Toy Introductions Day 9: Sundays Are for Sisters

Tallulah’s Turn . . .

Birdie and I took a little break from our toys today to enjoy a beautiful morning stroll through New Orleans City Park. I visited City Park with my sister Harper Lee quite a few times. You can click here to see me as a very young puppy on an autumn day in 2015 and here to see me on an early spring day in 2017. I had fun today showing Birdie some the spots I visited with Harper Lee.

Birdie and I love our toys a lot, as you’ve seen, but we love each other even more. Our humans say that they added Birdie to our family so that I wouldn’t be alone when Harper Lee left us one day. To be perfectly honest with you, I wasn’t super excited about the addition for a while. I thought I would have been fine as an only dog. Birdie bonded more with Harper Lee than with me, and I was perfectly pleased to let that happen. And then, a little more than a month ago, Harper Lee left the house and never came back. Birdie and I have been inseparable ever since. We play bitey face on our dog bed and we snuggle for side-by-side naps.

The truth is, if all of our toys disappeared from our basket and the Land of Forbidden Toys was completely emptied, Birdie and I would be happy just having each other. I mean, let’s hope that doesn’t happen, but you get the idea. After we finish our month-long toy introductions, we’re going to continue with the blog. Our human mommy is so thankful to have Harper Lee’s posts to look back on now that Harper Lee has crossed the Rainbow Bridge; she also wants us to be able to create, share, and preserve all the adventures that Birdie and I have. You’ll see some blog transitions throughout October. We’ll also be making some changes to our Instagram and Twitter accounts, but the handles on both will remain @thek9harperlee, because Miss Harper Lee will always be the foundation of everything.

Moving forward is a funny thing. In some ways, it means leaving the past behind. In other ways, it means building on where you were, what you did, and who was there with you. I’m thankful that Birdie and I will be able to travel along our own blogging path together. I’m even more thankful that Harper Lee created a beautiful legacy for us to continue. Sundays are for sisters, and Birdie and I had the best in Harper Lee.

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A Final Note from Harper Lee’s Mommy

March 17, 2009 ∼ August 27, 2022

When Harper Lee was just a tiny puppy, I held her in my arms, and I cried. “Why are you crying?” my husband, Doug, asked. “Because one day I’m going to have to tell her goodbye,” I said. That day was yesterday. She lived 13 years, five months, and 10 days. It was a long life, filled with friends, adventures, treats, toys, travel, and love. It was a good life, and I’m thankful for every second. It was longer than I ever thought it would be, but it wasn’t nearly long enough.

At nine months, Harper Lee was diagnosed with hip and elbow dysplasia. It was serious. She started physical therapy at the LSU vet school. I thought we might only have two years with her. We celebrated her second birthday, and then I set my sights on four years as a goal. I launched Miss Lee’s blog in 2012 when she was three years old. Fearing that my time with her would be limited, I wanted to make every day special. I knew that developing blog content would give me incentive to take Harper Lee to new places, try new things, bake lots and lots of treats. The blog would also give me a memory book of sorts when I had to let her go. I’ve spent the last few days revisiting her blog posts. They’ve made me cry sad and grateful tears, sad that our adventures have ended, grateful that we were so lucky to have had so many special moments together.

Instagram and Twitter accounts followed. Social media gets a bad rap. For Miss Harper Lee and her humans, it was nothing but good. We developed so many real and supportive friendships with people and animals we only knew virtually. Even better, we met so many followers IRL. (That’s “in real life” for anyone of a certain age.) We shared beach trips, football games, courtyard lunches, and a red carpet walk at a blogging convention. We supported each other through losses and illnesses, human and canine. I was happy beyond belief that I was able to share Harper Lee with so many people around the world. She was a special girl, and I thank everyone who loved her along the way.

We moved from Baton Rouge to New Orleans in 2015. Harper Lee was six years old. As her blogging assistant, I regret that our posts became more sporadic.  As her human mommy, I can assure you that her adventures continued. Harper Lee became a therapy dog. She visited nursing homes, hospitals, conventions, universities, and summer camps. She comforted families that were forced from their homes by flood waters and helped to establish the therapy dog program at the New Orleans airport. Harper Lee even earned two AKC titles, officially becoming Denham’s Harper Lee THD CGC. 

I am forever grateful to Harper Lee for welcoming two Golden Retriever puppies into our family. Tallulah Bee arrived in 2015 shortly after our move. Birdie Blue joined us in 2021. Miss Lee was the perfect role model, patient and kind even when I would have forgiven her completely for not being so. Almost daily I whispered into her ear, “You’re my favorite.” I meant it. I think Tallulah and Birdie forgave me for that bit of favoritism. I also think that they will miss their big sister every bit as much as Doug and I in the minutes, hours, days, weeks, months, and years to come.

Doug and I had our first Golden Retriever, Talbot, years and years ago when we lived in Galveston. One day, I was talking with a woman who was on her second Golden. (In case you didn’t know, Golden Retrievers are an addiction.) She looked down at her second Golden and said to me, “I love this dog so much it scares me.” I thought that was an odd thing to say. I really didn’t understand what she meant, until 13 years ago when I held tiny Harper Lee in my arms and cried. When I had to let Talbot go, my heart shattered into a million pieces. There were days I thought I’d never be happy again. I thought I’d never love another dog as much as I loved Talbot, and then Harper Lee came into my life. I knew almost immediately I would love Miss Lee even more. I would love her so much it would scare me.


Miss Lee Celebrates Her 11th Year

Harper Lee 11 1

Today we’re celebrating sweet Miss Harper Lee’s 11th birthday. Seven years ago (with a little help from her human mommy/blogging assistant), Harper Lee posted her first ever birthday blog. More birthday blogs followed in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018. Life got busy, as it sometimes does, and Harper Lee’s blogging assistant failed to share our celebration of Miss Lee’s 10th birthday in 2019. Rest assured, we had a fabulous time . . . including a weekend in the New Orleans French Quarter complete with a stay at the Ritz Carlton, where Miss Lee was quite the sensation.

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While most ladies of a certain age might choose to slow down a bit, Harper Lee hit the road to her 11th birthday with a busy Visiting Pet Program (VPP) assisted therapy dog schedule. As a member of the MSY K9 KREWE, she brought smiles to travelers, employees, and flight crews at Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport.

Harper Lee 11 3

Through VPP’s Reading to Rover program, Harper Lee helped children at a local library learn to love books and reading and Golden Retrievers.

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And once a month she shared her love with residents and staff at an area nursing home and patients, families, and staff at Children’s Hospital New Orleans. In June 2019, Harper Lee earned her AKC Therapy Dog and Canine Good Citizen titles and officially became Denham’s Harper Lee THD CGC.

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Miss Lee even made an appearance on the Smoothie King Center big screen (lower right) before a New Orleans Pelicans basketball game. It was a busy year for our girl, so on December 31, 2019, she officially retired from therapy dog life. She’s spent the last few months enjoying her Golden years with leisurely neighborhood strolls, long naps on the lovely bed that the airport gave her as a retirement gift, and basically doing what she wants to so when she wants to do it.

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With all of the ups, Harper Lee’s road to her 11th birthday also came with a few bumps. She’s battled some skin allergies and, much to her disgust, has had to endure fairly routine baths. On the bright side, she now gets to eat alligator kibble. Miss Lee highly recommends alligator kibble. She’s also had some pretty challenging UTI and bladder issues, but a battery of tests at the LSU School of Veterinary Medicine indicates that little Miss Harper Lee is, overall, in fairly tremendous shape.

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So today we celebrate the past 11 years of life with Harper Lee and we set out on the road to her 12th birthday celebration. The events around the world over the last few months have reinforced one certainty: Nothing is ever certain. We’ll cherish each and every moment along the way, and we will be forever grateful to all of you for joining.

Miss Harper Lee’s Family


On the Twelfth Day of Christmas . . .


. . . on a bluff in St. Francisville, Louisiana, overlooking the mighty Mississippi River, St. Francis of Assisi–the patron saint of animals–focused a ray of light on Tallulah Bee and me. Such a perfect end to this Christmas season.


On the Eleventh Day of Christmas . . .

. . . Tallulah and I welcomed Mr. Sunshine and Miss Blue Sky back into our lives. It seems we’ve had nothing but clouds, fog, and rain since Christmas, so you cannot begin to imagine how happy this day makes us.

Wishing you sunny skies and wide open fields. πŸ™‚


On the Tenth Day of Christmas . . .


Β . . . I took a little couch snooze. Getting to sleep on the couch is sort of a big deal. I know I can’t get on the couch until my blanket is spread out. And then I have to wait for a human to lift me up. For some odd reason I’m under the impression that I’m incapable of jumping up on my own. Don’t ask me to explain, because I can’t. But once on the couch, I’m in heaven. My body sinks into the cushion, I put my head on the pillow, and I’m out like a light. Couch snoozes are the best. I’m hoping for a lot of them in 2019.

What special indulgence are you looking forward to enjoying in 2019?


On the Ninth Day of Christmas . . .


. . . Tallulah and I celebrated our own little local holiday miracle: the completion of three nightmare traffic projects.

Months ago a small problem developed with the pipes beneath one of our neighborhood streets. Then it got worse, and then it became a major flood. For some odd reason, the humans in charge didn’t seem to have a solution. Just when it seemed the situation couldn’t get more frustrating, there was a natural gas leak in the middle of the night. And that’s when the humans in charge got serious about things. They tore out all the paving for an entire block, installed huge pipes beneath the ground, and covered it all with brand new pavement. The whole ordeal has been such a hassle that Tallulah and I really think the humans living on that block should close the street–just for the evening–and have a blowout celebration.

Our second little local miracle involved a street that has been under construction since before Tallulah was born. When Tallulah came into the world almost five years ago, the city of New Orleans was deep into a major drainage project designed to take water from areas near the Mississippi River, carry it through massive culverts, and eventually drain it into Lake Pontchartrain. Sounds great–and it is great and we’re very thankful and goodness knows the city needed some drainage improvements–but those massive culverts just happened to run beneath the neutral grounds of three very busy Uptown avenues. (New Orleanians call that grassy area between two sides of a streetΒ the neutral ground.) It was quite the ongoing nightmare. The one closest to us just happened to be the last to be completed; but days before Christmas, crews finished the striping, opened both lanes of traffic in both directions, and completely sodded the neutral ground for the entire length of the street. Tallulah and I are looking forward to long leisurely strolls on our beautiful new neutral ground.

And to complete the trifecta of traffic project miracles this holiday season, we finally witnessed the repair of the lights at a fairly busy intersection. The lights had been out for what seemed life eons, and reports of accidents and near misses circulated throughout the neighborhood. We were told that the city was waiting for a replacement part, which our human Mommy suspects was being delivered from Mars. And then one day, as she walked home from her errands, she saw the light . . . or rather the traffic lights actually working. She was so excited, she hugged the repairman who was there to do the work. Tallulah and I suspect that was the first hug he ever received for fixing a traffic light.

Tallulah and I are beyond thankful for these local holiday miracles, which are sure to add immeasurably to the safety and enjoyment of our daily walks. Here’s to no more detours in 2019!


On the Eighth Day of Christmas . . .


. . . I made sure my humans have everything they need for a wealthy, healthy, and happy 2019. Wishing you the same. ❀

Happy New Year!


On the Seventh Day of Christmas . . .


. . . Tallulah and I took a moment to reflect on 2018. It’s been a great ride, and we cannot wait to see where the road takes us in 2019. πŸ˜‰

Wishing our friends a happy and safe New Year’s Eve and best wishes for a fabulous New Year!

Cheers!


On the Sixth Day of Christmas . . .

. . . I reflected on my 2018 Instagram highlights. My human mommy/blogging assistant used an app called Top Nine to generate the IG posts that received the most likes over the past year. Here’s a little tour of the photos, left to right from the top:

  1. “When pure love and perfect patience meet . . . and fall asleep.” March 22
  2. “Bad news: I had a bath yesterday. Good news: The suds were super yummy. Happy #tongueouttuesday!” June 22
  3. “The Big Easy was the Big Freezy for most of last week. It was miserable. But today was beautiful and spring-like, so Tallulah and I did a little French Quarter/Warehouse District day. We ended with bottomless mimosas (for the humans) at Flamingo A-Go-Go’s dog-friendly patio. Oh, and we had our very own chicken and black bean dish from the puppy menu. Perfection!” January 21
  4. “Happy St. Patrick’s Day to you and happy birthday to me! Today I’m celebrating nine wonderful years, and my New Orleans Irish Channel neighborhood is having a huge party and parade just for me. So “kissmeimirish and it’s my birthday!” March 17
  5. “Tonight I brought Golden love to the children, families, and staff at Children’s Hospital New Orleans. My wish for everyone I met: a night of sweet dreams as sweet as mine.” September 17
  6. “Today we celebrated Tallulah Bee’s third birthday at Dat Dog. Looks like Tallulah might have celebrated a little too much. Cheers to many more celebrations through the years!” April 22
  7. “I’ll be looking for you at the game today, Miss Susan. May the better Tigers win!” (This one probably needs a little explanation: It was posted for a very sweet young lady who is a freshman at Auburn. Her Auburn Tigers were playing my LSU Tigers in a football game. My Tiger’s won. πŸ˜‰ ) September 15
  8. ” Yesterday at the Golden Retriever National, Mommy reconnected with these two Florida sweeties and their humans . . . almost four years since we all met in real life during my fabulous Florida adventure. Golden friendships are the best!” October 7
  9. “I’ll give you three guesses who won’t be the official Easter bunny ear model tomorrow. Hint: her initials are T.B.” March 31

If you’re on Instagram, I highly recommend generating your Top 9 posts for 2018. It’s a fun way to review the old year as it draws to a close. And if you are on IG, let me know where I can follow you. You’ll find me @thek9harperlee!