Saddle Up Saloon; All the Critters Is Stirrin’, ‘Specially Mause

Written by D. Avery @shiftnshake

       Read my writing and see my books at

January 11, 2021

“Dang it, Kid! What’s goin’ on? We got a Saloon ta run.”

“What’s the problem Pal?”

“Yer the problem. First those goats and now thet pig of yers— thet pig should not be in this ‘stablishment.”

“This is not ‘a pig’, not any pig; this is Curly. My pig. Lookit ‘er. Ain’t she the cutest?”

“Git ‘er out afore the Board a Health comes by.”

“Oh, she’s plenny healthy, ‘an asides, she’s a service hog. See the vest she’s wearin’?”

“Says ‘Servus’.”

“Oops. Serves us right fer d’pendin’ on spell chick. But the point is, that vest means she’s got ta ‘comp’ny me wherever I go. ‘Cause a PTS.”

“PTS? You?”

“No, you. Pal Totally Stresses. Pet Curly, Pal, scratch her b’hine the ears. It’ll make ya feel good ta make Curly feel good.”

“Enough a yer nonsense, Kid. What if Shorty come in here, saw this piglet a yers runnin’ ‘roun’ the saloon?”

“Reckon she’d say the place ‘as gone ta the hogs! Anyway, Charli Mills hersef said it’s okay ta have this here puglet on the ranch and even here at the saloon. Ya know why?”

“No, Kid. Why?”

“’Cause World Headquarters ‘as gone ta the dogs! There’s a Mause in the House!”

“Oh yeah, there was mention a thet.

“Well, Kid, them folks was sorely missin’ their ol’ German Shorthair Poin’ers. Reckon it was time. All right, let’s have a look.

“Oh, she sure is a cutie, Kid. Yep, I kin see the Millsiz gittin’ a GSP at this time. But thet still don’t make it okay fer you ta have this piglet here as a pet. ‘Member, you gittin’ thet pig was all a mistake anyhow, ‘cause a spell chuck, er should I say, folks not double checkin’ the spell cluck.”

“Don’t matter, Pal. Like the song says, ya jist gotta love the hog ya got. Anyway, Curly needs me.”

“Bull shift Kid. Only ‘cause you need her ta need you.”

“I’ll take it. Tell ya what, she ain’t never said a discouragin’ word ta me.”

“Hmmf. Ya cain’t trust a pig, Kid. They’ll squeal on ya.”

“Har har.”

“Okay Kid, enough already. Have ya got a innerview lined up or ain’tcha?”

“Ain’t. No innerview this week.”

“Karaoke? Recipe Rustlin’? Anythin’?”

“Nope. Nope. An’… nope.”

“Whut? Why not?!”

“’Cause ever’one’s been on the road, Pal, an’ takin’ care a their pets. Even D. Avery’s been trav’lin’, jist moved up from her home a thirty years back ta her ‘riginal stompin’ groun’s. Her lil cat was ridin’ shotgun, all gussied up in her red harness. Thinkin’ Curly needs a red harness, what d’ you think?”

“Jeez, Kid, I think ya need ta focus! We need ta give the folks somethin’. Cain’t believe ya ain’t got a innerview this week.”

“Well, I kin wing it…

Folks, welcome ta the Saddle Up Saloon. Well, howdy Mause!”

“Yer innerviewin’ thet new puppy a Charli Mills?”

“Yep. Now shush… Mause, I unnerstan’ ya jist had a long road trip with yer new ferever fam’ly. How was it?

‘Ruff.’ ”

“Really, Kid?”

“Shush Pal. Yep, Mause, it was rough but it’s all good now. Let’s see, the Millsiz, Charli an’ the Sarge, they traveled all day an’ inta the dark a night ta git ya. It was blowin’ snow an’ it was uphill both ways!”

“Is thet true Kid?”

“Uh, only parts of it. Dramatic effect Pal. But they did travel all day an’ went inta Wisconsin, which, fer yer information, ain’t Mishugin. Which meant they got ta show Mause off ta their son an’ daughter-in-law.”

“Why would they do thet? Wouldn’t they wanna git on back ta Headquarters?”

“Have ya ever had a pet, Pal? This here’s a new member a the fam’ly. An’ I reckon, cute as Mause is, Charli still takes any chance ta see her ‘riginal two-legged pups.”


“Okay, on with the innerview… Mause, what did ya say when Sarge an’ Charli got ya back ta HQ, aka the Roberts Street Writery?

‘Hoooooooome! Hooooooome!’

Oh, what a howl. Yep, ya got a good home, lil Mause. An’ yer in extra good han’s ‘cause Sarge is a vet.”

“Not thet kinda vet Kid.”

“That’s all right Pal, I’m doctorin’ the truth fer this ‘un. Anyways, Sarge is really good with dogs an’ he sure knows German Shorthair Poin’ers.”

“Thet’s true. Ha! Reckon this lil pup an’ Charli Mills got somethin’ in common.”

“Ya mean asides the Sarge?”

“Yep. They’ll both be workin’ on papers fer a while.”

“Oh yeah. Mebbe she figgered she didn’t have quite ‘nough on her plate, so she took on this here pup too.”

“Aw. It’ll be fine. Got anuther photo, Kid?”

“Yep. Oh, look here….

Looks like Mause will also be workin’ on a miracle a duck. Think I should git Curly a chew toy, Pal? Oh, never mind, she’s got yer boots looks like.”

“Curly no! Dang it, Kid, ya gotta keep a better eye on this critter. No, don’t pick ‘er up an’ cuddle ‘er.”

“But she wants ta be cuddled, Pal. See? Them’s happy grunts.”

“What ‘bout when ya cain’t pick ‘er up anymore?”

“Hadn’t thought ‘bout that. But I am workin’ on trainin’ her. Watch.

Sit, Curly, sit.

See? Ohhhhh…. oops.”

“Ha! Sit? Mebbe she jist misunnerstood thet command, thought ya said… thet. Clean thet up Kid. Jeez. This innerview stinks.”

“Oh yeah. The innerview….

Mause, d’ya have other two-legged siblings? What’s that? Ya say ya have one in the Bark-tic? Oh, an’ the other one come ta welcome ya ta the Keweenaw?”

“Bet they’s all ‘memberin’ Bobo an’ Bobo’s brother, Grenny. D’ya s’pose Charli’ll read The Poet’s Dog ta Mause?”

“Mebbe, or some other fittin’ book. Reckon fer a while it’s all go dog go aroun’ there. Do ya read ta Curly?”

“’Course! In fact I highly recommend Chester the Worldly Pig by Bill Peet, even if ya ain’t got a puglet a yer own.”

“Huh. Kid whut’s this? Three stages a puppy?”

“Seems that’s a meme, Pal. Huh. Wunner if Curly will follow the same d’velopmennal traject’ry as Mause?”

“When pigs fly.”

“Then the middle stage’d be a pterosaur. Hey Pal, Mause is pr’nounced mouse, right?”


“So… if they cloned lil’ Mause they’d be called Mice?”


“An’ Pal, how come baby pigs is piglets but baby dogs are puppies? Whyn’t they doglets?”

“Ya know whut, Kid, I’ve had enough. You close up, I’m headin’ back ta the bunkhouse.”

“Watch yer step Pal.”

“Whut? Thet a threat? Whooooaaaa! Oof. Ow.”

“Yer slippin’ Pal. Was more like a warnin’. I ain’t cleaned up after Curly yet. Seems ya stepped in it. Hey, now yer boots been chewed and pooed!”

“Dang it, Kid!”

“Mause says, paws an’ take a break.”

“Thet ain’t funny.”

“Then I’ll stop laughin’ Pal. Here. B’fore ya go, let’s let Mause have the last word. Though I’m thinkin’ we’ll all be hearin’ more ‘bout her from the hoss’s mouth, so ta speak.”

My dad… he’s a shoulder to lean on.
There’s nothing we can’t do when we put our heads together.
Write on, Mom!

“Welcome ta Carrot Ranch, Mause. Take good care a the folks at Headquarters.”

If asked, Pal & Kid will deny that they spill from the pen of D. Avery. They claim to be free ranging characters who live and work at Carrot Ranch and now serve up something more or less fresh every Monday at the Saddle Up Saloon. If you or your characters are interested in saddling up to take the stage as a saloon guest, contact them via

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  1. Chel Owens

    Adorable! (And, I mean Mause -sorry Pal and Kid.)

  2. ellenbest24

    We are Loving Mause in the UK

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Dang I jist thought of a joke, but not sure if I should say it.

      Jist put out a disclaimer Kid. What kind a joke?

      See Pal, thet’s the thing. Why are there kinds a jokes? Why is there sech a thing, fer ‘zample, as a Irish joke?

      Yer gonna tell it anyways ain’tcha?

      Yep… mebbe it’s funny, mebbe it’s not, but what d’ya call Mause in Ireland? Micky Mause.

      Eh.. an’ if she were among the leprechauns? Mini Mause.

      Mebbe we should jist thank Ellen and git, Pal.

      Yep. Thanks Ellen, sorry Ellen.

      • ellenbest24


  3. Jules

    I picked up a book from my free library that I was gonna mail off ta D. but if she ain’t gonna be there no more I’ll jist give ya the title. Since really it’s more for Kid Mebee ya kin find it at yer library? Iffn’ D. wants it – have her email me – I’d be happy to send it media rate.

    Pigs of Paradise; The story of the World Famous Swimming Pigs, by T.R.Todd “The Bahamas is famous for sun, sand and – swimming pigs.” – National Geographic.

    Glad to hear that Mause’s got a great forever home! Thanks fer sharn’ all them photos.

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Thinkin’ that true life pig story might give Curly ideas. Soun’s like a good read, an’ a good reason ta s’port the local library or bookstore. Thanks fer thinkin’ a me an’ Curly. Yer a sight kinder then Pal. -Kid

      • Jules

        A while ago I (and I sorta still belong) was a member of this cool place called BookCrossing.
        You can look ’em up. They support setting books free. Every once in a while I still get a notice of a book I gave an ID number to and where it got picked up.

        Now though, while I kin’ only get in my library if I schedule a 15 minute browsing time. So I’ve been frequentin’ a few different Little Free Library locals near me.

        Iffn’ we kin have a Poetree and goats why not a lake near the Saloon for Curly to swim in… though mebe the water needs to be warm. Don’t think Pal’ll want a spa attached to the Saloon, en? 😉

  4. D. Avery @shiftnshake

    Reblogged this on ShiftnShake and commented:

    Kid drops the ball, but there’s a puppy to point to it and a puglet to fetch it. Come by the Saddle Up Saloon to say howdy and congratulations to Charli Mills and (expanded) family.

  5. Sam "Goldie" Kirk

    “went inta Wisconsin, which, fer yer information, ain’t Mishugin.” I’m not sure why, but I thought this line was genius. Cracked me up.

    What is up with everyone getting a puppy? It’s cute, though. Seems like good times are on the horizon. Thanks for the introduction!

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      In an earlier challenge post Charli linked to a video where some guy was claiming Michigan as a part of Wisconsin, or something like that. Michigan’s geography with all it’s fingers and thumbs and water lined mittened appendages confound and confuse even some local folks. So Kid felt like clarity was necessary.
      There is a second surge in pet adoptions just now, with the first last April. Hmm? What could be instigating that?
      In the matter of Mause, this is not a Covid response , but the continuation of a family tradition of having a GSP in the Mills home. It IS a sign of good times on the horizon! For Mause’s family and beyond.

      • Sam "Goldie" Kirk

        I read, just the other day, how someone got sued because they allowed their dog to get pregnant without having a license to breed. The supposed problem – people are trying to make money from all the sudden demand.

      • D. Avery @shiftnshake

        There’s that and there’s letting unsuspecting characters like Kid take a piglet thinking it’s a puglet dog. We need to be wary of more than the virus these days. There’s a surge in spam as well, both the hoarding of rectangular globs of ?? and the attempted trickery in the inbox.
        Of course some unexpected dog pregnancies are just old fashioned accidents? These people must have been pushing a breed that was not certified or however that works.

  6. H.R.R. Gorman

    Aww, yay! My dog is 3 and believes he’s a shark! All the kids and neighbors know he’s not to be interacted with.

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Oh my. I wonder if Mause will identify as a shark. I mean it’s okay, it’s just that Charli and the Sarge are used to GSPs. But, yeah, ya love the one ya got, and they love Mause no matter and you have a loved shark, all good. Do you play the Jaws music when you walk, as a warning?

      • H.R.R. Gorman

        Haha, no. He’s his own social distancing mechanism.

  7. Marje @ Kyrosmagica

    I read this pausing to say aww all the way through. What a lovely dog, welcome Mause to the family Carrot Ranch. Give Mause a hug and pat from me.

  8. Charli Mills

    Kid, sure glad you rescued that piglet and gave Curly a forever home. Mause is happy with her new family, too. You should get Curly chew sticks. Mause is getting a chew-carrot. Tell your D. thanks for introducing the petting zoo!

  9. Norah

    So nice to meet Curly and Mause. I think both have wonderful forever families. Best wishes to all.

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Thanks! Carrot Ranch and HQ are blessed. Good humans and good pets.

      • Norah


  10. suespitulnik

    A German Shorthair Pointer with the name of a German hunting rifle. Very fitting. Her face “had me from hello.” What a cutie.
    And I’m partial to the puglet too. Any critter is a good critter.
    Thanks for the introductions.

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Happy ta do it. Yer right, this is a mighty fine pair a critters.

    • Charli Mills

      Yes! The veteran family understands the name! 😉

  11. Kate

    A very clever welcome to Mause at the Ranch.

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      We’re jist so happy fer Charli an’ the rest a her fam’ly. Had ta share this good news.

  12. Colleen M. Chesebro

    OMG! I loved this! You ladies make me smile every day! Tomorrow, we move into our house in East Lansing! It’s finally happening. I’ll get in touch after the WIFI gets hooked up! <3

  13. bertsbees

    Mause has skyrocketed to the ranks of therapy pup. ????

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Yep, we heard thet. Any word on the puglet? Is Curly really a ther’py hog?

  14. Jennie

    Oh, I loved this!!

      • Jennie


  15. Marsha

    My favorite line, “Ya cain’t trust a pig, Kid. They’ll squeal on ya.” Cute pup, cute post. Kid and Pal were really in their zone today.

    • D. Avery @shiftnshake

      Yep, this’ll be a hard act ta follow.

      • Marsha

        Not every word out of any kid’s mouth is quotable! LOL I had to laugh when I read that one, though!


  1. Consider Using a Quote to Spruce Up a Post (#SquareUp Day 13) – priorhouse blog - […] Charli Mills provided this quote to Marsha to be used for this week: […]
  2. January 14: Flash Fiction Challenge « Carrot Ranch Literary Community - […] If you want a proper introduction to the puppy, be sure to read Kid and Pal’s exclusive over at…

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