Do you, do you, do you, do you wanna dance?

On Sunday, “bw” commented, saying: “We know how well the kids are all doing, but how about an update on all the pups in the extended family? We haven’t heard much about them.
I am still pondering what to do about a doggo – I’ve always had Goldens, but there is a very reputable breeder about 2 hours from here who crosses her English Goldens with Labs – what do you guys think about that combination? Would it maybe be a bit hardier and avoid the genetic issues both breeds have? I think it’s past time I have a new baby.”
Bill, we couldn’t agree more. You’ve been without 4-legged companionship for far too long. We thought we’d let the guys tell you about their dogs and what’s going on with them (see below).

FROM ALEX: Hey, Bill. We’ll give you an update on Bella’s pup, “Cookie.” As you may recall, “Cookie” (then known as “Dog”) is small – probably a Siberian husky mix. She was found injured over by Swope Park in KC and her left forepaw was missing. Ben and Dub were working at the animal shelter then and Dub nursed her back to health. Pop-pop came up with the idea of making her a new paw on a 3-D printer and the kids at Ben and Dub’s school made that happen. She’s now on the 5th artificial paw version and doing very well. She’ll be 4 years old sometime this Spring. Cookie “puts up” with the rest of us, but she’s definitely Bella’s pup… and sleeps with her every night.
Now, we need to get Chance a dog of his own. We asked him what kind of dog he’d like and he said “Any dog is fine with me, but my choice would be one just like “Buzz”. Buzz, as you know is Dub’s dog and is a black lab and poodle mix. So that’s what we’re looking for. We’ll, of course, let you know when we find Chance’s new pet buddy.
We’re definitely not dog experts, but we think a Golden-Lab mix sounds awesome. Please keep us posted. xoxo Alex and Cal
FROM CHAD: Hi, Bill. David asked us to update you on our Brittany spaniel pup “Bud”. He’s a gentle, affable little guy and absolutely loves Matty and “Lissa”. He’s two years old and we’ve been training him to be a “bird dog.” That involves taking him over to a patch of weeds… putting a quail’s wing on a fishing line and casting it out. Bud looks for the wing, “scents” it, points it and holds his point until Raef or I say “Go”. Then he brings it to us. Or, that’s the way it’s supposed to work. Honestly, he’s doing better as time passes and we plan to take him bird hunting this next Fall. While we’re really fond of Brittanys, we think all dogs are good dogs and wish you the best in finding your new canine friend. Let us know how it’s going. Chad and Raef
FROM KEON: David asked us to give you an update on Travon’s pup, “Max.” As you might recall, Max is a “miniature golden doodle” (his parents were an English golden retriever male and a miniature poodle female). He’ll be 4 years old in May and is a total joy. He’s Travon’s dog for sure and wants to be with him constantly. They play and rough-house together all the time, but Max can “sense” when Tra wants “quiet time for photography, reading and other interests.” He’ll sit for hours beside Tra when he’s busy doing something – and never make a sound. We honestly couldn’t imagine life without him. Hope your search for the right dog is going well – and that you’ll soon have your new 4-legged friend. We don’t think the breed of dog is terribly important. Mr. Martinez (the kids Spanish teacher in North KC) has a female pit bull who is a sweetheart and loves the kids. Janette (the kids French teacher) has a pair of Basset hounds she’s absolutely crazy about. xoxo Keon and Rick
FROM DAVID: O.K. Now you’ve been updated on all the other dogs, so I’ll bring you up-to-date on ours. Bebe (our female miniature Schnauzer) is almost 15 years old and has serious health issues. Her eyesight and hearing are poor and she spends most of her time sleeping on the couch (when she’s not barking at a squirrel or deer or other critter in the yard). She’s had two cancer surgeries and the cancer is back now – and inoperable. Having said all that, our Vet put her on “carprofen” (a drug to treat pain and inflammation) about two years ago and she does remarkably well. She’s mainly my dog, but loves Ben and Dub and “tolerates” Buzz. She’s a sweetheart and we hope she’ll be with us for a long time.
That leaves “Buzz the wonder-dog.” What can I say about “Buzz”? He’s a little over 3 years old …a black lab and poodle mix – and the the most intelligent dog I’ve ever seen. I don’t know whether that’s because he’s naturally smart… or because he’s been raised by Dub “the dog whisperer”. I swear, he understands every word we say. Ben will kiddingly say something to me like “Dub is a rotten kid,” and Buzz will growl. Or if he says “Dub is an awesome young man,” Buzz will bark and give us one of his big, goofy puppy grins. He’s Dub’s best friend and constant companion and we all love him.
In general, our gang is a bunch of pup-lovers. When we have a get-together (like over at Koala Cove) the dogs are always included. When we’re eating, they get some table treats – but by agreement – only from their owners. So, if Max or Cookie comes to Ben or me looking for treats, we just sent them to see their owners.
Like Keon, we don’t think a dog’s breed is all that important. Any dog (or cat… or I suppose “teacup pig”) can be a wonderful friend and companion if they understand the love you have for them. Bill, good luck with your puppy search – and DO let us know how it’s going. We love you and think you deserve the happiness only a 4-legged friend can supply.
xoxo David and Ben

It’s a “Friends Friday” Pride Month interracial mega-post.

Hey, guys. It’s Rick. Last week, I texted David and Ben asking if they’d like me to do a “Pride Month” post. David texted back “Of course.” Ben said “Absolutely.” I think this year with all the racial unrest in the Country, Pride Month” has a special meaning, and that’s what I’ve tried to capture with these pics.
As you know, Pride Month is celebrated in June each year. Here’s a quote from Wikipedia:
“The Stonewall Uprising of June 1969 was a series of spontaneous, violent demonstrations by members of the gay (LGBTQ) community in Greenwich Village, New York City. Patrons of the Stonewall Inn, gay street kids from the surrounding area, and members of the community who came from neighboring gay and lesbian bars, fought back against an early morning police raid, refusing to be arrested for simply patronizing a gay bar and being out in public. The Stonewall riots are widely considered to be the most important event leading to the gay liberation movement and the modern fight for LGBT rights in the United States.”
It’s taken more than fifty years for gays in America to achieve a decent amount of justice and equality – and much work remains to be done. None of the Northland gang members are old enough to have experienced the discrimination, ignorance and ugliness suffered by gay people fifty years ago. Hopefully, our kids will grow up in a World of even more justice and equality for gays, blacks, hispanics, american indians and other minorities. Cal often points out that our little group doesn’t live in the “real world” and, of course he’s right. In our Northland family, it makes absolutely no difference whether you’re white, black, ginger, hearing-impaired or anything else. Heck, we even treat Aussies like “real people” 🙂
Our hope is that all the recent demonstrations will someday result in true equality for gays, blacks and other minorities. We can, at least HOPE!
xoxo Rick and Keon

Dude. Nice fuck face!

I guess I’ll call this the third (and I promise final) episode of the Northland gang’s Memorial Day week at Table Rock lake. I won’t go into a lot of detail, but there are a couple of things I’d like to tell you.
By Tuesday, the group was a lot smaller. There was just David, Dub, Austin, Travon, Rick, Keon and me when the grandparents arrived. The grands moved into the condo that Ty and Damien left when they went to Houston for Damien’s fathers’ funeral.
So, we went into Kimberling City to stock up on food (and drinks) for the rest of the week. Austin was still bummed about not going to Houston with his dads… but Dub let him use his I-Pad so he could scype every day with them. We mainly spent the week on the lake, boating and swimming and water skiing and wake boarding. One day we went to Silver Dollar City and the kids had great fun riding the rides they were “tall” enough to ride. The grandparents aren’t all that excited about boating and swimming, but they had a great time playing canasta with Jim and Carol on their screened porch.
On Friday, Jim came over and asked the boys if they’d like to make some home-made ice cream. The boys thought that’d be great so they went over to Jim and Carol’s to do that. Carol let them help her mix up the cream, milk, eggs, sugar, vanilla, etc., and put the mixture in the canister. Then, Jim and Pop-pops supervised as they put the canister, ice and salt into the freezer and started cranking it (by hand). The boys are too small to turn the crank with one hand, so Jim put an old rug on top of the freezer and one of the boys would sit on it to hold it in place while the other boys took turns standing and turning the crank with both hands. Afterward, Travon told us about it. He said “We had to turn the crank a million times – and when it was your turn to sit on the freezer, your butt just about froze off.” We all laughed and told Jim we’d buy him an electric freezer. He said, “Oh, I’ve got one of those. I just thought the boys needed to see how we did it in the old days.” The ice cream was delicious.
We came home on Friday so we could pick Ty and Damien up at the airport Saturday morning. Damien said he was really glad they didn’t take Austin with them to the funeral because “it was one of those awful, open-casket things with everyone saying how nice the corpse looked.”
So, we’re home – and Dub is busy tending his garden, playing with the kids and taking an on-line math class. The boys are “brown as berries” thanks to a week on the lake and about two gallons of sun screen. The dogs have pretty much been sleeping ever since we got home. That lake stuff really tired them out.
We’re a little bummed that it’s so hot here in JUNE, but Dub’s water barrels are still mostly full, so I’m sure his garden (and us people) will survive 🙂