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Valentine's Day

Since today is Valentine’s Day, I decided to write about two dogs whom I’ve gotten to know over the past month or so.

I’m currently working at a day job with a woman who works out of her home. She has two dogs. I recently took a photo of the two of them together.

The dog on the left is a male dog named Cue. He is the larger of the two and he has darker fur. The dog on the right is his sister, Sadie. Both dogs generally get along well together despite the fact that they seem to be polar opposites in personality. Sadie will stay outdoors in the backyard for hours while Cue prefers to be indoors. (He’ll go outside but he’s generally the first one who wants to go back in.) While Sadie likes to be petted, Cue is the one who wants the lion’s share of the attention. He frequently sports a sad face when he wants to be petted as if he’s trying to convey the message that he’s somehow attention-deprived.

I still remember the time when I was petting both dogs at once—one with each different hand. Cue saw what I was doing and he immediately pivoted his body to a position where he pushed Sadie out of the way so both of my hands would be petting Cue. Sadie seemed to take Cue’s pushiness in stride in that she didn’t seem angry or anything.

So being able to take breaks so I could pet dogs is a cool fringe benefit of my current gig, especially since owning a pet of my own is currently out of the question for financial reasons. (My last pet was Spike the Hedgehog, who passed away back in 2013.)

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I’m currently working a day job where I have to take government documents and make them accessible for people with various disabilities. The company is a home-based business so I have this nice window view of the backyard. As you can see in these photos that the area has had a few snow days.

The business owner has two dogs, one of whom is clearly enjoying the snow.

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Back in 2014 I was practicing with the open source vector drawing program Inkscape (which is touted as a free alternative to Adobe Illustrator). I decided to trace over a photo of two dogs who became Internet sensations. One was Boo (located on the right in the below graphic), who got his start on Facebook after one of his owners posted photos of him on that social media platform. Those photos became popular and he was soon known as Boo the World’s Cutest Dog. The other was Buddy, who was Boo’s older brother and closest friend.

buddyandboo-optimizedgraphic

Soon after I finished that digital drawing, I uploaded it to OpenClipArt.org, where you can still download it for free. I even used that vector art as the basis for this tutorial I wrote for OpenSource.com on how to trace over a photo in Inkscape.

I followed Boo on Facebook and I’ve always enjoyed seeing the latest cute photos of him. At first it was just him and Buddy but then his owners added a third dog, a Golden Retriever known as Bluebeary Pie who soon grew taller than the two Pomeranians. Then Boo’s human owners had a baby daughter of their own and that child was sometimes in the photos with Boo and the other dogs that were taken from angles where the child’s face was partially or fully obscured. (It was obvious that the girl’s parents wanted to protect her privacy.)

Boo was a star but he basically remained a typical dog who was blissfully unaware that there was a Wikipedia page about him. He was also unaware of the spinoff products based on his image, including a brief three-issue comic book series. Boo seemed to take his fame in stride as he frequently traveled with Buddy, whom he was closest to. But then Buddy died in 2017, which apparently Boo took very hard. After Buddy’s death the family added another dog to the household, a sheepdog named Benny. Despite the addition of Benny, it was apparent that Boo really missed Buddy and had never quite gotten over Buddy’s death. Nearly a week ago Boo’s owners wrote this sad yet eloquent post on Facebook:

Dearest friends of Boo,

With deepest sadness I wanted to share that Boo passed away in his sleep early this morning and has left us to join his best friend, Buddy. Our family is heartbroken, but we find comfort knowing that he is no longer in any pain or discomfort. We know that Buddy was the first to greet him on the other side of that rainbow bridge, and this is likely the most excited either of them have been in a long time.

Since starting Boo’s FB page, I’ve received so many notes over the years from people sharing stories of how Boo brightened their days and helped bring a little light to their lives during difficult times. And that was really the purpose of all this…Boo brought joy to people all over the world. Boo is the happiest dog I’ve ever met. He was so easy going that we never had to bother with training. He made the manliest of men squeal with delight over his cuteness and made everyone laugh with his quirky, tail wagging personality.

Over the years Boo met some super cool people, a lot of crazy talented people, but most of all so many kind people…friends who gave him endless love, people who prioritized his comfort over getting that perfect picture, partners who understood that Buddy ALWAYS had to be included, and last but definitely not least, the amazing doctors, therapists, and staff at Adobe Animal Hospital and Sage Veterinary Centers for the countless hours of care and dedication they poured into Buddy and Boo.

I brought Boo home in the spring of 2006 and so started the greatest, most heartwarming friendship of all time. Shortly after Buddy died, Boo showed signs of heart issues. We think his heart literally broke when Buddy left us. He hung on and gave us over a year. But it looks like it was his time, and I’m sure it was a most joyous moment for them when they saw each other in heaven.

Boo, we love you with all our hearts and will miss you until the day we meet again. Have fun running around with Buddy and creating adorable mischief wherever you guys go.

Thank you to all of you for following along on their silly adventures over the past 10 years. They sure had a LOT of fun.

With love and our deepest gratitude,
Boo’s humans

I felt sad reading about Boo’s death but he lived the equivalent of 84 human years, which is nothing to complain about. Boo’s death was also covered by the major media outlets like CNN and the BBC as if he was a major celebrity. In addition to doing that vector graphic of Boo and Buddy, I also saw various spinoff products based on Boo on store shelves over the years. Here are the ones I shot with my smartphone.

photo50

Originally posted on December 26, 2014.

photo16

Originally posted on December 19, 2014.

And last, but not least, here’s a stuffed animal version of Boo alongside another Internet animal celebrity, Grumpy Cat.

Internet Celebrities as Stuffed Animals

Originally posted on July 28, 2014.

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I was walking around Roosevelt Center in Greenbelt recently when I saw a man walking five dogs at the same time. I have no idea if he owned all of them or if he earns extra money walking other people’s dogs and he ended up with five of them at once. It’s a miracle that all five were well-behaved because I could easily imagine the guy getting caught up in so many different leashes at the same time. (LOL!)

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Some weeks I go to the Fiber Fans Night that’s held at the Greenbelt Makerspace. One of the participants brings her dog with her. She’s a mutt with grey fur and her name is Honey. She’s very friendly and she also spends a lot of time at the makerspace with her nose to the floor in the hopes of finding the tiniest speck of food that she can eat. In other words, Honey is a typical dog. Here are a couple of photos I shot of her a few weeks ago.

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Today’s prompt word for Inktober is “drooling.” Here is my drawing based on that prompt.

Here’s the story behind this drawing. When I was a teenager my family had a dog who was part-Labrador Retriever and part-Chesapeake Bay Retriever named Napoleon. Like all dogs Napoleon was into begging for people food while leaving his own dog food uneaten. (He would eventually get around to eating his own food but he definitely preferred what people were eating. He also considered himself to be a human being even though he only walked on four legs and he could only growl, bark, and whine.) He would stoop to begging where he would cast the saddest eyes he could muster. If he didn’t get what he wanted, the next step was to stick his tongue out, start panting, and begin drooling. The longer he drooled, the more foamy his mouth got and a small puddle would start to form around him. His mouth would get so foamy that it looked like he had rabies. (He always got his rabies shot every year.) That tactic was especially effective when my parents had guests over and his drooling would gross out the guests so much that they gave in and gave him what they were eating.

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Today’s official prompt list word is “tranquil.” Here is my drawing based on that word.

I’ve seen garden statues of frogs in a meditation position sold at local plant nurseries. I’ve even seen a meditating dog garden statue in one of the yards in my neighborhood. I decided to draw a statue of a dog in complete meditation.

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Previous in This Series

A Shot of a Ferris Wheel on the Day Before the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, August 30, 2018
2018 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 1, 2018
2018 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 2, 2018

That awful hazy, hot, and humid weather that had plagued most of the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival decided to stick around for the last day. Despite the super-hot weather, I decided to see this year’s Greenbelt Labor Day Parade mainly because I wanted to see some of the marchers.

I decided to drive my car to the parade route instead of walking because it was just so hot outside. I managed to find a spot on a side street just a few feet away from the parade route so I carried my portable folding chair. I ran into a friend of mine from my church congregation so I sat near him in a shaded spot. When the parade began just a few minutes after I arrived (I was late getting out the door that morning compared to other years I attended the parade), I pulled out my smartphone and took a few photos.

2018 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

2018 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

The mayor and the entire city council of Greenbelt rode in an old-fashioned red fire truck.

2018 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

Since 2018 is a mid-term election year, the politicians were out in full force. Ben Cardin is running for re-election to the U.S. Senate.

2018 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

The local chapter of the Moms Demand Action marched in the parade while calling for sensible gun reform.

2018 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

2018 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

Paul Pinsky is running for re-election to the Maryland State Senate.

2018 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

2018 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

Alonzo T. Washington is running for re-election to the Maryland House of Delegates.

2018 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

Former NAACP leader Ben Jealous, who’s running for governor of Maryland, marched in the parade. Seeing him march brought back memories of last year’s Greenbelt Labor Day Festival when I saw him in person mingling among the festival attendees. Earlier this year I saw him in person again at this fundraiser for his campaign and I had my picture taken alongside him. Here he is in the parade wearing a full suit despite the high heat and humidity.

2018 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

2018 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

2018 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

Unlike the other two times I saw him in person, I wasn’t able to shake his hand. I later learned that he had to go to another campaign-related engagement after the parade so he couldn’t stick around. I still think it would be cool if he got elected governor and I could tell people that I actually met him in person before he was elected and I have the pictures to prove it. After Ben Jealous passed by me, I took some more photos of the parade.

2018 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

2018 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

2018 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

A robot participated in the parade. This one was with a local Boy Scout troop.

2018 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

The Greenbelt Dog Training group brought their pooches with them to prove how well-behaved they were.

2018 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

2018 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

The Greenbelt Makerspace also participated in the parade as well.

2018 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

2018 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

Like I wrote earlier, the politicians were out in full force because this year is the mid-term elections. Neal Simon (no relation to the famous playwright Neil Simon who recently passed away) is running for the U.S. Senate.

2018 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

Winnie Obike is running for the Maryland House of Delegates.

2018 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

2018 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

Aisha Braveboy is running for state’s attorney.

2018 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

Last, but not least, Calvin Hawkins is running for an at-large position on the Prince George’s County Council.

2018 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

2018 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

2018 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival

There were more floats and people marching but I didn’t take as many photos as last year because the heat was getting to me at times and I just wasn’t in the mood for doing an excessive amount of picture taking this year. If it weren’t for the fact that Ben Jealous was marching in the parade and I had some friends from the Greenbelt Makerspace who were also involved in the parade, I would’ve blown it off this year because of the extreme heat and humidity.

Once the parade was over I waited until the people dispersed and the police moved the barriers up the road (where the parade was still traveling) before I got in my car and took a back route to Roosevelt Center (where the festival was taking place). I managed to find convenient parking outside the Coop Supermarket. In fact the parking lot was half-empty because the parade was still winding its way past Roosevelt Center and many people were on the parade route. I had to go to the festival on the final day because I was being honored at an awards ceremony plus I had to pick up my art from the art show. I’ll write more about what it was like to go to the festival in extreme heat and humidity in my next post.

Next in this Series

2018 Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 3, 2018
The Day After the End of the Greenbelt Labor Day Festival, September 4, 2018

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I’m old enough to remember a time when if you wanted to purchase anything that was LGBTQ-related in the Washington, DC area, you had to go to the stores located in the heavily LGBTQ areas like Dupont Circle. You could easily forget about going to any store in the suburbs because such things just simply were not put on sale. This definitely includes Pride Month.

My how times have changed! Not only have corporations embraced Pride Month by putting out rainbow stuff but one can easily find rainbow-themed stuff on sale in the stores in the suburbs. What’s even more amazing is that this open observance of Pride Month has continued despite the fact that the Trump Administration is less-than-warm towards LGBTQ people. I kept on seeing rainbow stuff on sale in the suburbs, which is very convenient for those who want to buy rainbow items without having to take the Metro into downtown Washington, DC. I took a few photos but it wasn’t until the last day of Pride Month that I finally got around to uploading them. (I know I can be lame at times. LOL!) So, without further ado, here are some colorful stuff I saw in the suburban stores.

I saw slices of rainbow cake on sale at a local Giant supermarket earlier this month.

Rainbow Cake

But I saw the majority of rainbow-themed stuff on sale at Target.

Rainbow Clothes at Target

Rainbow Clothes on Sale at Target

Rainbow Stuff on Sale at Target

Stuff I Saw on Sale at Target During Pride Month

What I Saw on Sale at Target During Pride Month

What I Saw on Sale at Target During Pride Month

What I Saw on Sale at Target During Pride Month

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