May 182013

 Missed My Kid

It’s been a week since I was separated from Phoenix for a night.  Of course I survived it but I still did not like being away from him one iota. So, here is the much too delayed followup from the post I wrote about here. Read that first if you didn’t catch it last weekend.

After getting busted at the fence by my own dog I did peek out the sliding glass door until about 11:30 or so until I saw their lights go off. I sighed and the worry and thinking started to set in. Yes, my brain and thoughts are always going a mile a minute.

Was he missing me? Was he confused and maybe didn’t realize that he had asked to spend the entire night versus just several hours of playtime? Gawd, does he think I abandoned him? Where would he sleep? Would they give him his 2 treats at bedtime like I instructed? Would they make sure to not give him any sort of people food as he can get a really bad case of colitis? Yes, this would be a long night.

There was no way I could sleep and one constructive thing I chose to do was to write that post last Saturday night. I went through a bunch of his pictures as I played music on the computer. 10 years of habit and I continually looked for him to see what he was doing. He wasn’t there. I eventually posted the story around 5 a.m. Sunday morning. I thought I could wait up until 8 a.m. when they agreed that they would bring him back home.

At 6:30 a.m. I finally hit that proverbial brick wall where a person cannot avoid sleep any more without some sort of altering substance (i.e. caffeine of which I don’t drink at all). I was sooo worried, even in my tiny house, of not hearing their knock on the door from being too tired. Instead of going to bed I grabbed a pillow and laid down on the couch right by the door. My head sank deep into my pillow and I quickly drifted off for a doze around 7 a.m.

At 9:30 a.m. I woke up and still being incredibly tired I was a bit disoriented. I often stay up all night on the weekends writing and continue on into the next day with only a few hours sleep. But, what my senses immediately detected was that my dog was not there. And then a split second later I realized they had not brought him back home at the agreed upon 8 a.m. time and I panicked! Last week I revealed my Separation Anxiety. Now, it would be my Fear of Abandonment. Gone supersonic.

When I was a very young boy my mom left without an explanation that I could understand. I was 7 years old but old enough to know she left with words from her that I had done something wrong. It was never her intention I learned so very many years later. I yearned more than anything to be close to people. No, not in a clingy way but in an accepting and deep trusting manner.

So, have I had a hard time in this lifetime being close to people? Yes. Have I done my best to push right past that self-imposed stigma to persevere each day? Absolutely. Well, then I got a continual test over the next 40 plus years to see if I could stand my ground. People left when I never saw it coming. Sometimes I did nothing wrong and other times I would sabotage the relationship (friendships included) before they could hurt me. I become more and more aware of life’s realities and my self-awareness became acutely in tune with exactly who I am. And one of the most important words of life wisdom I can ever pass on to another. Look in the mirror and know who you are. Literally. I do it daily.

Then ten years ago this melting-heart cute, but very obnoxious, 8 week old Golden Retriever came home with me on a very stormy evening. The weather was like a precursor to our lives together. He looked up at me smugly, “What’s up?” I replied back, “I really want and need you in my life.” And him, “Well, I do too. It’s me and you…forever. But dude, you are a mess. We will get it figured out.” And so it began.

Hence my attachment to Phoenix. This sweet soul would always stand by me with all of my shortcomings. Gawd knows I have plenty of them. Little did I know the profound effect he would have on me. He has taught me to allow myself to be close to people, to open up and that it’s ok to make mistakes. If I do make mistakes to apologize sincerely from the deepest part of my heart and soul. And to always give to other’s as he has given to me. I have done exactly that. And today I’ve really come a long way but it’s still a work in progress.

It’s either opening up with my readers or you think I’m total loon. That’s up to you to decide.

I had slept in my sweats and V-neck t-shirt. I sat up and put my glasses on as I was trying to immediately clear my groggy head. I was in alarm mode and I fumbled into my slippers that were at my feet.  I slapped on my ball cap, grabbed my cell phone, house keys and headed next door. There were a whole slew of thoughts running through my head, “Had they kidnapped him? Maybe they flew off to Bulgaria and all of them joined the circus! I wonder what attraction Phoenix would be. Maybe The Talking, Smart-Ass Golden Retriever. Would he make good money at it? Ut oh, I forgot to pee before I started walking over here.” Lordy, I was deliriously tired.

I was coming up their walkway and as I passed by one of the open bedroom windows I could hear Elizabeth. She was reading some sort of story out loud. I knocked on the door and rang the doorbell. Grandma from Bulgaria answered.

I was scowling, “You said you would have him home at 8 a.m.”
She was smiling and waved me inside not having a clue as to what I just said. She continued to just look at me like I had 10 heads on my shoulders because she speaks only a few words of English.
I looked at her, looked down at my watch, tapping it with my forefinger, “ 8 a.m… Phoenix home.”
Grandma said, “Oh Phoenix…ya, ya. Elizabeth! Phoenix!”

I heard Phoenix come rumbling out of the bedroom and he headed towards me.  I was overcome with the most excitement ever in my life from missing another soul. I could see that Golden Retriever smile beaming across this face. I stretched my arms out to greet him and I hollered with all the joy in my heart, ”Phoenix!!! I missed you!!”

You know those most amazing, happiest moments of reunions you’ve ever seen on tv and the internet when soldiers come home from overseas?  And the part where they are gleefully greeted by their dog??

Ya, that didn’t happen.

He slowed down, then sat, and looked at me, “Oh hey Dad. What’s up?”
Me, “I love you and missed you terribly!!” Whenever I get home I always get down on my knees, hug him and saying those exact same words.
He was all of a sudden nonchalant and just sat there looking at me, “I missed you too. Is something wrong?”
Me, “No, I just…”
And he cut me off, “Good, I’m going back to the bedroom because we are reading a really cool story!”
REALLY??!! That’s it??!!

Ok, apparently I was the only one in this scenario who had envisioned that long lost love movie scene for my dog. *sigh*

Elizabeth came out of the bedroom and saw me. Good, finally my little 6 year old English translator!
I began the interrogation, “You were supposed to have him home to me at 8 a.m.”
Her, “Umm….”
I continued, “So, how did it go?!”
Her, “Good.”
Ok, this kid was going to need some pinching like in the gansta’ days to get some more detailed answers out of her.

Phoenix just continued to sit there listening to the conversation like he was watching a tennis match at center court.
I began to scowl again wanting more detailed answers, and I asked, “Where did he sleep?”
We were standing in the front entryway and she pointed down at my feet by the front door, “There…”
I exclaimed back, “He slept right here at the front door?!”
She said, “Ya…” in another long one word confession.

I looked at Phoenix, “So you missed me and were wanting to come home all night to be with me!”
He rolled his eyes, “No. This house is really warm and that’s the only place where there was cool tile to sleep.”
Hmmph! Well ok, that did make sense because, except for bedtime, he frequently sleeps on the tile in the front entryway. Just not at bedtime.

I felt like there was a lot of impatience around the three of them with me being there. Ok, the fatigue was obviously causing the unfounded paranoia.
Then Elizabeth looked at me with an assertive question as he also stared at me, “Can Phoenix spend the night again tonight?”
In all of about .000437 seconds I said, “NO.”
Phoenix looked up at her shrugging his shoulders, “Sorry, kiddo.”
She looked down at him and gave him a big love and a kiss.

He was still reluctant to leave and I pulled out my ace. It was 9:45 a.m. and he had not eaten his breakfast which he gets like clockwork at 7:45 a.m.’ish every, single morning.
So, I said, “Phoenix, are you hungry?” Those words are like announcing the winning lottery numbers.
He immediately spun around, trotted all the way to me, and leaned up against me to be petted. His tail was waggin’ a mile a minute.

Me to him, “Ya, that’s right who’s your Daddy…”

Gawd, I missed this…

Phoenix In Front Of Food Container

We went for a drive and a walk…

Phoenix Drive And Walk

And played with his Chuckit! Frisbee…

Phoenix Frisbee

Then we had some quality time bonding…

Phoenix Couch1

Well here, let me try again…

Phoenix Couch2

Ok, he was just a wee bit cranky from a long time of playing and being tired. He’s allowed to sleep on my bed when he wishes but he does not sleep with me. So, I let him have what he really wanted. Sleeping on his Daddy’s bed…


Best kid ever…

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Mike Vogler

I have been told (many times) that I really need to write a book about my life. The past 40+ years have been an exciting ride, and these days I find myself with a great many passions. However, I feel that this website is a much more personal way with which to share my musings, stories, commentary, and (of course) my greatest love... my Golden Retriever, Phoenix.

  17 Responses to “Phoenix’s Big Sleepover, The Next Morning”

  1. Aww…very good sir!

    I thought the part where you were expecting the big movie reunion that didnt happen, was very funny! Not laughing at your pain my friend, just the way you worded it!

    Love the Let Go of Me Pic! And his smart ass remark!

  2. Mike, this was great! I thought the Bulgarians were gonna get the business when you got there! But Phoenix being a kid was having a super time! How can you be mad at that face?! 🙂 Face it…ya just can’t. 🙂
    The moral of the had nothing to do with how Phoenix was gonna survive. All along this was a test for Daddy. 🙂
    Bottom line…You did good Mike!
    Great job!

  3. Great follow-up. I’ve had all the same feelings with the kids’ first sleep-overs!

  4. Mike I just love hearing about Phoenix. Ok hearing about you is awesome too. Because of Phoenix you are growing in ways you never imagined you could. You have inspired me.

    Thank you,


  5. Thank you to my Daddy’s friends. One little secret. I love punking him. But just so you know…..Best Daddy Ever. xoxo’s Daddy from your kid, Phoenix 🙂

    • Argh! Where are you? And thank you, xoxo’s back to you Phoenix. Now I just gotta find you online you little rebel 🙂

  6. Love the story. I have two dogs (one is dying,she is 18) they are always at my side and there is no way they would do a sleep over. When I leave town, they lay by the front door and whine till I get home. They have made 8 trips across the USA with me and are great riding in the car. Like your right arm….

    • I loved your comment, Mary! Oh my gosh I’m so sorry to hear about your 18 year old pup. I would sincerely love to hear more about your story if you wish to share. I’m fascinated. My email is Thank you 🙂

  7. Hello Pheonix And Mike. I can relate to your recent story Mike. My mom Becky lets me go to her friends house for my play dates with her dog Maxine! The whole time I am there I get the run of their house and I can jump on anything including her husband Peters lap. Peter loves me more than my Dad Rick as he never yells at me and I can do no wrong! In fact they invite me to their house first , then my parents!!,The only reason they get to come to their house to dinner sometimes is because of me and my charms!!!In fact I was invited to come up to Rhode Island and spend the whole summer at their beach house with their dog, they are ricH !! I just wonder if maybe I wasn’t meant to be famous because I do have a lot of personality plus!!! Jean and Peter want me and my parents know it!!! Well that’s my secret what is yours? See you in Nevada maybe, I am coming West in August, I love to travel Nd the last time we were out there I got lost. We were in Graeagle, Ca. For the 4th of July Parade, I was sitting on my moms lap watching smokey the bear go by in a truck throwing candy to all the kids and all of a sudden sirens began blaring, it scared me terribly, well I shot off to the woods thinking the world was coming to an end!!! I ran thru some kind of ant colony and got bites all over my stomach! My mom and Dad looked with friends for me for 4 hrs. They left their name and phone numbers at all the camps, they finally went back to their camp at Feather River camp grounds and had something to eat, dinner time they got a call I had wandered up to some kids at a camper park two miles from where the parade had been! Good thing I did as that camp had my moms phone number!! She came and got me, and she was crying a lot!! She put calamine lotion on all the ant bites, oh yes it did feel better!!, I slept next to her and never have run since!! Lol your pal Benji

    • Hey Benji! I snuck on her while my Daddy is cooking. I read your post twice I liked it so much! You have had amazing adventures! Please don’t stress out your Mom and Dad out. They love us so much ya know. Love your pal back, Phoenix 🙂

  8. Great ending to the story Mike! So typical, the parents are freaked out while the kids are like “What?” I’ve talked to many people who suffer from the separation anxiety; you are not the only one. Thanks for sharing.

    • This was a great growing and learning experience for me. I’ve always yapped at parents to go let their kids have fun. Ya well, I finally got put in their shoes. Different perspective now 🙂

  9. I was waiting to hear the rest of the story. Finally had a chance to read it today.

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