Friday, October 28, 2022


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

Perhaps my question should be WHAT AM I?

I've wanted to take a DNA test for quite some time to see if it would confirm what I believed to be true about my ancestry––about 50% Norwegian and 50% German. 

Mother always made a big deal about being Norwegian because her mother came to the U.S. from Norway when she was 12 years old. Daddy's family was known to come from Germany––way back––although he laughed about being a "Polack" when I was in elementary school and Polack jokes were thought to be funny. 

I finally got around to ordering a kit a couple of months ago. So I spat into the receptacle and sent my slobber back.

The results surprised me, but fortunately not because I discovered that my mother had fertility treatments, the doctor is my father, and I have 10 million siblings (seriously, have you seen the Netflix documentary Our Father? It's insane. And that guy is not the only doctor who used his own sperm to impregnate women. Ah, here we go. Let's spank the monkey in my office and git her done while it's still nice and warm.)

So here are my results:

Eastern Europe and Russia? Finland? And then Norway comes in at a paltry 15%? Mother would have said, That can't possibly be true

I once saw a shirt that said YOU CAN ALWAYS TELL A NORWEGIAN BUT YOU CAN'T TELL HIM ANYTHING. Mother was certainly Norwegian in that sense. 

I've done a bit of work on a family tree, but haven't had a lot of time to put into it. Perhaps I'll be able to research it more in the future to find out who these long-forgotten Russians and Finns are. 

I picture romantic assignations with Cossacks in their finery and a title somewhere. Instead of Janie Junebug, Queen of Grammar, perhaps I'm Slovenian royalty.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug a.k.a. Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Something Or Other

Monday, October 17, 2022


 Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

We've already reached the middle of Dogtoberfest, so it's time to celebrate Penelope.

Because Penelope has short hair, she needs a wardrobe of pajamas and sweaters to keep her warm. She shivers on chilly days. Even on warm days, she likes to go back to bed after her first potty break of the day. She pushes down the covers to make a little nest for herself in the bed we share. In the photo above, she's on her green blankie that's always waiting for her on the bed.

After Scout and Harper died, Franklin was a lonely only. I checked out Pet Finder and came across this photo:

I liked this little girl's smile. She also shared coloring with Franklin––black, white, and brindle. I thought she could be a good companion for him. I applied to adopt.

Penelope was born under a house in Georgia. A woman who lived in the rural area around Claxton, which claims to have world-famous fruitcake, had taken in Penelope, her siblings, and her mama. The woman, whose name was Cynthia, had taken in about 100 other dogs as well and set up her own shelter because that part of Georgia had no humane society. Nothing existed to help homeless dogs and cats. Cynthia, with help from some volunteers, created a shelter on her property, fed the animals, and arranged for their veterinary care. 

When I drove to Georgia to meet Penelope during October, 2015, she was about a year old and knew nothing but living at Cynthia's shelter. She was one terrified dog when I put her in my car.

However, she wasn't Penelope. I know people at shelters try to come up with names for many animals and Penelope had been dubbed Mirabel. She didn't look like a Mirabel to me and she didn't recognize the name. As I wondered what her true name should be, she glued herself to the floor of my car and didn't budge. 

I made a quick pit stop at a McDonald's so I could pee and get a burger for her. She didn't touch it but as we drove away, I suddenly knew what her name should be. She had waited for me for a long time; her name had to be Penelope––a name from Greek mythology, the name of the woman who waited so long and faithfully for Odysseus. Yes, she was my Penelope.

We pulled into our garage later that afternoon as a light rain began to fall. The newly christened Penelope would not get out of the car, and I couldn't lift her out. I ran to a neighbor's to ask for help. Tony came over and pulled her out of the car. She ran under the car immediately. That's okay, I said. At least she won't poop in the car and I'll get her in the house as soon as I can.

She was still under the car as the rain got heavier and it grew dark. Finally I took a broom and as gently as I could, swept her out. She started running around the backyard, evading me every time I approached.

I had to call in the big guns. My son came over as soon as he finished work and followed her around the yard getting more and more wet until he had her in his arms. He brought her in the house and held her with a big, warm towel around her. 

Penelope did not adjust to living with me as quickly as Franklin did. She spent most of her time hiding behind the couch for a year or so. 

But little by little, she became a braver dog. Her first contact with me was the same as Franklin's: She kissed my toes. I taught her that it was okay to sleep on her blankie on the bed. I even taught her how to bark. She resists learning most new skills, but after she'd been here about five years, my son was finally able to teach her to sit. She will also give me a kiss on command. 

She hasn't been the companion for Franklin that I envisioned. They don't pay much attention to each other, but they don't fight. Occasionally, one of them will stop to give the other a little kiss. The one time she was on Franklin's bed in the living room and Franklin flopped down on the bed next to her, her expression revealed her shock and dismay. 

They are a good pair, though, and I have no regrets about driving to Georgia and bringing back a very frightened Penelope. When my former neighbor saw Franklin and Penelope seated next to each other at the front door, he said they looked as if they wore matching tuxedos. 

They have very different personalities, though. Franklin will make friends with anyone who walks in our door. Penelope remains wary, but will now approach some visitors to sniff them a bit. Everything has to be on her terms, including her blog posts.

She is my Penelope, nicknamed Penny Pants. I also call her my little lady. 

I don't know what we'd do without her.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug

Monday, October 10, 2022


Gentle Readers . . . and Maxwell,

October is an extra special month for dogs in the Little House On The Swamp because Franklin joined our family in October, 2010, and Penelope arrived in October, 2015. In today's edition of Dogtoberfest, we'll focus on Franklin.

In 2010, Franklin was a stray dog living in a park with another dog. A woman who drove by the park each day wanted a watch dog, so she stopped to pick up Franklin and his pal. She kept Franklin's friend and gave Franklin to her elderly parents, who provided him with his name and veterinary care. 

Franklin was not content at their home. He was expected to live in the backyard. He is much too sociable for that, so he jumped over the fence regularly to run to their daughter's home nearby. He wanted to be with his friend from the park. His new parents felt Franklin was too wild for them and sought a new home.

I was fortunate to be the person who could provide that home. I've never regretted adding Franklin to our little family. He is sweet and gregarious. He barks enough to frighten strangers, but he welcomes friends. Faulkner, the collie Franklin refers to in some blog posts as The Original Dog, had died that summer. Franklin helped to ease my grief.

Franklin was frightened the day he arrived, though. My son carried him to the backyard and he took off running. I knew he was looking for a place to jump over the fence and discovered the fence was too tall for that. 

Then he saw the late great Harper. They exchanged a look and a playful jump. A bromance was born.

Harper taught Franklin how to go up the steps to the deck. Then he taught Franklin about going potty in the yard. Harper and Franklin were buddies until Harper's death in 2015.

After finding a friend in Harper, Franklin was able to befriend me toward the end of his first day in our home. He showed his affection by licking my toes. He also learned basic commands quickly, or maybe he'd had a bit of training in the past.

Scout was part of our family at that time.

Scout was a friend to no other dog. He was a grumpy alpha male. As my daughter used to tell him, Scout, I don't think you're a bastard. You're just kind of a son-of-a bitch.

Scout never gave Franklin a hard time. The two of them didn't interact. Scout must have sensed that Franklin was no threat to Scout's iron rule of dogdom.

Franklin also gained a boon companion when I met Sweet Cheeks in 2013. Every weekend, Sweet Cheeks spends some time with Franklin on the floor, where they cuddle and talk.

I often say that Franklin is made out of love. He's devoted and sensitive to my needs, and I to his, I hope. Sweet Cheeks has commented that Franklin, Penelope, and I are in tune with each other. 

I love my boy so much. His fur is long. It's as soft as velvet where I like to stroke his head.  He still loves my toes and will sometimes steal a sandal or a slipper from me. He never chews on them. He licks them a little, and might sneak one outside when he gets the chance.

Franklin is also a blogger extraordinaire, as most of you already know.

Thank you for your interest in Franklin over the years. If he met you, he'd give you kisses and sit on your foot.

More Dogtoberfest coming up.

Infinities of love,

Janie Junebug  

P.S. I had a bad feeling about Hurricane Ian. The horrible storm has devastated so much of Florida. I'm sure you've seen photos in the news. Ian was a tropical storm when it reached my city, and it was the weakest tropical storm I've seen. Other than having some branches down in my yard, nothing really happened.