Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halloween


Today is Halloween, which is a holiday that we don't really like much at our house.  The reason why we don't like it is because on the night of Halloween, lots of children come to our neighborhood, and they all have shrill, screaming voices, and they run up to the door and ring the doorbell, even if Mom is already at the door, and then all the kids yell, "Trick or treat!" and Mom has to give them candy.  This whole thing happens over and over all evening, and it is Very Stressful for us dogs because we're not used to children, and we think they are scary and annoying.


Besides which, Mel and Barry feel that they have to Guard the House, so whenever someone comes to the door, they bark a lot and want to go attack the intruders, so Mom has to put Mel and Barry in a bedroom with the door closed or else tie them to the piano, so that they can't bite anybody.

Then on top of everything else, Mom is giving away all this yummy-smelling candy, but she won't give any to us dogs because it has chocolate in it, which is POISONOUS to dogs, as I told you before.  And we don't even know where all these children come from because they don't live in our neighborhood, but they arrive in vans and cars, and they all want candy, and even though they come with their moms and dads, who tell them to say "Thank you," it still makes you wonder why they don't have any candy in their own neighborhood.


And the other thing we don't like about Halloween is that we are usually trying to watch TV or a DVD or something, but we have to stop every 5 or 10 minutes because all these kids are coming to the door.  And Gabe and I like to take a nap on the sofa while we're watching TV, but we keep getting woken up by trick-or-treaters.  So we are really glad when Mom runs out of candy, which she always does, and usually by 8 p.m., and then we can turn off the porch light and hope that no more kids are dumb enough to come to the door, even though a few still sometimes do.

So that's why we don't like Halloween.  But I will just say that at least Mom doesn't make any of us dogs wear costumes, because that would be SO humiliating!  Some people make their dogs wear costumes, and some dogs have actually told me they don't mind doing this, but I would hate it if I had to wear some dorky costume.  Which is why I am glad that I have such a nice mom who doesn't do that kind of abusive stuff to her dogs!

Some people in our neighborhood put up a whole bunch of decorations for Halloween, but we don't do that.  At the house in the next block, there is a great big cemetery in their yard.  I've posted a couple of pictures of it.  I have to tell you a secret, though.  This cemetery is not real!  If it were real, all the dogs in town would be there, eating the bones of the skeletons, but the bones are all plastic, so they are not good to eat.


Henry's people, who live nextdoor to us, also made a cemetery.  Their cemetery is smaller, and it's not real either.  Maybe the kids who go around asking for candy are fooled by these fake cemeteries, but dogs know the difference so we are not fooled for even one minute!


Well, now I will tell you about something even scarier than Halloween.  It's about Mel.  He had to go visit Dr. Patricia yesterday, which is always scary.  The reason why Mel had to go there is because he got a boo-boo between his toes.  Here's a picture of it:




Mom thought maybe it was something called an interdigital cyst, which is vet-speak for "a growth between the toes."  But Dr. Patricia said it wasn't that.  She thinks it is probably just a regular boo-boo that Mel got somehow, and the reason it hasn't healed up is because he keeps licking it.  So now he has to wear a Bite-Not Collar for a WHOLE WEEK so that he won't lick his foot.  After that, if his owie heals up, we'll know it was just a regular owie, but if it doesn't heal up, it might be Cancer.  And how's THAT for scary?

Friday, October 30, 2009

Dead Leaves



Right now we are in the Season of Dead Leaves.  This season occurs in the autumn, which I already wrote about in my blog before, so I'm not going to say anything more about it right now.







Here's a list I made of some of the good things about dead leaves:

1.  They look pretty while they are falling down from the trees.
2.  They look pretty on the ground, unless they are boring, brown dead leaves.
3.  They make excellent places to pee and poop.
4.  They make nice blankies for plants during the winter.
5.  They rot and turn into dirt and make the dirt better for growing plants.



And here are some not-so-good things about dead leaves:
1.  They can kill the grass if they stay there too long.
2.  They have to be raked up and put in bags and taken away by one of those big, noisy trucks.
3.  They stick to your feet, so you track them into the house, and then you have to rake the floor, too.
4.  If we poop in the leaves, Mom has trouble finding the poop and picking it up.
5.  They are noisy to walk in, so it's hard to sneak up on a squirrel.

I guess dead leaves are necessary because if the old leaves didn't die, then the new leaves couldn't grow in the spring.  And anyway, piles of dead leaves are really special and I like to pee in them!  Both boy and girl dogs can pee in a pile of leaves, which is not true of a fire hydrant, for instance, which only boy dogs can pee on.  And if you pee in a pile of leaves, then the interesting scent stays there a long time, especially if the leaves are damp.  And any other dog that comes along can tell that you've been there, which is Very Important for them to know.

Well, I'm tired of talking about leaves now, so I think I will take a little nap.  And anyway, I have to dream up a topic to write about tomorrow.


Thursday, October 29, 2009

Looking Out the Window

There are many interesting things to be seen outside our house without even going out the door.  The way you see these things is to look out the window.  We have lots of windows, facing in four different directions, so we can see stuff all around us.  The only problem is that sometimes there are so many doggy nose prints on the window that it's kind of hard to get a clear view!

One of the best places to look out is the front windows in the living room.  Right now, when we look out there, we see a bunch of pretty leaves.

We also see other interesting things out the front windows, like people walking their dogs, children running through our yard, the mailman, the UPS man, squirrels, delivery trucks, and trash trucks.  Every Thursday, as I told you before, is Trash Day, so we see a truck that comes to pick up our trash and another one that comes to pick up the stuff to recycle.  But sometimes, a special truck comes to get the Big Trash.



A couple of weeks ago, the people who live across the street from us, and who are very shy and never speak to anybody much, put out a lot of Really Big Trash, and a truck came along and took it away.  Mom likes to watch the Big Trash Truck because it has a giant claw thing that can pick up whole refrigerators or sofas.  Here is a picture of the Big Trash Truck when it was picking up our neighbors' trash on a rainy day.


Another place we like to look out is the back windows.  Here's a picture of what our back yard looks like if you look out through the glass in the door.  That black spot way back in the yard is Mel.  He likes to roll around in the grass and lie in the sun.  Mom took this picture on Sunday, right after she mowed the grass, which she had only been meaning to do for about six weeks.  So she was very proud of how the yard looked.  Now it's got a bunch of leaves in it again.

Our neighbors have a trampoline, and sometimes kids jump on it.  The neighbors on the other side of us used to have a trampoline, too, but it broke, so now they have to use the other neighbors' trampoline.  The neighbors with the broken trampoline are going to get a new one, but they haven't got it yet.  Right now all they have is swings and a basketball goal.  I never see any dogs jumping on the trampoline, so I don't think it's anything that dogs like to do.  And anyway, it looks kind of scary to me!

If you look out our upstairs window, you can see Maggie's yard.  Maggie is a springer spaniel.  She is that kind of white spot behind that red spot in this photo.  Maggie is a hunting dog who goes out hunting real birds and stuff with her dad.  She has to stay outside in the yard a lot, which seems kind of sad to me.  When it's hot weather, she likes to sleep on top the patio table.  Maggie is sort of shy, so she doesn't bark at us or anything, like Henry does.  This means we don't fence-fight with her like we do with Henry.

Well, that's pretty much all I can tell you about the fascinating views from our windows.  I am just glad that I have a nice, warm house to live in and lots of windows to look out of, especially when it's raining, like it is this morning!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

A Dog Named Laika


This is the sad story of a famous Russian dog named Laika.  Laika was a stray who was found on the streets of Moscow.  She and two other stray dogs were chosen to be used in the Russian space program.  This all happened back in the 1950s, when Mom was a little girl.  At that time, there was a huge race between America and Russia to see who could get people into space first, and this meant Mom had to take a bunch of "new math" classes in school, which she didn't like much.


I'm not sure why people wanted to go into outer space.  Maybe they wanted to go just because it was there, which is the same reason why people climb Mt. Everest.  But since nobody had ever been in outer space, the scientists didn't know if people could even survive being shot way up high into space or what would happen when they were weightless and stuff like that.  So they decided to use dogs to find out what would happen to them in space.


The scientists called Laika by several different names, but "Laika" is the one that everybody remembers today.  This name means "barker" or "howler" in Russian, and it is written like this:  Лайка, which doesn't seem like it should be "Laika," but I guess you have to know Russian, which I definitely don't!  


Oh, and another interesting thing about the word "Laika" is that there is a breed of Russian dogs that are called Laikas.  These dogs are sort of like huskies.  I guess maybe someone thought Laika had a little bit of this dog breed in her, even though she was small, like only 12 pounds or so.  Personally, I think she looked more like a Jack Russell terrier than like a husky.



But anyway, Laika and the other two stray dogs, Albina and Mushka, were all trained to be cosmonauts, which is Russian for astronauts.  The training was to make them get used to being in a very small space, where they could only stand, sit, or lie down.  They could not turn around or walk or play with balls or do anything like that.  And they had to stay in this small space for days at a time, while wearing a poop bag and eating dog food that was sort of a gel.




Albina and Mushka were each launched into space and came down again, so the scientists could see if they were still alive when they got back, which they were.  But Laika was chosen to go into orbit around the earth, and sadly, there were no plans to bring her back.



Laika got launched into space on November 3, 1957.  She did not have much fun being in orbit because the capsule thing that she was in got too hot inside.  This caused her to be really stressed, and then after a few hours, she died.  At first, the Russians told everybody that Laika lived for several days, but a few years ago, they finally admitted that Laika only lived for 5 or 6 hours.  



This is what makes the story of Laika so sad, is that she had to die all alone in outer space.  But the good part is that she proved that an animal could survive being shot into space and then orbiting around the earth.  Later on, humans figured out how to do this without dying.



Anyway, Laika became very famous and will always be remembered by lots of people.  In Russia, they made a nice statue of her, and her picture got put on a postage stamp in Romania.  Still it would have been better if Laika could have just had a kind family to live with.  At least that's my opinion!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

More About ME, by Gabe


There were lots more things I could have told you yesterday about myself and my fascinating life adventures, but Mom said my blog entry was getting too long, and she made me stop writing.  But I talked her into letting me write another entry today, and Piper was okay with that, so here I am again!

Well, anyway, if you remember, I was kind of sick while Hank and Aunt Cheryl were here, so I had to go to the vet.  We just finally got the lab results yesterday, and it turns out that my blood was A-Okay!  Also my urine was fine, too.  But my poop was not so good.  I have GIARDIA and WHIPWORMS!  No wonder I was having diarrhea!  So anyway, I will have to take some medicine called Panacur, and all the other dogs here will have to take it, too.  Also, Mom emailed Aunt Cheryl to tell her that Hank might need to get his poop tested.

I have had whipworms a few times before.  Piper and I got them one year when we went to the Basenji National.  At least that's where we think we got them.  But we might have got them from Mom because she might have tracked them home from the shelter on her shoes.  Anyway, once you get whipworms in your yard, you can't hardly get rid of them, so it's easy to end up with them inside you.  And Mom says we might get them by eating cat poop, which is extremely yummy, so we don't want to give up eating it, especially since the cats are nice enough to poop right in our own front yard sometimes.

Anyway, that's enough about that.  I do want to finish my greyhound story from yesterday, though.  I am all healed up from that event now, and my hair finally grew back in where it got shaved off, so I am not a patchwork quilt dog now.  I do have a few scars which make me look very rakish and handsome.


The only thing wrong is that when I go up the stairs, it hurts me, so I have to make several tries before I can go all the way up.  Mom thought that this was a "behavior problem" because she thought I was remembering how it used to hurt me to go up the stairs right after my injury, so I was afraid it might hurt again.  But when Aunt Cheryl was here, Mom asked her to watch me trying to go up the stairs.  Mom never really sees this, because she is already upstairs when I start trying to go up there.  What Aunt Cheryl saw was the truth about how it hurts me to go up, and how I have to sort of limp on my right hind leg.

So when Mom and Aunt Cheryl took me to see Dr. Patricia about all my other problems, they also told Dr. Patricia about how I couldn't go up stairs very well.  Dr. Patricia said maybe I have adhesions, which Mom didn't know anything about, and neither did I, except I knew that they hurt.  So we learned that adhesions are something you get after you have surgery, and they're like scar tissue inside you that makes things be attached to each other that aren't supposed to be attached, like muscles and organs and stuff.  It's sort of like having glue inside you or maybe duct tape.  Anyway, Dr. Patricia is going to talk to the doctor who did my surgery to find out how to tell for sure if I have adhesions or not.


Okay, well, I guess that is all the most important stuff about me that I want to tell you right now.  Oh, but Mom said I should tell you what happened to Angela and Lear, the mean, horrible greyhounds that attacked me.  Except Mom says they are not so mean and horrible, and she also says I am the kind of dog that invites other dogs to attack me.  Can you believe she would say such things about me, her own beloved basenji?!  Anyway, what happened with Angela and Lear is that they got put into separate foster homes because Mom told Aunt Cher that the two of them didn't seem all that dependent on each other.  And then Lear got adopted, and after a while Angela also got adopted.  So everything turned out fine for them, and you shouldn't worry about them.  And I don't ever want to talk about them again.  So there!

Monday, October 26, 2009

THE GREYHOUND INCIDENT, by Gabe

Piper said I should be the one to write about The Incident, since I was the most directly affected, and I was happy to agree to tell this horrifically compelling story.  The events I am going to describe for you happened on December 30, 2008.  Mom calls what happened "The Incident," but I call it "The Vicious Attack of a Poor, Innocent Basenji by Two Mean and Nasty Greyhounds."


But before I tell you about the attack itself, I have to give you a little background.  A greyhound, as you probably know, is a tall, skinny dog with a very pointy nose.  Greyhounds can run really fast, but only for short distances.  People like to race greyhounds and make bets to see who has the fastest dog.  This might be an okay thing to do except that the racing greyhounds are not always treated very well, and if they don't run fast, they are "disposed of."  This means that they are killed, even if they are still very young.  For this reason, greyhounds that are retired from racing need to be rescued and put into homes where somebody will love them even if they don't run so fast.

At Pooches' Paradise, the doggy daycare place, there are a bunch of these rescued greyhounds.  They go there to live until they have been spayed or neutered and have got their shots and their teeth cleaned and stuff like that.  Then they go live in foster homes until they get adopted.  So anyway, Mom started helping out with the greyhounds by walking them once a week.  She really liked the greyhounds, and she wanted to adopt one to come live with us, but she couldn't do that because we already have our Legal Limit of Dogs.

So Mom got this brilliant idea that maybe we could foster a greyhound.  She asked Aunt Cher, who's in charge of the rescue group, and then some ladies came to our house to see if it was a good place for a greyhound.  One of the ladies brought an actual greyhound with her, and I growled at it some, which is what I always do when there are strange dogs around.  Then Barry did his defending-the-house thing, and he bit one of the ladies on the hand, but he was fine with the greyhound.  In spite of all this, we got approved to be a foster family.


The first greyhound we had was named Dali, like the artist Salvadore Dali, who painted really weird things like melting clocks.  But Dali the dog was not weird.  He was just really, really tall, and he had some problems with diarrhea, so he had to go to the vet a lot.  Also he had "happy tail," which happens when you wag your tail so hard that you hit it on stuff and make it bleed.  Dali finally had to have the end of his tail cut off because it never would heal up.

Anyway, all of us dogs got along fine.  Dali let Barry be the alpha dog and me be the beta dog and there were no problems.  Except with Dali's diarrhea and his tail.  And then after three months, Dali got adopted, and Mom brought home another foster dog named Eden.


Eden was a very nice girl greyhound, and we all got along fine with her, too.  Eden did not have "happy tail," but she kept licking her leg and making sore places, so Mom got really good at bandaging dog legs.  We had Eden here for two months, and then she also got adopted.


Then what happened was that Mom brought home TWO greyhounds to foster.  Their names were Angela and Lear.  These two greyhounds had been living together for several years, and they had two dads, and then both their dads got sick and died, just a few months apart.  So the rescue people thought that Angela and Lear should stay together.  And that's why Mom brought both of them to our house.  Angela is the white one with brown spots, and Lear is the brindle one.

Well, we had these two foster dogs for about a month, and everyone got along, more or less.  But Angela was kind of bossy, and she got into a squabble with Barry, and Mom thought it meant that Angela was trying to be the alpha dog.  Which Mom also thought would be okay if we could all work out a new pack order without a lot of bloodshed.  And about the same time, Lear and I had a little "discussion" about some issues while we were out in the yard fence-fighting with Henry.  In fact, that "discussion" happened on the very morning of The Incident.

So on that morning, we were following our regular schedule, and so Mom took me and Piper out for a walk.  Then when we came back to the house and went in the front door, I growled at Lear and Angela, and then all of a sudden, everybody was attacking me.  I don't even know who started it.  I just know that we were in a terrible fight, and that the greyhounds were biting me on my neck and back, and even Barry joined in and started biting me!  Meanwhile, Mom was screaming at Lear and Angela to let go of me, and she was spraying us with Direct Stop, and she was kicking them, but they weren't letting go.  And Piper was screaming because she was trying to get away from the fight, but she couldn't because she was still attached to the double lead that Mom used to take us walking.

I'm not sure how long it lasted, but it seemed like a couple of hours.  And it hurt me a whole bunch, and I thought I was going to die, and Mom thought so, too.  Then after a while, I just gave up and stopped fighting and went kind of limp.  That's when Lear and Angela finally let go of me.  I was just lying around on the floor, kind of stunned, and Mom thought she would take my collar off, which was a bad idea because when she tried to do that, I bit her on the hand.

After that, I got up and managed to stagger up the stairs.  Mom could see that I didn't really need any stitches for my bite wounds, but something was all wrong with my insides, especially near my back legs.  There was a big bag of skin hanging down, all full of blood or something, and it was hard to walk, and it hurt a whole bunch.  Mom called Dr. Patricia's office, but Dr. Patricia was in the middle of doing surgery, so she couldn't stop doing that in order to take care of me.  She told Mom to take me to the emergency vet hospital, which Mom knew would be Very Expensive.

But Mom picked me up in a blanket and put me in the car and we drove over to Mission MedVet, which is what the clinic is called.  And Mom was crying all the way there because she thought I was dying, which it seemed to me like maybe I was, too.  But when we got there, the doctor examined me (after first putting a muzzle on me!) and said I would be okay, but I needed some Expensive Surgery to fix my muscles inside, which got all torn loose by the mean, nasty greyhounds.

So Mom left me there to have surgery, and she went and told Aunt Cher what had happened, and then she took Lear back to Pooches' Paradise, and she took Angela to the greyhound vet's office because Angela got her ear bitten in the fight.  I was happy to learn that at least I got a little bit of revenge!  But Mom was sad that we couldn't keep the greyhounds at our house any longer, because she really liked them, for some reason, especially Lear.


I had to stay at the clinic overnight, and Mom came to visit me there.  Then I finally got to go home on New Year's Eve, which made us all happy, except for having to pay the bill, which was about $3500.  I had to stay in a crate for a while until I got more healed up.  I'm going to include some pictures of how I looked after my surgery.  They shaved my hair off in a bunch of places, so Mom started calling me "Patchwork Quilt Dog."



Oh, and everyone kept telling Mom that she should go to the doctor about her hand where I bit her, but she didn't want me to have to be quarantined by Animal Control, so she ended up calling a doctor who is the husband of one of her friends from the Humane Society, and he prescribed some antibiotics for her.

And so that's the long and dramatic story about "The Incident."  Now you can understand why I don't like greyhounds much.  Or any other dogs I don't know, because all such dogs are clearly dangerous and likely to kill you if they get the chance.  That's why I live by the rule that the best defense is a good offense!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Mom's Recent Antics

Yesterday Mom and Aunt LaDene drove to a town called Weston, which is in Missouri, but just barely, because you can look across the Missouri River from there and see Kansas.  Here's a picture of downtown Weston.  Mostly, it's just a couple of blocks of old brick buildings with shops in them.



My brothers and I did not get to go to Weston.  We had to stay home and guard the house.  I wish I had got to go to Weston, though, and here's why:  In Weston there is the studio of a famous artist who paints pictures of dogs.  Her name is Marie Mason.  Well, maybe she is not quite as famous as some other artists, like for instance, Claude Monet, but a lot of people around here who like dog pictures -- and who doesn't? -- know about her.  Mom even knows Marie Mason personally because Mom used to work with Aunt Marie's partner, Kate.  So anyway, the whole reason that Mom and Aunt LaDene went to Weston yesterday was because Aunt Marie was having an "Open Studio."

Aunt Marie has her very own company which is called Bella and Company.  It is called that because she and Aunt Kate used to have a dog named Bella.  You can learn more about Aunt Marie's company by going to this website:  http://www.bellacompany.com/   You can buy t-shirts and artwork and hats and all sorts of good things right online, and you won't even have to go to Weston!  And by the way, I will just mention that I am not being paid or even given extra dog treats to talk about Aunt Marie Mason's artwork.  I am just doing this because I think the artwork is nice, even when it doesn't have dogs in it or if it has cats instead of dogs.


Here's a picture of the inside of Aunt Marie's studio.  As you can see, there were lots of paintings there, and they were all for sale. Many of the paintings were very big.  The ones with dogs in them were mostly very big, but that makes them better, if you want my opinion.




Here's a painting that Aunt Marie made of a yellow dog:








And here's one of a bunch of dogs swimming and playing in the water, although why any dog would want to get all wet like that is beyond me!





There were a couple of paintings of a white dog that Mom said was probably Luna, the white German Shepherd that Aunt Kate and Aunt Marie used to have.  Luna died not too long ago, and her moms are still very sad about that.  But now they have a new puppy, and my mom got to meet the new puppy, who is very cute.  I wish I had been there so I could meet the new puppy, but Mom made me stay home, like I told you before.




Oh, and here's a painting that does not have a dog in it, just so you can see how it improves a picture if it does have a dog in it.










Anyway, Mom bought a painting from Aunt Marie, but can you believe it, the painting she bought has NO DOGS!  And not only that, but the painting she bought doesn't have ANYTHING in it!  It's just some lines and colors and stuff that looks like nothing to me.  Mom says it is "abstract," but I can't figure out why anyone would buy a painting that doesn't have something in it that you can recognize, like a DOG, for instance.  When I asked Mom why she didn't buy a DOG painting, she said they were too expensive, like $600 or more.  The painting that she bought was $50 and already framed, so she liked that about it.  I still think that if Mom really cared about dogs, she would have spent however much she had to spend to get a painting of a DOG.  I am just feeling very disappointed in Mom right now.


Well, I guess I will also mention that Mom and Aunt LaDene ate lunch in Weston and then they shopped in some of the stores there.  They especially like to shop in stores that sell antiques.  Mom bought a little pig planter thing that is sort of cute, and she is going to put a plant in it, so that means it has a useful purpose.  Then she also bought a cup with dragons on it.  She has no idea what she will do with this cup, which means that she was being very impractical when she bought it.

I just don't understand why Mom acts the way she does sometimes!  But I'm glad that Mom finally came home from Weston, and it was only a little bit past time for Supper of Dogs.  And then she stayed home all evening and we got to watch "Robin Hood" on the BBC America channel, which is what we like to do on Saturday nights.  So I am trying to forgive Mom for being so weird sometimes, and it's easier to forgive her if life is mostly normal again.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Jackalopes: a Warning!


While I was doing research on rabbits, I ran found some information about jackalopes that I think I should share with my readers.  I am worried that some of my doggy blog readers might try to catch and eat a jackalope, which would be a huge mistake.  This is because jackalopes can be AGGRESSIVE and DANGEROUS!  They are sometimes called "warrior rabbits," which is clearly a very scary name.

The way we came to have jackalopes is that pygmy deer mated with killer rabbits.  Jackalopes mostly live in western states such as Wyoming and New Mexico, but people have also seen them in other places.  So the point I want to make is that there are plenty of normal rabbits around for dogs to catch and eat, so there's no need to hunt jackalopes.


You may find this hard to believe, but some people say that jackalopes are mythical animals.  "Mythical" means that they don't really exist.  I think these people are simply in denial.  Every year there are jackalope sightings, and people take pictures of jackalopes, which they could not do if jackalopes didn't exist.  Maybe you have heard the saying that "the camera never lies."  Well, the camera does not lie about jackalopes!  Here's a photo of one, just to prove my point.


Jackalopes have also appeared in artwork, just like regular rabbits have.  Here is a drawing by the famous artist Albrecht Dürer.  He lived in Germany a long time ago, but he believed in jackalopes and even made a picture of one.






Sometimes jackalopes grow really, really big.  They are so big that a person can ride on them.  Any dog who would think of attacking such a big jackalope would have to be crazy -- or else maybe an Irish Wolfhound, because Irish Wolfhounds are very big dogs.

Jackalopes like to drink whiskey, so sometimes you can catch them by putting out some whiskey and then waiting until the jackalope gets drunk.  I don't recommend this method, though, because (1) most dogs are not old enough to buy whiskey legally, and (2) it still seems way too risky to mess with these vicious animals, even if they are drunk.

Another thing that jackalopes like is to sing.  Sometimes when cowboys are sitting around the campfire at night, singing, they have heard jackalopes singing their songs back to them.  This is really creepy!

Jackalopes are the most vocal right before a thunderstorm.  This is because they only mate while lightning is flashing.  The milk of a jackalope -- which is very hard to get, of course -- is supposedly a good medicine.  Also the milk is an aphrodisiac, but I'm not sure what that means.


Here is a useful tip that I found on the internet:  If you corner a jackalope or make it mad somehow, you can maybe keep it from killing you by falling to the ground and humming "Happy Trails to You."  If you don't know that song, then you may be out of luck.  I made Mom teach it to me, just in case I run into a jackalope by mistake.

There is a town in Wyoming called Douglas, and they like jackalopes so much that they voted to call themselves the "Jackalope Capital of the World."  Then they put up a great big statue of a jackalope, right there in town.  If you go to Douglas, Wyoming, you can buy a license to hunt jackalopes.  But the season for jackalope hunting is very short.  It is from midnight to 2:00 a.m. on June 31 every year.  I have to repeat, though, that I think it is a bad idea to try to hunt these vicious "warrior rabbits," even if you have a license!  And that's all I'm going to say about the subject.  You have been warned!

Friday, October 23, 2009

RABBITS! Part 2


The rabbit is one of the twelve Chinese zodiac signs, which gives Chinese artists a good excuse to make pictures of  rabbits.  Here is a painting by an artist named Cui Bo that was made in 1061, a year that happened a long, long time ago.  The last Year of the Rabbit was 1999, and the next one will be in 2011, so if you want to have a Rabbit year baby, you should maybe start planning now.  Rabbit year people are generally very nice.  They are kind and friendly and smart.  But they can also be moody and afraid to take risks.

I myself was born in the Year of the Horse, which means I can be headstrong, energetic, and talkative.  But I am supposed to be talking about rabbits, not horses, so that's all I will say about the Year of the Horse!

Anyway, here's another Chinese painting of rabbits.  It was made during the Qing Dynasty, in the 18th century.  The artist's name is Leng Mei.  As you can see, these rabbits are white.  They don't look anything like the Eastern Cottontail rabbits, but maybe Chinese rabbits are white.  Sometimes people keep white rabbits as pets, but I don't know where these white rabbits come from.  In my research, I learned that pet rabbits are usually European rabbits.  They are much bigger than Eastern Cottontails, which means they have lots more yummy meat, if you happen to get to eat one.



Throughout history, there have been many famous rabbits.  For instance, there's Br'er Rabbit, and there's the Easter Bunny, and of course there's Bugs Bunny.  Bugs Bunny has appeared on TV many times, so most everybody knows who he is.  Usually, he is eating a carrot, and he says, "Eh, what's up, Doc?"  Sometimes he says other stuff too.  And he talks funny, like he comes from the Bronx or Brooklyn or some weird place like that.  Also he is always outsmarting Elmer Fudd, who keeps trying to shoot him.


Bugs Bunny is much smarter than the rabbit in the story of the Tortoise and the Hare.  Maybe you know this story, which was written by Mr. Aesop, who wrote the Dog in the Manger story that I told you about before.  In the story of the Tortoise and the Hare, the hare makes fun of the tortoise because he is slow, so the tortoise challenges the hare to a race.  This seems like a stupid thing for the tortoise to do, but the hare is so sure he will win the race that he stops to take a nap, and the tortoise actually wins.  The moral of this story is:  Slow and steady wins the race.

Well, I am not sure that this moral is always true because for example if you are in a race to catch a rabbit so you can eat it, you need to go really fast, not "slow and steady."  This is how sighthounds hunt, in a fast burst of speed.  None of that "slow and steady" stuff for us!

When Mom went to Van Liew's with Aunt Cheryl, she bought a rabbit for us so that we will always have one in our garden.  This rabbit is very cute, but it is not edible, which is a serious shortcoming in a rabbit.  Anyway, Mom put the rabbit in her flower garden, so maybe it will attract some real rabbits that can actually be caught and eaten.


Here's another nice painting of rabbits that I found.  It was made by a man named Carl Oswald Rostosk in 1861.  I think the two rabbits are wondering if they should challenge the turtle to a race, except if they know the story of the Tortoise and the Hare, they might be afraid that the turtle would win.




But this last painting is the best one of all because it shows a dog that has caught a rabbit and will probably be eating it soon.  This dog is called a Landseer Newfoundland.  It is different from a regular Newfoundland because it is black-and-white instead of just black.  In some countries, the Landseer and the Newfoundland are two different breeds, but in the U.S., they are all lumped together as one breed.

The reason that the black-and-white Newfoundland got to be called "Landseer" was because of the artist Sir Edwin Henry Landseer, who painted this picture and lots of other pictures of this kind of dog.  People liked the pictures a whole bunch, so they started calling the dogs Landseers.  But anyway, the important point, as I mentioned before, is that the dog has caught a rabbit, and this shows that Mr. Landseer understood a lot about dogs, which means he was a very good person.  I wish I could have known him, but he's dead now, so it's too late, and that's kind of sad.