Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year everyone! Mommy kept track of how far she and I walked this year and it was 1004.15 miles. That is an all-time record for us, and it brought our imaginary walk to Alaska to completion. We made it to Anchorage and even had some miles left to start our journey home. We have decided to take the scenic route and are heading to Fairbanks before heading back south.

View Imaginary Walk Around America in a larger map

We won't be doing a real New Year's Day hike this year because it is COOOOOOLD. Only about 15 degrees and gale force winds. Mommy and I walked into town this morning and were both frozen when we got home. I lay with my back pressed up against the baseboard heater until I warmed up. Mommy says she's still chilled.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Happy Howlidays! My Monthly Blog for November

First off, some folks were asking to see my very un-PC Halloween costume, so here it is:

Now, let's see. This month I went to Grandma and Grandpa's house for Thanksgiving. Grandpa's college roommate and his wife were coming so I made sure I wore my best tie.

Grandpa's college roommate is in the early stages of Alzheimer's and he sometimes loses track of what he was saying or he can't find the right word, then he becomes frustrated. I noticed when he would get frustrated and would go up to him and lean on him when it happened. He would pet me and we would both be happier. I was a very good boy and only tried a couple times to steal the hors d'ouvres. After Grandpa cut a second serving of turkey I stayed in the kitchen to make sure everything was okay in there. Grandpa had left a whole turkey leg RIGHT BY THE EDGE OF THE COUNTER and I was just about to help him move it some place safer when Mommy came in and said, "Merrrrrliiiiin". She seemed to think I was planning to eat it or something. After dinner when Mommy and Grandma and the roommate's wife were putting away the leftovers I decided to help by taking care of the leftover gravy. Grandma had put it into a big butter tub and left it on the kitchen table so I carefully picked it up by the edge and was sneaking, um carefully carrying it out to the family room when Grandma spotted me and yelled, "Drop that!" I was so startled I dropped it, but it landed on its bottom and only splashed a little bit of gravy and Mommy ran over and picked up the container before I could pick it back up. All in all I thing Grandma and Grandpa were very impressed by what a good dog I was.

This month it got very cold very early. Mommy got one of her old sweatshirts for me to wear on our morning walks. On one walk we noticed that there was an odd smell in town. Then Mommy noticed that there were stripes on the street and she realized they were spraying some kind of deicer on the road. We stopped in to City Hall to ask them what it was made of to see if it was safe for my bare feet (I hate booties), but they didn't know, so they asked a public works guy to call Mommy and tell her. He did and it ends up it was made of sugar beet juice with the sugar removed, salt brine and liquid calcium chloride, so it is safe as things like that are.

Finally this month Mommy had a very scary evening. She was running an errand on her work dinner break and when she went to turn left at a T intersection a young woman in an SUV ran the red light and hit Mommy's car without trying to brake or swerve. She told the police officer that she had dropped something on the floor of her SUV and had bent over to pick it up (while driving about 45 mph in a 30 mph zone) and when she sat up she was hitting Mommy's car. Luckily Mommy has strong survival reflexes and had spotted that the car in the other left turn lane to her left had hit his brakes suddenly so without even wondering why he had done it she hit hers and swerved to the right. That meant that the SUV took out her Prius right in front of the front tires instead of t-boning her. If she had been t-boned I don't think she'd have come home to me and I'd probably be moving to Mommy's youngest brother's house to live. I would have been very very sad. Mommy's leg, shoulder, chest, back and neck were hurt, but not bad enough that she had to go to the hospital, and she is feeling almost normal now, a bit achy and tired, but she thinks we should be able to do our New Year's Day hike. Here is what Mommy's car looked like when she went to get her stuff out of it the next day:

Anyway, we have a lot to celebrate this Christmas and New Year if you ask me. Happy Howlidays everyone!

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

My Monthly Diary for October

Well, this month we did the whole Halloween thing. I dressed up like an un-PC Indian by wearing one of Mommy's older brother's Indian Guides headdress and plastic bear claw necklace. People liked my outfit and I didn't cause anyone to cry or run away like I did last year. I only helped open the door for the first half of trick-or-treating and then I decided I was done. This was fine with Mommy and she let me sleep on the couch. Then around the last hour I wanted to go out so Mommy let me out and I got upset when trick-or-treaters came to our house and didn't come to the back gate to say hi to me no matter how much I yelled at them to come see me. We didn't get as many people this year as last year and most came in the first half of the night so most of them got to see my costume.

We had that time change thing this month too, but I was a good boy and didn't get upset and throw up in the house. I have also stopped waking Mommy up at 5:30 to tell her I'm hungry. I just wake her up at 4:30 or so to tell her to move over so I can have the warm spot in the bed. I like the cold weather, but I also like the warm spot on the bed. Mommy says it isn't nice to do that, but I'm old so I get my way.

Mommy made me wing lights this month. You can see and read about them in my previous two blogs if you haven't already. I need the lights because it is so dark when we take our evening walk. One evening Mommy forgot to put the lights on me and her and we took our walk and Mommy didn't see a bad spot on the sidewalk when we were doing our power-walk end of our walk and she fell down hard. She slid along the sidewalk, scraped off the palms of both her gloves, got a skinned left knee with a HUGE bruise that covered the whole joint and a smaller bruise on her right knee. When she stopped sliding she rolled over onto the parkway and lay there for a minute or so. I helped by standing over her and staring in her face with my nose right up to hers. She told me I was a very helpful dog after she got up and we didn't do any more power-walk for the rest of the way home. I've been helping the knees heal by licking them whenever she is in the bathroom.

I got sore this month too because Mommy was using the leaf blower. I think the leaf blower is very exciting and I have to run around the yard full blast about a dozen times when she first turns it on. Mommy says I'm getting too old to do those crazy sprints and that is why my legs and back have been aching for the past week or so. What does she expect me to do? Ignore it?

I got to go to Grandma and Grandpa's house this month. Mommy was going to something called an opera with Grandma and it was a long one so I stayed with Grandpa to keep him company. I got so excited when I found Grandma upstairs that I stood at the top of the stairs and barked at Mommy. Mommy agreed it was exciting, but said I didn't need to yell at her.

I made Mommy laugh this month too when we took a short car ride to run errands. I decided to ride on the passenger's side of back seat instead of the driver's side for some reason and when Mommy turned to see how I was doing at a stop she noticed that I was sitting like a human. I was sitting on my butt, with my legs straight out in front of me, bent at the knees with my feet in the foot well and I was kinda leaning against the door with my right arm on the arm rest. She said she really wished she had her camera with her. If she'd upgrade her phone she wouldn't have these problems, but she doesn't listen to me about these things.

I met some new dogs this month too. They are little spotty dogs called Cavalier King Charles spaniels. They are the same color as my former girlfriend Kachina was and much smaller than me so I liked them right away. The boy is called Max and the girl is Jen. We see them on our morning walks and we make our Mommies stop so we can talk to each other for a while. They aren't the running around kind, but they are good sniffers.

Speaking of Kachina, I found out that Kachina's former Mommy sent her boy back to the breeder too. Mommy says that isn't true. He actually went to a boarding school and will probably be back in May. We were wondering why we never saw him on any of our walks this fall. We aren't very fond of sending your critters off to have other people train them up, but Mommy thinks this will probably be good for him. We hope he likes it at the school.

Finally today Mommy and I heard sandhill cranes this morning and when we looked up there were about 100 cranes flying south over our house! Then about 15 minutes later another 100 flew over and then about another 1/2 hour later another 100!! We have NEVER seen that many sandhill cranes at one time. I guess they all decided it was time to go to Texas for their winter vacation.

Have a great Thanksgiving everyone and don't eat any turkey bones. They aren't good for you, but eating them does mean that you get to eat a 1/2 loaf of Wonder Bread afterward, so it is extra tempting to do so.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Headlights! The Next Generation

Mommy saw these lights at the Container Store and she bought them for me.

She thought they were nice because they light up two ways, have spring clips and can swivel in all sorts of directions. So, they have taken the place of my original headlights. The original headlights had the disadvantage of being easy for me to turn off because they were pop lights, and, because they were held on with Velcro, rub off. These lights aren't as bright and I don't cast shadows when I'm wearing them, but they still make me visible. Mommy says when I'm wearing these new lights I look like a techno-angel so they are definitely wing lights not headlights. Here is me wearing them:

Me from the front

Me from the side

Me from the back

Me running

Mommy is going to put my old lights on elastic so she can wear them like armbands and keep herself nice and lit up safe too.

Monday, November 1, 2010


Mommy worries about me when I walk with her at night. I had a red collar that I wore, but I have large ruff and it was often obscured. Besides that, we lost it about a month ago. Now that even my evening walks are after dark Mommy decided I needed some lights. She couldn't find a good lighted collar for me so she made me some headlights (or wing lights) out of a couple of drawer lights and Velcro. Here I am wearing them!

Me from the front

Me from the side

Me running

Me drinking out of the birdbath

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

My Monthly Diary for September

I was pretty active this month. Mommy and I did a few hikes and I took her on a couple of crazy long morning walks (see my previous entry about one of them). Mommy started taking something called Tai Chi again and I don't like it. I don't like anything that changes my routine. She plugged the nasty beepy thing back in the wall again too, which I didn't like so I got all nervous and whiny for a whole night. It didn't even beep, but just knowing that it was plugged into the wall and COULD beep is worrying enough.

I almost caught some squirrels this month too, which impressed Mommy and some strangers who saw one of my near misses. It's a good thing they weren't there for the day I tried to catch a squirrel at the squirrel park. I was walking with Mommy and I spotted a squirrel. I went after him and he ran up a tree right in front of me. I tried to brake, but I was standing on a whole bunch of acorns and they all were rolling under my feet! My feet slid around like a cartoon character running on ball bearings and I finally fell over and slid into a drainage ditch. I was very sore that night, but I didn't need any meds and I felt fine the next day. Those squirrels are evil.

Weird Kitty who Mommy says is an opossum has come back to visit us at night. He likes to see what Mommy has put in the compost heap and I like to go out and chase him up the trees. Mommy says he isn't the original Weird Kitty because he is smaller and whiter than Original Weird Kitty, but he is just as fun to chase and bark at.

I met the new neighbor dog. She is a HE!! His name is Cocoa and we thought he was a girl because he pees like a girl! He is a grown up boy dog, but he doesn't know how to lift his leg. Very sad that. He came to the fence to talk to me and I got all excited and barked at him and he decided he wanted to go back in the house. A couple days later he came back to the fence to talk to me again and this time I didn't bark at him right away so we got to talk a little bit, but then I got excited again and barked and he went in. Mommy says that my barking is scaring him and I need to stay a little calmer so he can get brave enough to play run along the fence with me.

I also went to the vet this month. I needed my rabies shot. Mommy told the vet how I was slowing down and not wanting to walk long distances anymore and she was worried that my back or joints might be hurting me more than they used to. The vet checked me out and said that I didn't seem to have anything major going on, but that I had lost some muscle in my hind legs. She told Mommy no more babying me. She said that Mommy should take me for 8 mile hikes even if I was getting grumpy at 4 miles. She said I should just stop and take breaks every mile or so if I want to. So Mommy has started doing that with me. On our last walk I got grumpy around mile 4 1/2 but we did 8 miles anyway. I was tired for the rest of that day, but not the day after, so Mommy says it is working.

I made some new friends this month. Mommy and I were walking home from the lake and we passed a house where some people were standing in the driveway talking. One of them said, "Oh look! It's the dog that I told you I saw the other day." I know when people say "dog" they mean me so I went up to him to say hello. He thought that was funny and he pet me and I smiled and he really liked that. The others pet me too so they could see me smile and we had a good long petting session. Finally Mommy said I had to go and we left. The next week when we were walking back from the lake we passed the same house and I slowed down so they could see I was there. One of them did and she came out to pet me. Her friends who had pet me the other day saw she was out petting me and came over to pet me too! Then some kids came by and pet me as well. Now when we walk by that house I make sure to slow down and look for people who want to pet me.

It is good I have some new petters because the girls who come out to pet me at night live on a block that is too dark for Mommy and me to safely walk down at night so we don't get to see them much anymore. This weekend Mommy and I took our evening walk earlier than normal so I made sure that we walked down the road where the girls live. When we got to their house they were not out. I stopped in their driveway and refused to move. Mommy said they were busy and weren't going to come out to pet me. She tried to get me to move, but I refused. She pulled on my leash so I sat down. She told me to stop being silly, the girls were not out and they weren't coming out and I needed to start walking. I lay down in the driveway and refused to move. Mommy pulled on my leash, but I still refused to get up and walk. We argued for about 10 minutes and then the girls' father came out of the backyard where he was raking leaves and started laughing at me. He went to the house and called inside, "Your friend is here. You need to come out and say hi." The girls said, "What friend?" and the dad said, "Merlin" and so the girls and their mom came out to pet me. After a good petting session Mommy said we needed to go and I agreed to leave. As we were walking away I made sure to give Mommy a very smug look. For some reason she thinks I am spoiled.

Oh! I almost forgot! Mommy FINALLY figured out that I say, "Yes". She had noticed a couple years ago that if she asked me if I wanted to go see the guys at the feed store I would lick the right side of my mouth. She thought that was funny because I was anticipating getting a treat and licking. Then one day she asked me if I wanted a treat and I licked the side of my mouth. Again she thought it was anticipating a treat. But this month she said, "Do you want to go for a car ride?" and I licked the side of my mouth. Mommy said, "Wait a minute! Do you want to go for a car ride?" and I licked. Mommy said, "Do you want to take a hike?" and I licked. She said, "Do you want to take a bath?" and I didn't lick. She said, "Do you want to take a car ride?" Lick. "Do you want a bath?" no lick. Mommy said, "Does licking mean yes?" and I licked and Mommy nearly fainted. She now asks me yes and no questions and I will answer yes with a lick. The feed store guys today said, "Do you want a treat?" and I licked and Mommy said, "He just said yes." She may be a little slow, but she finally caught on!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

My Crazy-Long Morning Walk

Mommy needed to return a DVD to the library this morning so she decided we would walk there. Since she figured we'd only do a 5 or 6 mile walk she didn't wear any shoes. We went to the library and then through the park and then I decided that I wanted to go see where a new bike trail I had noticed last week went. Since it was a nice morning Mommy said okay to following the bike trail for awhile. We took it north to a park I'd never been to before. It was rather boring being only a baseball field surrounded by houses, so I decided to backtrack to where a different new bike path broke off. We followed that path and found ourselves at some nice lakes full of geese surrounded by some big McMansions. Mommy kinda knew where we were even though the trail twisted around a lot so we kept going straight. Eventually we came out to the busy road that is by one of my favorite forest preserves. We found there was a new bike trail there too so we followed it towards the forest preserve. It was starting to get rather hot at that point and Mommy had no water for me. We had gone about 4 miles at that point and my tongue was hanging out, so when Mommy saw a Walgreens up ahead she said, "Let's see if they'll let us in." She stood in the door and asked if we could come in and get some water for me and a soda for her. The manager said okay so we walked in in our bare feet and got some water and a soda and Mommy bought me a mug to drink out of. Here is my new mug:

We went to a shady bench and I drank my water. A person who was in the store felt sorry for me and gave Mommy a couple more bottles of water, which was very nice, but unnecessary because Mommy knew that if the trail continued the way it was going we'd be at my forest preserve in about 1 mile and there was a drinking fountain there. The lady refused to take the water back so I drank another 1/2 bottle and then we followed the path which DID go to the forest preserve. I finished off the water there and Mommy refilled one of the bottles at the drinking fountain and talked to some older ladies who said I looked tired. We had done about 4 1/2 miles by then and Mommy said I was and we were not at all where she had planned to be. They asked if we knew how to get home and Mommy told them we did. We followed a bike trail we knew that headed towards home, but breaks off and goes through another development that Mommy didn't know so we just cut across the grass because I was getting really tired by then. When we came to a nice shady spot Mommy and I lay on the grass in the shade by the side of the road and rested for a little bit. Then we continued on our way. Eventually we got to a section of bike trails that I recognized so I started to lead the way home again. We took that trail to the creek path and then the creek path to the main road to the Dog n Suds!!! Mommy said I could have some cheese fries so we stopped and she ordered cheese fries and a bowl of water. We shared the cheese fries and I drank the water and finished off the water she had gotten from the drinking fountain at the park. I tired to get the car hop girl to give me more fries, but even though she thought I was very cute, she didn't come out of the building to bring me anything. Then we continued to town. I wanted to go get a Pup Cup at the Tastee Freeze but Mommy said she was out of money. So we walked through town and I tried to get her to stop at all the restaurants to see if they'd give me anything, but she said no to that too. We did walk to the lake and I took a short swim and then we walked the final 1/4 mile home. It added up to about 9 miles and 4 hours of morning walk and we found all sorts of nice new places! Mommy says we can do it again, but she needs to bring water and a bowl for me if we are going to do it.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

My Monthly Diary for August

This month Mommy and I went up to Wisconsin for vacation. We were supposed to go the last week of August, but there was a misunderstanding with Grandma and Grandpa so Mommy had to change our vacation the the week before the last week of August. It ended up that we got the better week though because we had great weather and the next week it got cold and rained. I had a great time. I chased squirrels and chipmunks and fish and frogs. I took a couple of hikes and I swam for my ducky. I also got to go for peddleboat rides which is one of my favorite things to do. I did fall up the stairs one day and had to be on pain killers and muscle relaxers for a night and then a few days later I fell down a hill and went back on the meds for two nights and one day. The falling down the hill part was Mommy's fault. It was mid day and I was napping in the boathouse while Mommy was reading in the shade of the boat house. She went for a swim and she spotted a nice colorful big rock. Every summer she puts a new pretty rock on my predecessor Boo's grave so she got that rock and climbed up the hill to his grave. I woke up and realized I didn't know where Mommy was so I sniffed around and discovered she had gone up the hill. I climbed up the hill, but when I got to the top she wasn't there. I couldn't figure out where I was or where Mommy was (some trees had fallen down and Mommy had to walk in circles to find Boo's grave which made tracking hard). Mommy had gone down the less steep side of the hill instead of the very steep way she had gone up and when she got back down to the boathouse she was worried that I wasn't there. She whistled for me and I did my worry whine-bark so she whistled again and I was so excited to discover that she was down at the boathouse again that RAN down the steep side of the hill. I got about 1/2 way down when I caught my front foot on a root and I stumbled down the rest of the way. I was very sad and sore and had to do nothing for the whole next day. It was very windy and choppy that day so it wasn't so bad to not get to swim and ride in the boat. Mommy told me that if it wasn't windy the next day she would take me for a peddleboat ride first thing after our morning walk the next day. The next day it was WINDIER than the day before but after we took our walk I ran straight down to the boat and wagged and wagged. Mommy said, "I said if it WASN'T windy." but I refused to listen and Mommy gave in and took me for a 2 hour ride. It took us 1 1/2 hours for Mommy to peddle us across the lake and then 1/2 an hour for us to float back with just the waves and wind propelling us and Mommy not peddling at all! It was lots of fun and I slept for three days when we got home.

Also this month Mommy and I took some hikes in the forest preserves by our house. She noticed that I hike at about half the speed I did two years ago, so we have to plan our hiking times much more carefully so we are sure to be home before dark. It is still fun though.

We got new renter neighbors this month. The trash that were living next to us for the past few years got kicked out in December and it took the owners SIX MONTHS to make the house habitable again. They had to buy all new appliances and carpets and stuff as well. The new people seem nice enough and the good thing is that they have a girl cocker spaniel! I haven't met her yet, but she has looked out at me through the window and I have seen her from my porch when she has been in her yard. The last time I saw her it was about 9 at night and I ran to Mommy and barked at her trying to get her to let me go say hi. She said no we would wait and meet her during the day. I decided that I needed to be really impressive for her so on my next walk I rolled in a big pile of fox poop. It was wonderful! I was covered in orange poop from above my right eye to the middle of my back and I smelled soooo good. I knew the cocker spaniel would be impressed, but when we got home Mommy tied me to the fence and gave me a dreaded BATH!! I ended up smelling like cherries! It was awful! How could she do such a thing to me. The new doggy would think I was some kind of wimp. Luckily for me we have not spotted her since then so I have had time to get a more normal dog smell on me again, but I sure wish I could have met her when I smelled like fox poop.

Finally this month I suddenly had trouble standing up a couple Sundays ago and I couldn't squat to poop and I didn't want to walk far. Mommy called the chiropractor and got me an appointment for the next Saturday. I was a sore boy for a week, but after the chiropractic adjustment I felt so much better that I was jumping on the bed and being silly by bedtime. The vet said I had somehow gotten my hips all crooked. I don't know how I did it, but it sure felt good when it was undone.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

My Monthly Diary for July

I just noticed that I didn't update my blog for July. I must have been busy. I can't remember with what tho... hmmm...

Ooh. I remember some stuff. I CAUGHT A BIRD!!! I was in the backyard with Mommy and I spotted a bright yellow bird sitting on the ground eating grass seeds. I snuck up on him and he hopped up into the air and I caught him! I was very excited and so was Mommy, but she was mad excited. She said the birdie was something called a goldfinch and that I wasn't to catch them. Mommy! I have been trying to catch a birdie my entire life and when I finally catch one, IN THE AIR NO LESS, you get mad at me!? Where are your priorities? Anyway, Mommy made me drop the birdie and it sat on the ground looking shocked. Mommy made me go inside for 1/2 hour and when we came back out the birdie was gone. Shame on Mommy.

Shame on Mommy too for forgetting to buy me dog food and making me eat oatmeal for one dinner and breakfast. Does she not know that her most important job is making sure that I am well stocked with food and treats? It is almost as bad as forgetting to buy me shredded cheese to put on my food too, which she did as well. I got Parmesan instead, which was okay, but not as good as the Mexican Four Cheese Mix I like best.

Anyway, to make sure that Mommy learned her place when we slept on the porch the Parmesan cheese night because it was so hot I went out first and slept on the bedroll and refused to move so she ended up sleeping on my travel bed. She seemed awful grumpy the next morning.

Oh yeah! In July I also spotted a really neat hole in the ground on one of our walks. I wondered what had made the really neat hole in the ground and I figured that I should check it out. So I stuck my nose in the hole and took a big sniff and found out that it was made by yellow jackets!! They all flew out of the hole and attacked me!! They bit me on the nose and ears and butt and feet. When Mommy and I got home I had to take a Benadryl because I was swelling up at the bites. Benadryl makes me sleepy so I slept all day.

I can't think of much else that happened in July, but I promise my august update will be more interesting because Mommy and I went on a trip in August.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

My Monthly Diary for June

This month has been an odd one. First off, it has been really, really hot here. Mommy and I don't have air conditioning so it gets really, really hot in the house. Normally we would spend time out in the backyard under the trees, but the mosquitoes are so bad this year we can't be out for more than a couple seconds before we are swarmed. Mommy uses deep woods bug spray on herself, but it doesn't help her at all. These skeeters also come for your eyes and fly up your nose and in your ears. They are very very bad bugs. So we are spending time on our porch with the fan on. Mommy does go out and do yard work, but I stay on the porch unless I have to go potty or Mommy is taking me swimming. On one of our walks a stranger pulled up in a truck and asked Mommy if she wanted some boxes of cookies for me. Mommy said, "No thanks." and suggested he bring them to the local shelter. She then told me that you should never take cookies from strangers in trucks.

I gave Mommy a big scare this month. Mommy came home from work one night and I was very sore. My back hurt A LOT I whined and paced and drooled. Mommy gave me a pain pill but I still whined and paced until midnight. Then I slept for two hours and woke Mommy up to tell her I still hurt. She gave me another pain pill and I slept for two more hours and then I woke Mommy up. I didn't want her to touch me, but I wanted her to help me. When the vet's office opened Mommy called her and told her what I was doing. The vet said it sounded like my back and that I should go to the chiropractor, but she would give me some muscle relaxers if I couldn't get an appointment right away. I couldn't so Mommy went and got me the pills. They helped a bit, but not a whole lot. We got to the chiropractor and she said she couldn't find anything really wrong with my back so she got worried that I had a tumor on my spleen. I guess they can grow really quickly and if it starts bleeding it could cause me to act like I was acting. She told me to go back to my regular vet and get x-rayed ASAP. My regular vet saw me right away and took me into the back room for blood tests and an x-ray. I got really scared when they put me on the x-ray table, but my vet pet me and asked me to lie down, and when I realized that all they wanted me to do was lie still on my side I decided that wasn't so bad and I cooperated. Well, after all that the x-rays came back fine. No tumors. When the blood tests came back they were fine too. So we were back to it only being my back. I was on a no walking, no swimming, no climbing, no running routine for a week and high doses of pain killers and muscle relaxers, but after about a week I felt fine again. The vet thinks that because I broke my back last year, I now have a bad back and I threw it out. She said she knows how that is because she once threw her back out reaching for a cup of coffee.

Even though my back still hurt a bit we did get to go to see the fireworks. We went to our usual spot with the usual old timers, but then right before the fireworks started a whole bunch of new people showed up and crowded around us. It ends up that the neighboring communities weren't doing fireworks this year so they decided to come see ours, and when they saw us all set up in the feed store parking lot they figured it was a good spot.

Mommy acted weird this month too. It was another really hot day after my back was better and Mommy took me swimming. Then we came home and she took a shower, made a ponytail out of her wet, uncombed hair and put on her really hot day clothes (oversize wife beater and boxer shorts). You can imagine how she looks in this outfit. Luckily when she puts those clothes on I know we are not going out anymore. So I curled up on my kitchen bed while Mommy washed dishes. There was this CRACK! noise and Mommy started saying bad words. Then she grabbed some paper towels and went into the bathroom. After she fiddled around in there she went and got her go outside clothes and changed holding the paper towel, which now smelled really yummy. Then she opened up the garage and I thought we'd go for a car ride because, after all, she hadn't combed her hair out so where could she be going? So I ran out onto the porch, but she got mad and said I needed to come in NOW!! I did because she was using her "or else" voice. She didn't come back until after midnight and she had a yummy smelling hunk of cloth wrapped around her thumb. I wanted to take it off and chew it, but she told me no. She said she got 5 stitches in her thumb. I remember getting stitches when I got fixed. They itched and I had to wear a cone to keep from chewing on them. The people vet didn't give Mommy a cone, but I think they should have because on the second night Mommy took all her bandages off in the middle of the night while she was asleep and she made her stitches bleed. Back to the people vet she went, but they still didn't give her a cone. She has left the stitches alone since then and they should come out on Saturday if she continues to not chew on them.

Finally this month, Mommy and I went to Auntie Naomi and Uncle Fred's house in Wisconsin for a three day trip. We had a good time even though it rained on day two, and Mommy couldn't get her hand wet and I got an ear infection. Auntie Naomi and Uncle Fred drove Mommy and me around to see some sights when it was raining and they took me to a special beach which was all sand and nicely sloped. Everyone thought I'd have a good time swimming and Mommy was prepared to let me do so with her keeping her hand dry, but because of my ear infection I was grumpy and didn't want to swim. Everyone seemed rather disappointed with me, but when you have an ear infection, swimming doesn't look fun. The next day, after Mommy cleaned out my ear, I felt much better so Mommy took me to the rocky beach for me to swim before we left to go home. Auntie Naomi and Uncle Fred came with and they watched from the road while Mommy and I slogged through 30 feet of thick mud and cattails to get to the water. I ran around on the rocks and looked for fish and had a great time. The humans seemed bemused.

Monday, June 14, 2010

My Monthly Diary for May

This was an exciting month so it is going to be a long update. First of all Mommy and I went up to Wisconsin to Grandma and Grandpa's house. I was worried at first because Mommy didn't follow the normal trip rules and packed days in advance, then she went out for the evening and I thought she had left and forgotten me. My ulcer got a bit upset by that and I had to be on Carafate for a bit. Then Missy's oldest human sister came to our house and she rode up to Wisconsin with us, which was strange, so I wasn't so sure where we were going. When we stopped for gas Mommy went in to use the bathroom and she expected me to take a piddle walk with Missy's sister, but I was having none of that! I watched for Mommy to come back instead.

I got a new Merlin Cam and I got to take it to Wisconsin. Here are some of my photos

Here is Mommy going into the kitchen:

Mommy's oldest brother washing windows. I got in trouble and got sent to my room. I don't remember what I did that got me in trouble, but it was boring watching window washing.

ALIENS!! Actually it is my human cousin and his friend, my human not-really cousin:

This is my cousin Missy. She is a Portuguese water dog:

Here's Grandpa and Missy in Grandpa's boat I can't wait until they get to the dock so I can jump in and get a ride. I'm not sure how Missy got to go for a ride when I didn't. I like Grandpa's boat because I'm allowed in it. I don't like Mommy's oldest brother's boat because only Missy is allowed in it. No fair!

Missy and I played run around one day and I was running so fast that when I tried to turn on the hill by the lake my hind legs spun out and went over the edge. Down the hill I went backwards, which was not fun. I came back up and decided that the run around game was over. When we got home I slept for two days and then I told Mommy I needed to see the chiropractor. She took me the next day. We had to wait a long time because there was a dog with a bad owie in the next room. The walls of the rooms don't go all the way up to the ceiling so you can hear everything that is going on next door. His daddy sang to him the whole time we were waiting, but the other dog ended up being fine (he had allergies and had chewed a hole in his leg and tail). I usually get mad if I hear the chiropractor talking in the next room, but this time I was good, maybe it was the singing. Anyway when it was my turn the doctor said my back was really messed up. She said everything was going in a different direction. My appointment took twice as long as it usually does because she had to fix so much. I felt much better after she put everything back and I wanted to play ball the next day, but Mommy said no because I needed to rest up after such a big treatment.

We noticed after we got back home that the dogs next door seem to have adopted an additional human. I think they must have thought that getting another male for the problem male human that lives there would give him something to do and make him behave better, but that hasn't been the case. Now the two of them are always making noise in the garage (which is by our bedroom) at all hours and I sometimes have to bark at them to be quiet. At least they got an older human who is about the age of the humans that are already there and didn't go and buy a human puppy.

Anyway, back to me. Mommy and I went to Mommy's coworker's annual picnic which I love because so many people come tell me what a wonderful dog I am and I get to go on a hike afterward, but this year it was better than ever because Auntie Naomi and Uncle Fred were there! I was very excited to see them and get pet. Auntie Naomi didn't bring me a present though because she wasn't happy about my small critter catching that I did last month. Sigh. Someone else brought a big puppy to the picnic and we scared each other without even talking to each other. When we looked at each other we would both just shake and shake. Mommy took me for my hike when she noticed that I was wagging my tail in a friendly way, but had on my angry ears. She didn't want the puppy to think that my tail meant I was friendly. We had a good hike, but when we got back to the picnic Auntie Naomi and Uncle Fred had left. I was sad.

Last week Mommy took me to the Tastee Freeze for a pup cup and then we went to the library to return some stuff and to see something called "a pipe and drum corps" that was playing outside the library. I'm not sure what a pipe and drum corps is supposed to be, but it sure was exciting. I liked the drums. They sounded like fireworks and the guys playing them had sticks in their hands and one guy's sticks looked like they had small white tennis balls on the ends of them. When the drums started playing I perked up and watched them intently. I was hoping that maybe they'd throw those sticks or the tennis ball parts at least, but they didn't. Then the pipes started to play. The pipers had sticks in their mouths and were holding a bag under their arms and more sticks were attached to the bag and when they squished the bags it sounded like they had CATS in those bags and the cats weren't happy about being squished. I got very excited and jumped up and down and barked and Mommy held my mouth closed and said, "You are not the music critic." but it was so exciting and I really wanted to get those yowling cats. Mommy made us move farther away from the pipers, but I still barked when they played so Mommy moved us so I couldn't see the pipers, but I listened for 1/2 a song and then started barking again so Mommy got mad and said we had to go home and when we got home I didn't get a bone. Mommy said I was darn lucky we went to Tastee Freeze first or I certainly would NOT have gotten a Pup Cup because I was so bad at the concert.

Last night Mommy took me back to the library and said if I was good for the concert that night I'd get french fries, but it ended up that silly Mommy had the wrong day and there was no concert so we went home and I didn't get any french fries, but I did get a big milk bone instead of a small one for my after walk treat. After Mommy did some boring stuff around the house we settled down to read in the bedroom. The male neighbors were making noises in their garage again and then lightning started and thunder too and I wasn't happy. I told Mommy to make it stop, but she didn't. Then the neighbors started making whooping noises and all the sirens that we usually hear on our Tuesday morning walk started to go off. Mommy got up and said we were going to read on the basement couch. I grabbed Pyramid and followed her downstairs. We could see the lightning through the basement windows and could hear the thunder and the wind and the neighbors whooping. I paced around and refused to settle and then Grandma called to see if Mommy knew that something called a tornado was coming our way. Mommy said yes and told her the sirens had gone off and we were in the basement. While Mommy was talking to Grandma I went into the storage closet under the stairs to hide, but there was too much stuff in it and I couldn't get comfy. I then tried to go back upstairs, but Mommy wouldn't let me until the sirens all went off again. There was still some lightning, but no more rain or thunder when we left the basement so I Mommy and I went to bed. We checked our yard this morning and everything was fine so Mommy said the tornado didn't actually hit us or too nearby. They say it might be big storms again tonight, but I sure hope there are no more tornadoes.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

My Monthly Diary for April

I'm going to warn Auntie Naomi right now that she is NOT going to be pleased with me this month. So, maybe Uncle Fred should preview this one.

My tummy is feeling much better thanks to the Forco powder so I am feeling much livelier and am back to being perky and alert on my walks. So, on one walk this month Mommy and I were walking under some maple trees when WHAM!! I almost got hit on the head by a baby squirrel! He had fallen out of the tree and missed landing on me by inches! Before Mommy's slow brain could register what had almost hit me I had that baby squirrel in my mouth. I was trying to get it into a good shaking hold when Mommy finally came to and grabbed my collar and yelled, "Drop it! Spit!" The baby squirrel was a lot more squirmy than a big squirrel so I was having trouble holding it and Mommy shaking my collar wasn't helping. Then the squirrel started squealing and squirming even more and I lost my grip on him and he fell down. Then he got up and wobbled over to the tree trunk and climbed up. But he only climbed up about 4 feet and then he stopped and froze. I looked at Mommy and said, "Oh come on! He's just sitting there! Let me go over to the tree and pull him off." But Mommy said no I had to leave him be and let him climb back up to the nest. We didn't see him the next day even though I stopped and sniffed all around the tree so we figure he was fine.

Then the next week on our walk we passed by some bushes and I dove in and came out with a squealing baby rabbit in my mouth. Again Mommy the spoilsport yelled at me to "Drop it! Spit!" and started shaking my collar. I dropped the bunny and he hopped off to some different bushes and hid. On our walk home I insisted on going to the bunny bushes and checking for him, but I didn't find him. The next day however I walked Mommy to those bushes and I spotted that bunny again. Unfortunately Mommy spotted him too and she didn't let me catch him. He hopped to a different set of bushes and then looked at me and hopped on across the street to another set of bushes. I barked and barked and barked at him. I checked the bushes over and over again after that, but I didn't find the bunny. Mommy says if he has any brains he has moved on to saver property.

I've also taken some hikes with Mommy this month. We went on some short hikes and then we took an 8 mile hike. I had wanted to turn back to the car after 3 miles that day, but Mommy said she was sick of short hikes and wanted to go farther. I managed the whole 8 miles and wasn't too sore afterward so maybe I can do longer hikes than I thought. This is good because Mommy bought me a new Merlin Cam. I haven't gotten to use it yet, but I'm looking forward to the weather being more amicable for hiking.

The weather has been very weird. I'm not sure why we have skipped over spring and gone straight to summer but last Monday the temperatures were around 60 degrees then by Saturday it was about 73 degrees. Mommy and I took a long walk and ran a bunch of errands and on the way home we stopped at the Dog n Suds and I got to have some french fries and a bowl of water. The girls were very quick serving me this time so I didn't have to bark at them to hurry up.

By early the next morning it was 85 degrees and it came close to 90 that day. Mommy got out my shedding brush and gave me a long brushing. I don't usually let her brush me for more than 5 minutes, but it felt so good to get my old winter undercoat off that I sat still for a good 15 minutes and Mommy got four poodles worth of hair off me. Then she went and planted tomatoes and I slept on the concrete floor of the garage. Half way through the planting Mommy went in the house and got in the shower fully dressed, which was weird if you ask me, and then she came back out with a bucket of cold water and threw it on me. I couldn't believe she did that to me! I ran a couple of laps around the backyard and then went back to sleep in the garage.

It still has not cooled down. It was at least 90 yesterday and didn't cool down much after dark. It was too hot in our house to sleep last night so Mommy and I moved out to the porch. We slept there until about 1 a.m. when I heard cats fighting next door. I barked and barked at them and woke Mommy up. Mommy decided it was cool enough in the house for us to go back to the bedroom so we did. At 5 a.m. I decided it was morning enough so I woke up Mommy and told her I wanted to have breakfast. She got up and made me my kibble and Forco powder and yogurt. Did I mention I have decided I don't like Forco powder after all and now will only eat it if it is mixed in yogurt? Anyway, Mommy made me my breakfast and I looked at it and decided that I wasn't all that hungry after all and went back to bed. Mommy said I was a jerk. She wasn't so mad at me that I didn't get to go to the lake this morning for a swim and it was a GREAT morning to go to the lake. The carp were spawning! I love when the carp spawn. They swim up close to the bank and splash the water so I can find them really easily. I ran around where they were spawning and tried to grab them, but I couldn't catch any, and then at one point I dove under a fence and fell down the bank and into the water. I climbed back up, but I couldn't figure out how to get back out under the fence. Finally Mommy was able to help me out, but my back end was really sore on the walk home. I hope we go back to spring soon, but maybe without the thunderstorms.

Oh, Don't panic! Happy Towel Day!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Ewwwww! Part 3

Mommy and I got our coupon! It is for one package of any Kraft processed cheese not just the KRAFT Singles Pasteurized Process Cheese Food. There is also no size limit on the package, but there is a price limit. Mommy is going to price all the various packages of KRAFT Singles Pasteurized Process Cheese Food she can find. Hopefully we can get a lot of KRAFT Singles Pasteurized Process Cheese Food and stay under the price limit. Mmmmmmm KRAFT Singles Pasteurized Process Cheese Food.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

My Monthly for March

This month didn't start off too well. My tummy problems continued and I started pooping in the house about every 4 days. I'd be fine for 4 or 5 days and then I'd feel sick and poop in the house. Then I'd feel find for 4 or 5 days again then poop. Mommy noticed that I was starting to lose weight too. You could see my hips and spine when you looked at me. So, she called the vet and told her what was happening and the vet said that she thought my good bacteria and yeast in my gut was all out of whack because of A. the ulcer and all the antibiotics I had had to take for it, B. The emotional stress of going to the vet for my checkup, and C. The physical stress of having had my shots at that checkup. She told Mommy to buy me some Forco powder (actually called Forco Dietary Supplement) and give it to me as the package instructed. Mommy bought it and when she opened it up she was kind of surprised by it. She says it looks and smells like what you'd end up with in the final sweeping of a barn.

The first time she gave it to me I sniffed it and refused to eat it or any of the food. She had to put yogurt in my food to get me to eat it. Then the next time she gave it to me I ate all the kibbles around the powder and then bumped the bowl to make more of the powder fall off the kibbles and then ate them. Mommy had to mix yogurt with the powder to get me to eat it. The third time she gave it to me I decided I LIKED the way that barns tasted and I gobbled everything up. The powder has worked too. I only pooped in the house once in the past three weeks (keep reading to find out why) and I'm even off Pepcid now. I do still have tummy aches sometimes and the vet said I now I get to eat oatmeal and yogurt instead of rice and yogurt when that happens so I'm happy about that. I like oatmeal unlike rice which is NEVER yummy no matter how many times Mommy calls it "yummy rice". Everyone keep your paws crossed that the good effects of the Forco powder continues.

I felt so good after a couple days on the powder that I decided to get into the kitchen garbage while Mommy was taking a shower. In the time it took her to shower I got to eat about a 1/2 bag of garbage. I got two spoiled potatoes, two egg shells, some fat off a steak, some paper towels used to wipe up a grease spill, and some plastic wrap. Mommy came in just as I was trying to unwrap the green roast she found at the back of the freezer. I was surprised a few days later when I pooped out paper towels and plastic wrap, but it was better than the runs I got the next day. Mommy says I am my own worst enemy.

Also this month I got to go on some hikes with Mommy, I love hiking even if it makes my back sore. I got to sniff and sniff stuff and roll in stuff and bark at stuff. I was so tired when I got home after one hike that I forgot that I was thunderphobic when the first thunderstorm of the season hit. I looked up to make sure that Mommy was still in the room, but then I went back to sleep. The second storm of the season I DID remember to be thunderphobic and pester Mommy though. Mommy says she needs to take me on 8 mile hikes before each thunderstorm from now own. We saw a coyote on one of our hikes too. Mommy yelled at him to git and he did though.

I met a new dog this month. His name was Frankie and we played runaround for awhile. My back hurt afterward, but it was worth it. The weird thing though was that when I met him again a couple days later HE BIT ME!! I don't understand that at all. My feelings were really hurt. We haven't seen him since so I don't know if he likes me or not. I also met a little tiny dog named Sugar who wanted to play runaround, but her people didn't want her to play with a dog who's head was bigger than her whole self. I did get to sniff her though.

I got to go to Tastee Freeze this month and get a PUP CUP too! It was WONDERFUL. Mommy said it was way too big and I did have a little bit of a tummy ache afterward, but I think it was worth it. Mommy says next month she will tell them that even though I am a big dog I need a Yorkie sized Pup Cup. Mean Mommy.

Mommy did a lot of work in the garden this month and I helped. When she weeded I sat on her lap and when she tried to dig I stood or lay down right where she was digging. I brought her balls so that she could take a break every once in a while and throw them for me. I also lay right in the spot where she was trying to rake. Finally, I dug a nice hole in the veggie garden and planted a tennis ball. I can't wait to see what comes up. I thought maybe it would be a tennis ball tree or a tennis ball bush, but my friend Emily tells me that it will be a tennis ball plant because tennis balls grow underground like potatoes.

Finally I got revenge on the little terrorist, um terrier, that comes out and tries to bite me sometimes on my walk. We were passing his house and he threw himself at the door and barked at me, trying to get the door to open. I looked at him and then I saw that he had left his tennis ball out in the yard. So, I walked up to the ball and picked it up with just my front teeth so he could see I had the ball. I stood in front of him for awhile with the ball in my mouth and when he started getting really mad I strolled very slowly away, carrying his ball. He really went nuts at that and his owner came to the door to yell at him. When he stopped barking I dropped the ball because I didn't really want it. (After all, I'm going to have a ton this fall when the tennis ball plant produces balls). The owner apologized to Mommy for all the barking and Mommy, between laughing, told the owner that I had egged the bad dog on then she called me a brat.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Ewwwww Pt. 2

We got the following e-mail today from Kraft:

"Thank you for visiting and for letting us know that your KRAFT Singles Pasteurized Process Cheese Food were misshapen and had dark crusty edges and spots.

I'm sorry for your experience. The problem you described sounds like there was a possible mechanical failure at our facility. I am sending you a reimbursement coupon via first class mail, which you should receive within 7-10 business days.

We value the quality of the products that leave our facility. We give careful attention to each step of our manufacturing process. Samples from each production run are evaluated before we ship them, in an effort to prevent any unsatisfactory products from entering distribution.

Mistakes can sometimes occur on our production lines. We try to prevent this by stationing inspectors at various points along the production lines, and their duties include watching for malfunctions. Also, our quality control staff makes regular rounds throughout the production area during the day in order to ensure that production equipment is functioning properly.

I hope this information is helpful, and again, I apologize for this experience. Thank you for your loyalty and we hope that your next experience is a good one."

Will let everyone know when/if we get our coupon. My favorite part of the letter is that their American cheese is actually called "KRAFT Singles Pasteurized Process Cheese Food"

"Mommy can I have a grilled KRAFT Singles Pasteurized Process Cheese Food sandwich?"

Sunday, April 18, 2010


Mommy buys Kraft American Cheese Singles because she sometimes likes to snack on them and they are handy to have around in case she needs to give me a pill. We got to about 6 slices from the bottom of our most recent 24 pack and found these three slices (below them is a normal slice):

Mommy sent Kraft an e-mail saying "EWWWWWW!" but in a more literate manner. She wanted to attach the photo, but they had no way for her to do so. We will let you know if anything comes of it.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

My Monthly Diary for February

This month has not been a very good one. First off, after we came back from Wisconsin I started to have some tummy trouble and had to go back on Carafate. Then that cleared up and I was feeling okay until I had to go to the vet for my annual checkup. I got very upset at the vet, which is odd. I don't really like going to the checkup vet, but I don't usually get really upset, but I was shaking in the waiting room and kept wanting to leave when we got into our examination room. The vet came in and gave me my shots and checked me out and said I looked really good for my age and the fact that I have had some tummy troubles and the broken back and all and then she let me go, but she told Mommy that I needed to come back in two weeks for a second part of my Lyme shot. This is new, but it is necessary because my predecessor, Boo, got Lyme even when he had been vaccinated for it all his life. The second half of the Lyme shot protects against the variant that Boo had gotten. When we got home I moped and got a bit of a fever, which often happens when I have my distemper shot. (Mommy says that is my own fault because every time she thinks I can avoid getting the distemper shot I go and do something like fight with Walter, catch a feral cat or a squirrel, or, like this year, all three.) So Mommy let me mope.

The next morning I woke up, jumped out of bed and threw up. Back on Carafate I went. Things would get straightened up and then after I was off Carafate for about a week I'd start throwing up again. Then I started pooping in the house while Mommy was out. Mommy was getting upset about that, but since I was pooping in only one room she put papers down while we tried to get things straightened out. I also started waking her up at 10:30 p.m. every night having panic attacks. After a couple weeks (and after I pooped and peed in the house) Mommy decided to take me to the chiropractor to see if maybe I was having back pain. I like the chiropractor vet and was happy to go there. She said my back wasn't too bad, but did a little bit of adjustment to my hip area and I went home to sleep. I didn't get to sleep though because when we got home Mommy discovered that both the bathtub and kitchen sink were backed up and when she called the plumber they said they could come right away. They did which was nice, but what wasn't nice was that the pipes were all corroded and they couldn't open one up to clean it out and had to cut a whole section off and replace it and the kitchen drain fell apart in the guy's hand while he was taking it apart! Mommy was watching him do it so she knows he didn't do anything. Anyway, I didn't get any sleep because I kept having to help the plumbers. But I did get to finally sleep when they left and I slept all the rest of the day and through the night and I felt much better and I stopped pooping and peeing in the house.

When I went in for my second Lyme shot Mommy made arrangements for me to not have to go in the back room with the vet techs in hopes that I wouldn't get so upset I'd set my tummy off again, but even though I waited in the car until they were ready for me and then went into the out door and got the shot and went right back to the car the next day I threw up first thing in the morning again. Since then my tummy hasn't been totally right and I feel good for a few days and then I have tummy troubles again for a few days, then I feel good again, then troubles. Mommy is at a total loss for what is wrong with me but she does say that eating every dead thing I find on our walks can't be helping. I don't see why that would be, and I'm not telling her what I think, and I am still making sure to wake her up at 11:30 at night for post time change panic attacks. Mommy keeps saying the word "Prozac" around me. Last night I woke Mommy up at 10:00, 11:30, 3:00, 4:30 and 7:00 and today is another bad tummy day after having had three days of good tummy. So, anyway, I need all you dogs and cats and humans and whatever else out there who read my blog to think good thoughts for me so that my tummy can feel better and I won't need to see the checkup vet to get whatever this Prozac stuff is.

Things haven't been all bad this month though. I got to go on some hikes and very long walks and play ball and stuff. Also, Auntie Naomi came into town and even though I didn't get to see her she brought me a stuffed animal! I was very happy to have it and danced around the house with it. BUT there has been some talk on the internet that I am spoiled because after the snow melted this month Mommy went out and picked up all my stuffed animals that had been lost in the snow all winter and put them on the line to dry. There were sixty of them hanging out there and Mommy thought it looked funny so she took a picture of it and posted it on TwitPic.

Some people seemed to think that being able to lose sixty toys and not really miss them meant that I am spoiled. I don't think I am. So Mommy and I got all my toys out and Mommy counted and I only own 98 stuffies and an unknown number of balls and bones. Here they are:

So, as you can see, I am NOT spoiled and I DO need those toys from Auntie Naomi each time she comes into town.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Flashback to Year 3

February 25, 2003

This was a rather boring month. Mommy and I did most of the usual stuff. We visited our former neighbor at his new place, we went hiking in the forest preserves, and we went to the dogpark. I am getting better about pointy-eared dogs and square-headed dogs, but I still get aggressive-defensive if a dog runs up to me when I am playing with someone else. I don't really think you can blame me though because that is what happened when the mean shepherd and rottie attacked me.

We also babysat Grandma and Grandpa's birdie while they were on vacation, but we didn't do a very good job of it because poor Tiger died. He came to us sick, but Mommy still feels like she should have been able to do better. I felt guilty about letting Tiger die while Mommy was at work and I greeted her that evening all upset and apologizing with my head and tail down. Mommy knew right away something bad had happened. When Grandpa and Grandma came to our house to get Tiger's cage and stuff I was VERY happy to see them. I was so excited that I screamed and screamed when Grandpa walked in the door.

I learned a new trick. When I am in a "down" position and Mommy says "Head down" I put my head down on or between my paws. Mommy says it looks really cute. The things I do to humor her.

The main thing that happened this month is that I taught Mommy a new trick. It all started when I was outside having fun in the backyard. A squirrel came by so I ran after it and barked at it and barked at it and barked at it. Mommy opened the door and made me come inside. Then, a few days later, I was outside and I saw one of the feral cats. I barked at it and Mommy came and opened the door and made me come inside. A few days after that I was waiting quietly by the back door for Mommy to come let me in. She was doing something else I guess, and she didn't come right away. Then I saw one of those cats again. So I barked at it. Mommy came and opened the door and told me to come in. That is when I realized I could train Mommy to come let me in whenever I wanted her to. The next day I was waiting for Mommy to let me in, but she didn't come right away. So I let out one loud "BARK!!" and Mommy came and let me in. I tried it again the next day, and it worked, and the day after too. Now Mommy is fully trained to let me back into the house when I sit by the back door and bark.

March 25, 2003

The big news of this month is that I injured Mommy. See, we were walking and I kind of pulled her down a hill and she got hurt. It couldn't have been that bad because she wasn't licking anything, but she says that I did the following damage:

1. twisted her left ankle
2. pulled a muscle in her left calf
3. wrenched her right knee
4. pulled a muscle in her right thigh
5. bruised her hip
6. THIS IS THE BIG ONE!!! cracked two (maybe three) ribs
7. wrenched her right elbow
8. wrenched her right shoulder
9. pulled a muscle in her neck

It has been a couple weeks since I did this and Mommy feels much better now. She says the only things that still hurt are her knee (no surprise she has bad knees anyway) and her ribs, but her ribs don't hurt when she breathes anymore. They only seem to hurt when I tug really hard on the leash.

I wrote to the BadDogs about this the day after it happened. Click here to read the story, but come back to my webpage afterwards!

On a brighter note, Mommy and I have been working on my dog phobia and things have gotten better. I don't get as upset when I am playing with another dog and a dog or two come to see me. I can also talk nicely to most pointy-eared dogs now too. I still hate German shepherds though. (Sorry to all the nice German shepherds that might be reading this!) Mommy and I were in a forest preserve parking lot heading towards a trail this month and a bad dog owner let his German shepherd out of his truck without a leash. The owner was getting his bike off his truck and ignored Mommy when she yelled, "Would you please hold your shepherd, my dog has issues with them." and the shepherd came up to me with his head down, ears forward and fur up. I have to admit I lost it. I started jumping around growling and snapping and basically making a fool of myself. Mommy kept putting herself between me and the other dog and had her hand on my back and was telling me that the doggie wouldn't get me, but I couldn't hear her. I was too scared. The other owner FINALLY came and after some time caught his dog. Mommy said, "Sorry, but I asked you to hold your dog." and we went for our walk. Some people who had seen my fit talked to Mommy later on the trail. Mommy explained about my shepherd problem and one lady let her chow talk to me and I was very nice. The lady said it was hard to believe I was the same dog. When we finished our walk there was a ranger truck parked in the lot. The ranger wasn't there, but Mommy thinks the bad owner probably reported me as vicious and the ranger was on the trail looking for me. Either that or somebody else reported the bad owner for not having his dog on a leash.

April 22, 2003

This has not been a good month.
It started off normal enough. We took our walks, I played with my friend Teddy, we played ball, I got in trouble a little. You know, the usual stuff. Then came THE ACCIDENT.

I'm still not sure what happened. One minute I was chasing my soccer ball in the backyard and the next I was sitting down with a lot of pain in my hind quarters. I could hardly walk. Moving caused me to scream "YIPE!!!" Mommy needed to go to work, but she couldn't because I wouldn't come in the house. I didn't want to do anything that would cause me to hurt! Finally, Mommy remembered that she had some leftover deli ham in the fridge and I decided I would move one painful step at a time as long as I got some ham in between steps. I yiped for each step too.

Mommy called the vet, but they couldn't see me right away but they told Mommy they would call if someone canceled. Someone did and we went to the vet. I yiped getting into the car. I yiped getting out of the car. I didn't want to climb the step into the vet's office, but once I was in there I tried to jump on the counter to get my milkbone. YIPE!!! While we waited for the vet I whined and shook. Mommy kept telling me it would be okay. When the vet came in it was a man vet, not my normal female vet. I didn't really want anyone touching me and I cried some more. The vet said he needed to muzzle me, just in case, and Mommy said okay because she didn't want me to accidentally hurt the vet, but once the muzzle was on all I could think about was getting it off so I wouldn't lie down and let the vet look at my legs and back.

The vet took me into the back room and had an assistant help. I YIPED when they would reach for my legs, but not yipe when they moved them, or sometimes I'd yipe when one was moved, but not when they moved it the same way a second time. Then I decided I'd had enough and I sprayed my anal glands at them. THAT MADE THEM STOP TOUCHING ME!!

When the vet brought me back to Mommy he said he couldn't tell what was wrong without x-raying me and he didn't want to have to knock me out to do so if it was only a torn muscle. So, we had to work on the assumption that it was a torn ACL. That meant no walks, no playing, no nothing for TWO WEEKS so that things could heal up. They gave me some pain killers which made me feel better, but then they made me throw up so I couldn't take them any more. Mommy said that was for the best though because I kept trying to do things that were bad for me. Lucky for me, after two VERY BORING WEEKS, I felt better so I didn't have to have x-rays or ACL surgery.

But things aren't normal yet! I still can't play with my friend Teddy. I can't play ball. I can't take long walks. I'm not supposed to run. I can't jump on the bed (Mommy moved the mattress to the floor of the livingroom so that I can still sleep with her).

I can't sit on my window seat. I can't counter surf. I can't do ANYTHING FUN! Mommy and I can now walk into town and she says we should be back up to our 5 mile morning walk in another 2 weeks or so, but I am going CRAZY. I want to RUN. I want to JUMP. I want to PLAY. NO FAIR!!!

May 20, 2003

Things have gotten better this month. My leg feels MUCH better. So Mommy has been taking me to my favorite trails again. At first we only walked for about 4 miles, but now we are up to about nine. I also get to play ball in the backyard and I got to have my friend Teddy over too. I was feeling SO MUCH better that I was getting bored with only playing ball for a little while and not doing our full 12 - 18 mile walks on the weekend so I decided to show Mommy how good I felt. Therefore, I jumped up on Mommy and cut her lip open. She wasn't very happy about it, but she did say, "If you are feeling that good I guess we don't need to sleep on the floor of the livingroom anymore." So she put the bed back together and got the house back to healthy dog state.

I got to have my bench by the window back and that was when I noticed that the neighbors across the street got a new German shepherd. I was not happy about this, let me tell you, and I actually bristled and growled a bit when I first saw him. Mommy has pointed out that he is in his own fenced yard and he isn't going to come in the house and get me, but I still don't like him much. It doesn't help that the neighbors have started taking him for walks. Don't they know that Maggie, the little white dog down the street, Scruffy, who lives a few blocks away, my buddy Teddy, and I are the ONLY DOGS allowed to walked down our block? Anyway, Mommy went to meet the new dog and told his people about my shepherd problem so they are being nice and not walking him on our side of the street and we don't walk on their side.

Finally, it sure is nice to sleep up on the bed again, but the first morning I forgot where I was and I rolled off the bed! Mommy tried to catch me but she wasn't fast enough and I landed on my head. Mommy said it was a good thing I landed on a part of me that didn't matter, and nothing that would get hurt. HUMPH!

June 24, 2003

This has been a busy month. First Mommy and I went to Wisconsin to help Grandma and Grandpa get their house ready for summer. I know this is hard to believe, but I was a GOOD DOG the entire time I was up there. Grandma even commented that I was "civilized!" I only ran off once (to check out the neighbor's laundry which was flapping and teasing me) but I came back when Mommy called, eventually, and she didn't have to come into the woods to look for me, so it was considered "good" not "bad." I only got hooked up to my long leash once and that was because Mommy and Grandpa were moving a big wooden swing and they didn't want my help for some reason. Anyway, being good at the lake is VERY tiring!! When you are bad you get tied up and so you nap a lot and glare at Mommy and stuff, but if you are good you get to chase chipmunks and squirrels and fish and you get to run in the woods (come back when Mommy calls and you get a Pupperoni!!) and you get to roll in poop and dig holes and swim and follow smells and all sorts of other things. Boy is it tiring!

The first day we got there Mommy threw my duckie in the lake for me to fetch and I got it 9 times and would have gone more times, but Mommy stopped me because the water was too cold. The second day I chased the duckie 6 times. The third day I chased the duckie twice. The fourth day I chased it once, and I got Grandma to let me in the house so I could take a two hour nap. On the last day I told Mommy she could go get her own damn duckie! I slept for the whole car ride home and was still asleep when Mommy got home from work that night and I slept the whole night and the next day too. Being good is very hard on the system.

When we got home I wanted to tell my friend, Teddy, about my trip, but I discovered that he had moved! He went to someplace called "Florida" and Mommy says it is too far away for him to come for our playdates. Mommy had been warning me that he was moving, but I didn't realize that meant no more playdates. I have been very sad on Sundays (playdate day).


Mommy is trying to get the neighbors to let me play with Ernie (a new lab puppy) but they don't seem to be very eager to do it.

Also this month Mommy and I did almost our full trail hike. We did 10 miles. It was warmer than we thought it was going to be so I got very thirsty at the half-way point. Mommy broke the rules and took me into the "no dogs" park to get me water. Nobody yelled at us though which is a good thing or Mommy probably would have bitten them. When we got to the eight mile point I realize that we were leaving the shaded area and going into the Long Area of Sun. I sat down in the shade and refused to move. It was Father's Day so Mommy took out the emergency cell phone she caries on our hikes and called Grandpa to say, "Happy Father's Day." and chat with him while I cooled off. Some people who had seen us earlier in the day stopped to see if we were okay. Mommy said we were fine and after chatting for a while with Grandpa, we finished our walk. When we got home I had three ticks and Mommy had two. Mommy says no more sitting on the ground in the woods for us!

Finally, Mommy taught me a new trick. See, whenever Mommy goes into the bathroom I barge in to see what she is doing. Mommy can't seem to remember to make sure the door latches when she shuts it, and I refuse to not barge in, so Mommy taught me to shut the door. So now when she is in the bathroom and I barge in she says, "Merlin, shut the door!" and I turn around and hit it with my paw until the door is closed. Mommy thinks it is a very useful trick.

July 30, 2003

Well, I'm late updating this month, but you will see why at the end.

This month we went to our town's 4th of July celebration to watch the fireworks. I love fireworks. We got there about one hour early so that Mommy could buy some dinner and we could picnic. Imagine our surprise to find that the park was already PACKED with people. Our spot that we always sit in was taken by a golden retriever and his family too! Mommy and I went to get something to eat and discovered that almost all the vendors were out of food. We were lucky that the guys selling burgers still had some and the kids selling pop still had some too. I sat in line and waited very nicely. People complemented me on what a good boy I was. One man even stepped on the tip of my tail and I didn't do anything but look back at him reproachfully. His wife hit him though and told him to get off my tail! It was funny.

We went back to the fireworks area and finally found a spot where we could spread out our blanket. Then we sat down to eat. After we shared the burger (I got half) some little girls came up and asked if they could pet me. Mommy said okay and they pet me for about a half hour. Mommy had planned to read her book, but she didn't get to because she had to watch the little girls. Then some other kids came up to pet me too. Then someone joined the group next to us and they brought along a little peke. I wanted to play with him but Mommy said no. Finally it was time for fireworks to start. I was all ready and so was Mommy and then some brats in front of us threw one of those popper firecrackers at the peke and hit him in the side. The peke wasn't hurt but he was scared and I got really mad and wanted to go give those bad boys a piece of my mind and maybe some of my teeth, but Mommy said no. Unfortunately it took me the first 10 minutes of the fireworks to settle down so I missed quite a bit of the show.

After the show Mommy tried to get us out of the park while staying out of the crowd, but we ended up getting shoved into the middle of a massive jam at the exit. I stayed really close to Mommy and my glow collar was on, but people were still stepping on me. I was handling it okay, but Mommy was getting madder and madder because people weren't even saying "sorry" when they stepped on me or shoved Mommy. (Mommy is quite short and being in the middle of a large crowd can be really bad for her). We were almost out of the park when a kid reached out and started to pet me. Mommy said, "You should always ask before you pet a strange dog." The kid's father said, "It's okay we have a golden retriever."
Mommy said, "This is not your golden retriever."
The man said, "You wouldn't bring a vicious dog to the park."
Mommy said, "No I wouldn't, but this is a very stressful situation for him. Even the best tempered dog can lose it when someone comes up behind him in a crowd and touches him."
The man said, "My son likes dogs he wouldn't do anything bad to him."
Mommy said, "My dog is trained how to behave in public, and I would hope that people would train their children too, so that everyone can be safe."
Then the man called Mommy a female dog.
We got out of the park at that point, which is good because I think Mommy might have bitten him if we hadn't.

Things were boring for most of the rest of the month until right before I should have updated my page. That was when Mommy started packing bags. We were going on a VACATION!! I thought we were going to go to Wisconsin, but we didn't. We went to DOG SCOUT CAMP in Michigan!! It was very exciting, and I only got in one BIG fight and I learned a lot and so did Mommy. We just got back on Saturday and that is why this update is late. Check back in a week or two because I am making a special CAMP DIARY which will have pictures and everything.

September 3, 2003

I'm late again this month, but that is because Mommy and I went to Wisconsin. I'll tell you about that trip next month.

The big thing that happened this month is that I went to Dog Scout Camp. I did so much there that I made a special daily camp diary. [I'll put it up as my next flashbacks]

After we got back from camp I slept and slept and ate and ate. Then Mommy and I got back to our normal routine. Until the NEW NEIGHBORS showed up. We got new neighbors next door and they have a golden retriever. His name is Berkley, but we thought his name was Barkley because that is what the neighbors' daughter calls him. Barkley is a good name for him because he BARKS AND BARKS AND BARKS at me. I really want to be friends with him, but when I go up to the fence to say hi he BARKS at me. Then I get scared and I make Cujo faces at him and bark back. Then, because I want to be friends, I stop Cujoing at him and I wag my tail and try to be friends again. Mommy says I look like an idiot doing that and calls me away before I can Cujo at him, but sometimes I switch so fast she doesn't realize it is coming. Berkley's mommy is a little afraid of me because I look so evil when I go off at him. She thinks I might bite her, but Mommy says she really doubts that would happen. So, as it is right now when we are both out in the back yard we are either barking at each other or ignoring each other.

Mommy says she thinks we could be good fence friends because we have similar interests. I like chasing cats and squirrels and so does he. I like running along the fence with other dogs and so does he (but he likes to bark while doing it and I like to run quietly). I like to chase basketballs in the backyard and so does he. He likes his ball so much that if he sees me chasing mine he runs to his mommy and tries to make her jump over the fence to get my ball. I think he thinks it is his. So, hopefully, he will learn to stop barking so much, but just in case he doesn't, Mommy is working with me on learning that he isn't really being mean when he barks. He barks at me and I get treats for not reacting.

Other than fighting with Berkley, I didn't do a whole lot. Mommy and I are taking hikes on the trails by our house and I am carrying my backpack. I look really cool in it and people sometimes stop to talk to Mommy about it and they tell me I look good wearing it. Sometimes they ask about Dog Scouts and Mommy tells them about camp. Mommy fancied my pack up a bit with some buckles and by sewing my Dog Scout patches, my CGC patch and the trail badge we earned last year for hiking 7 trails in 3 months. (We actually did that in about one month because the required trails are only 3 miles at the longest.) So now I look REALLY COOL when I wear it.

September 23, 2003

Well, as promised I'll tell you about my trip to Wisconsin. Mommy and I went up there at the end of August. When we got there Grandma and Grandpa weren't there, but they came the next day. Boy was I excited!! I love it when I get to see Grandma and Grandpa. They didn't stay the whole time though and I was very sad for a couple of days after they left. I was VERY good at the lake and I got to be off leash for the first few days. I only went to visit the neighbors once and I came back right after I said hi.

After we had been there a few days I woke Mommy up around 7 a.m. (see I let her sleep in when we are on vacation) and she let me outside by myself. I was very good and did what I was supposed to do and then came inside. About a half hour later I looked out the window and what did I see in OUR BACKYARD but a GERMAN SHEPHERD!! I jumped on the window and barked and even Mommy got mad because the shepherd was wandering around without any humans. The shepherd looked at our house and ran off into the woods. Mommy went outside and tracked the shepherd to another neighbor's house and then lost the trail when the shepherd stepped onto the neighbors driveway. She went back to Grandma and Grandpa's house and called the neighbor to see if it was her shepherd. It wasn't, but she said it belonged to the neighbors next to her. Mommy went back to their house and, sure enough, there was the shepherd in their house. She knocked on their door and the shepherd's daddy came out. Mommy told him that the shepherd was in our yard and how I HATE shepherds because they have attacked me in the past and she really didn't want me to start a dogfight that she would have to finish. The owner then asked her how she knew that it was THEIR shepherd. Mommy explained about tracking it. Then he said, "When did you see the dog?" and Mommy said, "About a half hour ago." At that point the man admitted that it COULD be his shepherd since he lets her out to run around BY HERSELF in the woods for a FEW HOURS EACH MORNING!!, but she NEVER goes farther than a couple properties over. Why would she go onto OUR property? Mommy said, "She probably smelled MY DOG and came to investigate." (she did not add, "Duh! you big moron!" and "How do you know where she is when she is OUT OF YOUR SIGHT for a FEW HOURS each morning?!" which I think showed a lot of self control.) So then she said she would keep ME ON A DRAGLINE on our property if he would keep their dog on their property. He said he would, but I am sure it was their dog I saw in our front yard a few mornings later. That is why I barked and barked and barked at 5 a.m.

So, even though I was a very good boy I had to wear my leash for the rest of the time I was at the lake. Just because some other dog has a BAD OWNER.

I still had fun at the lake though. I swam and swam and swam. I ran in the woods. I chased chipmunks and squirrels and fish and frogs. I found the cool retrieving toy that my cousin, Missy, hid in the woods. I rolled in all sorts of stuff. I went to visit a friend of Mommy's (I tried to sit on his couch which HE said was okay, but which MOMMY said wasn't.). And Mommy and I went for a long hike. I wore my backpack for it and got lots of compliments along the trail.

I slept for the entire ride home. We took Grandma's new canary, Willie, home with us because we were going to babysit him for a couple of weeks. Willie loved the car ride and especially liked looking out the sunroof. Grandma's car doesn't have a sunroof. Mommy says it was good I slept because that way we didn't have to stop and make her worry about Willie being locked in the car alone while we took our walk.

Since we've been home, and Willie has gone back to Grandma's house, things have gone back to normal. Mommy and I are still hiking. I am up to 32 1/2 miles carrying my pack. When I get to 50 miles I get to be a Pack Dog, and I can sign my name Merlin, CGC, DSA, PD. Mommy says it is strange having a dog with more letters after his name than she has (she doesn't have any letters after her name). Maybe she should go for her CGC, or would that be a HGC?

October 21, 2003

This month we didn't do a whole lot. It was a stay at home month. No vacations, no trips, no nothing. We did go for lots and lots of hikes in the forest preserves. Mommy and I were working on this special county program where you pick up a booklet with about 12 trails listed. You hike seven trails before the end of November and you get a little metal badge to put on a walking stick. Any trail over 2 miles counts as two trails (Mommy says any trail UNDER 2 miles should count as 1/2 a trail, but then I guess other people don't walk as much as we do). Since we can finish our 7 trails in no time Mommy and I do all the trails that allow dogs on them. This year we did 9 trails and I got my badge last week. It is bigger than last year's and is three colors instead of two. It looks really good on my pack (we don't have a walking stick). We used our county hikes for my Packdog title too and this weekend I passed the fifty mile mark. Mommy sent in my log so soon I should be able to put that PD after my name. Mommy says we are going to take a backpack break for a little bit. We'll still hike, but I won't have to wear my pack each time, and then we will start working on 100 miles so that I can be PDX (Packdog Excellent).

Also this month Mommy and I went to visit our old neighbor in the nursing home. When we walked in the door the receptionist said, "Merlin!!" and insisted on petting me (no complaints here). I tried to get her to take my headcollar off, but she wouldn't. Then when we were walking down the hall a nurse said, "This must be Merlin. I HAVE to meet him!" and she pet me too! It was great. I love it when people recognize me. It turns out that our neighbor called out and told everyone we were coming to visit and they all wanted to say hi because he had told them so much about me! Mommy said it was a good thing she brought me, she had actually considered going for a visit WITHOUT me that day, but decided at the last minute that it wasn't too hot to leave me in the car when she stopped at the library for tapes for our neighbor. When we were leaving it was right before lunch and all the residents were gathering outside the dining area so I did all my tricks for them. Mommy says that if I would EVER calm down she would check into making me a therapy dog. I know I would love that job.

Finally, after last month's diary I got an anonymous question from some human asking me why it was okay for me to visit the neighbors at Grandma and Grandpa's house, but it wasn't okay for the German Shepherd to visit me. I know it had to be a human asking that question because any dog would know the answer to that one. It wasn't okay because it was A GERMAN SHEPHERD that visited me. I would have thought it was great if it was a pomeranian visiting me but A GERMAN SHEPHERD was on MY LAND!! Mommy says actually she would have been just as mad if a pomeranian had come to visit without its human and would have hunted down its human just the same. See, the minute I leave our property Mommy knows it, and she comes after me. Mommy always seems to notice whenever I wander out of sight up there and whistles for me right away, but the GERMAN SHEPHERD's daddy didn't know, or care, where his dog was for HOURS EVERY DAY and that is a BAD daddy.

November 25, 2003

This month Mommy did that strange thing where she walks around the house and plays with all the clocks and then she doesn't get up on time the next morning, or feed me on time, or get home from work on time. This year I was VERY VERY good and I didn't pee, poop or throw up in the house at all! I was still nervous when she was late getting home, but I just got Pyramid and cuddled with him on the bed until Mommy came home.

We also did that thing where Mommy makes me dress up funny and then kids in costume come to the door and Mommy gives them treats and I inspect all the bags. Then after Mommy closes the door I get a treat too! This year Mommy made me dress up as an angel. From the way my halo flopped around she said I was a fallen angel. For a little while Mommy dressed up as the Grim Reaper and she told me that that made me the Angel of Death.

After about 2 hours of answering the door I got tired of it (and I'd had enough treats) so I went into the bedroom and refused to come out again. Besides, all the kids I like had already come and oohed and ahhed over me.

And finally this month I discovered that the big long piece of furniture in the livingroom called, "my down couch!" was very very comfortable. See, Mommy was lying on it watching tv and I wanted to get pet, so I put my chin on her tummy and she pet me. After a little bit my neck started to get stiff, so I sat up and put one foot on Mommy and she kept petting me. Then my other front foot started to cramp so I put that foot on Mommy. Mommy said, "You are really pushing it big guy." but I just smiled at her. Then I thought it would be nice if she rubbed between my shoulder blades so I turned around and put my chest on Mommy. She said, "Only this once." and she scratched me. After a bit she fell asleep. That was when my hind legs started to go numb. I wanted to take some weight off them, but, being the considerate dog I am, I didn't want to wake up Mommy by jumping down. So, instead I carefully climbed up onto Mommy. You should have seen how surprised she was when she woke up! Anyway she told me to get down and I did. Mommy thought that was that, but what she didn't know was that I decided that if I could be on the couch when Mommy was sleeping on it, why couldn't I sleep on it when she was at work? I slept on it for an entire week. Once Mommy found my ball on the couch when she got home and told me I should be more careful where I throw it. She didn't realize that I had taken it up there to play with while on that comfy couch!

My undoing was that Saturday. Mommy was cleaning the house and I was bored. I slept on the bed for awhile, but I decided after a bit that the couch would be better. So, while Mommy was cleaning the kitchen I got up on the couch. You should have heard her yell when she came into the livingroom and found me there! I tried to look surprised, "hey! how'd I get up HERE??" but she didn't buy it. So I sat on my livingroom dog bed with a big sigh and waited for her to do something more interesting. She didn't. After she finished cleaning the house she started to pay bills. I decided she was too busy to notice so I left my dog bed and quietly started to climb up on the couch. Again she yelled at me. And now there are evil mouse traps on the couch when Mommy is not sitting on it. HUMPH!

December 23, 2003

This month Mommy and I went up to Grandma and Grandpa's place in Wisconsin for Thanksgiving. I had fun, but not as much fun as in the summer. It was deer hunting season so I wasn't allowed outside without Mommy on the other end of my leash. I also wore my Dog Scout bandana the whole time because it is so bright and shiny red. Mommy pinned a red bandana to her coat sleeve too. Since Mommy had to go outside with me and it was kinda cold, we didn't go out a whole lot. I waited by the window for chipmunks, but none came. Mommy said they were asleep for the winter. To add some excitement to this dull vacation I did things like try to take Grandma's slippers whenever possible. I also carried everyone's shoes around and at one point I tipped over an end table.

When we got home it was mostly boring. We took some walks, but not as many as I'd like, and lately Mommy has been very busy shopping and stuff for Christmas, so I have been very neglected. Mommy took me to PetSmart to have my picture taken for Santa. I wasn't very good for Santa, but then, he wasn't very good for me. Even Mommy got a little mad at him because she was trying to explain to him that SHE would tell me to sit and pose (she wanted me to sit sideways and put my paw on his knee) but he just took my leash by my collar and JERKED it to try to make me sit! Well, THAT doesn't work! So I got upset and refused to sit for him or Mommy and I just wanted to go home because Santa was being mean to me, but finally Mommy got me calmed down enough to get one okay picture taken. Mommy says you can tell that both Santa and I are rather pissed off. We made it into a Christmas card anyway. Click on the link at the end of my diary to see it.

Also this month I though Mommy had finally realized that it was not fair that she got to go potty in the house but I didn't, because she brought in A TREE! Then she put all these toys on the tree and I thought, "Oh! It isn't a potty tree, it is a new dog toy!" I love chewing pine branches and putting toys on the ends of them makes it even better, but then Mommy ruined everything by hanging MOUSETRAPS on the tree too! How could she do such a thing? I think it is awful and she did it all just to torture me. I hope Santa doesn't bring her anything but coal for playing such a dirty trick. I also know that there is a yummy treat for me hiding in the coat closet, but Mommy won't open the door for me. I sure hope Chirstmas comes soon. I'm not sure how much longer I can continue to not pee on or eat the tree, and there must be some way to open that closet door. Happy Howlidays!

January 20, 2004

Well, this was a busy month. First there was Christmas. We had Mommy's oldest brother and his family, Grandma, Grandpa and Mommy's youngest brother over for dinner. I was a good host and circulated among the guests. I did so by circling the room over and over for the entire hors d'oeuvres period. I also showed them that Mommy had nuts they could eat by taking nuts one at a time and cracking them open and eating them. For some reason the guests didn't want nuts. Then I finished off the hors d'oeuvres just like Boo had done back before he got sick. I was very sad when the guests went home that night.

The next day was Christmas day. I got all sorts of good gifts and then Mommy packed the other presents up and we went to Grandma and Grandpa's house. It was very exciting to be there with everyone (Mommy's brothers and all were staying there) and it got even better when Mommy's middle brother joined the group and brought my waterdog cousin Missy. Missy and I chased each other all over the house and then Grandpa seemed to forget there were dogs in the house and he stood with the front door open and Missy ran out first and I ran after her and we ran around the outside of the house and into the nieghbors yard and Mommy chased us and Mommy's middle brother chased us and we dodged them and wrestled and it was great until Missy finally got caught by Mommy's middle brother. He picked her up and brought her inside. Then I let Mommy catch me and bring me in too so that Missy and I could continue our chase game. We chased each other around the diningroom table and through the livingroom. Then we went in the basement and chased some more. After all that running I had to pee, but Mommy wasn't downstairs and nobody who was knew that I had to pee so I just peed on one of the basement posts. Mommy's middle brother caught me and tried to stop me by pulling on my collar, but once I'm peeing there is no stopping me so Mommy got to clean up a puddle that was about 5 feet long. I got a half hour time out in Grandma and Grandpa's bathroom. After that I was a good boy the rest of the night and I only played chase with Missy and didn't pee inside anymore. I was very tired that night!

Shortly after Christmas it was New Years Eve. Mommy had the day off so we went for a hike. I carried my backpack and when we got to my favorite trail Mommy let me choose which way we walked. I chose south (I usually choose north) and we hiked and hiked and hiked then we took a break and turned around and hiked back, but I didn't want to stop there and Mommy let me hike a trail we'd never done before. It ended up being a BIG loop that connected with the trail we had been on. By the time we got back to the car we had hiked a total of 13 1/2 miles. Mommy noticed that night that my backpack had rubbed a blister under my arm and she felt bad that she had let me carry the pack for so many miles. We spent most of New Years Day just hanging out around the house recovering!

The weather hasn't been so good for hiking after New Years Eve so Mommy says we are going to start really working on painting. She has made me my paint paw and set up an art space in the basement. We have already started working on new tricks and gone back to work on some of the old ones I never really got. She says it is important that I tire out my brain if I can't tire out my body. I wonder why that is? Do you think it has something to do with the fact that I have been teasing her constantly over the last week or so?

Finally it was my adoption anniversary yesterday. Three whole years with Mommy. Is she a sucker or what?! Mommy gave me a Kong filled with chicken in the morning and then lots of people food and a Jumbone and a real bone at night. I gobbled down the chicken, the people food and the Jumbone and I hid the real bone under the covers of the bed up by Mommy's pillow. Mommy was very surprised when she found it at bed time and she put it in the fridge. She said I can have it back tonight, but it will go back in the fridge if she finds it in her bed again.