Posts Tagged ‘Sparky’

Sparky’s hatred of all things feathered has been well documented on this site. Y’all are familiar with Sparky5 his banishment from the Commonwealth of Kentucky for a chicken massacre that he may or may not have been involved in. For the record, Spark still steadfastly denies any involvement and I believe him.

Yes, the first thing Sparky does when we leave the house is scan the friendly skies, but I’m sure he’s just checking the weather. And just because he can spot a buzzard 300-feet in the air and chase it half a mile up Twin Road means nothing. And he does love chicken nuggets, but who doesn’t? Oh, and he’s terrified of slippery surfaces but thinks nothing of sprinting across the ice on my parent’s lake in pursuit of a duck or goose. And there was that little incident in Petland when he tried to scale the wall of the little exotic bird sanctuary, but I’m pretty sure they were taunting him. And I’m sure this is neither here nor there, but he once tried to attack a 7-year old kid on the beach who was pretending to be a pterodactyl.

Anywho, that’s all circumstantial evidence, correct?

Which brings me to the Spark’s latest adventures in birdhunting. You see, in my back yard is a massive stand of bamboo. Family legend has it that one of my cousins brought it back from Puerto Rico in the 60’s and gave it to dad. Dad planted it, thinking it wouldn’t have much of a chance in the Ohio climate, which was dead-wrong. That stuff has been growing and trying to spread ever since. It’s thick as hell and 20-feet high at least. The whole stand is probably 30 x 40-feet wide.

Anyway, turns out that bamboo makes an awesome bird sanctuary, even in winter. Guess who has noticed? Yep. The one and only Avian Avenger himself.

It all began when Spark realized he could raise havoc by running around the perimeter of the bamboo, causing a few birds within to take flight. A couple weeks ago, however, he took things up a notch. To my surprise he barreled headlong like a bat out of hell  into the bamboo, yapping like a canine banshee from the netherworld. Keep in mind this stuff grows a few inches apart and is as thick as hell, so I’ve no earthly idea how he made it through without slamming into a stalk or three. All I know is he disappeared into the void and all hell broke loose. I heard a mixture of hellish barking, the loud rustling of bamboo and the terrified shrieks of hundreds of birds before they flew to the heavens, trying to escape the hellhound that is Sparky.

Long story short, every time I let my pooch out the back door we go through the same ritual. Spark leaves house, Spark attacks bamboo stand, 1000 terrified birds fly to the heavens, Spark struts back to me as proud as a peacock.

Good Lord.

Note: Sparky also hates my feather duster, so there’s that.

Note 2: Yes, I have a feather duster. Deal with it.


Scanning the perimeter for seagulls.

So I got Sparky a little over a month ago, and since that time we’ve been together constantly. We travelled down to Oak Island, up the coast to the Outer Banks, and back home in a little 10-day excursion. When we’ve been home he pretty much goes with me everywhere, except when it’s going to be too hot and he can’t stay in the car. And you know, when you spend a lot of time with somebody you learn a lot about them. Here are a few things I’ve learned about Sparky so far.

Sparky hates things that fly. As a matter of fact if you were to believe his accusers he hates anything with wings, as he may or may not have been involved in a chicken massacre back in his hometown. But that’s neither here nor there. Details are unclear and nothing was proven. Still, I do know with certainty that in a little over a month since I’ve had him, Sparky has gone after seagulls, sandpipers, sparrows, gnats, flies, crows, moths,  mosquitoes, my mom’s parakeet, an entire cage of assorted birds at PetCo, and a kid on the beach pretending to be an airplane. What’s interesting is that he can take or leave a cat, he doesn’t really give a damn. If it has wings, though, he’s going after it with murderous intent.

Sparky will chase anything that runs. O.K., remember what I just said about cats? That’s true . . . unless they run. Same for rabbits, squirrels, groundhogs, or rhinoceroses. Size is of no consequence. If you run you will be pursued. Seriously, if an animal just sits there he’ll pay it no mind. If it runs? All hell breaks loose. The chase is on, and something must die. Now.

Note to self: Don’t take Sparky to track meets.

On Hobo Watch.

Sparky hates hobos. Regular people he has no problem with. But you know those guys who stand by the road out at WalMart with the signs begging for money? Sparky has no tolerance for those dudes. I had the window down as I cruised by one of them and thank God I had his leash on because Sparky went for it. And when I say “it” I mean the jugular. He lunged right out the window at the guy, and I thought for a second he was going for the sign, but then to my horror I realized he was going for the throat. Luckily I pulled him back in before blood was spilled. Either Sparky hates hobos or the guy smelled like chicken.

Sparky would rather jump than walk, always. I have a couch and a chair that are about 5-feet apart. If Sparky is on the couch and I am on the chair he invariably attempts the leap to get to me rather than simply hop down and trot over. Walk around a 4-foot wall? No way. Spark’s going over the top, and more often that not he makes it. In addition, if he wants something he’ll do a series of vertical pogo jumps straight up and down, practically looking me in the eye at his apex. Dude has a helluva set of hops.

Sparky has the reflexes of a mongoose. Well, at least when I throw cheese balls at him. You know, the little cheese puff balls you get in those industrial size plastic jars. I tell him to get on a chair, say “stay”, back away about 20-feet, and fire away. I’m telling you I can’t get a cheese ball by him. For fun I’ll lob some pop-ups for awhile, then just zip a line-drive at him for a change of pace.  He never misses. I’d say he has a 99.2% field percentage. Amazing.

And oh, you may want to avoid rushing towards me. Sparky gets a little tense when I’m approached in a hasty way. He perceives it as a threat to his best friend. Rush at him? No problem. Rush at me? Problem. He gets j-u-s-t a little protective. You’ll see a lot of growling and showing of teeth and whatnot. So, fair warning, approach respectfully and you’ll be treated thusly. You may even want to bow or even go to one knee first. Just a suggestion. And you know, it’s about time somebody understood the respect with which I should be treated.

Thanks Sparky.

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.


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.

Spark welcomes me home.

Posted: July 28, 2013 in Animals, Pets, Sparky, Things I Love

It’s good to be loved.


Sparky loves to ride up front with me . . . until he realizes we’re headed for the vet.

“Must. Stay. Still.”

He’s looking into your soul.

Just a few more updates regarding my ever-growing suspicion that my dog may be a freak of nature . . .

A few weeks ago at Oak Island he and I were taking a walk, just strolling down the beach. Spark was looking for a possible seagull, crab or sandpiper kill and I was checking out the . . . seashells. Yeah, that’s what I was doing. Anyway, as we’re walking we come upon a group of vacationers just finishing up a game of Bocci Ball. You know, the game where somebody throws a little white ball somewhere and everyone then tries to see who can come the closest to it with their Bocci Balls. So the group had completed the game and were back in their beach chairs after having put all the balls in a little circle in front of them. However, just as we were walking by the little white ball blew away and was rolling down the sand towards the ocean. One of the guys begins to chase it, but right then Sparky makes a dash for it and grabs it before it gets to the water. He then takes it past the guy, up to the group, and places it gently in the circle with the other balls, precisely where it had been before. After a few seconds of stunned silence the group begins a slow golf clap, shaking their heads as they do so.

As Sparky re-joined me, I just smiled, shrugged and walked on.

A couple of days later, just before I was going to depart Oak Island for the Outer Banks, my sister (I was staying in her beach house) told me if I wanted anything washed to throw it in a pile in the hallway and she’d take care of it before I left. I did so and walked down the beach to visit friends by myself. She told me later that Sparky then took my clothes, one by one, put them back in my room, and laid on them. He then proceeded to growl at anyone who tried to get them. (more…)

On Gull Watch

The Spark.

OK, so I already introduced you all to Sparky, the Jack Russell who recently joined my household. I’ve had Sparky for less than 2-weeks, and all I knew about him was that he was a good dog who may or may not have been involved in a chicken massacre.

It wasn’t long before I realized Sparky is not a normal dog. Among other things he can learn tricks almost immediately and recognizes commands after being told just once. He knew the difference between a “ride” and a “walk” right away. When we walk he automatically knows how to maneuver around trees and poles so we don’t get tangled up. He’s also athletic as hell and can catch treats from a distance of 15-feet. I swear I can’t throw one by him. He can also jump like a kangaroo and I’ve been told he jumped on the backs of horses at his former home. You know, before the incident.

And I know what you’re thinking. Shoe’s all excited about his little dog, he thinks it’s a special dog, how cute. But really? It’s just a dog. Well, you just might be right. But I don’t think so.

He did something yesterday that made me look at him with a cocked head and a gaze of wonder. Somehow he got all twisted up in his retractable leash as we were walking out the backdoor. I mean, it was wrapped around one of his back legs and his torso a 2-3 times each. As I was about to lean down and try to untangle this mess, he backed up and looked at me like “Easy, I got this.” He then leaped straight up into the air, did some sort of a mid-air spin move combined with a flip and landed on his feet, completely untangled.  Then he just stood there, smiling. Like I said, I sort of backed up a step, cocked my head, and said, “Who ARE you?”

But he just trotted on to the car.

I’ve always been a dog guy, but this one might be special. I guess I’ll find out soon enough.

PS- I wrote this 6 1/2 years ago, and I was wrong. Sparky is much more than special. He’s incredibly loving, loyal, and by far the most intelligent dog I’ve ever known.

PPS- Since I wrote this I rarely use a leash on Spark unless we’re somewhere it’s required, like the vet or something. He never runs away.

Meet Sparky!

Posted: June 27, 2012 in Pets, Sparky, Things I Love
Tags: ,

Check out my new best friend.