Sunday, August 29, 2010


Yesterday was a day of discoveries, starting with when M went to put his daily pills, vitamins, stay-young-forever supplements, and so forth into a plastic, two-week organizer box. He discovered, after having been back from Jamaica for 11 days, that some enterprising baggage handler had apparently relieved him of a bottle of prescription medicine. He doesn't remember how many pills were in the bottle, but guesses there were between 40 and 60. They were generic, not brand-name, so he says that in terms of insurance co-pays (whatever that means), he's not out but a few dollars. But because the medicine is also a Schedule II controlled substance, it has a street value of up to ten bucks a pop--perhaps more. (I'm not sure what "controlled substance" means, either. It probably has something to do with when some airport crook in Jamaica or Miami or Orlando ends up controlling your substance!)

J asked M why he bothered taking the whole bottle with him, since he obviously had what he needed in his pill organizer. He said he wanted to be able to prove to the snarky people who do the take-your-shoes-off-and-bend-over screening that he had a prescription for it. Everything would have been okay if he hadn't decided to put his meds in a checked bag for the trip home, instead of carrying them on the airplane with him, as he did on the way down.

Our second big discovery happened when M and I took our walk after supper. We met up with some neighbors who were walking their dogs and they pointed to a spot nearby and told M to keep me away from it, because there was a baby squirrel there who had fallen out of its nest. (What's up with that? Do they think I eat baby squirrels for fun?) M and I hurried home and got J, and they went back to the spot and found the squirrel, which was alive and didn't appear injured. This was pretty amazing, since the nest is about 20 feet up in an oak tree, on a limb that hangs out over the street. Somehow the little critter landed in a clump of soft grass instead of on the pavement. (J thinks, because of all the broken sticks on the grass, that the nest had been attacked by a hawk or an owl. Which I guess shows that it doesn't matter who or what you are, somebody is always on your case.) M picked him up and put him in a box padded with soft towel rags, and they brought him back to our house.

This discovery has a happy ending. No, M and J wouldn't let us keep the squirrel, but J did find a wildlife rehabilitator named Dorothy, who lives just a few miles away from us. Within about a half-hour we delivered our new patient to Dorothy, who said he seemed to be in good shape. This rescue happened so fast that M didn't think to take any pictures of the little guy. But he found this one online that will give you an idea of what we were dealing with:

Hang in there, baby! You still have many roads to cross!

Discovery number 3 was in the middle of the night, when I heard a loud Bang! and woke up to discover that my night light was out. (M says that because it was around 1:30 a.m. when the Progress Energy transformer blew, it was actually today's discovery and not yesterday's. Picky, picky, picky.) An hour or so later I heard some big trucks rumbling up and down our street, so I had to bark at them a little. Then I heard M telling me that was enough--and then he went down to the other end of the house with a flashlight to make sure the computers were turned off, so they wouldn't drain their back-up batteries. The next thing I knew it was daytime, and M was in the living room turning off my night light. I wasn't even aware when it came back on, though he says it was around four o'clock.

What a day.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Oh, heavenly dog!

Crikey! My sister Jenny just called to inform me that today is National Dog Day--and not just as in the long, hot, dog days of summer. We're talking Canis lupus familiaris, baby! She said that in celebration, M and J ought to treat me to a hamburger. I told her that they just did, having saved one from last night's Mickey D party. (But truth be told, I don't think they were aware of Dog Day either. So thanks, Jen!)

In recognition of this special day, I send my warmest regards to Man's Best and Most Capable Friends everywhere and share my personal motto with them:

What a great idea!

I wonder if M and J would buy me one of these. Think of all the time and inconvenience it could save them!

Monday, August 23, 2010

Stray Dog Humor 101

Once when I was turning over some garbage barrels behind a Winn Dixie, looking for breakfast, I saw a homeless man digging around in a dumpster. "How's it going?" I asked him.

"Terrible," he said. "I haven't had a bite in a week."

So I bit him.

Man, that joke cracks me up! My regular readers are aware that I like me some humor now and then and consider myself something of a "stand-up pup."

This makes me a kindred spirit with my adoptive sister Jenny. She's the funniest human I've ever met. I'll be chilling in the living room and ol' Jen will go into one of her spiels about something that happened at work last week or maybe on the school bus when she was a kid, or she'll start imitating her 7th-grade art teacher or tell us in minute detail how she raced some guy across a parking lot and into the ordering line at Subway (and beat him, of course!), and before you can say Tina Fey she'll have everyone in stitches. I know my face doesn't show it, but inside I'm laughing so hard I'm afraid I'll wet the couch.

M tells Jenny she ought to put her talents to full use and hit the open-mic nights on the comedy club circuit. I think he's right; she could be the next Rita Rudner or Janeane Garofalo. She's even had some training in stand-up, in a ten-week class taught by comedy impresario Vicki Roussman. When the Daytona Beach News-Journal did a story about the course, they used Jenny's expressive mug to illustrate it:

Isn't that way cool? Can't you imagine what she's saying? And check this out:

Here she is at her "final exam" for the course:

Nice stage presence, huh? M says Jenny has a videotape of the show. Maybe if we can figure out how to get it digitized, I'll see if she'll let me post her part of it. After everyone's final exam sets were over, Jen had her picture made with another of the students, a local performer named Uncle Ray:

Holy guacamole! I think that's the guy I saw by the dumpster!

Friday, August 20, 2010

And speaking of VIP Suites . . .

. . . I just had to post one more picture from the web cam in Spring Oaks VIP Suite #2, cuz it's cooler than that cement floor after a good washdown! It's from a print-screen that J did on her computer back on July 21st, when she and M were first thinking about having me stay there.

Several items are worth mentioning:

First, if you blow the picture up by clicking on it (you can then enlarge it even more by clicking again), you'll see in the top-left of the black bar above the camera image that it was, in fact, taken with "Bark Fest Cam 2." That was the one in my room!

Second, though, you'll also see at the top-right of the camera image a date stamp of September 26, 2008, which is off by almost 22 months. The one at the top of the web page says September 4, 2008, which is even farther from the truth. I can't explain these discrepancies, but I guess computers are allowed to have them--unless they're the kind that are supposed to control a jet airliner or a nuclear power plant or a missile defense system. Then you'd hope they wouldn't screw stuff up so bad.

Okay, no biggie so far. But third, and here's where it gets a bit strange: What manner of "Very Important Pet" is this we see grabbing a little napski down there? At first glance I thought it might be Goofy, the Disney character, since he's the only dog I ever heard of who wears man clothes, even in a cartoon with a "normal" dog who goes nekkid like the rest of us! (You hear that, M? Put the dern tee shirt away!) In any case I don't really believe it's Goofy, because the arms are flesh-colored and I don't see any long, dangly ears. So I'm guessing humanoid.

Now the fourth and most curious point: What's up with that second bed? And even more to the point, where was it when I checked in? What lesson are we trying to teach here--that some guests of this establishment are more "Very Important" than others? What a sad, Orwellian state of affairs that would be!

[Note to my new friends at Spring Oaks: Don't take this too seriously. I'm just jerking your chain--something that most dogs can only fantasize about.]

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Mike and Jeannie went to Jamaica . . .

. . . and all I got was this crummy tee shirt:

M tried to put it on me. "Don't make me bite you," I said.

Technically I got one other thing out of their junket. I got to stay in a "VIP Suite" at Spring Oaks Animal Care Center, which is Willis and Arlo's vet. M and J took me over there a few weeks ago to check it out. It looked okay at the time. Little did I know it would be my home-away-from-home while they were off gallivanting. M said that "VIP" stands for "Very Important Pet," but as I found out the hard way, it really means "Very Incarcerated Pet."

Don't get me wrong: I like Dr. Alshouse and her staff. They were all very nice to me. And the VIP Suites do have some interesting features: For starters, they're in the main, air-conditioned part of the building and are a lot quieter than the regular kennels. Each room has a picture window and a nice, plush bed and a fresh-flowing water fountain. And each one has its own TV. (M said I could watch anything except Fox News, so I asked for the channel that shows Clifford the Big Red Dog.) And the people who work there will talk to you and play with you, and several times a day you get to go out into a really huge back yard. But despite all the amenities, my six-night stay seemed more like six months, because as everyone knows by now, I have separation anxiety issues.

Speaking of which, another thing that each VIP Suite has is its own web cam, so your people can use their computer to check up on you and see how you're doing. (This, I learned later, turns out to be a mixed blessing if almost every time they log on they see their precious mutt doing the God-I-hate-this-place-please-please-come-get-me Polka.)

Well, I don't want to belabor this. Suffice it to say that I'm back home on my couch where I belong. But I'll leave you with a few pictures (some of them obviously screen shots from the web cam), so you can judge for yourself just who it was--M and J  and their extended human family or your humble correspondent--that made out like the proverbial bandit. To borrow a phrase from your eye doctor, does it look better this way?

Or this way?

Does it look better like this?

Or like this?

Like this?

Or like this?


Or this?

I thought so.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Decompression Time

I can't stand it. Everybody brace yourselves.


There--I've said it. I don't believe in it, but after yesterday's post, I'm so happy to have said it. Twelve beautiful syllables. Twenty-eight wonderful letters.

The polysyllabic pup is back!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Write a blog post with words of one syl...

. . . uh . . .with words of one . . . one . . . Oh, crud. Help me out here. How can I put this?

You know how some words are long and some are short, and short words are made up of one or two of what you might call "sound parts," but long ones have more than that? Well, it's those "sound parts"--M said I should do a post with words that have just one sound in each of them. In fact he dared me to try.

I'm on it, I told him. It would be a piece of cake.

Not quite, it turns out. In fact it's hard. As you can see, I got tripped up right out of the gate. Plus there's that whole thing of what to write. I mean, you do want the stuff you say to make some sense, right?

So I thought and thought--and then, just when I thought I might as well give up, like a bolt from the blue it hit me: Let's try a short rhyme. Check it out, friends:

There once was a girl from Van Nuys
Who loved to eat Big Macs and fries.
But what she craved most
Was creamed beef on toast--
And it all went straight to her thighs.

Hee hee. Not too bad, huh? Pas trop mal! (Whoa, look at that--The Big Dog can do it in French, too!) Nicht zu schlecht! (Und auch auf deutsch!) Now I wish ol' M had bet me some of his cold, hard cash and not just dared me.

P. S. - When I showed him my work, he sort of frowned.

"Don't you like it?" I asked.

He shrugged. "I guess it beats a poke in the eye with a sharp stick." Then he winked at me and said, "Ya done good, dawg! Real good!"

That M--what a trip.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

It's a miracle!

I saw an article on Yahoo the other day about a guy who ordered some pancakes at IHOP and the cook burned them pretty good. The guy's girlfriend said he should send them back for replacements. But he started flipping through them and when he looked at the bottom one, he saw a picture of John the Baptist in it. You know--made from the scorch marks. So he got a carry-out box (M says they used to call those doggie bags, back when they were bags instead of Styrofoam boxes) and took the John-the-Baptist pancake home with him. The article didn't say what he did with the other two. I probably would have eaten all three. But anyway, long story short, he ended up selling that picture pancake on eBay for about a gazillion dollars. M says that one man's miracle is another man's collectible. I asked M if he ever found a valuable picture in his food, and he said no, the closest he ever came was a Ku Klux Klansman in a potato chip.

So last night I was lying on the couch watching Jon Stewart (who in my humble opinion is the best newscaster on  television) and for some reason my attention drifted to the open left-hand door of the mahogany TV cabinet. And there in the wood grain, looking back at me, was your humble servant--moi! I hollered for M to bring his camera, which he did, and he took this picture:

Then he did something to the picture called Photoshopping it--to try to make the miracle stand out a little better. Here is the result:

Personally I think the first version is better, but he liked the second, so I decided to put them both up here. Can you see St. Buddy of the Sinkhole? (It helps if you squint your eyes.)

I asked M if we could sell the door on eBay and he said no. Then I said how about the whole entertainment center and he told me to to stop pushing his buttons, that I was lucky I got to watch his TV. Oh, well, who needs a gazillion dollars? I have M and J. And they have me!

Oops--almost forgot. Here's the Klansman in the potato chip: