Rogue underwear and food theft: raising Herbert

So here’s a question: how do you get Imperial cheese out of the carpet?

You know the stuff.  Sharp. Orange. Spreadable. Comes in a red tub and is meant for Christmas entertaining.

Mr WI64 gave it a sneaky test taste this morning, left the plastic tub on the counter and now the tub has tooth punctures and the contents are  deep in the carpet.

Yesterday it was underwear.

I emerged from the shower to find unmentionables strewn across the living room, a black bra dangling from MrWI64’s index finger.

Cost me three treats to retrieve this, he said.

Meet Herbert.


In a moment of spontaneous madness this past August, I turned to MrWI64  and, to my surprise, asked Do you want a puppy?

To my greater surprise, he didn’t miss a beat. Yes.

So there we were. In the later years of our lives, suddenly on a quest for a new family member we hadn’t realized we’d been missing.

We’ve had dogs in the past. Mutts mostly that just showed up on our doorstep like we were meant for each other. And we were.

This newest pet would be planned; carefully selected so we’d know what we were in for as we age.

A calm, medium size dog that would be a lovely companion. That was the plan.

A labradoodle was suggested and anyone who knows these dogs has an inkling about their energy level. We  had no clue. But there were these scrumptious puppy faces on a breeder’s website. Our senses left us and we were goners. There was a visit in which we sat under a squirming pile of puppies and one seemed to choose us.

The following week he was ours.

We’ve had a puppy before. A puppy and a life.

I edited magazines, MrWI64 had a busy consulting practice, kids were in school, we went out for dinner, took in the odd show and I can’t recall ever thinking what about the puppy? Stanley (named before gender confirmation), our shepherd cross, fit into our lives and we all survived.

So here we are, 25 years later, and we’re at risk of being those potty dog owners whose lives revolve around their pet. Honest to god, if you ever hear me use the term ‘fur baby’, unfriend me.

Herbert is an Australian labradoodle (I blame the Aussies for his high energy level. You won’t wear him out, said the vet. Oh, fine.) He’ll likely grow to 40 pounds and is not calm in the least.

He’s handsome. A charmer and a chewer. I have precisely two socks remaining without holes. I save them for good.

I’m told Herbert will be at the beauty salon more frequently than me. You can see how that’s working out.

This is Herbert at noon, fresh from the groomers.

Herbert, post grooming.

This is Herbert four hours later, fresh from digging up the back yard.

Herbert four hours post grooming.

Still, Herbert is a passport in the community I’ve lived in for 27 years. For all of those years, I’ve walked almost daily, nodding and greeting people I passed, but conversations were rare.

Herbert, bounding and prancing on our walks, has introduced me to the dog walking community. They all know Herbert. Is he in training? He is. Raw food or kibble? Kibble. They track how he’s growing and offer kind and generous tips. Labradoodle owners are abundant and their advice is especially welcome.

So that’s life at the WI64s. Striving to regain and retain a balance and besotted with a high energy young looker.




17 Comments Add yours

  1. rick stevens says:

    Gery: Thinking about you of course before this arrived. My new guilt is: feeding birds, squirrels (several) and a mouse on my patio. I am in violation of bi-lawyers of course. I have learned that fat happy squirrels prefer organic pecans to slightly rancid salty corn-nuts. The only pet advice I have is: close the patio door at night. And don’t give them Imperial Cheese. They get fussy and won’t take the cheap cheddar. Rick Even so: I close the door on the outside. But they come back in the morning looking for Brie. Ricky

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Gery Lemon says:

      Boy do we get that, Ricky. We’ve fallen under the spell of the calm and amuse your dog videos found on YouTube. Herbert doesn’t notice them, but we’re utterly mesmerized. Robins, thrushes, woodpeckers…..hours and hours interrupted only by Herbert.


  2. rick stevens says:

    well, no pet-matter. you write good. I always have traces of Imperial Cheese in my comforter.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Gery Lemon says:

      You’re a beauty, Ricky. You are.


  3. Oh Gery,
    Such a handsome guy – your Herbert. You have me chuckling and wondering how to get cheese out of the carpet too. At night the radio sometimes doesn’t get switched off and I absorb the ads. especially the team that use only 240 degree water or some such and suck everything out of the carpet. It’s probably a wise move Herbert installed the cheese. You can tell by his rakish good looks that the carpet isn’t up to snuff. Needs cleaning before Christmas.

    Tomorrow I am venturing on the leaky boat over to Trolls in West Van for a free lunch hosted by Altwasser. He did take me to the upscale dive on campus and after reading the overpriced menu I ordered a small item – perhaps soup or something and it was horrid.

    So no nonsense – just plain fish and chips tomorrow. I gave up fine dining at the big spots after being spared a bunk in the Hospital the day g and I were in San Fran and I wanted to try Spanish cuisine. Only SF at four in afternoon has no parking and I needed a toilet. So we zoomed back to the hotel. I flipped on the TV and paramedics were trundling out stretchers of the diners.
    Apparently a cheesed off sous chef wanted revenge on the Big Guy – so he straifed the diners wall to wall.

    I lost my Let’s eat out urge that day. I decided dinner could be walking downtown and grabbing a banana from a stall.

    You’re going to look glamorous with your squeaky clean rug.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Gery Lemon says:

      You’re right, Marion. I figure once we’re past all of the muckiest stages, we’ll chuck this old rug and invest.
      That’s quite the tale out of San Fran (quite the tale can be said of most of your writings). I thought it was going to end with food poisoning and and a run of the trots. Straifing. Good god.


  4. Sheila says:

    This post is absolutely hilarious and spot on. I laughed long and hard when I saw Stanley’s after photo. I think you should collect all your musings and publish. It would be a great read!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Gery Lemon says:

      Appreciate that, Sheila. Thank you!


  5. Sheila says:

    Oops , not Stanley, Herbert.


  6. ridykun says:

    Your Herbert stories bring joy, especially for those of us who’ve had the pleasure to live with a dog. Thanks!


    1. Gery Lemon says:

      Thanks, Rick. High praise.


  7. Tara says:

    Ger, you’re the best! Herbert has obviously given you new directions in life – cleaner extraordinaire, clothes hider, fur stylist – all becoming an important part of your lives! He’s a sweetie!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Gery Lemon says:

      Thanks, Tar. He’s somethin’! I don’t recall my kids being this much work, but maybe that’s amnesia.


  8. Oh I can relate! Check out my blog,you’ll see what I mean!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Gery Lemon says:

      Exactly! Don’t spose you live near Victoria, BC so Randy and Herbert can chase each other.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Hi! No I don’t, I live in the USA but yes they both need a friend. 🙂


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