Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Flashback to Year 1

When Mommy first got me I was given my predecessor's Geocities page and that is where I kept my diaries. Geocities was a nice little web host, but it failed to go mega social media like MyFace and the like and it closed this fall. So, Mommy rescued my past diaries and has decided to re-post them here for those of you who tuned in late. Here is my first year:

February 20, 2001

I have been with Mommy a month now and so far I have learned the following:

1. Parakeets don't like to be stared at, but that isn't any reason to stop.
2. Parakeets don't like when you jump on their cages and Mommy gets mad too.
3. Don't pee and poop in the house.
4. Sit
5. Lie Down
6. Stay
7. Wait
8. Come
9. Shake Hands
10. High Five
11. Dead Dog
12. Dead tropical plants that strangers dump in your yard can make you sick.
13. Heel only means heel if Mommy says it in her angry voice.
14. If you are tired of playing outside and want to go inside, eat the rosebushes, Mommy will come running.
15. Human beds are much more comfy than doggie beds.
16. If you take a toy at the pet shop and slobber all over it, Mommy will feel obligated to buy it for you.

Mommy has learned some stuff too:

1. Waking up at 6:30 a.m. isn't so bad, but going for long walks at that hour in 5 degree temperatures with a -15 degree windchill is not much fun.
2. 5 degree temperatures with a -15 degree windchill can be made bearable if you wear... a t-shirt, two sweatshirts, sweatpants, jeans, two pairs of socks, thermal boots, a ski mask, a hat, a scarf, a down coat, glove liners and down mittens.
3. Border collies only need to do something once in order for it to become a rule.
4. People with fancy coats and/or fluffy dogs don't like to associate with mutts.
5. People with dirty coats and/or dogs of unknown origin (even if they are really rare pure breeds) like to let their dogs run off leash with mutt puppies.

March 20, 2001

This has been a busy month for me. I've learned how to go down the basement stairs, how to open doors and cabinets and how to make my neighbor come out and give me treats. I've also started obedience classes, but the most important thing I figured out this month was how to pee on trees! It started at the end of last month when I noticed that other dogs had peed high up on trees in the neighborhood. I sniffed and sniffed those trees trying to figure out how those dogs did it. Then I began to experiment. First I tried backing up to the tree until my hind feet were resting about 8 inches up the trunk and peeing, but that didn't work. I just ended up peeing about 3 inches farther away from the tree than I would have if I had squatted next to it. Then I thought that maybe if I got real close to the tree and kind of twisted my body sideways that would do it, but all that did was get pee on my tummy. I got very discouraged and decided to quit trying for awhile. Then Mommy took me to my first obedience class. There was a big wolf hybrid there who was peeing on every post outside the training barn. I watched him carefully and figured out that what you had to do was LIFT YOUR LEG. It was like a light bulb went off in my brain. Mommy said I was going to learn a lot at obedience, but I didn't know it was going to be important stuff! The next morning I decided to try this leg lifting stuff. Well, it isn't as easy as it looks folks. The first time I tried I was concentrating so hard on keeping my balance that I forgot to pee. The next day I tried again, but this time I thought that maybe if I put my lifted foot on the tree I wouldn't have to worry about balancing so much. I tried it, but I ended up peeing on my front foot. That was disgusting. The next day I tried the balancing part again and managed to pee, but then I fell over. Mommy laughed at that attempt! Finally the following day I lifted my leg and successfully peed on a telephone pole. Mommy said, "Hooray!" and clapped and I was very proud of myself. I have been practicing this new skill as much as I can. Mommy says I have to learn the subtleties now. Things like, there is no point in lifting your leg really high if you are trying to pee on a railroad tie or low rock and peeing on chain link fences doesn't really work. I think I'll be an expert at this by next month.

April 17, 2001

Another busy month. Mommy and I have been taking obedience classes, but I don't think they are helping much. Mommy has gotten bossier, not more obedient. I have countered by being more stubborn, sillier, and ignoring her most of the time. I have also discovered that it is much more fun to be the class clown than teacher's pet. I will do all of the tricks, like "sit" and "wait" when we are practicing at home, but once we get to class I like to make a fool of Mommy. Mommy says, "Sit!" and I will flop over on my side. Mommy says, "Heel!" and I grab the leash in my mouth and shake it and jump around. I also like to bark at the other dogs and try to jump on the trainers. My favorite part of class though is the trainers. They are these ladies who have WONDERFUL treats (like liver and bacon and hot dogs) that they hand out. Mommy says she can't use those treats because I get the runs if I have too many so she gives me kibble and low fat jerky treats, but the trainers' treats are much better. I like to get the trainers' attention by behaving as described above and then when they say to Mommy, "May I show you how it's done?" and Mommy grumbles, "Sure." they take my leash and I pretend like I don't understand the command the first time. Then they do it again and I do the command PERFECTLY. They then hug and kiss me and give me the wonderful treats and Mommy rolls her eyes. Mommy says she doesn't think I'll graduate and I hope that is true if it means I'll get to keep going back and getting those good treats!

Also this month Mommy took me to the State Park. We had a good time.

My first deer sighting

My first deer poop

Finally, I learned over Easter Weekend that one should not eat daffodils. They make you throw up and throw up and throw up. Then Mommy calls the Emergency Vet and they tell her that you can't have food or water for 12 HOURS after the last throw up. Later that night you get really bad gas. (I found it was best to sleep with my butt-end by Mommy's head that night.) The next day you feel all feverish and mopey and don't really want to eat when the 12 hours are up anyway. It wasn't fun. So now, I just pull the heads off Mommy's daffodils and spit them out rather than eat them. I also find they are fun to run through and squash by sitting on them.

May 22, 2001

Two major happenings this month. First, I graduated from obedience school. I was last in my class, but I think I was really the smartest. After all, I figured out how to get extra good treats by misbehaving. When we had our final exam I did everything right. After the trainer handed Mommy my diploma, and he reached out to shake her hand, I jumped on him! Mommy said she was glad she had the diploma in her hand so he couldn't take it back.

Second, I went on vacation this month. Mommy and I went to Grandma and Grandpa's house. It was a 5 hour drive, and I got kind of antsy after the first 1 1/2 hours. Then at the 2 1/2 hour point I had to go potty so mommy stopped at a rest area. I met a golden retriever and I went potty and I walked around for a bit and I had a drink. Then Mommy said it was time to get back in the car. I didn't want to do that. I thought we were going to turn around and go home. What kind of trip was this?? I sat down and refused to move. Mommy had to drag me into the car. Boy was I surprised when 2 1/2 hours later we were not back home but in an entirely different place. It was in the woods and there was a lake.

Another dog came running up to see me. He was my cousin Harley. He is about 9 years old and is a lab mix too. He has arthritis and a bit of hip dysplasia. We ran around like crazy for awhile. It was great. Then Harley got tired and he didn't want to play anymore, but I still wanted to. He would growl and snap at me, but I didn't give up. He decided to spend the rest of the day and the following day in his daddies' truck.

The second day another cousin came up. His name is Fred and he is a Bernese Mountain dog. We ran around all day and the next day Harley, Fred and I played Follow the Leader. Harley was leader. He sniffed a bush then Fred sniffed it, then I sniffed it. Harley peed on a tree then Fred peed on it then I peed on it. It was a fun game. After we finished that game I played Chew on Fred's Ears. Later that night Fred got tired of me jumping on him and biting his ears so he growled and snapped at me. He has a VERY BIG mouth and it scared me A LOT so I gave Fred more space after that.

Mommy and Grandpa went out in a canoe. They invited me to come along, but I was afraid of the boat, so I just ran along the shore. When they went back home I didn't notice right away. Grandpa was already up by the boathouse when I saw that they were out of the canoe. I came running back, full speed, and crashed into Grandpa. I hit him right in the knee and he fell down. He said that I twisted his knee and it was all swollen that night. Sorry Grandpa!

Harley and Fred had to go home before I did so they didn't get to see me learn how to swim, but maybe next time we are up there together I can show them. When it was time to go home I didn't want to go. Mommy couldn't even drag me into the car, so she lured me in with cheese. When we got home I peed in the basement, right in front of Mommy so that she would know how angry I was.

June 22, 2001

This was a stay at home month. No vacations, no classes, but that doesn't mean that I didn't do anything. This month I went to the forest preserves a lot with Mommy. I love going there. There are so many things to sniff, eat and roll in. Horse poop was my favorite. I like to both eat it and roll in it. On one of our hikes I met a couple of horses too. Mommy told me they were big dogs, but I knew they were the suppliers of the poop and I really wanted to meet them. Mommy wouldn't let me though. The riders said I was very well behaved because I didn't bark at them, I only jumped around.

This month I started a nice hole under the lilacs. It is about 2 1/2 feet deep now. I like it there because it is shady and I can watch Mommy when she is in the vegetable garden. After Mommy finishes working hard in the garden she sometimes takes me to Tastee Freeze. I really like that place because if Mommy buys something for herself they will give me a Pup Cup. That is a cup of vanilla frozen yogurt with a dog biscuit on top. I LOVE the Tastee Freeze and try to get Mommy to go to it every day. Unfortunately, they don't seem to be open at 6:30 a.m., but I like to look in the pick up window each time just to be sure that nobody is hiding in there.

I also got my nails clipped this month because I accidentally ripped up my neighbor's arm when he was leaning over the fence to give me my treat. I wasn't very good at the groomer's and she only managed to trim my front feet because I didn't want my back feet done. If I don't want you to lift my back foot off the ground, you don't lift it. Those greyhound leg muscles come in very handy at times.

Mommy also took me to a picnic that a coworker was hosting. That was fun, even if I wasn't allowed in the forest preserve shelter. Lots of people visited with me and I hardly jumped on them at all. I even got to play pull-toy with an elderly lady. I was very nice and didn't try to take her cane even once and I pulled the toy very gently so as not to tip her over. Mommy said she nearly had a heart attack anyway when she saw what we were doing.

July 17, 2001

Mommy and I traveled again this month. We went to Grandma and Grandpa's place in Wisconsin again. This time my dog cousins weren't there. I looked for them for awhile, but Mommy said that it is more common for them to not be there then to be there. So, I peed on the living room carpet that night to let them know I had come for a visit. I had a great time chasing chipmunks in the woods and I went to visit the neighbors too. (you can read about that in the Bad Dog Chronicles). Mommy said I got a bit cocky so I had to wear my long yellow leash one day to remind me to stay around. I also improved my swimming skills. I went out about 150 feet into the lake after the sticks Mommy threw. I swim VERY FAST. Those greyhound legs with labbie dog feet attached make me quite the swimmer. I didn't learn how to jump off the dock, even though Mommy jumped off about two dozen times trying to show me how it is done. I guess I need to have someone with four legs show me. I don't really like it when Mommy swims. It worries me, so I barked a bit, but then Mommy taught me that if I am not going to swim with her I should hold her towel for her. I am a good towel holder, but not a very good towel giver backer. I also rode in each of the boats. I liked the speedboat a lot, the canoe was okay and the pedal boat was slippery. The scupper was not much fun at all because I had to keep very still so that Mommy and I wouldn't tip. I slept all the way home from vacation and the entire next day and night too. Vacations are very tiring.

Canoe ride

In the big boat

Pedal boat

Other than that not much else has happened. The coyotes are back in the neighborhood. I heard them the other night while Mommy and I were out on the porch. I got all bristled and ran around the porch barking at them to stay away. Then I sat by the porch door and howled. It is the first time Mommy has heard me howl and she says she wonders how come my howl is so deep when I still bark like a chihuahua.

Oh yeah. Mommy made a turkey breast the other day and I jumped up on the counter while she was putting things away and took a great big bite out of it. MMMMM. Then yesterday I took a smaller bite out of the leftovers and today I took Mommy's turkey sandwich off the counter and ate it. It was worth the "time outs" in my cage each time.

August 21, 2001

This was a month of firsts. I had my First Birthday, but since we don't know when it really was, Mommy decided we wouldn't celebrate. She said that we are going to celebrate my adoption day instead because that is more important. I also moved out of my crate this month. I now spend my alone time in my room behind baby gates. I still have my crate in my room in case I want to sit in it, but I don't have to spend my time in it. I have been rather good and have only chewed a few things (a burglar bar, a rag that Mommy didn't know was in the room, some of my newspapers and the plastic that is under my crate.) Mommy says that if I keep being good I will get to move into the hallway soon.

This month Mommy and I stumbled across a puppy playgroup (really it stumbled across us as we were at the park first). It is a big group of retrievers of all sorts as well as one smallish mutt and an old German shepherd who makes sure that everyone plays nice. Mommy lets me go back to playgroup every other week. I can only go every other week because all the other dog owners are men and Mommy says that boys don't like it when girls try to join their secret clubs.

I also had my friend Teddy over to play in my yard. We saw him while we were walking and Mommy invited him and his Mommy over. It was lots of fun, but Teddy was being too good and wouldn't roughhouse as much as he does when we meet on the street. Mommy says he was being a good guest and I should take notes. I don't really understand what she meant by that.

September 18, 2001

Well, this month Mommy packed away my crate. She tried to give me the hallway to hang out in during my alone time, but I got too upset that I couldn't go into the bedroom, so she gave me the spot by the back door instead. With the crate out of my room and the spot by the back door too, I have a lot more space. Mommy says that the next step is the basement where I get to be around FURNITURE and PILLOWS and STUFFED ANIMALS and BOOKS without Mommy being there to constantly take them out of my mouth. Mommy made a special baby gate to keep me out of the boiler room and right now we are practicing being in the basement and I am getting better at leaving the pillows and the books alone, but the stuffed animals are really too much to ask.

Mommy took me to the lake again and this time we had guests. They were good guests and brought me two toys (and Mommy a cake). I liked trying to sit in their laps and making them play with me and jumping on them and when they didn't pay enough attention to me because they had the gall to eat dinner I peed in the living room. Mommy got very angry and I had to spend the rest of the night until bedtime outside. Bad Mommy.

Lastly, I learned this month why Mommy is always saying, "Leave that toad alone." and "Don't pick up that toad." and "Okay, time to stop playing with that toad." Toads taste REALLY REALLY BAD and they make your mouth foam up and you have to drink two bowls of water and you still have a foamy mouth and bad toad taste. I still like to chase them and poke them with my nose, but I think I will try to remember not to pick them up.

October 23, 2001

This month I have not been very good. Mommy has done a lot of nice things for me, but I have become a teenager and am being a real brat. When Mommy was home sick I bit her favorite plant off at dirt level. Mommy had grown that plant from seed and was VERY upset by my vandalism. I guess it is because I've been hearing, "NO!" so often that I became suspicious when my youngest uncle made me a really nice feeding station so that I don't have to bend over to eat. When Mommy finished finishing it and put food in it for the fist time, I was convinced it was a trap. I am not supposed to eat off of tables and then this little table shows up and Mommy puts dog food on it. Come on, I knew she was just waiting to yell, "NO!" at me when I took my first bite, so I refused to eat off of it when she was watching. Finally, she started reading her paper so I took a big mouthful of food and dropped it onto the floor to eat. I did that a couple more times until I noticed that Mommy WAS watching me and I wasn't in trouble. Now I eat out of the new station just fine.

My biggest bad boy thing this month has been the chaos I have created while Mommy is gone. She gave me the basement and I had a lot of fun destroying stuffed animals. She took the basement away and I decided to start chewing the door frames. So far I have killed three stuffed animals and maimed seven others. I pulled a wall hanging off the wall. I have eaten two door frames (one painted, one stained), the handle of the sliding door, and the handrail for the basement stairs. Then to top everything off I stood on the basement couch and peed yesterday. Mommy says she would skin me and turn me into a rug, but I am so long and skinny I wouldn't even make a good runner, so it isn't worth the effort. I THINK she is kidding.

November 20, 2001

This was a strange month. First Mommy walked around the house one night fiddling with the clocks. Then the next morning, when the alarm didn't go off at 6:30 I let Mommy sleep an extra half hour and then I woke her up. She just grunted and said, "You're an hour early." I went and looked out the window. Nope, Mommy was wrong. It was 7:00. I poked her again and she said, "It's 6:00. Go back to sleep." I checked the window again. It was definitely 7:00. So I poked Mommy again and she said, "If you don't play quietly for another half hour, at least, you are going to spend the next hour in your room." I don't like being in my room when Mommy is home so I decided to play quietly. First I got my chewbone and I pushed it up against Mommy's neck and I chewed. Crunch! Crunch! Crunch! Mommy took my bone away from me and shoved it under her pillow. Then I got my tennis ball and I chewed on it. Then I tossed it a bit. Boing! Off Mommy's head! Boing! Off Mommy's back! Boing! Oops it fell off the bed. Hop off and get it. Hop back on the bed. Hey that was fun. Let's do it again! After a few hops on and off the bed Mommy took my ball and shoved it under her pillow. Then I found my squeeky toy. I lay on my back next to Mommy and played quietly. SQUEEEE...KEEEE! SQUEEE...KEEEE! SQUEEKEE! SQUEEEE...KEEEE! SQUEEKEE! SQUEEEE...KEEEE! SQUEEKEESQUEEKEESQUEEKEESQUEEKEESQUEEKEESQUEEKEE
SQUEEKEESQUEEKEESQUEEKEESQUEEKEESQUEEKEE!! Mommy got up and gave me breakfast. She insisted it was only 6:30, but I knew better.

The next day Mommy started "Hat Practice." I had to wear this silly hat, but if I did it well, I got a treat. I got so that I would wear the hat quite nicely. A few days later something called Halloween happened. On Halloween Mommy took the middle pane of the front storm door out and filled a bowl with chocolate candy. Then the doorbell rang and Mommy made me wear my hat. When we answered the door there were these strangely dressed little kids outside. I wanted to play, but Mommy just held out the bowl and the kids took some candy and then they left. I was very upset. I wanted to PLAY! So, as Mommy was closing the door I shoved her aside and jumped out the window. Mommy grabbed me by the tip of my tail and stopped me from chasing after the kids. I turned around to bite her hand and she grabbed my collar. She folded me in half and pulled me back in through the window. Then she put my leash on me. I was very mad and I went to bed to pout, but a few minutes later the doorbell rang and more kids came. I got to really like all the visitors coming and I spent the time when no body was at the door looking out the window for more kids.

Finally this month I performed The Great Barbie Rescue. Mommy and I were walking late one night and when we got to a neighbor's house the neighbor said, "Watch where you step. We have lost some Barbies in the leaf pile. We're going to have to get up early tomorrow to try to find them before they come and collect the leaves." I was standing by the leaf pile and I smelled the yummy smell of plastic, so I jumped in the pile and pulled out A BARBIE! Mommy took it away from me and handed it to the neighbor. She was very impressed and Mommy said, "Should we try that again?" The neighbor said, "Sure." so Mommy said, "Where's another dolly?" I jumped back into the leaves and came out with another Barbie. The neighbor called her daughter out and said, "How many Barbies are out here?" The daughter said there were five. I jumped in the leaves two more times and came out with two more Barbies. The neighbor asked her daughter which Barbie was missing and the little girl said, "Black Haired Barbie with a Blue Dress." I jumped into the leaf pile and pulled out a black haired Barbie with a blue dress. Everyone was very impressed. The little girl went and got me a treat, but she was afraid to hand it to me so she put it on the sidewalk for me. Then the neighbor thanked Mommy and Mommy said we should leave. I didn't want to leave. I smelled more plastic. I refused to go. Mommy said, "Merlin, there were five Barbies and you found them all." I kept pulling towards the leaf pile. Mommy said, "Okay, go look, but you are not going to find anything." I dove back into the pile and was in there for quite a while. Mommy kept saying, "See, no more dollies." I refused to get out. Finally I found it. One more Barbie. I pulled it out of the leaves and brought it to Mommy. Mommy gave it to the neighbor who said, "Bride Barbie!! But Bride Barbie never leaves the house!" and everyone gave me lots of pets.

December 18, 2001

Mommy and I have been locked in a power struggle this month. For some reason Mommy thinks she is supposed to be in charge. I disagree. I am the one who should be in charge, especially when we are out on our walks. I like to walk way ahead of Mommy and choose how fast we walk and where we go. Mommy seems to think I should be only kind of in front of her and only when she says it's okay. She also thinks we should walk at her snail pace.

I broke my choke chain a few months ago and Mommy got me a heavier one which I liked a lot because it hardly choked, even when she snapped it. Therefore I had much more control on our walks. Then, since it didn't hurt to yank hard on the leash, I broke my zip leash chasing squirrels. Mommy wasn't happy, but she bought me a new zip leash. About two days after I got it, I pulled it out of her hand and cracked the casing. Stingy Mommy put it back together with electrical tape rather than buy me another new one. Then, about 3 weeks ago, Mommy and I were on our walk when I saw two malamutes that I had never seen before. I wanted to say hi, but Mommy said no. So I showed her, I yanked the leash out of her hand and crossed the street and ran the two blocks to the other dogs. Mommy claims she was yelling, "NO!! STOP!! WAIT!! SIT!! COME!!" and such as she chased after me, but I sure didn't hear her. When I got to the other dogs they weren't very happy to see me and neither was their owner. When Mommy caught up she wasn't very happy either. We went straight home. I got put in my room and Mommy drove off.

When Mommy came home she had a bag from the pet store. I LOVE BAGS FROM THE PET STORE. I was very excited, but all that was in this bag was a small box. Mommy said, "I didn't want to do this because people are going to think it is a muzzle, but if you are going to act like a runaway racehorse and a stubborn mule, you can dress like a runaway racehorse and a stubborn mule." Then she put this horrible thing over my face! It was awful! She says it is called a head collar, but I think it is some medieval torture device. She offered me treats, but I was too upset to take them for at least a minute. Then after I had eaten the treats she hooked my leash on this thing and took me for a walk. Well, I felt so stupid in that head thing that I bucked and rolled and rubbed my face on anything I could find. Mommy just laughed and said I'd have to get used to it. I didn't want to get used to it. It took ALL THE CONTROL away from me and gave it back to Mommy!! Therefore, I fought it on all our walks. I really showed her on the third walk. I rubbed my nose so much I rubbed it bloody. But even that didn't work. When we got home Mommy put peroxide on my nose to stop the bleeding. OUCH!!

After about one and a half weeks though, I figured out that if I didn't rub the nose part, and instead rubbed the part that goes behind my ears (especially if I could hook it on a bush) I'd loosen the entire device. Then I sat down and did the mule trick and when Mommy pulled, POP! My nose came right out! Then Mommy had to try to get back control when all I had was a loose piece of webbing around my neck. It was lots of fun. I pulled that trick twice and then Mommy sewed the head collar in one position. GRRRR. So the head collar battle continues. I have stopped rolling around and bucking and I don't rub very much either now. Instead what I do is slam my head into Mommy's thigh whenever the head collar stops me from doing something I want to do. Sometimes I also like to stick my head between her legs when she is walking, because that trips her. Mommy says she is not giving up the head collar. She likes it too much. Well, we'll just have to see which disappears first, the scar on my nose or the big bruise on Mommy's thigh.

January 23, 2002

This was a month of celebrations. First there was this thing called Christmas. Mommy hosted Christmas Eve. She had Grandma and Grandpa and my youngest uncle (the one who made my feeding station) and a former neighbor over for Christmas Eve dinner. I was very good. I just ate a few of the hors d'ouvres and I only licked the ham once. (Grandma and Mommy didn't tell anyone about me doing that!) When dinner was over and the guests were leaving, Grandpa said, "What's this on the door?" Mommy and I went and looked an it was a plastic bag full of pig ears and raw hides and there was a not inside from Santa Paws telling me that I had been very good this year.

The next day was Christmas Day and I got to open five presents. I had been wanting to open presents for weeks, but Mommy wouldn't let me. When the time came I was afraid to at first (I figured it was a trick), but then after I opened the first one and found a bullystick inside I was more than happy to open the other ones. I got a big ball (I popped it in 1 minute), two stuffed squeekies, a squeeky ball and the bullystick. It was great!

Finally, the most important celebration was on January 19. That is the anniversary of my adoption by Mommy. Mommy bought me a year-long pass to the county dog parks and we went to one. I had a great time. I ran and ran for an hour and a half straight. Mommy wanted to take me walking, but I was too busy chasing the other dogs and taking their toys and getting in wrestling matches and jumping on their mommies and daddies. Mommy kept calling me and telling me, "OFF!" and stuff, but I didn't listen. It took Mommy about 1/2 hour to catch me at the end too. When we got home Mommy had made a chicken and rice diner and I got my own serving. MMMMMMM. It was a good first anniversary, and I guess Mommy is really going to keep me after all.

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