Thursday, April 28, 2011

It's about time.

Some people think dogs have no concept of time because we waste so much of it sleeping. But they're wrong. Whenever we sniff the ground, we know that we're delving into the past. And when we sniff the air, we're sensing things about the future. And when we snooze--always in the glorious present--we're digesting the data.

When I presented this thesis to M on our walk this morning, he said that I must be more of a historian than a forecaster, since I spend so much time with my nose in the grass. He says it looks like I'm trying to push it around the block--either that or I'm rooting for truffles.

Speaking of truffles, I've heard that dogs have replaced pigs as the preferred truffle-hunting helpers, for several reasons. Two main ones are (1) that dogs can be trained not to eat the truffles and (2) it's easier to get a dog into the backseat of your car.

But I digress. It must be nap time.

Monday, April 18, 2011

A Note of Cautious Optimism

I'd like to share something nice that happened last Thursday when I went to the doctor for my annual shots and a checkup. Dr. Bryson first took a blood sample to test for heartworms, which have plagued me since before I came to live here. It was the third such test I've had in the past year. While they were processing it in a back room, the doc gave me all of my shots and then, with the aid of an assistant, trimmed my toenails, which M says were starting to look like Arby's curly fries. (Incidentally, none of this sticking, jabbing, and clipping was the "something nice that happened." I have to confess that for all of these unpleasant procedures they made me wear a big leather muzzle, which they refer to as "the happy hat"!)

Okay, here's the nice part: After all the corporal punishment was over, the doctor went to check the results of the heartworm test and came back into the examining room with a big grin on her face. "It's negative!" she announced. This was a pleasant surprise, since M and J were planning in the wake of the expected positive outcome to have me treated for heartworms next month. I hated the thought of that, as the word going around dogdom is that the treatment is way harsh. It consists of three injections of an arsenic-based drug into your lower-back muscle, followed by either a long, quiet recovery period or your funeral.

Now for the note of cautious optimism: This heartworm test actually checks only for adult female worms. They also do a test for baby heartworms, or microfilariae, which you shouldn't have if you take a monthly tablet called Heartguard--which I do, so I don't. I have no way of knowing if there are any adult male worms in my ticker. It could be that there were some, but they either died of old age or the Heartguard killed them. The same might also be said of adult females. One thing is likely, though: There were at least some females present last April and again last fall, but there appear to be none now.

Long story short, Dr. Bryson said I don't need the treatment now but that we should retest periodically. I guess the theory must be that whether there are any remaining adult males or not, there are no potential heartworm mamas and the Heartguard is killing any babies that I may get through infected mosquitoes. And sooner or later, any leftover males will die, either of natural causes or perhaps helped along by the Heartguard.

And this is a good thing!

Of course, as with most medical tests, there are such things as both false negatives and positives. Boo-yah!

To read more about my health problems from last year, click here.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Party on, Wayne!

M told me to say that. I haven't had time to Google it to find out what it means. But speaking of parties, last night's Birthday Burger Fest was wonderful! We didn't take a lot of pictures, but there are enough to give you an idea of how it went down.

First there was what seemed like an eternity of waiting for our guests to arrive:

J assured me they'd be along soon:

M tried to divert my attention with a party blower thingy:

Finally Bonnie and Judy got here. When they come over on hamburger night, we tend to sit around in the living room talking and visiting for about three or four hours, or at least until I get up and remind them that we have other things to attend to and that my stomach thinks my throat's been cut. Then we go to McDonald's and bring home the goodies. Last night was no exception to this sequence of events.

Once the party got started, it was really a nice one. J had special party-themed accessories for the table, though she soon felt that a white tablecloth would have worked better. On the other hand, all the humans got to play an unexpected game called "try to find your plate and napkin":

I didn't have to play that, since M always mixes my hamburger in with the rest of my supper in my regular dish:


The feeling seemed to be unanimous:

If you look carefully at the far left of this picture, on the hutch behind J, you'll see a gift bag. Though I was too full to enjoy it last night, it contains a big, juicy beef bone, and I can assure you it is not long for this world!

Thanks, everyone, for making my first birthday party a joyous occasion!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Happy birthday to me! And Happy Budd-ese New Year!

Well, friends, today marks a true milestone--so much so that I've declared it to be my own personal New Year's Day and birthday rolled into one! It's been 365 days now--one full human year--since I came to live with M and J, and boy howdy, was that ever a wise move on my part!

As it happens, today is also Wednesday, which means that it's McDonald's hamburger night. (Unless we have some crazy storms come through and the power goes out, as it did a couple of weeks ago. But so far the sky looks nice and clear.) If I had to guess, I'd say tonight's party will feature silly hats and noisemakers, in addition to my beloved Styro-food. To which I can only add, "BRING 'EM ON!"

If we get any good pictures of the festivities, I'll be sure to show you. And if not, I'll try to come up with something equally entertaining for my next post. Meanwhile I thought this might be an appropriate time to have you revisit (or simply visit, if you're new around here) my very first blog entry, in which I wrote about my decision to let M and J catch me. Just click your mousy thing right here.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Happy birthday, Jeannie!

Today is J's birthday--and that's not an April Fool trick, either. So a great big salute and lots of good wishes go out to her!

On our walk a few days ago, M mentioned he had a special present for J that he wanted to give her on the blog. He wrote her a love song! (I don't think I've ever told you this, but M likes to dabble in songwriting. He writes both kinds of music, country and western. As you can imagine, I get to hear a lot of his works-in-progress as we mosey down the road. But this one was a complete surprise.)

"Cool!" I said. "What's it about?" He said it was about three-and-three-quarter minutes. Then in response to my low growl, he revealed that it's about this guy--a struggling singer-songwriter--who's always out on the road trying to make a living playing in cheap dives and honky-tonks, while he misses his old lady like the dickens and looks forward to getting back home to her. M says he got the idea from watching a Jeff Bridges movie called Crazy Heart.

So without further ado, here's M's little musical prezzy to J.

(For the full-size version, follow this link to YouTube.)