Pet Tips 'n' Tales©

Cartoon Characters
- Charlie Brown-Lucy-Schroeder -

Photo by Mary Ellen "Angel Scribe"©
Jay, Kim, and their Peanut cartoon characters:  Charlie Brown, Schroeder, and Lucy.  Nothing is normal with three dogs getting into mischief.  Charlie Brown, a yellow Labrador was “spotted” downtown last Halloween as a Dalmatian!

TALES

Dalmatian dogs are easily recognized from the movie 101 Dalmatians and also as "firehouse dogs."

During the era of horse-drawn fire engines, firefighters chose Dalmations to provide company for the horses that pulled the engines because Dalmations have a natural ability to interact with and calm horses.  The Dalmations also protected the horses from other dogs that might chase them as they raced to a fire.

Charlie, while not a Dalmatian, shares these loyal traits and is proud to be a "fire dog," if only in costume.

On Halloween, two-year-old Charlie was seen trick-or-treating with hundreds of children downtown.  Kim and Jay disguised their very friendly yellow Labrador Charlie as a spotted Dalmatian fire dog.  Kim sprayed Charlie's soft white fur with dozens of black spots and put a child's bright red, light-weight, plastic firefighting helmet on him.

Charlie proudly wore his costume up and down Main Street surrounded by human princesses, goblins, little girls dressed like cats, and tiny supermen.  
 
Everyone who spotted Charlie's spotted costume smiled.  "Many of the children squealed, 'Look, a firedog!'"  said Kim.  "Charlie had a great time and even got one doggy treat, which he immediately wolfed down!"  And like any good first-responder, Charlie checked out each fire hydrant that he passed!

Charlie recently passed obedience classes and earned the K-9 Good Citizen award. Kim observed how friendly Charlie is with everyone, so she enrolled him in dog therapy classes (www.DeltaSociety.org). She knows that Charlie's many skills, including happy tail wags, doggy grins, and understanding big brown eyes, would comfort patients in hospitals and nursing facilities.

Over the years, Jay and Kim have named four of their dogs after their favorite "Peanut" cartoon characters. "Our original dog was Peppermint Patty, and she lived to be 17 years old. That is 119 in dog years!" says Kim.

Charlie, aka Charlie Brown, is their largest dog at 105 pounds. Schroeder is their medium-sized dog who resembles a crazy-looking Rhodesian Ridgeback mix.  Of course the gang would not be complete without Lucy, their small spunky black terrier mix who rules the roost.  It appears that Kim and Jay love dogs as much as Charlie loves humans!

Jay teaches guitar lessons at the Cottage Grove Hotel and performs with his jazz band Tuesdays and Wednesdays at the Village Green Resort. Jay practices in his home studio with the dogs' tails thumping like metronomes to the music, or could the tail thumping be just for the joy of being close to Jay?

Charlie is so attached to Kim and Jay that he suffers from separation anxiety.  Jay explains, "When Charlie is left at home while we go to work or the store, he becomes destructive.  I imagine he thinks he is playing or whiling away his time, but once, while in the garage, he chewed the stairway banisters, ripped up carpeting, and tore apart drywall!
 
In his innocence, Charlie did not realize that he had done anything wrong.  He simply greeted us on our return with a big happy grin and his eyes sparkled as if to say, "Where have you been? You're finally home.  I am so excited! I missed you!"

If Charlie was filling out a dog job application, he would include his two passions of swimming and fetching balls as preferred career paths. A few words of caution about Charlie's joy of swimming: "If you happen to be walking Charlie by ANY body of water, even puddles, he spontaneously jumps in while still on his leash!  The trick is to let go before you end up wet too," laughs Jay.

TIPS

"Our dog Webster had horrible separation anxiety and was destructive.  Once, we came home to discover all the couch's springs standing up exposed like in a cartoon!" describes Pat.  "He had chewed his way through to them.   My husband and I were under stress at the time, and taking the homeopathic remedy Luyties #304 for anxiety (www.1800homeopathy.com), so we shared them with Webster.  He is now a happy, calm dog and, thankfully, no more destructive surprises!"
 
Editor's Note: Always consult with your veterinarian before administering any medications or homeopathy to pets.

Linda, a Tips 'n' Tales reader in Connecticut, writes, "During the ice-and-snow season, road salt should be washed or brushed off your pet's feet.  The salt is not good for their feet, and it's even worse if they ingest it."
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