Sunday, May 30, 2010

Mom's Adventure at the River Market

Yesterday Mom made us get up really, really early, like at 4:30 while it was still dark.  And she made us do this even though it was a Saturday and it was also a holiday weekend.  Then Mom fed us and ate some cereal and didn't take us for a walk, and then she left.  And she was gone a very long time, but finally she came home about 3:30 in the afternoon.


So it turned out that where Mom went was this place called the River Market.  And it's called that because it's near the Missouri River, and also it's a farmers' market kind of place.  Every Saturday lots of people go there to sell veggies and fruit and flowers and bread and honey and anything they think people will buy.  Mom and some other people from the cactus club went there because they thought maybe they could sell some cactus plants.  And actually, they sold quite a few, so they were happy.


Mom took her camera to the River Market because she knew I would like to have some photos for my blog.  And she was right about this.  Some of the plants that the cactus club was selling are called "hen and chicks."  These plants are not like real chickens because they don't cluck and they don't lay eggs.  Also they aren't yummy to eat.  But I'm just telling you what they are called.  Some other kinds of plants that they were selling are called cholla and prickly pears.  These plants grow outside, even in the snow, and they have lots of sharp spines, so you do not want to run into one.


Close to where the cactus people were, there were some other people selling flowers.  They had lots and lots of petunias and impatiens and very colorful flowers like that.


Some of the people who were selling flowers had a little girl who took a very long nap, which Mom wished she could do, but she couldn't because she is a grown-up.


Next door to the cactus club, there were people selling scallions and all kinds of herbs and stuff like that. These people were from an Asian country, like maybe Vietnam or Laos or someplace like that.


They had two boys who ate big plates of French fries with catsup and then one of them took a little nap.


Anyway, we dogs had to stay home all day and catch up on our quality sleep because Mom had made us get up so early.  We couldn't go to the River Market because dogs are not allowed there.  Dogs used to be allowed there, but then someone made a rule that they couldn't go there anymore.  Last year when the cactus club went to the River Market, Mom saw a few people who had dogs with them even though they weren't supposed to bring them there.  But this year Mom did not see a single dog, so maybe people got in trouble for bringing their dogs.  It's sad that there is this rule about dogs, but I don't think I would like the River Market anyway, so I guess I don't mind.

Friday, May 28, 2010

My Toenail Fell Off! Yikes!

Oh my gosh!  Yesterday, right in the middle of physical therapy, my toenail that I hurt before just fell off my foot!  I couldn't believe it happened, even though Dr. Patricia said I might lose my toenail.  But it wasn't really lost.  It was right there on the floor, and Dr. Connie found it.  But it hurt when it came off, and then it started bleeding, and I started limping.

So Dr. Connie took me to another doctor whose name I don't remember, and he bandaged my foot with a pink bandage.  And then they put a Cone of Shame on my head and took me out to the lobby where Mom was waiting.  And Mom said she did not want to pay for the Cone of Shame because she already had several of them at home, so they took it off me, but Mom had to pay for my bandage, which cost $26.  Mom said she could have just done it herself at home, and it would have cost a lot less, but she didn't really have a choice because my toenail fell off while we were at that expensive Mission MedVet place.

Anyway, when we got home, Mom found a cone for me to wear, and she put it on me, even though I squirmed and wiggled a whole lot.  Mom thought I would find a way to take the cone off, but so far I haven't figured out how to do that.  I have been way too busy trying to figure out how to walk around and jump on the sofa and sleep and go up stairs with the stupid thing on.  I am getting better at doing these things, but I still have a lot to learn.  Mostly, I just let Mom carry me up the stairs, but going down is easier, so I can do that all by myself.

I have to wear the cone for two or three days, until I get the bandage taken off.  Mom said she might just take the bandage off herself instead of having a vet do it.  Mom even has special bandage scissors.  She learned all about bandaging dogs when we were fostering greyhounds because greyhounds have really thin skin, so they are always getting boo-boos.

Mom said she is very proud of me for leaving my cone on.  She says that I look trĂ©s femme with my pink bandage.  That is French for "very girlish."  I like being so pretty and stylish, but I don't like having to wear a bandage that makes me walk funny!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Rough Collies

Well, after writing about Lassie yesterday, I decided to do some in-depth research on the rough collie breed, and now I'm going to tell you what I found out.  First of all, I will say that rough collies have LOTS of hair!  In fact, when people say that a collie is "rough," what they mean is that it has long hair.  This is the opposite of a "smooth" collie, which has short hair.  I think it would make more sense to just say "long" and "short" instead of "rough" and "smooth," but nobody asked for my opinion.










A sheltie and a collie
Anyway, collies got their start in Scotland, where they were used to herd sheep and guard flocks and drive cattle to market and do useful stuff like that.  And since it is often cold and rainy in Scotland, a dog with long hair would not get overheated while doing all this hard work.  There's a kind of sheep in Scotland that has a black face, and this sheep is called a colley.  So this is probably where the collie dog got its name.















Later on, the English and Welsh people started breeding their own types of collies with the Scottish collie, and then some Borzoi might have got thrown in to make a longer head, plus some Irish setter to make the collie taller.  In the 1860s, Queen Victoria started keeping rough collies at Balmoral Castle, and that made the breed very popular because everybody wanted the same kind of dog that the queen had.

The first time a rough collie was in a dog show was in 1860.  The AKC recognized the breed in 1885.  The Collie Club of America, which started in 1886, is one of the very oldest breed clubs in the U.S.








Rough collies come in four different colors:

(1) Sable
(2) Tri-colored
(3) Blue merle
(4) White









Lassie was a fine example of what kind of temperament rough collies are supposed to have.  They really like to be with people and they love children, and this makes them very good dogs for families to have.  Also they are friendly and smart and playful and easy to train.  But collie puppies need to be socialized early, so they don't start being scared of strangers.  Also, collies will sometimes try to herd children, so unless you need to have your children herded, you should teach your collie not to do this.






You can keep a collie in an apartment, but you still need to take it for walks or else take it somewhere to run and get plenty of exercise.  Collies are not used much for herding nowadays.  Mostly people use border collies for that.  But rough collies can do lots of other good stuff, such as search and rescue,  therapy work, agility, and competitive obedience.

Mom knows a rough collie named Cabernet, whose mom is on the Humane Society board.  Cabernet is a tri-colored collie.  She and her mom like to go to Children's Mercy Hospital to try to make the sick kids feel better.  I think they must be very good at this.  Cabernet is very calm and friendly and not spooked by all the scary stuff in a hospital, like I would be.  And this is why she is a therapy dog and I am not!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A Dog Named Lassie

I'll bet everybody has heard of Lassie, even if they don't even like dogs!  And the reason for this is because Lassie was very famous in the movies and on TV.  Mom used to watch Lassie on TV when she was a little girl, and it was on at 6:00 p.m. every Sunday night, so Mom's mom and dad had to make sure that Mom was home then so she could watch it.

But before Lassie was on TV, she was a character in a short story called "Lassie, Come Home," which was written by a man named Eric Knight.  Then this story was made into a novel with the same name, and after that, in 1943, it became a movie.  And what happens in this story is that a boy who lives in Yorkshire, England, has a beautiful collie named Lassie.  But then the boy's family becomes poor, so they have to sell their dog.  But Lassie escapes from her new people and goes through all kinds of stuff in order to get back to the boy she loves.

Well, guess what!  The dog who played the part of Lassie in the movie was actually a BOY dog, and his name was Pal!  He was born on June 4, 1940 in North Hollywood, and he had a very fancy pedigree that went back to some famous collie in England in the 19th century.  But the problem with Pal was that he had large eyes and a white blaze on his forehead, so he was not really a show quality dog, and he was sold as a pet.

Pal had some bad habits, like barking a whole bunch and also chasing motorcycles.  So he ended up going to see a trainer named Rudd Weatherwax, who trained animals for the movies.  Mr. Weatherwax was able to teach Pal not to bark so much, but he couldn't teach him not to chase motorcycles.  Anyway, Pal's owner gave Pal to Mr. Weatherwax as payment for his work.  But then Mr. Weatherwax gave Pal to a friend of his.  But when Mr. Weatherwax heard that a movie was being made of Lassie, Come Home, he decided that Pal was the perfect dog to star in it, so he bought Pal back for $10.00.

The movie was a big hit, so MGM made, like, seven more Lassie films.  But after 1951, the studio decided not to make any more movies about Lassie.  So Mr. Weatherwax and Pal went out traveling to fairs and rodeos and places like that.

By this time, television had been invented, and a bunch of people bought TVs, and they wanted some interesting shows to watch.  So this producer named Robert Maxwell got the idea of making a TV show about Lassie.  He and Mr. Weatherwax and Pal made a couple of pilot episodes, and CBS started showing Lassie on September 12, 1954.

For the first three years, the show was about Lassie and a boy named Jeff Miller, who lived with his mother and grandfather.  Then the story changed, and there was a younger boy named Timmy, who was adopted by a Mr. and Mrs. Martin.  After eleven seasons, Lassie went to live with some U.S. Forestry Service workers.  And then she spent a year just traveling around without any human to belong to until she finally ended up at a children's home for the last two seasons of the show.

Pal, the dog who started out playing Lassie, only did the first two episodes of the TV show.  After that, he retired, and his son, Lassie Junior, took over.  Then Lassie Junior got cancer, so his son Spook was brought in, but he didn't have a lot of training, and on the very first day that he was on the set, a light fell down and really scared him.  So he was always kind of nervous while filming was going on.  Spook's brother, Baby, played Lassie after that, and he did it for six years.  The last two Lassies were named Mire and Hey Hey.

All of these boy Lassies were descended from Pal, who died in 1958.  Mr. Weatherwax was very, very sad when Pal died because he loved Pal so much.  He buried Pal in a special place on his ranch, and he visited the grave a lot.  And he could never stand to watch one of the Lassie movies again because he didn't want to see Pal and be reminded that he was gone.

Anyway, Lassie was on TV for nineteen years, which is a really long time.  The last episode was on was March 24, 1973.  So this means that the show started when Mom was two years old, and it ended when she was a junior in college.  I think people liked this show a lot because it was about a boy and his dog who really, truly loved each other, and the dog was incredibly smart and could rescue the boy from whatever scary situation he got himself into.  Or if she couldn't rescue him herself, she could go get help.

But the main thing is the love between a dog and a human.  That is a very old story, but no one ever seems to get tired of it.

Monday, May 24, 2010

"The Hair of the Dog"

This is a really, really old phrase that goes all the way back to the time of Mr. William Shakespeare or maybe even farther back than that.  In the beginning, this phrase got invented because people thought that if you were bitten by a dog, you could put a few hairs from that same dog in the wound, and that would keep you from getting rabies.  Which is not really true, as we know nowadays, but back then, people believed lots of strange things.

Later on, the phrase started being used to talk about curing a hangover, which is what you get if you drink too much.  The way you know you have a hangover is you get a really bad headache and you might feel like puking and you will just feel yucky all over.  Or at least this is what I have heard about hangovers.  Personally, I have never had a hangover, but one time I drank too much water too fast and puked it up.  That's not the same thing, though.

But getting back to the "hair of the dog," some people think that if you get drunk on, like, vodka, then you can cure your hangover by drinking some more vodka.  Maybe these people are right, but maybe not.  At least this is not the kind of cure that a doctor would tell them to use.

In Mexico, some people get rid of their hangovers by eating boiled tripe.  I really like tripe, and we dogs get venison tripe every day with our food.  This tripe comes out of a can, so I don't know it if has been boiled or not.  And in case you don't remember what tripe is, I will just mention that it is the extremely yummy grass and sort of digested stuff that comes out of an animal's stomach.  It's really, really good, so you might want to eat it even if you don't have a hangover.

The ancient Romans used to cure their hangovers by eating deep-fried canaries.  This sounds incredibly tasty to me, so I am going to ask Mom to make us some.  The Greeks used to eat sheep lungs to cure hangovers.  And to prevent them, they ate boiled cabbage, which does not sound nearly as good.

But if you want my opinion, I think the best thing to do is to not get a hangover in the first place, and you can do this by not drinking a whole lot.  Of course, this is easy for me to say since I am too young to drink anyway.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Another Little Update

Well, first of all, I will tell you that Gabe has a UTI, which stands for Urinary Tract Infection, or else for Unusual Tendency to Irritate.  So now he is taking a pill called Baytril, which is really expensive.  Also the pills are humongous, so Mom has to cut each one of them into four pieces.  But after Gabe finishes taking all his pills, he should feel all better.

The rain finally stopped, and the sun came out Friday.  And then yesterday it got really hot, like close to 90 degrees, and it's supposed to be hot like that again today.  This is kind of a shock because it was cold and rainy for so many days, and now all of a sudden, it's hot.  I do not understand why the weather does this.  I just hope the ground will dry up soon because I don't like walking on soggy ground and getting my feet wet.

Now I guess I should talk about the kitties a little bit.  They are mostly still hiding under the covers, except that Charlie comes out whenever Mom goes in the room to visit.  And if it's bedtime, Chloe comes out, too.  Cats mostly just like to do stuff at night, so this is when they come out and eat and poop and do that kind of thing.

Here's a picture that shows what a big, fat tummy Charlie has.

And here's one of Chloe.

Mom was at Petco yesterday for a satellite adoption, so she bought the kitties some toys and some cat food.  Do you think she bought any toys for us dogs?  NO!  She said we would just chew them up.  I don't know where she gets these crazy ideas.  Just because we chewed up toys in the past does not mean we'll do it again.  But unfortunately, we made the mistake of letting Mom watch a TV show the other night called "My Dog Ate What?"  And now she really, really doesn't want us eating any weird stuff.  Personally, I think she's overreacting, but what can I do?

Friday, May 21, 2010

LONGHORNS

Longhorns are a breed of cattle that was invented in Texas so that the University of Texas would have a nice design for their t-shirts.  Hahahaha!


But seriously, Texas longhorns came from some cattle that the Spanish brought with them in 1493, and also they might have got mixed with some British cattle from the 1600s.  And then some of these cattle got loose and ran around being wild.  But they didn't need fancy grass and stuff to eat, so they got by pretty well on whatever they could find to graze on.


So when people were settling Texas in, like, the 1820s and 30s, they mostly had longhorns because these cattle did okay eating the grass there, which was not as green and yummy as the grass in places like Wisconsin.


Then the ranchers in Texas drove big herds of cattle to places like Abilene, Kansas, where there was a railroad, and they sold the cattle so that people could make beef out of them.  But I don't know how a bunch of longhorn cattle could be together in a herd without stabbing each other with their horns.  That is the part I really don't understand, because if you measure from the tip of one horn to the tip of the other horn, it can sometimes be 7 feet, which is really wide.


Anyway, after a while, people started to like fatter cattle, so ranchers stopped raising longhorn cattle.  In fact, the longhorns almost went extinct.   But then in 1927, some people in the U.S. Forest Service put together a herd of longhorns in Oklahoma and started breeding them.  And then some other people started keeping small herds of them in Texas state parks.


And after a while, ranchers realized that longhorns were good to have because they didn't get sick very often, and they weren't fussy about what they ate, and also the cows could just go off and have their calves without any problems.  So ranchers started keeping longhorns again, or at least they bred them to their cattle so they could get some of the good qualities from the longhorns.  And also they just liked to have them around because they reminded them of the Old West.

Oh, and guess what!  You can actually ride a longhorn, just like you would ride a horse.  But I'm not sure why anybody would want to do this.


Also I will mention that the baby longhorns don't have any horns when they are born, which is good, because otherwise they would stab their moms when they are nursing.


We did not see any longhorns when we were in Texas visiting Aunt Cheryl and Hank, but I'm sure there there were some around somewhere.  There just didn't happen to be any in Aunt Cheryl's back yard.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Our Kitties Are Here!

Mom brought our foster kitties home yesterday afternoon.  Their names are Charlie and Chloe.  Charlie weighs 27 pounds and Chloe weighs 17 pounds.  I don't know how old they are because Mom forgot to ask the people at the shelter.

Anyway, when Mom took them into their special room, they hid under the bed, and they did not come out for hours and hours, not even to eat or to use the litter box.


Charlie looks really funny because he got totally shaved at the shelter Tuesday, except for his head and his feet and a little tuft at the end of his tail.  This is called a "lion cut."  If I were a cat, I would be embarrassed to look like that, so I can totally understand why Charlie doesn't want to come out from under the bed.  

Here's a picture of Chloe's butt.  She was hiding behind a doggy gate that was leaning against the wall.  When Mom moved the gate a little bit, she got to pet Chloe's head and take a picture of her.  Chloe has short hair, so she did not have to get shaved because she was not all matted like Charlie.



At bedtime last night, Mom went in the cat room, and she sat there and talked to the cats for a while, and Charlie got brave and came out from under the bed.  Then he rubbed all over Mom and purred a whole bunch and let her pet him.  And the reason he was rubbing on Mom was because he was marking her as his very own, but she is not really his very own because she belongs to us dogs.  We had her first!  So there!

And then Chloe also got brave and came out of her corner, and she also purred and rubbed all over Mom and head-butted her to say "Pet me!  Pet me!"

After that, we all went to bed, but in the night, we heard a strange sound, so we jumped out of bed, but Mom said it was just a kitty scratching in the litter box.  Of course, we wanted to go in and eat the kitty poop, but Mom said we couldn't do that.

I have told Mom that if she lets me go in and meet the cats, I will be really nice to them, but she does not believe me.  She says it's best if the cats and dogs don't get together because if we did, we might fight like cats and dogs.  Hahahaha!

Well, okay, that's all I have time to write today.  Maybe tomorrow I can write about a more interesting topic  than cats.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

FAT CATS!


You'll never guess what!  We are going to have TWO cats living at our house!  Mom is going to bring them home from the shelter later today.  But we're not going to keep them here forever and ever.  We're just going to foster them for a while.  And Mom said that the cats are going to have their own private room, and that we dogs will not be allowed to go in the room with the cats because Mom does not want any dogs to be eating any cats.  Which is kind of disappointing, but when Mom lays down the law, there's not much you can do about it.

So anyway, the reason we are getting these cats at our house is because at the shelter they've been saying that they need people to foster litters of kittens.  And Mom decided it would be fun to do that.  So when Mom talked to the lady at the shelter, she found out that there would be some kittens coming later, but the lady said they also had two full-grown cats that needed to be in a foster home.

And the reason these cats needed a foster home was because their human died, and nobody else in the family could adopt them.  So a rescue group is going to find a home for them.  But first the cats have to lose some weight because they are both REALLY FAT.  And also they are both very shy.  

Mom met the cats yesterday, and one is black-and-white (like me!) and he is a boy, and Mom thinks his name is Charlie.  And the other cat is what you call a "dilute tortie," which means that she is mostly kind of grey and also she has some orangish patches on her.  Mom doesn't remember what her name is.

When Mom met the cats, Charlie was hiding under his bed, except that he was so big that only his front half fit under the bed.  And the girl kitty was all huddled up in the back corner of the cage.  So Mom is going to bring them home and feed them diet food and try to get them to be more friendly and to maybe get a little exercise.  I think if she would just let Gabe chase them around the house, that would be really good exercise, but Mom said that is not what she has in mind.

That's all I know to tell you about our new kitties now, but later on maybe I'll have some pictures and can tell you more about them.  At least I hope so!


Monday, May 17, 2010

EXPLORING AUNT CHERYL'S BACK YARD, by Gabe

I convinced Piper that I could do a better job of writing about Aunt Cheryl's back yard than she could, so she is letting me write her blog entry today.  The reason why I think I am better suited for this job is because I am a boy dog, and boy dogs always explore areas more thoroughly while they are looking for suitable places to mark.

So with the help of some photos that Mom took, I will try to explain all about Aunt Cheryl's yard.  First of all I will say that when I have been there in the past, there was a whole bunch of bamboo at one end of the yard.  There was so much of it that it was like a special little forest that was perfect for dogs to run around in.  Sadly, Aunt Cheryl decided that she wanted to get rid of the bamboo, so she hired someone to cut it all down and dig it up.  But digging it up is really hard work, so that job is not finished yet.

Here is a picture of the part of the yard that used to have bamboo in it.  Now it is very empty and not nearly as interesting as it used to be, at least in my opinion.  But one thing I really liked was that a bunch of grass and stuff got thrown over the back fence after it was dug up.  So it was in a pile against the fence in sort of a woodsy area where there are armadillos and lots of other really cool wildlife.  This plant stuff was all kind of rotting, so it smelled totally wonderful, and I wanted to roll in it, but I couldn't because it was on the other side of the fence.  So what I did instead was I rubbed myself on the fence a whole bunch.

Anyway, what Aunt Cheryl is trying to do with her yard is to get rid of stuff like bamboo and grass, and replace it with plants that would just normally grow in Texas.  This is a really big project, so it will probably take many years to get it all finished.

I will also mention that Aunt Cheryl likes all kinds of containers and pots and weird pieces of iron and pottery, so she buys these things at yard sales and thrift stores, and then she brings them home and puts them in her yard.  Most of this stuff is good to pee on, so I like it for that reason.  Hank also likes to pee on this kind of stuff because he is a boy dog, just like me.



Anyway, another thing Aunt Cheryl likes to do is go to garden centers and buy plants.  Then she brings them home and puts them in the funny containers she bought.  But so far, she has more containers than plants, so things are a little stacked up.

While we were there visiting Hank and Aunt Cheryl, some men were working on the front yard, and they were digging up the grass.  Also they were putting paving stones in to make places to walk on where you could go without stepping on plants.  Mom didn't take any pictures of the front yard, so I can't show you what it looks like.  That's okay, though, because there was plenty to check out in the back yard.  Now that we are home again, our own back yard seems really boring by comparison, but I guess there's nothing I can really do about that unless I can get Aunt Cheryl to adopt me!

Saturday, May 15, 2010

My Visit to Dr. Patricia

Well, Mom started getting worried about my toe because I was sort of licking it again, so she decided to make an appointment with Dr. Patricia.  And besides, Mom is always looking for ways to spend more money on us dogs.  NOT!

So yesterday afternoon I had to go to the vet's office, and Gabe had to go, too, because Mom thought maybe he has a urinary tract infection, on account of he has really stinky pee again.  But at least Mom remembered to take some treats for us to eat while we were waiting to get to see Dr. Patricia, so that made it not quite so bad.

Anyway, Dr. Patricia looked at my toenail, and she was all sympathetic, and she said it looked like I had really hurt it.  She even said I might end up losing my toenail.  Yikes!  And also she noticed that the pad of my foot was pulling away from the nail, but she did not explain why it was doing this.  And she said my toe was still sort of swollen.  Then she said I might even have a broken toe, but the only way to know that would be to make an x-ray of it.

So now I have to get pain pills again, even though Mom had stopped giving them to me because she thought I was all better.  And I have to keep taking antibiotics, and I have to take even more of them than I was taking before.  Also I'm not supposed to lick my toe, so Mom is going to look for her bottle of Bitter Apple and see if that will help me remember not to lick it.

Oh, and they also trimmed my toenails so that they won't be rubbing on the ground so much and pushing on my sore toe.

Then Dr. Patricia and Mom talked about Gabe, and Dr. Patricia took him in the back room, and Nurse Debbie stuck a needle in his bladder and got some urine out of it.

After that, we finally got to leave, and it cost $219 for everything they did to us, so Mom was Not Happy.

Mel and Barry are mostly okay, but they are having kind of soft poop.  Mom is hoping they will just get better all by themselves because she does not want to spend more money at the vet's office right now.

Friday, May 14, 2010

ARMADILLOS

In Texas you often see armadillos, or at least you see pictures of them.  And sometimes you see them upside-down and dead beside the road after they get hit by a car.  You might not see real, live armadillos unless you are out at night when they come out for look for food.  There are some armadillos that come into Aunt Cheryl's yard and dig little holes at night.  Gabe and I could smell the armadillos, and Aunt Cheryl showed Mom the holes that they dug, but we did not see the armadillos themselves.

In Spanish, armadillo means "little armored one."  This is a good word for armadillos because they have sort of leathery armor made out of bone, and they wear it all the time.  Armadillos are mammals, just like dogs or humans.  Their closest relatives are anteaters and sloths.  All the world's armadillos live in North or South America.  There are about 20 kinds of armadillos, but the only kind that lives in the United States is the nine-banded armadillo.

This kind of armadillo used to live mostly in Texas and Louisiana, but now it is starting to live in other places, too.  Some armadillos moved east to South Carolina and Florida, and others moved north.  There are now armadillos in Missouri and also in Illinois and Indiana and even in southern Ontario.  But probably the armadillos won't go much farther north because they have a lower body temperature than a lot of mammals do, so it's hard for them to keep warm in the winter.

Armadillos really like to dig.  They dig dens and burrows, and they also dig to find food like grubs and ants and other insects.  People don't like to have armadillos come in their yards because the armadillos tear up the flower beds and eat the flowers.  Another thing that armadillos like to eat is dead animals.  So in some ways, armadillos and dogs are similar because they both like to dig and eat dead animals.  But of course dogs are much cuter and cuddlier than armadillos.

When armadillos need to cross some water, they just hold their breath and wade in and start walking under water.  They can hold their breath for 6 minutes, which is enough time to get across a stream or something like that.  If they have to cross a big bunch of water, they fill up their stomachs and intestines with air, and then they just kind of float across.  After they get to the other side, they have to let all the air out again, but this might take a few hours.

People have tried keeping armadillos in their houses, but they do not make very good pets.  They can be housebroken, but they are smelly, and also they like to sleep during the day and then get up at night and rummage around in the trash cans and make a bunch of noise.

You can eat armadillos, and some people in South America do this.  I read that the meat tastes like pork, so I think it would be quite yummy.  During the Great Depression, some people who were really poor had to eat armadillos, and they called them "Hoover dogs" because they were mad at President Hoover.

Besides eating armadillos, you can also make all kinds of weird stuff out of them, such as purses and musical instruments.  Or you can just stuff them and have them sitting around.  This seems kind of weird to me, but I am just reporting what I learned during my extensive, in-depth research.

Oh, but here's something really interesting about nine-banded armadillos.  When they have baby armadillos -- which are called "pups," even though they don't look anything like dogs -- they have four of them at a time.  And the four are all made from the same egg that divided, so they are not just littermates, they are quadruplets with all the same genes and everything.

So because of this funny thing about armadillos, scientists like to study them.  And they especially like to study a disease called leprosy in armadillos, because there are almost no other animals besides humans that can get leprosy.  And since there are four identical armadillos born every time, all together, the scientists can try to figure out how to maybe make a vaccine someday to keep people from getting leprosy.

Mom thinks armadillos are kind of cute, but she hopes that we don't get any of them in our yard because she does not want them digging holes there.  I told her not to worry because if an armadillo comes in the yard, we dogs will catch it and eat it.  Yum!