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The Mystery of the Disappearing Sleeves – A Laila Belle Detective Mystery

November 21, 2013

V Laila Bell von den Sportwaffen Kkl1







I didn’t know what mom was up to that week before the strange yellow ribbons appeared on the field and seemingly made all of the sleeves mysteriously disappear.  She had spent nearly every waking moment in front of that glowing box. By the end of the week, after countless hours of anticipating another fun day of sniffing for things that earn me a ball or chasing down a helper and biting the sleeve, I was quite surprised when none of the normal good stuff happened on our training field.

It rained all morning the day the mystery began. I didn’t mind the rain, but when she saw the growing puddle of water in my crate, she made unhappy noises over it, which wasn’t like her at all. She would leave and return, each time forgetting to get me out to track or hunt for the scents that earned me a ball.  I decided to splash water on her to cheer her up. She growled at me.

I watched all morning as other dogs walked on to my field and followed the yellow ribbon. Did they not realize it only circled back on itself and never lead to the yellow teepee where the man with the delicious sleeve hid? I found it odd that they seemed not the least bit annoyed by this. It was all very different and I began to worry. What if the yellow teepee’s no longer contained a man with a sleeve? I tried to alert her to this very troubling prospect several times, but she continued to ignore me. Finally, when I thought I would lose my mind, she dropped the tailgate and….opened Uma’s crate! Argh!!

I protested quite loudly, but she didn’t seem to hear.

She took Uma to the field with a bunch of other youngsters and they all began to follow the yellow ribbon. People watched them quite seriously and made approving comments.   People ran outside of the yellow line and mercilessly teased the youngsters with balls and other very enticing toys, which the youngsters foolishly chased until they panted heavily and it seemed they would just run forever not realizing they would never, ever be given the toy. If it were me, I thought, I would just duck under that yellow ribbon and snatch the first toy I came to!

The madness finally ended with all of them standing in a neat row in perfect positions while the humans further commented on them and made approving gestures and noises.

After an eternity and another inch of water had accumulated in my crate, she returned. She was so happy she didn’t even react when I shared more of the water with her. Apparently following the endless yellow ribbon and standing very still made her very happy.  I made a mental note of this.

Perhaps now that Uma was back, I hoped, she would get me out and I would be allowed to bite something! She reached for my crate door and opened it. I was out! ‘Let’s go!’ I turned to race to the field, but felt the pull of the collar. She beckoned me to her and began to rub my belly with a bite rag that I couldn’t bite. Torture! I let her know that this wasn’t acceptable, but she once again, ignored me. One of the humans came to assist her in her madness and my fears increased. I hadn’t seen any men with sleeves all morning. I hadn’t seen any sleeves at all! The humans had surely lost their minds.

After much fussing and fluffing and torture with a bite rag that I couldn’t bite, she walked me to the field where I was immediately met by a pretty girl who seemed to think she belonged on my field. She smelled way too pleasant and obviously needed to roll in something dead and get some mud on her coat. She turned her nose up at me and I immediately put her in her place. ‘Look, bitch, I haven’t had a chance to bite anything all week! Don’t mess with me!’ Mom didn’t approve of my little outburst, however, and after a stern warning, I was soon subjected to the same exercises I had watched Uma perform earlier.  Oh the indignity!

As we trotted around the ring, I kept watch, waiting for an opportunity to snatch a ball or toy from one of their unsuspecting hands.  It wasn’t long before I got my chance. Mom was wearing down, gasping for air and as I felt the lead slip slightly from her hands, I pulled away enough to bound under the ribbon and grab a ball! Although she found this somewhat humorous, she didn’t allow me to keep the ball, and soon I found myself once again following along after all the others.

After running forever, we stopped and faced the man who stood in the center. He looked at each of us very carefully, studying us. There was so much going on and yet no one, neither canine nor human seemed to notice that all the sleeves had mysteriously vanished. My only bit of consolation was that at least the balls had not suffered the same fate as the sleeves.

The judge made approving comments on the line of dogs in front of me. I tried to make eye contact with them to let them know I really didn’t approve of them being on my field, but mom was on to me.  I sighed and tried to patiently wait my turn. Perhaps if I stood really still and did as she asked, I might at least get to bite a ball.

Finally, the man turned to me. He made many comments and when he finished speaking, mom yelped like a puppy as did the alpha man who I had known my entire life and who first introduced me to the wonderful sleeve. They continued to yelp and jump up and down and embrace like I had just done something quite extraordinary, like speak in their language. But they had clearly lost their minds, because I hadn’t really done much and I didn’t get a ball out of it, and I certainly didn’t get a sleeve.

Mom danced me back to the truck where, finally, she gave me a bite on a blessed ball! Then magical things happened. People came and rubbed my muddy belly. Someone brought me raw meat. Mom    opened the truck and produced juicy bits of steak which I devoured.  It all seemed rather odd, that these humans would so appreciate my trotting and standing abilities, but as long as I was getting my belly rubbed and fed meat, I wasn’t going to protest.

I spent that night dreaming of chasing rabbits that I could never catch and being rewarded with tasty steaks while I lounged on a satin bed and had my belly rubbed by adoring humans. When I awoke, I hoped that mom had come to her senses and we would perhaps return to the field and do the things we normally did there and that the yellow ribbon would be no more. I suspected the yellow ribbon had something to do with the disappearance of the sleeves. I hoped to prove out my theory and was anxious to return to the field to see if it was correct.

When we arrived at the field, I immediately noticed that the ominous yellow ribbon was still in place. My heart sank. I sat in the car and waited patiently, hoping beyond hope that at least one of the humans had thought to save at least one of the sleeves before it was too late.

I lay in my crate pondering where all the sleeves might have gone. I contemplated that if I tore at the yellow ribbon with my teeth until it was a shredded into a thousand pieces perhaps all the sleeves would return. As I tried to work a solution to solving this mystery and after what seemed like a thousand years, I suddenly heard the familiar sound of a whip cracking! I jumped to my feet and peered out onto the field. There stood the alpha man wearing his special armored coat and upon his arm…. a sleeve!

Joy! Joy! Joy!

I called to her, ‘mom, mom, mom!’ She didn’t seem to notice.

‘Let’s go, let’s go, let’s go!! Bite! Bite! Bite!’

She finally snapped out of her coma, came to the truck and walked me to the field.

I stayed by her side for several agonizing steps until the alpha man appeared.  She released me and I raced forward and took my prize. It was heaven in my mouth!  The alpha man danced me across the field and I held on and fought with him until mom called the out command way too soon! After the out, the man walked up field while mom and I stood near the yellow teepee.  I couldn’t believe my luck! Another bite was soon to be mine!

The alpha man turned to face me. He waved the stick, bared his teeth and ran at me with the sleeve held high. I bucked and fought the hold on my collar. When her fingers relinquished their hold, I bolted toward the man, leapt into the air and found my reward. As my teeth sunk into my prize, I noticed the yellow ribbon. It suddenly occurred to me that perhaps I had solved the mystery. The ribbon was just another one of the many things that the humans found important. It made them feel good to see their canine partners move around the ring. I was just happy that it made them feel good enough to reward me with a bite.

Apparently all of the hullaballoo pleased mom greatly, because at the end of the day, I was once again rewarded with steak.

A week later, when we returned to the field, the yellow ribbon was gone and life returned to normal.  ‘Bite, bite, bite! Happy! Happy! Happy!’ Oh, and an occasional belly rub, and a ball, and a ride in the car. Oh, you get it. That’s all this working girl asks.

V Laila Belle von den Sportwaffen, IPO1, Kkl1, certified narcotic detection K9


April 10, 2013

If it says it’s important, shred it!


If I had a match, I would shred it and burn it.

Bossy Machines

March 27, 2013

We’ve had machines that talk to us for years now. I should be used to them by now, but I’m not. I find them highly annoying. The worst offenders are my GPS and the grocery self check-out scanner beepy thingy. (Okay, fine. What do you call them?) More on that one later. Right now I want to complain about my GPS.

I hate the way the GPS whines whenever I don’t take her preferred route. I can almost hear her exasperated sigh before she utters ‘recalculating’.

What she’s really saying, ‘You stupid human, you missed your turn! Again!’

What I say in response, ‘Look, you dumb @*!#$! I’ve driven this route a hundred times. I know where I’m going!’

One day I was driving around the boondocks and succeeded in actually getting myself lost. No worries, I thought. I have a GPS! 

Hahaha! Yeah, right!

I caught a glimpse of the smirk that flitted across her perfectly matte complexion right before she uttered a sarcastic, ‘You turn where possible.’

I wonder how long she lay on the side of that country road before someone picked her up….

Although I talked to my GPS, she wasn’t capable of actually hearing me. I often thought it would be handy to have a hands-free version that you could just state the destination and not have to try to drive and type. I thought this until I recently witnessed my friend’s voice-activated, user-friendly model in action. He precisely and perfectly enunciated an address in Indiana. After five minutes of thinking, his high-tech wonder returned ten addresses in Kansas. I understand completely why she was confused. North central Indiana looks a lot like Kansas these days. We even have giant windmill farms now.

I believe one could accept the utterances of these devices if they were just designed to at least sound like they want to be helpful to us.

Instead of a harsh ‘Recaulculating!’ perhaps something more like…

‘Honey, you missed your turn back there. I’ll just make another suggestion here in a minute. You don’t have to turn though if you don’t want to. You are, after all, a highly evolved being perfectly capable of making intelligent decisions.’

Is this too much to ask?

My phone has voice recognition. It’s just as messed up as my friend’s GPS. The first time I tried to use it to call someone, it played a song that I like. I got sidetracked, listened to the entire album and forgot to make the phone call. Sneaky phone.

I don’t completely trust machines that talk. I think that my next GPS is going to be a fairly basic model….


No talking necessary. 🙂 And if I get lost in the wilderness it will come in far handier than a machine that would most likely tell me, ‘You really *!*#$% up! Good luck!’

Not that Complicated.

March 20, 2013

I love how even the simplest things seem to require complicated instructions. Greenies Pill Pockets, for example. Nothing could be easier, in my opinion. You have this….


And this…


Seems pretty straightforward to me.

Yet, the package instructions would have one thinking otherwise….


I love how you are instructed to use the same hand holding the pill pocket to squeeze the top half closed.

I neglected to do this. I used the opposite hand and smooshed it until the pill was completely encased in the pocket. My dog didn’t have a problem with this. Apparently, she didn’t read the instructions either.

Boxelder Bugs

March 18, 2013

My house is completely infested with Boxelder bugs. When they first appeared about a month ago, we would see one or  two. They would appear seemingly out of nowhere and sit next to me while I ate breakfast. Now there are hundreds of the little buggers. Everything I’ve read says that they ‘overwinter’ in the warm spaces of homes and sometimes make their way inside because it’s obviously warm inside your house and they believe this to be an indication that it is spring. The poor little critters are confused.

All means of eliminating them are apparently off limits because; one, they won’t really kill the ones hiding in the walls and two, dead boxelder bug carcasses will attract more invasive and destructive pests like carpet beetles. Joy.

So the number one expert-recommended line of defense against the annoying, yet innocuous, boxelder bugs inside your home  is……

sweep them up.

Sweep? That’s what you do with a broom and dustpan and/or a vacuum cleaner?

‘Ain’t nobody got time for that!’

I’ll just walk around them or flick them off the counter when they try to share my breakfast. My dog sits on them and steps on them. They’re very fragile and they die when this happens.

My daughter and I were having breakfast and one had gotten a little wet and was stranded on its back. She felt sorry for it and turned it over. It began to walk along the edge of the counter, its tiny legs carefully navigating the edge of the precipice. Suddenly, it stopped, one leg poised to take the next treacherous step, and fell to the floor, dead.

I guess I will have to wait for spring for the Boxelder family to leave.

This seems like a hopeless choice, however, because apparently spring has been cancelled in north central Indiana. I’m quite sure this will be a year where we go from 32 degrees to 90 degrees and 100% humidity overnight.  Hopefully, when that happens, the Boxelder Bugs will pack their bags and evacuate en masse and I will have a pest-free house. Hahahaha!

Yeah. Right.

My house is over a hundred years old. I’m pretty sure the walls are teeming with all manner of lovely pests ready to take the place of the Boxelder.

I can hardly wait.


Jenny’s ‘Babies’

March 11, 2013
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My dog, Jenny, is getting ready to whelp. These are her surrogate ‘babies’ she carries around. Don’t let the appearance of her ‘babies’ alarm you. She really is a good mommy. 🙂



March 9, 2013

I love glass and almost anything made of glass. I have a huge collection of old glass insulators. I wish I had one in every color, especially a red one. But the most exotic one I own is a deep purple. The one in the photo is a garden-variety aqua color. Like most things old and rare, glass insulators and glass items are highly collectible. I was obsessed with them for a while. I used to walk rail lines in search of them. I went to every antique and thrift store in central Indiana in search of them. There’s just something comforting about the nature and feel of a solid piece of glass in a world filled with plastic. Image

I Wrote a Book. Now What?

March 7, 2013

I have to read it! Seriously! I have to read it because I wrote it over six years ago, then set it aside and although I remember the story very well, I don’t remember some of the finer details, like the names of minor characters, and who the real antagonist was, and how it all ended. Just kidding on that last part. I actually skipped to the end and read it to refresh my memory. 🙂 Okay, not really. 

I’m like this with movies too. I can see a movie and literally a month later not be able to remember the name of the movie. Someone will say to me, ‘What did you think of Argo?’ My reply is almost always, ‘Now, which movie was that?’ Well, of course I remember Argo! It just won some kind of an award. That was just an example.:)

I’d like to write a sequel to my book. That is if I can get anyone besides my dog to read it. She has trouble with the names of characters too. She also has trouble pushing the little page turn button on the side of her Kindle, but we’re working on it. 🙂

Okay, goodnight all. I’m going to go read some more. I’ll let you know how it turns out!

Snow Day

March 6, 2013

Today is a snow day. When I was a child, that meant the best possible thing a kid could ever hope for…no school! I remember feeling like the entire world had been transformed and made new and perfect. There were no schedules, no places to go, no homework, no bossy teachers, no rude kids, no smelly bus rides. The entire day was wide open and waiting just for me to fill it with wonderful creative pursuits. Then my brother got up and we played video games and watched The Three Stooges all day. Oh well, it was still a snow day. Today, I have to do things despite the snow. I will even have to get out in it and, yikes!, drive! At least my vehicle has four wheel drive, because out here in the boondocks of Indiana, the snow plow doesn’t come on days that end in ‘y’. 


May 17, 2011


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