Teddy Ballgame – by Max

May 1, 2019

Hi there, Max here!

I am Don and Liana’s first dog. I am the first Salty Dog. I am 12 years old. I am Max – Maximus Gary Kingsbury. Did I mention that I am Don and Liana’s first dog?

I have been described as a “Great Dog” by you Bipeds. If that is true, then it is only because I stand on the shoulders of giants. A lot of dogs have come over my transom throughout the years. Most I forget. The others have been mentors, teachers, enemies, and even just random memories.

I’ve learned so many things from so many dogs – friendship, deviousness, empathy, steadfastness, humor, integrity, and tolerance. I also learned to appreciate a good game of “Bitey Face.”

Some of these dogs are still with us, some of them are gone. These are the dogs I remember.

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Kipper – Male Black Lab. I was 8 weeks old and I was fascinated with him. I remember I tried to share his food and he bit me on the head. Not hard, but just a gentle culmination of me not heeding his warning signals – growling, bared teeth, raised hackles… What a foolish pup I was! Kipper shall always be my Alpha Dog role model. When the whelps are acting up, I do what Kipper would do.

Kipper kept fetching until his dying day. He lived until a ripe old age of 17.

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Heebie – Male Black Lab. Herbert (Heebie) was sick almost the entire time I knew him. Don called him “Smilin’ Heebie” because he was always in such a good mood despite his health.

Heebie survived cancer, a kidney removal, eating a bottle of ibuprofen, a car accident, Lyme disease, and hepatitis. He suffered through seizures, chronic pneumonia, pancreatic insufficiency, food allergies, mange, and a bad thyroid.

He had the biggest heart and best attitude of any dog I’ve ever known. I miss him.

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Random Weimaraner (Sex Unknown) on a Random Long Island Beach. Attacked me for no reason when I was a pup. Don wrestled him/her to the ground and literally pulled my butt out of his mouth. Thanks Don!

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Olive – Girl Dachshund. Olive was as old as the hills when I first met her as a pup. She was a wise old girl and tough as grits – a true Alpha Dog. She singlehandedly took down a rat and a mole. Her food scrounging talents are legendary.

But killing wasn’t the only thing in her blood. She won the talent contest at the Mutt Scrub one year. Ironically, her trick was to play dead when her owner pretended to shoot her. Then she was attacked and maimed by a poodle in a New Jersey dog park. The poodle’s owner said the poodle “didn’t like small dogs” and didn’t pay for any of Olive’s vet bills.

Olive lived to be 18. She’s the oldest dog I’ve ever known.

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Flint – Male Vizsla. The fastest dog in the world. He would run circles around me at Wells Beach whilst I was flat-out running. He never even panted. He never went in the water. He would come over to our house and stare at a robins nest in our bushes. He would do that for hours. One time the Bipeds left him outside overnight. When Don opened the door in the morning, Flint was still staring at that birds nest. I don’t know where he is now (Flint, not Don).

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Henry – Male Black Lab Mix. Henry was a foster that Don and Liana brought into the Chez when I was a mere pup. Henry wolfed his food down like Auggie. Unlike Auggie, Henry would come over and attack me to take my food. I don’t know where Henry is now.

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Molly – Female Black Lab Mix. I only met Molly once when she came down to our house in Pownal. It was the winter and Don took us out back into the woods for a walk. There was crust on top of the snow and Don noticed blood in Molly’s prints halfway through our walk. Don carried her out of the woods in his arms. Her owner was Jay. Jay comes to the shop and gives all us dogs the best butt rubs.

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Auggie – Male Black Lab. I was 4 years old when Don and Liana brought home that little rascal. My life hasn’t been the same since. I love the little guy, but at the same time I could strangle him with my own paws. We play “Bitey Face” every morning and every once in a while I will pin his ample butt to the floor and not let him up until he yowls. Aug writes his own cranky blog. He’s also my best friend.

Auggie is loyal to a fault. He complains loudly about me and gives me a hard time. But if any other dog menaces me, Auggie will rush into the fray and defend me with his entire being. We are brothers.

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Coal – Male Black Lab. Did you know Coal and I used to Xxxplay togetherXxx before there was an Auggie? It’s true. I’m not sure why Don set that video to Tone Loc’s “Wild Thing” but it should serve as proof.

Coal was an odd dog. He was such a fetching-water-loving-lab-fool he would bark at the stick. He loved and sought out water in all its forms. He loved everyone and every dog he ever met, but when he tried to snuggle he was a sack of onions and very annoying.

Did you know his original name was “Cole?” He changed it to “Coal” in his blog I am Coal, Hear Me Bark!. He was a strange, gentle, crazy, free spirit.

Don and Liana loved him deeply. So did I.

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Ginger – Girl Dachshund. Auggie and Ginger were best buddies when they were pups. Auggie would chase her around the cabin and she would run straight to the top of the couch and taunt him. Aug wasn’t allowed on the couch, but he would lunge right up there and she’d tear-ass around the cabin with Auggie in hot pursuit. Everyone had so much fun watching them!

I remember when Auggie bit Ginger. It was Olive’s fault, but neither of them knew it. Auggie was minding his own business and eating his dinner, and Olive was in scrounge mode. Olive crowded Auggie, and he turned around and snapped at Ginger. That ended the budding Lab – Dachshund relationship.

It didn’t help that Ginger was hit by a car and the car didn’t stop to help her. She crawled under a bush and whimpered until a couple passing college students helped her. She had her back reconstructed and her tail is crooked.

She’s a different dog now. She whimpers all the time. She doesn’t want to be left alone. And she doesn’t play much anymore.

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Pearl – Girl Dachshund. Pearl was so innocent that she bordered on dumb. I loved her but she didn’t understand that the outside world can be a horrible place.

She was hit by a car after digging her way out of her fenced-in yard. Unlike Ginger, she didn’t survive.

Freedom. Horrible, horrible freedom.

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Buddy – Male Black Lab. The original Two Pooper. He just keeps coming at you. He has almost as much wrong with him as Heebie, but he keeps staggering at you with the best attitude. How he can even get up every morning is a mystery to me.

Some dogs don’t like Buddy because they can smell the arthritis, tumors, blindness, and deafness on him, but I always remember my friend Heebie and all his health problems. Sometimes I’ll have to correct the more aggressive dogs who don’t like a Buddy.

He’s a goofy old man. He loves to play High Five. Every once in a while he’ll play Bitey Face with me and Aug. That’s really fun. Unfortunately, I don’t think he remembers the game because the next time Aug and I try to engage him, he just looks at us blankly.

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Tater – Male Yellow Lab. I’ve never met another dog like Tater. He was the most aptly-named dog I ever met. He was a fat yellow dog and looked like a happy waddling Tater Tot with a perpetually wagging tail.

He was most notable for digging giant, filthy holes at the beach and wallowing in the muck. He fetched rocks. He made a point of pooping everywhere you could step in it. Even on our deck. He would destroy fetch sticks as though they would explode. He was always pursued by a cloud of mosquitoes, black flies, deer flies, horse flies, regular flies and those giant, green-eyed flies that don’t even have a name.

Don considered writing a blog from Taters point of view called “Taters Trails.” Tater would try to lose weight by hiking the easy BRLT Trails in the area, and write about the experience as though he just climbed the K2.

He was a happy dog.

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Harbor – Male Black Lab Mix. Founding member of the Horn Cove Gang. Reminded me a lot of Kipper. Super cool. A bad boy. If I were a Biped kid, Harbor would have taught me to smoke, drive a motorcycle, and disrespect my elders. He wasn’t a spastic bad boy – he was a large, slow, deliberate dog that went where he wanted when he wanted.

Tater used to follow him everywhere and Harbor would ditch him. We used to joke that if Tater had a phone he’d call home and say “I need a ride. Harbor left me at Dairy Queen again….”

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Mocha – Girl Lab Mix. She lives in town and will run away when she’s bored. Every time she does, she runs right into the shop and ransacks the treat bins.

She’s a bad girl and I love her!

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Bailey – Male Yellow Lab. Another new Horn Cove addition. At 6 months he was 85lbs – a puppy in a small horses body. He’d knock down all the little Bipeds at the beach. He’d trample the smaller dogs like Olive and not even know he was doing it. Even Don had deep scratches on his back from Bailey. I think he was mentally impaired.

It was the first time in my life I made a stand. I thought – “What would Kipper do? What would Harbor do? What would Olive do if she was as big as I was?”

I put myself between Bailey and the little Bipeds and dogs. I growled like I was some rabid coyote. I advanced on him and snapped at him if he tried to get around me. Eventually Bailey turned around and ran back home. This happened for most of a summer.

Now he’s afraid of me and his owners say I’m vicious. Ha. Vicious.

He doesn’t bother anyone at the beach now. He just barks at them from afar. It’s a longing kind of bark.

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Pippa – Small Female Dog. I watch out for eagles, coyotes, falcons, osprey, sea hawks, and owls when Pippa is in town. She’s so small she’d only be a tasty nibble for one of those nasty beasts.

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Zeus – Male Cheweenie. Zeus weighs about 3 pounds and his ears make up about 2 of those pounds. He has ears look like air brakes on an F-15. And he barks at things that aren’t there. All the time. Especially in the middle of the night. That gets Auggie and every guest dog in the house up and barking. When that happens, Don alternates between fits of despair and fits of rage.
Click Here for Zeus’s Instagram Page

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Teddy – Boy Black Lab Mix. He’s the new Salty Dog at Chez Salty.

Teddy tried to eat Auggie’s food, and Auggie “Kippered” him. Now they are the best of friends.

Teddy tried to mount me and I “Baileyed” him. Now we are the best of friends.

Teddy growled at Buddy. Buddy is almost totally deaf and blind and just walked right past Teddy. Now Teddy thinks Buddy is the most Alpha of Alpha dogs he’s ever met.

He’ll learn the rest.

Take care, everyone!

–Max

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