"All the President's dogs"

My dog Susie says

Where stars become President

As you know if you've been reading my blog for the last few months, Sandy and I live half the year in the Southern mountains and the rest on the beaches of Southern California. So we spend a lot of time seeing and talking with movie stars and beach bums. Also, when I wrote my very first "blog", I said that I hated that word blog and could someone come up with something better. Well, an Italian Shepherd from Italy emailed me and said why don't you call it a "bark"? Perfect!! I also heard from a German Shepherd( from guess where) who thought it should be named a "bitch." Leave it to those happy-go-lucky Germans. Let's go with the Italians. Sandy loves warmer Lake Como so much better than snowy Berlin anyway.

Now when you go to LA, there are two great places to visit to get the scoop on what's happening around town. The first is the park in Santa Monica and the second is the Santa Monica Pier on the beach. There are dogs of every shape, age and size at both locations. There are dogs hanging out there that have lived for over 100 in human years, with stories passed along from their relatives covering the entire previous century. The last time we were there I met a few of these woolly historians.

My bark will only cover tales that interest Sandy and me. So, if I leave anything out, I'll bark about it in later posts. One of Sandy's favorite shows is "Sex and the City." Also, Sandy's husband Richard once met the show's lead Sarah Jessica Parker, and one of his favorite movies "Ferris Bueller's Day Off," stars her husband Matthew Broderick. I found out from my buddies here at the park that Sarah and Matthew bought a dog named Sally from a farmer on a highway in California. So they sort of rescued Sally. Sallie is also a Border Collie like me which makes this more special. Hey, we might be cousins.

Actress Drew Barrymore, whose Grandfather John once played President Lincoln, has many types of dogs with two favorites, "Templeton" and "Flossie" both of Labrador/Chow mix. Templeton was found at an LA flea market and Flossie was a stray she adopted. Good for her. To show her great appreciation for being rescued, Flossie actually saved Drew and her husband by waking them from a deadly fire that burned their house completely down. One good turn deserves another!

Actor Chevy Chase has owned numerous types of dogs and once actually played a mutt in "Oh! Heavenly Dog." He became famous on Saturday Night Live by imitating President Gerald Ford falling down over and over. And speaking of Presidents and their dogs: With the Presidential election now on the horizon, I was particularly interested in any gossip about presidential dogs my friends on the beach might know. Now two guys that ran our country were from around here: Ronald Reagan and Richard Nixon. Nixon had a couple of dogs,"Checkers" a Cocker Spaniel and "King Timahoe" an Irish Setter. He also once owned a French poodle named "Vicky." When Nixon was running for office, he was accused of accepting numerous illegal bribes. He answered by appearing on national TV and saying the only thing he every received for free was his little dog Checkers. So Checkers helped "bail" out a future President of the United States.

Former actor turned President, Ronald Reagan was a neighbor of Sandy and Richard in LA for a number of years. When they would see him walking around in the early evening, he would be accompanied by Secret Service agents and one of his dogs. His favorite was "Lucky" a large Sheepdog. He sure was "lucky" to survive an assassin's bullet that almost killed him. President Reagan and Nancy also had a "King Charles Spaniel" named "Rex." Very appropriate for a President.

I also learned that President Lyndon Johnson owned a number of Beagles and had a bad habit of lifting them up by their ears. Now how would you feel if someone lifted you up by your breasts or ba**s? Also, this Texan was so brilliant that he named his Beagles; Her, Him, Little Beagle, and Beagle. And to think he was once a school teacher.

Walking on the Santa Monica beach, I also learned that actress Marilyn Monroe frequently met President JFK at a home built right here on the sand nearby. She owned a Basset Hound named "Hugo" given to her by husband and famous author Arthur Miller. Her favorite pet was a Poodle given to her by good friend Frank Sinatra. She named it "Mafia."

Well, I'm a little worn out by all this information, so I'm going to go begging for some left-over turkey from Thanksgiving.

Catch you later,

Susie & Sandy

P.S. The biggest baddest cowboy hero of all time was John Wayne. His nickname was "Duke," who was his childhood dog!

To see more of Susie's barks, go to www.sandy-steele.blogspot.com  For more info on Sandy go to www.sandysteele.com


Pass the biscuits and bones

My dog Susie says

Giving Thanks

If you've been reading my earlier blogs, then you know there's a chance my forebears go back to the Mayflower. Since my mom Sandy has been running around this week, like a chicken with its head-cut-off, preparing a "Thanksgiving" dinner for friends and relatives, I thought I'd do a little research. Excuse the guillotine reference as it's probably over the top! However, what about the poor turkey?

The Mayflower ship came over to America in 1620 with 58 men, 18 women, 32 children and a few cats and dogs. The ninety-foot long Mayflower wasn't designed to carry passengers and was originally headed to Virginia. So for most of the voyage, everyone stayed below in the cold damp hold causing illness and death. Then a terrible storm knocked the ship completely off course and it landed in freezing Cape Cod, Massachusetts, instead of warm Virginia. It seemed like a bad omen. Finally on land, unfortunately many of these first settlers further died, because they weren't prepared for the extreme cold and complete lack of food and shelter. Somehow, the remaining survivors managed to last a year.

The reasons for their survival were dogs, cats and Indians. The dogs chased away wolves and bears protecting the homes. The cats chased and ate the squirrels and chipmunks who were eating their meager food supplies. Now, I love a squirrel chase as much as any dog, but to eat them....Ugh.

The Indians, today called Native-Americans, graciously taught the settlers, how to fish the ubiquitous streams and plant the indigenous crops like corn, squash and cabbage. Hence, these pious Pilgrims survived because of the combined help from their new gracious hosts and their old former house pets.

In November 1621, the Pilgrims and the Native-Americans decided to have a feast celebrating the first successful harvest and named it "Thanksgiving." The first Thanksgiving lasted a week. The meals consisted of duck, corn meal, deer meat, seafood, cabbage, onions and squash. It seems that the turkey came much later. The Indian tribe called the "Wampanoag" which meant "eastern peoples," called the Pilgrims "coat people." These two distinct human races, as different as Mars and Venus, decided to get along and help each other for mutually beneficial reasons. Compassion!

In the beginning and lasting hundreds of years, Thanksgiving was celebrated on different dates depending on which State you lived in. President Lincoln in 1863 decided all the States should recognize the same month, November, for Thanksgiving. Nearly a hundred years later in December 1941, President Roosevelt with Congress's approval, officially declared that the fourth Thursday in November would be "Thanksgiving Day."

So America's "Thanksgiving" was created and helped along by cats and dogs , foreign English settlers and native Indians, and Presidents and Congress, all working together for the good of their Country. Gee, what a concept!

Catch you later,

Susie and Sandy

P.S. The cat up the street was telling me how she felt about Thanksgiving and November. "November is when most Americans shut their eyes, bow their heads and give thanks for the turkeys they are about to receive. Then they vote."

To see more of Susie's blogs go to www.sandy-steele.blogspot.com

For info on Sandy go to www.sandysteele.com


...the dogs of war.

My dog Susie says

A Four-Legged Veteran

Sandy and I were driving into town today when I noticed that all along the side of the road were tiny American flags placed for miles and miles. I motioned at them with my paws and Sandy knew I was asking her, "what are they for?" She explained that today is "Veteran's Day," which celebrates and honors our brave soldiers for all the wars they have fought in. Wars like, "The Civil War, The Spanish-American War, World War I, World War II, Korea, The Cold War, Vietnam, The Gulf War, The Iraqi War and The Afghanistan War. My goodness that's a lot of fighting and more importantly... dying.

Being a Border Collie and born leader, I decided to educate the neighborhood dogs, and cats if they'll listen, to what I had learned about "Veteran's Day." One of the slower thinking dogs, Butch, was confused as to why they would have a "Veterinarians Day?" After a few minutes even Butch got it. Soon a German Shepherd named Gus told us a story, related from a friend of his that was currently serving in the Afghanistan War.

"In the Afghan War on the 4th of July enemy bullets were flying overhead when one ripped through his body. His closest friend, Specialist Marc Whittaker, decided there was no way that he'd let his best friend Anax die. His best friend was a German Shepherd."

"Anax and Marc had been ambushed by enemy insurgents firing so many rounds at them, it looked like a scene out of "Star Wars." Marc, who was wearing body armor, laid down and shielded Anax who was completely unprotected. Bullets continued to rain down upon the duo for minutes, which seemed like hours before stopping. Marc was unscathed but Anax was whimpering in pain. One leg was bloody and the other totally shattered. He picked up Anax, who was now dead weight, and carried him for miles to the medivac site for emergency medical care. Soon they both were on a plane that landed hours and thousands of miles later in Germany. After an eight hour operation at the Army Veterinary Hospital, Anax was saved but his right leg was lost."

Specialist Whittaker was asked why he'd spent so much time and effort taking care of just a wounded dog? His answer was, "Never leave a fallen comrade behind." Marc also added with tears streaming down his face, "I'll be Anax's caretaker for the rest of his life. He'll retire fat and happy on my couch!"

Susie says, "Please don't forget man's and woman's 'best friends' during the Holidays. Remember they'll do anything for you, if you just love them back!"

Catch you later,

Susie and Sandy

P.S. While going to the animal shelter, a young man found and adopted an old parrot. Deciding to make him part of the family during the Christmas season, he placed the bird in the living room. Unfortunately, during a Holiday party the parrot yelled "Merry #+$ing Christmas and Happy #$&+ing New Year! Totally embarrassed the young man pleaded with the bird to stop swearing. The parrot's attitude and language only got worse. As a last resort, the owner put the parrot in the kitchen freezer to quiet him down. After a few minutes, the owner became worried that his potty-mouthed parrot would freeze to death. Upon his release the bird said, "I'm very sorry that I offended you and your friends with my language. I ask for forgiveness and promise I will never do that again."

The young man stood speechless as to the parrot's complete change, when the bird then asked,
"By the way, may I inquire, what did the turkey do?"

To see more "Susie says" blogs go to: www.sandy-steele.blogspot.com
For info on Sandy Steele go to: www.sandysteele.com


Harry and the Snowman

My dog Susie says

When you rescue someone... you never know...

Now for y'all who haven't been following my blogs up until now, my name is Susie and I was rescued three years ago by Sandy, who's now my mom. I'm a Border Collie who likes to write about what I see going on from time to time. We live in a small village in the mountains of the South and spend time in L.A. where mom is from. Whether we're running on the beaches or hiking in the forests, we appreciate and love each other. Sandy says that we rescued each other because when we met, her mom was suffering from Alzheimer's which made Sandy very sad. She says that my crazy antics make her smile.

A few months ago, I met a horse from Texas that was pulling a covered wagon. After traveling over a thousand miles they ended up in our quaint village. He didn't have a name, so I called him the horse with no name. Before leaving, he told me that he had a once famous grandfather horse who lived in Virginia. It seems that a farmer was going to town one wintry day in 1956, when he saw a dirty and thin plow-horse headed straight for the slaughterhouse. The farmer looked into the horse's eyes and they immediately bonded. He bought the horse on the spot for eighty dollars which was his value as canned dog food.

Canned dog food from horse meat...gross...thank God, Sandy feeds me mostly fresh food from the grocery store with vegetables and such. Every once in a while, I get some chicken liver from the butcher. Maybe I'll become a vegetarian. Anyway, here's the rest of the story. The rescued horse was named Snowman and he turned out to become quite a guy! The farmer was named Harry de Leyer, who was an immigrant originally from Holland. They sort of rescued each other. Now here's where it gets interesting. Even though Harry was considered lower class and his horse just a clumsy plow-horse, they eventually found themselves entering horse jumping contests. Now these contests were for the super rich only! When Harry and his wife came to America, he only had $160 to his name. He worked on other people's farms just for food to survive. But they now had a horse named Snowman with determination in those eyes. Something magical happened the day Harry met the Snowman.

A few years later in 1958, the farmer and the headed-for-the-slaughterhouse- horse entered the most prestigious horse jumping contest in America, "The National Horse Show," in New York. Upon entering the ring at Madison Square Garden, thousands of the spectators and numerous other competitors laughed at the unlikely duo. However, Harry and Snowman would show the snooty audience in the end. Snowman was crowned champion. A champion that cost only $80. That led to them twice being in "Life" magazine. That led over the following decades to Harry and his wife building a horse jumping empire and owning 40 or more horses at any one time. It changed his life. It changed his childrens' lives. It changed his grandchildrens' lives. You see, they are all involved in the horse jumping industry.

So the moral of the story is when you rescue someone, you never know how many different lives, human or animal, will be positively affected.

Catch you later,

Susie and Sandy

P.S. Harry recently said, "Meeting Snowman was my luck and too good to be true. Nowhere else can this happen but in America."

For more "Susie says," blogs go to: www.sandy-steele.blogspot.com

For more info on Sandy Steele go to: www.sandysteele.com


A moon walk that Mike would like

My dog Susie Says

My cousin from across the pond

Even though I'm a rescue dog, Sandy did a DNA analysis on me recently to find out where I might have originated from. I wish she'd spent the money on filet mignon for moi instead. Anyway, after the analysis was finished the experts determined that I was directly descended from England hundreds of years ago. Hey, maybe my relatives came over on the Mayflower.

Now that I know where I came from, it explains my urge to look for sheep and herd them around and tell them where to go and teach them tricks like forming circles and such. The only problem is here in the American southern mountains, I can't find any sheep. I only see them in my dreams. So I decided to watch the Learning Channel and other TV shows to see if I could figure out where to find them. After many hours it seemed that Australia was really loaded completely full with them. Sandy said that's way too far for us to schedule a trip anytime soon. Drats, foiled again!

Border Collies are considered the most intelligent of all dogs, and who am I to argue the obvious. After watching hours of learning television until my eyes hurt, I decided to take a break and watch something soothing and uncomplicated. That's when I discovered a reality talent show called "The X Factor." After seeing numerous people trying to sing and dance, I was about to turn the channel when an unexpected and shocking event happened. Instead of another human, there was a Border Collie named Jenn taking the stage. Also a girl like me. In fact she looked exactly like me. Maybe she's a long-lost relative. Hey, this X Factor is from England. Anything is possible. I'm going to claim her as my cousin until someone proves me wrong. I think I'll send Jenn a text.

Now, I thought I was way smarter than your average dog, but this Jenn was Ms. Einstein. She danced and jumped and twisted and smiled and even did a Michael Jackson moon walk. It was unbelievable! I was soooo proud of my cousin, that I went outside and howled at the moon. Sandy looked at me like I must have eaten the kitten's catnip from across the street.
Instead of Hollywood making silly movies like, "The Planet of the Apes," they should be making "The Planet of the Dogs."
When it comes to Border Collies and other bright breeds vs. all other animals and especially apes, we are the cat's meow!! If you don't believe me watch Jenn's performance by clicking below: Tip... you may have to click link twice.

Catch you later,

Susie and Sandy

P.S. A blind Englishman walks into an adult video shop in downtown London. He suddenly picks up his guide-dog and slowly spins around in a circle while holding the dog above his head. Alarmed the shop keeper says, "Can I help you?"
The blind Londoner says, "No thanks, we're just looking."

To see info on Sandy & Susie go to: www.sandysteele.com
To see more "Susie Says" blogs go to http://sandy-steele.blogspot.com