Toy Introductions Day 5: Ollie the Octopus

Tallulah’s Turn . . .

You know how when you find the perfect toy, you just want to shout to the world to let everyone know how perfect it is? Well, this is me shouting, and I’m telling you that Ollie the Octopus is perfection. Ollie came to live with us more than a year ago. He still squeaks . . .

. . . and he’s never ripped. He has eight legs. Wait, what’s that? My research staff (aka Mommy) tells me that these appendages on an octopus are called arms. Arms, legs, whatever. I just know that Birdie likes to grab one arm, I like to grab another, and then we like to see if we can rip Ollie right down the middle. No luck. Ollie is still in one piece.

Now I know that I’m not the only toy-destroying dog and that everyone out there is looking for toys that can survive their dog’s jaws of death, so I turned to my research staff (again, that’s my mommy) to find out who makes Ollie the Octopus. She thinks it’s a company called Tufflove, but she can’t find a website. She does remember that she bought Ollie at a Petco. Clearly, we’re not getting paid for this recommendation. If we were, we could hire a better research staff.

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Toy Introductions Day 4: Red Ball

Birdie’s Back . . .

Hello, my name is Birdie Blue and I’m ball obsessed. There, I said it. Now everyone knows. This is Red Ball. There used to be an Orange Ball, and before that another Orange Ball, but I’d rather not talk about what happened to them. You understand.

This ball is made by Kong (again, not a paid ad, just a recommendation) and it passes the Birdie test, which is a really challenging test. I love nothing more than trying to sink my teeth into a really good rubber ball. Maybe that’s not exactly true. I love nothing more than pestering my humans to get Red Ball down from its safe perch, which is just out of my reach, so I can play with it. Ok, I also love making my humans throw Red Ball to me over and over and over again.

There might be two things I love even more than all of those other things. I love rolling Red Ball out of the gate as people walk by on the sidewalk so that they’re forced to play with me. And I love rolling Red Ball outside of the gate when no one’s around so that my humans have to go get it for me. Humans make the best retrievers.


Toy Introductions Day 2: Will You Accept This Rose?

Hey, Birdie Blue here. I’m new to this whole blogging thing, so you’ll have to bear with me. Before I introduce the toy of the day, allow me to introduce myself. I joined the family in January 2021. I guess you could say I was a COVID puppy, but I was actually in the plans for a while. Tallulah’s sister, SoBe, is my mother, so that makes Tallulah my aunt and my sister, kind of. Only in the South, haha. My registered name is ParishLine’s That Tweet Chick is Trending, but you can call me Birdie…or The Bird…or Big Bird…or Little Bird…or, well, you get the idea. I loved Harper Lee very, very much. We used to play together all the time. I sort of worshipped her. Tallulah didn’t want to have much to do with me, and I gave Tallulah her space. I guess sisters can be that way sometimes. Things changed after Harper Lee crossed the Rainbow Bridge. Tallulah and I have become inseparable. Our humans call us the Bobbsey Twins. We play, and play, and play. I like to snuggle up next to Tallulah, and she’s ok with that. We both miss Harper Lee extremely, but I’m thankful to have Tallulah, and I think she’s thankful to have me. Enough of that. On to the Toy of the Day introduction.

Remember yesterday, when Tallulah told you that our toys have names? That’s not true in this case, but, as Mr. William Shakespeare once said, “That which we call a rose / By any other name would smell as sweet.” Kind of blew your mind with my literary knowledge, huh? These roses were a gift from a couple of handsome Golden boys who run Geaux Fideaux, the place where we get our bandanas. Full disclosure, there used to be three roses, but Tallulah destroyed the pink one. She’s like that. Also, to all those people who ask our humans, “Do your dogs shed?” Yes, we do, all over the place and all the time, so please excuse all the dog hair on these roses. Have you seen “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette” on tv? You know how sometimes those women practically fight each other to get a rose from the bachelor? Tallulah and I can be a lot like that with these roses. Who doesn’t want to be the girl who gets the rose? Better yet, who doesn’t want to be the girl in charge, the one who’s handing out the roses?

So, will you accept this rose, Golden Retriever hair and all?


Toy Introductions Day 1: Pearl the Purple Thing

Happy October 1! Every day this month, Tallulah Bee and Birdie Blue will introduce you to their toys. (We could probably do this until the end of the year and not repeat a single toy.) Tallulah will start the introductions.

Tallulah: “This is Pearl the Purple Thing. You’ll notice our toys have names. Anyway, Pearl is a very special toy because she was a birthday gift to Harper Lee many years ago from one of our dearest Golden Retriever friends. That means she spent a lot of time in the Land of Forbidden Toys, also known as a cabinet in the utility room, and only Harper Lee got to play with her. Apparently, Birdie and I have a destructive streak. Pearl came out of the cabinet last weekend, and Birdie and I absolutely cannot get enough of her. So far, she’s unscathed.

“Birdie even invited her to join us on the balcony this morning. Pretty sure Pearl the Purple Thing enjoyed the view.”


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.


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!