When the Goose Goes to Racine, Wisconsin

You meet the nicest people on Facebook!

Here’s a little story for you this morning:

Once upon a time, the brother of Mother Goose along with his dear wife adopted a fine young English mastiff pup from a breeder family in northern Wisconsin. They named him Harley Windsor of Sturgeon, and he grew up to be an excellent helper to Dana when he is working on his mud racing truck.

Harley and Dana working hard on the racer.

Harley and Dana working hard on the racer.

Through some interesting online connections, we all came to know the ladies who adopted two of Harley’s sisters.

Stella and Chelsea

Stella and Chelsea

The girls just adore their Auntie from Minnesota!

The girls just adore their Auntie from Minnesota!

My dear sissy has been down from nordern Minnesota visiting Mother Goose this past week, so we made a special trip up to Racine to visit the girls. Racine is a nice town plopped down right on the eastern coast of Lake Michigan, just over the border from Chicago. They have lovely empty beaches and rainbows in Racine.



We had a lovely dinner at Oh Dennis! where they specialize in ribs and steaks of various sizes, shapes and designs. One thing that Mother Goose learned is that you can’t tell a book by its cover in Racine, Wisconsin.

Yuuuup, yeah hey the food is pretty darn good, eh?

Yuuuup, yeah hey the food is pretty darn good, eh?

We left Racine with THREE quarts of homemade dill pickles, THREE amazing and authentic Danish Kringles from Bendtsen’s Bakery and hearts full of love for our kind friends who we would have never met except through the magic of Facebook. Thank you, Tammy and Carmen, for showing this goose and her sister such a great time in Racine!

Tammy, Carmen and a happy piglet

Tammy, Carmen and a happy piglet

Dusty the Hero Pup

The dear sister of Mother Goose has a hero pup. His name is Dusty, and he is a Bichon Frise. When she was here to visit me recently, I asked her, “What were the original Bichons bred to do? Are they hunters? Herders? Tracking dogs?”

His cute little face after grooming session.

Surprisingly, she did not know for sure, so we googled that question.

The answer quickly came back that they have always been kept as companions! Nothing else. There have been no other jobs for this breed of dog except to hang out with humans and make them happy.

Dusty has always done his job.

But last year, Dusty went above and beyond the call of duty.

My sister is a recent hip transplant victim patient. However, sometimes in the process of healing, a patient will experience a dislocation of the hip. Bunn was in her bathroom which is on the lower level of her home shaving her legs. Her husband, Allen, was upstairs asleep.

Without any warning, her hip popped out of its socket! Bunn was immediately flooded with the most excruciating pain imaginable and stranded from Allen. She could not move! Frozen in terrible pain, she could only cry and scream in agony, hoping that somehow he would hear her calls for help, but also knowing that he is a very sound sleeper.

But Dusty heard her hysterical yelling and crying.

This little white package of fluff instantly knew that something was wrong with his mom. He couldn’t do much, but he did what he could. He jumped up on Allen who was still soundly asleep, pawing at him and nudging his face with his cold black nose. He whined and barked and made as much commotion as he could until at last Allen opened his eyes.

“What’s wrong, Dusters?” he asked sleepily.

Then he heard my sister screaming in the basement. He ran down the stairs and saw what had happened. He quickly called 9-1-1 summoning the paramedics who loaded her onto the vertical gurney and carried her up the stairs to the waiting ambulance. They rushed her to the emergency room where the doctors were able to carefully reposition her hip.

Dusty was the Hero of the Day.

Yesterday the hero pup was struck by a car in the street right outside their home. The motorist, probably speeding, saw him standing on the side of the curb and assumed that he’d stay there. He didn’t.

Because Dusty is so friendly, he probably assumed that this car was bringing guests to their house and ran out into the street to welcome the guests. Because that’s what a Bichon does — they are the social committee of the dog world.

The screech of brakes and the scream of the woman brought Allen running to the street where he saw the little white hero pup laying on the ground, blood all around him.

But he was miraculously still alive! They wrapped him in Allen’s sweatshirt and rushed him to the closest veterinary clinic. After xrays, they determined that he had no internal injuries or broken bones. Many of his toes were dislocated, but the worst situation was the road rash on his rear right leg. His skin, muscle and tendon were completely gone down to the bone.

He had emergency surgery yesterday around noon. They cleaned his little leg, and gave him laser treatments to stimulate cell growth as well as corn syrup poultice. High tech and low tech treatments for the little hero. He’s also on really good pain meds, and will have to remain hospitalized until Wednesday.

Dusty and Bunn after his surgery yesterday.

But the little Hero is going to be OK.

He might not run as fast as he used to, and he might walk with a limp. But Bunn and Allen also walk pretty stiffly, and they are just so thankful that their little Dusty is alive. He’s a great companion, and a real Hero.

Hip hip hooray for Dusty the Hero Pup!! And get well soon, little fellow. Mother Goose loves you…

Old Mother Hubbard

By special request today, Mother Goose will analyze a most curious nursery rhyme. Old Mother Hubbard was first published in 1805. I feel I must warn you that it is a long rhyme and fairly disturbing. Please click away if you take offense at dogs impersonating humans. In modern vernacular, let’s break it down. Here is the poem in its entirety:

Old Mother Hubbard
Went to the cupboard,
To give the poor dog a bone:
When she came there,
The cupboard was bare,
And so the poor dog had none.

She went to the baker’s
To buy him some bread;
When she came back
The dog was dead!

She went to the undertaker’s
To buy him a coffin;
When she came back
The dog was laughing.

She took a clean dish
to get him some tripe;
When she came back
He was smoking his pipe.

She went to the alehouse
To get him some beer;
When she came back
The dog sat in a chair.

She went to the tavern
For white wine and red;
When she came back
The dog stood on his head.

She went to the fruiterer’s
To buy him some fruit;
When she came back
He was playing the flute.

She went to the tailor’s
To buy him a coat;
When she came back
He was riding a goat.

She went to the hatter’s
To buy him a hat;
When she came back
He was feeding her cat.

She went to the barber’s
To buy him a wig
When she came back
He was dancing a jig.

She went to the cobbler’s
To buy him some shoes;
When she came back
He was reading the news.

She went to the sempstress
To buy him some linen;
When she came back
The dog was spinning.

She went to the hosier’s
To buy him some hose;
When she came back
He was dressed in his clothes.

The Dame made a curtsy,
The dog made a bow;
The Dame said, Your servant;
The dog said, Bow-wow.

This wonderful dog
Was Dame Hubbard’s delight,
He could read, he could dance,
He could sing, he could write;
She gave him rich dainties
Whenever he fed,
And erected this monument
When he was dead.

Many of Mother Goose’s readers are dog owners and many are cat owners. Some have birds, some have fish. Some, like Mother Goose, have all of these and more. The one thing that we know for sure about pets is that they require a certain degree of care. You have probably noted the extreme amount of care that Old Mother Hubbard is showing her dog in this poem, and undoubtedly you can relate to the attitude of “whatever it takes” to keep the pup happy.

Image courtesy of the good folks at Wikipedia

My first observation is that the poor old woman had nothing at all in her pantry. Not a bag of oatmeal, not a cracker, not a bag of beans. No canned venison or tomatoes. Not a can of spam. No flour for baking bread. Now this is abject poverty, dear and gentle reader. Not a scrap of food for herself or anyone else in the home. And what did she do? Did she run out and get herself some groceries? No, she goes to the bakery to buy something for the dog to eat — a loaf of bread. Strange times and strange food for the family pet…

Well, and then the dog begins his tricks. He plays dead — she has to go out and buy a coffin for him. She gets home, and there he is just as alive as she is! Miraculous recovery or is he just messin’ with her?

It gets more and more bizarre… tripe, beer, wine red and white, some fruit. I feel so very overwhelmed at the oddity of her dogfood choices. And how the dog responds is not common at all — at least not at Mother Goose’s home. The dog is smoking a pipe, sitting in her chair, standing on his head, playing the flute. If I came home and found Fran doing these things, I would faint away. My heart, my heart…. and speaking of Fran, she never complains about eating Pedigree. It’s easy to purchase at the store and easy to serve.

And then it becomes very obvious what the problem is — Old Mother Hubbard has Alzheimer’s Disease. This is suddenly some of the saddest poetry I’ve ever read. She has mistakenly identified her dog as her long-departed husband, Old Father Hubbard! She buys her dog a coat, a hat and a wig — he responds not with much tail-wagging and barking, but by riding a goat, feeding her cat and dancing a jig. She has confused the dog with her late husband, and now lives out her grief by dressing him in some fancy finery and feeding him all the special delicacies and sweeties that Old Father Hubbard used to enjoy.

Her disorientation grows day by day. The wardrobe becomes more and more fine as she attempts to turn the pup into her beloved Hubbard. Buckled shoes, silken stockings, linen for his shirt. Nothing is too extravagant for this case of mistaken identity and Old Mother Hubbard. She curtsies, the hound bows. She is his servant, and he is the master of the house at long last.

All the wonders of the dog — his reading, his dancing — and I tell you, dear reader, he knew. He knew how sick and disturbed Mother Hubbard was, and YET he continued his little charade. He could have been decent and gotten her some help for the dementia. Obviously, the dog could communicate — he should have done something for his dear mistress. But no, not this pup. He’s taking all the dainties and treats that he can from this poor old woman.

Mother Goose is very distressed at what she has learned today about Old Mother Hubbard and her dog. I hope that I haven’t upset you too much. Try not to think about it….

And bee blessed. 🙂

Thankfully borrowed from Wikipedia

If Only Fran Could Speak…

Fran is the Best Dog Ever. There are many good dogs, and perhaps you yourself have a really good dog. But we are quite sure that Fran takes the cake when it comes to dogs. For ten years, she’s been our loyal friend — such a good listener is she! She enjoys eating and sleeping, but gets totally excited when we offer to take her on a walkie around the blockie. Or go on a car ride. We have no complaints about Fran….except that she can’t speak.

"I must guard the punkin stuff for Mom."

Well, sure she does the usual dog trick of barking when she hears the command “Speak!”. Any old dog can do that trick. But she can’t really speak to us. If only she could… We have taught her to say a few words in English, and she tries so hard to say them when we ask, especially if we have a treat or a dog cookie in our hand. She can say “hello” and “Mama” much better than those weird dogs on YouTube, and sometimes she will put them together and say “Hello Mama” which, of course, is the cutest thing ever! She became so accomplished with those two words that we decided to raise the bar a bit, and requested her to say “chicken pot pie”. And yes, dear gentle reader, Fran can say “chicken pot pie”. But not very often…

"I don't mind when AnnaRose jumps on my head."

However, these are all just tricks that she does in order to reap the rewards and benefits of obedience. We would like to have dialogue with Fran, mind-bending discussions and insightful conversations. We want to know what she really things about squirrels! (By the way, have you seen the wonderful Disney movie “UP”? If you have an interest in dog communication, you will love “UP”.) We’d love to hear what she has to say about Olivia from Bolivia. We think she might have an important opinion about natural dog food vs. Purina. I know she’d tell us what her life was like before we adopted her from the animal shelter.

"Mom, my ear hurts really bad. Will you take me to the doctor?"

"I know I look silly, but Mom says I'll feel better real soon."

If only Fran could speak… I know she would tell me when I was looking tired and suggest I take a nap with her. I know that she would share a sincere compliment when I dressed up and put on a little make-up. I know she would say “thanks” for the meals and the bits of lunchmeat and for saving her a bit of ice cream in the bottom of the bowl. There would never be even a hint of sarcasm in her conversations, only honest and genuine communication.

"Yes, I'm ready to go for a walkie around the blockie."

Alas, we must be content with her facial expressions and body language to determine her many precious thoughts. But I suspect that when we all get to heaven, God will have all the pets talking to us and to each other. That’s just how much He love us.

"Mom, I just love you so much. I adore you, Mom."

Olivia from Bolivia

We have such a menagerie of pets at Mother Goose’s house! There’s Fran our dog who recently suffered an aural hematoma but is now recovered quite completely. And there are the seven Zebra Finches — six hens and a little rooster who doesn’t have a clue but is very protective of his girls. Three Glass Catfish in the globe aquarium — countless platys and mollies in the upstairs aquarium. And a partridge in a pear tree. No, just kidding about that partridge.

And then there’s Olivia our cat.

Olivia was here before anyone. Her home has been her castle, and the table has been her throne. From ages past and time gone by, Olivia from Bolivia has reigned in this house. Her words and her actions constitute the ultimate law of the land here. She would like us to bow as she passes by. She knows where every ray of afternoon sun will fall because she is the ruler of the sun and the moon and the stars. They rise and set according to her wishes, her whims and her orders.

She is suspicious of any challenger to her throne, even a mysterious ceramic one.

Olivia is learning to share her kingdom with other creatures. She loves to babysit the birds, from atop their cage. She admires the fish swimming in their watery worlds. And she enjoys a love/hate relationship with Fran. Actually, Fran likes Olivia a whole bunch! Fran likes Olivia much more than she likes other dogs or strangers at the door.

The first time they met, Fran thought that Olivia was a squirrel. Fran did what comes natural — chasing Olivia around and around the house, barking with the excitement of a hunter hot on the trail of the prey. It took many months for Olivia to forgive Fran of that case of mistaken identity, but today harmony reigns in the zoological garden of Mother Goose.

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June 2023