Sunday, August 30, 2009

Hi, Everybody! I'm Gabe!


Well, since my sister is somewhat indisposed due to her surgery, I get to write her blog entry today. So I've been thinking about what to say that you would find interesting. Finally, I decided that telling you more about ME would be the best thing to do!

Piper already told you that my sire and dam were champion basenjis, but there is really a lot more information she could have provided on this subject. My sire was named Zindika's Johnny Come Greatly, but everyone just called him Johnny. He was a very famous basenji who won many dog shows. I don't mean that he just won Best of Breed, but he also won Best in Show more than 70 times! He was also a Field Champion, which means he was good at lure coursing. He was brindle and very handsome, like me. Unfortunately, he got cancer and died a few years ago.

My dam was named Dulcie, and she was also a champion, but she did not win as much stuff as Johnny did. I was born in Oklahoma City, at my Granny Ruthie's house. I call her my Granny Ruthie because she owned my dam, Dulcie. Sometimes Mom takes Piper and me to Oklahoma to visit Granny Ruthie. When I see her, I do a little dance to show that I remember her and that I am excited to see her.

I was 3 years old when I came to Kansas City to live with Mom. She only had one other dog then, a basenji named Trixie. Trixie and I were good buddies until she died a few years ago. By then, Mel and Barry were living with us. I was the Alpha Dog until Barry came. He and I had some discussions about the pack order -- well, a couple of times we sort of got into a fight about it -- but we worked it out. Now Barry is Alpha and I am Beta, and we respect each other, and we get along fine.

Here's something else about me that's interesting: I have a bunch of allergies. Mom took me to see a dermatologist, and he wanted to test me for allergies, but Mom didn't want him to because she didn't think I would let her give me allergy shots, like she was already giving to Barry. So what we did instead was a food test called an "elimination diet" to figure out what foods I was allergic to and also what foods Barry was allergic to.

So here's what it turned out that I'm allergic to: wheat, corn, beef, lamb, chicken, and probably turkey. Barry is allergic to wheat, soy, beef, and chicken. Mom makes us eat special food that doesn't have any grains in it. Usually it's pretty yummy. Right now we are eating a kibble called Pinnacle Trout and Sweet Potato. We've been eating that flavor of food for a long time, like maybe a year. Mom is probably going to change our food pretty soon. She got us a sample of Orijen fish flavored something, and we really like it, so we might switch to that.

Okay, here's what else is interesting about me. I have IBD, which stands for Inflammatory Bowel Disease. The way we found out I have it is that sometimes I used to not want to eat breakfast because my tummy felt bad. Mom would put Parmesan cheese on my food, and then sometimes I would eat it. Then Dr. Patricia did surgery on me to look at all my insides. She found out that my intestines did not look right, and she sent little samples of them to the laboratory. The diagnosis was that I had IBD. So after that I had to take a whole bunch of pills and also get a shot of vitamin B12 once a week, which Mom has to give me. She puts a muzzle on me when she gives me the shot, but sometimes I still try to bite her.

Now that I am getting treatment for my IBD, I feel lots better. I feel like a young basenji again, and I get in trouble sometimes, just like I did when I was a pup. Here are a couple of examples of my recent handiwork -- er, toothwork:



Most of the time, I just like to sleep, though. I'm good at sleeping! And I like to think I'm pretty good at writing a blog, too!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

The Greek Alphabet

Every household where there are two dogs or more has to use the Greek alphabet to explain the pack order. I don't know why it is the Greek alphabet that gets used. There are other alphabets, like for instance the Hebrew alphabet. Also there is a Sanskrit alphabet that has really interesting squiggly letters in it. But we don't use those alphabets. We only use the Greek alphabet because that is what the canine law of Pack Order says to use.


In our house, here's the way the Greek alphabet goes:
Alpha Dog -- Barry
Beta Dog -- Gabe
Gamma Dog -- Piper (that's me!)
Omega Dog -- Mel

It's a good thing we only have to use four letters of the Greek alphabet because Mom can't remember the order of the other letters after gamma, even though she once had to memorize the Greek alphabet when she pledged a sorority in college.

Now I will tell you a little bit about my brothers. I am just doing this because Mom said it's rude to only talk about yourself all the time. So I chose my brothers to talk about. By the way, they all thought it was a really dumb idea to write a blog, but now that I am writing one and have lots of special followers, they have decided maybe it wasn't such a dumb idea after all. Ha! I showed them!

Well, anyway, I will start with Barry because he is the Alpha Dog. Mom says Barry looks like a "sawed-off German Shepherd." He is only a year older than me. I am 6 and he is 7. The way he came to our house is that Mom fostered him for the Humane Society and then she "foster failed." This means she ended up adopting him.


The way Barry got to the Humane Society was that when he was a little tiny puppy, someone brought in a box that had him and his two littermates in it and and left it on the counter. When the puppies got big enough to adopt, the other two got adopted, but Barry didn't. Then finally Mom adopted him. Barry has what is called "fear aggression," so he tries to bite people sometimes. Barry likes dogs, but he doesn't like people so much because people are scary, which is a view I agree with. But Barry really, really, really loves Mom. He follows her around the house all the time, and he lets her do anything to him, even give him a bath!



Gabe is my favorite brother because he is a basenji, like me. Gabe is an example of a red-and-white basenji. This is the most common color of basenji,



You might think that Mel would be the Delta Dog, not the Omega Dog, but he's not. This is
because Mel is so submissive that even if we had dogs to go with all the other letters of the Greek alphabet, Mel would still be the omega dog. Mel is 9 years old, so he is the second oldest dog. Mom found him on Petfinder and then drove halfway across Missouri to adopt him from a shelter. Mom wanted to adopt a whippet or whippet mix. Mel is supposed to be a whippet mix, but he doesn't really look too whippety, except if you look at his head in profile, it's sort of like a whippet's.

Well, now that I wrote about my brothers, I can go back to writing about myself! It's almost time for Supper of Dogs, though, so I have to hurry. My surgery is tomorrow, but I'm not too nervous about it. Mom once had a skin cancer thingy that was way bigger than mine, and the doctor cut it off of her and it never came back. So we hope the same thing will happen with my skin cancer. I just hate the idea of not getting any breakfast tomorrow. What fun is that?




Saving the Poor, Homeless Dogs and Cats

Last night Mom went away and left us dogs all alone for several hours. We hate it when she does this, but we cannot control her behavior as well as we would like to. So we were forced to spend most of the evening sleeping, which is what we would have done anyway. It's just nicer to do it if Mom is there is guard the house while we sleep.

The reason Mom went away was so she could go to this thing called "Art Unleashed." What it was was a way to make money for the Humane Society of Greater Kansas City. The Humane Society needs lots of money because it is expensive to save homeless animals. Since I was homeless once myself, I know it is important to save the animals, but sometimes I wish Mom would stay home and play with us more!

Well anyway, at Art Unleashed, people donate artwork and then other people bid money, and whoever bids the most gets to buy it. Mom bought some artwork at Art Unleashed, but she could not buy a whole bunch of it because she had to save some money to pay for my surgery. Here is what Mom bought:

As you can see, it is a photo of a cute black-and-white dog. Mom said it reminded her of me. She also bid on a photo of a dog that looked like my brother Barry, but she did not get that one. Mom found out that the dog in the photo is part Boston terrier and part blue heeler. It is too bad the dog is not a basenji, but it is still a cute dog.



Mom spends a lot of time helping the homeless dogs at the Humane Society. She goes there on Mondays and Wednesdays to socialize them. This is just a fancy way of saying that she plays with them! Mom is also on the board of the Humane Society. This means she sometimes has to go to meetings. Since she is the secretary, she has to stay awake during the meetings and take notes about whatever is happening. Then she has to write up a report sort of thingy and send it to the other board members so that anybody who fell asleep during the meeting will know what they missed out on.

If you want a nice dog or cat to live in your house with you, you should go to the Humane Society and adopt one. Your new pet will love you forever because you gave it a home. And don't forget to feed your pet every day and take your dog for walks so it can eat cicadas or maybe a piece of pizza, which is what Barry found today when he and Mel went walking with Mom. You don't have to give your dog baths, though, because baths are icky. I know this because Mom gave me one yesterday. Ick! Ick! Ick! It was so awful that I don't even want to talk about it!

Well, that's all for today. Bye!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Yikes!

The vet's office called Mom about an hour ago while she was trying to take a nap and said I have SKIN CANCER! That little nothing-looking place on my tummy is some kind of melanoma something, so it has to be removed right away! Mom already made me an appointment for Monday, which is only three days away!

I do not like having surgery, so I am not happy about this new development. What I don't like about having surgery is that you don't get any breakfast and then they make you go to sleep and they put tubes in your throat and then they cut on you and stitch you up. So when you wake up, you have a sore throat and a sore place with stitches. And all you really want to do is lick the place and chew on the stitches, but you're not supposed to do that. I am telling you the honest truth about this because I have had surgery before and I am experienced in these matters.

Plus now, on top of everything else, Mom wants to give me my first allergy bath! I can't believe I live such a tortured life! Could somebody please come and save me?

My Visit to the Vet

Here's a list of things I hate:

1. Going to visit the vet
2. Getting a bath
3. Having one of my brothers bite me because he really wants to bite the dog nextdoor
4. Being stepped on by my clumsy mom
5. Pottying outside in the rain
6. Pottying outside anytime for two days after it rains
7. Pottying outside after the grass has been watered
8. Pottying outside in melting snow
9. Going for a walk if it's too cold out
10. Going for a walk if it's too hot out
11. Going for a walk if there are no cicadas to eat
12. Going anyplace where there are lots of scary, noisy people or trucks or buses


Yesterday afternoon right after I wrote my blog entry, and without any warning, Mom slapped a collar and leash on me. Then she put me and my brother Barry in the car and took us to see Dr. Patricia, our veterinarian. Barry had to give the nurses some blood so they could do a heartworm test. I had to get my armpit examined because Mom saw that I had been licking it, even though I tried to only lick it when she wasn't looking. Also I had been licking the inside of my thighs. Dr. Patricia thought maybe I have allergies. I don't want to have allergies because if I do, then maybe I will have to get allergy shots like Barry does. Or maybe I'll have to take pills like Gabe does.

Anyway, now I have to take Benedryl three times a day. I hope it doesn't make me so sleepy that I can't write my blog! Also I have to get two baths a week with special medicated shampoo that Mom said was expensive. I hate baths! I will not even ever go in the bathroom because I'm afraid if I go in there, I will get a bath. I don't even go in the bathroom to unroll the toilet paper, which Gabe does sometimes. Two baths a week! That's clearly torture on a level with waterboarding, and I protest!

Then to make matters worse, Dr. Patricia noticed a little black mole thingy on my tummy, and she got all worried about it, even though it is clearly nothing. So then she had to aspirate it, which is a fancy way of saying she stuck a needle in it and that hurt! So now we have to wait and see if it is anything terrible or nothing at all. In the end, it probably doesn't matter because Dr. Patricia likes to practice her surgical skills on any kind of growth that she finds on any cat or dog. Mom thinks this means that Dr. Patricia is a good vet, but Mom's not the one with the stitches and the stupid cone on her head. (If you saw that movie "Up," you will know that the cone thing is rightly termed "The Cone of Shame.")

Don't get me wrong. I think Dr. Patricia is a nice person, and she is always very gentle with me except when she is sticking needles in me, but sometimes she worries about me too much. And so does my mom. Sheesh. A girl just needs to be able to lick herself in peace without having everybody get all excited about it. And that's all I'm going to say on the subject, at least for right now.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

How I Got Here


In the beginning, all basenjis were in Africa. There were basenjis in Africa before I was born, and they were there even before my mom was born. My mom is 57, which is 399 in dog years, so she is really old. But even she cannot remember a time when there were no basenjis in Africa. So I have many distant basenji cousins in Africa, but I have never met them, and frankly, I don't care too much about them. Because the truth is that I did not come from Africa. I came from Houston.

Houston is a town in Texas. It is in the south, so the weather is hot there. In this way, Houston is sort of like Africa. Sometimes Mom calls me her yellow rose of Texas, but this is stupid because I am not yellow and I do not smell like a rose. I know this because I have, once or twice, stopped to smell the roses. But even though I do not smell like a rose, I will just say that I have a pleasant, musky, sort of girlish smell about me, and that is better than smelling like a rose anyway.

So like I was saying, I was born in Houston. Mom thinks I might have lived in a puppy mill or with a BYB, which stands for Back Yard Breeder. Personally, I think that BYB should mean "Bring Your Basenji," and it should be attached to all party invitations. Ha! Wouldn't that be fun? But the point is that any girl has to keep some things secrets, so I'm not going to divulge much about my early life. Mom thinks that I maybe came from a BYB because I was not well socialized. Of course, she is welcome to think this, if she wants to, but I maintain that my social skills are good enough for all practical purposes.

Anyway, what happened is that my sister and I (and by "sister" I mean my littermate sister, not any make-believe sister) escaped from wherever it was that we were living. I cannot reveal how we escaped because that is classified information. I will just mention in passing that I have been known to climb a fence or two in my day or to wiggle through some tight spaces.

So there we were, my sis and I, running free in the streets of Houston! It was fun for a while, but it was also scary because there were lots of big, noisy trucks and buses. Also it was hard to find stuff to eat. Then some people named Animal Control caught us and put us in cages. After that, a nice lady came and got us. The nice lady rescues basenjis and hounds. She took us to the veterinarian for some special female surgery, and it turned out that my sister and I were both pregnant. After the surgery, we weren't pregnant anymore, and we didn't have to worry about boy dogs hanging around and humping us and then having to nurse puppies and stuff like that.

My sister had heartworms, but I didn't, so she had to get some kind of treatment that's expensive and takes a long time. Also you can't run around and act goofy while you get the treatment because otherwise you might get wormy blood clots and die. After a couple of months, I got adopted by Mom, who lives all the way up north in Missouri. She wanted a cute black-and-white basenji girl like me, so it was a perfect match.

Another nice lady was going from Houston to Kansas City, so she took me in her car and drove all day long, and it rained a lot, and then it got dark, but we finally arrived at a McDonald's where Mom was waiting for me. Also Gabe was in the car, but my other two new brothers stayed home.

When we got to the house, I met the other dogs, and we all snarked at each other some, but then we decided maybe we could be friends. We went out in the yard, and Mom expected me to potty, but it had been raining all day, and there was all this water standing around in the yard, so I didn't want to potty there. The date that all this happened was February 12, 2005. It was a very important day in my life, so that's why I remember it. They said I was two years old then, which might or might not be true. A lady never reveals her age, after all. Anyway, if their guess was right, I am six now, and I will be seven in November.

The next morning after I went to my new home, Mom let all of us dogs out in the back yard to go potty. She went out with us to make sure that I pottied. I started exploring the yard and I found a nice gap by the gate. I started going through the gap because I thought maybe if I went out that way, I could get back to Houston and to where I used to live. Mom thought that gap was too little for a dog to go through, even a basenji, but she was wrong! When I was going through the gap, Mom grabbed me by the tail! Then she grabbed my back legs and pulled them back into the yard. Then I was stuck because she couldn't get me the rest of the way back in. She couldn't open the gate to unstick me because the gate was locked and the key was in the house. And she couldn't let go of me because I would run back to Houston. It seemed like we stayed there most of the day, but I guess it wasn't really that long. Finally, Mom pulled me back through the gap, but it hurt and I was not happy about it. In the end, I forgave her, but at first I thought she was a mean and terrible mom, especially since she blocked the nice gap by the gate.

Now I am used to living in Missouri. It's not such a bad place, if you like heat, humidity, snow, and ice. The best part is that they have very tasty cicadas here!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Cicadas!

There are many really important subjects that I want to write about in my blog, but the most important of all is CICADAS! That's because right now it is cicada season, so I think about cicadas and about eating cicadas all the time. In case you are uninformed about cicadas, I will just tell you that they are delicious, crunchy insects that live in the ground most of the year. Then in the late summer they crawl out of the ground and become available for eating.

When cicadas come out, they leave holes in the ground that you can actually see. Then they crawl up on something like a tree and they take off their skin. If you can find a cicada while it is busy taking off its skin, you can catch it very easily because it can't fly yet. Under the old skin there is a whole new skin that has wings attached. If a cicada doesn't get eaten before its wings are ready to fly, it will fly up high in a tree and then dogs can't reach it, but birds can.

Mom doesn't have any photos of cicadas because we dogs eat them as fast as we find them. We eat them so fast that Mom can't even get her camera turned on. I was going to steal a nice photo of a cicada off of Wikipedia or someplace to put on my blog, but Mom said if I did that, the cyberpolice would come and put me in jail. I don't know if they really put dogs in jail, but I know for a fact that they do put them in boarding kennels, which is basically the same thing. So I found some clip art cicadas for my blog. These are totally free and legal to use, so you don't have to call the cyberpolice on me.

Anyway, here's what a cicada looks like:


Every day Mom takes me and Gabe out to hunt cicadas. She calls it "going for a walk," but we know why we are really out there. I like to look for cicadas in the street because they get run over by cars a lot. The squished ones are quite yummy, but the very best ones of all are the cicadas that I catch when they are just starting to fly away and I grab them out of the air with my teeth and crunch them up while they are still buzzing. This tickles my mouth, and I like that!

There are people in other places in the world that eat cicadas, but in this country people don't usually eat them, which is dumb because cicadas are so tasty. Mom figures it won't hurt us to eat them, and she even helps us find them. She can't find them with her nose, like we do, though, because her sense of smell is very poor compared to a dog's. So she has to find cicadas with her eyes, like a sighthound would. Whenever Mom finds a cicada, she taps her foot by it and says, "Look here!" I have learned that I should run right over and eat the cicada before Gabe gets there. Otherwise, he will eat it first.

One of these days, we will start not finding as many cicadas when we go out hunting. And then, sadly, we won't find any at all. After that, the weather will get cold and the leaves will fall off the trees and make big piles that we can pee in. I have figured out that there is a pattern to this because I am smart and I have seen it happen more than once. It will be hard to wait a whole year for another cicada season, so that's why I have to eat as many of them as possible right now.

I guess that's all I have to say about cicadas. But here's something else I want to talk about. A big, important senator man died, and his name was Ted Kennedy. I never met him, but what I heard on the radio today is that he has a dog named Splash who is a Portuguese Water Dog (not as cute as a basenji, but cute enough). Anyway, Splash has written a whole book about going to the Senate with his dad. So I think if a dog who is not even a basenji can write a book, then I can certainly write a blog. And that's my Reason Number 6 for doing it!




Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Welcome to my Blog


My name is Piper, and I'm a basenji. If you already know what a basenji is, you are clearly very smart and well-educated. If you don't know about basenjis, you can look them up on Wikipedia or someplace. Then you can be smart and well-educated, too! As you can tell from the photo, I am a very pretty, black-and-white basenji. Some basenjis are other colors, but black-and-white is the best.

You may wonder why I decided to start blogging. Here are some reasons why.

Reason Number 1: "Blog" rhymes with "dog," and since I am a dog, it's a no-brainer that I should write a blog.

Reason Number 2: I still have my dewclaws, so I can type better than dogs who had their dewclaws removed.

Reason Number 3: My mom has a friend who has a bunny named Trouble, and he has a blog. Trouble is not a real bunny. He is a hand puppet bunny. If he were a real bunny, I would want to eat him, like one time last summer when my brother Gabe caught a real bunny in the back yard. Gabe would not let any of us other dogs or even Mom take his bunny away. This is called the canine rule of "I have possession of it, so it's mine." Gabe started ripping up the bunny and eating it. I wanted some, but Gabe wanted to keep it all for himself, which is the rule of "It's all mine and I'm not sharing it." But then some of the bunny insides fell out and Mom gave them to me to eat. After that, Mom went in the house and got some roasted chicken out of the fridge and tricked Gabe into eating the chicken instead of the bunny. I would not have fallen for that trick, but he did.

Reason Number 4: Everybody and their dog is doing it, so why shouldn't I?

Reason Number 5: It will be fun.

Mom says maybe no one will want to read my blog, which is silly because of course lots of people will want to read it. By the way, "Mom" is not my real mom. My real mom was a basenji, just like me. I don't live with my real mom anymore, and when I came to live here, we started a game of Make Believe that the human I live with is my mom. Also the other dogs that live here are my Make Believe brothers, but they are not my real brothers. Make Believe is a good game, so I like to play it. If it makes Mom happy to think of herself as having given birth to a bunch of dogs, then who am I to point out the real truth to her. I've found it's best to keep Mom happy because she controls the food supply.

Speaking of which, it's suppertime now, so I need to stop writing my blog and go eat some yummy dog food. I have had a good time writing my first blog, so I plan to write again very soon. Maybe tomorrow.