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The Brat Pack

Military pups cause chaos on both sides of the Atlantic...

By Caroline CravenPublished 2 years ago 6 min read
Top Story - March 2024
Seamus dreaming about cake and destroying Christmas trees...

Seamus, Murphy, and Moose are military pups. We acquired all three dogs from random places near where we’ve been stationed – a run-down housing estate on the outskirts of Cambridge, a McDonalds parking lot, and a farm in the middle of deepest, darkest Norfolk. During the past eight years they’ve grown accustomed to air force life and understand that every so often they must pack up their paws and move with us.

Since we crossed the Atlantic and landed in Maryland, the three pups have been my constant companions and perpetually annoying co-workers. Our home office Christmas parties are legendary.

I share their daily exploits with my wife when she returns from base and their shenanigans have become happy memories that we both laugh and reminisce about.

I’d like to pin down one memory about this pampered pack of pooches, but it’s hard to choose just one incident when they cram so much skullduggery into a 24-hour period.

So here we go, here are some of my favorite flashbacks that best represent how they roll and their ‘dogmatic’ approach for living life to the full.

The dog ate my homework

Moose is a sociable labradoodle and loves to share in our hobbies. My wife was just finishing a 2000-piece jigsaw when she realized quite a few pieces were missing. Although I was originally the prime suspect, we eventually followed the ‘Hansel and Gretel’ trail of chewed up bits of cardboard to Moose’s basket where we uncovered the remaining pieces.

I joked that Moose was trying to make jigsaws a little more edgy and suspenseful. I stopped laughing when I realized that she’d also mauled the last few pages of our family recipe book. Now I’ll never know the secret to making a world class bechamel sauce!

Moose lurking under the bed and probably trying to hide more evidence...

In the doghouse

Like Scrooge, Seamus was not an initial fan of Christmas. During his first festive season he destroyed all the decorations as far up the tree as he could reach – thank goodness he has short English Cocker Spaniel legs! He then went on to shred the poinsettia and eat the wooden nativity scene. All that remained was a lone Wise Man who wisely and luckily remained out of range.

His bark is worse than his bite

… It really is. Murph has a lot to say, and he’ll bark his views on everything from ‘should the UK have left the European Union?’ to ‘Is there too much shiplap on HGTV?’ He’ll also bark at everything in between… butterflies, clouds, squirrels, delivery drivers and the color yellow. When you argue with him to be quiet, he will continue to growl a little less each time until it’s barely a grunt. But this cockapoo – who is one part poodle mixed with several parts’ destructive toddler – will have the last word. Always.

Last week I could hear him barking madly in the yard. I went out to check what was going on and it was then I realized that my next-door neighbor was standing on her deck waving and barking back at him. I left them to it. It sounded like a pretty intense conversation.

Murph taking a breather from running wild and attempting to steal cars...

Running with the big dogs

If escapology was an Olympic Sport, Murphy and Moose would be on the podium. They are both adept at finding the smallest gaps in the garden fence to shimmy under. At the start of the summer, Murphy zipped underneath the closing garage door ‘Indiana Jones’ style and dashed off to wreak havoc in the neighborhood. He ran flat out along the street for approximately 23 minutes and 48 seconds.

During this time, he rapped on all our neighbor’s front doors and spent his time greeting old friends and making new ones. He only let himself be caught when someone coaxed him into their house. Murphy was exceptionally pleased with himself.

It's a dog’s life

Murphy refuses to sit in the back seat of the car with the other two dogs. Instead, he insists on being strapped into the passenger seat where he constantly changes radio stations and fiddles with the main dial to call up random people. Last year we were in the process of moving house, and I’d gone back to close the door after loading up a stack of boxes.

When I returned to the car, I realized that Murph had hit the central locking button and I couldn’t get into the Mini. He ignored my frantic gestures to hit the unlock button and settled down for a nap. The other two dogs were already snoring soundly. I spent a desperate 15 minutes trying to locate the spare car key. When I eventually got back into the car, Murphy just yawned. And changed radio stations.

Let sleeping dogs lie

Seamus is a master food criminal. When my mum came to stay, she left a slice of cake on the wooden chest and went back into the kitchen to grab her coffee cup. Seamus was sleeping hard when she left and looked equally unconscious when she returned. The only thing that was different was the empty plate. Seamus – who is against exercise and movement in general – had jumped up, scoffed the lot, and hopped back onto the couch. The only reason we knew it was him was the tell-tale cake crumbs around his mouth.

Don't be fooled... Seamus is a pro poker player. I owe him $4million, the house and my wife's car...

Sick as a dog

Last Autumn, Moose needed seven stitches after managing to cut her back leg open to the muscle. The vet patched her up and fitted her with a cone so she wouldn’t pick at her stitches. Unlike the other two dogs who’d thrown a fit about wearing one, Moose didn’t mind it at all. In fact, she relished it. She used her cone as a battering ram to open doors, gave Seamus a gentle shove at the top of the stairs to get him to move out of her way and tipped my coffee cup into the cone so she could share my drink. We were all relieved when it was time for the stitches to come out.

The Party Pups...

So, these are just a handful of my recent memories. I could go on. I mean, who could forget the hilarious time when Seamus chewed up my completed Green Card application. Or when I was running very late for work and Moose buried my car keys in the garden. And at some point, in the future, I would genuinely prefer it if Murph didn’t run off with all the clean socks…

But until the day they use their powers for good and maybe learn how to cook, fold the laundry, or mow the yard, I’ll certainly have plenty of shaggy dog stories to put on my co-worker’s report cards.


About the Creator

Caroline Craven

Scribbler. Dreamer. World class procrastinator.

Reader insights


Excellent work. Looking forward to reading more!

Top insights

  1. Easy to read and follow

    Well-structured & engaging content

  2. Excellent storytelling

    Original narrative & well developed characters

  3. On-point and relevant

    Writing reflected the title & theme

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Comments (13)

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  • Anna 18 days ago

    Congrats on Top Story!🥳🥳🥳

  • Christy Munson18 days ago

    Congratulations on Top Story! Love dogs and am so happy when I read happy stories about goofy, well loved, well treated, happy dogs. I also love seeing that you published this story 2 years ago and Vocal curators found it and recognized its brilliance. Yay!

  • angela hepworth18 days ago

    Omg how funny and adorable!!!

  • Omgggg hahahahahahhahahahaha! I think my favourite was when Murph locked you out of your car and Moose with her cone! 🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣🤣 Gosh I laughed so much reading all their shenanigans! This is GOLD! Congratulations on your Top Story! 🎉💖🎊🎉💖🎊

  • Ameer Bibi18 days ago

    Congratulations for top story "Your humanity infuses your writing with authenticity, empathy, and depth. Embrace your unique voice, for it holds the power to connect, resonate, and inspire others in ways only you can. Keep penning your truth, and watch as your words illuminate the path for others to follow."

  • This cracked me up the whole way through! Brilliant Seamus, Murphy, and Moose...Awesome pup names! Would love to read about how tey got their monikers! 🤍

  • L.C. Schäfer19 days ago

    How did I miss this? I thought I'd read all yours! 😁

  • Jay Kantor19 days ago

    Dear Cc - I remember reading this a couple of years ago. Your piece inspired me to write 'This is Dude' featuring my Corgis writen on behalf of - Pet Haven Minnesota; stand in line for your royalties. As I scroll through your fabulous presentations I've subscribed with pleasure. Jay Kantor, Chatsworth, California 'Senior' Vocal Author - Vocal Village Community -

  • Sajan ali19 days ago

    Fantastic dear

  • Sajan ali19 days ago

    Fantastic dear

  • Oh I love these stories. Give em extra belly rubs for me!

  • Rachel Deemingabout a month ago

    This was so funny. Those stories about Murphy and the Mini and Seamus and the cake really made me laugh. You had a great way of relating these tales (tails?), Caroline!

  • Donna Reneeabout a year ago

    Ha! Found your pups! They sound hilarious! Moose reminds me of my first dog (a little in the face and a lot in the puzzle pieces lol), she was a terrier/poodle mix and the smartest little dog. Murph has a point about the shiplap issue. I think there will be a whole specialization in renos in a few years for shiplap removal. I seriously lol'd at your caption for Seamus's poker photo though🤣🤣🤣

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