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I found her in the middle of Range Avenue, aka LA. 16, the busy north-south thoroughfare that runs by my house in Denham Springs. She was a tiny black and tan puppy, probably no more than eight to 10 weeks old and her most prominent feature were those enormous ears.

At first we thought she might be a miniature pinscher but her ears were not trimmed nor had her tail been snipped as is common for the breed. Neither were her legs nearly long enough for a min-pin.

After considerable research, we finally determined she was a chiweenie, one of those so-called designer, or hybrid breeds—a cross between a Chihuahua and a Dachshund. She had the body of a Chihuahua and the ears of a Dachshund except instead of being floppy, they stood erect, large enough for a gust of wind to cast her airborne or so it seemed.



When I married Betty more than 46 years ago, I told her I would always have a dog—and I have. But Penny, as we soon named her, became our very first indoor dog. As a puppy, she would leap repeatedly, attempting vainly to jump onto our sofa and the day she finally made it was a breakthrough for her as she was no longer content with lying on the floor.

That was 15 years ago and she was eventually diagnosed with a heart murmur and our veterinarian, Dr. Michael Whitlock started her on a regimen of heart medicine and diuretics to help keep fluid from building up in her lungs.

With advancing age and with her weakened condition, she eventually became unable to jump onto the sofa so I would lift her up and she would wrestle with a blanket until she could burrow under it to keep warm. She hated thunderstorms. Trembling, she would seek refuge from the storms under that blanket.

We used to laugh at my uncle Pete for the manner in which he would walk around holding his beloved Pomeranians but soon my daughters were laughing at me as I walked around the house with Penny cradled on her back, perfectly relaxed, in the crook of my arm. And I long ago lost count of the times I would take my afternoon nap on the sofa with her curled up asleep on my stomach, usually under that blanket.

Her healthiest weight was around 12 pounds but the combination of the heart murmur and the medication pulled her weight down to about half that. Dr. Whitlock wanted her weight around five of six pounds to keep the fluids down, so that was okay.

When those fluids would build up, she would develop a cough that wracked her tiny body, so he prescribed even more medication that created a new problem: dehydration. For that, he occasionally had to inject fluids, which seems contrary to her best interests. But as Dr. Whitlock explained time and again, we were walking a fine line between too much fluid and dehydration—plus whatever damage the necessary drugs might be doing to her kidneys and liver.

Dr. Whitlock, it must be said, was—and is—one of the most compassionate, caring veterinarians I could have ever found for Penny. He would even call me at home to check on her and it was his dedication to her care and wellbeing that prolonged her life for at least a year—maybe two or three—beyond what she normally might have lived. There were times when I was certain the end was near but he would give her a steroid shot that would pick her up for weeks or months at a time. I will forever be grateful to him and his staff for giving us that extra time together.

Up until about last Thursday, she remained in good spirits and had a healthy appetite. But on Friday, she had begun to slip into a more lethargic state and by Sunday she seemed almost catatonic and unusually weak. When I took her outside to take care of her business, I could see after a few minutes that she was too weak to even walk back into the house, so I gently picked her up and carried to her bed in my office. She refused to eat all day and simply sat up, staring into space as if she was afraid to lie down.

Around 1:30 p.m. I picked her up to take her to the sofa for our customary nap. As I held her—on her back in the crook of my arm as usual—she let out three quick yelps. Then her weakened little body, reduced to about four, maybe five pounds and simply too feeble to continue the fight, jerked twice and she was gone. Apparently, she’d had a heart attack.

I laid her on her bed and stroked her head as she continued twitching for a few minutes even though I knew she was dead. And yes, I cried. We grow attached to these trusting little companions that depend on us for their care and though I have almost always had special connections to my dogs, I had grown to love her as no pet before. And as someone once said, their love is unconditional: they don’t care about social status, race or gender. Treated with kindness, they return the loyalty and devotion tenfold. We could all learn from that.

Daughter Leah, upon learning of Penny’s death, sent me this poem:


Nine-year-old granddaughter Baylee has already added to her Christmas list a request for a puppy “that looks like Penny because Grandma and Granddaddy are sad.” But there’s no way I would ever try to replace Penny. I couldn’t. Besides, I have a 17-year-old Chihuahua, Tia, which I inherited from daughter Jennifer and an outside dog, Blaze, a gift from granddaughter Lauren. Blaze is a chow-golden retriever mix and one of the friendliest dogs ever. He’s about two now. I’m 71 and if he lives a normal lifespan he could—and well might—outlive me, so I won’t be bringing any more dogs into my home.

The pain of losing Penny is just too great.

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“The integrity of the Office of State Fire Marshal is one of my top priorities. It’s what the public expects.”

—State Fire Marshal Butch Browning upon his reinstatement by Department of Public Safety Deputy Secretary Mike Edmonson—with an $8,000 per year raise in pay—just 12 days after his “resignation” in the midst of two state investigations into allegations of fraud and mismanagement.

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In proofreading my last post (after it went up, of course), I found an inordinate number of typos, deletions, etc. I suppose I shouldn’t write when I’m so tired and sleepy.

Anyway, for a cleaner copy, please click on http://louisianavoice.com/

I went back in and edited and while I’m not guaranteeing it’s perfect, it’s got to be better than the original.

Thanks for understanding.


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Today Oct. 31) is the final day of the LouisianaVoice fundraiser for 2014. Your contribution will help underwrite our efforts to produce a comprehensive book about the havoc Gov. Bobby Jindal has wreaked.

As he put his personal political ambitions ahead of the interests of the citizens of this state, as he runs roughshod over us in complete disregard for the law in his pursuit of the Republican nomination, it’s important to remember this: Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton were obscure southern governors when they began their quests for the White House and no one gave either of them much chance at first.

That’s why this book could be an important chronicle of Jindal’s lies, manipulations and duplicity for the enlightenment of the rest of the country. Please help us in this endeavor. It’s important.

And even though the official fund drive ends Friday, you may donate anytime.

Simply click on the “Donate” icon at the right and make your contribution via credit card. If you don’t see a “Donate” button, it’s probably because you receive our email alerts to new posts. Go to http://louisianavoice.com/ and look for the “Donate” icon.

If you prefer not to contribute electronically, you may mail your check to:

Capital News Service/LouisianaVoice

P.O. Box 922

Denham Springs, Louisiana 70727-0922

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The final two days of the LouisianaVoice fundraiser for 2014 are today and tomorrow (Oct. 30 and 31). We promise no pleas for contributions before the end of the year and, if all goes well, not until sometime late next Spring. That’s right: our pestering you for contributions will actually end before we hear the last of those very annoying, irritating, seemingly endless negative ads for Mary Landrieu and Bill Cassidy.

We’re still a little short of our goal (but not by much) which will help underwrite our efforts to churn out a comprehensive look at Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration which we anticipate will be out in time for his final push for the GOP presidential nomination.

But first things first: Dayne Sherman of Hammond, a prolific and talented writer, has just published his latest book, Zion, and the first five persons to contribute to our fund drive, beginning at noon today, will receive a free, signed copy of Dayne’s book. The amount does not matter; it can be $1, $5 or $50 or more. We’re just trying to help Dayne promote his new book about religion, family, friendship, deception and evil. Set in rural Louisiana, it’s a story of a war fought over the killing of hardwoods in Baxter Parish. The story begins in 1964 and ends a decade later but the Hardin family, faithful members of Little Zion Methodist Church, will carry the scars for life.

PowerPoint Presentation

Here’s how it will work: click on the “Donate” button at the right and make your contribution via credit card. If you don’t see a “Donate” button, it’s probably because you receive our email alerts to new posts. Go to http://louisianavoice.com/ and look for the “Donate” icon. Be sure to send us, in a separate email, your mailing address so that we may provide it to Dayne for shipment of your book. Dayne will not keep, sell or otherwise share your information. In fact, it will be destroyed once your book is shipped.

If you prefer not to contribute, not to worry: you can still get the book free on Kindle through Saturday, Nov. 1. Here’s the link:


If you don’t wish to pay electronically, you may mail your contribution to:

Capital News Service/LouisianaVoice

P.O. Box 922

Denham Springs, Louisiana 70727-0922

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Question: What’s more dangerous than Bobby Jindal as governor?

Answer: Bobby Jindal with an automatic weapon in his hands.

Question: What’s more dangerous than Bobby Jindal with an automatic weapon in his hands?

Answer: Bobby Jindal as president.

Question: What’s dumber than Bobby Jindal holding an automatic rifle at a target range?

Answer: Jindal holding an automatic rifle at a target range with no ammo magazine.



(From: http://www.thelibertypapers.org/)

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