Monday, November 30, 2009

Getting Into Trouble

Barry got into trouble bigtime one night last week because he ate a ginormous hole in Mom's purple blanket, and also a smaller hole.  Anyway, Mom's pretty sure it was Barry who ate the holes, although he might have had some help or at least got the idea from me, but I am pleading the 5th Amendment!  Here's a picture of the blanket with the holes in it.

The purple blanket is one that Mom bought at an estate sale last summer, and she liked this blanket quite a bit because it was all kind of shiny and pretty, and it looked like it hadn't even been used.  Plus it only cost, like, a dollar.  So Mom was very happy to have this nice purple blanket on her bed.  Except that the purple blanket was made for a king-sized bed, and our bed is only a full-sized bed, so the blanket was really big, but Mom cut off one end of it, and that made it a better size for our bed.  It turned out to be lucky that Mom cut that piece off of the purple blanket because now she can use the piece to patch the holes that Barry made.

So that's one example of getting into trouble that happened lately.  And here's another one:  when Uncle Joe and Uncle Tom were here visiting, Gabe bit Uncle Tom on the hand.  Before that, he snapped at Aunt LaDene, who was also here at the time.  The reason he snapped at her was because she tried to pet him on his head, which he doesn't like people to do if he doesn't know them very well.

A lot of people don't realize that dogs don't like it if people reach out over their heads because this is a dominant, threatening sort of gesture when one dog does it to another dog.  So that's why dogs don't like it much.  But lots of people think that is the proper way to pet a dog, even when you have only just met the dog.  Also these same people might look at a dog right in the eyes, which is another thing that's scary and threatening to a dog, so it's no wonder people get bit sometimes when they do this.

Anyway, Mom told Aunt LaDene that she shouldn't reach over Gabe's head like that, but it would probably be okay to pet him on the back or side.  Well, Mom was wrong about this, and when Aunt LaDene tried to do it, Gabe snapped at her again, so Aunt LaDene decided maybe she should not pet Gabe at all, which Mom agreed was a good plan.

The problem with Gabe is that he goes right up to people and acts like he's friendly and stuff, so that's why people are always trying to pet him.  I have told Gabe that he would just be smarter to stay away from people he doesn't know, which is what I do, but he doesn't take my advice because (1) he is a boy and (2) I am just his little sister, and he thinks I don't know anything.

So then what happened was that Gabe got on the sofa right next to Uncle Tom, and Aunt LaDene told him not to reach over Gabe's head, so Uncle Tom tried to pet Gabe on his back, and Gabe snapped at him and made Uncle Tom's hand bleed.  Mom put some ointment and a band-aid on it.  Also Mom apologized a whole bunch.  It seems like Mom is always having to apologize for stuff that my brothers do.  Maybe life would be simpler for her and for me if Mom just got rid of all the boy dogs!

Well, then the other thing that we got in trouble for -- and by "we" I mean Gabe and me -- was that Saturday night when Mom was trying to do her email right before bedtime, we were in the bedroom, playing with the red doggy comforter.  We were growling and playing tug with it, and then Gabe started trying to chew on Mom's bedspread, so Mom kept coming in the room and telling us not to chew stuff up because she did not want another big hole in something like Barry made in the purple blanket.  Mom took a photo of us, but we weren't exactly doing anything bad at that moment.  My mohawk was up, although I don't know if you can see that in the photo.  That's why I was turning around to look at my back.  Or maybe I was looking at my butt.  I can't remember which.  Anyway, after Mom took the picture, we mostly settled down, and no bedding was harmed, which made Mom happy.

So that's all the trouble that we managed to get into during the last few days.  Mel didn't get in any trouble at all, but I think he was just being a show-off about what a good dog he is.  I've told Mel that life isn't any fun if you don't get into trouble occasionally, but he doesn't listen to me, probably for the same reasons that Gabe doesn't!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Dog Quotes

Mom says that on some days she just can't take time to help me with my blog because there is Other Stuff to Do.  I think this is very sad and unfair, but sometimes I just can't win an argument with Mom because she is bigger and stronger than me.  But she said that on days when I don't have a "real" blog entry, I could maybe post a nice quote or two about dogs, so I guess that's what I will do.  I just hope that tomorrow I can write a real blog entry again!

Quote #1
Dogs have given us their absolute all.  We are the center of their universe.  We are the focus of their love and faith and trust.  They serve us in return for scraps.  It is without a doubt the best deal man has ever made.  
~Roger Caras

Quote #2
If you are a dog and your owner suggests that you wear a sweater... suggest that he wear a tail.  
~Fran Lebowitz

Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Dog and the Shadow

This is another fable by our old friend, Mr. Aesop.  It's a story about a dog who found a piece of meat, and he decided to take it home and eat it there, so nobody would bother him while he was eating.  But on his way home, he had to cross a little bridge over a stream.  When he was partway across, he stopped and looked down into the water, and he saw a dog with a piece of meat in his mouth!  And since he was a greedy dog, he decided he could easily get a second piece of meat to eat.  But when he opened his mouth and snapped at the other dog, he dropped his meat, and it fell in the water and got washed away.

This is a sort of sad story because the poor dog, who thought he could have two pieces of meat, ended up with no meat at all.  Here's the official moral for this fable:  
Beware lest you lose the substance by grasping at the shadow.
Mr. Aesop talked kind of funny like that, but I think what he meant was that if you already have a real piece of meat in your mouth, just hang onto that and don't go grabbing at another piece of meat that isn't even real.  Which makes sense, if you think about it.  Except that the dog in the story didn't know that the meat he saw in the reflection wasn't real.  This means that he probably didn't live inside a house with his people, where he would see his reflection in a mirror sometimes, because if he did, he would know about reflections.

So in one way, it wasn't the dog's fault that he thought the meat he saw reflected was real.  But I guess he should have somehow made sure it was real before he tried to get it.  And he should have known that if he opened his mouth, he would drop the meat he already had, which was quite real and probably would have been quite tasty if he had gotten to eat it.

I think maybe a better moral for this story would be this one:
A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush.
Or we could make it more dog-related this way:
A bird in the mouth is worth two that you don't have in your mouth.
Because the mistake the dog in the fable made was that he wasn't content with the meat he already had, and he lost it because he tried to get more meat. 

So the moral is that you should just be content with your "substance," as Mr. Aesop put it, and not be trying to get more "substance" that might not even be real.  And also:  Don't be fooled by reflections!  Sometimes birds get fooled by reflections and that's how they crash into windows and break their necks. Which actually makes it easy for dogs or cats to catch and eat the birds, but it's not anything a dog or cat should do because a broken neck is not a nice thing to have!

Friday, November 27, 2009

What I Did on Thanksgiving

Well, mostly Thanksgiving was a day like lots of other days, which means I did a lot of napping and Important Stuff like that.  It was sunny, which was good.  I like sunniness a lot.  We went Walking with Dogs in the morning, like we usually do, but it was COLD out!  The wind chill was in the 20s.  We saw a man running with his dog, and this man had shorts on and NO SHIRT!  We think he was probably totally crazy!

Mom was going to go to a movie yesterday, but then she decided to stay home because it's nicer staying home with us dogs than it is going to a movie.  Except she didn't say that, exactly.  What she said was she had a lot of things to do here at home.

One of the things she did was clean the house, which she doesn't do very often, as I told you before.  I thought maybe that meant that Hank and Aunt Cheryl were coming to visit again, but Mom said they weren't coming.  Instead, Uncle Joe and Uncle Tom are coming later this morning, and that's why Mom wanted to clean the house.  Maybe you remember that Uncle Joe and Uncle Tom are Mom's professor friends from college, and she stayed with them when she went to Homecoming.

Anyway, they are just coming over to see some paintings that Mom has, and to have a little visit.  They are not staying overnight, like Aunt Cheryl and Hank did.  Barry and Mel will have to go in the bedroom with the door closed while our guests are here so that nobody gets a dog bite.

Mom had to use the noisy vacuum cleaner in order to clean the house, so that made all us dogs kind of nervous.  We had to keep going from one room to another to get away from the noisy vacuum, which made it hard to take a nap.  But before Mom started cleaning, she hung out with us for a while in the Sun Room, which is what she sometimes calls the room where she keeps her plants.  And while we were hanging out, Mom took some pictures of us hanging out.

Then in the evening, we had Supper of Dogs, like usual, and then Mom made a fire in the fireplace, and we watched a movie on TV.  So it was a very nice Thanksgiving Day, especially since Mom stayed home all day, which she is not going to do today because she and Aunt LaDene are going to go out and do some shopping after Uncle Tom and Uncle Joe leave.

Today is called Black Friday because everybody goes shopping, and all the people who are shopping end up with their credit card bills in the red, but the merchants end up selling lots of stuff, so they are in the black.  At least I think that's how it works.  Anyway, black is better than red.  I know that for sure because I am a black-and-white basenji, and I am cuter than any red-and-white basenji!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

What I'm Thankful For

Today is Thanksgiving, so I made a list of stuff I am thankful for.  I like to make lists, as you may have noticed, and then I like to put them in my blog.  So here's my list for Thanksgiving:

1.  I'm thankful that I live in a warm, dry house with soft dog beds and meals of yummy dog food that are served twice a day.

2.  I'm thankful I have a nice mom who feeds us our two meals a day and also scratches my ears and rubs my tummy and lets me keep a blog.

3.  I'm thankful for my brothers, except when they are trying to hump me or when they steal treats from me.

4.  I'm thankful that I don't have Inflammatory Bowel Disease or a bad back, like Gabe has.

5.  I'm thankful I'm a basenji because they're the cutest and best dogs ever!

6.  I'm thankful that Mom made some chili last night with ground turkey and saved some of the turkey for us dogs.  Although of course it would have been better if she had roasted a whole turkey breast.

7.  I'm thankful I have so many nice friends who read my blog and sometimes even say they like it!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Still More Adventures While Walking

Today I am going to tell you about some of the houses we see when we are out walking.  Mostly these are perfectly nice houses, but the problem is that the people who live there decided to fix them up.  Then they started fixing them up, but they never finished.  I think it's fine to work on your house and make it look prettier, but if you're going to do that, you should try to get the job done, like, within a year or so.  If you can't do that, you should maybe think about hiring somebody who can.  At least that's my opinion, and my opinion is nearly always right, as you know by now!

Here is a house that is just a block away from us.  We walk by this house almost every day.  Four or five years ago, the people who live there took out the sidewalk that goes to their front door, but they have NEVER PUT IT BACK!  One time when we walked by there, a woman was out in front, so Mom asked her what they were planning to do with the walk, and she said they were going to put in paving stones.  That was 2 years ago, and the paving stones have never got there yet.

This summer these same people put up a ladder, and then later they put up a second ladder.  The ladders have been there for several months now.  Maybe there is no other place for the people to store their ladders.  Or maybe they want to be ready in case they get a sudden urge to run out and paint their trim, which is what we think they are planning to do someday.

These pictures are of a house that was being worked on when Mom first moved to this neighborhood, and that was 8 years ago.  The roof of this house got replaced, but that took about 3 years.  Now the owners seem to be painting the trim black, but they've been at it for a couple of years so far.  They used to have a scaffold by the side of their house, but now it got moved to the front of the house, where the window frame was replaced.

It's always exciting to see something actually get finished at this house, such as the roof or the new window.  And at least they always have a nice garden to look at when we walk by, which is mostly better than looking at the house.

Here is a house that got its front fixed up recently, and the whole job was done in about two weeks' time.    These people hired somebody to do the work instead of doing it themselves.  What the workers did was they put that rock front on around the doorway and also above the windows.  Also they put on new shutters, a new front door, and that copper roof thing above the entrance.  Oh, and before they did all that, they painted the house.  So now it's all fixed up and it looks pretty nice.

I just have two more things to show you, and one is this house where they have a huge sign that says RON PAUL.  Mom told me that Ron Paul used to be running for President of the United States, but that was maybe two years ago.  He didn't win the election because Barack Obama did.  I guess nobody told these people that the election is over!

And finally, here's some very naughty graffiti.  We don't know who painted it there, but we're glad it's not on our street where we would have to look at it every day!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Turkeys are big, kind of ugly birds that are very important because they are so yummy to eat.  Lots of people eat turkeys for Thanksgiving.  The fancy, scientific name for turkeys is Meleagris gallopavo, but it's easier just to call them turkeys.

Basically, there are two kinds of turkeys.  One kind is wild and lives in the woods.  The other kind lives on farms.  The farm turkeys are often white, but the wild turkeys are mostly black and brown.  I don't know why the farm turkeys are white, but I do know that if wild turkeys were white, they would probably all be seen and eaten by their predators!

Girl turkeys are called "hens," and boy turkeys are called "toms" or "gobblers."  The boy turkeys make gobbling sounds to attract the girls.  Also they spread their tail feathers really wide, because they think this makes them look more handsome and sexy.  The boys have this thing called a "wattle" that hangs down on their neck, and they also have something called a "snood," which is a fleshy sort of thing that is attached to the top of their beak.

Some show dogs wear snoods to keep their ears clean until they go into the show ring, but this is a different kind of snood, and much prettier, in my opinion.

When the Europeans came to America, they found that turkeys were already living here.  That is one of the reasons that Thanksgiving was invented, so that there would be a special day for eating turkeys.  Benjamin Franklin thought that turkeys were such fine, smart birds that they should be the symbol of America.  Other people thought the eagle would make a better symbol, and they outvoted Mr. Franklin.  So we ended up with a national symbol that is more regal-looking, but not nearly as good to eat.

The way the turkey got its name was that when the first settlers came to America, they thought turkeys were a type of guinea fowl, which are also called "Turkey fowl" because they were imported from the country of Turkey.  This was a case of mistaken identity, and it was never really corrected, so that's why we call turkeys turkeys.

Wild turkeys can weigh anywhere between 8 pounds and 24 pounds.  This means that some of them are even bigger than me!  They can fly pretty fast, but mostly they like to walk around on the ground, looking for good stuff to eat, such as acorns, nuts, seeds, leaves, and insects.  At night, they roost in trees.

In the spring, the boy turkeys gobble and strut and show off their wattles and tail feathers to impress the girl turkeys.  After the boys and girls hook up, the girl turkey scratches out a nest on the ground and lays a bunch of eggs, like maybe between 8 and 15.  Then she sits on the eggs for about a month until they hatch.  The boy turkey doesn't help her at all, so it's like she's a single mother and has to do all the work by herself.

The babies are called poults, and they can already walk and feed themselves within 24 hours after they hatch.  But the mom turkey still has to protect the babies from predators, such as raccoons, opossums, skunks, foxes, bobcats, snakes, eagles, and owls -- all of whom think turkey eggs or baby turkeys would make a tasty meal.  And I have to agree with them on this!

Farm turkeys don't have a very nice life because they don't get to roam around in the woods.  In fact, they often have to live all jammed together in a building.  Also they are bred to be fat and have large breasts, so sometimes they can't even walk very well.  This is a sad situation, and people who worry about animal rights become vegetarians because of things like this.  Mom feels a little guilty about eating meat, but she does it anyway.  I don't really feel guilty at all, personally.  Food is food, to my way of thinking, so I just eat it without asking where it comes from!

Thursday will be Thanksgiving Day, which is when we should be eating turkey, but Mom has decided not to cook one for us.  I can't believe she would make a terrible decision like this!  Usually she cooks a turkey breast for Thanksgiving, and she gives us dogs some of the turkey.  Mom said it was too much trouble to do it right now, but she promised to cook us a turkey breast for Christmas.  So I guess we will have to wait until then, but it seems like a long, long time to have to wait!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Doggy Phrases

You can tell how important dogs are to humans by the fact that there are lots of phrases using the word dog.  Today I am going to talk about two of these phrases.

The first one is dog-eat-dog.  Sometimes people will say, "It's a dog-eat-dog world."  And what they mean is that everybody is very aggressive towards everybody else, and they will do whatever they have to in order to succeed, like eat anybody who gets in their way.

I don't like this phrase much because it makes dogs sound like they are always killing and eating each other, which is not true.  Sometimes one dog will kill another dog, but I have never heard of a dog eating another dog.  I guess if a dog was really starving, he would eat a dog, but I don't think this happens very often.  What I have heard of is when a coyote kills a small dog and eats it, but this is not what you would call "dog-eat-dog."  It's more like "coyote-eat-dog."

Anyway, a phrase that I like much better is putting on the dog.  This means getting all dressed up and fancy and looking snazzy.  It's the same as putting on the ritz.   This phrase got started a long, long time ago, back in the 1860s, as college slang.  You could also say that something was doggy, and that meant it was attractive and flashy and expensive.

These phrases might have got started because it was very popular back in those days for rich ladies to have little dogs that they "put on" their laps.  So the fact that they could sit around with dogs on their laps showed that they could afford to lead a life of leisure.  Working people did not have time to just sit around, so they didn't have lap dogs.  They had working dogs that helped herd the sheep and did things like that.

I like the phrase putting on the dog because it is a much nicer way to think of dogs than in the phrase dog-eat-dog.  Mom said maybe I should start an Anti-Defamation League for dogs, and the purpose of this group would be to ask people not to use phrases like dog-eat-dog that show dogs in a bad light.  Then if people insisted on using these phrases anyway, we could bite them on the ankle!  I think that would work, don't you?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Satellite Adoption

Yesterday Mom went to what's called a Satellite Adoption.  This is something the Humane Society does a couple of Saturdays each month.  A Satellite Adoption is not what it sounds like, because no satellites are actually adopted or even there.  It's really all about dogs.  And sometimes there are cats, too.

Mom took her camera with her yesterday, which she doesn't usually do, and she got a few nice pictures that I am going to share with you.  Mom made the not-so-nice pictures go away, so you won't get to see those!

The dog Mom was holding was Alvin.  He is a beagle mix who is about 3 years old.  Alvin probably has some hound or basset in his background, too.  He is a very nice dog, and he likes to play with the other dogs.  He gets a little "it's mine!" about toys, but he does like to play tug.  Alvin found a rawhide chewy stick on the floor at Petco, so Mom took him outside to eat the chewy where he wouldn't be bothered by other dogs who might also want the chewy.

Here's a dog named Dustin.  He is a lab mix, but he is skinnier and has longer legs than a lab usually does.  Dustin is 2-1/2, and he has been at the shelter ever since he was a puppy.  He is very smart and easy to train, but he is kind of hyper, so he needs lots of exercise.

This is Scooby.  He's a chocolate lab who's a year old.  He is much calmer than Dustin.  Scooby thinks he is a lap dog, so whoever adopts him will need to have a very large lap!

At the Satellite Adoption, the dogs all wear bright orange vests that say ADOPT ME on them.  This is how you know that these dogs need homes and are not just visiting Petco with their moms and dads.

But anyway, back to the dogs.  Here's Francis.  I think I told you about him once before.  He used to have mange really bad, and he was mostly bald.  But now his hair grew back in because he got cured of the mange.  Francis is about a year and a half old.

This next dog is just a puppy.  His name is Demmy, and he's only 4 months old.  He also had mange, but he's got most of his hair back now.  Dogs look funny without hair, so it's not good when they get mange.  Of course, some dogs are actually meant not to have hair, like the Mexican Hairless breed, but most dogs are supposed to have hair.

Here's a photo of A.J.  He's about a year old, and he's maybe something like a hound and German Shepherd mix.  At least that's what they are saying at the shelter.  Mom thinks he might be a beagle/lab mix.  Anyway, A.J. is a cute dog, and he's very friendly and playful.  He's a good size, too, like 50 pounds or so.  A.J. likes to chew up tennis balls, which is what he was busy doing when Mom took this picture.

This last dog is also a puppy.  Her name is Peaches, and she's 6 months old.  The shelter says she is a lab mix, but I think she looks like she is part golden retriever.  Anyway, she's very pretty and sweet. Here's a photo of her checking out a bag of goodies that one of the volunteers bought.

And this picture is of Peaches taking a little nap after she got all worn out.

Personally, I wish Mom would just stay home with us dogs all day instead of going to the Satellite Adoption, but I guess it's nice of her to want to help the poor, homeless dogs get adopted.  Yesterday nobody filled out an application for any of the dogs, but two or three people wanted to adopt kittens.

I forgot to mention that there were 5 kittens at the Satellite Adoption, too.  All of them were from the same litter and had names that start with the letter "S."  I don't understand why anybody would want to adopt a kitten when they could have a really nice dog instead, but people are just weird like that sometimes.

Well, if you want to know more about any of these wonderful dogs I told you about today, you can just go to the Humane Society website.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Mom Is NUTS!

Mom spent almost all day out running around yesterday, shopping and doing silly stuff like that.  All she wants to do lately is go to thrift stores.  This might be okay if she bought some nice blankies or something for us dogs, but mostly she just buys stuff for herself. 

Anyway, yesterday she went to two thrift stores and to Borders and to Michael's and to the hardware store and to the drug store and to the grocery store.  And then when she got home, she insisted on doing laundry and raking leaves instead of helping me write my blog entry. After which, she just watched TV all evening.  I can't believe she has her priorities so wrong!

I guess maybe I haven't mentioned that Mom does help me just a little bit with my blog.  Mainly she is my Chief Research Assistant, but she also helps me do tricky stuff on the computer, like uploading photos sometimes.  And she won't let me use the computer when she is not home; otherwise, we wouldn't have this problem!  She even keeps the door to her office closed when she is away because she does not want any dogs tearing up the dog beds.  This is very frustrating, as far as I'm concerned.

But the point is that I haven't had time to do any research or write anything, so this is not going to be much of a blog entry.  

What I can tell you, though, is that Gabe is feeling much better now, and he eats all his meals just fine.  So that makes us very happy.

Also I will tell you that Mom and I just finished reading a book about Dog Paintings that were painted between 1840 and 1940.  Well, okay, mostly we just looked at the pictures, but that's what you're supposed to do with a book about art, right?

Here are a couple of paintings that were in the book.  They are both by English painters.  This first one is by George Earl, and it's a bulldog -- in case you couldn't tell by looking!  Mr. Earl had a daughter named Maud, and she also painted lots of dogs.  We were looking for a painting by Maud Earl to show you, but we couldn't find one on Wikimedia Commons, and like I said, we didn't have time to look elsewhere.

Here's another painting, and it was done by a man named Philip Reinagle, who also did a whole bunch of dog paintings.  I don't know why all these guys liked to paint bulldogs, but they did.  There were a bunch of other types of dogs in the book, though.  But there were no basenjis.  This is probably because all the basenjis were still in Africa at the time.

Okay, that's all I have time to write.  Bye!

Friday, November 20, 2009


The fancy name for eating poop is coprophagia, but maybe you already knew that.  Anyway, this subject is one that is very near and dear to my stomach, so I was honored to be asked to write about it in Piper's blog.  

You might say that coprophagia is a favorite pastime of mine.  You might say this because I spend quite a bit of time doing it.  I'm not sure when I first became a poop gourmet, but it might have been when I was living in the shelter.  I was very thin when I lived at the shelter because I was afraid to eat the food.  The reason for this was that I had to share my run and my food with two other dogs, and sometimes they did not want to let me eat.  I think I told you this before, so I apologize for repeating myself.  Anyway, I found that I could eat the other dogs' poop, and they did not challenge me when I did that.

After Mom adopted me, I kept pursuing my coprophagia hobby.  In fact, I taught Barry by example that it was a great thing to do, so now we have a shared love of poop.  The main difference is that Barry sometimes brings his yummies in the house to eat them, which really annoys Mom, especially when she steps in them.  I at least have the good manners to keep the poop outside while I eat it, but then Mom gets annoyed if I don't want to come in because I am too busy eating an especially tasty tidbit.

There are a lot of different theories about why dogs do coprophagia.  One theory is that it's something they learn as puppies because a mother dog licks her pups in order to get them to pee and poop.  Then the mother dog eats what the pups produce.  The reason she eats it is to keep the nest clean, and also to prevent predators from smelling the puppies.  So puppies usually do a little sampling of poop when they are young, but when they grow up, most of them only eat regular dog food.

Another theory about coprophagia is that dogs who do it have some kind of intestinal illness or a deficiency in their diet.  But this is an older idea that is not so popular now.  Here are some other possible reasons for poop-eating:  boredom, anxiety, seeking attention from the owner, or scavenger behavior.  Some dogs prefer other types of poop instead of dog poop, such as cat poop or horse poop.  

There are also different theories about how you can get your dog to stop eating poop.  I'm only sharing these with you because they mostly don't work.  They  include things like putting meat tenderizer or pumpkin in the dog's food to make the poop taste icky, or putting chili powder on the poop before the dog tries to eat it.  But the only thing that really seems to work is if you always pick up a dog's poop as soon as it is deposited.  

Mom has decided there is basically no way to keep Barry and me from eating poop, so she doesn't even try very hard.  She just hopes we will not get worms and other bad stuff.  Sometimes she keeps the yard picked up pretty well, but if there is no poop to eat, we just eat sticks or dirt or other interesting stuff like that.  Mom thinks we are crazy, but of course we are not crazy at all.  We are just doing what dogs do.

Gabe and Piper only eat cat poop, so they are what you might call picky eaters.  Barry and I will eat almost anything.  We are very open-minded about our food choices.  One of the best times to eat poop is in the winter, when it is frozen and crunchy.  A frozen turd is called a "poopsicle," and it is a very special wintertime treat.  Nice, fresh, warm turds are good, too, though.  Sometimes I'm not sure which kind I like better because they are all so wonderful and delicious!

Well, Mom says I have probably said enough about this topic since not everyone will find it as fascinating and palatable as I do.  I hope I have not offended any of Piper's readers by discussing coprophagia in such a frank and enthusiastic way.  I just can't help the fact that this subject is one I relish so deeply! 

Thursday, November 19, 2009


Today I am going to tell you about a plant that is POISONOUS to all mammals, including cows, horses, dogs, and humans.  It is called pokeweed, and it grows in lots of places all around the world, including in people's back yards.  The fancy, scientific name for pokeweed is Phytolacca.  But people who aren't scientists have a whole bunch of other names for it, such as poke, pokebush, pokeberry, pokeroot, polk salad, polk sallet, inkberry, or ombú.  That last name is what they call pokeweed in Argentina, where it grows really big, like a tree.

But even here in America, pokeweed can get very, very tall, like 10 feet or even more, which is taller than most basketball players.  Pokeweed has flowers that are sort of white, and after it blooms, it has purple berries.  Birds like to eat the berries, and they don't get sick because the berries are not poisonous to birds.  After the birds eat the berries, they fly off somewhere and poop out the seeds, and that's how you might end up with pokeweed growing in your yard.

Some people eat pokeweed, even though it is POISONOUS.  A lot of these people live in the south part of the country.  They pick the pokeweed in the spring, when it is very young, and then they boil it three times.  This is supposed to make the pokeweed not be poisonous anymore, but some doctors think that it is still bad for you to eat it.  Some people have even died after eating pokeweed, so I recommend that you find something else to eat, like maybe spinach.

Pokeweed can be used to help cure people if they are sick.  You can use it on the outside of your body, like for acne or for a rash.  Or you can use it inside your body for things like tonsilitis or arthritis.  But if you don't know what you are doing, you should not use pokeweed as a medicine because, like I said before, it is POISONOUS!

You may be wondering where pokeweed got its name.  I thought maybe it had something to do with poking something or somebody, but I was wrong.  It turns out that the name comes from the word poughkone, which was what the Algonquians called the plant.  Lots of American Indian tribes used pokeweed as a medicine, and they also made red ink out of it, which they used to decorate their horses.  

White people made ink out of pokeberry juice, too, which is why they sometimes called the plant inkberry.  Did you know that the Declaration of Independence was written with fermented pokeberry juice?  I learned this interesting fact while I was doing my in-depth research on Wikipedia.  Also I found out that a lot of soldiers during the Civil War used pokeberry ink to write letters home.

So anyway, I guess that's about all I have to say about pokeweed, except I will mention that there was a song written about it called "Poke Salad Annie."  The man who wrote this song was named Tony Joe White.  And Elvis Presley also sang this song.  It's about a woman who was meaner than an alligator, and every day she picked pokeweed and ate it.  Or something like that.

But my main advice about pokeweed is DON'T EAT IT!  But if you want to make ink out of it, that's okay.  

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

RAIN and SNOW and COLD, Oh My!

It's been raining for three days now, and I'm here to tell you that I'm tired of it!  No dog should have to live in these miserable conditions!  And guess what!  We had SNOW Monday night.  When we went to bed, there wasn't any snow, but when we woke up yesterday morning, there it was!  Mom said it didn't count as "real" snow because there wasn't very much of it and it all melted by noon, but it still had that cold, wet quality like real snow has.  Here's a photo of our front yard with snow in it.

And here's a picture of geraniums blooming in the snow, which never happens, really, because geraniums are usually all dead by now.

We didn't go out Walking With Dogs for two days because of the rain, but yesterday it stopped raining and snowing, so Mom put jackets on Gabe and me and took us out.  But I didn't want to walk because it was cold and wet and I don't like wearing a jacket.  Besides, I had already pooped, so there was absolutely no reason why I should be forced to go for a walk.  And to make sure Mom got my point, I just stopped in the middle of the street and refused to go any further.  Mom kept trying to coax and drag me along, but I DID NOT WANT TO GO!  So she gave up and took me back to the house.

Then she walked Gabe all by himself, which he said he liked.  That dog is totally crazy, if you want my opinion!  But anyway, Mom knew Gabe needed to walk because he was full of poop, and sure enough, he pooped three times while they were out walking, which made Mom happy.

Then Mom took Mel and Barry out for a walk, and they had a Good Adventure because they found a DEAD SQUIRREL just lying in somebody's yard.  But Mom wouldn't let them eat it, even though it was sort of fresh and its insides were probably still quite yummy.  Mom sure does know how to spoil a dog's fun!

Here's a picture of Gabe and me looking out the back window.  We couldn't believe that Mom was out in the yard, taking pictures.

Believe me, the only sensible thing to do on a day like this is curl up and sleep, which is what we did most of the day.

Mom is worried about Gabe because he doesn't want to eat again.  This is one reason why I am convinced he is crazy!  Either that or he is really smart, and he pretends not to be hungry so that Mom will make some really tasty scrambled eggs for him, which she did last night for his supper.  Also Gabe's back is hurting, so he has trouble going up the stairs.  Mom says she is just glad that the rest of us dogs are okay.  Well, except that Mel needs to have his teeth cleaned, but Mom is waiting until next month to do that because she already spent so much money on fixing the car.

Today it's still cloudy and yucky-looking outside, but at least there's no snow and it's not raining either.  Tomorrow the weatherman says the sun will come out, but who knows if we can believe him.  I think I will just take another nap and wait to see what happens.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Some Very Nice Kitties to Adopt

Mom went to the Humane Society today, like she usually does on Mondays.  She played with some dogs, and she also went in the cat room for a while.  She told me she was doing research on the cats so that I could write about them in my blog.  And since she went to all the trouble to do that, I guess I will now have to write about them.  Not that there is anything wrong with cats, of course.  They can't help it that they aren't dogs, and some people even like cats better than they like dogs, although I don't understand why!

Oh, but first, do you remember Michelle, the older black-and-white kitty that I told you about before?  Well, Mom found out today that Michelle is getting adopted this week!  I wish I could say that one of my faithful blog readers was adopting her, but that's not really what happened.  It turns out that a lady who adopted a cat from the Humane Society about 3 years ago has been thinking about adopting Michelle ever since then, and she finally decided to do it!

Anyway, even though it's too late for you to adopt Michelle, there are plenty of other cats that need homes.  So the first cat I will tell you about is named Al.  He is a grey tabby with some pretty white markings, and he is a year and a half old.  Al has one foot that looks really weird because it is mostly bare skin without any fur.  It's his left hind foot.  We don't know exactly what happened to Al's foot, but maybe it got caught in a trap or in a dog's mouth or something.  Anyway, he had to have some new pieces of skin put on there to fix it, but now it is fine.  Well, except for looking funny.  But that doesn't really matter because Al is a very friendly, playful kitty, and he gets along with the other cats, which is always a good thing!

The next cat is Pella, and she is only 6 months old.  She is what is called a tortoiseshell, although I'm not sure what tortoises have to do with cats that are marked like that.  Mom told me that calicos and torties are always females.  This has something to do with their genes, but I'm not sure how it works.  The way that Pella got to the shelter is that somebody found her at an apartment building, and she had been shot by a pellet gun.  She's all healed up now, and she'd really like to have a nice family to live with.

And speaking of tortoiseshells, here's another one, and guess what her name is -- it's Piper!  I think this is an excellent name for a very pretty kitty.  Piper is a year and a half old.  She's playful and friendly, and she gets along fine with other cats.

Here's a kitty named Edith.  She's 6 years old, and she's been declawed on her front feet.  Edith is very sweet and friendly, and she really likes attention.  Edith came from Kansas City, KS Animal Control, which is where most of the cats and dogs at the Humane Society come from now.  This is because there is a special program called Ray of Hope that is helping the Animal Control shelter not have to kill as many animals as they used to.  The program has been going for about a year now, and it's working really well.

This next cat is named Kramer.  He is a Siamese mix, so that's why he has blue eyes and looks kind of cross-eyed.  Kramer is 2 years old, and he's a very friendly, big cat.  Mom wishes she could adopt him herself because he is so nice, and also she really likes the way he looks.

This last cat is Keiren, who's mostly all black except for a little tiny bit of white on his chest.  Keiren is a year and a half old.  He is very, very friendly, and he loves to sit on your lap.  There's nothing unlucky about Keiren, even though black cats are supposed to be unlucky.  In fact, Keiren had good luck when somebody left him in a box outside the Humane Society.  It was lucky that he got to live at the shelter instead of being dumped on the street someplace.  But of course, it would be even luckier for him if he could find a forever home!

Okay, one last thing.  Remember the pitbull named Fletch that I told you about?  The one that was used as a bait dog?  Well, Fletch is in a contest sponsored by the ASPCA.  If he gets enough votes, he can be one of the three winners of the contest.  Anybody can vote.  You just need to go here:   

You have until November 29 to vote, but don't put it off because you might forget to do it!  Fletch said to tell you "Thanks!"