BONZ: Bonz goes all boogie woogie over sweetie Shuggie

This week, my interview was with a snowbird dog, Shuggie Lemay, a sweet shepherdy-looking mix, very friendly and happy. She came right up for the Wag-and-Sniff, and greeted my assistant with some enthusiastic Jump-and-Slurps.

“Hi, Mr. Bonzo! Come right IN! I just LOVE havin’ cump-ny. This is my Mama, Linda. My Papa’s Scott. This is just my second year comin’ down here and I’ve already made a whole buncha pooch pals! Humans, too. EVrybuddy’’s so FRENly!”

“A pleasure to meet you, Miss Shuggie. I’m eager to hear your story. And how you got your cool name.”

She jumped onto the couch beside her Mom, and plopped down on a cocoa-colored blanket with a pawprint design. “Are you cumf-tubble? Good! OK! Here I go! First, my name: My name at the shelter was Morgan, which I didn’t like all that much, so I was happy when Mama and Papa decided to call me Shuggie, which is short for ‘mu-shoe-guh-nuh,’ which is Yiddish for ‘crazy person.’ It’s silly, doncha think? I LIKE it. They also call me Shugs, or Shugaboo. I answer to all of ’em, Morgan, too, cuz food might be involved and I don’t wanna miss out. You know, like the humans say, ‘You can call me anything, just call me to dinner.’”

Honestly, those humans. We laughed.

“Anyway, I was almost but not quite adopted from a shelter by some medical students up in Syracuse, New York, and I was all excited, but THEN, they found out they couldn’t keep me cuz the shelter didn’t let their dogs live in apartments, so I got all worried, cuz I was 8 months old already and sometimes humans want fluffy-wuffy little puppies, an, even though the shelter humans were nice, I didn’t wanna go back there, ya know?”

I nodded.

“WELL, the students were friends with my Mama and Papa (who weren’t my Mama and Papa yet, of course). They hadda farm in Cazenovia, New York, and they were kinda thinkin’ about another dog anyway cuz their Golden Retriever, Toby, was Getting’ Up There, and they thought a young dog would maybe perk him up, cuz of being all bouncy.”

Shuggie took a breath, an I wrote like crazy to catch up.

“So they drove me to the farm to meet Toby. I was sick as a … er …I was totally car sick. Mama hadda give me medicine so I wouldn’t keep tossing my kibbles. I was zombie’d out for most of the trip. It was all kinda overwhelming. When we got to the farm, I laid down on Mama’s shoe for comfort. I still do when I’m pooped out. I’m pretty much a Mama’s girl. Well, you know, she feeds me.”

I nodded.

“Anyway, me an Toby got along just fine, which I was glad of cuz I really wanted to stay. The farm’s the greatest place for a pooch. There’s 80 whole acres. Me ’n Toby’d run some, then stop and rest under a tree and Toby’d tell me stories about his Younger Days. He was my Role Model, told me all kinds of useful dog stuff. We were together for three years, and then it was time for Toby to go to Dog Heaven. He told me not to be too sad cuz Dog Heaven is a wonderful place, and he’d taught me everything I needed to know. But I was sad anyway.

“After a while, I met Casey, a shepherd mix, kinda like me, PLUS we’re both rescues, and both plain ol’ country mutts. We’re best buddies up at the farm. We swim in our pond, and zoom through the woods pretendin’ we’re fearless hunters. Once, when I was little, I ackshully caught a wild turkey. It was bigger than me even. I was petooie-ing feathers outta my mouth for days. Papa has a smoker, so we had turkey for dinner.”

“PAWsome!” I exclaimed. “When did you get down here?”

“Last year. I love it here, Mr. Bonzo! I like the dog park and the beach. I have two human friends, they’re still puppies: Hannah, she’s 6; and Paisley, she’s 2, I think. We’re always playin’ together. Me an my pooch pals, both Labs, Smokey and Bailey, play on the beach. I like the beach, but not the ackshully water, cuz it chases you back. I only play in the soap sudsy part. I just love bein’ outside. An I love to ROLL. A lot. Then I get up an do my Happy Dance. Later, I flop down in the yard and watch the pooches and people go by.

“I don’t do tricks, but Mama says I’m an expert at begging. Once I accidentally ate a hot dog, even though Toby had warned me NEVER to do that cuz Nobody Knows what’s in ’em. It’s a MissTree. Sure enough, I had Tummy Troubles. Papa rubbed my tummy to make it feel much better. For treats, I get Pupperoni or cheese, nuts or peanut butter. For meals, I sometimes get Tai, or Italian, or even venison or wild boar, my favorites. (Papa’s a mighty hunter.)

“I have my own comfy bed, but I sometimes sleep with Mama and Papa, or just sprawl out in the guest room.”

Suddenly, Shuggie jumped up and ran to the door, wagging and wiggling. Her little human friends, Paisley and Hannah, all dressed up for picture day at school, had come to say hello to their pooch pal. Slurps and wags and hugs and giggles ensued. Shuggie politely introduced us, then it was time for me to go.

Heading home, I was thinking – venison and wild boar, how exciting! I saw myself in The Wild, bold and brave, gnawing on a venison bone, nose to the wind; the scent of adventure. All-THO, bacon-flavored kibbles and air conditioning sound pretty good.

Till next time,

The Bonz

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