Singing has always been a special talent of mine, remember? Today I am happy to share with you an unedited MP3 sound file of my two-minute, eleven-second unedited Duet titled “Warm Up to Improv.” Here is what My Critic had to say:
“Louie’s improv is captivating! Starting with a warm up which leads you into a haunting melody with beautifully shaped phrases, Louie crescendos to a climax where he uses the extended technique called howl-bark. He then gently guides the listener back to a peaceful place where his beautifully expressive voice makes the most of diminuendos with his final diminuendo fading into silence. Louie will keep you hanging before the final resolution. What you think is the last diminuendo might not be! Louie is a soulful singer who will capture your heart.” My Critic
I , Louie, joyously turned one year old on June seventh!
June seventh marked my twelfth month here on Earth, and Life continues to be Fabulously Grand! I hope that you are enjoying life as much as I!!
Louie Armstrong’s lyrics perfectly state my view of the world:
“I see trees of green
red roses too
I see them bloom
for me and you
and I think to myself
what a wonderful world
I see skies of blue
and clouds of white
the bright blessed day
the dark sacred night
and I think to myself
what a wonderful world…”
I teeter on seventy pounds, I am two-and-a-half feet tall, and I can stretch my paws up to my puppy raiser’s shoulders while standing only on my back two feet!!
June’s arrival brought with it a gift for all in Big Boy class! It was a large transparent blue plastic ball which had swallowed a yellow tennis ball. As I peered inside, it was as if I were looking into what humans call a crystal ball! I sensed even more exciting adventures were just around the corner but I also sensed a slight unrest of two body parts.
My puppy raisers sang to me a song titled “Happy Birthday” the moment our six eyelids collectively lifted on June Seventh, 2016. Apparently humans practice the tradition of counting their time here on Earth with an annual celebration, but do not they know? Every day is a celebration!
My puppy raisers think that I am a kind and gentle soul (not to mention incredibly talented and brilliant), so their two wishes for me on this twelfth month are to reach my full potential and become one of Hero Dogs’ finest!
The unrest that I had sensed while glancing into the crystal ball was realized because there were two members of this body I coordinate, who had received a minor visit from a fellow named Infection. Infection was a rude visitor so I had to ask him to leave… on my birthday. Take it from me, Louie, it is a challenging job coordinating all these body parts.
Two days later, before Big Boy class, I visited my girlfriend, Doc, because Infection would not listen to me nor my puppy raisers. It was during this visit that I learned the annoying visitor’s full name, Bacterial Infection. Infection was quite tiny; however, Infection decided to harass one ear and one gland. I, Louie, am too much a gentlemen to be so brusque as to mention the gland in question. Doc was one of my very first girlfriends, remember? I love her. I knew that Infection would have no choice but to listen to Doc. No worries, my girlfriend made Infection leave, and all my body parts are once again in top notch condition performing their A game, and ready for any adventure that comes my way.
Days before Infection decided to pay me a surprise visit, I went shopping. When I was just a little pup, my pearly whites succumbed to temptation by nibbling on a pair of cork bottom sandals. I am quite the handsome big boy now, so off we went to the Towson Town Center with my puppy raiser’s sister in search of shoes and lunch. This handsome, debonair big boy was excellent in the shoe shop. I remained in a down-stay the entire time my puppy raiser’s feet tried on and walked around me in mouth-watering shoes. There were two sales humans; one helped my puppy raiser, and the other who entered from the back room a little later told my puppy raiser that he had reservations when he saw me enter the shop because he was highly allergic to us canines. To his surprise he was perfectly fine with my presence, and asked our secret! I was admired by both sales humans, and when it came time to go I hesitated because it was so comfy in the shop. I had my ‘place’ and a bone to chew, and was even able to take a short nap. My puppy raiser found two pairs of shoes in this shop, and my pearly whites will be holding these shoes in high regard.
I also remained settled on my place under a table, while the entire time two unknown small humans sprinted as fast as their little legs would carry them, simultaneously screaming at an impressive decibel level, all around the food court. I would say it was a successful day – all around.
One day after I visited my girlfriend, Doc, I went on an adventure! The Crayola Experience is a colorful factory for small humans located in Easton, Pennsylvania where crayons come to life! As we entered the Crayola Experience, a security guard quizzed my puppy raisers about me. For what was I being trained? What skills can I perform? Et cetera… So my puppy raiser rattled off a list of skills, one being that I could pick up dropped keys and return them. It seemed his eyes lit up after a thought flashed through his mind. The guard deliberately dropped his massive key chain as his lips hummed, ‘hmmm.’ This key chain was loaded! He must be a very important man! There were so many keys on this chain that its weight was very heavy! Anyway, I remained focused and did what I knew to do… I figured out how to pick up this massive key chain, and handed it to my puppy raiser. The guard’s jaw dropped slightly, and I made him happy.
He told another Crayola Experience employee about me who told another, who told another. It seemed everywhere we went, the employees knew all about me, Louie. My reputation preceded me, and they all greeted me with large, toothy smiles. Remember, I do have a happy list, and it is ever-growing, which in turn makes me, Louie, extraordinarily happy!
I was listening to how the colors are created and how the wax is dyed and formed, when I realized just how comfortably cool I was on this very hot day, lying on my dhurrie in a dark room while chomping on my tasty Nylabone. I allowed Mr. Sandman to do his job, and I fell fast asleep. After I awoke, the small, newly-turned-five-year-old-human whom I accompanied gave me the command ‘paws up.’ So naturally I put my front paws up on a glass partition where the Crayola speaker found much humor. This debonair, newly-one-year-old-big-boy was very tall next to the five-year-old human who was mesmerized during the entire presentation… although I do think that had he been given a dhurrie, he would have curled up beside me and fallen fast asleep as well.
After my rather productive power nap, I met Frog who had never blinked an eye… not even once! Even while I practiced ‘paws up‘ on his back, he remained perfectly still as he watched over all the small humans. I wonder if that could have been his job; to watch over all the small humans who climbed through the giant maze? I would rather have climbed through the enormously tall, wide, vibrantly colorful maze, but it had no footing for me so I had to be patient and wait for the small human’s return. This is what humans refer to as a silver lining; if I had not patiently waited, I never would have met Frog!
Though I was not able to participate in many Crayola activities, I was permitted to walk on an ever-changing floor. There was a floor of bubbles, of buildings, of the sky… it was amazing. I could walk on the bubbles without popping them, stick my head in the clouds, leap tall buildings in a single bound…yes, indeedy, I was super pup!
Very early that morning, before leaving for the Crayola Experience, the small human forgot to knock before entering my room. His entrance startled me and I barked once but then I recognized the small human, and I laid on my belly. What impressed my puppy raiser the most was that I crawled on my belly a couple of feet towards him. After all, I did not want to frighten the small human. I acted like a very big boy which pleased everyone.
I must ask my brain to remember this behavior, especially when the angel who is perched on my one shoulder and the little devil who is perched on my opposite shoulder continue to enjoy yanking the puppy in me to and fro. My puppy raisers are quite sure that they have witnessed the two in past debates.
Of course, between adventures I absolutely love to play, and one day my puppy raiser came home with two new oversized tennis balls! I turned one year old but he brought home two balls just for me, Louie! They are fantastic, and together they fit in my mouth perfectly.
I so much enjoy the game of Fetch! I am superb at retrieving ground balls often on the first bounce. All of my coordinated body parts work together to dramatically throw this body one hundred percent into retrieving the balls… so much so that sideways somersaults are common place. When I miss a ground ball my vocal chords voice their dismay in a long bass grunt, similar to the sound of the former tennis star, John McEnroe, in the midst of a serve.
Next up was the LZ Maryland: Vietnam Veterans Event at the Timonium fair grounds. LZ stands for ‘landing zone,’ a place for safety. The event honored Vietnam Veterans. I was honored to have met many wonderful humans that day, and to work three hours alongside many of my buddies from Hero Dogs big boy class.
It had been a while since attending a movie, so with soaring temperatures I went to a movie! The theatre was cool and dark and had the familiar scents, and night lights on the floor. Since I was not permitted to take advantage of the new reclining, plush leather seats, I laid on my trusty mat on the carpeted floor where I chewed on my bone and enjoyed my dinner. When I looked up I saw the largest horse ever! It was the size of an entire wall! I also witnessed a lightning and thunderstorm up close and personal but I had never gotten wet! My puppy raiser observed me as I tilted my chin up and watched with amazement. After those two larger-than-life scenes and dinner, I curled up and treated myself to a nice nap.
On Fathers Day we went over to a small human’s house. He arrived on Earth the same day that my puppy raisers were blessed with me, Louie! Remember?
We celebrated Fathers Day and we played musical chairs to celebrate my birthday! I very much loved the game of musical chairs, and I even won the first round! Although the game is called ‘musical chairs,’ you can not fool me, Louie. I know that the music “What a Wonderful World,” which was chosen for this game, was not sung by the chairs since chairs do not own a mouth nor vocal chords, though I have observed that chairs do scream when dragged across a hard floor.
After musical chairs I was measured using the small human’s growth stick. This was not very exciting even with the attractive, artfully crafted, bigger-than-life ruler. I would rather have played another round of musical chairs, but instead I patiently waited while I was measured solely because that is what I was asked. Do not you think that was another big boy behavior?
I did, however, dive into the cat food, swayed by that little devil on my one shoulder. Remember the pair of white and black long-haired felines, Marley and Hendrix? It was their food I swiped. I wonder if that is why Marley snagged my attention from around the corner in the midst of being measured while standing on my back feet?
Another day – another game to celebrate my birthday month! Bob for Apples is such a fun game! I was introduced to this game in class some time ago, and I loved it! After checking out each other’s apples, my puppy raiser and I proceeded to bob for apples from our respective buckets. We both successfully lifted apples from the water using our pearly whites.
My very first baseball game was in Washington, DC, remember? My second baseball game was in Baltimore at Camden Yards. The Baltimore team is named the Baltimore Orioles just like the colorful orange-and-black Baltimore Oriole bird!
Transported via automobile rather than the long silver, people-packed-like-sardines-in-a-can tube, I shared my floor space with a tall male human’s rather long legs. This was a tight fit which both he and my puppy raiser found amusing. He is referred to as ‘nephew,’ and is already a senior in college with a major in engineering. You met his sibling in September – do you remember the Virginia Symphony? Just like Ruby and I are siblings, so are these two humans.
The game had a very exciting start! We began to sit in the row in front of our ticketed seats because our seats were occupied. When the humans who borrowed our seats observed us getting situated they insisted that we take our original seats. Just a few minutes after taking our ticketed seats, a baseball player hit the pitched ball into the row we had just left, which was just about two rows in front of our original seats where were seated. Had we not changed our seats I might have acquired an Oriole baseball souvenir!
The night was fun, Camden Yards was beautiful, the weather was great, and the Baltimore Orioles defeated the San Diego Padres seven to two.
This second to last day of June, my puppy raisers and I are loading ourselves and our trunks into a transport automobile. We are transporting ourselves to Atlanta, Georgia in order to attend the wedding of a dear friend. This transport will last ten-and-a-half hours without traffic or stops.
Do not you think that humans could learn a lot from Harry Potter when it comes to forms of transportation?
… to be continued …
Jammin’: excellent, very busy, musical improvisation.
I very much love living life in this Wonderful World with all of you!
I am Louie, Louie I am.