Ollie’s Fourteenth Week: What Happens in Puppy Purgatory

In my fifth week with James and Ron, when I was three and a half months old, I had so many toys to play with that James started collecting them every hour and putting them in a red, plastic milk carton container. He was obsessed with getting them off the floor. I was obsessed with having them strung all around me. We compromised by keeping the box on its side so I could at least sleep with them.

(Ollie asleep with his head on top of some of his toys.)

It seemed that everything I did was wrong. At least to James’ way of thinking. I can’t tell you how often he went into the other room (Oh, yeah, have I mentioned that I was relegated to the mudroom by a baby gate? Yes, I was.) and made loud noises he tried his best to smother in a pillow. Still, I could hear him, but I didn’t know why he was acting so strange.

Okay. I did know. He was frustrated and tired most of the time. He did his best not to let me see just how irritated and weary he was. Still, I could hear it. Afterwards he would quickly come back in to make sure I hadn’t done my business on the floor. When I hadn’t, he would pick me up and give me all kinds of sweet loving.

James wrote a poem about how he felt like he was in Purgatory. Now, I had no idea where that was, but being stuck in the mudroom was no joy. As such, I figured the mudroom and Purgatory must have a lot in common. Unfortunately, the poem James wrote is not from my perspective, but from his. Still, I think you can read in-between the lines and figure out how I must have felt as well.

Here’s that poem:

                                    PUPPY PURGATORY

My fourteenth week Old English Sheepdog and I have stumbled into puppy hell
            Dante didn’t have a circle for dogs much less puppies
            yet Circle IV with the repetitive boulder pushers is appropriate
                        (we started shoving those sarsens five weeks ago….)

Yes we keep repeating things doomed to failure
            he pees inside no matter how many times I catch him
            while he seems impervious to praise when done outside
                        (even the expensive treats don’t seem to help….)

Meaning well friends and family say “This too will pass”
            that instead of inferno it is transitory
            yet no one can quantify the duration
                        (our lives may expire before this terminates….)

Even so it must then be Purgatory
            which continues until all sins have been washed clean
            or some such nonsense as shampoo doesn’t help
                        (if true, then puppy pee must be a sin….)

Speaking of sins what offences do I have regarding Oliver
            failings of thinking his training should be faster
            peccadilloes of wanting my superior pup to be perfect
                        (I could go on….)

Actually going up at least it appears up we find ourselves in Limbo
            Circle I with Virgil Ovid Homer Horace – not too shabby
            – perhaps there’s fame and fortune in our future
                        (let’s not kid ourselves….)

The ancient Greeks believed there was a purgatory fire
            our type of blaze would be in the belly perhaps – from a
            torch / not quite – to sustain life / warmer – as in a drill / sort of
                        (more like gall – “it burns us up” this irritation….)

The ancient Roman’s believed criminals were sent to Tartarus
            where they were tortured by the Furies
            which is a fire of a subtly different color
                        (but neither of us are criminals at least not yet….)

By the way neither of us is one of the Furies
            who were born of drops of blood from
            Cronus’ castration of his father Uranus
                        (ouch – besides the Furies were “she’s”….)

After Athena pacified their anger the Furies became
            known as the Semnai Theai – honorable goddesses
            feasibly something similar will be achieved from neutering
                        (whoa – it’s way too early to even think about that….)

So we find ourselves in a type of spiritual purgatory
            where our suffering will diminish as
            Oliver’s desire to learn grows
                        (okay, and my training improves….)

As such this Puppy Purgatory what some call a “phase”
            will be measured in solar time with the duration and
            our misery corresponding to repetition and absorption
                        (optimistically not the frequency of cleaning up his pee….)

Deliverance – if it comes / when it comes – is supposedly sweet
            but unfortunately we’re not there yet
            so how delectable can’t be calculated
(chocolate for me is a sufficient substitute for now)

To me, the poem is funny. I mean, what the fuck [Get over yourself with the ‘Oh, my, what kind of dog uses four-letter words?’ I mean, it’s not like I’m still a puppy, and neither are you if you’re reading this. Besides, “fuck” is James’ favorite word. I’ve heard it more than anything else he’s ever said. So, of course I’m going to use it and he’ll, graciously, type it for me.] are Furies and Limbo and Uranus? Of course, what happened to Uranus isn’t so funny. Believe me. I now know, but that’s a story for another day, way in the future.

On that note… we hope you’ve enjoyed this ongoing story and this latest poem. In two weeks I’ll tell you more about my BFF, Trek, who we, well, join us then. You won’t want to miss it.

Also, let us know your opinion of these stories and the poems James wrote. I always like to hear from you, so please feel free to leave me a comment about this or anything else that’s on your mind.

Until next time,
Short Stories - Author Webpage Help Needed
Sir Oliver of Skygate Farm (you can call me Ollie)


Paw Prints courtesy of www.pawsitivelyloved.com
All photos © James Stack 2017 unless otherwise indicated

Ollie’s Thirteenth Week: Comfort From a Useful Housetraining Prayer

Have I presented myself as being difficult to housetrain? Well, I wasn’t. Not to my way of thinking. If anyone knows me at all, housetraining me or any other puppy is all about treats. That’s right. Reward me for performing the command, and everybody is happy.

Now, the question is: Have I presented James as having a difficult time housetraining me? Oh, boy, did he ever make it hard on himself. He thought it was going to be a cinch what with his having trained Trek, my BFF, low those many years before. Well, I’m here to tell you there’s a big difference between a twelve-week-old puppy who has come from an attentive breeder (Trek), and a puppy who is nine weeks old coming from a breeder who ignores their puppies having wanted to get rid of them at week five (me, Ollie).

(Ollie’s BBF Trek with the Sir peering alongside.)

Big difference. Well, I have to cut James some slack. Not only was there the three week difference in Trek’s and my age, as well as the breeder issue, but dear, sweet, caring, loveable James was also getting up there in years. You’ve heard the term “old fart.” James was close to being classified in that category.

(Ollie being introduced to a fire hydrant to no avail.)

Truth be told, James bit off more than he could chew. I was a handful, and only getting bigger by the day. I’m a rather smart cookie, so, I have to admit, I did take advantage because, well, it was too easy. What’s a smart fellow like me to do? Yeah, and it wasn’t over yet.

Anyway, James wrote a poem that is a sort of prayer. I think it’s funny, myself, but James, well, bless his heart, he was evidently going through a rough patch.

Without further ado, here is that poem….


God, Yahweh, Mohammad, Higher Power, Energy Force, Ancestors, Emma-O, Susa-no-wo, Yuki-Onne, Nana Buluku, Anat, Ra, Isis, Ixchup, Pikvhahirak, Inti, Ne Te-reere, Saint Francis, Saint Paul, Saint Peter, Saint Sebastian, Saint Christopher (ALL the Saints), Buddha, Dharma, Krishna, Vishnu, Shiva, Ganesh, Zeus, Thor, Apollo, Aphrodite, (pick a name or insert a new one that works for you):

Please grant me:
The patience to understand what I can’t train my puppy to do
The courage to train him in a receptive manner
those things in which he can be trained
And the wisdom to know how damn long it will take

Today the only time James prays is when it’s lottery night. Oh, I wasn’t suppose to tell anyone that. Oops!

We hope you’ve enjoyed this ongoing story and poem/prayer. In two weeks I’ll tell you how James found himself in puppy purgatory, which makes sense if you’ve been reading my blogs. Please stay tuned and read it and the others to follow.

Also, let us know what your opinion of these stories and the poems James wrote. I always like to hear from you, so please feel free to leave me a comment about this or anything else that’s on your mind.

Until next time,
Short Stories - Author Webpage Help Needed
Sir Oliver of Skygate Farm (you can call me Ollie)

Paw Prints courtesy of www.pawsitivelyloved.com
All photos © James Stack 2017 unless otherwise indicated