My Best Friend is Grey- Book Seven

Case Dismissed- Gail & Fog go to Court

Fog in the Hospital

Report from Dr.Shapiro

Fog has Surgery- He is OKAY

An Excellent Report From Dr. S - Fog comes home Monday

Fog Comes Home!!!!

Fog got his stitches out Monday-Day 11 Boot camp and Clomicalm

Fog visits the animal behaviorist

Fog Tries to Outwit the Behaviorist's Training

Fog Meets a Herd of Elephants  



Subj: Case Dismissed- Gail & Fog go to Court

Date: 2/4/03

Dear Friends:

Today was our court appearance for Fog's ticket for being off leash in Central Park. I did my hair and makeup and put on a nice dress and heels for our appearance, since our attorney, Leplawdawg, advised us to dress respectfully for court. I had a hard time figuring out where the court was, so I called the police precinct, which of course gave me the totally wrong location!! Catherine Street, anyone? Never heard of it!! By the time I figured out the correct location, I was over an hour late. GRRRRRRR!!!

To gain admission to the building you had to go thru security, metal detector and the metal detector wand being passed over you-also show ID!! Then go up stairs and join the line of about 100 people. Our friend Christophe warned us that I would be among the Public Urinators and other unsavory characters. Was that an understatement!! I waited on line for an hour to be assigned a courtroom. There were only 5 other women in line. The rest were men in baggy jeans with the crotches around their knees. Those jeans are so strange-they made all the men look like they have dwarf proportions. When you see a roomful of men standing on line dressed like that it begins to look very Fellini-esque. And they all smelled like Public Urinators, too. (Hey, is that what PU is short for?) Or cigarettes. I smelled like Chanel No. 5. I started imagining that the air was full of germs.............ewwwwwww!!!!!!!

Eventually I got sent to a courtroom, which was overcrowded, so I got to stand in line outside for an hour, knitting. By that time my feet were killing me from the high heels and I was thinking about serious boot camp for Fog. From time to time, the court officer would come out to recall people that were absent when their cases were originally called. When he came out into the hall and called "Sheik Abdullah" people smirked.

Finally I got called into the courtroom and shown to a seat in the back, where I waited for another 45 minutes for my case to be called. Again, it were about 100 seedy looking guys that were wearing down jackets that needed dry cleaning, and me. SOOOO CREEPY!! In the meantime I got to hear the others who were ahead of me. Christophe was right. "Public urination, Public urination, Open container, Driving without a licensee, Public urination, Being in the park after midnight, Underage drinking (Jack Daniels-one of the women), Public urination, Dog off leash (another of the women- she had 3 Chihuahuas)" Finally I got called, but I was all the way in the back and had to collect my handbag, tote bag, coat, shawl and crawl over 2 guys to get to the aisle, and it took forever for me to get to the front of the room.

In the meantime the bailiff said "No rush, we're here all day." It was so embarrassing!!

The judge was a real comedian, as was the court assigned Public Defender. The judge asked me if I had my dog in my bag. I was very flustered about being in front of all those people, so I was fumbling around and turning red. I was so happy that at least my back was to the room. The judge said, "Do you promise to never have your dog off leash again, even in your apartment?" and I said, "No, your Honor." Then the attorney interjected, saying, "Your Honor, I've explained to my client to never do this again" and the Judge asked me if I understood and I said "Yes" and the judge said , "Fine, then, case dismissed." Some people laughed.

So Fog the Misdemeanor is now Case Dismissed, and we will be working very hard on our recall, and wearing a watch with an alarm!!

XO Gail & Fog

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Subj: Fog in the Hospital

Date: 2/6/03

Dear Friends,

Fog is back in the hospital today. He got up at 4:30 AM and started throwing up. He threw up 1/2 of a small hollow yellow ball, and some bone fragments. (The ball is not Fog's) I thought that would be the end of if and that he would be okay, but he threw up yellow bile a few more times. Then he went to sleep. This morning when he woke up he began to throw up yellow bile again, but nothing else, so I took him to Dr. Shapiro right away. He didn't feel well because he was walking right next to me instead of out in front pulling a little like usual.

Dr. Shapiro examined and X-rayed him, and said that he has something in his stomach that looks exactly like the scrap of tennis ball he had last time. He has been NO WHERE NEAR a tennis ball. Dr. S said that he also has some debris in his intestine, but that is moving along. The object in his stomach is not moving. The Doctor is going to try to avoid surgery by using an endoscope and putting it down Fog's throat and try to pull the object out.

Fog also got bit by a German shepherd a few days ago. I washed the wound with soap and water and put Isobentadine on it, and it was healing well. Then other day Aline and I noticed that the area was swollen and hard. So I was going to take him in to see Dr. S for this, but the obstruction is more serious. Dr. S said that this bite was in a difficult spot because it is down low on his chest, between his front legs, so when he sits or stands, gravity pulls it into his armpit. He said sometimes a bite will get infected and sometimes not. So the doctor sedated Fog and opened the bite and drained it. He has a drain in now.

I am so depressed. That poor dog has been thru so much, and he is such a good dog. You should have seen him this morning. He went crazy when he saw DR. Z, who is semi retired and given over the practice to Dr. Shapiro. He was wagging his tail and scrambling around because he was so happy to see Dr. Z. When I took him into the exam room he jumped onto the table and was smiling at Dr. S. And again Dr. Shapiro said what a great dog he is and that they love seeing him. Please send a good thought that Fog wont' need to have surgery again. Thanks to all for your support.

XO Gail & Fog

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Subj: Report from Dr.Shapiro re Fog 4:30 PM 2/6/03

Date: 2/6/03

Dear Friends,

Dr. Shapiro says that Fog is not is danger like he was last time. That is what I was so worried about. Dr. S is waiting for the debris that is in his intestines to work its way out of his body. He is waiting to do the endoscopy because he must sedate Fog to do it and sedating him will slow the action of his GI tract, delaying the elimination of the debris in his intestines.

He said that when he does the endoscopy, if the object in his stomach is too big to pass thru his esophagus without injuring it, he will have to operate on his stomach. He does not want to risk injuring Fog's esophagus. He will take another X ray tomorrow to see what is doing. In the meantime Fog is resting, but of course he cannot have any food. Poor boy.

XO Gail & Fog

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Subj: Fog has Surgery- He is OKAY

Date: 2/7/03

Dear Friends,

Fog had his surgery this afternoon. Dr. Shapiro tried the endoscope, and he was able to see a piece of rubber ball. He was able to grab it with the endoscope, but it was firmly lodged in the pyloric valve (a sphincter-type muscle that is between the stomach and small intestine). Dr. S was afraid to tug on it because he was afraid that he would damage the valve. When he opened Fog up, he also discovered some plastic bags inside him, too. Thank dogs the surgery went well, and he is up and alert now. He has an IV with antibiotics in now, and Dr. Shapiro will call in the morning and report on how he is doing. He is watching him to make sure he does not develop an infection.

I don't know how long he will keep Fog. The last time he sent Fog home after 3 days, but he was so active that he broke his stitches and had to go back for more. I think that he did it pulling on his leash, struggling to get to Larry his favorite doorman, who gives him cookies. So Dr. Shapiro may keep him longer than he would a "normal" dog.

Poor boy- and we had 5" of wonderful snow today, too. : *** (

Thank you everyone for all your good wishes!!

XO Gail & Fog

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Subj: An Excellent Report From Dr. S - Fog comes home Monday

Date: 2/8/03

Dear Friends,

I am so thrilled to report that Fog is doing very well and will get to come home on Monday. He is back to normal according to Dr. Shapiro. He said that he fed Fog and a few minutes later he was throwing his food dish around demanding MORE!!!

Dr. S said that he is in great shape, he is surprised that he is so strong and muscular after having had the surgeries in September. He said that his recuperative powers are amazing. Dr. S said that when he comes home, he is to have NO activity, just one spin around the block and then home-for 2 weeks. He said that Fog should wear a muzzle or Halti, and that while he is retraining we can try some Clomicalm temporarily to help him relax and focus.

Dr. Shapiro also said that he loves Fog so much he wishes that I would will Fog to Dr. Shapiro. I told him that I only hope that Fog outlives me!! He said again what a great dog he is.

I'll be so happy when my boy comes home. It won't be long now.

Thanks for all the good wishes-they really help!!

XO Gail & Fog

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Subj: Fog Comes Home!!!!

Date: 2/10/03

Dear Friends,

I went to get Fog this morning. He is looking great and is his usual tail wagging self. He has a large incision all down his tummy, with all the big hairy black stitches. He has 2 antibiotics, Cephalexin and Metronidazole, and Rimadyl for pain. Dr. Shapiro also discovered 2 areas of tartar buildup on his teeth, so he cleaned those and put on a "sealant" that will prevent the plaque from building up. He also gave me a dental kit called ProVSeal that is a little container of waxy looking stuff that I can spread on his teeth once a week to protect them. He also gave me some special kibble that he uses as treats that will clean his teeth. Fog also has a case of ID dog food that is easy to digest. He will have this for his dinner for the next few weeks instead of his regular food. I will be doing a little nursing duty, too, because Fog needs hot compresses on his bite wound 3-4 times per day for 5-10 minutes. And he has the E collar to wear, too,

Dr. Shapiro also walked Fog himself a few times, and after that experience he advocated the use of Clomicalm as an aid in Fog's training. He said that Fog doesn't even look for places to go potty, he in only interested in hunting for food, even gum on the street. This is absolutely accurate. I also got the name of an animal behavior consultant, Peter Borchelt, Ph.D., who Dr. Shapiro said is the man that Animal Medical recommends as the best in NY. Fees range from $250-$450.

Fog will get his stitches out next Monday at 9am. Until then, and for the week following, his activity is restricted to a walk around the block one time.

He is in boot camp starting now, and he's a little unhappy about not being allowed on the sofa-he likes to perch up there because he can see the entire apartment since the sofa is right in the center of the apartment. He can see into Aline's room, the kitchen, my work table and the computer. I put his bed on the floor next to the sofa, so he is lying there, but he is making that sad face where they pout a little and raise their "eyebrows" in that pleading expression. Boot camp is going to be very very tough..................for me and Aline, that is!

This latest medical adventure cost $3040, but I notice that Dr. Shapiro didn't charge for 60 day's worth of Clomicalm, the case of dog food, 2 packages of teeth cleaning treats, 2 month supply of ProVSeal dental treatment, and 5 day's worth of Rimadyl.

XO Gail & Fog

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Subj: Fog got his stitches out Monday-Day 11 Boot camp and Clomicalm

Date: 2/20/03

Dear Friends,

We have a lot of news to share! Fog had his stitches out on Monday, and he has healed up beautifully. He has not been drinking any water, however, so Dr. Shapiro did a blood panel to check his kidney function. It has come back normal, so Dr. S attributes his lack of thirst to the Clomicalm that he is taking. I have been pouring water on his food and he drinks all of that, so I'm getting liquid into him that way. I am also serving him homemade chicken broth, no salt added, and he loves that as well, so he is well hydrated and not in any danger.

Fog has been out off leash for the past 3 days in the morning-2 days with his new muzzle on, and one day in a beautiful clean dog run with no toys allowed. I got him a basket muzzle, it is made out of a soft, firm plastic, from the UPCO catalogue. It fits surprisingly well. He wiggled out of it 2 times the first day, and chewed off the felt strip that protects the top of his nose, so I have since replaced that with a piece of shearling fur which is softer anyway. Now I have it adjusted properly so that he can't get it off. He tries by scraping his face on the snow or by throwing himself on his back and wiggling, trying to rub off the neck strap against the ground, and tipping his head back and trying to rub off the nose piece. This looks especially funny because he wiggles so furiously that there are legs, ears, and tail flailing in all directions and snow flying everywhere. like he is causing his own personal blizzard. Everyone thinks that he is enthusiastic about the snow until I point out the muzzle. He has gotten an inevitable Hannibal Lechter remark, which we have tried to laugh off. One very sympathetic friend said, "Oh, Big Stuff, why is you nose in jail?" He rubs his nose in the snow and packs the muzzle with snow, which turns his nose red, so I am a little worried about that, and have been stopping to take off the muzzle and shake the snow out of it. As much as I am sorry that he has to be in the muzzle, I must say that it is a relief to know that he is safe when he is off leash.

I think that the Clomicalm is finally kicking in, but I am a little concerned about it. Fog is so subdued that he doesn't feel like the Weim I know. He walks next to me on his leash, he doesn't pull, he expresses interest in food he sees on the street, particularly if there are pigeons around it, but he does not lunge for it, he will motion towards it, but that is all. He makes no attempt to tear open the large black plastic garbage bags that are out for collection, and there is no furious, compulsive sniffing on the street and at the garbage bags. He doesn't feel like my dog. The past 3 nights he has slept on his bed thru the entire night and has not attempted to get in bed with me, even in the middle of the night. During the day he places a tentative foot on the sofa, and when you tell him "no, off" he removes the foot. He hesitates when he is given a command that he doesn't like, but he will obey without grumbling, after considering it a minute. And he listens when he is given a command in a soft voice.

It is all very very strange, and I am struggling with feelings of guilt, worrying that I have taken away his spirit. He seems to be keeping to himself and I worry that he thinks he is being punished. He seems so sad. He was running and laughing at the dog park, when he had no muzzle and could run free, and when I gave him 2 new toys, he had a blast chewing on them and trying to tear them up, but those are the only times I have seen him joyful and exuberant since we started Boot camp and Clomicalm 11 days ago. He is much better behaved, Aline, Robin and his dog walker Carol have all noticed. Carol said today that he did not seem himself. So I am worried. He is better behaved but at what price? Is the Clomicalm too strong? I would appreciated feedback, as I feel I could use some guidance. Thanks to everyone for you thoughts and advice!

XO Gail & the New Fog???

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Subj: Fog visits the animal behaviorist

Date: 2/25/03

Dear Friends,

This afternoon we had a visit for Dr. B, the animal behaviorist recommended by Dr. Shapiro. Dr. B also consults with Animal Medical Hospital.

Dr. B came over at 3, and began by taking a detailed history of Fog's behavior problems. He wanted to know all about his food fixation, when it began, if he had ever been on a strict reduction diet, or malnourished, how many meals he eats per day and how fast, etc. He also wanted to know how much exercise and playtime Fog gets each day, and how much time he spends sniffing and exploring in the park Vs playing fetch with me and playing with other dogs.

He said that the most obvious question to ask would be if Fog is food deprived or undernourished, or had a history of either. TO my knowledge he does not, and does not show any evidence of that.

Next he would question whether there is an illness or imbalance of some sort that would cause the food obsession. Again, he had received excellent medical care since I've had him, and there is no reason to think that he had any illness.

This leads Dr. B to wonder if Fog is what he called "sniff deprived." He explained that this is not uncommon in urban dogs. The dog enjoys sniffing on the street at all the wonderful smells, but because so many of them can be dangerous to the dog, the owner jerks the dog away, depriving him of the satisfaction of getting a good noseful of aroma. Dr. B said that the dog may only be deprived of a few second's worth of sniffing at each site, but that is enough to make the dog feel frustrated. The dog gradually learns that the only way he will be able to increase his sniffing time and feel satisfied is to grab at the thing he wants to sniff before the owner can jerk him away. The whole thing escalates from there with the dog eventually grabbing and swallowing everything in sight. So what began as a desire to have a good noseful of scent turns into what looks like a food obsession. Dr. B equated the annoyance that the dog feels at "sniff interruptus" as equal to what we might experience if we were trying to read and concentrate and someone took the book away just as we were finishing each paragraph. He said that this problem is especially found in hunting dogs that are olfactory (nose) oriented. I described to him how Fog has his head down all the time on the ground sniffing so hard that you would think that he is going to hyperventilate, and he said, yes, he is tracking and enjoying using his nose.

The training for solving this problem is somewhat paradoxical. Dr. B said that I should have Fog on his Halti, or a lighter weight version of the Halti, which he makes, called the Snoot-Loop (he gave me one). Fog should be on a long lightweight 16'-25' Flexi-leash. The idea of the training will be to give him as much freedom as possible to range as far as he likes, to sniff everything he likes for as long as he likes, but NOTHING in his mouth. Dr. B said that the extra length on the Flexi allows Fog to approach something to sniff quicker, while I catch up, and then I can walk ahead while he continues to sniff at the thing, if he wants to. This provides Fog with additional sniffing time, which sounds like only minor amounts, he said it may only be a few seconds more that he wants. Dr. B took us out in the neighborhood and we walked around 4 blocks while he demonstrated the correct way to allow Fog to sniff-letting him have his nose about 4" away from anything he wanted, and stopping the leash to limit his reach if he attempted to get closer to the object. He doesn't want me to pop the leash, or drag him away, just stop the leash so that he can continue to sniff, but not eat. Of course this will require vigilance on my part, and the Dr. warned that he may manage to get something in his mouth (he fooled Dr. B while we were out and got a bread crust that was hiding under a car), but he encouraged me to just continue and that Fog will eventually understand that he is allowed to sniff but not eat. He said that if he does get something, to try to take it away form him. He said that if I am unable to take the thing away from him, I should pull on the Snoot Loop so that his mouth is closed and he cannot swallow. That way the whole experience at least will unpleasant for him and discourage him form repeating it.

I asked if he doesn't get enough sniffing time in the Park when he is out for an hour and a half each morning, and Dr. B said that that depends on what he is doing while he is out. If he is spending his time playing with other dogs, and playing fetch with me, then his nose may not be getting enough of a workout. Can you hear Hal thinking "tracking exercises" right about now!! You are right, Hal, and we will be playing some tracking games with Fog in the park.

Dr. B said that Fog's problem is unusual in that you cannot be 100 percent sure that there isn't an element of food obsession, too. He suggests that it may help to get Fog to slow down his eating so that the "fullness" message has time to get from his stomach to his brain, and so that he has time to actually taste and enjoy his food instead of inhaling it. I told Dr. B about the chain in his dog dish to slow his eating, and he said that while ingenious, he needs to be slowed down even more. He said that the way to do that was to feed him very small amounts of food in his dish, just a few kibbles and a green bean or two, make him sit, realize him, allow his to eat, then put a few more kibbles and another green bean or two, and repeat until he has had his meal.

I told Dr. B that we were doing Boot camp with Fog, and 30 minute downstays. He thought that that was fine, but that it would have no effect on solving his problem. He said that if Fog is sniff deprived that it wont' matter how Alpha I am, he will still be sniff deprived. But of course he thought that any exercises that I did with Fog were good, because they gave Fog a chance to use his mind and interact with me, he just didn't think that they were the solution to his problem. We are continuing with Boot camp anyway, because Aline and I agree that he is better behaved and that he was getting too big for his britches.

(I think Dr.B had to choke back a laugh when I put Fog's fur coat on him when we went outside, too!)

We discussed the continued use of Clomicalm, which we started a week ago. Fog had been on 80 mg per day, which is the standard dose for a dog of his size. He remained alert and curious, but Aline and I and his human friend Carol down the street noticed him as very subdued. It made me uncomfortable, so I called Dr. Shapiro and asked for his opinion. He said that Fog sounded like a normal dog and the dosage sounded appropriate, but that if I wanted to reduce his dosage by half that I could try it and see the results. He has been on 40 mg for the past 3 days and while he is challenging us a tiny bit more (attempts to put a foot on the sofa, sneaks into Aline's room to try to get on the bed) he is not a wild man, so I think we will stay at the 40 mg for the time being. Dr. B said that is the very low end of the range for his size, so we may need to increase. He said that it is often unknown exactly why Clomicalm works in some behavioral situations, but that it is good that it does.

He also suggested the Pro Guard Softie Muzzle for Fog, which he said is very lightweight and should be more comfortable for him. I also told Dr. B about my idea for a muzzle that would allow the dog to open his mouth, to catch a ball or Frisbee, for example, but not allow any object or food to get into his mouth. It would be constructed like a sock puppet and go over his nose and lower jaw, and be made of a sturdy breathable washable mesh. Dr. B said that he has not heard of such a thing, but if I would like to make a prototype that he would be interested in testing in on his patients and putting it on his website a no cost to me. He said that there would probably not be a great demand for such a thing, but even if you only sold 600, it would be an interesting project.

So I will be ordering Fog's new muzzle, allowing him to sniff everywhere, playing tracking games with him and feeding his meals in very small servings. We are supposed to check in with Dr. B on Monday to let him know our progress.

XO Gail & Fog

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Subj: Fog Tries to Outwit the Behaviorist's Training

Date: 2/26/03

Dear Friends,

I went out today with Fog and we bought the new Flexi-lead as advised by Dr B the Animal Behaviorist. We went to Spoiled Brats and used Fog's prize money from winning the Halloween contest on our block to pay for it. We also bought him a St. Patrick's Day cookie and a rubber Kong type toy that is shaped like a fire hydrant.

As we were walking home, I was practicing allowing him to range out ahead of me, stopping him when he came to within a few inches of a tidbit on the street, allowing him to sniff as long as he liked, and then move on when he was finished, as we were taught by Dr. B.

Well, it wasn't long before we came across a piece of pizza dropped into the gutter. I let Fog approach it. He strained towards it with his nose, stretching his neck, but I just stopped and waited while he sniffed. His nose was about 4" away from the slice. I made sure I had a good grip and had my feet planted. Fog continued to reach with his nose towards the slice, but he wasn't getting anywhere. I wondered how long he was going to think about this problem and what his next move would be. After a few seconds, he tipped his head to one side and regarded the pizza. Then he reached out his big front foot and slapped it down onto the center of the slice, and dragged it towards him!!! Is that a SMART boy?!? I stepped back a bit, and he continued to stretch towards the slice. Then, it seemed that he decided that the slice wasn't worth the struggle, and he turned away from it.

XO Gail & Fog

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Subj: Fog Meets a Herd of Elephants

Date: 3/19/03

Dear Friends,

Every year the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus comes to New York City and performs in Madison Square Garden. The night before the run of performances begins, all the animals must be brought into the city. The railroad cars that the animals travel on can only get as far as Queens. Because there are no tracks into the city, the railroad cars are left in Queens, and the animals disembark there and parade thru the Queens Midtown tunnel that runs under the East River. Then they walk 2 blocks south along 2nd Ave., turn right and parade across 34th street 8 long blocks to Madison Square Garden. This happens at midnight when there is a minimum of traffic.

I decided that it would be very exciting for Fog to see an elephant, and was I right!! Aline and I took him out last night and walked the 20 blocks to Macy's. We didn't see anyone, and it was 12:01, so we started to get worried that we might have the wrong night. Or what if the procession is very slow moving, and the elephants don't get across town until 3am? It was down to 31 degrees again, after having been very mild, and we couldn't stand outside too long, we hadn't dressed warmly enough (It was windy.) We walked with Fog to the Empire State Building at 5th Ave and 34th street, but no sign of the circus parade. We gave up at 12:30 and headed back home.

Just as we got to Macy's we saw a group of people that looked like elephant seekers! We were right! Aline asked one of New York's finest (and cutest) if he knew anything about the elephants, and he assured us that they were on the way. We planted ourselves curbside where we hoped to get a good view, and before the elephants came into view, Fog's nose started to twitch and his ears perked up. Something was in the air!!!

When they came into view, it was so exciting!! It was just a small group, and felt almost intimate. There was an escort of police cruisers, and cops supervising to make sure that everyone stayed out of the street. The lead Elephant was wearing a large banner that said "I Love NY!!" and was ridden by a beautiful woman in a sparkly costume.

Fog was overcome with wonder! He didn't know what to do, except that he wanted to get closer! He pulled hard against his collar until he was on his back feet with his front legs in the air. In that position he was taller than me and almost Aline's height. I was holding his leash with both hands and Aline had her arms wrapped around his neck and was holding on tight! He stayed in that position, standing up on his back legs, for the rest of the parade. Aline and I were both leaning back to prevent him from dragging forward.

The look on his face was priceless! He was completely amazed. He looked on with his eyes dilated and his mouth open, as if he was trying to take it all in and figure out what the giant animals could be. There were about 6 of them, and they lumbered along peacefully. Fog was so stunned, he didn't even bark, while he thought about how to react. You could see him turning it over in his mind, thinking if they looked or smelled like anything he had ever encountered before. If he had any fear, if was overcome by curiosity about the huge beasts.

Finally, he decided to bark to see what sort of reaction he could provoke in the little herd. When he barked, it was his deep chested baritone "WOOF! WOOF! WOOF! WOOF! WOOF!" The elephants didn't react at all, which puzzled Fog. He had tried to talk to them, and they seemed not to notice at all. And before you know it, the strange creatures had turned the corner, and were gone!

The only evidence that they had even been there was the small street cleaner chugging along 34th street in the cold night air.

XO Gail & Fog

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