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.