The Dog from Rancho Cucaracha

Dog on Hearth

Aloha…uh, I mean…Hello and Buenos Dias

Okay, it’s not really called Rancho Cucaracha.

That’s just a name the AJF (Alpha Japanese Female) made up. Max’s new home is really a town called Rancho Cucamonga which, come to think of it, is equally silly sounding.

“Rancho,” as it is called colloquially, is in Southern California, about 60 miles east of the Los Angeles Airport. No ocean views until the next big earthquake. It sits at the base of Mount San Antonio which everybody calls Mount Baldy. At 10,064 feet, Baldy is the highest peak of the San Gabriel Mountains, and the highest point in Los Angeles County, California.

Of late, some folks have taken to calling me Mount Baldy but without the Mount part, but I digress.

If you are of a certain age (and I know which ones of you are) you’ll remember Jack Benny who, from January 1945, had a running gag on his radio program in which Mel Blanc, the voice of Bugs Bunny, pretended to be a station agent who announced repeatedly, “Train now leaving on track five for Anaheim, Azusa, and Cucamonga,” drawing out the name of Cuc…amonga longer and longer each time. That schtick is largely the reason there is a Jack Benny Street in Rancho Cucamonga and a bronze statute of the old time comedian is at the local playhouse.

The 1948 cartoon classic Daffy Duck Slept Here also had the wise- cracking, slobberin’  poultry saying the famous Jack Benny lines.  Part of the joke, for the Los Angeles audience, was that no such train route existed, although all three cities do exist.

If you were a 60s freak (and I know which ones of you are) you’ll be pleased to hear that Frank Zappa  did some of his best stuff here in Rancho Cucamonga. But there is no Zappa Street as far as I know.

And who, besides all of you, could forget Jan and Dean’s immortal 1964 paean to senior ladies and their muscle cars, “The Anaheim, Azusa and Cucamonga Sewing Circle, Book Review and Timing Association.” Well, here ya go…and don’t miss the final tender lyrics: “Go granny, go granny, go granny go!”


Anyway, that’s enough Cucamonga lore for now. Rancho Cucamonga is indeed a funny sounding name for a town but Max calls it “home.” Let me catch you up a bit on the Malt…

Dog on Kitchen Mat

He likes his new home. Except the hardwood floors provide little traction for his mighty paws.

Our move from Hawaii in late November last year went rather smoothly, a result of superb planning and execution on my part sheer dumb luck. We were able to spend the holidays with family which was a delight for all. Initially, we rented a condo so we would have time to explore our new environs and decide where to settle. We expected it would take a while.

However,  we quickly found a little house that met our requirements, made an offer and were new home owners by December 29th.

Max had no problems with the transition from his beloved islands. He flew from Honolulu on Aloha Air Cargo and was delivered to us at midnight on our arrival date, his little cage having been carried across the airline warehouse on the 6-foot prongs of a huge forklift.  Later, he received so many surreptitious treats from everyone on Thanksgiving Day, Christmas and New Years that we considered renting that forklift to move His Furriness around.

Dog on Bed

The struggle is real but he tries to cope.

Max settled into his new abode immediately. It’s a modest place but it’s almost 3x the size of our Hawaii condo and…drum roll…it has a fenced backyard and lawn which, to our knowledge, is virgin territory with respect to canine poop. It’s the kind of place a Malt can roll on his back and return covered with green stains and smelling only of grass.

Very close by our home is Central Park which is a lovely spot where we brazenly flaunt the local dog ordinances and let Max run free for as long as he likes which is usually about three minutes.

At Central Park

Max’s other backyard, Central Park with Mount Tom, er, Baldy in the background.

Of course, yours truly got himself a big old BBQ right off the bat and we built a patio and cover so we can enjoy the maximum time outside which is a carry over from our Hawaii days. We have a hot tub, too, that enables us to fully immerse (snorf, snorf) ourselves in the sybaritic California lifestyle, sans Speedo, and thereby assault our new neighbors’ eyeballs.

The Furface found a new veterinarian who was successful in prescribing a new medicine that has made a huge improvement in mitigating the itchies/scratchies which have afflicted the pup since birth. Happy, happy, dog, dog.

Fat Dog

Okay, a lot of this is fur…but some is dog fat. He’s slimmed some since this photo.

Max’s big challenge at the moment is to lose weight. Throughout the moves and new experiences he has been eating a little too well. He has always been a master at extracting treats from everyone and has added a “poor transplanted me” look to enhance his productivity when begging.

The AJF has taken to using a tape measure to check the distance between Fuzzbutt’s belly and the floor and she records the dimension weekly.

Max’s adventures so far have taken him up the California coast to a town that proclaims itself the most dog-friendly place in the State, to visit family in Sacramento, up to Lake Tahoe and along the eastern slope of the Sierra plus many shorter day trips. As in the islands, Max is always on the move, discovering new places to sniff and pee. I hope to report on these and other adventures in future posts.

In closing this post, I need to apologize to all of you for not staying better in touch over these past months. No excuses, and I hope to catch up on what’s happening with each of you. In the meantime, if you are of a mind to follow a gentle little white dog’s exploration of a new home, you know that you are most welcome on the journey.




26 replies

  1. Well, it is about dang time. Thought Cali had swallowed y’all up. Good to know Max has settled in to a condo and yard now. From one fatty to another, I understand getting treats. It still seems very scenic where you are, if not the paradise of before. I do know of Jan and Dean and the tragedy that befell Jan in the car wreck, but I don’t know that song, and that is wonderful bc it makes me feel young. But I can see all the impressions of Jack Benny that comedians did of him, hand in elbow. You should work on getting a street named after Max.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Kerby! I’ve thought of you often, especially when those ferocious rains were pummeling Texas. I wondered if you and the dogs were washed out. But then I saw you were still blogging your funny stuff and that was encouraging. Yeah, all the references to Cucamonga seem to come from the Way Back Machine. I need to find out what has happened in the last half-century or so. Glad I could make you feel young; next post may be of dinosaurs – I heard you knew some personally. He,he, he.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Yay!!! I was so hoping you would be back…..and you are! Oh, gosh–I remember all of which you speak which can only mean one thing….I have a very good memory. Yes, I do. Max still looks absolutely adorable. Hanging out with all the beach babes, which I notice you did not mention, will surely help Max shed the extra manliness he has accumulated. I’m happy the move went well and that Max finally has a little slice of heaven in the way of a fenced yard. Go, Max! Anyway, I am happy you are back in blog land. Please, no more moves.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Lois, Lois, Lois…I caught up on your blog and I was horrified by the tribulations you faced health wise. Yikes and double yikes but truth to tell I cheated and fast-forwarded to the good news. I couldn’t handle the post by post stories of the early parts of your challenges. Those cats must have been sweating blue bullets too. Max has not met any Baywatch Dog babes yet. He’s holding out for those glitzy shih-tzus who cruise in Mercedes and have obscure tattoos on their derrieres, like Kerby.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Hey, Tom! Yeah, the good news is all the surgery is behind me, I am back at work (reduced hours, but still back at work!), and immunotherapy is doing it’s thing. We lost Kitty this year, she got sick very quickly with no chance for recovery so 2016 is not my favorite year so far. But you and Max are back and I cannot wait to hear about his adventures with the glitz of CA! Oh, yeah. I see it coming!!

        Liked by 1 person

    • Ha! Look who’s squawking about Mexico del Norte! At our (cough) advancing age we wanted to be close to the youngest (and most tolerant) daughter. Her fam lives in Claremont, 12 minutes away. We didn’t want to live there because we don’t like over-priced 1950s modernist houses. We like over-priced contemporary houses. Also we had a strict matrix of what we wanted in a “retirement” house in terms of amenities, location, proximity to health care, and on and on. Rancho fit the bill and although it is maligned often, we have found it a very pleasant spot. It has a wide range of neighborhoods from true hoods to palatial living. We are just a pair of plain old middle class folk but compared to the condo our small home is spacious and the dog likes it which, of course, is the main thing, amirite?


        • Thing is, we’ve seen the kids and grands more in the last 6 months than we did in the previous 6 years. That counts for a lot and we’ve been enjoying the many differences between our new and former residences so it’s all good!


  3. Yay! I am soooooooo happy to have my little maltie friend back! I’ve missed catching up on his adventures.
    I’m delighted the move went so smoothly and that Max is enjoying his new home. We have hardwood floors too and the sound of the dogs little nails as they wander around is one my very favourite sounds. It’s so much fun to see them run and slide around it.
    Looking forward to more writing from you about your new life, which sound pretty freaking awesome by the way!
    K x

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Woo-hoo…so very glad you, the Malt and the AJF and the ‘pawsome’ stories are back!! Congrats on the successful move and for integrating into stateside life. During your absence, went to the Big Island and now spend my retired days dreaming of an affordable ohana or other piece of property north of Waikoloa (I know…dream away, dearie-sigh). But I’m just giddy you guys are back and am so looking forward to future adventures of Max’s waistline. Welcome back, fur-iends! 🐾

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Monika! I read all about your happy visit to the Big Island and enjoyed the stories. Also of your recent big family gathering. (See, Max keeps track of his best Spoo buddy although sometimes he lurks rather than putting up likes and comments.) I guess Sam is starting to put on his autumn fur coat – won’t be long until the Denver cool times start and then you’ll really miss the Hawaii weather!

      Liked by 1 person

  5. So happy to see you’re back. I recently reached 50,000 views and keeping touch with you guys has been an important part of that and I rose a metaphorical glass to absent friends.
    Bilbo and Lady are still going well. The fleas finally went after going into a serious battle which saw Bilbo on antibiotics and prednisone. The poor dog. He was sooo hungry. My son got put on Prednisone for his barking cough this week and we were reminded of Bilbo’s suffering. Mister felt pretty whacked.
    Lady must have gone looking for Max because for awhile there she became quite the determined escape artist. I don’t think she was going far but would get out when I went out and I’d arrive home finding her wagging her tail out the front with no remorse whatsoever. She ended up pissing off our nasty next door neighbour and that was starting to look ugly so more chicken wire went in and I got back into the walks and she’s been good.
    The kids spotted a corgi recently and were quite keen for us to get one down the track but apparently they’re super shedders so I’m not real keen. Our two shed a lot and they’re average shedders. I don’t want to be inhaling fur.
    Anyway, great to see you’re back and it’s been great to see Max’s face smiling at me on a few of my posts!
    xx Ro

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hiya Rowee! Congratulations on the views. You are by far the most prolific blogger that i know. I cannot fathom where you find all the ideas and words and thoughts but keep it coming! Always great to get updates on some of my fave Aussie doggers although I end up being glad I have a (relatively) small non-shedding, hypoallergenic pooch requiring minimal maintenance. Happy, too, to hear the family is doing so well!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks so much, Tom. Sorry it’s taken me while to reply. Things have been a bit crazy with the kids, medical appointments and the like.
        Now that we’re heading into Spring, a non-shedding dog is looking good to me too as I brush the dogs and then the carpet!
        Bilbo and especially Lady send Max a pawsome wave! xx Rowena


  6. WordPress has failed to update me…this would not have happened had they been under canine control.
    So pleased that your move has worked out well, and that Max is enjoying his portly self…I look forward to learning about your new area!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi Helen! The Portly One is currently a foul-tempered small beast who cannot understand why his treat supply has diminished. He can be surly. The good news is that he has lost a bit over 1 1/2 pounds (.68 kilos to the rest of the world) and there is more daylight underneath the canine gut when standing.

      Liked by 1 person

      • You may think it good news….clearly the Portly One does not!
        The least you could have done was to buy him a corset….or a support chair a la Edward the Parisian brothel he frequented…


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