The Neighborhood Furry Friends “Our Gang Comedies,” Staring: Sally, Simba, ol’Sam and Spanky…for starters…

“Sally”
In real life, Sally, is my pal Claire Hall’s furry loved one. She collaborates with me to write this first of a four part series. The characters and plot are taken from the neighborhood adventures and antics of “Our Gang” comedies from the 1940s when boomers were kids… You know, like so many of us ol’folks…

First, “Our Gang Comedies” from a special time long ago…

“Pete the Pup (original, 1924 – June 1930; second Pete, September 9, 1929 – January 28, 1946) was a character in Hal Roach’s Our Gang comedies (later known as The Little Rascals) during the 1930s, otherwise known as “Pete, the dog with the ring around his eye”, or simply “Petey”. The second Pete was an American Staffordshire Terrier named Lucenay’s Peter.[1] He was well known for having a circled eye which was added by Hollywood make-up artist Max Factor[2] and credited as an oddity in Ripley’s Believe It or Not. The original Pete (sired by “Tudor’s Black Jack”) was a UKC registered American Pit Bull Terrier named “Pal, the Wonder Dog”,[3][4][5][6] and had a natural ring almost completely around his right eye; dye was used to finish it off.”

Inspired by the treasures and gifts from “Our Gang Comedies, post WWII…

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Our_Gang

“Petey” from Little Rascals

Featuring…

“Sam” The Old Dog of Wisdom
“Simba”
“Spanky”

Sally is the voice of reason and love


English Bull Terriers have a distinctive look with their long noses and lots of personality. They are also famous—both the Target Dog and Spuds McKenzie are Bull Terriers, and maybe, the “Rascals,” I imagine…


I always wanted one of my own, but never thought it would happen. Then I saw a Facebook post that someone was rehoming one. The one cautionary note was that she’s deaf.

We drove to meet her, and it was love at first sight. Once her former family was assurred we would offer her a good home, we all drove away happily together.

My family named her Sally. After a fun game with names that spoke to our hearts, and a vote, she’s my Sally…


It’s clear she hasn’t lived an easy life up to now. It appears she was attacked my the other dogs in her former household and she bears the scars.

I also discovered emotional traumas. She was shy and a little scared. That’s changing every day. She’s more confident, open and loving every day.

Her external scars are healing (it looks like she was attacked a few times by other dogs at her former home) and her emotional scars are healing too.

There are three other furry loved ones in our household. She loves being part of a pack that plays with each other and loves each other.

Sally, Sam, Simba, and Spanky, live together in harmony, mostly. We’ll get to that later…


In the last few weeks a lot of traumas have caught up with me. With good care team and lots of love, is helping to heal. I help to heal Sally too…


How could you not fall in love with this sweet face? I sure did. Claire Elizabeth Hall, Newport, Oregon

(A big shout out and hug to Claire Hall, for inspiring me to write this series of uplifting and healing stories! Thank you, buddy!)

Now, back to the “Rascals” the neighborhood furry friends gang…

The “Rascals,” we call them in the neighborhood. Our Gang Comedies,” remember them?

“Spanky” is trouble, indeed…

You can count on Spanky serving up a prank or two each day in the neighborhood. He’ll chase chickens to play, or steal the neighbors shoes on a good day…

“Simba” cuddles and sooths the soul…

Simba awakes first early each morning. He goes around to his brood one by one and nudges them gently, with his wet nose and a soft purr. They all know in fairly quick succession, It’s time to rise to the occasion. “It’s time for breakfast, for me first, then you,” Simba says with a soft purr..

“Sam” is the wise ol’ dude with a slight grin…

Sam is often up before even Simba. He’s having is first treat, hidden away the night before under the couch. Sam wants to get the news first on CNN before Spanky and Sally show. Sam is a wise ol’ dude who gets it right most of the time, but not all the time…

Sally” the voice of reason…

See where Sally fits in? She goes around before breakfast to greet and hug her brothers, while the breakfast is on the grill…

This is the first of a four part series featuring the 21st century “Our Neighborhood Gang,” as furry loved ones in Little Whale Cove, Oregon…

Next up? Spanky, will take us on a wild ride, unleased by accident, in the rain forest down to the Cove. I’m already excited about writing this tale of mostly kindness and love, with a few bumps on the trail down to the sea…

Steve and Judy Sparks
Children and Families in Life After Trauma
A moment with, Steve Sparks, at the end of Depoe Bay…

For more stories like this, including a contributing furry loved one story from my pal, Claire Hall, download my new ebook to your smartphone or tablet. Be sure to get Kindle app! Thank you!

“Hey Pops, You Might Be a Tad Crazy But Maybe Not Nuts”

“Simba” a good buddy, indeed…
Photo by John Lugar…

Simba greets me each morning with a sweet meow and a peck on the cheek. He looked at me this morning and said, “Pops, you’re a tad crazy but not nuts, maybe…

Simba, is a good buddy, indeed. He helps me out of bed each morning when my body doesn’t want to move…

“I know you hurt, Pops, but it’s time to get up,” Simba looks at me with a smile and a sweet and kind meow…

Simba is always kind and loving. He knows Pops needs a little extra help to get going in the morning…

Simba also knows he is very hungry in the morning. But he also knows, Pops needs a little tender loving care first, each and every morning…

Furry loved ones are that way, you know. Simba is that way too…

Simba waits patiently by the bathroom door. For he knows I’ll feel better after a shower and my meds…

Simba watches me with kindness and love while I get dressed. For he loves me I know…

Simba know when it’s time to head out to the kitchen. He leads me kindly and gently to the kitchen, while looking back to see if I’m okay…

Some mornings it goes this way when the pain is more than I can bear. Simba knows when Pops needs a little extra help. For he is always there with a sweet smile and a little peck on my cheek.

“Thank you Simba!” I say each morning with a hug and rub on his back. Simba loves that too…and loves me, I know…

Steve Sparks, Author, Blogger, Mental Health Advocate…and aspiring artisan.

Conversations with Simba… The early mornin’ greeting…

Every mornin’ same time….around 620am exactly, Simba kisses my nose. His little cute nose is cold and feels wet. It’s a gentle and loving nudge, so to speak.

Then, Simba starts to nudge me, in a kind way, not to make me anxious. Loud meowing and whining about stuff doesn’t work very well with me.

Simba knows. For his soul tells him so. He is kind and loving always. He makes me smile.

Simba paws at my hand and nudges me more aggressively. This is his request for a scratch and rub, maybe 20 seconds max.

Simba whispers and speaks softly in my ear. I think Simba loves me too.

Sadly, Simba lost his claws as a kitten. I can’t even imagine how awful it would be to not have toe nails…

Simba forgave me long ago for doing that.. We’ve been pals for 17 years now… I still feel guilty about it and would never do that to a kitty never again, ever…

Simba knows I love him too. We’ve been through many battles of heart and soul. He’s always with us no matter what…

Simba finally feels safe to jump out of bed after all the warm fuzzy stuff. He stands at attention and meows loudly at me. It’s that whiny ol’ pushy stuff that gets to me the most.

Simba is ready for his breakfast 630a sharp. He knows how to get me up and into the kitchen without too much delay.

The most important team effort each afternoon is the the kitty liter box. Simba demands cleanliness in his home, “no excuses,” he tells me each and every day…

Simba is really running the show in our home. He trained us up for the job long ago.

Through all of it, Simba shows his love and kindness everyday. He knows we are on this journey together as a family.

Simba lives in our hearts and souls forever… His love is truly a gift of healing indeed…

Steve Sparks, Author, Blogger, Mental Health Advocate