My Heart

October 19, 2009 at 9:05am 
Mr. Shaq

This is the date and time that my heart forever changed.   As I held Mr. Shaq and told him how much I loved him, he offered me the greatest gift ever.  A piece of his heart, in return I offered him a piece of mine.  Thus, we are bound together for eternity.

While we no longer walk together side by side, we continue to walk together as one.

Much of my life is owed to Mr. Shaq and my dearly beloved Ms. Shasta.  Together they gave me the strength and courage to continue on when my life was in its darkest days.  When the eternal darkness seemed to be closing in.

After her work was done, Ms. Shasta went first to prepare the way.  Mr. Shaq was still needed and thus stayed with me for 2 more years until he was called to the bridge.  

I have loved every FurFriend who has come into my life over the years.  But there is only one who I share a heart with.

October 19, 2009 9:05am is a moment in time that changed my life, and will live with me forever.  

I love you dear friend.

Shaq Slayer of Moths

Shaq Slayer of Moths


Copyright © 2001 Ray Hebert

My house is free of moths thanks to the efforts of ShaqAsaurus Monster Dog, AKA Shaq the Moth Slayer.

Last night Shaq rid the house of all flying insects. He felt it was his duty to protect the property from airborne attack. He still lets me take care of the ground attack, ants,
roaches, etc… But if it is in the air it’s his duty to get it.

A moth made it through the outer perimeter and for an hour he fought this moth to exhaustion. First he chased it until it found a light. The he stood there for a couple of minutes and watched it. Gotta study your enemy, first rule from the art of war by Sun Tsu. So he studied. Saw that it could not stay near the light for a long period of time and would periodically leave the light and swoop down. So he waited and waited. Second rule from the Art of War, be patient let your enemy make the first move. And it paid off. The Moth came down. Shaq made a lunge at it, but it got a way. He pursued with vigor. He chased it, jumped a good 5 feet off the ground after it. But it got away and went back to the light.

Shaq was not deterred he watched and waited and finally it came down again, this time he got it. The Moth came down. Flapped on the floor. Shaq danced around it, poking it with his nose and pawing at it. Never barked at it. Then picked it up and brought it outside.

I sleep so much better at night knowing that he is ever vigilant against the great flying nemesis. He now has 3 of them and I think once he gets 10 confirmed downings he will be given the Ace status and accorded all honors. I.e. he will get a reward second to none.

Ray & Shaq

Best Summation

Best summation I have ever heard on the passing of a loved one.
"Don't cry because its over. Smile because it happened!" (Dr. Seuss)

Shasta comes to live with us

Shaq gets a Best Fur-friend (Draft 2)

Readers note: I am now 4 and we are living in Sioux City, Iowa. Ray works for Gateway Computers.

I have many 2 legged friends, and a few 4 legged Fur-Friends. But I have never had a Best Fur-Friend (BFF). I would love to have a BFF to share my life with.

Today Ray comes home from work and like most days we go for a car ride. We usually don’t drive very far, but boy do I enjoy riding in the car. Ray rolls down the windows so I can stick my head out and feel the air on my face. As my ears flap in the breeze I close my eyes and make like I am flying. I love riding in cars.

After a few minutes we arrive at a house, usually we go to the park. I have never been here before. Hmmm I wonder what is going on. As we pull into the driveway I can see a very excited dog in the backyard.

I am a little bit curious. I get out of the car and go to the backyard where there is a very excited Chocolate Lab. At first I sniff her through the fence and she sniffs back. Then she goes tearing off around the yard and comes back to the fence and looks at me. The whole time her tail is wagging.

Being the gentleman that I am, I introduce myself. She tells me her name is Shasta and that this is her house. I ask her if she would like to play. She jumps up and down and is so excited. I take that for a yes.

Ray opens the gate and lets me in. Shasta and I sniff each other more and then she does a head fake to try to get me to make the first move. I know that move; after all I am named after a basketball player, so it does not shake me. I stand very still with my tail straight up. Then I drop down on all four paws getting as low as I can go. She stands very still now. I spring up and jump to one side and she jumps with me. Then all of a sudden Shasta turns and starts running. The game is on!

I start chasing Shasta around the yard and tackle her. We wrestle, then all of a sudden I pop up and run and she is chasing me. We are having a great time running all over the place playing tag. It is so much fun.

Ray is over talking to some people who I had never met. So I come over and say hello. They are very nice and are happy to see me. They throw a ball. Shasta and I race full speed to see who gets to it first. Being the gentleman I let her win some of the time. When I would win she would try to take the ball from me. She is very sneaky; I know I’m going to have to keep an eye on this one.

This goes on for quite some time. Finally Shasta and I are tuckered out and head to the water bowl. The two of us drink at the same time, draining the bowl.

As we are lying together in the grass she tells that she thinks her family is moving because boxes are being packed. I told her that I had moved several times. She says that there have been lots of family meetings where her name has come up, but she is not sure what they were saying.

After a while Ray calls me over and puts my leash on and says goodbye to the people he had been chatting with. He mentions something about seeing them on Friday, but I can’t make it out.

As we pull out of the driveway I stick my head out the window and shout out to Shasta that it was fun playing with her and that I hope we can play again. She shouts back that she had a great time and hopes we can play again too. I like her, she is neat.


Ray comes home late from work; I know it is late because it’s starting to get dark outside. At first I think nothing of it, there are days where he works late and this must be one of those days. But then as I watch him get out of the car he has Shasta with him.

Oh, I am so excited. As soon as they get in the house I mob them. I am so happy to see Shasta again. Ray quickly puts us outside and we run and play together. Gosh she is fast, but I know the short cuts around the yard, like jumping up the retaining wall instead of running all the way around.

She is so excited. As we run around the yard she tells me that a big van came to their house today and took away almost all of their furniture. I tell her that is what you do when you move.

She says that when Ray came that her family all gathered around her and were crying and saying how much they loved her. I told her that when Ray would leave he often would tell me how much he loved me. Though he never cried while saying how much he loved me.

After a while Ray calls us over. We both come running full speed; Ray knows to stand with his legs apart as I like to run between them so that is what I do. It is a lot of fun. I am tall and have to duck my head to make it. Shasta just ran right up to Ray and jumped up on him. He caught her in his arms. Wow! I had never seen him do that before. I wonder if he would catch me if I tried it.

Ray sits us down and tells us that Shasta is going to be living with us from now on. Shasta asks me what is going on. I tell her that she is now going to be a part of our family. She seems sad. I tell her it will be ok, that Ray is a great person to hang out with and that we will have lots of fun together.

I am happy and sad at the same time. I am so happy that Shasta is going to be living with us, but I am also sad that her family can’t take her with them.

To help her out, I take her on a tour of the house. I show her where the Kitchen is, where the water dish is. I notice that Ray has put out a new food and water dish for Shasta. We go over to the bedrooms and then we go to the basement.

Shasta has never been on stairs before. I go bounding down them quickly. Shasta just stops at the top and looks at me. I tell her it is ok, she says she is not sure what to do. Ray comes over and helps her by coaxing her to walk a few steps with a treat. She creeps down the stairs on her belly. It is funny to watch, and then I remember my first experience with stairs. Finally she is in the basement. I show her the large play room and where the bathroom is and where the downstairs water bowls are located. Going out of the basement was much easier. She bounded up the stairs, doing sort of a bunny hop. Ray then got her to go down the stairs again. This time she walked instead of crawling. The next time she ran down them like I do. She is a fast learner.

Ray and I had discussed having another family member. I could not ask for a better match.

Yippee I have a Best Fur-Friend.


That night as we are getting ready for bed Shasta asks where she should sleep. I tell her well on the bed of course, where else would you sleep? She said that she had never slept on the human’s bed before. I told her it was the best. So we both jumped up and lay out. Shasta went for the pillow right away. I told her that was where Ray slept and that she should move. But she didn’t.

When Ray came in he asked her to move, she didn’t. He tried picking her up and she became a ton of bricks almost an immovable object. After much struggling Ray got her moved over and settled in.

Shasta still wanted that spot on the bed so she just lay right on top of Ray. It was funny to watch. Ray would push her off and she would crawl back on top of him. Finally they reached an agreement. Ray had lost. Shasta lay with her body half way across Ray’s chest.

As we went to bed that night I thought of how much fun Shasta and I were going to have together. It sure is nice to have a Best Fur-Friend.

Ray here:

As Shaq was just saying we reached an arrangement on sleeping situation. What he does not say is what happened the next morning.

I was lying in bed when all of a sudden I felt a tongue in my mouth. So I slowly opened my eyes and there looking at me was this cute little chocolate face. Next thing I knew I was getting a tongue bath, no need for a shower this morning.

After that I learned how to sleep with my mouth closed. Heck, I didn’t even know I slept with it open before.

I am so tired Draft 1

Readers Note: Shaq is 16 in this story, living in Austin.

The End is Near

I am very tired these days. I often need help getting up and getting my legs under me, but once up I can shuffle around. Ray is never more than a couple feet from me. There are ramps so I can get down the stairs into the yard.

It takes a long time for me to lie down as it is painful on my joints. I circle and circle until I finally sort of fall over. Often Ray comes over and picks me up and lays me down. He makes sure I am comfortable and often comes over to help me roll over. I tell him I can do it myself, but he insists.

As I lay here I think back on the amazing life I have led over the last 16 years. I have traveled all over the United States with Ray. I have flown on commercial planes and on private jets. Together Ray and I have driven all over the United States together as well. I have stayed in some amazing hotels like the St. Regis in Aspen and the Helmsley in New York City. I sailed on a boat out in the ocean. I got to see my namesake Shaq play basketball.

I have met some of the most wonderful people on my adventures. Many only have one family; I have been blessed to have several families. There is of course Ray, but I also have my Texas Family, my Montana Family and my Florida Family.

As I lay my head to rest, I dream of puppies and puppy breath.

As I close my eyes to sleep I dream of all who love me and all I will meet.

As I go to bed tonight I think of all and all the delights.

I am so tired

The End is here

Hi, this is Ray. Shaq can’t write. Today is his day.

I am lying with him. Cuddling him in my arms like I did when he was a little puppy. I never want this moment to end.

I whisper in his ear.

I love you so much; soon you will be reunited with Shasta, Zoe and Nanda.

You will swim forever in warm ponds and roll in green grass.

I love you so much, thank you, thank you, thank you.

I love you so much, we will be reunited.

I love you, I love you, I love you

Goodbye dear friend


The End

Chapter 1 D2: My name is Shaq

Chapter 1 D2: My name is Shaq
This is the first chapter of a book that may be written.

Greg Chooses Me:
I was 7 weeks old when a stranger visited.

Mom brought my brothers, sisters and I all out to the living room. There was someone there that I had never seen before. He got down on his hands and knees and called us over to him. My brothers and sisters were a bit hesitant, and huddled around Mom, not knowing what to do. I ran over to this stranger and licked his face and ran between his legs and rolled over on my back for a belly rub. When I did this my brothers and sisters saw that he was nice and they all ran over to see him.

The stranger was nice to all of us, but he kept an eye on me. After a few minutes he picked me up and went over to talk to my Mom’s people. I didn’t understand everything they said, but I think he was very impressed with me. He said his name was Greg and he hugged me and I gave him a big kiss. Next thing I knew I had a toenail painted green, I wanted to lick it, but Greg said that I had to leave it on so that he could find me again. I didn’t understand what that meant.

When Greg put me down, all my brothers and sisters came over to see me. They sniffed me and looked at my painted toenail. I looked at the others and none of them had painted toenails. I felt very special. After a few minutes Greg left, but before he did he came over and petted me one last time and said he would be back in a few days to see me again.

I asked Mom why I had my toenail painted. She said it was so that the stranger could identify me in a few days. I asked why he would want to identify me. She said that it was because I was going to get a new home. I didn’t understand what that meant either.

Over the next week other people came to see us in the living room. I went up and said hello to all of them, most of them picked me up and petted me but when they saw that my toenail was painted they were a bit disappointed and put me down. One by one all of my brothers and sisters got a toenail painted in a different color..

Greg picks me up:

Then one day Greg came back. I was playing in the yard at the time when he drove up in a big Red Truck. When he got out I was so excited to see him again that I ran right over. He had another dog with him. He called him Geronimo. Geronimo is a much larger Black Lab, who came over and sniffed me. I rolled over on my back and let him lick my belly. He was very nice. I learned later that Geronimo is my Dad.

My mom’s people came out and greeted Greg. After a few minutes he told Geronimo to get back in the truck. Geronimo jumped up into the front seat with no effort at all. I thought that there would be no way I could do that. But Greg picked me up and helped me onto the front seat. I was so excited that I ran up and down the front seat. Geronimo asked me if this was my first car ride, I told him it was. He said to look out the window. The window was high up and I could barely get my head up to see out. When Greg got in he called me over and put me in his lap so I could see out his window.

As we drove off my Mom ran next to the truck and told me to be a good boy and to listen to my people that they would be taking care of me now. I didn’t realize that I would not see her again. As we drove away I looked at Geronimo and saw that he had his head out the window and that his ears were flapping in the wind. He looked so happy and sort of funny. Greg let me stand in his lap and stick my head out his window as he drove. I really liked having the wind blow my ears around.

We drove for what seemed like a long time, until we came to a big house with a huge yard that was full of trees, and grass and lots of animals I had never seen before. When the truck stopped Geronimo jumped out and then Greg helped me out and put me down. I was so excited I ran all over the place as fast as I could. Geronimo stayed right with me; eventually I stopped and rolled in the grass. Geronimo just lay down and looked at me. I asked him where we were. He said that this was his home; I asked if I was going to live here too. But he didn’t think so; he thought that Greg had picked me out for his friend Ray.

I asked who Ray was. Geronimo said that Ray was a friend of Greg’s and that he had lived here a couple years earlier. I asked where Ray lived now, and Geronimo said he was not sure but he thought it was a long way away. Geronimo said that Ray was very nice and gave great belly rubs. I really like belly rubs so I felt better.

Farty takes me for a walk:

After a while a Yellow Labrador named Farty came out. Farty is not her real name, but that’s what everyone calls her. She is Geronimo’s Girlfriend and is very nice. She told Geronimo to get lost and that she would be taking over from here. I wanted to go with Geronimo, but she told me to stay with her. I asked what we were going to do; she said we were going to go for a walk. So off we went on a walk around the grounds. She introduced me to all the animals. There were ducks and geese that I tried to chase but they just ran way. Farty said not to chase the Geese, as they were very mean. They didn’t look mean so I chased one, and after a few steps it turned around and tried to bite me. I ran away as fast as I could. Farty just laughed at me and said, “I told you so”. After that I did what she said. We went and saw these huge animals that she called horses. She said that we could walk around them, but not to run around them as they might get scared and step on me. Finally, we came across an animal that Farty called a Cat. Her name was Miss Kitty. Miss Kitty is the ranch cat and didn’t want much to do with me. I asked Farty why she had run away when I came over to say hello. She said that Miss Kitty was like that with all dogs and not to take it personal.

After some time Greg came out and called for Geronimo and Farty. They ran over to him and I followed as fast as I could. When I got up to where Greg was he had the door to the house open. Geronimo and Farty ran in. I stopped and climbed up the stairs. When I got inside I was in a huge room with lots of neat things all over the place. Greg had three bowls out with food in them. Geronimo and Farty ran over to their bowls and started eating. Greg brought me over to my bowl and put me down. I was very hungry and started to eat right away. Geronimo and Farty finished their food first and came over to check on me. I was eating as fast as I could. Geronimo said not to eat so fast as I would get a bellyache. He also said don’t worry about not finishing, just eat what I wanted and that the rest would be there to finish later. I was very relieved and after I had my fill I went over to the water dish and drank.

After dinner Greg came over and picked me up and held me in his lap. I squirmed around a bit, but eventually I settled down and went to sleep. Later he got up and made a phone call. I had seen my Mom’s people use the phone before. Greg was talking to someone he called “Cajun Carpenter” I asked Geronimo who that was. He said that was what Greg called Ray. I asked why he called him that, Geronimo said it was because Ray had helped with some of the house building a few years back.

I get my name:

Greg came and picked me up and put the phone to my ear. I heard a voice on the other end say hello and ask how I was. Then he said that he would name me ShaqAsorus but would call me Shaq because Greg said that I was going to be as big as my Dad. Ray said he would be up to take me home in a couple of weeks and that I should learn as much as I can from Geronimo and Farty. When Greg put me down I ran over to Geronimo and Farty and told them that my name was Shaq. I asked Geronimo what type of name that was. He said he was not sure, but he had heard it on the TV several times, so I must be named after someone famous.

I asked Geronimo who he was named after. He said he was named after a famous Indian who was very brave and a great leader. I asked Farty who she was named after, she said that her real name was Carhartt, but her nickname was Farty. I asked what a nickname was, and she said that it was just another name that people used. I wondered if I would also have a nickname.

That night I got to sleep in a bed for the first time. I really liked that. I snuggled up right next to Greg and went to sleep with my head on his chest. Geronimo and Farty joined us in the bed as well. Sometime in the night I curled up between them. Every now and then Farty would lick me. I felt so safe around them that I forgot all about being nervous and my new surroundings.

Learning from Geronimo and Farty

The next morning Greg got us up. Geronimo and Farty ran down the stairs, he picked me up and carried me down. I could have made it by myself but it would have taken a long time. He put me down in the kitchen and gave me a little food. I could not believe how hungry I was after sleeping all night. After breakfast Greg asked if we wanted to go on a “nature walk” Geronimo was very excited about this. So out we went for another walk. This time we were on a trail, while walking I heard what sounded like a low roar. I asked Geronimo what that was; he said it was a stream. I had never heard of a stream and asked what it was. He said you’ll see. As we walked along the sound got louder. Then all of a sudden I saw it. It was the largest water bowl I had ever seen and it was moving. I ran over to the edge, but Farty came and intercepted me and said to be careful. She said I had to be careful around streams and rivers until I was bigger. Geronimo told her to quit being a worrywart. He went splashing right into the stream. I followed him, but when I got to the edge I stopped and looked around, the water was moving very fast. I put a paw in and tentatively took a step. Once I had all four paws in the water I started to take a few slow steps forward, then all of a sudden my paws were not touching the bottom.

I started to panic and was franticly kicking my paws every which way. Farty came running into the river and started to grab me, but Geronimo told her to leave me alone. After a couple of seconds I started to swim. I didn’t know at the time that it was called swimming, but none the less I was swimming. This was fun. I got to the edge and climbed out and shook the water off of me. Then I went back in and swam some more. The whole time Greg was standing on the streambank looking very happy. He called me a “Water Otter” I took that as a complement. After a few minutes he called us to follow him so we did and we continued our walk on the trail. We walked through meadows and a forest area. Geronimo and Farty would run ahead and then come running back. I followed them everywhere It was a lot of fun. To this day I enjoy going on nature walks. At long last we returned to the house. I was exhausted and found a nice sunny spot in the yard to lay down and sleep.

Over the next couple of weeks I did what Ray said and learned as much as I could from Geronimo and Farty. They took me for long walks every day. They also showed me how to jump up on chairs. Well they jumped up, I had to crawl up at first, but after a couple of days I was able to jump up as well. Farty taught me how to keep out of the way of cars when they drive up. Geronimo taught me how to run between people’s legs. He said when I got bigger it would be a whole lot of fun. Farty was always teaching me things she said would be important, Geronimo was always teaching me things that were fun.

One day I saw Miss Kitty in the field. She was crouched real low and moving very slow, sort of crawling in the field. I watched her for a little while then came running over to ask what she was doing. When I did I saw a bird come flying out of the grass. Miss Kitty was very upset. She said she had been stalking that bird for a long time and that now I had ruined it. I asked her why she was stalking the bird, she said it was what her job was along with catching mice. I told her I was sorry, but she was still very put off.

Another day, I saw Geronimo out in the field digging. I ran over to ask what he was doing. He said he was chasing something called a Gopher. I asked what a Gopher was, he said it was a little animal that hid in the ground and that one of his jobs was to try to catch them. I asked if I could watch him, he said I could if I stayed out of the way. He was working really hard and was making a huge hole. After a while he came out and had a nose full of dirt. He looked very funny. Greg came over to check out what he was doing. He petted Geronimo and told him how good he was and then called us over to the yard to help him there.

RAY Comes to get me

One day Greg came home and picked me up and put me in the truck. Geronimo started to jump in, but Greg asked him to stay. He looked a bit put off. Geronimo likes to go everywhere with Greg.

By now I was 10 weeks old and big enough to get my head out the window without having to stand on Greg’s lap. So as we drove off I had my head out the window with the wind in my face and my ears flapping in the breeze. Greg drove really fast. He said we were late. I wondered what we were late to.

Next thing I knew we were pulling up to something that Greg called an Airport. As we were parking I saw the largest bird I had ever seen come flying over head. I was so stunned I just stared. No way was I going to chase that Bird. Not only was it large but it made a very noisy sound.

Greg parked the truck and picked me up. I squirmed a bit, as I wanted to walk. Greg said he needed to carry me so that we don’t get in trouble. So I settled down and let him carry me. We went inside this big building and went over to a window. I saw the large bird land and come over to the building we were in. Next thing I knew there were people getting out of the bird. I had never seen a bird that let people out of it before. Greg said it was an Airplane.

After some time I saw someone coming over to where Greg was standing. He was very excited to see us. Greg handed me right over to him and said hi Ray. So this was Ray, I was so happy to see him that I licked his face. He held me in his arms and rubbed my belly. Geronimo was right he did give great belly rubs. After a few minutes we left.

The whole way back to Greg’s house Ray held me in his lap and rubbed my ears and scratched my back and rubbed my belly. I knew right then that we were going to be the best of friends.

When we got home Geronimo and Farty were there to meet us. Geronimo was very excited to see Ray and ran right between his legs. Ray put me down and greeted Geronimo and Farty. He was very happy to see both of them and gave them each a big hug. After a while we went inside.

It was getting late and I was really tired. Greg said he was going to bed, I started to follow him and Geronimo but he said to stay with Ray. So I ran over to where Ray was sitting. He picked me up and asked if I was ready for bed. That night he slept with me cuddled right next to him. I felt so safe.

In the morning we got up and went outside. I wanted to show him everything I had learned, so I ran all over the yard as fast as I could. I showed him how I could jump and how I could change direction real fast. We went down to the stream and I showed him how I could swim. He was very impressed. After a few minutes we went back inside and had breakfast. Later that morning he said we were going to go help Greg on a job.

I go camping:

I asked Geronimo what Greg did for a job. He said that he had the best job in the entire world. He built trails up in the mountains. I asked what made that such a great job. Geronimo said it was because Greg got to work outside and took him along when he went out to work.

I wondered what Ray did for a job. Geronimo said he didn’t know.

Ray and Greg spent most of the morning packing things. I went over to see if I could help out, but Ray said to go and play with Geronimo and Farty. So I did that. Eventually, Greg and Ray called us over to the truck and loaded us up. Farty had to stay home; she said she needed to protect the house.

We drove for a very long time. Much longer than I had ever driven before. We stopped a couple of time so that Geronimo and I could get out and stretch our legs. Geronimo said not to go too far from the truck unless Ray or Greg was with me. I stayed right next to Ray.

We drove on a very winding road until we got to a place where we turned onto a very bumpy road. Ray held me in his lap to keep me from bouncing around. I looked out the window. At long last we stopped and got out of the truck. Geronimo said we were at a place called a trailhead. I asked if this was where Greg worked, Geronimo said we needed to walk a long way up the trail until we got the place where Greg would be working.

Greg and Ray took all our things out of the truck. They both put backpacks on and walked around making adjustments. Greg then called Geronimo over and put a backpack on him. Geronimo stood still when the backpack was put on. He then walked around like Ray and Greg had done and came over to Greg again to have it adjusted. I went over and asked Geronimo what he was doing, he said that his job was to carry our food. I asked if I would be getting a backpack too. He said I was to little, but when I was bigger I would get my own backpack.

Ray told me to stay close to him and to stay on the trail. I was so excited to be on the trail that I ran up the trail real fast and then came running back. Geronimo said to slow down as we were going to be walking a long time. I started to settle down and walk at a comfortable pace. Every now and then we would cross a stream. When we did Geronimo said to stop and drink some water. He said it was important to drink a lot of water when out hiking.

I was starting to get very tired and found myself slowing down. Eventually, we all stopped and took a rest. I was very relieved, as my paws were sore. When it was time to go I got up but was too tired to walk very far. Ray took his backpack off and came over and picked me up. I licked his face and told him I was very tired. Ray said he understood and asked if I would like to be carried for a while. I wagged my tail and he put me in his backpack. I had my head sticking out the top and rested it on Ray’s shoulder.

Ray and I walked like this for a long time. I watched the world go by, and really enjoyed it. Geronimo came over and said I better enjoy it while I can because soon I would be too big to be carried. After some time I curled up inside the backpack and went to sleep. I was jolted awake when Ray stopped and took the backpack off. I awoke instantly and scampered out of the pack.

When I got my bearings I saw that we were in a meadow and there were a bunch of little houses setup. Geronimo said that they were called tents and that they were where we were going to stay for the next few days. I ran over and checked them out.

As Greg and Ray started unpacking, Geronimo and I went out exploring. He showed me where the stream was to get water, and where the best berries were for a quick snack. When we got back, Ray had a fire going. Greg was going to go up and look at the job site Geronimo went with him. I stayed with Ray. I was still very tired and laid down next to the fire and went to sleep. I must have been more tired than I thought as when I woke up it was dark and I was in a tent with Ray, Greg, and Geronimo. I don’t remember ever going into the tent, Geronimo later told me that Ray had picked me up and carried me.

The next morning we all woke up about the same time. Geronimo and I went out for a run in the woods while Greg made breakfast. I had slept right through dinner so I was very hungry. After breakfast Greg and Geronimo went up to the job site and Ray and I stayed at the camp and cleaned up. I really enjoy helping clean dishes. My job is to do the pre cleaning before Ray washes them.

After that was done we got ready to go up and work with Greg. I started walking up the trail when Ray called me. I ran over to where he was, he said we would be taking the 4 Wheelie up. I was not sure what he meant, but he jumped on this thing and started it up. It was very loud; I was a little scared of it. Ray came over and picked me up and sat me right in front of him. Off we went. I started to like it a lot. I was getting the best of all worlds my ears were flapping in the wind and I was right by Ray. We drove for about 10 minutes and finally stopped.

Up the road I could see Greg and Geronimo working on the trail. They were building a trail that zig zagged straight up a rock wall. I ran up to see what they were doing. Greg stopped and petted me. He and Ray talked about what they were going to do. Geronimo came over and told me that it was important that we stay out of the way. So we went out and explored the countryside. When we got back we laid down by the 4 wheelies and slept.

After a while Ray came back and said he was through for the day. So we fired up the 4 wheelie and started heading back to camp. I was perched right up front again. As we went along the trail Ray saw something that he called snow up on the hillside. We stopped the 4 wheelie and got off to investigate. I had not heard of snow before. I ran up to it and sniffed it, then put a paw on it. It was cold. Ray hiked around the edge of the snowfield. I followed him, when we got to the top he jumped on it and slid down. He was hollering and having a great time. I figured that if he was having so much fun I should try it. I stepped onto the snowfield and all of a sudden my paws went out form under me. I was on my belly sliding down the snowfield. I tried putting my paws out to slow down, but I just went faster and faster. All of a sudden the snowfield ended and I was tumbling head over paws down the mountain. I finally stopped and got up. I was a little wobbly. Ray came running over and picked me up asking if I was ok. I licked his face. He looked me over and saw that nothing was hurt, except I had a very cold and pink belly. He rubbed it until it warmed up. Even though the snowfield was a bit scary I enjoyed it. We went back up and slid down it a couple more times. This time I stayed on my paws and had a blast.

We spent about 4 or 5 days up at the job site. It was a lot of fun. When it was time to leave I was a little sad to go. We made it back to the truck and drove back to Greg’s house. Geronimo and I slept the whole way. We didn’t even get out when we stopped for a break.

Riding a Plane:

When we got back Ray said that we would be going home tomorrow. I wondered where home was. He said we were going to a place called Austin, Texas. I had never heard of it before.

The next morning I woke up late. Ray was up and packing all our things. Eventually, Greg loaded us up in the truck and off we went to the Airport. Ray went up to the counter and checked us in. He then came back and told me that I was going to have to ride in a special place as I was too big to ride with him. He put me in a kennel; I was a bit scared at first. But then he took his shirt off and put it in with me. I felt a bit better having something that smelled like Ray with me. Then someone came and picked me up and took me away. I was not happy and barked a few times. Ray came over and told me to be brave and that I would see him in an hour in Salt Lake City. The guy who took me away was very nice. He petted me and told me it was ok to be a bit scared. I felt better. Everyone came over to see me. They were all very excited and very nice.

Next they put me in with other dogs that were traveling on the same airplane. I felt better being around them. There was another Labrador that they set me next to. She was very nice and said the best thing to do is just lay down and take a nap. After a few minutes I felt the plane start to move, I got a little scared and barked a couple of times. The other Lab said not to worry that this was normal. She said that we would go very fast then we would take off. I was still a bit nervous. But once we were in the air it was a great ride. After an hour we started to go down, and a little while after that I felt a bump and the Airplane started to slow down. As soon as we stopped someone opened the door and took me out. I was very happy to see people again and wagged my tail. They quickly took me to a place where Ray was waiting for me.

Ray said we had a three-hour lay over. He took me out of the kennel and we went for a walk around the terminal. A lot of people came over to see me. I liked all the attention. The time went very quickly and soon Ray said we had to go. I went right back into the kennel and curled up for a nice long nap. Ray said this part of the trip would be a lot longer and that the next stop would be Austin.

When the people came to get me I wasn’t scared at all. I was an old hat at flying. They took me over to the plane and put me in. This time there were no other dogs there to keep me company. I just curled up and went to sleep. After a very long time we landed in Austin.

Once again Ray was right there to get me as soon as I was out of the plane. I was very happy to see him. He picked me up and gave me a big hug. While the rest of our baggage was catching up with us we went for a walk. Austin was very hot and I got tired quickly. When the baggage started to come out Ray grabbed a backpack and off we went.

Ray didn’t have a truck like Greg, but a car. It was nice though, and the windows were low enough that I could stick my head out and feel the air running on my face. We drove for a short time and when we stopped Ray said that this was our new home. He hoped I would be happy here. I thought I would be happy anywhere Ray was.

The Road trip 10/21/01

The Road trip
Copy Write Ray Hebert

We got a new vehicle a little over 2 months ago. Ray got us a new Ford Escape. It is a mini-SUV with enough room in the back when the seat is folded flat (which is how it stays) for both Shasta and I to stretch out and relax in comfort.

Well, when Ray came home and showed it to us, Shasta and I looked at each other and immediately said Road Trip. After years of being cooped up in a little 2 door Honda Accord we felt it was time to go on a trip in the style and luxury that we deserve. It did not take very long to get Ray to agree, and we were very happy when he said we would go to Montana.

Montana is our favoritist place in the whole world. And were we in for a great surprise when we showed up. But that is for later in the story.

Ray said it was Labor Day weekend so he could get off work without any problem. So on Friday we loaded up the SUV (it’s not a car, not a truck, not a camper, sort of the best of all these things) and hit the road at the nice early hour of 1am. Ray was planning on leaving at 4am, but he said he was not sleepy so might as well get rolling. It had been raining in Austin for much of the past couple of weeks, and it had let up for a little bit so we put the windows down for the drive out of town. Shasta and I loved it.

Ray drove for about 5 or 6 hours (you loose track of time when you having so much fun) before we stopped outside of Lubbock (that’s in North Texas for you foreigners, Ray says it was home to Buddy Holly who ever that was) to take a break. To our surprise he crawled into the back with us and took a nap. There was enough room for him to stretch out if he lay diagonally in the back. Shasta and I thought that was great. We each took a remaining corner and napped with him. We like sleeping with Ray.

When we woke up after a couple of hours the Sun was just coming up. Very beautiful, now we got to drive and see where we were going. We drove and drove and drove and drove and then stopped at a nice park with a river. I got all excited because I thought we were going to go swimming. Ray asked us not to, so we ran up and down the bank and put a foot in just to test the water temperature. Just when we were getting ready to go there was a scream from the bank. Ray ran over to investigate. The wind had blown a hat off the head of one of the ladies from the tour bus that had stopped with us. She was in some distress as the hat was floating away and it had been a gift of her Grand daughter. Ray asked me to come over and sit next to him. He pointed at the hat until he was sure I had seen it, then said OUT. That is my cue to go. So I went running to the water and jumped in (I don’t jump like I used to, but on this occasion I made a big splash). I swam out and picked up the hat, it was a straw hat and it tickled my mouth. I made sure not to bite down on it. I swam back and gave it to Ray. The lady was so excited. I got hugs even though I was all wet. Shasta was very excited too, as she wanted to go swimming. So Ray went back and got our swimming toys and we stayed another half-hour and swam.

When we were done, Ray got us back in the SUV and off we went. Shasta and I were tired so we slept. Next thing we knew we were pulling into Cheyenne, Wyoming. I know Cheyenne as we stopped there when Ray and I moved from Boise to Sioux City in South Dakota. We stopped at the McDonalds where there is a huge grass field for Shasta and I to go and run in. Ray went and got us some water and we all sat down and had dinner. Shasta and I were to excited to eat. There were so many great smells and new sites to see that we only had a couple of bites of food.

Ray then drove and drove and drove again, then stopped and napped for a couple of hours and then got up and drove and drove some more. We started going up this long pass and when we got to the top I knew where we were. Bozeman, my favoritists place in the whole world. I saw the big M on the right side. Ray said that Greg had been working on it the last couple of weeks. It looked very nice. We decided to drive right through town and go straight to the ranch.

We got there just past 8am on Saturday. We all had our heads out he window (even Ray) to see what new things Greg had added. He always is doing something new. Shasta and I both saw the most beautiful site in the whole world. A Pond!!!! We were so excited we could not contain ourselves. Shasta was jumping all over the place and I was just mesmerized. When Ray opened the door for us we bolted out and ran straight over for a dip.

Shasta here. Shaq is handing over the letter to me for a while. His paws were getting sore from typing.

Let’s see we had just arrived at the ranch and were about to go swimming. Greg had built a big pond with a nice pier. I ran straight to the pier and jumped as far as I could and did a big belly flop. Shaq followed me in and Ray was not far behind with our water toys. Geronimo came out to greet us and we all had a fine time swimming.

While we were enjoying the pond Ray was visiting with the people. There were a bunch of people at Greg’s, including Marnie’s (Greg’s female friend) parents, as well as Marnies kids Simo and Tate and Greg’s son Jeremiah. So there was a full house of people to play with us.

We had a relaxing day of swimming and playing with all the kids. Choco and Missy showed up with their friends Terry and Frieda. I like playing with them, as they love to swim as much as Shaq and I do. Ray spent the day visiting and recovering from the long drive.

Sunday was a real treat we went rafting on the Yellowstone River. We had a great time and got to sit in the raft and enjoy the ride. There were a few easy rapids that made the bottom of the raft go up and down. I liked that a lot. After a while I relaxed and took a nap, Shaq was an old pro and just hung out watching the scenery go by.

After the raft trip we had a big party at the ranch. Lots of people came over and played with Shaq and I. With 6 Labs in attendance there ware plenty of play mates available. I even got to eat a whole hot dog all by myself (thanks James). It was yummy.

The next few days went by in a blur. Shaq & I took Ray hiking up at Hyalite a couple of days, then we had a relaxing couple of days swimming in the pond. Every now and then Ray would leave and Shaq & I would stay at the ranch. I would go all over the house looking for him to make sure that he was not playing hide and seek. When it was obvious that he was gone Shaq & I would take a break and relax and rest up for when he got back.

After a week of hanging out we packed the car and headed home. Ray drove again (Shaq offered to help, but he said he could handle it). We stopped at parks and other places on the way home.

Shaq & I really like going on road trips. We are starting to get Ray buttered up for another one this winter.

Well that was our vacation. We all had fun. Didn’t get to see everyone we wanted to (sorry Duke & Polly) but will definitely be going back again so will catch everyone then.

Shaq & Shasta & Ray

Last message from Sioux City 10/5/01

Last message from Sioux City
Copyright © 2001 Ray Hebert

Howdy All,

I am back in Sioux City to supervise the pack and load of our stuff. They are about done and need to get the computer packed up, so this will be the last message from Sioux. The next message will be from our new home in Austin.

The last month has been very tough for me. I have been away from Shaq and Shasta for 32 days. That is the longest I have ever been apart from them and I admit that I really miss them. I have gotten my traveling done for the rest of the year, so I can spend as much time as possible with the kids.

I go to pick them up on Saturday morning for the drive down to Austin. Should take about 16 hours so we will do it over 2 days. I expect that Shaq will be glad to see me and will quickly settle into the routine again. Shasta will initially be glad to see me, then will give me the cold shoulder for a while. She really hates being separated, so I will need to spend some extra quality time with her.

The house in Austin has a really large yard (3/4 acre) so they will have lots of room to play. They have a huge deck (1200 sqft) that is partially covered so they will have a great place to lounge during the days when the weather is nice enough to be outside (when it is not over 100 degrees).

Well I better get going. I am really going to miss Sioux City, did not want to leave but job circumstances forced the issue.

I hope all of you have a great weekend and when you hear from us in about a week it will be from our new house in Austin. Email address will not change so to most of you it will not seem any different.

Ray & Shaq & Shasta

Dog or Frog 6/24/01

Dog or Frog
Copyright © 2001 Ray Hebert

Howdy all,

Yesterday I asked the kids that if they could not be dogs what would they want to be. At once they both said Frog!

Frog, I thought maybe Butterfly or Wolf or some other such animal. So I asked why.
Shasta said that she really liked jumping and frogs like to jump. Then she proceeded to show me how she can jump like a frog and jumped all around the house. So yes I could see that a Frog suited Shasta very well.

Shaq said that he liked to swim and Frogs lived in the water and swam all day. He said if he could he would swim all the time, it is so relaxing and fun. In the afternoon we went out to St. Edwards Park and Shaq showed me how he can swim like a Frog. So yes I could see Shaq being a Frog.

Now, I'm wondering. Are they Dogs who act like Frogs, or are they Frogs concealed as Dogs?

Ray & Shaq & Shasta
P.S. Shasta is letting me send this from her email account. Very nice of her.

Slidy Shasta 6/9/01

Slidy Shasta
Copyright © 2001 Ray Hebert

Howdy All,

Shaq here. An amusing thing happened yesterday. Well, I thought it was funny, I don't think Shasta did.

When ever Ray comes home he let's us in after a hard day of patrolling the back yard. We have a nice large yard that requires both of us to patrol constantly, otherwise some cat or other animal will try to horn in on our turf.

When Ray comes home and let's us in, Shasta goes wild and runs full bore straight to the kitchen and runs to the door to the garage. She want's to go for a ride to the park. I must admit I would like to go as well, but I am more dignified and don't see a need for all the theatrics. Well every day Shasta runs to the door.

Normally, she stops just before the door. This was made possible by the carpet that used to be in the kitchen (can you believe carpet in the kitchen?) that gave ample grip for stopping. Well last week Ray had the kitchen and the dining room tiled, as well as the bathrooms. It is very nice and we like it a lot. Very cool to lay out on, on those hot summer days and nights. I can stretch out and relax very nice.

Oh, back to the story. Well when Ray opened the door for us on Friday Shasta came rushing in and ran full speed to the kitchen. She put on the brakes to stop and found that she was still going forward, she started to back peddle, but to no avail. Thump. She went straight into the door. She got up and shook it off and looked at the door then looked at Ray, then looked at me.

I was rolling on the floor laughing, Ray ran over to give her a hug and make sure she was all right (she was). We didn't get to go out, as it was raining.

Hope each of you are enjoying your summer. Shasta and I are doing fine. Ray seems to be doing ok, but you never know with him. It is starting to get hot in Austin, with several days in the 90 degree range. When that happens we can go under the addition to the house where we have a nice large area to hang out. It is always cool under there, just like being in a cave.

Well that is the story of Slidy Shasta.

Tug-O-Shasta 4/1/01

Copyright © 2001 Ray Hebert

Shaq loves to play tug of war. Next to swimming and retrieving it is probably his favoritist thing to do.

Shasta's favorite thing to do is sleep on the bed, or cuddle up with you on the chair.

With all the rain that Austin has been having recently (except the 3 days that friends from Montana were visiting last week) we have been playing a lot of Tug-O-War.

The kids have a rope with a rubber handle on it (for my benefit) that they play with.

The game is very different depending on who is on the other end of the rope with Shaq.

If I am the one on the end, then the game is to see if Shaq can rip my arm out of it's socket. He get the tugging going then all of a sudden he starts shaking his head and putting all of his weight behind the shakes. If you don't know it is coming your arm can get very sore. After a couple of times you learn how to go limp and let the shakes come. When he stops you then take your shot at dislodging the rope from the jaws of death. No human known can get the rope out of Shaq's mouth once the clench is in place. He would go on for hours if anyone could withstand his onslaught.

Getting Shaq and Shasta to play against each other takes a little finessing. Shasta does not always want to play Tug-O-War, so you have to get her interested. First you play a little bit with Shaq, after a few minutes you stop and give the rope to Shasta and give a couple of tugs to get it seated well in her mouth. Of course you are doing this with one hand and holding Shaq with the other hand. All this time Shaq is trying to jump out of his skin to get to the rope to play.

Once Shasta is engaged then you give Shaq the other end and sit down and enjoy the action. Shasta has one strategy, keep Shaq moving. If she stops then the death shake starts and she has to hang on for dear life. Now moving means backing up, and Shasta can now backup all thorough the house without hitting a thing. While she is tugging Shaq around the room he is growling the entire time. It is a real hoot to watch them go at it. Shasta can hang on for about 15 minutes on a good day.

Regardless who is the opponent when the inevitable happens (Shaq gets the rope) Shaq will parade around the room with the rope. If you sit down to take a rest he will bring the rope over and try to press it into your hand, or into Shasta's mouth. He can never get enough.

Well that is the story of Tug-O-Shasta.

Ray & Shaq & Shasta (formerly Stichy and Stinky)

Under the Knife 3/22/01

Under the Knife
Copyright © 2001 Ray Hebert

Howdy all,

Shasta had a bit of excitement this week. Over the weekend she got a nice deep cut in her left front arm pit. Not sure how it happened, but expect that when she was running through the woods that she landed on a branch that punctured her.

She was not in any pain and it was not bleeding so I didn't think it was serious. But, on Monday I brought her in to get it looked at, expecting just a little local anesthetic and a couple of stitches would do the trick.

Well they took one look at it and immediately admitted her. They had to go in and clean it out. So she was admitted and put to sleep, had the wound cleaned and had 12 stitches put in to keep it closed. She stayed at the hospital all day and I picked her up after work.

We had friends from Montana staying with us (Greg, Marnie, Tate, Jeremiah and Geronimo (Shaq's Dad)) so they took care of Shaq. Every now and then Shaq would go wandering through the house to find Shasta. When she came home he came over and sniffed her wound and gave it a couple licks to make it feel better.

Shasta is fine and recuperating nicely, with a nicely shaved left arm pit (very sexy). She gets the stitches out on the 29th and can't go swimming until then, and should not be doing any heavy running and jumping (yeah right). She does not seem to be in any pain and does not lick or chew on the wound so I think she will survive.

Any way that is the update.

Ray & Shaq & Shasta

Shaq & Shasta Xmas 12/28/00

Shaq & Shasta Xmas
Copyright © 2001 Ray Hebert

Merry ShaqMas and ShastaMas to all.

I scored this year. Shaq and Shasta pulled their resources together and got us a new refrigerator. Shaq used the money he won from jumping competitions in the last year and Shasta used the money she won from the face licking competitions. I kept asking what they were going to do with their winnings, they would only say that they were saving it for something special.

I was wondering what they were doing late at night surfing the web. Everytime I went up to check on them they would quickly switch the site they were looking at. I figured they were looking at again. (check it out it is very neat and not X rated ;) Now I know they were cruising the Lowes site.

I guess I will need to do something special for them. Maybe a nice trip somewhere where they can run, jump and play in the water.

Shaq and Shasta got a couple of bones, some new toys to play with and such. Not nearly as nice as a refrigerator, but they seemed happy just the same.

We had a very relaxing Xmas weekend. On Sunday, the kids let me go out for the evening. Bob picked me up and we went to a couple of parties. They were very entertaining. When I got home they were both sleeping on the Chaise. Shasta got up and sniffed me thoroughly to make sure I was not hanging out with other dogs while away. She gets very jealous when I've been out carousing with other dogs. Not finding any other scents on me she went back to sleep.

I hope each of you did as well as I did.

Ray & Shaq & Shasta