Intoxicating Invisible Wind: Ollie at Five Months

I’ve noticed multiple times something of which I’d like to share with you. We’ll be riding down the road and an approaching car will have their windows down. As they pass I’ll notice a fellow canine hanging his head out of the window, ears flapping in the breeze. This friend’s lips are fluttering as they attempt to maintain the curve of a grin. Yes, these are the lucky ones who get to stick their heads out into the oncoming wind.

When I was a young lad, James let me ride in the front seat with him. Well, not in his lap, but in the seat across from him. Still, he never rolled down the windows while we were moving. He told me, but at the time I didn’t quite understand, that it was a dangerous thing to do. Even the tiniest bug could put one of my eyes out if it slammed into me while we were traveling at fifty plus miles an hour with my head hanging out the window. Still, I must admit, it looks like tons of fun.

(Ollie requesting to ride out the front window in the car.)

Of course, there was a time when I didn’t know the wind existed. It never seemed to mean anything to me. Then one day while James and I were hanging around outside, he reading and me playing, I began hearing noises. These were sounds I never heard before. James said they were always there, but I never paid them any attention.

Regardless, I finally heard them. They were speaking a strange language, like the language James was speaking at the time that I now understand. It didn’t make any sense to me. Also, I didn’t know where or who they were. I kept looking over at James to see if he heard them too. He kept his nose in the book he was reading, so I figured he wasn’t able to hear them.

Suddenly, in the distance, the bushes and trees began twitching. Something was about to bound out of them. I moseyed over beside James, hoping he could scare whatever it was away. If not, at least pick me up and run into the house. When nothing came out of the shrubs, and James quit petting me, the rumbling they were making stopped as well.

Now, I’m not saying I was always afraid. Still, I do have to admit that when I didn’t know what something was, I depended upon James to protect me or, at the least, to let me know what it is. When the racket in the wilds started up again, I once more leaned in-between James’ legs. He finally figured that I was worried about the movement happening behind the shrubberies.

It was then he informed me that it was nothing to worry about – easy for him to say. It was only the wind. Well, not understanding what he was talking about, much less would I have known what the wind was even if I could have understood him, my imagination began thinking it might be a huge animal come to eat me. Perhaps there was a mean Doberman, like the one at the breeders of whom I was in constant fear. As I pressed firmly into his leg, James got the message. He picked me up and tried to explain about the wind.

It seemed odd to me now that the very thing that made my fellow pooches enjoy sticking their head out the car window was making we anxious. After calming down from being in James’ arms, he held me in such a manner that I got the message that it was okay to worry about the rustling of branches. It could very well be another animal or human. Being on ones guard is a good thing. Yeah. That’s what I was doing. Being on my guard.

(Ollie on his guard, watching the wind.)

There’s a poem James wrote about my experience with the wind. This particular poem, like most of James’ writing, has seen different iterations. Here it is in its current form for your reading pleasure:


sitting peacefully
you casually move your head side-to-side
as if watching a tennis match
unsure of the sound
as it doesn’t resemble a ball or racket
yet aware of a difference
having never taken notice before

tilting your head sideways
resting inquisitively
it gently whispers in your upturned ear
words only you can understand
or perhaps not

desiring to discern their meaning
as you pensively ponder what it is saying
there is a distraction
a falling leaf to which
you move to investigate
having forgotten about
the hubbub above

the foliage smells
of the passage of time
and before long you are
enquiring of the murmurs
some spoken in hushed tones
others squeaking louder

unexpectedly you cause your own mutter
which surprises and
causes you to eventually turn
and sniff behind you
which for some reason
you find pleasing

off in the distance
you notice the rattling
of the bush branches
knowing something
but not what
is making them move

rearing back in anticipation
of the unknown
yet to be seen
perhaps an imaginary beast
bringing a rising dread
as you move closer
leaning into me

it is nothing for you to fear
my dear little friend Ollie
but a cool breeze
as it blows through the trees

and then you are off like a rocket
after the golden
flying objects

autumn has brought with it
the enthusiasm of the chase
and the ecstasy you discover
in the rambling crusty piles of leaves

and this is what the uttering gusts were saying
nature bestows wonders to behold
for your enjoyment and fun
so live fully in the brief time you have
grasp each moment
relish every opportunity
you are but twenty-one weeks
and have a long yet short span
in which to treasure them all

I can’t believe James left in the part about my flatulence. That is so embarrassing. It must be because he thinks it’s cute. Well, perhaps it is funny – a little. Okay, I used to find it humiliating, but now I laugh each time I read that part. I hope others find it refreshing – pun intended. (Score! A treat for me.)

A gust of air is one of those things that can change how I perceive the world. When blowing in the right direction, I can smell another animal or animal product. Otherwise, I might run right by it. Also, it can lead me to believe something or someone is hiding in the brush. The wind can be tricky.

One has to watch out for the breeze. It can blow even James off his feet. Yet it can also be revitalizing on a hot summer day. For instance, while sitting in the shade when a draft blows by is as if I’ve jumped into a cool pond or lake. With my long hair, believe me, I know a thing or two about shade and wafts of wind.

Come back in two weeks and hear about my teeth. They were forever nibbling and biting when I was a puppy. James even has a picture of one of my molars. We hope to see you then.

Speaking of hope, we hope you’re enjoying reading about my first year and the different poems James wrote. If so, let us know in the comment section below. I always like to hear from you, so please feel free to leave me a note 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
All photos © James Stack 2017 unless otherwise indicated

Ollie’s Twentieth Week: The Distractions of Pebbles and Dirt

It’s not easy for me to admit. Still, I must confess. I chewed pebbles and ate dirt when I was but a little lad. My breeder, well, I don’t like disparaging anyone, but the truth is she didn’t feed me enough. (James says she may have fed me plenty. With eight brothers and sisters and my pacifying personality, I may not have gotten enough food. That’s fair.)

Anyway, every small stone I’d find could have been spilled kibble, so I’d saunter over to it and put it in my mouth. I wouldn’t even smell it. When I arrived at Skygate Farm, James was worried that I’d swallow these nuggets, but all I did was chew on them. Besides, they felt good against my baby teeth.

Now rich, black soil was another matter all together. That I gladly savored before swallowing. I grew accustomed to eating it before coming to live with James and Ron. It helped fill my nearly empty stomach. James was afraid eating dirt would give me worms. (Well, if you’ve forgotten, when I entered James and Ron’s life I was being given medication for the larvae I’d gotten while still at the breeders. We’ll never know if these bugs came from dirt or one of my siblings – just sayin’.)

Since no one at the breeders had cared whether I chewed stones or ate soil, I was under the impression it was okay. When James started trying to get me to leave or drop them, I thought he wanted to deprive me. I was so confused. The good news was he offered me more kibble when I left them alone. That taught me that if I kept going after both the gritty pieces and compact ground that I’d get more and more food from James. It was only rational that the rewards made me want to go after the gravel and grime more often. It became a cruel cycle; but what did I know? I was but a lost sole unsure of what the future held.

Version 2
(Ollie attempting to look like a lost sole, unsure of his future.)

Once I knew that I could trust James and Ron, I was still convinced that they would give me more food if I kept implying I was going to eat the pebbles I found. After all, I had trained them to do that. (It should be noted that they were quick learners.) As for dirt, well, I still liked the taste of it. I can’t explain it. Take my word for it that dirt is delicious. (Okay. James asked me to let you know I no longer eat dirt. Like he says, I surpassed the age when it was meaningful.)

That reminds me. James wrote a poem about my interest in pebbles and dirt. When I think about it now, it is a little embarrassing to admit. Still, when you understand that I was using them as training tools to get more food from James and Ron, I think you’ll understand.

Here’s that poem.

Pebbles & Dirt

down the driveway we go
on early morning excursions
with Ollie stopping along the way
to pick up tiny pebbles

I figure out by week twenty
after you started this at week eight
since you were hungry when you arrived
these small stones resemble kibble

I think to myself
therein lies an opportunity
to impart the lessons of
“drop it” and “leave it”

of course
since you believe them to be food
the last thing you wanted to do
is to let them go

I worry
they might be swallowed causing
indigestion requiring your stomach
to be evacuated

perhaps it’s their salty taste
or when you can’t chew them
the realization sets in
that they aren’t what you anticipate

and since it’s the season
the tractors are out and about
depositing pads of soil
you find to your liking

you eat dirt by the ounce
or pound if I’d let you
soon I learn drop or leave doesn’t work
with rich black top soil

these globs of gravel and grain
are not of the substantive sort
yet populate our drive and yard
thrilling you and disturbing me

of this I am convinced
that when the pebbles and particles
are frozen solid and hidden
you’ll soon forget them

the spring arrives
the stones and dirt will freed
you’ll sniff at them and realize
they’re to be ignored

as you grow into your lose skin
filling out your form handsomely
your body will adjust nicely
to the size of your too-large paws

it will
be time to drop and leave
the pebbles and dirt you once prized
as well as the kibble known as puppy food

as you mature into adulthood

When I think about the stuff James says in this poem, there are so many more things I have to tell you about my first year. There were so many new experiences for me. At least once a week James would take me for a ride in the car to a new place. He wanted to expose me to as many things as he could while I was young so I wouldn’t be afraid of them.

Stick around and I’ll fill you in on all of them. Every other week I’ll keep you informed about what happened. James wrote a poem about each of them, so there’ll be a new verse each time.

There is one in particular for which we didn’t have far to go for me to experience it. The thing about it that is most peculiar is it’s invisible. It can’t be seen. Only what it does is visible. Any guesses what it is? No? It’s wind. That’s right. Come back in two weeks to see how I reacted to the concealed force that caused things around me to move without any sign of their having legs.

We hope you’re having as much fun reading about my first year and the different poems James wrote as we are in telling you. If so, let us know in the comment section below. I always like to hear from you, so please feel free to leave me a note 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
All photos © James Stack 2017 unless otherwise indicated