Mr. Joe Joe Cocker

Hi.  Bear here.

I’ve never met an executive dog before, but today I was introduced to Mr. Joe Joe Cocker, the CEO (Cuteness Extraordinaire Officer) at the Cottage Inn on Mackinac Island.  Joe Joe (he asked me to call him that) has the duty of meeting and greeting all the guests who stay at the Inn and making sure they get daily doses of doggie kisses.

Meet Joe Joe. I know this is weird, but the first thing I noticed about him was his eye lashes – which are entirely too long to be on a guy dog.   He told me they sometimes get TWO INCHES long before he gets them trimmed.   Boy, I bet he gets all kinds of girlfriends with THOSE eyes!

Joe Joe’s mom and dad are innkeepers Ms. Marge & Mr. Rich.   They stay busy, busy, busy taking care of all the visitors who want to stay with them.    They have their own apartment in the Inn, and Joe Joe stays there on his throne (a pillow on top of the  couch) when he’s not needed to handle things in the Inn.

Joe Joe said he always has to be on his best behavior inside because guests expect a dog to behave . . . .

. . . . and even  when he goes outside, he has to stay ever-vigilant for those busy-body chipmunks that threaten to eat his mom’s flowers!

Joe Joe told me the absolute favorite part of his job is welcoming new brides and grooms to the Cottage Inn.   The day I interviewed Joe Joe, Mr. Rich (who is also a minister) had just performed a wedding in Marquette Park.    The happy couple walked over to the Inn to sign some important papers that officially made them married  (humans sure make things complicated).

I was very impressed when Joe Joe sat down with the bride, Ms. RayAnn, and gave her a few tips on having a happy married life.

Then Joe Joe saw them into their wedding carriage, for a ride around the Island . . .

. . . . but only after making sure the road was clear and telling the driver he could “go ahead now”.   (Boy, Mr. Joe – the groom – sure looked happy!)

When I started back home, I looked back and saw Joe Joe watching me.   I wondered if maybe he was wondering what it would be like to be free to run around all day instead of having a permanent job and lots of responsibilities.   But, you know, I’ve heard there are Type A people and Type A dogs, and Joe Joe is definitely a Type A.   He really has the best of both worlds though – a fulfilling job and a happy family.    Hmmmm . . . maybe I should get a job on the Island too!

Geez – who am I kidding?   Then I wouldn’t have time to play in the crunchy leaves that are falling now.   Ho-hum, I guess I’m a Type Z.


Boat Dogs 7/20/2012

Hi.  Maddie here!

I guess you’ve been reading we’ve had tons of boats in the marina and tons of sailors in town.  Well, Bear and I met a few dogs down at the marina who came in with the sailors on their boats.  We didn’t get their names, but we did ask each of them, “What would you like folks to know about your two- or three-day trip from Bayview Yacht Club to Mackinac Island on a sailboat?”

“We LOVED it!   But, of course, we’re both retrievers, so being on the water is great fun for us!   I did have to hang on to my blue woopie the whole trip though cause I was afraid it would roll overboard.   Super trip   –   looking forward to the next one!”

“Trying to get the hang of potty-training on a rolling sailboat is a little difficult, but I think I did ok.   Everyone was too busy to fuss too much if I had an ‘oop-sie'”

“Frankly,  found it to be a little intense.   Next time, I think I’d rather sit here on these rocks and wait with the rest of the land-lubbers.”

“If anyone tries to get me back on a boat, I’m running away from home   –   and that’s final!”

Tours by Bear 7.18.2012

Hi.  Bear here.

Last week Mom and I went to Cheboygan on the ferry so I could have a spa day (gotta get clean to visit Canada in a few days).  When we got back to the Island, a taxi was waiting for us cause mom, as usual, had spent the day at WalMart and didn’t want to hike up the hill home with all the bags (mom tends to overdo it at WalMart).

I DO love my taxi rides, and we got REALLY lucky this time cause mom and I had the WHOLE taxi to ourselves – well, except for Mr. Ron, our very favorite taxi driver!  That meant I got to S-T-R-E-T-C-H out on a seat all by myself and take a leisurely ride up the hill.

Here’s my little guided tour of our trip home . . . . kinda a Bear’s-eye-view!

Murdick’s Fudge!   Mom says Maddie and I can’t have chocolate cause it will make us sick.   It sure looks yummy though when she and dad are eating it for dessert some nights!   Maddie and I do love our “street fudge” though.   Mom says that’s totally gross, but it’s always available and free to all Island dogs!

What?   You’ve never seen a dog on a taxi before?

The Lenox  –  where most of the Carriage Tour folks live.   I heard they have a BIG dining room where they all eat dinner every night and that the food is really good.   Wish someone would invite me to check it out.

This is the big, grassy yard beside the Cloghaun Bed & Breakfast.   There’s a dog who lives there with his human, Ms. Marti.   I need to meet him and get a play date in his yard.

Beautiful Cloghaun flowers.   Boy, if Maddie started digging in there, she would be in really BIG TROUBLE!

Nice yard at Hart’s Haven too, but I don’t think they have a live-in pooch.    That’s too bad.

Chambers Corner – where Doc Al has his office . . . .

. . . . oh geez – there he is!   Hiding now.

Mr. Ron.   He and mom talk my ears off whenever we ride with him.   He’s a really, really good driver and can get horses to do ANYTHING!

Going by Little Stone Church . . . . almost home.    Gotta go now so I can listen in on mom and Mr. Ron’s conversation.    I just heard mom say something about not letting me roll around in the grass until we leave for Canada.    She’s got to be kidding, right?    Right, mom?

K9 Buzz Visits Mackinac Island

Howdy.  Maddie here.

I’m sure glad mom and dad got to know Ms. Sue and Mr. Andy.  If they hadn’t, Bear and I would never have gotten to know Chilidawg and Buzz!

Back in May Ms. Sue brought Buzz (he’s a chocolate Labrador Retriever) to Mackinac Island so she could talk with the students in the Island school about K9 detection dogs (I told Ms. Sue I could detect moles and rabbits and snakes, but she said that wasn’t exactly what K9 working dogs do).

Buzz got to the Island the same way Bear and I do – on the ferry!

Ms. Sue and Buzz showed the students at Mackinac Island Public School how dogs’ noses can detect smells human noses can’t. Dogs are taught to detect one specific scent – like drugs, or bombs, or counterfeit money or smuggled food. Buzz is trained to detect human remains.  When Buzz successfully found a scent sample Ms. Sue had hidden in the classroom, he was rewarded by getting to play tug-of-war with Ms. Sue. (Bear and I get to play tug-of-war with each other all the time – and we don’t have to find anything!  No wonder Buzz tries so hard – tug-of-war is a great game!)

Buzz visited the Police Department on the Island.  Did you know Buzz was BORN to be a detection dog – literally!  He was bred through the Canine Detection Research Institute at Adrian College.

Buzz sure did like our Island. Bear and I hope he and Chilidawg come back soon so we can have a play date!

Buzz with his Deputy’s star. Wow – I sure do love a guy in uniform!

The next time Buzz is here I’m going to get him to give me some pointers on detecting chipmunks.  If I could learn to smell them before they smell me, I could catch one of those little critters!

When Is a ChiliDawg Not Just a ChiliDawg?

Hi.  Bear here.

A couple of summers ago, dad and I were outside in the yard at the condo when this man and woman came walking up the street with a cute little sandy-white dog.  She was shaped kind of like Maddie, but she was a different color and had a totally different hair style.  Turns out she was a miniature wire-haired dachshund, and her mom and dad, Ms. Sue and Mr. Andy, who were blog readers, wanted to introduce their pup, K9 Chilidawg, to Maddie and I.

Since that day, mom and dad and Ms. Sue and Mr. Andy have met for lunch and chatted back and forth on email.  And guess what!  K9 Chilidawg is FAMOUS!  Her mom wrote a children’s book about her called “The Little Dog Who Did Big Things”, and it’s all about what Chili (that’s what she’s called for short) and her mom do around the country.

Chili is a working dog who detects human remains and specializes in locating drowning victims while traveling over the water in a boat.  This is VERY important work, and Ms. Sue has spent a decade assisting law enforcement agencies across Michigan, Illinois, and Indiana.

Ms. Sue also owns K9 Buzz, a chocolate Labrador retriever who is following in Chili’s footsteps.  Both Chili and Buzz (and Ms. Sue) have been deputized by the St. Joseph County Sheriff’s Department, working with their Dive Rescue and Recovery Team.  They’re also members of several other recovery and response teams across Michigan.  Can you believe it?!  Chili and Buzz are deputies!  WOW!

K9 Chilidawg on her way to work in a real police car!

Ms. Sue and Chili were signing books at the Island Bookstore a few days ago. Ms. Sue said she could have stayed home, cause everyone was soooo interested in meeting Deputy Chilidawg!  Just look at all her awards and medals!

In fact, Chili signed so many books her little paw gave out, and she had to take a nap – right there on the table!

In a few days I’ll be back to write about Ms. Sue visiting the Island Public School with K9 Buzz.  What fun that was for the kids!

P.S.  Thanks to Ms. Jill for the Island Bookstore photos!

The Best Parade We’ve Ever Seen! 6.19.2012

Hi.  Bear and Maddie here.

It’s mom’s fault we haven’t written lately – ALL her fault.  She’s been busy, dad’s been busy – it’s just been a busy summer so far!   Therefore, Bear and I haven’t been given many chances to get out and meet new friends and ask those important questions inquiring minds want to know.

All that changed on Saturday when we took in the Lilac Festival Dog & Pony Show.  We LOVED the idea of dressing up and strutting down the boardwalk, but mom told us she had to photograph all the participants and didn’t have time to get us a costume.  I guess that’s OK for THIS year, but we are putting our eight feet down next year and insisting we be IN the parade!

OK – here’s some cool dogs and a pony we met Saturday.  We were moving so fast we didn’t catch a lot of names, but it’s the costume that  counted to the judges!

Bear and Maddie:  “The theme for the parade was the War of 1812. In case you’re wondering where THAT came from, this is the 200th anniversary of that war, and the first battle was right here on Mackinac Island. These two greyhounds and their little peke sister were dressed up in period costumes.”

Bear:  “There were a lot of greyhounds in the parade. Mom told us they were rescued from race tracks where they have to run round and round until they are too old to win (that can happen when they’re only two or three years old!). You don’t want to know what happens to them if they’re not rescued, so we sure were glad to see so many happy with their families!”

Bear: “Tell us, Mr. Greyhound, why do you rest your head on Ms. Greyhound’s shoulder?”
Mr. Greyhound: “My human mom and dad adopted me and then took in Ms. Greyhound as a foster dog until a home could be found for her. But, Wow! I took one look at that sweet pointed face, and it was love, love, love.  I started resting my head on her shoulder, in case they got any ideas of trying to separate us. Mom and dad were real pushovers though. They are ‘failed fosters’ because they adopted Ms. Greyhound too! And now we’re living happily ever after – together.”

Maddie: “I loved these two Boston Terriers. They reminded me of Petey, a Boston Terrier we know at the lake in Georgia. Petey doesn’t have to carry ships around on his back though. These two didn’t seem to mind it too much, and they told me one was an American ship, and one was a British ship. I took their word for it.”

Bear:  “Wow! I’d sure like to be best buddies with this guy!”

Maddie: “Bear and I decided this was the smartest dog in the bunch. He’s a Yellow Lab/Golden Retriever mix, and his mom taught him to hold a SABER in his mouth. Pretty neat trick (as long as its a rubber saber!)”

Bear: “I thought this was a squeaky toy, but then it moved!”

Maddie: “Daisy, this Long-Haired Dachshund, was NOT liking that hat! Can you tell by the look on her face?”

Bear: “When Maddie and I saw this pony with a cannon on its back, we ran and hid behind a tree! Then mom explained it was not a real cannon – it was a costume. We kept a real good eye on it anyway. You never know.”

Maddie: “This pug was dressed up like a Native American. I bet those feathers tickled!”

Bear: “This was one of my favorite costumes – another Golden I’d like to be buddies with!”

Maddie: “Yikes! Bad hair day! Just kidding. This poodle was a Dog Scout.  They earn badges just like Boy and Girl Scouts!”

Maddie: “Finally, two pooches smaller than me!”

Bear: “OK – this is the actual parade. They all walked down the boardwalk toward the judges’ stand, which was in front of the library.”

Bear: “Here’s my hope-to-be-buddy again, followed by a Native American Golden!”

Bear: “Here’s a bunch of rescued Greyhounds. Maddie and I are sure glad all these guys and girls have forever homes now.”

Maddie: “Three smaller-than-me pooches! Guess which one is my favorite! (I told you she didn’t like that hat.)

Maddie: “Mom! What kind of dog is this?” Mom: “That’s a Wire-Haired Dachshund. She’s your cousin!” Maddie: “From what side of the family, mom? She sure doesn’t look like us.”

Bear: “there was a huge crowd waiting for the parade to get to the judges’ stand.  Everyone had their cameras out.  I tried to get their attention, but they were just interested in the pooches in costumes.  I felt left out.”

Drum-roll please. Maddie and Bear: “In our opinion, this should have been the parade winner. It’s our condo buddy, the Hulk. The Hulkster is recovering from an injury, and his mom had to pull him in a cart. We love the Hulkster! We love the Hulkster!”

Bear and Maddie: “At the end of the day, mom asked us if we’d like to dress up next year and enter the parade.” Bear: Can I meet up with those other two Goldens and go as the Three Musketeers?” Maddie: “I don’t have to wear a hat, do I?”


Hello!  Bear here.  Hope all my dog buddies are having a great week, and your moms and dads are treating you well!

You know how our humans sometimes go to the park and find a bunch of other humans hanging out, trying to find enough people to have a “pick-up” basketball game?

Ya’ll know dogs do that too, right?  But because we have to wait on our humans to find us a “pick-up” game (and it’s usually a totally random, unplanned thing), when it happens, we sure do make the best of it!

Last Sunday (the day after the weekend that lasted forever ’cause it rained), mom and dad finally stopped thinking they would melt if they got wet, and took Maddie and I for a walk.  It’s not often we go right instead of left out of our backyard, but that day we did, and let me just tell you, that  turned into one FUN afternoon!

I guess I better give you a little background.

There’s this really nice man who mows the grass on the big yard in front of where we live.  We’ve known him a few years now.  His name is John.  The very first time mom and dad took me outside when he was mowing, John STOPPED the mower, turned it off, and walked all the way up our yard hill just to meet ME!  It turned out John and his wife have TWO Golden Retrievers, and they are crazy about all things golden!

When we were walking Sunday afternoon, we came to this little neighborhood north of the Village called Trillium Heights.  We turned a corner, and it was like stepping into a yard full of BEARS!

There was John! He was sitting on his porch with his wife, and there were some other humans there too. And they all had BIG DOGS!

This is John’s wife, RoJean (I probably didn’t spell that right), with their two golden buddies. The one standing is 9-year-old Kirby, and the little girl is Katie. I sure liked Katie!

This is Barley! Her mom is Leslie, and Barley is a black Labrador Retriever/Golden mix! I didn’t see any golden fur anywhere though, and believe me – I checked her out.

We had all just said “hello” and figured out who was who and what was what when another lady came around the corner with Sam – a Chocolate Labrador! So we all had to say “hello” again!

Now I have never seen Maddie shy – EVER! But that day she was. Dad said she was I-N-T-I-M-I-D-A-T-E-D (mom had to spell that word for me real slow) because all the other dogs were bigger than she was. Well, that didn’t stop her when mom pulled some treats out of her pocket!

Now this next part you will not believe!  Mr. John said, “I bet I know what will make all of you happy!”  Happier than treats?  This I got to see!

Mr. John went into the house and came outside with a big basket (like mom puts the dirty clothes in).  Only THIS basket was full of TOYS!  He walked right into the middle of the yard and turned that basket upside down, and toys went everywhere!  Oh MAN!

Free for all!!!!

Barley and I had a contest to see who could gather the most toys in one spot . . .

Barley won – paws down.

Maddie finally got some attention from Miss Leslie, whose mom and dad always had dachshunds.

It sure was a fun afternoon. Hey! Next time, let’s do a sleepover – at our house!