Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Dog Named Balto


This is the true story of another brave and famous dog.  His name was Balto, and he was a sled dog in Alaska.  As you can see from the photo, he was black-and-white, like me, which is one thing that made him very special.

But the main way Balto got to be famous was that in 1925, the children in Nome, Alaska, were about to get sick because of a disease called diptheria.  Nome is way up in the really, really north part of Alaska, and it was hard to get there in the winter, which is when this happened.  There was some medicine called antitoxin that could save people from dying of diptheria, but this medicine was located in Anchorage, which was a long way from Nome.

At first, people thought they could fly a plane to Nome with the medicine, but there was only one plane that they could use, and it was all frozen up, so they couldn't get its engine to run.  That's why they decided to send the medicine by dog sled.  So first the medicine went to a town called Nenana in a train, and after that, a bunch of dog sleds took it in a relay to Nome.



The last dog sled team to carry the medicine was led by Balto, and the "musher," which is what you call the person driving a dog team, was a man named Gunnar Kaasen.  Mr. Kaasen was Norwegian, which is why he had such a strange name.  Balto got his name from another Norwegian whose name was Samuel Balto.  Mr. Balto was a famous explorer who lived way up north of the Arctic Circle.

Balto wasn't usually a lead dog in a sled team, but he got to be the lead dog this time, and he turned out to be very smart when it came to keeping his team on the trail, even though it was nighttime and there was a blizzard going on.  So when the medicine arrived in Nome, everyone said that Balto was a hero.

But there was another hero during this event, and that was a sled dog named Togo, who was the leader of the team that handed the medicine off to Balto's team.  Togo's team also had a very hard time because of the weather and all the bad stuff going on, but Togo led them bravely through it all.  The musher of that team was named Leonhard Seppala, and he was actually the owner of Balto, too.  He thought Togo should get as much fame as Balto, but it didn't work out that way.


Here's a picture of Togo and Mr. Seppala on the left, and Balto with Mr. Kaasen on the right.







Anyway, in the end, Balto got all the fame and glory, and the people of New York City made a statue of Balto and put it in Central Park, near the children's zoo.



When Balto got old, he was living at the Cleveland Zoo, and that's where he died in 1933.  So the people of Cleveland stuffed him and put him in the museum there.  Later, the Alaskans wanted Balto to be in their museum instead, but the Cleveland people said no.  However, they let the stuffed Balto go to Alaska for a visit.

So that's the story of how Balto led the sled dog team to Nome and saved all the children there from dying of diptheria.  Nowadays, dog sleds aren't used so much for freight hauling and stuff like they used to be.  But every year there is a big race called the Iditarod, and a bunch of mushers and their teams compete to see who can run the trail the fastest.  It is a very hard race that lasts for several days, and it's dangerous because of the weather and also because there are polar bears lurking around, and they like to eat dogs.  Here's a map that shows where the Iditarod Trail goes.


But just in case you think that only huskies and Malamutes can pull dog sleds, here's a picture of a basenji sled dog team.  We don't know who took this photo or even if it's for real, but someone posted it on a basenji internet list one time, and Mom saved the photo because she thinks it's funny.  I don't think the photo is funny at all.  I think what it shows is that basenjis can be noble and brave, just like Balto and Togo.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

FAQ

FAQ #1:  Why do some dogs drool so much?

A:  Some breeds of dogs have really loose skin around their mouths, so the drool just kind of falls out of their mouths.  I guess they can't help it, but I think it's sort of gross, personally.  Some examples of dogs that slobber a lot are St. Bernards, basset hounds, bloodhounds, and bullmastifs.  Also sometimes dogs start drooling when they smell yummy food or when they are excited or when they are feeling stressed.  If you have a dog that drools a lot, you may have to carry a towel around with you to mop up the drool.





FAQ #2:  Why do dogs eat grass?
A:  Dogs eat grass when their tummies are feeling upset.  If they eat grass, it can make them puke, and puking can make them feel better.  I know this for a fact because I have eaten grass before when my tummy felt funny.  Then I puked, and after that I felt better.  Also, grass just tastes good sometimes.  I especially like to eat new grass in the spring because it is very yummy.  My favorite kind of grass to eat is crabgrass.



FAQ #3:  Are dogs mentioned in the Bible?
A:  Yes, dogs are mentioned fourteen times.  But mostly, dogs are just mentioned in passing.  They don't get any starring roles in biblical stories, which I think is rather sad.  Even donkeys get better stories written about them in the Bible, and donkeys aren't even Man's Best Friend!



FAQ #4:  Why do dogs have whiskers?
A:  Whiskers are very important because they are really sensitive and they can feel all kinds of things, like even which direction the air is going.  It's very useful to have whiskers to feel stuff that we can't see, such as things that go bump in the night.  Also whiskers make us look cuter.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Mom's Adventures at the Shelter

Mom went to the shelter yesterday, just like she does most Mondays.  She took her camera with her, which she doesn't usually do, and she took pictures of the dogs she played with, and she told me all about them, so now I can tell you about them, too.

When it's cold and snowy outside, Mom stays inside and plays with the dogs in a little room.  Some of the dogs went outside in the snowy yard to play, but Mom is a wimp and doesn't want to play in the snow with the dogs jumping all over her and stuff.  So that's why she stayed inside.

Anyway, first she brought the three littlest dogs in the room.  I have told you about these dogs before.  They are all very nice dogs, and you should adopt them if you need a nice little lap dog of your very own.  First there was Sasha, who looks like a miniature wolf.  Sasha likes to play with toys.


And there was Poppi, who only has one eye.  He is not really into toys.  He just hangs out near Mom and politely hints that maybe she should give him a treat.


Taco really, really likes toys!  She collects all the toys together and tries to carry more than one around in her mouth, but she has a small mouth because she is a small dog, so usually she can only fit one toy in it at a time.


Then when it's time to go back to her run, she hides from Mom because she doesn't want Mom to take away her toy, but Mom has to take it away because toys aren't allowed in the runs.  And this is because if the toys get chewed up, the pieces will got down the drain and clog it up.  Which has happened in the past, and it makes a big mess.


After Mom played with the three little dogs, she brought in Alvin and Molly.  Alvin is the beagle mix that you have seen photos of before because Mom held him at a satellite adoption one time.  He's a very nice dog, except that he keeps peeing in Petco if you don't watch him every minute.  And sometimes he pees in the little room at the shelter, but he didn't do that yesterday.


Molly hasn't been at the shelter very long.  She is maybe a greyhound mix.  Mom thinks she is really pretty, but of course, Mom is always a sucker for greyhounds and any dog that looks sort of like a greyhound.  Actually what Molly looks like is a coyote, at least in my opinion!  Molly is very shy.  Some people came to look at her yesterday while Mom was at the shelter, but they decided that Molly was too shy for them to adopt.  This is very sad, but it means that Molly is still available if you want to adopt her.


The next dogs Mom played with were AJ and Kola.  AJ is maybe a beagle mixed with a German Shepherd.  He's a very nice dog, but he likes to chew things up.  He was chewing on a tennis ball yesterday, and Mom was afraid he was eating the pieces, so she took it away from him.


Kola plays with the toys a little bit, but she mostly just wants treats.  Sometimes she and AJ play tug with  one of the toys, and when they are outside in the yard, they do a lot of running and body-slamming.  They really like to play together.


After that, Mom went and ate lunch in the volunteer room.  She always takes her lunch to the shelter because if she doesn't, she gets hungry and grumpy.

The dogs that Mom played with after lunch were Noel and O'Malley.  Noel is new to the shelter.  Mom already met Noel at the last satellite adoption event, but Noel didn't do very well there because she kept growling and snarking at the other dogs.  So Mom thinks that Noel won't be going to anymore satellites. Yesterday was the first time Mom played with Noel at the shelter.  Noel was very mouthy and kept trying to chew on Mom, which is a thing Mom doesn't like very much.  After a while, Noel settled down some and stopped behaving so badly, which made Mom happier.


Mom couldn't hardly get a photo of O'Malley because Noel kept jumping all over Mom, so she only got this one picture of him.  O'Malley already had a broken front leg when Animal Control found him, and his leg couldn't be fixed, so now he only has three legs.  O'Malley likes to chase balls and stuff, though, and Mom says he's a fun dog.


After that, Mom only had time for one more dog, so she chose Starla, who is Mom's new favorite pitbull.  Starla is not a very interesting color, but she is a very, very nice dog who just wants to sit in Mom's lap and be loved on.  So Mom took a bunch of pictures of Starla, mainly because she was the only dog who held still long enough to get her picture taken.  Here's Mom getting a kiss from Starla.


And here's Starla playing with a Kong.


And here's Starla just hanging out in Mom's lap.


Mom thinks it would be nice to adopt Starla, but we already have our Legal Limit of dogs, like I have told you before.  Besides which, Mom says our next dog is going to be a greyhound.  So that's why we can't adopt Starla.  But maybe somebody will adopt Starla soon.  Mom thinks that Starla would make an excellent therapy dog because she's so calm and friendly.

Well, that's all the adventures Mom had at the shelter yesterday.  All of the dogs I've told you about need somebody to adopt them, so if you know of anybody who could give them a good forever home, tell them to go to this website and they can find out more:  http://www.hsgkc.org

Monday, December 28, 2009

The Total Cuteness of Basenji Butts!

If you know anything about basenjis, you know that one of our best and cutest features is our curly tails.  Some people call them "cinnamon buns," although they aren't really anything you can eat.  Basenjis in Africa just have kind of loopy tails, but basenjis that are bred to be show dogs usually have tighter curls.  Gabe has a double curl in his tail, but I just have a single curl.  Either of these is okay to have, according to the Official Basenji Show Standards.

Here's a picture of Gabe's curly tail.  Mom sent this picture to a contest that Basenji Companions had, and Gabe won first place for "Curliest Tail."  I was very proud of him for winning this.


Some basenjis wag their tails and some don't.  I never wag my tail because that seems like something that only boring, regular dogs would do.  Gabe doesn't wag his tail either except when he is very, very excited, like if he sees his Mama Erin or his Granny Ruthie.

When we basenjis feel happy, our tails are all curled up over our backs.  But when we are sleeping or when we feel bad, our tails get uncurled.  My tail uncurls more than Gabe's tail because it only has one curl, which makes it easier to uncurl.  When dogs have really tight curls in their tail, it can actually hurt to uncurl them, so you shouldn't make their tails uncurl because it might hurt them and then they might bite you.

Sometimes other kinds of dogs have curly tails, too, but they're usually not as curly as basenji tails.  Barry has a curly tail that makes a big, round circle.  He wags his tail a lot, which Mom thinks is cute, for some reason.  We don't know why Barry has a curly tail.  It's possible that he is part basenji, but Mom can't afford to do one of those fancy, new DNA tests to find out what breeds Barry is made of.


It's not just the tail of a basenji that's cute, though.  I think the entire basenji butt is a thing of beauty.  Here's a picture Mom took recently of my butt while we were just hanging out one day.


And here's a picture of Gabe checking my butt to make sure it was all clean and pretty, even though we were hiking with Mom in the wilderness where nobody much was going to see us.  This is the kind of thing a nice brother will do for his little sister, so I'm always happy when Gabe does it for me.





Sometimes when I'm playing in the bedroom, I like to go under the bed and just leave my butt sticking out.  Mom thinks this is funny, which is why she took a picture of it.











And one way I like to sleep is to crawl under the dog bed instead of sleeping on top of it.  This adds variety to my life and keeps me from getting bored while I sleep.

So anyway, I hope that after reading my blog entry about basenji butts, you will agree that they are totally adorable.  And any time you happen to see a basenji butt, I hope you will take a little time to admire it!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

A real, live BLIZZARD!

Mom says she has never known of a real, true, official blizzard coming here to Missouri, but we had one on Christmas Eve!  Which means that I was not so wrong when I said that this is the Frozen North!  Ha!


Here's a picture that Mom took of the blizzard on Christmas Eve.  All the snowflakes were going really fast in the wind, so that's why they look like lines instead of like regular snowflakes.

The way the blizzard got started was that we had rain all day Wednesday and all morning Thursday.  It was a drag having so much rain, but at least it wasn't very cold out.  But then what happened was that the wind started blowing really, really hard, and also it got really, really cold.  And all the rain changed into sleet and snow and stuff like that, and it blew through the air in every direction.  We could hear the wind blowing for hours, and the wind blew the sweetgum balls off the tree, and they kept hitting the house like little cannonballs.

And when I had to go outside to potty, it was really cold, and the wind almost blew me away, but I went outside and pottied anyway, and Mom said I was a very brave girl!  But Gabe wouldn't go out to potty, so Mom took him out the front door on a leash, and he peed on the shrub right by the front door, and he had to pee a whole bunch because he had been saving it up all day long.

Oh, and Gabe bit Mom on the leg Thursday, and here's why he did it.  See, Gabe had been holding all his poop inside for, like, two days because of the rain, but finally he couldn't hold it any longer.  So he went outside and he pooped a whole bunch of turds all over the yard because he always walks around while he's pooping.  But one of the turds wouldn't come out all the way, and Gabe got all frantic because it wouldn't come out.  And the reason it wouldn't come out was because Gabe keeps chewing on the rug by the fireplace, and he pulls loose strings from the rug, and then he eats them.  So Gabe had all these stringy things in his poop, and that's why it wouldn't come out all the way.

So Mom went outside and she pulled the poop out, but Gabe squealed and snarked at Mom.  Probably the poop was hurting Gabe, but maybe it just felt funny.  Anyway, he and Mom came back in the house, but Gabe still had some string hanging out, so Mom pulled on it, and Gabe squealed again and bit Mom on the leg.  But luckily, Mom was wearing sweatpants and long johns, so she only got bruised.  And she got the string thing out of Gabe.


We spent Christmas Eve at home, and Mom built a nice fire in the fireplace, and she put blankies on me and Gabe, and we all took naps and watched TV.  And when we went to bed, it was still snowing and blowing, but we were safe and warm in our house.


Then on Christmas Day, when Mom opened the back door, there was a big snow drift right in front of the door, but I jumped over it and ran out in the yard to potty.  There was so much snow that we couldn't even tell where the steps were, or the edge of the patio, but I found a place way out in the yard where the snow was not so deep, and that's where I pottied.


Later on, Mom went out and shoveled a nice path across the patio for us, except that it was still snowing a little bit, so our path got snow on it again.  And Mom started shoveling the driveway, but it was a lot of work, so she hired the neighbor kids to shovel it instead.  And Mom stayed home all day long, even though she was supposed to go out with two of her friends to eat lunch and see a movie.  But there was so much snow, and it was so cold that nobody wanted to go out, so they didn't.

Mom will probably go out today, though.  She needs to go to the store because she is running out of Important Mom Food.


Oh, and Mom didn't make a turkey breast like she said she would do.  But she did make some scrambled eggs for us dogs for Christmas dinner, so I guess I can forgive her.

Friday, December 25, 2009

GOLD, FRANKINCENSE, and MYRRH


If you have read the story of when Baby Jesus was born, you will know that there were these three Wise Men who came to visit him.  The reason they were called Wise Men was because when they got lost and couldn't find the Baby Jesus, they actually stopped and asked for directions.  And the reason they got lost was because GPS hadn't been invented yet, so they had to follow a star, which is not as precise as GPS, especially when you are looking for something small, like a baby.

Anyway, when the Wise Men realized they were lost, they asked King Herod for directions, but he turned out not to be a good person to ask because (1) he didn't know where the Baby Jesus was either, and (2) if he had known, he would have gone there and personally killed the baby himself.  So the Wise Men went back to following the star, and finally they found the Baby Jesus, at which point they gave the baby some gifts that they had brought with them all the way from wherever they lived in The East.

There are several interesting things that we could discuss about this story, like for instance, whether it actually happened or not.  But Mom said if I talked about that, I might open a whole can of worms.  I would not want to do that because worms are not very tasty to eat.  If I could open a whole can of tuna, I would do it in an instant, but Mom says that is not an option, even though I know for a fact that she has some cans of tuna in a cabinet in the kitchen.


But anyway, what I am going to talk about is the choice of gifts that the Wise Men brought for the Baby Jesus.  As you may remember, the three gifts were:
1.  Gold
2.  Frankincense
3.  Myrrh

When I look at this list, I start wondering how wise the Wise Men really were, and whether they had ever had any babies of their own.  Well, okay, gold is a pretty good gift because you can buy a lot of practical baby stuff with gold, but frankincense and myrrh are not the kinds of things you see at most baby showers.  Instead, you see stuff like onesies and Pampers and teething rings and soft toys that play lullabies when you wind them up.


I had to do some research to even find out what frankincense and myrrh are, but now that I know, I will tell you about them.  It turns out that frankincense is the sap that comes out of a tree called Boswellia sacra.  Here's a picture of frankincense.  As you can see, it's kind of boring looking.  It's hard to imagine a baby clapping his hands and saying, "Oh goody!  Some pretty frankincense to play with!"





Here's a picture of the tree that frankincense comes from.  This tree grows in places like Arabia and North Africa.  About 5000 years ago, give or take a few months, people discovered that the resin from this tree smells really nice, so they started selling and trading it.  Besides making good incense, frankincense can also be used as an anti-inflammatory, which means that it makes swollen parts of your body be less swollen.




Myrrh is also the dried-up sap of a tree, but it's a different tree than the one that frankincense comes from.  Myrrh mostly comes from Commiphora myrrha, which grows in Yemen, Somalia, and eastern Ethiopia. Here's a picture of myrrh, which you will notice looks kind of like frankincense except it's a redder color.


This is a picture of the tree that myrrh comes from.  Mom actually has a Commiphora tree in her collection of succulent plants, although it's a different kind than the one you get myrrh from.  I asked Mom to take a photo of her plant, but she said it would not look very pretty right now because it has gone to sleep for the winter, and all the leaves fell off.

Anyway, what people used myrrh for was mostly as an ointment for dead bodies so that they wouldn't smell so bad.  And people also burned it as incense and put it in perfume or in wine.  Nowadays myrrh is still used sometimes in stuff like toothpaste or lotion.

So now you know what frankincense and myrrh are.  I guess they were okay gifts because they were expensive and could be used in some important ways.  But I still think a baby would have liked getting something more fun, like a rattle or a maybe a puppy.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

MISTLETOE



At Christmastime, you often see a plant called mistletoe, which is a really weird name for a plant, if you ask me.  But actually, you will only see this plant if you look way up high, because people hang it from high places so that they can kiss underneath it.  Which is another weird thing about mistletoe.

So today I will try to explain why people do these weird things, even though it's not always easy to understand why people do anything, as you may already know.  But first I will start by saying that mistletoe is POISONOUS for dogs and for cats and for people, too, so DON'T EAT IT!  If you eat it, you can get really sick and you might even die.  Consider yourself warned!

Anyway, no one is totally sure where the name mistletoe comes from, but one theory is that it comes from the Old English word misteltan.  This word was made out of two even older Anglo-Saxon words, mistel, which means "dung," and tan, which means "twig."  So mistletoe can be translated as "poop on a stick."


This is a pretty good name for it because the mistletoe plant grows up in the branches of trees, and the way it gets started growing is that a bird eats a mistletoe berry (which is NOT poisonous for birds) and then the bird poops on a tree branch, and the mistletoe seed sticks to the branch because the seed is very sticky, and the mistletoe starts growing there.

Mistletoes are parasites, which means they live off of something else, without doing anything nice for the something else, which is exactly like what a tapeworm does inside a dog.  So the mistletoe grows its roots right into the tree where its seed got pooped out by the bird.  And the mistletoe steals food and stuff right out of the tree, which sometimes kills the tree, but not always.

Except that mistletoes are not total parasites.  Instead, they are called hemiparasites, which means "half parasites" because they can actually do this thing called photosynthesis -- which is something that plants do -- all by themselves, so they are not depending on the tree for absolutely everything they need.


Anyway, about the kissing thing.  Like I told you, people hang mistletoe up high, like from light fixtures and doorframes, and then when a girl goes under the mistletoe, a boy is supposed to kiss her.  This custom got its start a long, long time ago.  The Ancient Greeks did it at the festival of Saturnalia, and the Ancient Scandinavians did it, too.  The reason they all got started doing this strange thing was because they thought mistletoe was a magical plant that made the boys and girls feel frisky and want to make puppies.  Or babies, if they were humans.  Also the mistletoe was a sign of peace, so if you had a fight, you could kiss and make up under the mistletoe.  And if you hung mistletoe in your house or barn, it could keep away the witches and other bad spirits.

So that's pretty much the explanation of the mistletoe plant and why it shows up at this time of year.  If you are feeling frisky, you can kiss under the mistletoe, but just remember not to eat it because if you do, you might die, which would not be a fun way to spend the holidays!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

I AM AN UNUSUAL AND EXPENSIVE DOG, by Barry

Monday Mom took me to Dr. Patricia's office first thing in the morning, without giving me any breakfast.  This was so I could get my broken tooth extracted and the rest of my teeth cleaned.  Then in the afternoon, when I was awake again, Mom came and got me and paid the bill, which was way more than she expected it to be, so we have both been trying to recover ever since!

Mom had hoped she would not have to pay more than about $400 for everything that Dr. Patricia did, but Mom was apparently indulging in some wishful thinking, because the whole bill came to $767.12.  Part of why it cost so much was due to the fact that I turned out to be a dental oddity, as dogs go.  I am very proud of being unusual in this way, but Mom says that I am just unusually expensive!


Now I will explain to you what makes me so special and unusual.  My tooth that was broken was called the 3rd Premolar.  Here's a photo that shows it.  It's that upper tooth that is the second one from the left.  I was asleep when this photo was taken, so I couldn't smile or do anything to look more handsome, so I apologize for that.  The reason I have all those other missing teeth is because of the unfortunate Thunderstorm Incident when I ripped them out.  I described this Incident in a previous blog post.


Anyway, it turns out that canine premolars generally have two roots each, but my premolar had THREE roots.  Dr. Patricia and Nurse Debbie had never seen a dog with a 3-rooted premolar, so that is what makes me so unusual.  Here is an x-ray that shows the three roots of my tooth, although it's a little hard to see the third one.  While they were at it, they took an x-ray of the premolar on the other side of my mouth, and it has three roots, too.  So you could say that I am quite a symmetrical dog -- or at least I was before that broken premolar was extracted.

Because of the three roots, it was harder to extract my tooth than it would have been with only two roots.  Or at least that's what Nurse Debbie told Mom.  So we assume that's why the extraction cost $250, all by itself.  And of course there were all the usual costs of doing a dental, plus some antibiotics and pain pills, too.  But the fact that they take all those nice photos and x-rays and send them all home in a pretty little binder almost makes it seem worth the cost.  Anyway, that's how I see it, but Mom is not quite convinced.

I have to eat soft food for two whole weeks and not chew on anything hard.  Mom has been giving me canned food, which is extremely delicious, in my opinion.  Yesterday Mom even went to the store to buy more canned food, so we wouldn't run out.

And that's the story of my broken tooth.  Mom told me to quit chewing on hard things because she can't afford to have any more of my teeth extracted anytime soon.  I will try to remember to do as she says, but I certainly do enjoy chewing, so I might forget sometime that I'm not supposed to do it!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

THE JOY OF BARKING! by Mel


Barking is a very important means of self-expression for a dog.  Even omega dogs such as myself like to bark.  Mom says I bark too much, but that is just her opinion.  My own humble opinion is that I bark exactly the right amount.

I like to bark when I am happy or excited or scared.  And I also bark to alert the other dogs to the fact that something interesting is happening, and they might want to bark, too.  Mom calls this "a barkable event."

Of course, Gabe and Piper are basenjis, so they don't bark.  It's really ironic, when you think about it, that I ended up living in a family with basenjis.  Gabe barks occasionally, but he only barks about three times and that is all.  I felt much better when Barry joined the family because after that there were two of us barkers.

One thing I bark about is if I see squirrels in the back yard.  When I start barking at squirrels, the other dogs come running out to try to catch the squirrels.  Gabe and Piper think it is stupid of me to bark at squirrels because it makes the squirrels run away.  But the fact is that I just can't help myself.  When I see a squirrel, I get very excited, and when I get excited, I bark!

I also bark at the mail carrier and at people walking their dogs past our house and at kids running through our yard.  Barry barks at all these same things, so we sound quite formidable, and we always manage to scare away any would-be intruders.

Sometimes Barry and I also bark at other dogs when we are out walking with Mom.  Mom hates it when we do this, and she always praises us if we don't do it.  So we don't do it quite as much as we used to.

Another good time for barking is when Mom is fixing our breakfast or supper.  It had not occurred to me to bark about getting fed, but then Barry started doing it sometimes.  First Barry just whined when Mom was fixing our food, but then he started getting so excited that his whine turned into a bark.  Barry gets very turned on by the thought of eating, so he can't help it if he whines and barks.  It makes me happy to think about eating, too, so I have also begun to bark while Mom is fixing our food.  Mom usually tells Barry and me to be quiet when we do this, and sometimes she even stops fixing the food until we quit barking.  But as soon as she starts again, we start again, too.

About the only other time I bark is when I am telling someone to back off.  I do this with scary people or scary dogs.  I don't waste a lot of time growling first.  I just snap at them and bark, and this is how I deliver the message that they shouldn't mess with me.  They usually get the message, too, I'm happy to say.

Well, I guess that's all I have to say about barking.  It's time for me to go look in the yard and see if there are any squirrels I can bark at!