New diet=Chicken stealing!

A dog sniffing a laptop and trying to type.
Illustration by Vanessa Lennon McElvaney

Dear Ethan & Olivia,

YES I stole the chicken off the table! NO I don’t care (too much!)

I didn’t like getting yelled at, and I didn’t like when they took it away before I could munch it all.

BUT SERIOUSLY???!!!

Your mom THREW IT AWAY!!! All that beautiful bones and gristle, GONE!

If she wasn’t gonna eat it, why couldn’t I have it? I didn’t mind the carpet threads and a little dirt—it’s just more chewy that way!

I don’t like this new diet thing! I want more food! Why doe we have to diet? Why does it have the word die in it? That doesn’t seem like a good thing!

YOU don’t have to diet! I saw you get your regular lunch!!! I want regular lunch!!!

I like the rice and the lamb and stuff, but the green beans and sweet potatoes are weird. Could you cook them in bacon? Everything’s better when it is cooked in bacon, right?

There should be a LOT more meat! The cats get LOTS of meat, but we don’t! WHY?

What is this “balance” your mom keeps talking about, and who cares??? If it doesn’t have meat, it doesn’t matter!

So I’m a little gassy and my butt squeaks! Everyone’s butt squeaks, mine just squeaks a bit more! The old food was FINE!!!

Maybe we should try a new vet! The old one could be jealous or something! No one ever takes her for a walk, and all she does is give shots. She never gets to play with the dogs who come in; she just touches us in weird places and talks to our peoples. No wonder she’s miserable!

So YES I am going to start hunting whatever dinner is on the table! If the cats get to be jerks, so do I!

I WANT MORE MEAT.

But I don’t want you to be mad! Why couldn’t I have some of your dinner? Why can’t I beg at the table? How am I supposed to get more food???

I don’t think this diet thing is good AT ALL. I’m starting to sound mean like the cats! HELP!!!

Jamie Spaniel

For happiness, be like me!

A dog sniffing a laptop and trying to type.
Illustration by Vanessa Lennon McElvaney

Dear Ethan & Olivia,

I sure hope you get this letter!

Someone changed the password on your mom’s laptop right after the eight cases of tuna cans showed up, so it’s been hard for me to get a chance to write. Fortunately your uncle called so your mom stepped away and left it open for me.

Apparently your mom & dad thought they’d been “hacked” or something so they changed all their passwords. I thought they knew it was LuLu–she’s always hacking something up! But your mom still works on her laptop when LuLu is around, so I don’t think she gets what happened. She’ll figure it out when they get the box of cat toys next week! I hope you like lasers & robot mice!

I noticed your mom and dad are looking up “healthy eating”, “mindfulness”, and other junk meant to make humans happy. WHY?  

Happiness is about petting dogs, rolling on the grass, and sitting in the sunshine. I think you people make it too complicated.

Everyone thinks I’m dumb, but I’m not! Dogs are all very smart, even us dumb ones!

We’re happy when you rub our bellies, we’re happy when you give us treats, we’re happy when you tell us we’re pretty, and we’re happy just to sit with you and look at your eyes.

You humans have to have cars, video games, and stuff, stuff, and more stuff! You’re so busy getting new stuff that you never even take the time to break in the old stuff! How can you possibly be happy going from one thing to the next thing without first settling in and getting some chewiness in with what’s around you?

Okay, YES, I seem excited when you bring me new toys, but my old chew bone is my favorite! It reminds me of home, and home is YOU. So long as I have YOU, I’m always going to be happy!

Maybe it’s time to stop reading books and listening to “podcats” thingys. Be like me instead! You won’t regret it!

I love you both and hope you will come home soon. This belly won’t rub itself!
Jamie the Spaniel
PS Be careful, LuLu was looking up how to fill a syringe with cyanide & peanut butter. That can’t be good!

Popularity comes from Pee-mail!

A dog sniffing a laptop and trying to type.
Illustration by Vanessa Lennon

Dear Olivia,

I was gonna tell you that I’m too tired to type today, but I’d have to type that to tell you, wouldn’t I? All these past few weeks I have typed letters using my dog paws—it’s not easy! But you never type a letter to me. Sure, you talk to me and give me extra treats, but, wait…actually never mind. I’d rather have a treat than a letter.

Why are humans weird about the bathroom? I know I asked this before, but it has gotten STRANGE at your house. The older dog Felix is now wearing a diaper.

Your parents call it a wrap, and sometimes it looks like jean shorts and sometimes it looks like camouflage, but nobody is fooled. It’s a diaper.

Why would you let them do this to him? It’s humiliating!

Okay, so he has some health issues and is peeing everywhere, but that is great! Peeing feels good and it has a lot of useful information. If you pee, others can smell it and know all about you.

Heck, if you want to make friends at your middle school next year you should try smelling other girls’ pee when they go to the bathroom!

Seriously, if you start sniffing everyone’s pee you will be the most talked about kid in the school! What a way to make sure everyone knows your name!

Okay, your LuLu Cat is over here saying “gross”, but it isn’t! I do this all the time! This is how I know where the other neighborhood dogs have been, what they’ve been eating, and what’s going on in the world.

It’s kind of like email, only it’s pee-mail!

Smell pee, learn about others, and be popular!!! I bet none of the other human kids will know about this trick, so you will be like a rock star or something!!! You will be famous, all because you smell pee!

No need to talk to others and be all awkward and nervous, just use your sniffer in the bathroom and others will talk to you first. You’ll rule the school!

Anyway, tell your parents that they should let Felix pee all over the house if he needs to. Those diapers are ridiculous. He is much too awesome for that!

Save me some of your sandwich!

Love,

Jamie

Traffic can be fun!

A dog sniffing a laptop and trying to type.
Illustration by Vanessa Lennon

Dear Olivia,

What’s a traffic?

It’s funny that your mom & dad gripe about traffic, but traffic happens in a car. I LOVE cars!

Your ears flap as the wind comes in, and you get to bark at the other cars. The other cars sometimes have other dogs! Genius!

I don’t understand why some humans get all weird about traffic and cars and stuff. I see a lot of people walking on the side of the road and they look really tired. I bet they would love to have a traffic!

The other day I saw a dog grooming van. I got so excited to see who was driving, but it wasn’t a dog at all. It was just another human! Isn’t that false advertising? Shouldn’t a dog be driving the van if it’s a dog groomer?

I know that LuLu Cat once told you that I drove your mom’s van to the pet store, but I really didn’t. I don’t know how to drive, and your mom NEVER lets me.

She says, “Car ride!” and then gets upset when I jump into the driver’s seat. She has never let me have a driving turn, not even once! Worse, if I try to cuddle her when she’s driving, she tells me to stop!

That’s why I like it better when your dad drives. Then, your mom lets me sit on her lap to look out. I like that MUCH better. What’s the point of riding in a car, if you can’t see anything?

Anyway, tell your mom and dad to stop cussing when they’re driving. That weird middle-finger-handwave doesn’t seem nice either. If traffic bugs them so much, they should give their traffic to someone else. Maybe if they give their car to a person who doesn’t have one, that person will be happy.

 I bet there are a lot of humans who LOVE traffic!

I love you a lot little human, but if you want to learn to love traffic, learn to stick your head out of the window once in a while. Flappy ears and a sun-tinted tongue make everything better!

Your favorite dog,

Jamie

Life & death are Tetris

A dog sniffing a laptop and trying to type.
Illustration by Vanessa Lennon

Dear Olivia,

Today’s letter is kind of a happy/sad thing. I’m sorry to still have sad stuff, but your mom says that life is like Tetris where you have to pack good and bad together, and that if you stack the blocks the right way you can break the bad memories into small pieces so that only the good blocks stand out. I hope she’s right.

As you probably noticed (how could you miss it?!!!) your big sister is very weepy tonight because her friend died. It’s kind of hard to understand, isn’t it? It’s weird when someone super young drops dead. It doesn’t seem to make sense to go to sleep and not wake up.

But it does happen. That’s part of being a “special needs” family. Some days are scary, some days fun, some are ordinary, and others are weird and make you feel like you have it easy compared to someone else. That’s just the way it is I guess.

I guess it might also make you scared to go to sleep. That’s okay though, because I will lick you awake if there are any issues. I’ve noticed that when I lick your mom’s teeth, she wakes up right away. She also screams. I’m not sure why. But anyway, I’ll lick you on your mouth if you start to get sick or something and then you can get your mom and dad to help.

Why are the needs “special”? Doesn’t everyone have needs that are important? I think they do. Maybe they just don’t say it. Your mom says that everyone would have a diagnosis if we look close enough, but we don’t look if there’s no need. Your family is DEFINITELY special. You put sprinkles on your mashed potatoes!

Sprinkles on mashed potatoes are weird! But it makes everyone laugh to see the sprinkles on top because they remember the time your dad accidentally used vanilla soy milk instead of plain and the mashed potatoes tasted sweet and yucky. That’s a happy block for your life Tetris!

I guess that’s all I want to say today. I know it’s scary and sad and can even make you angry when a friend dies, because that is a big cluster of sad blocks. But if you surround that cluster with happy blocks, then they can break up the sad blocks and soon you will be able to concentrate more on the happy.

I wuff you!

Jamie

Dogs can’t have coffee, but they want to!

A dog sniffing a laptop and trying to type.
Illustration by Vanessa Lennon

HI OLIVIA!

I WAS GOING THROUGH THE TRASH. You know the trash right? I don’t mean that you KNOW the trash. It’s not like you’ve been introduced or anything. But I mean that you know what I mean when I mention trash, right?

So anyway I was smelling all the wonderful smells and chewing on a paper towel when I started chomping on that WONDERFUL stuff your mom calls COFFEE! COFFEE COFFEE COFFEE I LOVE COFFEE!

I don’t know why your mom puts it in the coffee pot ‘cause the old wet coffee grains were FANTASTIC!

The coffee filter was like an amazing chewy cookie! No cup required!

I LOVE COFFEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The VET, however, did NOT want me to have coffee, so I had to go in and she gave me yucky stuff that made me vomit. It was NOT as much fun as eating the trash.

By the way, what does “toxic” mean? Sounds like a human code for don’t-share-with-the-dog.

So, like, the whole world peace thingy would go faster if everyone drank coffee! Coffee, coffee, coffee! Your human juice makes me happy (well, it did, for a minute, before your mom freaked out), and it would make everyone happy, and we could all be happy together!

The next big gathering when everyone is arguing and getting all cranky, just bring out the coffee! The smell rivers up through your nose and flows to your brain and then you start to smile. Then you swallow some and KAPOW! Happiness!

If all the humans sat down and shared some really, really, good coffee, then everyone would get along forever (or until the coffee runs out!)

I have to go run around in circles now. I can’t wait to get some more of this stuff. Your mom says it’s not going to happen, but there has to be a way. She’s going to slip up and throw out coffee grounds again one of these days, and I’m gonna eat it just like I ate your dad’s underwear. I’m going through the garbage every hour of every day for the rest of my life!

BYEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Your favorite Jamie,

Jamie

OH—The letter’s from me. Jamie. The dog. The cute young one, not the old grumpy one. The one you like who talks. Gotta run!

Friendship comes from wagging your tush!

A dog sniffing a laptop and trying to type.
Illustration by Vanessa Lennon

Dear Olivia,

Your mom and dad were talking about some grumpy people they saw when they were at the post office. It seems like a lot of humans are grumpy these days! Does being human automatically make people unhappy? Is it a tail thing? If it is you can tell me, I won’t mind, honest!

See, dogs use tail language, and dogs are happy people (well, happy dogs)—at least most of us are! Think about it: we meet someone new, preferably someone with bacon, and our tails wag super fast, Whap! Whap! Whap! It sounds loud, like when your mom is banging a jar against the counter to get it to open.

When I think you’re upset, I do a subtle wag that sounds more like thud, thud, thud! It sounds like a slower heartbeat and kind of like a reminder to you that you and your family are my heart.

If my tail stands straight up, it’s standing at attention! I am alert and ready for whatever is about to happen, whether it’s a tree kitten/squirrel trying to invade our yard or a garbage collector trying to steal our garbage!

And if my tail is down, well, you know, I might have done something a little naughty or cat-like. I don’t mean to knock stuff over, but my legs seem to split away from me sometimes! Seriously! My chest goes one way but my legs go the other, I can’t control it!

See, my tail tells everyone what’s going on, like whether I’m friendly or not. But humans don’t have tails. Tails never lie. Humans do sometimes.

Sometimes a person smiles at you, but says something that makes you cry. But other times a friend says something that sounds mean that makes you laugh. It’s confusing! There’s no tail language to warn you what’s coming!

Maybe humans should waggle their butts more. That would help! Try it!

The next time you go to school and you want to make a new friend, walk right up to him and then bark once, turn around, and swishy swishy your tushy in his face! He’ll love you for it and you’ll be best friends forever! No more grumpiness!

That’s the answer isn’t it? If more people wagged their butts in public there would be less grumpiness, I’m sure of it! For someone LuLu calls a “dumb dog”, I’m pretty smart, right?

I love you, now start wagging!

Jamie

This cat’s poem is better!

A cat typing at a computer.
Illustration by Vanessa Lennon

Dear Ethan,

I am not sure why Jamie thinks she can type poetry. Dogs are dumb, and dog poetry is even dumber. REAL poetry is written by geniuses and cats, and geniuses who live with cats. Why, our bones and our bodies have a natural, slinky rhythm, so the very feline existence is in essence a living, breathing, form of poetry!

However, because of that dumb spaniel-pest I must now grace your with my purposeful paws, so here goes:

The Perfect Poem By A Perfect Cat

I hate it when the spring wind blows.

It ruffles my fur and chills my toes.

Sometimes wind has an annoying whistle

That makes my beautiful tail start to bristle.

The chilly wind ruins the warmth of the sun–

And yet you children think that it’s fun!

You take string and paper and call it a kite

And you rush into that awful breeze I don’t like.

You send your toys up into the wind

And that is where the trouble begins.

Kite strings cross and cut each other,

Arguments start between sister and brother.

Whose kite is better?

Whose design has most flair?

When it comes down to it

I really don’t care.

The wind you love

Just ruins my day,

And that is all I have to say.

So please, young human,

Just go away!

So, now you know how I feel. You humans can play in the wind all you like. I’m staying inside on my nice comfy cushion, perfectly situated in the sunlight. Now leave me alone. I need to nap.

Your friend,

LuLu

The first ever dog poem!

A dog sniffing a laptop and trying to type.
Illustration by Vanessa Lennon

Dear Olivia,

          Your mom has started reading a lot of poetry lately. She says it helps her refocus when people get mean to each other. She says that a lot of people have been angry and that they yell a lot because the world is going through growing pains. I’m not sure what that means, but I know that I love you and your family.

Now that I can type I thought that I would help cheer you up, so here is a special poem. It might even be the first poem written by a dog! That means extra treats tonight, right???

Windy Days

I love the feel of windy days,

Mother Nature is playing with me.

She throws extra branches for me to fetch

And laughs by moving the leaves.

She pushes me forward

So I bark right back

As we run along the hill.

I feel that I just might fly away

And that gives me a bit of a thrill.

The wind briskly reminds us

We’re all joined together–

The planet, the wind, and the sun.

So I’m thankful when the wind comes to play.

Windy weather can be so much fun!

          Of course, LuLu hates windy days, so that’s another plus, but why ruin my poem by mentioning her? I hope it’s windy again today. Yesterday was great! I love the feel of my ears flapping in the breeze.

See ya after school!
Jamie

Dogs=World peace! You’re welcome!

Dear Olivia,

A dog sniffing a laptop and trying to type.
Illustration by Vanessa Lennon

I’m tired today. So tired. I’m a dog, so I guess I’m what your mom calls dog-tired. Weary world, weary dog, weary me.

For the last few days that crazy cat LuLu has been pouncing on everything and pretending she’s using a chainsaw. She says that she’s getting one in her Easter basket. I hope that’s not true!

There’s a whole lot wrong in the world right now and giving a cat a chainsaw is NOT gonna help!

Your mom and dad looked really worried when they watched the news last night. A lot of bad-sad stuff is going on. You know why? Because people ignore their dogs.


Think about it: when you rub our bellies, we wag our tails, and you smile. When you ignore us, we don’t wag our tails, so no one smiles. Simple, right?

The key to the world’s problems is to love a dog. Dogs love you no matter what.


When you have a rough day at school your mom gives you a hug and that’s okay, but I bring you a toy. We play fetch and soon you’re laughing!

When you don’t like what’s for dinner and you “drop” it on the floor, I rush in to eat it. Your mom doesn’t have time to scold you because I already cleaned it! Finito! Or is it frito? I’m not sure. Frito is food, and food is better.

Dogs are better. You got a bad report card and I brought you a toy. You got mad and threw it and I brought it back. You laughed and threw it again. Problem solved!

Your mom was grading papers and she was putting red marks all over them! The red marks made her mad and she got close to being monstery-thingy-mom again. Then I tried to sit in her lap. She said I was too big, so she sat on the floor and played with me for a while. Afterwards she finished the papers but was less grumbly. Crisis avoided!

See, the world gets unhappy cuz too many people focus on money and stuff instead of wagging tails and floppy ears. Hugs and snuggles make everything better.

There, the world’s problems are solved! Adopt a dog and everything will be better! Well, YOU don’t need to adopt because you have ME, but everyone else would do well to go to the shelters.

Think about it: you can’t hold a gun if you’re busy throwing a ball!

World peace, you are welcome!
Love,

Jamie

P.S. Do NOT let anyone get that crazy calico a chainsaw!!!