The Year… According to Franklin ~ 2002

DECEMBER 2001 – I got a family!!! They seem really nice. Mrs. Claus said I would like them, and they sure like me. There are three really short ones who giggle, a not so tall one who seems to be in charge, and a loud, tall one, who gives me popcorn at night. Just me and the big guy at night, short ones and toys in the day – what a life!

JANUARY
– The tallest of the short ones leaves me in front of HGTV every morning when she leaves. The people in that box are talkative but don’t come out much. I watched them rip up carpet. It seemed easy and made everyone happy, but when I tried it here, I got in huge trouble!

FEBRUARY – I take the tall guy to school at night but I keep him on a leash to keep him under control. I’m working on getting him to give me all the snacks I know he keeps in his pocket. I have to keep working on him, he sometimes goes home with a few and that lady in control, she puts them right back in the cupboard! I don’t know what the really short ones learn in school, but they get to take their own treats. They have these leashes that go around their waists, but they only get to use them in the car.

MARCH – The tooth fairy comes here on a regular basis, but no matter what I chew on to get rid of those baby teeth, I never seem to get a visit. I’ve tried chewing everything from phones, to shoes, to CD’s. It’s one of those “no, no,” things. I guess I don’t need the money anyway. I get paid pretty well in pig ears for just remembering to ‘do my thing’ outside.

APRIL – Got a bigger box to sleep in. My friend Remedy came to visit. She brought her tall one. She doesn’t have short, giggly ones, but she seems to like mine. Lots of short, giggly ones visit here. I’ve made it my job to smell everything that comes in, just in case we need to find it later. I keep track of everyone I can. It is a big job but someone has to do it.

MAY – I watched the family dig and they put a wire in the ground that makes my collar beep. Then they lined up these scary flags. I did my best to bark them down and eventually they succumbed. Once again, I tried to show them that I’d learned and I tried to dig like them, and once again, I got in trouble. I’ve tried to protect the short ones from the green stuff that is appearing on the ground. I work hard to turn it yellow as soon as I see it, but I just can’t keep up. I found bunnies in the yard, but the dog-gone things move fast, and I can’t bark at everyone all at once. The one in command organized this ‘relocation effort’ and they got to go for a ride in the car. I never saw them again.

JUNE – The short ones are home all the time, they must have used up all their treats and learned all the commands. They spend a lot of time in water and I’ve tried it, but it’s not really my favorite thing to do. The short ones say they got a new cousin, but I haven’t seen anything. I would do my duty and sniff it, and show it where we have to ‘go.’

JULY – The short ones sometimes go on vacations with the one in command. They leave me home with the tall one and we eat popcorn until it comes out our ears. Sometimes, he lets me go in the car, but I think it is just because he wants the extra French fries cleaned up. There is a short one next door and I play ball with him. He needs work on ‘fetch.’

AUGUST – We’ve all grown so much that I moved out of my bed to a room of my own, but the giggly ones only got clothes. I must be in charge now because I have the biggest room. I’ve tried the snacks that I see the giggly ones packing up, but I don’t recommend the Crayola brand of treats. They taste kind of waxy. There was this party, but I was sent out on security duty for it. The neighbors must have felt the need for extra protection that night.

SEPTEMBER – I know I’m in charge now, because the short ones and the other short one had to go back to school. They must have forgotten their commands. It sure takes them a long time to learn anything. They are gone all day. The tall one must be a little smarter. Although he is gone much of the week, he gets to stay home and make popcorn once a week. I don’t know if he gets snacks at his school, because he sure likes that popcorn when he is here. The one in charge gets leashed to her car a lot.

OCTOBER – What a sore throat! I’ve been barking my head off at aliens, and monsters, princesses, and wizards. I don’t know where all these short ones came from but they were ringing the doorbell all last night. Sometimes, as a treat, I get to go walk the giggly ones home from their school. I feel so bad for them, being gone all day, that I don’t even bother to bark at them anymore. The one who used to be in command had some visitors from her litter over. I think they keep in touch over the computer, but I’ve tried contacting my family through it, and it doesn’t respond to ‘bark’ commands. Some of the visitors have REALLY little ones. I’m not sure what breed they are. They are allowed people treats, but they move on all fours, like me. However, no one makes them ‘go’ outside. There is also this rule about licking them…

NOVEMBER – Can’t keep all the birds out of the yard. If I let them stay, the one in command might relocate them like she did the bunnies. Besides that, I’m busy barking the leaves off the trees. I’ve tried to learn how to use the swing set, but it is getting cold, so I’ll give that up until spring. No short, giggly people out much anyway.

DECEMBER – Seems like everyone is busy now, I sniff the new things that come in, but I get in trouble if I lead a short one to the new scents. I am overworked with my protection duties. I’m not sure what happened outside, but there are angels trying to take off, and Santa’s waving them back, and deer lit up like they’ve swallowed a couple dozen flashlights. Even the kennels of the tall people in the neighborhood have had this transformation. And in our kennel – the short ones have been allowed to move trees inside but, I still have to ‘go’ outside. They have them all cluttered up with flashlights and hanging things. I try to pick up after them and put it all away behind the couch, but it is one of those things that they keep saying “no, no,” to. How the heck do they think my buddies Mr. and Mrs. Claus are going to get in with all this clutter? And in the snow! You just can’t believe all the time I spend trying to bark it away. And the one in charge! She relocates it from the driveway to the yard! I don’t think she knows about the big car that comes down the street early in the morning on Thursdays and picks up the stuff that people don’t want or I’m sure she’d bag it up and leave it for them. She does that with my favorite things if I chew them too much. Just bags them up with the leftover dinner and leaves them for the big car thing on Thursdays! There is this thing coming up called Christmas and I’m hoping for a new friend in the neighborhood, or at least a couple of pig ears or squeaky bones. The tall one, and the one in charge, keep trying to get stuff ready for the mail truck, but I keep distracting them with this new game of come in, go out, come in, go out. It is great fun. I learned it from the short, giggly ones. You should come over and try it. If you scratch at the door, they let you right in. And you can call, too. I’m not allowed to touch the phones anymore but I’ll let my people talk to your people. I’m supposed to learn some Christmas carols and wish everyone a healthy, happy, New Year. I don’t know what that means exactly, but I hope you all wear your leashes in the car, get rewarded with treats when you learn a new trick, and get a bath regularly whether you think you need it or not!!

Love, Franklin Phelps (canine companion of Elizabeth, Shannon,
Hannah, Chr’s and Julie Phelps)

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