Archive for the ‘Sparky’ Category

Listen, I have a pretty good memory at times. Other times? Not so much. For SparkyAnticipationinstance, you know when Kroger’s switches around all their food just to mess with us?*

* I know why they do it. Studies show it makes us go to sections we don’t normally go to.**

** Studies are stupid.

Anywho, they switched stuff around months ago and I still can’t find my Bumble Bee Sardines in Mustard Sauce. On a related note, Bumble Bee Sardines in Mustard Sauce on Town House crackers are spectacular.

Other examples of my forgetfulness include the following:

  • The other night I went to bed, watched TV for awhile, then turned it off. It was then I heard an odd noise. I got up to investigate, only to find I’d left the faucet running in the bathroom. Good Lord.
  • I once ran into a girl in Columbus I didn’t recognize, only to find out we’d dated for 2-months in college. I actually wrote about it in a blog entitled Getting Lost Down Memory LaneEmbarrassing, man.

There are many more examples I could give you, and a slew couple of my exes will tell you I only focus on things important to me, and everything else vanishes from my brain like a cockroach when the light comes on. Does that mean I’m a little selfish? Maybe.


Which brings me to my beloved companion, my loyal sidekick, yes, my best friend, Sparky. I’m telling you this dog forgets nothing. Ever. Once he sees something it is locked into his brain forever, man.

Here’s the latest example:

Probably 3-years ago, right after I got him, I pulled onto a road near my home. As he often does, Sparky was standing on the passenger seat with his head out the window. It’s a narrow road and as I drove a car was coming in the other direction, forcing me to keep a wide berth. At that point a big bush alongside the road brushed the car and the driver side mirror, scaring the bejesus out of the Spark.

Since that day 3-years ago I’ve probably driven that same road with Sparky maybe 3-4 times, including yesterday. And every time I approach that spot, Sparky hits the floorboard until we pass the bush. Every single time. Yesterday was the first time I’d gone by it in months, and once again he jumped to the floor.

Amazing really. I only wish I had the total recall of the Spark. But perhaps I have a special appreciation for it because I’ve stubbed my toe on the same coffee table once a week for the past year and a half.

I always knew dogs were intelligent, but I never knew how intelligent until Sparky came along. Hell, he saved my life at least once already. And I swear that 100-years from now we’ll know things about the intelligence of dogs, and animals in general, that we had no idea existed.

Sparky, man. Even after 3-years he continues to surprise me.

I love dogs. I think that’s pretty clear. I believe they’re 100-times smarter than anyone SparkySmileknows and I think they’re here solely to make us happy. I’ve had dogs that have meant more to me than any humans ever could. I still can’t speak of my little Scottish Terrier, Delaney, without getting all emotional.

But as hard as it is for me to comprehend, some people don’t like dogs. Other people sort of like dogs but don’t want to get too close. They like them to pet and to look at, but they really don’t want to commit, ya know? Other people hate dogs.

I truly believe that what writer Charles Doran said is true, and it offers a great yardstick for judging human character:

“Folks will know how large your soul is by the way you treat a dog.”

Amen, brother. Amen.

As for me, I can tell immediately which kind of person you are when my dog Sparky runs up to you:

  • Steps back, looks afraid or annoyed = Dislikes dogs = I’ll probably dislike you.
  • Reaches down, pats Spark on the head, stands back up = Likes dogs, doesn’t own one, can take them or leave them.
  • Immediately gets a huge smile on face, drops to Spark’s level, rubs him behind the ears until Spark rolls over for a belly rub = Loves dogs.

Oh, and there’s one more type:

  • Yells, “SPARKY! IT’S SPARKY! LOOK EVERYONE, IT’S SPARKY!”, then drops to the ground, pets Sparky, and asks for a picture = Sparky Groupie. Spark has a lot of fans, you know.

That said, there are certain things people should never say if they want to be my friend. These are what I call the deal breakers. I just can’t help myself. Here they are:

1. “Dogs should not be allowed on the furniture!”

B-W-A-H-A-H-A-H-A! Seriously? Walk away, sista. Not only is Sparky allowed on the furniture, he thinks it’s there for him. And he sleeps with me, on my bed, under the covers. And no worries, Spark is a great wingman. He respects my privacy and will keep his distance if the situation requires it. On a related note, anyone who wants to be a significant part of my life has to get the paws-up from The Spark. Sorry Kate Beckinsale, but if Spark’s not into you neither am I. I can’t believe I just typed that.

2. “There’s no way your dog understands everything you’re saying.”  

You, my friend, are an idiot. Not only does my dog know what I’m saying, he knows what I’m going to say before I say it. In fact, most times I don’t even have to say it because he reads my mind. All I have to do is look at Sparky. The Spark knows.

3. “Eww! You shouldn’t let your dog kiss you!”

False. I’ll tell you straight up – my dog kisses me right on the lips. If that grosses you out you need to look elsewhere for a boyfriend. A pooch smooch is alright by me, folks. If you don’t like it, don’t let the doggie door hit you on the way out.

4. “I can’t believe you take that dog everywhere with you!”

Why wouldn’t I? Number one, Spark’s my Road Dog. Number two, he insists. He’s been to the Outer Banks, Oak Island, Washington DC, Gettysburg, and a million other places. Spark’s even been on the floor at West Virginia’s basketball practice facility. He goes everywhere around town with me too, and was even the star of a recent New Year’s Eve party at a local establishment. My buddies are used to getting in my car, only to have Spark leap from the backseat onto their lap for some snuggling. And it’s not unusual for me to be in a supermarket or somewhere and hear something like this:

“Hey! Is Spark in the car? I’m going to run out and say hello!”

Seriously, this happens. A lot.

5. “You can come but don’t bring the dog.”

This has been said to me approximately zero times. People know better. Still, I’d never take Sparky to a wedding, simply because he’d divert attention from the bride. Yes, he’s that notorious popular. Funerals I can’t guarantee. Hell, he might be just what the doctor ordered for the bereaved. Pretty much anything else is wide-open, although if I want to be left alone Sparky’s not the guy to have with me. Spark’s a babe magnet, lemme tell ya. Dude’s got the kind of game you read about.

Need more proof that I love dogs? Nah, didn’t think so. I think writer Konrad Lorenz said it best:

“A true bond with a dog is as lasting as the ties of this Earth can ever be.” 

And that, my friends, is the God’s honest truth.


Yeah, sorta like this.

The first sign of trouble was the perking of the ears.

As we walked along the desolate beach, my beloved companion Sparky stopped, turned towards the ocean, and stared.

Something was amiss.

Before I could react, The Spark sprung into action. He bolted towards the surf, entering the water and pogoing over the waves like a hound possessed, then swimming past the breakers. Then, to my horror, he went under, diving headfirst into the abyss.

For a moment, the world was deathly quiet. Somewhere overhead, a gull called.

Suddenly, the silence was broken when a giant sea creature burst forth from the drink. At first I thought it was a stingray, but I soon realized it was a skate, a similar and equally dangerous undersea leviathan.

But where was my best friend and beloved companion? My mind was filled with worst case scenarios, endgames I not dare contemplate.

What I witnessed next will be etched in my mind forever.

Erupting from the sea came a furry, wet ball of canine fury, teeth gnashing, gutteral growls emitting from his very being. He leapt upon the sea creature’s back, grabbed its tail with his vice-like jaws, and proceeded to surf the animal towards the shoreline upon a huge wave.

Upon arrival at shore, he wrestled the animal away from the ocean, whipped it over his head by its tail and body-slammed it, then proceeded to end the fight with a vicious and ultimately fatal bite to the beast’s spine.

At that point Sparky stood with one foot on the head of the skate, head raised high as he stood with great pride over his vanquished opponent.

The battle had ended and The Spark had emerged victorious, thus saving me from a brutal and horrific death had I entered the sea.

Good dog, Spark. Good dog.

Note: We actually came upon a dead skate on the beach. Spark seemed proud, as if he had something to do with its demise. Hence, this story. Have a good day.

Note 2: Perhaps that is a ray. I can’t tell.


The sweet smell of victory. Or something.


Yeah. This guy.

What’s the funniest but also the most accurate thing a woman has ever said to me? Probably this nugget from a few years ago:

“If you liked me half as much as you love that damn dog we’d still be together.”

Honey, you were 100% correct. Thank you and goodnight.

Note: This little anecdote was about a girl I dated briefly. Very briefly.


I didn’t think Sparky could surprise me anymore, but I’ll be damned if he didn’t do just that.

Anybody who has read my Sparky stories knows how smart he is. The little dudeSpark1 does things that boggle my mind, and my mind is not easily boggled. However, recently he’s been doing something so amazing that I’ve hesitated telling anyone other than my most dog-loving friends for fear of being viewed as a lunatic. Here’s the dizzle . . .

One cold winter’s day a few week’s ago I was driving down the road as Sparky lounged on the passenger seat. Suddenly he got up and began rooting around the dashboard area in front of the gearshift, like he was looking for something. I thought maybe he smelled some food or something that had fallen into a little storage area there, but alas, nothing.

He did this a few other times, just poking around for no apparent reason. I was confused because he was sort of poking his nose at the dash. It was weird.

Then, one day it hit me, but my suspicions were so outrageous that even I couldn’t believe them. No, surely not. No way. Impossible.

But I had to find out.

The next frigid morning Spark and I hopped into my Jeep. Well, I climbed, he hopped. Anyway, he got into his spot in the passenger seat as I watched closely. Soon he rose up and poked around the lower dashboard area again, just like he’d been doing. At that point it happened . . .

As I watched, I witnessed my dog press his nose against a button on the dash.

The button that turned on the heated seats. The seat on the passenger side. His seat.

He’d apparently made the connection between seeing me hit the button and the seat getting warm. He’d decided to take matter into his own paws, so to speak.

Listen, I know some of you are questioning my sanity, but I don’t really care. This is a dog, after all, that puts the windows down in the car when he wants to and helps keep our house tidy by putting his toys away with regularity, all on his own and without being taught. He also wakes me up occasionally by dropping various items on my face, but that’s another story.

So anyway, yeah, my dog has been turning on the seat warmer in my car so he’ll be more comfortable. Man, that sounds really weird when I actually read that sentence.

Just another experience in my life with Sparky.

Note: And yes, I know what you’re thinking. I’d been warming his side all winter, that’s how he made the connection. Why would I warm the seat for a dog, you ask? Because he clearly liked it and would lie down on his belly ever time I turned it on. Hey, I love the guy, what can I say?

So I was in my jeep, driving around in circles in the field beside my house sparklogowhen a neighbor stopped in his car to watch. The following conversation then ensued:

“Whatcha doin’ man? Playing in the snow?”

“Naw, I’m flattening it down, making a place where Sparky can go to the bathroom.” 

“Oh. OK.”

Then he drove away.

Hey, Spark is short. He needed some legroom. On a related note, mission accomplished.


Sparky Takes Flight

Posted: February 14, 2015 in Adventure, Humor, Pets, Sparky
Tags: , ,

1I’m sorry, I’m trying to cut back on the Sparky stories but stuff keeps happening. What can I say, Spark’s a whirling dervish of action, a surprise a minute. Having said that, he almost gave me a coronary today.

Here’s the deal . . .

I had some errands to run in town and of course Sparky came along. He has a new car seat that lets him look out the window while lying down in it. I know, I know, he’s spoiled but it was a gift and it’s pretty cool to boot. He likes to stick his head out the window like most dogs, so to safeguard I hook him to his leash and put the other end over the gearshift.

All was well until it happened.

We were cruising down a backroad at about 40-miles per hour when a squirrel cut in front of me. It was about 20-feet in front of the car so I had a chance to slow down a little to let it pass. What happened next was a blur, a flash, and horrific all at the same time. Sparky vaulted out the window like a hound possessed in pursuit of the squirrel. It was as if he was shot out of a cannon. I swear he’s ridiculously intelligent, but apparently the smarts, along with Sparky, go out the window when a critter is on the run.

I hit the brakes as Sparky hit the ground. Thank God he wears a harness because if the leash had been attached to a collar The Spark’s neck may have been broken. Come to think of it we’re lucky nobody was behind us as well. Anyway, I see the leash snap tight but it holds, so I take it off the gearshift as I open the passenger door, expecting the worst.

What I saw was Sparky jumping back up in his seat like nothing particularly unusual had happened, as if leaping out of a moving car was perfectly normal. At that point he got a terrier ass-ripping, so he retreated to the back seat to avoid the verbal onslaught. No worries, I hurt his feelings for about 12-seconds, then he was back to his cocky little self. A few minutes later I pulled over in a parking lot to check him for injuries, and incredibly he seemed to be fine. Well, except for a weird black smudge over his tail. Not a clue where that came from.

All in all, just another day in my life with Sparky. Whew.

No clue.

So I stopped to get gas this morning and picked up one of those 8-oz cans of Planter’s Cashews to snack upon. I grabbed a handful, popped them in my mouth, put the plastic top back on the can and set it on the console between the seats. Oh, and of course I gave Spark a couple. Big cashew guy, the Spark.

A few miles down the road I stopped and then took off too quickly, sending the can flying into the backseat. I reached back and felt around for it, but it was apparently under the seat or something so I forgot about it, figuring I’d get it when I got home.

Later, I had to run into a school to pick up a game DVD, and when I came back Spark was looking v-e-r-y sheepish. I asked him, “Sparky, what have you done?” but all I got was his guilty face. Yeah, this one:


Actual photo following the incident.

Uh-oh. I’ve seen that look before and it never had a happy ending. I looked into the back of my Jeep, but nothing seemed amiss. I eyed Spark warily, but otherwise moved on with my day.

However . . .

When I got home I grabbed my stuff and started to head into my house, but then I remembered my cashews. Hey, a handful of tasty goodness would be perfect! I went back out, opened the back door, spotted the can, picked it up, but then I noticed the top was off and lying on the floor. Crap. It must have popped off when the can fell earlier. Then I noticed something else – the can was empty, and there were no cashews anywhere to be found.

After about 3-seconds of reasoning, it became clear what had transpired. Seems my beloved little buddy had scarfed down an entire 8-oz can of cashews, save the 7 or 8 that I’d eaten earlier.

Damn it, Sparky!

PS – No side effects. So far.


The Evidence. The guilty party looks on.


Laying a guilt trip on me.

When you have a dog as smart as Sparky, sometimes you sort of forget he’s a dog, ya know? I’ll  catch myself saying things to Spark that he couldn’t possibly understand, like, “Well, Spark, I think I’ll clean the bathroom tomorrow” or “Spark, I’ve been contemplating the Theory of Quantum Entanglement. What are your thoughts?”

You know, stuff like that.

Occasionally though, Spark does things to remind me he’s a dog.

Like today.

I was taking him a walk behind where Twin School used to be, and once we got back off the road a bit I unleashed him to let him run. All was well until I looked around and he was gone. No big deal, he bolts after critters from time-to-time, even coyotes. Hell, he had four confirmed crab kills at the Outer Banks a couple weeks ago. Still, when he didn’t answer my calls I turned around and walked back to see what was up.

I was about to be reminded that Sparky is, in fact, a dog.

You know, since he was rolling around in a dead cat.

A dead cat complete with maggots and slimy guts and stuff.

Oh, good Lord.

It’s now an hour later, and Spark has been on the receiving end of a garden hose doggie shampoo shower. Of course, I needed a scalding hot shower of my own, which I would have gladly taken using a steel wool pad had one been handy. Take it from me, dead cat aroma tends to cling to you. Not exactly how I wanted to spend my Saturday afternoon.

And now my dog refuses to make eye contact, as if this is somehow all my fault.

Damn it, Sparky!


The first thing I see every morning.

So here’s the thing. Sparky has always been good about waking me up when he needs to go out in the morning, but the way he does it has evolved. Here’s how . . .

Phase 1: The Stare

When I first got Sparky, as I was slowly coming awake in the morning I would feel him looking at me. I swear his stare would wake me up. He had this piercing stare that went straight through you. I’d feel it, turn over, and there he would be, sitting up and looking at me. It got to the point where I’d open my eyes but not make a move because I knew he’d go nuts once he knew I was awake. Anyway, that’s how it started. The Stare.

Phase 2: The Snort/Sneeze

After a few months of The Stare, Sparky decided to turn it up a notch. He then began snorting, sneezing and coughing until I woke up. This was alarming at first because I incorrectly assumed he was choking to death. In fact, knowing Spark the way I do he may have accidentally sneezed or coughed at some point, saw that it woke me up, and went with it henceforth. Sparky is diabolical.

Phase 3: The Bark

Sparky then began getting cocky. Rather than be sneaky about it he just started barking in my ear from a distance of about 3-inches. As you can imagine, this was irritating in addition to scaring the hell out of me. The end result was Spark getting firmly rebuked by yours truly, which he really hates. He’d slink away to the end of the bed, at which point I’d feel guilty and get up to let him out. Still, I know he felt bad because pretty soon he switched to . . .

Phase 4: The Lick

Imagine being in bed at 6:00 AM, perhaps having a nice dream, then you feel as if the right side of your face is being given a tongue bath by a hippopotamus. This was actually a pretty nice way to be awakened until you realized it was a 20-pound Jack Russell’s tongue in your ear. This method was used for a short time, but at some point thereafter I’ve must have pissed Spark off. Why? Because we are now in the present phase, which is . . .

Phase 5: The Drop to the Head

For the past couple of weeks I’ve been startled awake by things being dropped onto my head, including a tennis ball, a nylabone, a stuffed octopus, a pull toy, one of my sandals, and most annoyingly, my TV remote. One morning he made a real statement by dropping his collar on my face.

Each time I wake up to him looking at me like, “Hey, you told me not to bark.”

Point made, Sparky. Still, I’m a little worried that if he gets hungry I’ll get a food bowl right in the kisser.

This whole thing has me a little unnerved as well, and recently I’ve been lying awake at night with this nagging thought:

What awaits me in Phase 6?

Note to self: Put waffle iron out of reach.

Listen, everyone knows I spoil my best friend. Sparky is closer to me than 99.999999% of the humans in my life, and I make no apologies for that.

M.K. Clinton said this:

“The world would be a nicer place if everyone had the ability to love as unconditionally as a dog.”

Man, isn’t that the truth? After all, when Sparky hops on my lap it’s literally impossible to feel sad. I just can’t. And he came into my life at the precise moment I needed him most, and I swear he knew that.

Sparky knows a lot of things.

But back to my point. I spoil Spark terribly, but I do so because he deserves it. And this little fact hasn’t escaped the attention of my friends. Awhile back I met a good friend of mine at his house in Columbus, and as usual I was accompanied by my little buddy.

As I pulled in his driveway, my friend took a look in my Jeep, spotted the back seats down and the rear filled with pillows, blankets and dog toys, shook his head and said this:

“Good Lord. When I die I want to come back as your dog.”

I swear that just may have been the nicest thing anybody has ever said to me.


Damn it, Sparky!

Damn it, Sparky!

So I’m in Chillicothe the other day doing some shopping, and as I pulled into the lot of a local mall I notice that I’ve parked 2-cars down from a jeep nearly identical to the one I drive. Same year, same color, same bug guard, same rain guards. As I parked it crossed my mind that I’d probably come back out and attempt to get in the wrong jeep, being the moron that I am. However, I quickly forgot about it as I walked into a store.

Probably 10-minutes later (I’m a quick shopper – real quick) as I was exiting the store I saw a woman walking towards the two jeeps and carrying some bags of clothes or something. For some reason I stopped and watched, because I had a weird feeling she was going to do what I thought I’d do – pick the wrong vehicle.

Sure enough, since my jeep was closer to the store she walked right towards it. She hit her remote keyless entry, assumed she’d unlocked her jeep, and grabbed the door handle.

I don’t know if she saw or heard the Fury of the Spark first. From my vantage point I saw a blurry, enraged Canine from Hell slam against the window as my loyal companion threw himself toward the intruder. The windows were cracked, so I also heard a snarling, growling sound that Spark usually reserves only for winged-creatures, hobos, and the occasional lady in a power suit.

As I hung back and watched, the lady screeched and stumbled backwards into the side of a 1999 Dodge Ram Pickup, dropping a bag in the process. And of this I can’t be certain, but I’m 77% sure she may have wet her pants.

For a few seconds she stared at the jeep, uncertain how an obviously rabies-infested Jack Russell Terrier had broken into her vehicle and attempted to rip her throat out. In the meantime Spark was running from the front seats to the rear window, raising hell all the while, growling and yapping and looking for a way out in order to assassinate this hideous monster who was trying to break into his dad’s jeep.

Somehow, someway, the woman got herself together enough to look into my jeep (albeit from a distance of approximately 10-feet) and ascertain that she had indeed chosen the wrong car in which to enter. Trust me when I say she took a wide berth when going around my vehicle to her own.

As for me, I stayed well back until she was long gone. When I walked to my jeep, however, Sparky barked and let me know all was well as he looked out the window in the direction of the parting would-be car thief.

What can I say? Sparky has my back. And also my property.

Good dog, Sparky. Good dog.

I can only pray he never figures out how to operate the door handles.

I was taking The Spark for a walk today when we encountered the Horsefly from Hell. I mean this gjgtugjthing was the size of a sparrow, and it came out of nowhere, just relentless in its efforts to kill me. Horseflies try to bite you for your blood, you know that, right? Well, this one thought my bald head looked mighty tasty, because he would not cease in his vicious attack. I first felt it on the back of my head and I swatted it away, thinking that was the end of it.

No chance.

The monster kept circling and dive-bombing me, trying its best to get a piece of my flesh. I was swatting and punching at it as I did a series of pirouettes, leaps and punches. I was also yelling at it, which seems a bit silly now. I don’t know, do horseflies even have ears? If this one did he sure wasn’t listening.

All the while Sparky was leaping up and down himself, snapping at the winged-beast and trying to bring it down from its deadly arc.

At one point the horsefly made a direct charge for my face and I knocked it away, but not before hitting myself in the nose so hard it brought tears to my eyes. Damn, that hurt.

Finally the behemoth made a costly mistake – it flew within The Spark’s range. Sparky timed his leap perfectly, pogoed up like a furry canine bouncy ball, and snatched the freak from the sky.

It was instant death. Spark then picked up the carcass and whipped it away with a toss of his head, dismissing the mutant for the trash that it was.

As I bent over checking for injuries both self-inflicted and otherwise, Sparky trotted over, rose up and licked my nose, telling me that all was well and he’d saved me once again.

Good dog Sparky. Good dog.



The last thing a future hobo may see.

I’m not particularly proud of this, but Sparky’s not a fan of the homeless. Well, maybe not homeless people per se, but beggars in general. God, that sounds horrible. I swear Spark’s not a bad dog, he just has an ongoing War with the Hobos. It’s weird, because he’ll run up to anybody with his tail a waggin’, but if he sees a guy standing by the road with a sign asking for a handout he becomes unhinged. Seriously, he just goes to another place, and that place ain’t the land of unicorns, bunny rabbits and teddy bears.

Today I was going to The Walmart to pick up some stuff.

Note: Sorry, but a lot of things have THE before it with me. I had an uncle who prefaced everything with THE. For instance, He once told me that he heard Freddie Mercury had THE AIDS, and another time he told me I had an aunt who had THE CANCER. Hence the THE before a lot of stuff. Deal with it. 

Anyway, I’m cruising down Bridge Street, getting ready to turn right onto the road that leads to The WalMart. The window is down with it being a nice day and all, and I thought Spark might enjoy the fresh air and smells of the beautiful day.

Turns out he smelled something, and the beautiful day it wasn’t.

As we cross the bridge, a low growl emits from the throat of my best friend. He has spotted a hobo, from 300-yards away.  Keep in mind we’d driven through town and passed several innocent pedestrians, to which he’d never batted a canine eye. Other than that lady in the power suit he scared the living hell out of a few months ago, he rarely barks at people on the street.

Hobos and beggars asking for handouts? Yeah, different story.

The window went up.

So he’s working up a lather at the mere sight of this drifter dude, and when I make a right turn toward the guy Spark becomes an enraged ball of pissed-off puppery (I’m pretty sure that’s not a word but it’s my site and I don’t care. It sounds cool.) He’s bouncing off the rear interior of the car like a furry pinball, all the while snarling and yapping like he’s possessed by the ghost of Cujo.

My head is whipping back-and-forth like Linda Blair in The Exorcist as I try to calm Spark down and drive at the same time, but he’s a dog on a mission, and that mission is to apparently rip the throat out of an unsuspecting roadside tramp.

The closer we get, the more agitated and unglued my dog becomes. What is it with my sweet and loyal little Jack Russell Terrier and these panhandlers? I don’t get it. Was he menaced by a bearded and smelly dog-hater at some point? Does he not like Duck Dynasty style beards? Does he somehow sense they’re running a scam? Does he hate people looking for helping hand? Wait. Horror of horrors, is my dog a right-wing conservative?

As we passed the vagrant, Spark took it up one more notch and actually threw himself against the car window, and I was watched in the rearview mirror the poor guy actually took a step backwards as if expecting Spark to come hurtling through the window, knock him down, pull a vein out of his neck and kill him.

For a second I almost rolled my window gown to give the hobo a “Sorry man!” wave but I instantly realized Spark would take advantage of that opportunity way too quickly. He was a pup possessed.

The window stayed up.

I actually parked at the far end of the Walmart lot, lest Mr. Hobo Hater catch a glimpse of his mortal enemy while I was inside and lose his gourd. Still, I turned around and checked several times before I went inside, half expecting to see the door pop open and Spark make a mad charge across the lot, roaring as he went in for the slaughter.

Thankfully, our roadside adversary was gone by the time we left, thus I avoided another riveting episode of Sparky vs. The Roadside Vagabond. Again, I have no idea why my beloved companion has such an aversion to these people, but I have to roll with it because, well, what choice do I have? I love the little guy.

So, you guys standing by the road with signs? You have been warned. And you’d better hope I remember to keep my windows up.

Not as innocent as he looks.

When I get ready for school every day Sparky is on the bed, eyeing me with a mixture of sadness, disappointment and contempt. He knows exactly what the deal is now and he’s not happy with it. Anyway, as I always do I grab my clothes out of the closet and toss them on the bed. This morning I do the same, and after getting everything I need I start getting dressed. I start to reach for my pants but there’s nothing there. What the . . .? I could have sworn I’d tossed them on the bed, in fact I knew I had. At that point I notice a certain Jack Russell Terrier is missing in action. This never happens. Then I walk into the living room and there’s Sparky, relaxing on the couch . . . on top of my pants. Yep, in a presumed attempt to keep me home the little hooligan had pilfered my pants.

I was so impressed I wasn’t even mad. Nice try Spark.

Originally published on August 29th, 2012.

Yep, The Spark has a few peculiarities. No doubt about it. My lovable pooch, although intelligentSparkLoofa1 and lovable as hell, has a few idiosyncrasies that, for me, only add to his funky little personality. To wit:

  • Although Sparky hates wood floors, he’ll dart out onto a frozen lake with zero reservations. I actually had to buy some little throw rugs to put down so he could navigate his way around the house, yet he bolted out onto my mom and dad’s lake and slid around like a canine tasmanian devil on roller skates.
  • Spark will walk past a cat like it’s not there, but he’ll go after anything with feathers with an intent bordering on insanity. He also ignores most other dogs but barks at airplanes.
  • Sparky and I have walked down the streets of some pretty big cities, and I’ve seen him let a homeless guy sitting on the sidewalk rub his ears. But, if he sees a guy begging alongside the road he wants to rip his throat out.
  • Sparky will attack a rhino if he feels threatened and is generally fearless. That said, he’s terrified of automatic air fresheners. I had one in my living room and every time it made a little “pffft” sound he leaped out of his skin and bolted to the bedroom. I had to throw it away it was so bad.
  • Spark absolutely loves squeaky toys but only if they have fur or hair on them. If they’re plastic or rubber he couldn’t care less about them. ‘Tis a mystery as to why this is so.

So what can I say? Spark’s a quirky little mutt, hard to figure out sometimes. But it’s all a part of his charm, ya know?

Gotta love The Spark.



Nassau, NY: Hundreds of dead birds were found on the outskirts of Nassau yesterday, officials reported. Several local citizens reported finding the birds in a huge pile just off Mead Road.

The birds were reportedly ring-necked pheasants and mallard ducks. 

Listen, I swear Sparky has never left my side this week. Wait. I did go to the state tournament on Saturday and was gone between 8:30 and 5:00. Could it be possible? Could it?

Nah. But excuse me while I go look for feathers in somebody’s dog bed.

The picture of innocence.

The picture of innocence.

So I had a visitor over recently, and as always Spark went nuts with his over-the-top greeting. Then he scurried in to grab his favorite toys, one by one, to bring out and show my guest. Below is what my floor looked like after his parade back-and-forth from his toy box to the living room. From front to back we have Dead Rabbit, Loofa Dog, Mr. Flappy, Little Loofa, Squeaky Duck and Mr. Hedgehog. Why he lined them up that way is known only to The

So Sparky is afraid of wooden floors. I actually had to buy a couple throw rugs to place SparkySmilestrategically around the house so he can navigate his way around. He’ll literally stop at the edge of a rug as if he’s getting ready to jump across a precipice with a 1000 foot drop, then make an exaggerated leap to the safety of the next rug.

Still, yesterday we go down to my parent’s house to visit. I let him out of the car and he races around the yard, smelling stuff, barking at birds and doing his usual shtick. I go up the steps to answer the door and call for him but he doesn’t respond. I then walk around the deck and there he is, on their lake, running and sliding across the ice like a lunatic, just having a blast.

So, to reiterate – terrified of wooden floors, has no fear of ice on a lake.

Sparky is a weird dog.



The look.

Sparky has a sixth sense, and I’m not sure if all dogs have it and I simply haven’t noticed or if it’s unique to my best friend. Here’s the thing . . .

Sparky always knows when I’m looking at him.


Seriously, here’s an example. Let’s say I’m driving and Spark is asleep on the passenger side seat. Every time, and I mean every single time, that I look down at him he opens an eye and looks back.

I can do this in total silence but he still knows. How does he know? It’s gotten to the point now that when I see him sleeping out of the corner of my eye I’ll v-e-r-y slowly turn to look at him, just trying my best to watch him sleep without him knowing it.

Never happens. Always, the eyes pop open. It’s almost like he knows what I’m trying to do and he’s toying with me.

Same when I try to take a picture of him sleeping. I quietly pick the phone up, point it towards him, and I get the look you see in the picture right up there. This, after he’d been snoring for the past 10-minutes.

So, is this common in dogs or does Sparky have some rare ability to sense when I’m looking his way?

Because believe me, he knows.

Sparky always knows.

He took his ball and went home.

I was pumping gas yesterday when a couple of bikers pull in at the pump sparkysmile1beside me. They were the stereotypical biker dudes, big, heavyset, long beards, matching leather vests, tats, the basic biker look. As they got off their Harleys, Sparky does his usual “I’m going to leap out of this jeep and rip your throat out” routine. Anyway, one of the guys stops, looks over, walks to my car, and begins a conversation . . .

What is he, a Jack Russell?”


Boy, he’s a beauty.”

Thanks. He’s a great dog, man.”

Then he just stared at my dog with a half-smile on his face . . .

Would you mind if I pet him?”

“Sure. Hold on.”

I then hopped in the jeep and put the window down so the man could reach in and pet him. Amazingly, Sparky immediately stopped barking and let the guy rub him behind his ears.

And then . . .

“I had a Rat Terrier named Combo. I had to put him down a couple months ago. He’d been my best friend for 12-years.”

Then he grabbed Spark’s head with both hands, kissed him on the forehead, stepped back, wiped a tear from his eye, shook his head and walked away.

Man, that was touching.

The love of a dog is a powerful thing, ya know?

Sparky & Snickers

Posted: August 27, 2013 in Animals, Pets, Sparky

My great-niece Allee has asked me if I’d be a foster parent to her cat Snickers while she goes away to college. So, I took Sparky over to see how they got along. To my utter shock, this happened . . .

Sparky not only became immediately attached, he acted like a protective parent or something.



SparkCarMy comments follow the awesome article:

Yahoo – When you hear about a man saving his dog from a sinking ship, it’s hard to not be moved by the tale of an animal lover’s heroism. But the story becomes slightly less heroic when you learn that the man saved his dog before his own wife. But that’s apparently what happened when Graham Anley and his wife, Cheryl, found their yacht sinking after it hit a reef while on a voyage from East London to Madagascar. National Sea Rescue Institute North London station commander Geoff McGregor said all three were wearing life jackets. The 9-year-old Jack Russell terrier named Rosie was wearing a tailored life jacket equipped with a strobe light beacon. “As the incident happened Graham sent a Mayday radio distress call and activated the EPIRB (a GPS beacon) but they were immediately forced to abandon ship,” McGregor said in an interview.”He first swam Rosie ashore safely before returning for his wife, whose safety line had snagged on the steering gear,” McGregor added. The couple and their dog all made it out free of injury.

So this article has been making the rounds of the worldwide interweb today. My question is, what’s the big deal? Mr. Graham Anley saved his dog, then went back for his wife. What am I missing here?

Hey, Rosie was a Jack Russell. No brainer. Sparky and I see nothing wrong with this.

Job well done, Mr. Anley. Job well done indeed.