Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Mom and Her Plants

First of all, I will tell you that Mom is finally feeling better, which means she's not so grumpy like she was for a while.  Her throat doesn't hurt anymore, but she still coughs and blows her nose and does stuff like that.  Also she uses any excuse she can to take a nap.  If she were a dog, she wouldn't need an excuse in order to take a nap.  It must be hard being a human!

Anyway, what I wanted to tell you about Mom is that she has a whole bunch of plants that she keeps around sort of like pets, except they aren't as interesting as dogs or cats are.  But the good part is they don't have to be fed as much as dogs or cats do.  I don't know why she has these plants.  They aren't cuddly and entertaining like dogs are, but she insists on keeping them anyway.

Most of Mom's plants are what are called "succulent" plants.  This means they suck up water and they store it someplace inside themselves, sort of like a camel stores water in its hump.  At least that's what I heard about camels, so I guess it's true.  Anyway, a plant can store water in its leaves or in its stem or in its roots, but not in its ears, for example, because plants don't have ears!

Mom used to have a bunch of cactus plants, but they didn't grow too well at our house because we have too much shade due to our huge oak tree.  Also cactus plants are full of spines and they are generally not very friendly plants.  So now Mom has mostly other types of succulent plants because they are not always dying like the cactus plants did.  Well, sometimes they die, but when that happens, Mom just gets another different plant and tries to see if she can make it grow instead.

So the point of all this is that Mom has all these plants, like over a hundred, and in the summer, they like to sit outside on the patio where the grasshoppers can chew on them, and they can get rained on.  But in the winter, they have to come back inside so they won't freeze to death.  Well, now that it's officially autumn, the weather is getting colder, and it's time for the plants to come inside the house.  Except that Mom has been sick, so she didn't feel like carrying them all inside, which takes a long time because she has to try to clean them up and get the spiders and acorns and stuff off them.  But yesterday she really did feel like doing that, so she brought in maybe half the plants.  Today she is going to bring in the rest of them.  Or at least that's what she says.

It's fun for us dogs when Mom is bringing in the plants because she leaves the door open, and we can go out or come in or stay out or whatever we want to do.  I even did some sunbathing, which I am not supposed to do because I might get cancer.  And we all fence-fought with Henry, and Mom didn't make us come inside because she was busy bringing plants in.  So Henry's mom had to come out and make him go inside instead.

Well, that's about all I have to say about Mom's plants.  I like it better when the plants are outside because when they are inside, they sort of block our view out the windows.  We like to watch the squirrels in the backyard, and it's hard when there are plants in the way.  Mom always leaves a little space for us to sit by the window, though, and it's right where the heat vent is, so that makes it a good place to sit.  Mom is really pretty smart sometimes, I mean when it comes to knowing how to make dogs happy!

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Dog in the Manger

Here's a really old story that you might have heard before, but it's short, so I will tell it to you again.  There was this dog, see, and he went in a barn and got up in the manger, which is what cows and horses eat out of, so it's sort of like a dog dish for cows.  Anyway, the manger was full of hay, which made it an excellent bed for the dog because hay is soft and it smells good, too.

So the dog took a nice nap, and while he was sleeping, an ox came along and wanted to eat some hay.  (An ox, in case you don't know, is a bull who had a certain kind of surgery so he wouldn't be flirting with all the cows when he was really supposed to be pulling wagons and doing other work like that.)  But the dog, who was rudely awakened from his nice nap, snarked at the ox and wouldn't let him eat any hay.

That's it.  That's the whole story.  Except it's not really called a "story."  It's called a "fable," which means it is supposed to teach you a lesson.  And here's the exact lesson you are supposed to learn from this fable:

People often grudge others what they cannot enjoy themselves.

Now I am going to tell you what is wrong with this interpretation of this story because I think the dog is not really the bad guy, even though people always say he is.

First of all, the ox was all wrong to wake the dog up like that when he was sleeping.  Didn't this ox ever hear of the Canine Law of "Let sleeping dogs lie"?  Many dogs don't enjoy being awakened like this, and they snap at whoever woke them up.  The ox could have been much nicer and more polite about waking the dog up, and then the dog might have been more willing to get out of the manger.

But the main point is that the moral of the story says that the dog was not enjoying the hay in the manger, even though he clearly was.  Hay can be a nice bed as well as a nice meal for an ox, and this is a fact that the dog recognized right away.  So he found a nice bed for himself and he was willing to defend his bed because he had been enjoying it a whole bunch.  He was just doing what dogs do.  They defend their territory.  They don't defend stuff that they don't care about.  I am a dog and I know this.

So who wrote this goofy fable story in the first place?  We think it was a man named Aesop, who was Greek, and he lived a long, long time ago.  Nobody really knows much about him, which is true of a lot of people that lived a long, long time ago.  Mr. Aesop might have been a slave.  And he might have died by being pushed off a cliff by an angry mob of people.  In my opinion, it's more likely that he was attacked and eaten by dogs since he didn't write very nice stories about them!

Here's a picture of Mr. Aesop.  As we can see from looking at it, he had a funny red hat.  I like red hats, so maybe he wasn't all bad.  I just don't think he understood dogs very well!

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Rainbow Bridge

Do you know the story of the Rainbow Bridge?  It's a place where animals that have been loved a lot go to wait for their people after they die.  I'll put the story below, so you can read it for yourself.

The reason I wanted to talk about the Rainbow Bridge today is because we know a dog who died on Friday.  His name was Khaki, and he was a Golden Retriever who was 9 years old.  His mom was my mom's friend, Aunt Barbara.  We are all very sad about Khaki, but Aunt Barbara is the saddest of all.

What happened with Khaki was that he got a rabies shot, and then later he started acting like he didn't feel good, so Aunt Barbara thought maybe he had a reaction to the rabies shot.  She took Khaki to her vet's office and then to the emergency clinic.  At the emergency clinic, they did this thing called a sonogram, and they found out that Khaki had cancer all inside his body.  It was extremely sad, and Aunt Barbara didn't want Khaki to suffer, so she let him be put to sleep.  This means that when he wakes up, he will be at the Rainbow Bridge, which would be a lovely place to wake up, I think.

Mom isn't sure if the Rainbow Bridge story is true, but Mom is what you might call a "skeptic," so you shouldn't pay any attention to what she says about such things.

Anyway, here is the Rainbow Bridge story.  When you read it, you can think about Khaki and all the pets you have lost who are now waiting there for you, and it will make you feel better.  I really believe it will.

Just this side of heaven is a place called the Rainbow Bridge. 
When an animal dies that has been especially close to someone here, that pet goes to the Rainbow Bridge. There are meadows and hills for all of our special friends so they can run and play together. There is plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable. 

All the animals who had been ill and old are restored to health and vigor; those who were hurt or maimed are made whole and strong again, just as we remember them in our dreams of days and times gone by. The animals are happy and content, except for one small thing; they each miss someone very special to them, who had to be left behind. 
They all run and play together, but the day comes when one suddenly stops and looks into the distance. His bright eyes are intent; His eager body quivers. Suddenly he begins to run from the group, flying over the green grass, his legs carrying him faster and faster. 
You have been spotted, and when you and your special friend finally meet, you cling together in joyous reunion, never to be parted again. The happy kisses rain upon your face; your hands again caress the beloved head, and you look once more into the trusting eyes of your pet, so long gone from your life but never absent from your heart. 
Then you cross the Rainbow Bridge together.... 
Author unknown.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Mom is SICK!

Mom is almost never sick, so when she is, we dogs don't know what to do about the situation.  What's wrong with Mom now is that she has a Very Bad Nasty Cold and a Horrible Sore Throat.  This sickness causes her to make strange noises sometimes, like coughing, gargling, snoring, sneezing, and blowing her nose.  We don't like it when Mom is sick and makes strange noises because we worry about her.  We don't want anything to happen to her because she is the person who feeds us and so she is very important to us!

The good thing about Mom's being sick is that she stays home with us a lot.  Of course, she is not much fun because all she wants to do is sleep and read and watch TV and maybe mess around on the computer.  But still, we like having her around instead of being gone all the time.

This weekend Mom was supposed to help the poor, homeless doggies at the Humane Society find homes by taking them to the Plaza Art Fair.  But Mom didn't feel like doing that, so some other nice people had to do it instead.  Mom is disappointed that she didn't get to be with the dogs at the Art Fair because she likes to do that.  Now she will have to wait until next year to go there.

Yesterday morning Mom did not even walk us because she said she didn't feel like it.  Also she wanted to go to a place called Minute Clinic, at the CVS drugstore.  Mom had never been there before, but her regular doctor doesn't work on the weekends, and Mom wanted to find out if she had a stripped throat.  Well, I think it is really called "strep" throat, but Mom says it feels like it has been stripped.

We don't know if this clinic place is supposed to be called MINute Clinic, like meaning 60 seconds, or MinUTE Clinic, like "small."  Mom said the place is definitely small, so maybe the second way to pronounce it is correct.  She had to wait an hour before she could see the Nurse Practitioner, so she thinks it should be called Hour Clinic instead of Minute Clinic.

Anyway, it turns out that Mom probably doesn't have a stripped throat.  Instead she has a sore throat that is caused by a virus.  The nice Nurse Practitioner said that Mom would probably feel better starting today because that's about how long it takes to feel better when you have a virus thing.  Also she prescribed some stuff that Mom is supposed to gargle with that makes your mouth and throat all numb and that way it doesn't hurt so much.

So that's the news about Mom, and now I can talk about ME!  Mom thinks I have WORMS because I have Soft Poop, like this:

She made me go to Dr. Patricia's office on Wednesday so the nurse could stick something in my butt and get a poop sample.  Well, guess what!  The lab said I didn't have any worms at all that they could see.  But Mom said I still had Soft Poop, so what's up with that?  And Dr. Patricia decided I should get some pills for worms anyway, just in case there really are some and the lab just didn't see them.  So I'll be taking more pills, but that's good because Mom gives them to me in a yummy meatball made of dogfood.

Saturday, September 26, 2009


Mosquitoes are annoying little bug things that fly around and buzz in your ears and bite you!  You can eat a mosquito, but they are so small that you can hardly tell whether you ate it or not.  They are certainly not yummy treats like cicadas, and you would have to eat about a million of them to equal the crunchy yumminess of one cicada!

We get mosquitoes in our house a lot because Mom leaves the door open when we dogs are in the back yard, and the mosquitoes fly right in, just like they were invited in, which they weren't!  Then they buzz around in their irritating way and bite us while we are trying to watch TV or sleep or write a blog.  Mom really hates this and I hate it, too!

Mosquitoes are bad for two reasons.  The first reason is that they make you itch when they bite you, and the second reason is that they can give you diseases when they bite you.  Mosquitoes are good because -- well, I can't really think of any reasons why mosquitoes are good!

What dogs can mostly get from mosquitoes is HEARTWORMS.  Heartworms are very bad to have because they can kill you if you get enough of them.  This is why, if you are a dog, you should make sure that your person gives you heartworm preventive every month.

We always get our heartworm stuff on the 25th day of the month.  I don't know why Mom gives it to us on that day, but she does.  It's sort of like having Christmas every single month because the heartworm preventive tastes really good.  We even get it in the winter because even though it seems like the weather is cold enough to kill off all the mosquitoes, it's still possible that a mosquito might not freeze to death and might come around and bite you even in the wintertime.

Heartworms don't start out as worms.  They start out as little things called larvae.  When the mosquito bites you, it puts some of these larvae in your blood.  Then after several months, the larvae grow into heartworms.  One worm can be as long as 10 inches, which is a very long and icky thing to have inside your heart.  A dog might have heartworms and you couldn't tell it for a few years.  Then eventually the dog might have trouble breathing and might cough and might not like to go for long walks.  If a vet figures out that a dog has heatworms before there are too many of them, the dog can be cured.  This is like what happened to my littermate sister in Houston, who had heartworms but then got treated for them.  It costs a bunch of money for the treatment, though, and it's not much fun for the dog, so it's better to do the prevention thing.

Besides heartworms, mosquitoes can cause people and animals to have a bunch of other diseases.  Here's a list:

1.  Encephalitis
2.  West Nile Virus
3.  Malaria
4.  Dengue Fever
5.  Rift Valley Fever
6.  Eastern Equine Encephalitis
7.  St. Louis Encephalitis
8.  Chikungunya Virus

There are probably more, but this just gives you an idea of how many nasty diseases mosquitoes can be involved with!  Some of these diseases are found more in places like Africa and Asia and South America.  This is why when people travel there, they sometimes have to get a bunch of shots.

West Nile Virus is a disease that you can find in the U.S., even though the Nile is actually located in Egypt.  West Nile Virus makes birds die.  When it first got to Kansas City, a crow died in our neighbors' yard and Mom had to go get it and put it in the trash because the neighbors were old and didn't want to touch the crow.  Now those neighbors are dead and they don't live there anymore.  But they didn't die of West Nile virus, so don't worry.

It is possible for a dog or cat to get West Nile Virus, but it doesn't happen very often.  And even if it does happen, the dog or cat doesn't get very sick.  So if you're a dog or cat, and you are bit by a mosquito, you should mostly worry about heartworms and not about any of those other fancy diseases.  At least that's my advice.

Friday, September 25, 2009

One Whole Month of Blogging!

Yes, that's right!  It was exactly a month ago that I started blogging!  Can you believe it?  Can you even remember what your life was like before my intriguingly wonderful blog became a part of it?  No, I'll bet you can't!  But that's okay.  You don't have to thank me.  Just keep on reading!

Mom says that there may come a time when I will not be able to write every single day due to my busy schedule, which you learned all about in yesterday's blog.  Also she says I might run out of things to talk about.  Sheesh!  How can she even think that?  I have an opinion about almost everything, so how could I run out of stuff to blog about?  Anyway, I guess we will just have to wait and see what happens.

But getting back to the topic of schedules, now that you have seen how mine should ideally be, I will talk about how Mom manages to screw it all up sometimes.  Because the fact is that Mom just does not understand how important it is to a dog to have a regular routine that can be counted on to always happen in a certain way.  Having such a routine makes a dog feel calm and safe down deep in her doggy guts.  A dog likes the idea of "We've always done it that way, and we will just keep on doing it that way forever and ever." That's what makes a dog feel happy.  I'm a dog, and I know these things.

But like I say, Mom tends to make our schedule go all cuckoo sometimes.  Ha!  Did you notice how I cleverly used the word cuckoo when there was a picture of a cuckoo clock?  This is called a pun or an allusion or a metaphor or something like that.  Anyway, I'm sure it's a sign of good writing.

Tuesday was an excellent example of a day when Mom did not follow the schedule properly.  What happened was this:  we started out okay following the schedule, and then we got to the part where Mom finished breakfast and was reading the paper, and then Uncle Mike came!  I guess Mom knew he was coming, but we dogs didn't so it was a Surprise.  Mom tied Barry to the piano so he wouldn't bite Uncle Mike, but the rest of us got to go to the door to sniff Uncle Mike because he's always interesting to sniff.  He smells like dogs and cats and horses and donkeys and ducks and geese and even a llama!

Uncle Mike is the person who remodeled our whole kitchen a couple of years ago.  When he was doing that, he came every single day.  Now Uncle Mike only comes every once in a while to fix some little stuff. That's why he came on Tuesday, to fix some little stuff.

So after Uncle Mike arrived, Mom took Barry and Mel to Doggy Daycare.  Then she said she was going to walk me and Gabe, but it turned out that Mom hadn't bought all the right parts for fixing the tub, so she and Uncle Mike went to the Plumber's Friend store.  When they got back, Mom had to leave and go to the chiropractor's office.  And then Uncle Mike left, but Mom still couldn't walk us because she was expecting Another Repairman to come.

This other man came to check out our furnace and air-conditioner to see if they were working okay.  When he came in the door, he put all his tools down so we could sniff them.  He was the kind of man who talks to dogs in sort of an annoying way like he thinks all dogs adore him, and he was waving his finger around in Gabe's face, which I can tell you is not a smart thing to do if Gabe doesn't know you very well.  And of course Gabe immediately decided this man was scary and I thought the same thing.  So I retreated to the sofa, where it was safe, but Gabe bravely snuck up behind the man and nipped at his pants leg.

The man scolded Gabe for this, but Mom thought it sort of served him right.  She did not say so to the man, though, because she did not want him to do anything bad to our furnace, which we will need all winter to keep us warm.  So Mom just made Gabe stay away from the man after that, which Gabe was mostly happy to do.

Then after the annoying man left, we finally got to go for our walk!  After that, Mom decided to take a nap because she was getting a cold and she felt kind of icky.  So she took a nap, but Gabe and I did not help her take her nap.  Instead, we stayed downstairs and took our own naps while guarding the house because Mel and Barry weren't there to do that job like they usually do.

Later, Mom went and picked up Mel and Barry from Doggy Daycare, and they came home and we all had Supper of Dogs, and then we were back to our regular schedule.  Whew!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

My Exciting Daily Schedule

By now you must be starting to get some idea of what a fascinating life I lead as a cute basenji girl.  And you're probably wishing you knew exactly how I spend every hour of every day.  Well, you are in luck because today I am going to tell you about a typical day for me!  Unfortunately, the times listed are kind of approximate because Mom doesn't keep as strict a schedule as I would like her to.  But this is the best I can do, under the circumstances!

7:00 a.m.
Start hoping that Mom will wake up and get out of bed.  Which she usually does, except if she decides to sleep a little later.  Sometimes we can hurry her along a bit by doing some loud licking of our private parts.
7:15 a.m.
Go outside to potty and check on whether anything has changed since last night, plus see if Henry is out in his yard.
7:30 a.m.
BREAKFAST OF DOGS!!!!  This is one of my favorite parts of the whole day!
7:40 a.m.
Go outside again if we want to, and especially if we have more pottying to do.
7:45 a.m.
Go upstairs to help Mom check her email and to POST MY BLOG ENTRY, which was actually written the day before.
8:00 a.m.
Snooze a little while Mom takes a shower and gets dressed.  I still can't believe she would deliberately get herself all wet like that!
8:20 a.m.
Mom checks her email again, and then we all run downstairs for TREATS!  Yay!!!
8:25 a.m.
Go outside again, in case there's anything else we need to do out there.
Snooze some more while Mom eats breakfast and reads the paper.  Usually do a GROUP HOWL.
9:00--10:00 a.m.
WALKING WITH DOGS!!!  Another highlight of the day!  First Gabe and I go out walking with Mom, and then Barry and Mel go.
10:00 a.m.--2:00 p.m.
Naptime!  Mom often leaves the house and abandons us at about this time.  Sometimes she goes to the Humane Society or sometimes she goes someplace else.  So mostly we dogs just hang out and take naps.
2:00 p.m.
Greet Mom at the door when she comes home from wherever.  Go outside to potty.
2:15 p.m.
Mom checks her email again and lets me know if there are any comments on my blog.
2:30--3:30 p.m.
Mom sometimes takes a nap.  She invites us dogs to help her take her nap, which we are glad to do!
3:30--5:00 p.m.
WRITE MY BLOG for the next day.  Or sometimes this doesn't get done until in the evening.
5:00 p.m.
SUPPER OF DOGS!!!!  Another extremely favorite time of day!
5:15 p.m.
Go outside again.
5:30--6:00 p.m.
Take a short nap while Mom eats supper.
6:00--7:00 p.m.
More computer stuff -- finish blog, do research for a future blog entry, let Mom do Facebook, etc.
7:00--10:00 p.m.
Watch TV or movies on DVD.  Or sleep if the TV shows are boring.
10:00 p.m.
Bedtime TREATS!  Then outside to potty one last time.
10:15--11:00 p.m.
More email, Facebook, blog, whatever still needs to be done on the computer.  Maybe snooze a little while Mom finishes up her computer stuff.
11:30 p.m.
BEDTIME OF DOGS.  Decide who's going to sleep where, including whether anybody is going to sleep with Mom.

And there it is -- my fabulous daily schedule as it more or less usually happens.  I just wish Mom would do a better job of sticking to it!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009


Guest blogger Barry here, and I'm going to talk about thunderstorms, which I fear and loathe with a passion! Here's a photo of me after I ripped out several of my teeth while I was crated during a thunderstorm one time. I was all swollen and felt quite miserable. I had to have surgery twice to repair all the damage. It was not fun, and Mom will tell you that it was not inexpensive. And it all happened because of a nasty old thunderstorm!

I can't remember a time when I was not terrified during thunderstorms, although maybe I didn't feel that way when I was a little pup. On the other hand, my two siblings are both scared of storms, too, so either we all inherited the "fear of thunderstorms" gene or else we learned the fear from our doggy mom. Or maybe from our foster mom and dad. Anyway, by the time I finally got adopted, I was terrifically afraid of storms.

One bad thing about storms is that you can hear and feel them coming a long time before they ever arrive. So you have lots of time to suffer from dread. Maybe you have felt dread yourself sometimes, like before you had to perform in front of a bunch of people or before you went sky-diving or before you went to the dentist, and so you understand how horrible it makes you feel. What happens to me is that I start panting a lot and I drool and I get very restless. I can't sit still, and I have to pace all around and go up and down the stairs and jump on and off the bed. If it's the middle of the night when there's a storm, I pretty much drive Mom nuts by doing this, but I can't help it. The air feels all electric and crazy, and the thunder is incredibly loud, and I'm just afraid I'm going to die. And the worst part is that there's no way to get away from it all!

Actually, I'm somewhat better about storms than I used to be. The reason for this is that I now take Amitriptyline for my allergies. Amitriptyline is a drug whose name is very hard to spell.  People use it if they are depressed, but in dogs it acts kind of like an antihistamine. However, it can also make a dog calmer, which is what happened with me when I started taking it regularly. Now if there's a thunderstorm, I can at least lie down near Mom's feet and stay there instead of pacing -- unless the thunder is really, really loud.

Whenever there's a storm in the daytime, I make it a point to stick very close to Mom. I stick so close that she can hardly walk without tripping over me. This sometimes annoys her, but she understands that it is her duty to keep me safe from the scary storm. But occasionally she shirks her duty and simply leaves the house while there is a storm going on! I still can't believe she would even think of doing this, but sadly, she does. I usually try to weasel my way out to the garage with her because I can't stand the thought of her leaving me, but she won't let me go with her. She says I will be okay, and surprisingly, she's been right so far, but you never know.

One time Mom left me and Piper shut up in the bedroom when she went to a meeting. She left us there because a man was doing some work at our house, and I tend to want to bite him. So that's why Mom shut me in the bedroom. Piper came in to keep me company, so Mom shut her in there, too. Then a big, scary storm came up while Mom was gone. I was frantic, trying to get out of the bedroom, and I chewed and scratched at the door. Mom was not happy when she got home and found out what I had done. She said it was a wonder I didn't have splinters in my feet and mouth, but I didn't.

The time I mentioned before, when I pulled my teeth out during a storm -- that happened when Mom and Gabe and Piper went to the Basenji National in St. Louis. Mom boarded Mel and me at A Dog's World (now called Pooches' Paradise). Back in those days, they didn't have any runs there. They just put the dogs in crates at night. Mom knew I didn't like crates, but she thought I'd be okay for a few nights there after getting worn out with doggy daycare all day. And she would have been right if there hadn't been a terrible storm. It was so, so loud and frightening, and it seemed like it went on forever! I tried to get the door of my crate open, and I got my jaw wedged under the door. I pulled out one of my canine teeth, root and all, and broke off another canine tooth. Also some of my other teeth came out along with their roots. I cut my face and skinned up my jaw, and I bled a whole bunch. Dr. Patricia said I could have bled to death, but I didn't. In some ways I'm very tough. It just happens that I'm petrified during storms!

Anyway, that whole incident was several years ago, and I've long since healed up. Having fewer teeth is no problem for me. I can still eat all kinds of things. I never spend a lot of time chewing anyway. It's easier just to swallow stuff pretty much whole!

I wish there were something that could be done about thunderstorms. Like maybe they could be outlawed or something like that. Mom said that wouldn't work, though, because storms are an Act of God, and you can't pass a law against an Act of God. Well, you can, but it won't do much good! So I'm still trying to work out what to do about this problem. If you have any good suggestions, just let me know.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

A Dog Named Hachiko

This is the true story of a dog named Hachiko, who lived in Japan a long time ago. Hachiko was an Akita, which is a Japanese breed of dog that has a lot of thick fur. He was born on a farm in 1924, and then he went to live in Tokyo with his owner, whose name was Hidesaburo Ueno. I'm not sure why anyone would have such a strange name that's so hard to pronounce, but Mom says it's a Japanese name, and the people in Japan can probably pronounce it just fine.

Anyway, Mr. Ueno was a professor of agriculture at the university. Every day, he went on the train to his job. Then in the afternoon, he came home again on the train, and Hachiko met him at the station. Hachiko was very smart, and he knew exactly what time the train would come to the station. So he would be there on time every day, even though he didn't even wear a watch.

But then one day, a tragic thing happened. Professor Ueno had a stroke while he was at work, and he didn't come home on the train. Hachiko was at the station, waiting for him, but his dad never came home again. This made Hachiko very sad, but he kept hoping his dad would come home, so every day for nine years he went to the train station to wait for him.

Hachiko got a new family to live with, but every day he ran off to the station to meet the train. And every day, lots of people saw him there, waiting for the train. They started bringing him treats and yummy stuff to eat. Then one of Professor Ueno's students wrote some articles about Hachiko, and everybody read them and learned what a faithful dog he was. Moms and dads told their children that they should be faithful and loyal, just like Hachiko.

In 1935, Hachiko died. It turned out that he had heartworms, which just goes to show that you should always take your heartworm preventive pills, even if you are in Japan.

After he died, Hachiko was stuffed and mounted, which is kind of weird, if you ask me. But if you want to see him, just go to the National Science Museum of Japan. Or you can look at this photo, which is cheaper than traveling all the way to Japan:

Another thing the Japanese people did to honor Hachiko was to make a statue of him. They even made it while he was still alive, so he could be there for the dedication. Then later, during the war, they melted the statue down because they needed the metal. But after the war, they made another statue, and it looks like this:

Some people have written books about Hachiko, like for instance Hachiko Waits, by Leslea Newman. I have not read this book personally, so I cannot say whether it is a good book or not, but it would probably be fun to read, if you have time. If you don't have time to read the book, you can just go to the movie which will be coming out next month. It is called Hachiko: A Dog's Story. It has Richard Gere in it and also Joan Allen. They are both good actors, so that probably means the movie will be good, too. It is not the exact story of Hachiko, though, because it takes place in America, and not in Japan. But it's a story that is inspired by the story of Hachiko, and it has an Akita in it.

I would like to go see the movie, but they don't let dogs go in movie theaters. So Mom will have to go and see it, and then if it's a good movie, maybe we can all watch it at home on DVD.

Anyway, that's the story of the famous dog, Hachiko. If you like this story and want an Akita of your very own, you can adopt one from the Humane Society of Greater Kansas City. They have an Akita named Fancy there. She has been there for 3 or 4 years, so it's about time someone adopted her. Mom says that Fancy is a very nice dog and will make some family very happy. Here's a picture of her:

Mom says we can never adopt an Akita at our house because they have too much hair. Mom is allergic to dogs, if you can believe it, so she can only have short-haired dogs like basenjis. But somebody who isn't allergic to dogs could give Fancy a nice home, and we hope that is what will happen.

Monday, September 21, 2009

DOGwood Trees

When I first found out that some trees are called dogwood trees, I thought it was only natural that there should be trees that are specially named in honor of dogs. But then I did some research on the internet, and I was shocked to learn that some people believe dogwoods were not named for dogs at all! Of course, Mom says you can't believe everything you read on the internet, but I think it wouldn't be there if it weren't true. After all, my blog is on the internet, and everything in it is absolutely and completely true.

But anyway, back to dogwoods. In the spring, they bloom, and some are white, and some are pink. But do you know what? Those white and pink parts that I thought were petals of the flowers are not petals at all! They're called "bracts," and they're not really flowers. The flower part is that little yellow stuff in the middle of the bracts. This is the same deal as with another kind of flower that is called a poinsettia, which also has bracts. The important thing to remember about poinsettias is that dogs shouldn't eat them because they are poisonous! As far as I know, dogwoods are not poisonous, but it's probably still a good idea not to eat them.

Well, okay, so here's how the dogwood got its name. Or how it might have got its name, because nobody knows absolutely for sure. There was this Middle English word, dagge, and it meant "a pointy thing that hangs down." This is the word that we now call "dagger" in modern English, because a dagger is a pointy thing, and if you wear it in your belt, it hangs down. So the theory is that the wood from this particular tree was used to make pointy things like daggers or skewers or arrows or tool handles. And the reason this tree was used was because it had really hard wood, which is a good quality to have if you are going to stab somebody with a wooden dagger. So the tree was originally a dagwood tree, which should not be confused with a dagwood sandwich, because that's something different (and yummier!).

Anyway, that's one theory. But there's another one that really does involve dogs and not dags. This theory says that the bark of the dogwood tree was used to make a concoction to bathe dogs in to get rid of mange. But some people researched this and they couldn't really prove it. So this theory may be a false one.

Here's what we know for sure about dogwood trees:
1. They are the state tree of Missouri.
2. They are very pretty when they bloom in the spring.

3. They are very ordinary-looking after they finish blooming.
4. They have pretty berries in the fall.
5. They are good for boy dogs to pee on.

We used to have a dogwood tree in our back yard, but then it died. The reason it died was because we had a really bad freeze one year in April, and lots of stuff died. Our dogwood tree died and so did our Japanese maple and so did our dappled willow. Mom cut down our dogwood tree and got an ash tree instead. My brothers tell me that ash trees are also good for boy dogs to pee on, so I guess it's a good thing we have one.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Another Little Update

Friday Mom took me and Gabe to the vet's office, and here's what we did there. First we got treats while we were in the waiting room. Then Gabe had to put on his muzzle and go in the back room so they could stick a needle in his bladder and get some pee out of it. I have had this exact same thing done to me, and I can tell you that it hurts. But I don't have to wear a muzzle, like Gabe does. That is because I don't bite vets and vet techs. At least I never bit one so far. Mom is very proud of me because I am her only dog who doesn't have to wear a muzzle at the vet's office.

Anyway, the reason Gabe had to get the pee test thingy done is because he had an infection, and first he took Clavamox, but that didn't make him all better, so then he had to take Baytril. Now we think he is finally cured, but to make sure, some people in a lab will try to make bacteria grow out of his pee. If they can't do it, then we will know he doesn't have the bacteria anymore.

The reason Mom first thought that Gabe had an infection was because he had really stinky pee. One morning he got out of bed and went and peed in our back room on the rug, and it was very stinky for many days, even though Mom tried to get the rug to stop being stinky. The rug is better now, but sometimes it still smells a little like it got peed on.

So anyway, that's why Gabe had to go to the vet's office. And the reason why I had to go there was to get the rest of my stitches out. Which I did! And Mom doesn't have to put the Bite-Not collar on me anymore because now I don't feel obsessed with the urge to lick my incision.

Yesterday, Mel and Barry had a Good Adventure while they were walking. They found an English Muffin! It was a whole one without even one bite taken out of it! They both found it at the same time, but Barry was the one who ended up with the English Muffin because he is the Alpha Dog, and Mel is not ever going to fight him for anything that Barry wants. Ha!

The bad part was that when Mom saw what Barry had, she pried his mouth open and took the muffin away from him, even though he tried to hold his mouth shut. I think this was very mean and unfair of Mom, but she said she did it because Barry is allergic to wheat, so she did not want him to eat a whole English Muffin. I think she could have just given it to me, and that would have solved the problem because I am not allergic to wheat. But apparently, she didn't think of this solution. I hate to say it, but Mom just seems kind of dumb sometimes!

Last night, Mom went away for a few hours and came home smelling like Other Dogs. She told us that she went to the Humane Society golf tournament to help hold adoptable dogs during the dinner and auction. The dog that Mom was holding is named Kola, and she is 7 months old. Here's a picture of her:

Kola is a German shepherd mix, and Mom is always a sucker for those German shepherd types, for some reason. Also Kola got hit by a car a few months ago, and that's how she ended up at a shelter in the first place. She had a broken pelvis, but that's healed up now. And also something is wrong with the nerves in her front right leg, so she walks kind of funny. Mom likes Kola, and I think she would even adopt her if she didn't already have us 4 dogs. Of course, there are lots of dogs Mom would adopt if she could. She always tells us it's a good thing the law says she can only have 4 dogs!

Saturday, September 19, 2009


Hi again! It's me, Gabe! Piper asked me if I would write an entry about Trixie, since I probably knew her the best of all, so I said I would. I hope it doesn't make me too sad, though, because sometimes I still miss her.

Trixie was Mom's first basenji. Before she got Trixie, Mom had a Lakeland terrier named Cappy. I guess Mom had kind of a love/hate relationship with Cappy, and she swore that she would never get another dog after Cappy died. Then Cappy did die, and within two weeks, Mom decided she really needed to get another dog. So she did some research about breeds, and she thought it would be great to have a basenji, which just goes to prove that Mom has good taste in dog breeds!

Mom first thought she would adopt a rescued basenji, but it seemed like it would take a long time to get one, so she ended up going to visit a breeder named Linda who lives near us. Mom looked at a bunch of former show dogs that Aunt Linda had, and out of all of them, she chose Trixie. Originally, Trixie was called Skippy because her registered name was Blakemor's Skipper. But Mom changed her name because she thought Skippy sounded like a boy's name. And also like peanut butter.

Trixie was a show dog, and she got 7 points, including 1 major, but that was not enough points to make her a champion. Anyway, she didn't like being a show dog, so Aunt Linda finally stopped making her go to shows. Trixie was 5 when she came to live with Mom.

For a while, Trixie was an only dog, but Mom was worried that Trixie was lonely. So she and Trixie drove down to Oklahoma City, which is where I met them for the first time. But Mom did not adopt me then. Instead, she adopted my younger brother, Marco. Marco was really and truly my brother because we had the same parents. But we weren't littermates because I was born a year earlier than Marco.

Anyway, I'm not going to tell Marco's story because it's even sadder than Trixie's. I'll just tell you that Marco died, and not long after that, Mom found out that Trixie had a disease called Fanconi Syndrome. Fanconi is a kidney disease that any mammal can get -- even humans -- but basenjis seem to get it more often than other animals or other breeds of dogs. The way you mostly get it is you inherit it from your sire and dam. That's how Trixie got it. So far, I have not got it and neither has Piper, but Mom tests us every month just to make sure.

Anyway, I got adopted by Mom and Trixie pretty soon after that. So Trixie was my big sister. We used to play together and she would hump me sometimes to show that she was the boss. Trixie had to take a whole bunch of pills every single day because of her Fanconi Syndrome, but the pills made her feel better and more like playing. Mom took us out walking a lot, and she also made us go camping, which we didn't really like much, but we did it to make Mom happy. Here's a picture of us camping in the cold with our jackets on:

Also Mom took us on trips to some places, like the Basenji National Specialty and to Dallas, where we went to visit Mom's cousin. We did lots of stuff together, including moving to a whole new house, which is the house we live in now. And wherever we went, Trixie and I were together, and lots of times we would both sleep in Mom's bed with her.

After a while, Mom decided it would be fun to have a third dog, so we got Mel. The 3 of us dogs always went walking together, which was fun. And one time we all went to North Carolina together, and another time we all went to Texas.

Finally, we got Barry, so there were 4 of us. Plus Mom, of course. We dogs liked it that Trixie got so many pills because Mom had to stick them down Trixie's throat, and every time she stuck 2 or 3 pills down Trixie's throat, she gave us all a treat. These were really good treats, too, because Trixie had a bad appetite some of the time, so Mom got really yummy treats for her.

There were a lot of times when Trixie didn't feel very good. She told me so herself. And then her knees got really bad and she couldn't hardly walk, so Mom had to carry her around. This was because the Fanconi made her not have much calcium or something like that. Dr. Patricia didn't want to operate to fix Trixie's knees because she didn't think Trixie could heal up after the surgery. So Mom took Trixie to Dr. Patricia's office one day and Trixie never came home again. I wanted her to come home, but she didn't, and I had to get used to not having her around. Then after a while, Piper came to live with us, so I had a new sister. And that's all I can think of right now to tell you about Trixie.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Baroos to Youse!

Yesterday was Thursday, which meant it was TRASH DAY! Every Thursday is Trash Day unless there is a holiday, and then Friday is Trash Day. Except if the holiday comes on Friday, then Thursday is still Trash Day. Anyway I think it is very nice of the city government to have such a special day once a week. Because on Trash Day, as I explained once before, there is a better chance than usual that we will have a Good Adventure while we are out walking.

What happened yesterday was that we had several small Good Adventures and no Bad Adventures, so I was happy. Besides finding some cicadas -- although only a few -- I found a Tortilla Chip! I was going to eat the whole thing myself, but it was so big that part of it fell out of my mouth, and Gabe ate the part I dropped. After that, I found a Dirty Kleenex, which made Mom said "Leave it!" and I did. Then I found another one, and Mom made me leave that one, too. And after that, I found a Q-Tip, but Mom didn't let me get close enough to even get it in my mouth. Gabe found some spilled kitty litter, but Mom dragged him away from it. All together, though, I think it was a pretty good day for walking because we found some good stuff, even though we didn't get to bring it home.

Okay, well, I said I would tell you some more about basenji sounds, so I guess I'll do that now. Mom says I'm a talkative girl because I say "ow-oop" whenever I want to make a comment. And sometimes I make a sound like dogs make at the end of a yawn.

When I am warning Gabe to not even think about stealing my chewy, I make a kind of grumbly, growly noise. Mom says it sounds like I am cussing Gabe out. She says it's like if a person with a mouthful of marbles were cussing at another person, and you couldn't understand any of the words, but you could pretty much guess what they were saying.

Oh, and then there's my shriek. I am a talented shrieker. Just let somebody bite me or step on my foot, and I let out a big yelpy kind of shriek that is almost enough to curdle your blood. Right after I first came here from Houston, Mom took me to meet Dr. Patricia, and she let Gabe come along for moral support. Mom asked Dr. Patricia to give me a microchip, so when Dr. Patricia stuck that great big, sharp needle in me, I shrieked, and Gabe nipped the vet tech on the ankle! I guess it was pretty clear that someone was hurting his new little sister and he needed to defend her!

Anyway, speaking of Gabe, I will just say that he makes a couple of other sounds that I don't make. One is a kind of short baroo when he's excited, like when the supper dish is about to be set down in front of him. I think this baroo sounds just like a rooster crowing. Also when Gabe growls, it is this nasal sort of sound that always makes Mom laugh. I don't think he likes being laughed at, especially at a moment when he is trying to sound all tough and macho, but Mom laughs anyway. And then she tells him, "Nobody is going to take you seriously if you sound like that!" But he just ignores her and goes on growling.

That's really all I can think of to say about basenji sounds. Except that of course they are far superior in variety and quality to the sounds that ordinary dogs make.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

To Bark or Not to Bark

People usually say that basenjis are barkless dogs, and they are usually right. I, for example, never bark, so I guess that makes me the perfect basenji! My brother Gabe, on the other hand, barks sometimes, but not very often or very much. The biggest number of barks I've ever heard from him at one time is three, like this: "Boof! Boof! Boof!"

But just because basenjis don't bark, that doesn't mean they are silent. The truth is that we basenjis can make all kinds of interesting and useful sounds, ranging from growls to shrieks. There's really no good word to describe the sound basenjis make most often, so people have to call it a yodel or a baroo. If you have not lived with basenjis, you may not have heard this delightful sound. There are some good examples of basenjis barooing on YouTube. Last night I found a really nice one to share with you. In this video, a person plays the theme from Braveheart on the piano, and the basenji begins to sing along. I found this video to be hauntingly beautiful. But when Mom heard it, she laughed a lot and called it "hilarious." To be honest, this really hurt my feelings, but I am trying to forgive Mom because I know that sometimes she speaks without thinking first.

Anyway, we did not get to hear the end of the video because the sound of it inspired Barry to start howling, and then Mel joined in, and so did Gabe and I, and we ended up doing a Group Howl which drowned out the end of the video. But maybe you can listen all the way to the end, if no one starts howling at your house. Anyway, here's where you can find the video on YouTube:

Or you can also listen to this other video of two basenjis named Izzi and Bosco yodeling.  It is quite lovely, too, as all basenji yodels are.

Now I will tell you about the Group Howl, which is an important ritual in our house. Before Barry came to live here, there was no Group Howl. This is because Gabe and Mel and Trixie never thought to howl together all at the same time. Then Barry came, and he would start howling sometimes, and everybody else decided it would be fun to howl along with him. Now we do the Group Howl ritual almost every day, and sometimes we do it more than once a day.

The Group Howl happens most often in the morning. When Mom is eating breakfast and she finishes her yogurt and scrapes the bottom of the yogurt container, this is an Important Signal to us dogs. The Signal means that pretty soon Mom will finish reading the paper and then she'll brush her teeth, and then we can go WALKING! The thought of all this good stuff to come makes us excited, so Barry runs around and then he woofs a little, and then he begins to howl. Then Gabe and Mel begin to howl, and pretty soon I feel like howling, too, so I do!

Another thing that can make Barry start the Group Howl is sirens. Sometimes we hear a siren way off in the distance, and Mom cannot even hear it because of her inferior hearing abilities. So we start howling, and Mom wonders why we decided to howl. But then when we finish, maybe the siren is close enough so that she can finally hear it, and then she knows why we were howling.

Well, I was going to talk more about all the wonderful sounds that basenjis make, but I think I have written enough for one day. So I will talk about that other stuff tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Doggy Daycare

Hi, it's Mel again. Today's subject is Doggy Daycare, which I hope you won't find too boring. Yesterday Mom took me and Barry to Pooches' Paradise, which is what our daycare is called. I'm not sure if it really is like paradise to be there, at least according to the usual definition of "paradise," but it's a pretty nice place for a dog to spend the day. What we do there is we sniff all the other dogs' butts so we can get to know them a little. Then maybe we play with them, if we like any of them well enough.

On a nice day, like it was yesterday, they leave the door open, so we can go outside anytime we want to. The building that the daycare is in used to be a body shop where people fixed cars that got smashed up. So there's no grass or anything outside. It's just pavement. And inside it's just a floor with no carpets or rugs or anything.

There's a room for big dogs and another one for smaller dogs. Barry and I always go in the room with the smaller dogs. There's also a place for greyhounds. Some of these greyhounds were rescued from the racetrack. And sometimes greyhounds that have already been adopted go to board at Pooches' Paradise while their people are out of town.

Piper goes to doggy daycare, too sometimes, but if she goes, then either Barry or I stay home because Mom only takes two dogs there at a time. Gabe never goes because he is Dog Aggressive.

In the middle of the day, they put us in crates so we can take a nap. Otherwise, what we mostly do is play and pee and poop and hang with the other dogs and bark. We're not really supposed to bark at doggy daycare, and if we bark a lot, we get squirted with a water bottle. And any dog that gets mean and starts a fight has to do time-out for a while.

I always try to stay far away from dogfights, but one time I got bitten on my back at doggy daycare. No one knew it happened until I got home and Mom found the wound. Well, some of us dogs knew it happened, but the humans didn't know. So I had to go visit Dr Patricia and get my wound cleaned and get some antibiotics. In those days, doggy daycare was called A Dog's World and not Pooches' Paradise. I guess this fits because getting bit is something that happens sometimes in a dog's world, but not in paradise!

Another time, after A Dog's World turned into Paradise, I got in a lot of trouble because I bit a man who was visiting there. He reached over the fence to pet some other dog, but I thought he seemed very scary and threatening, so I bit him on the hand. He had to go to the doctor and get stitches and stuff. Also I got reported to Animal Control. I guess I was supposed to be quarantined to make sure I didn't have rabies, which I didn't have because I always get all my shots. But nobody told Mom about quarantine. So then a couple of weeks later, a man in a uniform showed up at our door and asked why I hadn't been quarantined, Mom said nobody told her to do it, which was true. So the man checked and found out that I had my shots and my city license and that all Mom's other dogs did, too. So Mom didn't get a ticket or anything. But she told me not to bite anyone ever again because if I did, I might have to go to jail, and Mom might have to go, too.

Well, that's all I can think of to say about the subject of Doggy Daycare. If I could, I would tell you about what really goes on the the back room there sometimes, but I can't tell you because I'm sworn to secrecy!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Henry, the Dog Next Door

Henry lives next door to us. He is a dog, but he is not a basenji. Henry is a soft-coated wheaten terrier. I think that this is a stupid name for a dog breed. It is way too long, for one thing. Why do they have to say "soft-coated" as part of the name of the breed? Have you ever heard of a rough-coated wheaten terrier? Or a wire-haired wheaten terrier? How about a curly-coated wheaten terrier? If the idea is to tell the judge at a dog show that he should expect all wheaten terriers to have soft coats, this could just be written in the breed standard. That way, everyone who ever mentions the breed does not have to say "soft-coated" along with "wheaten" and "terrier." Anyway, this is my personal opinion on the matter, even though no one asked me!

But getting back to Henry, he is a wheaten terrier who was just a puppy when he first got adopted by his family. In those days, we had a chainlink fence around our back yard. Now we have a wood privacy fence. The reason we got a wood fence is all because of Henry.

I like Henry, but Gabe and Barry don't like him very much. Gabe, in fact, hates Henry, and Henry hates Gabe right back. So the two of them, and also Barry, do a lot of fence-fighting. "Fence-fighting" does not mean having a fight with a fence. It means dogs are trying to fight each other, even though there is a fence between them.

Fence-fighting is a result of the canine law of Barrier Aggression. This law states that if there is a dog on the other side of a fence, that dog is automatically an enemy who should be attacked. Not all dogs follow the law of Barrier Aggression. I don't, for example, but my brothers all do. Maybe it's more of a boy thing, I don't know.

Here is a photo of Gabe and me and Henry by the old chainlink fence. This is the only photo we have of Henry, but you can't tell much about him in this photo because he is moving really fast. You certainly can't tell if he has a soft coat or not. Ha! Henry has three children at his house. I mean human children, not puppies. Mom used to worry that one of the children would get hurt when we dogs were fence-fighting. Henry's mom told the children not to mess with Henry when he was fighting, but sometimes they did anyway. And sometimes Henry would stupidly stick his nose through the chainlink, and then Gabe would bite him on the nose. Mom was afraid someone would get hurt and then we would get sued for lots of money and we would end up having to live in debtors' prison, like in one of those novels by Mr. Charles Dickens. And there would be no money left to buy dog food, which would be the saddest part of all.

So we got a big, new wood fence built, and Henry's mom and dad helped pay for the part by their yard. This did not stop the fence-fighting, but it did make it so that Henry and Gabe and Barry couldn't really hurt each other. Now what happens is if Gabe really wants to bite Henry, but can't, he bites me instead! Which is why I mostly try to stay away from the fence-fight, if I can.

Sometimes Henry gets out of his front door and goes running through the neighborhood. Usually, he doesn't get very far, because he stops by our house to see if he can window-fight with Barry and Gabe and Mel. Twice, though, Henry got loose while Mom and Gabe and I were out walking. This caused a Very Bad Adventure to happen both times. The first time, Henry and Gabe started fighting, and Henry bit Gabe on the tail a whole bunch. Gabe had to go visit Dr. Patricia after that happened, but he didn't have to get any stitches.

And then about a year later, Henry got out the door and attacked Gabe and bit him really bad in his armpit. Gabe had to have surgery and also get a bunch of stitches that time. Mom was really mad because it cost her more than $500 to get Gabe fixed up again. So she asked Henry's dad to pay the bill, which he did. Mom told him that they needed to figure out how to keep Henry from getting out of their house, but Henry's dad said it was hard because they had children. Mom did not think this was a very good excuse. But anyway, after this incident, Henry hasn't got out nearly as often, so the family must have figured something out!