one of the chickens that live here. Folks here don’t like chicken-chasing dogs.....or egg sucking dogs....just in case you were wondering.

Duke must have learned his lesson and thought it was time to come back to redeem himself with my people. I’m not sure if he got the job done or not though. You see, his “self preservation instincts” kicked in and he has pretty much made a pig of himself each time he’s been here lately. I’ll explain.....the people who live here sometimes get bread to feed the horses when they put them outside in their lots in the morning. Each horse will get some slices of bread with their hay and believe it or not, they love it!! Problem is, Duke loves it too.

Each time a piece of bread is thrown out on a flake of hay....Duke gulps it down. No chewing, no breathing.... just, “GULP!” Bread gone. You wouldn’t think that was a big deal, just a few slices of bread, right? Let me elaborate. There are about 20 horses here at the ranch at any given time and each horse gets from 1/2 loaf to a whole loaf of bread in the morning. That’s anywhere from 10-20 loves of bread. I think Duke ate about 75% of the bread this morning. I’m surprised he didn’t explode.

Okay, I’ll admit, I help myself to a slice or two, as do the other dogs who live here. But no one could keep up with Duke. They couldn’t throw it out fast enough to stay ahead of him gulping it down. We’ll see how long it takes “Ole Duke” to wear out his welcome again.

There has also been some “schooling” going on with our “Yee Hawing”friend, Seven the Donkey. Seven has spent the past few days turned out in a lot with Lucky. Lucky is the older gelding that usually teaches all of the weanlings manners and he doesn’t take any “poo” off of Seven. Matter of fact, he has been leading Seven around by his halter for the last 30 minutes or so and Seven is leading fairly well. He doesn’t have much of a choice, Lucky doesn’t give him one.

As for me, when I’m not shaking my head at the antics of Princess Annabelle, Duke or Seven, I’m hanging out by the fireplace. That’s a great place to spend January (and February) in Indiana.

Don’t wear out your welcome and..... Stay warm.....
Later, Bella

A Bit........ Smitten - December 2011

The weather has turned cold here and I am spending more time in front of the computer. (Not as much time as I spend in front of the fireplace, though!!)

This month I have to say that I am only a little surprised. I mean, I had a feeling that it was only a matter of time before I would hear from another Jack Rusell (or two) who have decided to take up typing. I realize that we are a special breed and with our busy nature, it is only natural that I would not be the only JR to look for something productive to do when couped up in the house.

This past month I receeived two emails from fellow Jack Russell Terriers who have mastered the art of typing with paws. The first was a friend from my puppy days. We played together in Kentucky one year at the Midwest Match Race. Her name is Lily Long and she wrote me to let me know that her owner had found a grammatical error in last month’s column. (I used “there” instead of “their.”) I told her I appreciated her letting me know and pointed out that I need to stop relying so much on spell check......lol!

The second email came from a handsome looking fella who lives in Ohio. His name is “Oz” and he is from a Cowboy Mounted Shooting family. He even sent me a picture. (Check him out, isn’t he cute?) I am not sure if he has learned to attach files to emails yet, or if he had a little help from his owner. I’ll have to find out.

I have to say that I am a bit smitten with this charming cowboy. I don’t want to embarrass him, but I’ve copied and pasted his letter beside his picture for you to read. Yes, I can copy and paste. I’ve got to stay a step ahead of the other JR’s that have taken up typing.

I’ll be trying to figure out how to use that mouse..... Stay warm.....
Later, Bella

A Court Jester and A Princess - November 2011

Last month I let you in on the noise level around here at the ranch. (That hasn’t changed much.) I also gave you a good idea of what it is like to live with a donkey who thinks he is the funniest thing on four legs.

This past month has only confirmed what I threw out there in the last issue. The donkey is officially a “Court Jester” and his whole purpose in life is to entertain the folks around here. I was just stating my opinion last month, but I heard it from the lady who lives herein her own words. She said, “How can you listen to him or look at him without smiling and maybe even cracking up?” She’s cracked up alright. She went on to say that he was well worth the money she paid for him, that she had received as much in return in the form of laughs. I still don’t get what is so funny about a loud laughing, egomaniac of a donkey.

The man who lives here seems to side with me on this one.....I have come to a conclusion and I think I speak for us both when I say, “The donkey needs a job!” It seems like the “Court Jester” and the “Princess” are the only two around here who don’t have to earn there keep and seem to exist for entertainment purposes only. What great gigs! Everyone else around here has to work for a living, including yours truly.

I’ve taken some time to think on this very seriously and think I have came up with a couple of jobs for each of the free-loaders. Here are my thoughts....

Since the donkey is so active and enjoys making a lot of noise, I think he would make a great baby sitter for the baby foals. His entertainment experience could come in handy when the babies are bored and need ssomething to grab their attention. Of course this job is most useful after they have been weaned and are no longer with their mommas, so we will have to revisit this job opportunity for Seven late next summer. The other option for the donkey that could work very well in the next couple of months is working as a stand in for the live nativity scenes before Christmas. I especially like this one....he could be rented out and leave for long periods of time. However, I don’t think the lady and the little girl that live here will go for that idea.

I think we will have to settle for teaching the donkey how to chase away strange dogs and maybe even coyotes. He is pretty scary when he makes all his noise and comes running at you with those ears flapping
and feet flying. I’ll have to admit, if I didn’t know him, I’d probably split if I seen him coming after me. He is loud and isn’t too crazy about dogs. With a little training, this just might work. I’ll keep you updated.

As far as the Princess is concerned, I’ve thought and thought and the only thing I can come up with for her to do around here to earn her keep (that she could do well) is “lap warmer.” That’s right, I said it. She makes a nice lap warmer. Now talk about a great gig......

Earn your keep......
Later, Bella

Seriously?? You Think That's Funny? - October 2011

Life is NEVER dull - or quiet - around here at the ranch. Sometimes I think that I get more rest when we are on the road somewhere at a horse show or rodeo. I can guarantee you that a quiet day around here is very hard to come by.

A classic example of a “typical day” here at the ranch could include an unlimited supply of cars and trucks pulling in and out of the driveway, these will almost always get a few barks from the outside dogs, probably
a few from your truly and definitely a barking remix from the Princess.

The vehicle induced barking is just the tip of the decible iceberg. When the people take us (me and Annie) outside to feed the horses first thing in the morning, our visit includes a “Good Morning” nicker from most
every horse on the property. Our visit to the barn also gets the standard laugh from the ranch’s latest animal authority on obnoxiousness, Seven the donkey. He would most likely outdo the “little black bark box” in my book if I had to bring him in the house too. He laughs at everything!

Of course, he has the most annoying and loud laugh I have ever heard. Heeeeee Haw Haw Haw Haw... Heeeeeeeee Haw Haw Haw. I mean, come on.....really? Who laughs like that?

Seven has became a topic of laughter from all points of view, but none get as many laughs as the donkey himself. But I can assure you that most of the time, I just don’t get it.

Honestly, I think Seven just has a twisted sense of humor. Most of the things he laughs about are “incidents” created by the little pot stirring donkey himself.

He has created quite a name among the visitors here at the ranch. (I think “Court Jester” would be a fitting.) His antics have already included several escapes, chasing dogs and cars (yes, I said it) and aggravating horses every chance he gets. He likes to pull on the horses’ tails, he doesn’t chew on them....just grabs them with his mouth and then pulls. Some of the horses don’t get his “jokes” either....and they usually let him know right away that he isn’t as funny as he thinks. Some just tolerate him....I call them his enablers!

As for me, I refuse to encourage his ridiculous behavior. He is just a prank playing, loud laughing, ego-maniac who likes to be the center of attention. What’s so funny about that?

Keep it down.......
Later, Bella

On the Road Again - September 2011

Break time is over for me and we are on the road  again. My family does a lot of travelling with the horses and I almost always have to go and help out. It’s really not so bad. To tell you the truth, I kind of like my “windshield time.” I’m becoming quite the pro when it comes to watching for critters on the highway.

As long as I can see where I am going, I do just great. I can’t say the same for the “Princess.” When she gets to tag along on a road trip, she doesn’t help at all. It never fails...I get to handle the critter watch all on my own while she is sawing logs in the back seat under a blanket. It’s really kind of sad. I just don’t think there is any hope for that girl. The only time she wakes up is when we make a stop and there is potential for a snack from some fast food drive-thru.

Last week we took off to a horse show with the trailer in tow and drove a couple of hours to get to our destination. Do you think the snoozing little sausage offered to give me a break from the controls?

Why, of course not. It was all me, all the way, baby. She spent her time counting sheep while I made sure the boss didn’t run over any on the highway.

We made it to the show grounds safe and sound (pat on back for Bella here...) and while the people took car of horses, I decided to take a nap. Little did I know that my nap would be short lived. Our Precious little Princess had found her bark box and was using it. I thought she had outgrown the “bark at anything that moves” stage. I was wrong. The people tell her, “Annie, you hush!” And it seems like she just has to have the last word.

The conversation goes something like this:
Annie: “Bark, Bark, Bark!!!”
People: Annie, hush!”
Annie: “Bark, Bark! Growl...”
People: “Annie! Be quiet!”
Annie: “Bark......Bark, Bark.”
People: “Ooooh, that dog!!”
Annie: “Bark..........Bark.”
People: “Annabelle!! Hush!!!
Annie: “Bark.”
People: “Why can’t you behave like Bella?

And there it is.......my conformation. Of course, I already know....but it is so nice to hear it on occasion. One good thing about having the little black bark box in my shadow..... makes me look better all the time!

Lookin’ Good.......
Later, Bella

Everyone Needs A Break - August 2011

After my last report, things got very interesting, to say the least. The new addition at the ranch - now named “Seven” - was fitting in quite nicely. He was getting lots of laughs with his never ending antics and making new friends with some of the horses around the ranch.

One of the donkey’s favorite things to do after his arrival was hang out with this particular bay mare. (I think he had a little donkey crush on her.) He followed her around everywhere and it got so bad that when the bay mare was getting ridden by the people, the donkey would follow them through the patterns. While she was galloping for her exercise he would sometimes be right on her heels! One time he was following her so close at a walk, when the person said “Whoa” and the bay mare stopped....Seven didn’t hit the brakes in time and ended up between her back legs! He’s lucky that bay mare was in a good mood that day!

“Seven” the mini-donkey has since been forbidden from the arena during training time for the big horses and the bay mare has since went home for a break. Seven has found a new friend to pester when he gets a chance. His new friend is a big sorrel gelding. The sorrel gelding doesn’t mind Seven following him around for the most part, but every now and then he needs a break from the donkey’s aggravating ways.

I know how he feels. Sometimes I just need a break from the little black bark box (Princess Annabelle.) That’s when my people take me on a trip to the lake. They must have some kind of sixth sense and know just the
right time to get me out of here before I lose it. When the donkey started chasing cars it almost sent me over the edge and that must have been a great clue for them to get me “outta Dodge” and head south to the lake.

I have to say that I really love the lake! To tell you the truth, I think the people kind of like it too. They seem to enjoy themselves while they are entertaining me. I love the peace and quiet, no responsibilities and of course, I’m the only critter that gets to go....so no Aggravating Annie.

I like everything including the ride in the car where I get to sit in the middle and watch for critters in the road.
The people take me out to ride in the boat and let me lounge on the tube on the water. Then they play around
and splash and drive the boat fast, I don’t complain.... the least that I can do is let them have their fun since
they make this special trip so I can have some rest.

Now that I am rested and rejuvenated.....it’s back to the ranch to try to regain some order.

Take A Break.....I did.....
Later, Bella

Is There Really Such A Things As Normal? - July 2011

I’d like to let you in on how the past month has went for yours truly. If there is such a thing as a “normal”  month (let alone day) I have definitely NOT had one.

It all started with the addition of a new creature here at the ranch. I was out minding my own business, probably catching mice or running off other unwanted varmits when I heard a commotion in the barn lot.
A trailer had arrived and I heard all of the outside dogs carrying on as usual. (And of course the little black bark box had to put in her two cents.) I headed over to find out what all of the fuss was about. You see, a trailer isn’t that much news around here, but this smelled a little different than your usual everyday, run of the mill “horse” trailer. There was something a little different going on and was I ever surprised to find out what was about to be unloaded from this funny smelling trailer.

The fella that was driving the truck made his way to the back of the trailer and before he could open the door, I heard the most awful sound, something I had never heard before....and I’ve been a lot of places in all my dog years! I was actually a little scared to see what was going to emerge from this smelly...and now noisy trailer. At that point I was hoping that whatever it was....it was fond of Jack Russel dogs.

When the man opened the door, there it stood.....a ball of fur about the size of the neighbor dog, Duke. I couldn’t see it’s eyes (to be honest, I wasn’t sure if it had any.) It looked a lot like a miniature version of the big horses that the people around here spend alot of time riding.... but there was no way they would be able to ride this scrawny thing! To top it all off it has the longest ears I have ever seen...and they stood up straight - all on their own!!! They didn’t fall over and flop around like Princess Annabelle’s ears always do. So strange!

And then as I was checking out this odd little creature - from a safe distance of course - it let out that strange sound again. This time it sounded like “Yee Haw.” I figured maybe the critter thought it should try to fit in at the ranch and hollar like a cowboy.

As I looked around, all of the people were laughing. I kind of felt sorry for the little guy, who’s eyes were now showing through the fur on his face. The lady of the ranch took the time to brush him a little and I heard her call him a donkey. Finally - the new critter had been identified....a donkey.....and a miniature one at that!!

This should get interesting.....
“Yee Haw!!!”
Later, Bella

I REPEAT: "Rain, Rain, GO AWAY!" - June 2011

Last month in the May issue, I took the time to introduce you to the rest of the doggie-crew here at the ranch because the rain had kept us from having too many adventures....and it seems that hasn’t changed much as I write this month’s article. The introductions may come in handy as you continue reading. I’ve had to do some serious concentrating here at the ranch to get some material and believe it or not, it wasn’t that hard once I started looking around at these other creatures who live here with me.

We’ll start with a funny story about our little Princess....

Here at the ranch we have an arena that is meant for horse riding and training. It is usually nice and soft and worked up for the horses, however this is not a good mix after a downpour of rain. “Miss Priss” found this out as she went for a stroll out around the second barrel the other day after a torrential rain had left water standing everywhere.

Miss Annabelle with the extra wide and extra long body and the super short legs got part of the way into her stroll and realized that she was stuck. Think of Woolly mammoths in a tar pit...... that paints a pretty good picture of the situation Little Miss “Thang” had gotten herself into. She would try to lift a foot and realize each time that her belly was already pressed into the mud too far to make any kind of attempt at escape. I really hate to admit it, but I have to give the little diva some credit.... She didn’t put too much effort into her escape before she gave out a sharp “YIP.”

You realize Woolly mammoths are extinct, right? I think it was because they never learned how to “YIP” just right. Had they learned the “YIP” and had they trained a person to come at said “YIP,” they may still be around.

You see, Annie has a person who carries her around like a baby. And as soon as Annie made a plea for  help.... her help came running.... right through the mud. Her person almost got stuck in the mud while rescuing the little mud-covered wiener. They both came out of the incident a mess. Princess Annabelle came out with legs that looked like tree trunks because they were caked with the mud and her hero almost lost a boot more than once during the ordeal - and of course was then covered in mud after carrying the little mudball to safety.

I’m not sure what the moral of this story is or if there is one, except that everyone needs a good laugh now and then.....and I got one that day.

I’ll be working on my “YIP.”
Later, Bella

Rain, Rain, GO AWAY! - May 2011

From what I hear, the weather has been extreme in more places than where I live, but all I can testify to from first hand experience is that our weather has been - wet, wet wet!!

I cannot remember the last day that we had without rain - as I am typing, the rain is still falling. Our pastures are all sopping wet and there is water standing everywhere around the ranch. The only good thing is that it has been a steady rain so far, no torrential downpours.... yet. I’m not sure what the weatherman has in store for us over the next few days....I just heard the word rain alot when the people had him on the TV. Hopefully I don’t float away before next month’s deadline comes around.

As for the other indoor doggie around here (aka “Princess Annabelle of Poo” - I kind of like that new nickname!!), she hasn’t been out much. She doesn’t do well when the ground is sopping wet. You see, her
belly almost drags the ground and it just stays wet the whole time she is outdoors. Imagine people fingers after staying in the bathtub for too long and then you can imagine what her belly is like after too long in the
wet grass. Yeah, I have to admit, I kind of feel for her...but don’t tell.

Since the Princess has been spending most of her time on the couch and the neighbor dog, Duke, hasn’t crossed the muddy field to visit, I have got to spend a little more time with the outside dogs that live here.
(In case you don’t remember, there are three.) I thought I’d introduce them this month.

The outside gang consists of two sisters - Freckles and Puddles. Their names kind of tell a little about them. Freckles has, well, freckles on her face. She has OCD, if dogs can have that. She loves golf balls and is a golfers dream....she will fetch them all day long! Her sister, who looks just like her was to be named Speckles - (sometimes I don’t understand the people’s sense of humor...) but she had a couple accidents as a pup and the rest is history for Puddles. Puddles has become my mousing partner. We have spent a lot of time mastering the art of tag-team mousing. I won’t go into detail here....but we do it well. The third of the trio is named Shep. He is the only “boy” dog that lives here on the ranch and he was quite the introvert when he first showed up. He has gradually came out of his shell and likes to think he is a ladies man - although the only competition he gets is an occasional challenge from the portly Duke of next door.

The outside gang really isn’t that bad, I just hate it when they want to play and they are soaking wet, which
seems to be constantly these days....

I’ll be trying to stay dry.....
Later, Bella

Babies & Poo - April 2011

Well, Duke is back. He seems to be trying to keep his visits down to once or twice a week and only for an hour or so at a time. I’m not sure what his new philosophy is, but it works for me. His visits are frequent enough to give me a break from the outside dogs and Annabelle, but not so frequent that I have to watch for “deposits” that are larger than me every time that I walk out the back door.

This time of year is so fun on the Ranch. The babies are coming! We have one here already and there are more on the way. By babies, I mean little horses. They are littler than the big horses, but still much, much
bigger than me. And, oh, how those babies love to play! I like to try to get close enough to smell noses. Sometimes that is easier said than done depending on how mama horse feels about Jack Russel dogs, and
a couple of the mama horses around here aren’t too crazy about JRs. I have to be extra careful or extra fast to get a nose to nose with a baby. This is not a game that interests Princess Annabelle. (Takes too much energy!)

I did catch the “Princess” outside on the manure pile today. I thought it was kind of funny to see a “Princess” on top of a giant poopy pile. It gave me a chance to think up some new titles for her. I would elaborate, but instead I’ll let you use your imagination.....besides, there may be kids reading this and we don’t want any name calling, do we?

Our favorite little Princess of Poo (sorry, couldn’t resist) was accompanied by our neighbor, the Grand Duke of Manure Hill. The two of them are quite a pair when seen together. Big ole’ lumbering Duke (the slightly chunky oversized yellow lab) and Annabelle (the prissy little black and tan weiner-dog) were nibbing around in the wet pile of horse droppings and sawdust after a recent rain. If that wasn’t cause for a good bath, I’m not sure what would be.

I watched them for a while, thinking up more names for both of them as I chuckled to myself about the impending bath awaiting Annie. She would surely attempt to enter the house later and get stopped at the
door. There would be a detour awaiting her that would take her straight to the bathtub.

Ahhhhh....with a few extra dog years comes wisdom......Manure piles and inside dogs don’t go well together, especially if said inside dog does not like baths. (As I do not.)

So I say, “No bath for me.” I find no fun in playing with that kind of royalty anyway. I’ll stick to playing with the babies and take my chances with the JR hating mama horses.

Stay out of the poo and love those babies...
Later, Bella

Part 2 - Neighbors... and Being Neighborly - March 2011

Big Ole’ Duke, the neighbor dog, hasn’t been down in a while. I think his owners got tired of running down  here to get him every other day. I’m not sure if I should say this or not, but I guess it can’t hurt since the other dogs around here can’t read. I wouldn’t want them to think I am getting soft - since I am the senior dog around here. But, I have to admit that I kind of miss the big lug. I know last month I complained of him hanging around all the time and all, but he really wasn’t so bad. He kind of kept the three big dogs busy so I could get in some good mousing time out in the barn. Although I don’t miss the Duke droppings....they’re probably not as easy to miss now that the snow has  melted.

I was right. Annabelle found my Christmas present. It didn’t take her long either. Now my brand new dog bed has been “Annified.” And for those who are wondering what the definition of “Annified” is, it is simple....in one word it means “ruined.” That’s right, she got ahold of it and once again - green stuffing now on the outside of the bed, not the inside. Of course, the one person in the house who finds her in the act would be the one who has also been “Annified.” (Once again - the definition is “ruined” - Annie has ruined her.) In a nutshell - Princess
Annabelle has her wrapped around her little paw....so when she was caught with the green stuffing hanging out of her mouth, all she got was an “Awww, Annie, are you being bad? Or do you just want a bed of your own?” OMG!!! (FYI - I text 2 - lol!) Poor little Annablle chews up bed number two for yours truly and then she gets sympathy because she doesn’t have her own bed to chew on. I give up.

Did I mention that it is finally warming up a bit here? It is great, I can actually stand to go outside and stay for a while. It’s nice to get away from the little bark box for longer than what it takes to “do my business.” She usually ends up out there with me when the people go to the barn. It doesn’t take her long to beckon the “Annified” one and she has this one convinced to carry her back to the house whenever she yips. Like she couldn’t use the excercise! It is pitiful. She’ll look at me and say “Watch this” and then give out a little yip. Then, here comes the “Annified one” and it’s “Awwww, Annie, are you cold? Do you want me to take you to the house? You poor little thing.....it’s too muddy out here for you, Princess.....” Then as she picks her up, Annie
gives me a “sorry about your luck” look and she’s swooped off to the house. All I can say is “GOOD RIDDENS!” More alone time for me.

One thorn temporarily removed from my side, now where is that Duke? I could use a distraction for these three big outside dogs so I can get to mousing.

Don’t get “Annified”
Later, Bella

Part 1 - Neighbors... and Being Neighborly - February 2011

Since last month’s freeze out and the New Year’s involuntary diet resolution (I still protest), things have gotten very busy around here at the ranch. There has been a lot of activity going on at the barn - most of it revolving around the two new stallions that have taken up residence here with us. I am not quite sure what all the fuss is about, they eat and require a wheel-barrow to clean up after them....just like the rest of the horses in the barn. (I’m sure the people around here wouldn’t like it if it required a wheel barrow to clean up after me.) I suppose if I were a female horse I might be a little more excited about these “studs”....but I’m glad I’m not a female horse. I get to sleep in the house in my own bed and they don’t.

Speaking of beds, I mentioned last month that I got a new bed for Christmas....well, it should be no surprise to learn that my prediction came true......Princess Annabelle has already taken a stab at destroying my comfy new napping place. Thank God, one of my people seen her attempt at sabotage in process and moved my new bed to a safer location. We’ll see how long it takes her to find it and try again.

I do have to admit that the little black bark box -slash- “brat”wurst has not been as much of a nuisance lately because she doesn’t move around a lot when it is cold. On the other hand, I have a new thorn in my side.
The neighbor dog. He is a yellow lab and he is HUGE.

He lumbers down here to visit every time someone heads to the barn. It has gotten so bad that the people even try to sneak out quietly without him hearing them. Too funny! When the people start banging around
on the buckets full of ice....here comes ‘Ole Duke. He pushes his way in when the people start passing out the pats and praises and there’s not much left for the rest of us, especially the short ones like me! He probably doesn’t mean anything by it, but he is just sooo big, no one else stands a chance. He even does this thing where he “smiles” (I’ve dubbed him “Smilin’ Duke”) at the people and then they actually feel bad for the big lug and let him hang around. I’m just glad they don’t feed him. There there would be NO food for any of  us.... forget the diet, it would be considered fasting.

I ran across some Duke droppings the other day. I expect the people will be building him a stall soon if the wheel barrow size “you know what” is a sign of stall status.

I’m thinking that I am going to have to take control and join up forces with Princess Annabelle and the outside
dogs to take back what is rightfully ours.

Goodbye, “Smilin Duke.”
Later, Bella

Did I Say Burrrrrrrr............??? - January 2011

I’m thinking that I mentioned the chill factor last month....but being the persistent breed that Jack Russells are known to be.....I will mention it again this month........ Burrrrrrrrrr!!!!!!”

It has been unusually cold the last few days here at the ranch and this morning when I went out for my  morning business, they forgot me!! (Well, not completely, but five minutes is a long time when it is 5 degrees!) I am quick to get the “job” done when it is cold outside. Probably because I don’t ask to go out until I just absolutely cannot hold it any longer. Then it is , wham, bam, thank you ma’am......now let me back in!!

This morning, I’m not sure, but I think my “lady” got distracted with trying to get Princess Annabelle out of bed and that’s what took her so long to come back to the door and let me in. Waking “Your Highness” seems to be quite a chore lately, probably due to the cold winter days.

Princess Annabelle thinks she should get to stay under the covers where it is warm and sleep as long as she  wants. I am sure that the recent lack of activity has contributed to her newly found “full figure.”

She has caused us to be put back on the “doggie diet.” I am getting a little tired of this program that I am forced to participate in because of my roomate. We had Thanksgiving and Christmas and there were no doggie leftovers!! Woe is me. “No ham or turkey for you this year.... you puppies are on a diet.” Merry Christmas.

I did get one great Christmas present this year. Santa brought me a new doggie bed to replace the one that the Princess destroyed last year. We’ll see how long this one lasts. I am sure Annabelle was on the naughty list, but she still got a present....I think it was a “ringer” from the one lady that is craaaazy about that little black bark box...I’m sure it wasn’t from Santa Claus.

If there is anything I do like about being outside when it is cold, it iswhen we get lots of the fluffy white stuff that the people call snow. I’ll admit that it is fun to play in the snow with the outside dogs - the running around keeps me warm - and the snow seems to make jumping and running a little more entertaining. Although, if it is too deep I have to do more hopping than running to get around.

I do not think that Princess Annabelle likes to go out in the snow. Possibly because her unproportionately short legs put her belly awfully close to the cold wet white stuff. Her tracks - or should I say “track” - is
one long wide trail through the snow, there are no footprints.....use your imagination here.
Later, Bella

Burrrrrrrr!!!!!!!!! - December 2010

Well, living in Indiana has it’s benefits....but I am not going to talk about those today. It is December in Indiana and that means it is COLD! This means that I have to deal daily with doggie-wear...not only for myself, but for the fashion diva of the ranch - Princess Annabelle. Anytime we go out for more than a potty break - doggie wear is inevitable. Since I haven’t much choice in the matter, I have learned to be completely happy in my minihorse- type blanket. I have had it for several winters and it is your basic blue quilted-type blanket with black trim and straps....nothing fancy. It is very functional and allows me to run and chase rodents without too
much trouble. It also keeps me toasty warm while I am out in the barn on a cold December day. Needless to say, I wear it without any qualms.

Princess “Hoity Toity” Annabelle is a totally different story. She will not settle for your basic mini-horse-type blanket. Oh, no. Just ask her, she is way above functional. She pitches a puppy fit and starts biting at it and trying to pull it off the minute that one of the people begin putting it on her. If she doesn’t like it, she won’t wear it. She is waaaay to picky about her doggie-wear if you ask me. She doesn’t like the blankets, she doesn’t like sweaters..... if it isn’t pink and fuzzy and “princessy” - she declines - in her own spoiled little black bark box way.

I do however have to admit that it is comical watching the people try to dress the little fashion diva doggie. They’ll put a blanket or sweater on her and as soon as they turn around to bundle themselves up, she is in a pile on the floor with fuzz in her teeth as she attempts to remove or destroy her outfit - protesting their choice of doggie wear. Then the battle is on. They put one on, she takes it off....then another, then another. It is funny, but it gets tiring waiting on her to agree to wear something.

If you ask me, they should just let her go outside and freeze her long little ears for a few hours....she might change her tune the next time a functionally warm blanket is the choice of the day for her. But no, they would rather add to her ever-growing wardrobe. Pink jackets, fleece pullovers and fuzzy-necked frilly doggie clothes are lying in her overflowing basket on the back porch. And guess who gets all of her rejects.....yours truly. That is right... “if she won’t wear it, Bella will.” I can’t tell you how many times I have heard that lately. I was totally fine with my functional blanket, now I am wearing girly doggie sweaters....the outside dogs chuckle at me when I am not looking, I know they do. But I don’t care, if girly is just as warm as functional, then bring it on, I won’t complain.

I guess there is one benefit of living in Indiana in the winter - snoozing in front of the fireplace.
Later, Bella

On the Road Again....... - November 2010

First of all...... "Thank God for the rain!!  The itching has subsided, finally! I am sure my people are glad that I am over that, I know I sure am. It was becoming almost as annoying as a the snores that now resonate from the little black bark box as she snoozes on the couch midday. (While no one else is able to enjoy what once was a peaceful nap time around here.)

We have recently spent a lot of time on the road. Early in October we made an eight hour trip to Iowa. The whole family was able to go and attend the 2010 Midwest Match Barrel Race in Cedar Rapids. This included Miss Annabelle. She was in rare form, as usual. I was glad we didn’t know many people over there, she embarrassed me a few times barking at anything and everything that moved. She even tried to “attack” another dog. (If you can consider a lunge from a “brat”wurst on legs an attack.) And of course, your truly was left to baby-sit in the home on wheels. I wish they would have left me a thicker blanket....to muffle incessant shrill barks from the Princess at every passerby.

Our trip was overall a success, everyone had a great time and from what I understand, our ladies team was voted the best dressed. (It was a good thing they weren’t picky about the white hairs I tend to leave on black
jeans.) We also got to spend some time with wonderful friends at their home. (Thank you, Willards!) They even had some dogs that lived with them that entertained Annie, which gave me a nice break.

Shortly after our trip to Iowa, we made the five hour drive to Lake Cumberland in Kentucky. This time it was a mini-vacation for me....no Annie!!!! I got some serious sleeping done, chased a few squirrels and enjoyed some peace and quiet. I didn’t get to ride the boat this time, boo! I really enjoy sitting up in the front, although I don’t care much for the contraption they put on me when I take a swim. Mostly it is a nice break from the ranch and the “outside dogs.” And this time it was a break from Princess Annabelle. I hated to come home.

That’s about the extent of the excitement for me this month. I did have a reader send in a question about my writing methods that I thought it was worth answering. The reader wanted to know how it is that I can hold onto a pen or pencil to write my column (since I have paws and no fingers.)

The answer is simple. I do not use a pen or pencil. I prefer to type.  (My small paws fit nicely on the keys and the computer has spellcheck.)

Enjoy some traveling with your family. As for me, I’ve had enough for a while....I’m gonna stay home and catch up on my napping.....if I could just get that incessant snoring to stop
Later, Bella

"Weiner" Dog or ?????? - October 2010

Well, first of all, I have to let everyone know that the vet says my itchy episode from last month was not caused by “Stress Related Annergies” as I was beginning to think. It seems that many of my ranch dog colleagues have been dealing with the same problem this year. The dry weather, the heat, humidity, brown grass, etc has made for one miserable summer of dry itchy skin for me and my canine friends. Thankfully, after a trip to the vet and a shot of some kind of magical potion, I was feeling like myself again. (Thanks to those who called my people checking on me.)

That being said, we evidently have a new “issue” at the ranch. It is obvious to some that “Princess Annabelle” is growing larger than your typical “Miniature Wiener Dog.” Now, she still has the short little legs and the long body, but there seems to be a lot more of Annabelle there in the mid section than what most would deem normal for a dog of her breeding.

Of course, the “Princess” doesn’t overexert herself by helping with the mouse hunting in the barn or the bird chases in the yard....so we all know she could use a little exercise. I still have a suspicion that there is more to it than just a lack of physical activity....I think she has resorted to using the “food face” again....only now she is using it all for her own “gain.” (Pun intended.) I think she is using the “food face” to get erself some table scraps when I am not around. I have also seen her sneaking into the outside dogs’ kennel and getting into their food bowls when she thinks no one is looking.

Little does “Miss Annie” know that I am onto her tricks. Our people are onto her as well. They were recently discussing a way to keep her out of the big dogs’ kennel and putting us both on a “controlled” diet. (Sidenote: Why do they have to include me in this plan?)

The trick will be getting all of the people to stick to the plan. It is no secret that Miss Annie has one of the people here at the ranch wrapped around her little paw. Every time she yips, she has a particular person
jumping to see what she wants.... a treat, carried to her next destination, put in her bed, off the bed, on the couch....etc. I have to look away when she starts barking orders. She is pretty spoiled to say the least.

Needless to say, until they get “Princess Annabelle” to stick to her new controlled eating plan, I am giving her a new name....she has became more of a “Brat”wurst than a Wiener dog. Emphasis on the “Brat!”

I’m gonna go grab a bite while it’s still free choice eating around here.......
Later, Bella

I Think I am Allergic to..... - September 2010

This past week has been another tough one for yours truly. At first I thought it was the dry summer that we’ve been having, but then I began to wonder.

It all started about a week ago....the itching and the red skin. All I could think about is.....scratch, scratch, scratch...dig, dig dig and then scratch some more. Obsessed was a good word. I’ve heard that a lot since this
all started. But believe me, I couldn’t figure out was was going on and my people were definitely noticing that something needed done.

I know I was beginning to drive my people crazy with the constant “cat scratching.” (They call it that when I rub my back on the bottom of one of their boots...usually when they have a leg crossed and their boot is at the perfect level for me to get in a good back scratch. They say I look like a cat when I do that, hence the name “cat scratching”......I don’t care what they call it, but it feels soooo good!)

This itchy feeling, however, was not easily relieved with your typical “cat scratching.” It quickly became a constant irritation for me. All day, everyday ...itching...scratching ...itching...scratching ...itching... scratching. I found myself rubbing along the underside of the truck, the car, the horse trailer.....they are all the perfect height for me to scratch my back, scratch my back (there’s that obsession again.) The downfall with the “under the vehicle back scratching” is the black greasy stripe that goes along with the short term relief. The black greasy stripe led to a couple of baths and a couple of “Oh, Bella! You’re filthy!” remarks from the people.

I do have to say that my people were on top of the itching issue. It didn’t take them long to start the bathing and ointment treatments. And of course the “Here, Bella, want a treat?” trick. The trick being there is a nasty tasting doggy pill from the vet mixed inside of a piece of bologna. Of course, I can’t resist a piece of  bologna....even if it is supposed to be “good” for me.

As of today, I am scheduled to visit my vet for a follow up to see how I am coming along. Although my people are still not sure if it is allergies or something else, I honestly think it is stress related. Stress brought on by one whole year of exposure to a little “black bark box” named Annabelle - AKA -“Annie” around these parts.
I’m calling this condition “Stress related “ANNERGIES.”

I’m gonna squeeze in a nap.....
Later, Bella

I was Just Thinking Back.... - August 2010

This month I found myself thinking back about the “Good Old Days.” I can remember getting to sleep...... and
sleep. Anytime I wanted to take a nap, I took a nap. Those really were the “Good Old Days.”

It seems like that was forever ago. When actually it was just a year ago (seven in dog years.) A year ago, life
as I knew it changed.

-It was the beginning of the end.

For those of you who have been keeping up with my dilemma, you can appreciate my fondness for the past. You have surely figured out by now that it was one year ago that “Princess Annabelle” and all her “precious cuteness” moved in. Now my memories are filled with sleepless days and horse-show nightmares. I found
proof of the torture that the little black bark-box puts me though.

Once you see these, you should be able to relate even better to my situation.

Whose idea was it to get a weiner-dog anyway?

I’ll be longing for the “Good Old Days,”
Later, Bella

Rain, Rain, Go Away! (And the Barking Game) - July 2010

Well, I must admit that the last month has been a big let-down as far as the horse-showing goes. I was all excited to take some trips away from the ranch and go people-watching and all we’ve done this month is watch the Weather Channel. I don’t mind watching TV - my favorite show is America’s Funniest Home Videos - but I find nothing interesting about the Weather Channel. No bouncing balls or Jack Russells jumping, barking, digging or scratching.

It seems that Mother Nature has been spoiling our traveling plans with downpours being scheduled from Friday through Sunday. (Or at least Friday and Saturday.) Leaving most of the arenas around our neck of the woods too wet to hold a show. Needless to say, I heard the word “canceled” quite often this past month and I think I have figured out what it means in people talk....it means: “we are staying home this weekend.”

Since we haven’t got to take a ride in the truck recently for entertainment, I have started playing a game in the evenings (or whenever I get bored.) It involves the three big dogs that live outside, a serious conversation being held by the people and my favorite little bark box - “Princess Annabelle.”

The object of the game is to wait until everything is very quiet around the ranch. The people have to be talking among themselves and they have to be intent and focused on their conversation before the game can start. My job is to wait until the perfect moment and then to let out the sharpest, loudest bark I can muster up. When this works correctly, it cues our favorite little bark-box, Annabelle. Her job is to take off running and
barking towards the ranch entrance. Immedately, if I time it just right, the three bigs dogs take chase and join in on the barking game. We win the game if we can get the people to start barking too! We win almost every time we play!

Princess Annabelle has started trying to hone her way in on my job. I have noticed her several times lately starting the game without me. I am not sure if the three big dogs like playing the barking game with her as much....she seems to start the game and then walk off after she gets them good and excited. It almost seems like she is doing it on purpose, just to get the people to bark at the big dogs.

Needless to say, we will find ways to entertain ourselves until the rain goes away and we can do some people watching again.
Later, Bella

Maybe She Got Fixed - June 2010

Last month, you’ll recall that Annie had returned home from what I thought must have been some sort of “royal ceremony.” She was wearing what I thought to be some sort of “crown” around her head. And I was sure that I had been dethroned.

Well, THANK GOD! I was wrong. Although it may have been easier to just step aside and give her my self-proclaimed title of “Queen” rather than dealing with what was in store.

The next few weeks with “Precious Little Annabelle” were nothing short of torture. Evidently, the “crown” I thought she was wearing was actually some type of collar to keep her from biting at the stitches she acquired after being “fixed.” I’m not sure what they were supposed to have had fixed, but they’d better be seeing about getting their money back. I think she came back worse than she was when she left.

She was more whiny and pitiful than usual, lounging around and “barking orders” like she really had been crowned the new “Queen of the Ranch.” Talk about making a mouse hunting - outdoor loving - Jack-Russell Terrier- “real ranch dog” nauseous. I could hardly stand to be in the same room with her for the first few days. She would give them that “look” and it was, “Oh, poor little Annabelle.....you feelin’ bad since you got fixed?” “Do you want a treat, poor little, cute little puppy? Let me scratch your belly.”

Blech. blech,.....BLECH! I like my share of attention and being scratched, but when a dog has moved from sleeping at the foot of the bed, to sleeping under the covers with their head on a pillow......something really does need to be fixed! Annie has even got one of the people convinced that she has “hands” and not feet. “Oh, look how she uses her little feet like they’re hands.” Are you kidding me?

And the blame game goes on. Annie can have a mouthful of tissue standing in the middle of a pile of Kleenex Plus (that’s the kind with lotion) and when they walk in the room the response is, “Oh, Annie wouldn’t do that!”

And “Queen Bella,” the Jack Russell Terrier, quickly thinks to herself, “Of course not, she’s been fixed, right?”

Later, Bella

Have They Came to Their Senses? No Such Luck..... - May 2010

This month the conspiracy continues. “Princess Annabelle” has been hard at work dethroning me. That’s right, I consider myself “Queen Bella” around here at the ranch and there has been quite a power struggle going on.

Oh, I am sure if you’d ask my nemesis, she would deny any competition between the two of us. I know better.
It is a daily battle for me to not be locked outside when I go out to do my business or to maintain my spot on
the couch under a fuzzy blanket. She has been working her magic on them over the past month and the dog bed incident was just the tip of the iceberg.

Annie has been having what my owners called “separation anxiety.” Paleez! She is a sneaky little weenie and she chews stuff up when no one is looking. End of story. I’m actually surprised that they haven’t blamed me for her episodes of terror yet. I’ve noticed their looks and even heard one of them speculate that I may be doing it out of jealousy....or that maybe Annie just misses them so much that she can’t help herself. (I thought I would gag.)

Well, one day last month, I thought the people around here had finally came to their senses when one of them
took Annie out for a ride and came back without her. I was almost giddy. Peace and tranquility had returned
to the house and I was misled into believing that the coo had been found out and the infiltrator had been

WRONG........later that afternoon, Annie returned with another member of the family. She was wearing this
funny looking “crown” around her head and neck. It appeared that they had taken her out for some sort of
formal royal ceremony.

“That’s it,” I thought, “it’s official, I have been dethroned....now she is ‘Queen Annie’.”

I was wrong again......

Later, Bella

The Story of “Princess Annabelle” Continues- April 2010

So, last month I let you all in on how Annie has earned the blessing of the “table scrap gods.” How she has managed to get both of us some good eats from our people....and how I was thinking that because of this it wasn’t so bad having her around.

The rush of calories must’ve fogged my judgment. I digress. I am back to “tolerating” the little “black barkbox”
honing in on my territory. She seems to gain attitude with each passing day and I cannot believe that she almost had me hooked with the “food face” she uses to get the good stuff. (Although, I will admit that she has aided in the aquisition of a pork chop bone or a piece of bacon for yours truly.....she does not and will not ever have this Jack Russell fooled.)

I have to watch my back. I can tell you that much. I know what she is up to, and I know you will say...”Oh, Bella,
you are overreacting, she is just a cute little weenie.” But I am onto her.

Incident #1
I used to have a nice little bed that was all mine. I used to spend time all snuggled up in front of the fire in my bed. Until Annie came along, that is. My people brought a bed home for her to use so I wouldn’t have to share. Cute little Annie decided that my bed suited her better and then she decided that it’s innards would serve a better purpose on the oustide and proceeded to pull the stuffing all out. After a couple of unsuccessful sewing repairs, my bed has since found it’s way into the trash barrel. Score one for Annie.

I am starting to keep tabs and have a couple of other things to report to you, but I will have to include them
next month. I don’t want Annie to know that I am onto her. For now, she is still including me in the fruits of her
begging sprees with the “food face.”

Keep it on the down low...
Later, Bella

La La La La Life Goes On - March 2010

Well, it turns out that having Annie around is maybe not so bad after all.

Yes, I said it. But I have a very good reason.

Table scraps.

I had been put on a “diet” after I got a little too large around the middle last winter. And by diet, I mean a “dog food only diet.” Talk about bland. Eating dog food is about as exciting as eating dirt. And I’ve eaten my share of dirt. (I catch a lot of moles in my spare time. *NOTE: Jack Russel earning her keep.....)

By the way, I’ll have to say that I’m looking pretty good now. Slimming right on down there. I can even fit into my sweater from two years ago!

Needless to say, it had been a while since I had gotten a bite of pepperoni pizza or cheeseburger. But something has changed since Annie arrived. “Cute Little Annie” has put a tinge of guilt in my owner’s hearts. I think they feel bad for me now that Annie gets so much attention....and therefore have become a little more lenient in my menu.

My owners say that “Princess Annabelle” (that’s her new name...insert gag here...) has the saddest little eyes. She begs without begging. All she has to do is look at them.... To tell you the truth, I find it amazing. And the best part is when she gets a bite, I get a bite. It is AWESOME! I’m actually beginning to “like” having her around.

My new favorite line is, “Work it, Annie, Work it!” I’ve got to keep her on her toes. As long as she is staring at
them with these eyes, it is yummy in my tummy!

Let’s just hope they don’t figure out that I am the brains behind this. Or it will be back to the old dog food.

So, for now....I’m lovin’ Princess Annabelle!
Later, Bella

The Horse Show From H#$*! Part 2 - February 2010

Last month, we left off with me, my family and “Annie” all loaded up in the truck and headed to a horse show. As I was telling you, this was the only peace and quiet that I would see for the day.

Usually when we arrive at a show, one of my “kids” has to put me on a leash. I would stay at the trailer without the leash, but there is some kind of law at most horse shows that says we dogs have to be on a leash. I think they have that law so dogs like Annie don’t make their way into the arena during an event. I have seen that happen and the people get pretty upset. So, anyway...I usually get put on the leash and then tied up to the truck or trailer. In the summertime this is usually a really nice treat. I get to lay out in the sun and watch the people go by.

This particular day, as usual, one of my “kids” snapped my leash on. It was then that I noticed the other “kid”
putting a leash on “Annie.” (I knew that they thought she was a flight risk.) It was what happened next that ruined my whole day.

As my kid was tying my leash to the side of the truck, the other kid was tying “Annie” right next to me. Great.....

It is bad enough at home in the house trying to stay away from the little terror. Now they had me tied so close that she was tangled up in my leash within 2 minutes. And it got worse. “Cute little Annie” was latched on to my leash with her teeth and trying to teach me to lead. Hint: Annie, I already know how to lead.

This “schooling” went on most of the day. Occasionally I would get a break when someone would untangle us or take us for a walk. (Although Annie still tried to lead me on the walks.)

Needless to say, I am not looking forward to the next horse show. I just hope they can’t find her the next time they have a “Let’s find Annie Party.”
Later, Bella

The Horse Show From H#$*! Part 1 - January 2010

It seems my little column for tips revolving around horses has turned into a column about my day to day adventures of living on a barrel horse farm with my owners, their kids and the rest of the crew. Needless to say, this month I decided to continue with what I’ll call “The Adventures of Bella and Annie.”

Since last month, I have came around a little and will allow Annie in my presence if I’m in the mood. (This does not include when I am eating or sleeping, but she still has to test those waters...I think she is a slow learner. Must be the breed.)

Somehow Annie has managed to “earn” a position in the truck when we attend the horse shows. All the other dogs stay at home (except me of course), so I am not sure what she did to earn this job. It is not by seniority or skill. It is probably because my owners are afraid to leave her alone in the house. (For such a little dog, she can make a big mess, use your imagination.)

I am always ready to get in the truck for a trip to a horse show and my owners do not have to hunt me down when it is time to go. I am anxiously waiting by the truck door to jump right in.....but not “cute little Annie.” I think my owners were wondering if she had hearing issues this month. They were clapping their hands behind her and making a show of it. I know she can hear...again, I think it is the breed thing. When it was time to go, I had to wait in the truck while my owners had a “who can find Annie party.” Even if I was invited, I didn’t attend...I wish they would’ve left her at home.

She was hiding under her favorite bush... “Isn’t that cute?” They put her in the truck and we finally got to head to the show. On the road in the truck is the only peace and quiet that came for me that particular day. I’ll fill you in more next month.
Later, Bella

Old Dogs, Puppies ....and What Goes Around Comes Around - The Beginning

This month I decided to tell you all a little story instead of spelling out tips to you. I figured I would kind of give a little life lesson from a dog’s perspective.

As you read last month, my owner’s “got a long little doggie.” (I even thought that was kind of funny!) They’ll tell you they got a cute little dachsund puppy as a new addition to the family. I say that what they got was a little bark box that has baby teeth and too much energy.

“Annie,” as they call this annoying little creature, has really been crimping my style. I had been the only dog in the house (or the truck when on the road) for some time now. And what had become a rather comfortable position for me has now became a constant battle to keep my seniority and authority enforced with the bouncing, yipping “bundle of joy.” (Note sarcasm.)

As I was showing my teeth and growling at this new “baby” of the family while she was clamped on to the loose skin on the bottom of my jaw with those razors in her mouth, I had a flashback.

I remembered a time when I was the “new addition” to the family and the senior member of the house had to put up with me as the new bouncing bundle of bark. The senior member’s name was Sam and at one time she had to put up with my baby teeth embedded in her jaw skin. (I even heard my owner’s remenising as Annie was making me into a chew toy, about how I used to do the same thing to Sam.)

Needless to say, even dog’s can learn life lessons and what I would like to relay to all of those puppies out there is this.....
Remember who you are chewing on when you are young and think you know it all....because it won’t be long and there will be a new pup come along to chew on you.

Just ask any old dog.
Later, Bella

This is it. Where it all began. Start here, from the beginning.