Saturday, March 24, 2012

Lights Out for Earth Hour

Johann the Dog issued a challenge to all us clever dogs out there that if 100 of us learned to turn off the lights in time for Earth Hour 1000 dogs would get fed. Well, that is the kind of challenge Mommy and I like. I love learning circus tricks, but I haven't learned anything new since my toe was amputated. Mommy thought this sounded like something I could do even with my hind end being all wonky and my left paw being minus one toe. We knew I couldn't do a wall switch since I can't stand on my hind legs anymore and all the pull cord lights are in the basement, and I can't safely do the basement stairs anymore so Mommy decided I should learn to turn off the bedroom light which has a button timer on a long cord so she could put it on the ground.

We started off with Mommy standing over the timer and asking me to touch it. If I hit anywhere on the timer I got cookies! Then she got picky and told me no cookies unless I hit the button in the middle of the timer and the light turned off or on. That took more practice, but eventually I got it. Then we had to work on sending me out to touch the timer so Mommy didn't have to be right by it. We got that down and Mommy thought it was time to set up the camera. Well, when Mommy set the camera up I decided Mommy was changing the target and so I very enthusiastically touched the camera and sent it flying. You should have seen Mommy's amazing camera saving dive! I wish we had recorded that, but Mommy hadn't hit the record button before I whacked the camera. After Mommy explained to me that the camera WAS NOT the target and she wanted me to do the light trick again things went smoothly.

I have to apologize for the crazy whooping being done by Mommy. See, Mommy tried to learn how to use a clicker back when I was three years old, but she is such a klutz she couldn't get the timing down right so she went back to her "voice clicker" method which means when I am learning a trick and I do something right she say, "YES!" or "GOOD!" which works really well when I'm doing steps of a trick, but the first time I do a multi-part trick completely right on command Mommy switches to "street party" mode which means that she whoops and dances and calls me Pants Dog (which is short for Smarty Pants Dog). This makes me so happy and excited I will often repeat the trick over and over again without being asked just to see Mommy act the fool again. Anyway, be happy I edited the above clip to just the beginning of the street party.

After the first success Mommy thought she should try recording me again just in case the first one wasn't good enough so I tried a second time, but this time I didn't hit the timer quite right so the light didn't go out. I solved that problem though.

Mommy was surprised I chose to bump the light off because I'm not a big fan of bump, but it seemed like the logical thing to do. I hope all you smart dogs out there will go and pledge to learn to turn off the lights so that those 1000 dogs can get food.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

My Monthly Diary for February, 2012

Let's see, what happened this month...

I have to say this was a much better February than we usually have because the weather wasn't constantly grey and nasty and so Mommy wasn't constantly grumpy and refusing to do things with me. In fact we went for a hike one day because the weather was so nice. We went to a lake I like a lot, but what we didn't know was that half of the trail was closed because they were doing some construction by the boat launch, so we wound up taking half a hike. We'd gotten a late start so it would have been a push to get the whole hike in in the time we had, but Mommy said she'd have taken us somewhere else if we had known there was construction.

I had some tummy troubles this month, probably because it is dead thing season. I love finding all the dead things that have been frozen at the side of the road all winter. They are extra yummy when they are totally flat and mostly unrecognizable. I grab them and Mommy yells, "SPIT! SPIT!" and I try to swallow as much of them as I can before Mommy gets to me and grabs my collar which means I have to spit it out or she will open my mouth and pull it out. It sure is yummy, but then I end up with tummy troubles and the farts and stuff. So this month I pooped in the house twice. Mommy, knowing tummy troubles come during dead thing season so she put the puppy papers down again and she did such a nice job of it that the first time I pooped in the house I pooped RIGHT NEXT TO the papers so that I wouldn't muss them up. Mommy didn't seem to appreciate it though. The second time I pooped in the house I worked really hard to squeeze myself under the upright piano next to the piano bench and poop on the ONLY carpet in the entire house. It is a small, light colored oriental-style carpet and I not only got the carpet I got its fringe too. That took great skill, but again, Mommy did not appreciate it. She didn't speak to me that whole night and now she has put stuff next to the bench so I can't fit under the piano anymore.

Mommy got sick herself this month and spent a couple days in bed. It is always nice to have her stay home and sleep with me, but when she is done being sick I always demand that we make up for our missed walks. So, a couple days after she was well I took her on a 7.5 mile morning walk. Mommy was a little grumpy about that because she thought we should take a hike that afternoon, and we can't do that if I take a long morning walk, but it ended up that I was the smart one because by afternoon the temperatures had rapidly dropped and it was hailing. Always listen to the dog.

The following Sunday morning the temperatures were in the high 40s so I took Mommy for the 8 mile morning walk to the forest preserve and back that I haven't been able to take for months. It took us 4 1/2 hours and I needed some sit-downs during the last two miles, but it was great fun. It was the day of the Great Backyard Bird Count so Mommy counted birds for the last 1 1/2 hours of our hike. She saw lots of good birds to report including a red-tailed hawk, a coopers hawk and 95 geese all hanging out on and around one pond!

We haven't had much snow this winter, but we finally had a decent 8 inch very wet snow this month and I convinced Mommy to play snowball with me. I had a great time playing, but boy was I tired afterwards. I needed a Tramadol that night and I slept through most of two days, requested a short morning walks for three and refused evening walks. For those of you who don't have snow, here is how you play snowball:

Wait for Mommy to make a snowball
Get ready for her to throw it
Catch it!
Tell Mommy to throw another one
Catch it!
Repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat, repeat.
As you can see, the fun of playing snowball is well worth the aches and pains later.

Finally this month Mommy and I were sleeping when we were woken up by what sounded like someone very big clearing his throat in our dining room. Mommy knew nobody was there so she couldn't decide if she had dreamed it or if our boiler (which is right below the dining room) had done something weird. She stayed up and listened for awhile, but the sound didn't repeat. Then the next night we woke up to CLANKCLANKBANGBANGBANGCLANKCLANK! then it went quiet. Mommy went down to check the boiler and its pump but everything seemed fine. Then the next night at 1 am CLANKCLANKBANGBANGBANGCLANKCLANK! quiet again. Mommy turned everything off and took the boiler pump apart, but the part that usually made a CLANKBANGCLANK noise when it breaks wasn't broken, but she put a replacement part in anyway and went back to bed. Then at 4 am CLANKCLANKBANGBANGBANGCLANKCLANKCLANKCLANKBANGBANG
BANGCLANKCLANK! Mommy called the emergency number for the heating guys, but when the guy called back 10 minutes later all was quiet. Then at 6 am CLANKCLANKBANGBANGBANGCLANKCLANKCLANKCLANKBANGBANG
BANGCLANKCLANKCLANKCLANKBANGBANGBANGCLANKCLANK! So mommy called the heater guy and left a message that she needed a morning appointment with a repair guy and he should probably bring a new boiler pump. So, at 10 am we got a visit by the heating guy. Mommy put the baby gate up at the top of the stairs so I wouldn't be tempted to try to go down and help him put a new pump onto our boiler. Mommy says it cost a lot of green stuff, but at least we can sleep through the night again and Mommy kind of half wonders if maybe the pump went CLANKCLANKBANGBANGBANGCLANKCLANK! while she was at work the day I decided to poop under the piano. I'm not telling her if it did, but I will tell you that that noise was enough to scare the poop out of anyone.