Monday, December 3, 2012


More (imagined) adventures of Elvis Rain, the Barking Rain Press mascot...


Del's favorite coffee shop, Java Jive, had been bought by the cafe next door. It was renamed the El Jive and he was pleased to see that none of his favorite baristas had left -- and dogs were still welcome. The baristas told him that they were now part of the Cafe El Marz Cooperative, there was a profit-sharing program and in fact, the restaurant and the coffee shop would be owned by the employees in a few years.

That seemed like a good thing to Dell and he congratulated the baristas.

He and Elvis went home and got ready to go to work at Doggie Daycare.

There's a parvovirus outbreak in the city, a dozen cases traced to an off-leash park across the city from the Doggie Daycare. Amy has been busy assuring her customers that she doesn't take their dogs to that park and making sure that all their dog-clients have been vaccinated against parvo. She also bought a case of bleach and put all the volunteers, including Del, to work scrubbing and bleaching every inch of the floor, the kennels, and the runs. The boss had all the chips and dirt scraped off the play area and replaced with fresh dirt, gravel and chips.

Everything smelled good and fresh, Del thought, like a laundromat in a hamster cage. Most of the Doggie Daycare customers took a look at how clean everything was and didn't worry that their dogs would get sick.

However, some clients have asked Amy and Tom to care for their dogs at home and have paid a pretty penny for the service. Del has been assigned to one dog in his neighborhood and for these duties, he is paid. The little extra bit of money was good to have -- Del planned to buy himself a nice big steak at the store -- and share the bone with Elvis.

The dog owners have left very specific instructions: no dog parks, don't let the dog sniff at anything, no contact with other dogs, exactly one cup  of dry food at 9:30 in the morning, scooped poop goes into the special garbage can... the list went on for two pages. Del left Elvis in the car and carefully walked the dog around the neighborhood three times a day, and played a little fetch with her. After three days it was clear to him that the dog was lonely and he asked Amy if Fluffball could come back to doggie daycare.

"I'll ask," Amy said, "But they're scared that the dog will catch parvo. She's been vaccinated and is young and healthy, but her owners are ultra-cautious."

It was a week before Fluffball came back to Doggie Daycare, even though her owners insisted she be kept in a separate run and not be allowed to come in contact with any of the other dogs. Still, she seemed to be happier with the other dogs around, Dell thought.

It has been raining non-stop for days and Elvis, who hates rain, has been a big grumble. Dell has to get the golf umbrella out to coax him outside, but today it's too windy for the umbrella. They have to use a default walk out by the covered play shed on the school grounds. Dogs are not technically allowed on the school grounds, but the kids know Elvis and Dell is careful to pick up after Elvis very carefully.

Other dogs get in and do their business near the shed too, really, the shed is a kind of dog magnet. Dell picks up after them too, but today even Dell is a little jumpy about parvo. There are stray dogs in the neighborhood, so he took Elvis, grumbling the whole way, to another corner of the field, where he had to do his business in the rain.

He grumbled and glared at Dell the whole way back to the house.

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