Special translation

Humans and your vocabulary.  Honestly.  Today is International Translation Day – and maybe someone can help me in translating human-speak… 

I have a perfect example – the word “special”.  Now I know that “special” can mean remarkable or noteworthy – but in GENERAL, when someone hears the word “special” they think of GOOD things.  Like a special treat.  Or a special toy.  Or a special holiday.  When we hear the term Special Olympics we think about those amazing, unique and wonderful individuals who come together to celebrate sport and each other.  The word “special” is something GOOD.

So translate this for me. We have a SPECIAL Weather Forecast for our area.   Do you think the SPECIAL forecast is for sunshine, warm temperatures and rainbows?  I mean would THAT not be special weather?  But no.  Not in human terms.  The SPECIAL weather forecast is calling for heavy, heavy rain and winds.  We are talking REALLY heavy rain.  In short – miserable weather.  Frodo and I find NOTHING special about this forecast.  The raincoats are coming out – and we are planning where to hide in the house.  Pax doesn’t care.  He would go out in a hurricane.

And as for humans translating OUR language – it will be a VERY CLEAR the message that we are communicating when you open that front door and we put ON the brakes. 

You humans.  We have SO much work to do with you.  

Have a special – and DRY day!

© Linda Wozniak

Broadway Musicals Day

September 29.  It’s Broadway Musicals Day.  There have been several famous musicals that included dogs in the story.  Two that quickly come to mind are Toto from the Wizard of Oz, and Sandy from the musical Annie.  There are hundreds of famous musicals, and as I was looking at the list, I started thinking how the titles could be about life in our house…
Pins and Needles – about my encounter with the porcupine
Deathtrap – the inherent dangers in walking around our house when we have spread out our hundreds of toys from the toy bin
The Pajama Game – jockeying for a position on the human bed – AFTER our human has fallen asleep
Jekyll and Hyde – my ability to change my loving adorable behavior into a monster when someone tries to come into my sleeping space
A Chorus Line – the choir-like barking that goes on while we are waiting for our food dishes
The Magic Show – our ability to make food disappear so quickly that it appears the dish was never full
Promises, Promises – the annoying human habit of saying “I’ll be right back” – even though she may be gone for an hour or more
Cats – this one is obvious.  One of our favorite things to chase.  That and foxes, rabbits,  and leaves.
Hair – another obvious title that applies to our house.  From us furry PONs to the ever-shedding Paxton, our house is FULL of it.
Ain’t Misbehavin – OK this one doesn’t REALLY apply.  When does that EVER happen in our house?  Oh I know – when we’re sleeping!  On the human bed.
So go and sing a show tune today and as we say on the East coast – I hoped you have a Wicked good day!!!
© Linda Wozniak

Blame it on the moon

Blame it on the full moon.  That’s what I’m doing.

Saturday night, ALL of us dogs decided we SHOULD be sleeping on my human’s bed.  I must confess, I’ve been sneaking up there some nights, but Saturday, we ALL joined in.  So my human found herself at 3AM hanging off the side of her bed.  My solution?  I suggest getting a bigger bed.  Her solution was to excuse all of us from the bed.  Party pooper.

Anyway, the plan was to get up early Sunday and go for a run with my buddy Jackson.  So.  My human took Frodo and Pax out first for their walk – and to keep me from barking while they were gone, she hid kibble all around the kitchen and dining room.  What she seemed to forget is that I have an EXPERT nose,  so in NO time, I found everything.  And of course started calling them to come home.  Which my human could hear from WAY up the road.  My shouting managed to work, as they did return.  So now it was MY turn for a walk.  I KNEW it was going to be a run – because I was equipped with a collar AND a bell.  So off we went.  We were going up to the golf course that is at the end of our road and it was a PERFECT fall morning.  Frosty and crisp and the sun was just coming up.  It was peaceful and calm.  For a short while….

So my human let me off my leash and for the first little while, she had to keep reminding me that I was FREE – and could run with Jack.  I kept sticking with her – because she had great treats in her pocket.  So we came around the bend, passed a pond (which Jackson ALWAYS goes in – I just don’t get that swimming stuff – but he IS a Lab), and started walking along a fairway.  And suddenly, I spotted something.  And it was like someone shot me in the butt.  I was GONE.  My human and her friend watched me take off like a BULLET.  Jackson watched me, and then decided to follow.  Around a bend I went – and I was out of sight. And Jackson came back.   My human and her friend reached the bend and could HEAR my bell in the bushes – but no sight of me.  Then they caught a glimpse of me racing along another fairway.  They called and called to no avail.  I was deaf.  Completely deaf.  Don’t ask me why.  I had total namenesia.  I couldn’t remember my name – or any of that great obedience training.  So my human walked along where they last saw me. And she called.  And called.  She expected me to materialize any second.  She walked and called.  After about 15 minutes, she started to get concerned.  You see, we live kinda in the boonies – and the golf course is surrounded by woods and a dog could run for MILES and MILES.  My human headed for a trail in the woods and her friend went to cover more of the course.  They kept communicating by phone.  My human shouted my name.  OVER and OVER and OVER.  She walked and walked.  She went several kilometers in the woods and headed back.  Shouting and shouting my name.  By now I was gone for close to an hour. The guys working on the golf course were told I was missing and they offered a golf cart to ride around the course.  My human circled back to the clubhouse.  No sign of me.  She didn’t know what to do – or where to even look!  So she figured she would go and get Frodo.  She didn’t know why – but she also had a FEELING that MAYBE I would have gone home.  In fact, she wasn’t TOTALLY panic-stricken yet as she thought it COULD be possible.  So she headed down the long driveway, and her heart began to sink.  She didn’t see me.  At first.  Then she noticed a scruffy looking wet creature, sitting in front of the door, waiting to get in to be fed his breakfast.  That’s when she nearly cried.

So I guess there will be no free runs with Jackson ANY time in the near future.  Honestly, I’m not sure what all the fuss was – I DID come home, didn’t I?   Honestly it wasn’t MY fault.  Blame it on the full moon.

©  Linda Wozniak

Google me

September 27.  On this day in 1998 – Google was launched.  That’s a LONG, LONG time ago – but my human actually remembers the world BEFORE Google.  Can you imagine?!  She really IS old.  Before Google, I guess humans had to look up things in books – like dictionaries and encyclopedias.  They even used something called a phone book. 

When Google started – it was a noun.  It was a thing that you used to look up things.  Now it is also a verb – you “Google” something.  Weird.

If you Google “Polish Lowland Sheepdog” – you get over 472, 000 results.  And if you Google “dog” you get 1,360,000,000 results.  That’s a LOT of info.  The key is to know how to find something in all that info.   Like digging through the dog toy bin for my favorite toy.  You can spend a LOT of time Googling things and searching for things.  My human is a Google pro.  People ask her to find something on the internet and she can Google with the best of them. My favorite things for her to Google are “dog toys,” “dog treats” and “dog food.”  I do NOT like when she Googles “dog grooming supplies” or “dog coats.”

If you Google “Polish Viktor” – I come up pretty close to the top of the list.  I think it’s cool that you can Google me.  I’m just glad that when you Google “bad dogs” I’m not near the top of the list.  Yet.

© Linda Wozniak

A is for Apple

September 26.  Johnny Appleseed Day.  Johnny Appleseed – whose real name was John Chapman,  lived from 1774-1865 in the US and was well known for his gardening skills – specifically his skills in growing orchards. He is said to have introduced apple trees to several states including Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.  He was a missionary and apparently  – an all around nice guy who had conservation at heart.

According to some historians, apples were planted by the Acadians in Nova Scotia in the early 1600’s.  We even have an Apple Blossom festival in the Annapolis Valley every year.  There are at least 40 varieties of apples grown here.  Who knew?  Well I didn’t know about all the varieties – but I DO know that we LOVE apples.  I mean we REALLY LOVE apples.  My human slices them up for us, because she read somewhere that the cores and seeds can cause stomach upset – so we just get the good part of the apples.  If we hear her slicing them, we make a MAD charge for the kitchen. 

Autumn is a great time of the year.  It’s a time to go apple picking.  We dogs don’t actually get to go – because like when picking out a Christmas tree, we pee on everything.  So my human leaves us at home – to wait for the bounty to be returned.  Fall is also the time when my human painstakingly picks out a pumpkin (or two) and proudly displays it in front of our entrance door.  And without fail, the first time Paxton spots it, he grabs it by the stem and hauls it off into the woods – with my human in hot pursuit.  Frodo and I, if given the chance, prefer to pee on the pumpkin.  And the Fall mums too.  The joys of living with three boy dogs. 

So given that today is Johnny’s day – go out and have an apple. Because you know that old proverb, “An apple a day, and the PONs will play.”  OK.  I made that up.  But I like to be different.  And THAT’S why I’m the “apple of my human’s eye.”  Although some might also argue, I’m the bad apple in the bunch!  All right – enough apple puns for today.

Have a good one!!!

© Linda Wozniak


So today let’s talk about habits.  Habits are behaviors that when repeated over and over again, become unconscious routines. Humans have habits – like following the same route to work each day.  Some habits are good – like sitting and waiting for our food to be served. And some habits are bad – like chasing bunnies.  And then some habits are just plain old strange – and this house is FULL of strange habits.  For example, we all go outright CRAZY with barking when our human gets home.  Like we are each shouting at her about what we have been doing all day.  Which is a bit odd – since we mostly sleep while she is away – but we still must bark incessantly for several minutes.

Paxton is the KING of strange habits.  As soon as he wakes up in the morning – and my human goes into the bathroom, he pulls a HUNK of hair from his tail.  I kid you not.  And then he tries to spit out this big hunk of hair, and is often not successful.  So my human comes out of the bathroom and takes one look at him and says “Seriously????????” and pulls the glob of hair out of his mouth.  At which point he must growl at her while she does it.  Like she’s taking away some prized possession. This has become a daily routine. Despite the fact that she will shout from the bathroom – “You had better not be biting your tail, Paxton.”  Frodo and I just watch.

Paxton’s other STRANGE habit is to grab his food dish the minute my human comes home.  He will even take it outside, if she doesn’t stop him first. Maybe he’s afraid we PONs will steal his food.  Well…. I guess he is justified in this strange habit.

Frodo and I also have a strange habit of trying to wedge ourselves into weird spots to rest.  I SQUEEZE myself between the headboard of the bed and the wall every night.  And beware any dog who tries to get close to my uncomfortable accommodations!

A canine psychologist could have a field day at our house.   If someone needs subjects for a study on weird behavior – give us a call.  We can keep you in research funding for years….

© Linda Wozniak

Say your prayers

Shepherd One.  Know what that is?  Nope – not the top ranking Herding Dog in the world.  It’s the nickname given to the plane that carries the Pope!  The Big Guy is currently visiting the U.S.  He’s a pretty popular guy – as evidenced by the crowds who have come out to see him.  I like him.  He speaks his mind, calls for more charity, is less judgmental, and seems to care about the environment.  He is also named after Saint Francis – who liked animals.  Bet he would LOVE us PONs –and even Pax too.  Yeah – like every powerful figure, not everything the Pope says or does is perfect.  But then, who is?  Except us dogs of course.  Because what is dog spelled backward?  I rest my case.

Despite our perfectness,  we were all busted the other night.  Yup – we sinned.  Well – not Frodo –the good dog…   
So my human got home from work and took out our food dishes to feed us.  But before we ate – she let us all out for a quick pee.  We usually run out, do our thing and DASH back in to be fed.  Except the other night.  It was one of those not-so-slow-motion moments with my human starting to open the door and instantly spotting a CAT in the front yard.  And of course, all of us spotted him too.  As my human went to close the door, we ALL were already IN MOTION – and out we went.  Like a line of trains SPEEDING up the driveway – with me in the lead.  “AGGGGHHHHHHHHHHHHH – STOPPPPPPPPPPPPPPP,” my human shouted.  And for one split second she thought we were coming back.  I lost sight of the cat as he raced into the woods and I circled back toward the house trying to pick up the trail.  Everyone followed.  My human pleaded with us to come in – but I got a whiff and off I went – with the other two stooges right behind me.  My human quickly opened the garage door to head off in the car – when she saw Frodo running back toward the house.  She hoped Pax and I would be following.   No such luck.  Frodo is so good – he drives me crazy.  Anyway, she whisked him in the house and drove the car to the neighbors’ house up the road.  She parked at the end of their driveway and I came racing up and I hopped into the car, panting like mad.  It was a great run.  But no sign of Bucket Head.  The neighbors happened to come out and shouted to my human which of us she was looking for.  “The big one,” she shouted down.  “Nope – no sign of him.” So my human drove home – on the chance that Pax looped back home through the woods.  Yup – we pulled down the driveway and there he was.  Panting and puffing from his run.  My human just glared at both of us.  What a blast.

I’m blaming our behavior on the change of seasons.  I mean, that WAS the last night of summer – and we just wanted to take one final summer run.  Suuuuuuuuure we did……

Oh – and the cat is fine.  He must have been saying his prayers….

©  Linda Wozniak

Vote for Viktor

September 23.  National Dogs in Politics Day.  I kid you not.  It’s about time.  I’ve been saying for MONTHS that I need to run for political office.  I just need to decide which one…

In the US, there is the Presidential election.  It is in the news EVERY SINGLE day.  And the WORST part – the election isn’t even until NEXT November.  Yes. November 2016!!!!!!!!  So these things that they call debates – where a bunch of adult humans stand up and argue with each other like a bunch of 3 year old humans who have been told that the one who shouts the loudest will get the last cookie – will CONTINUE to go on for MONTHS. It’s hard to believe it is real. 

Oh and the same thing is going on in Canada too.  The election is for the Prime Minister.  The only difference with this circus is that it will be OVER on October 19, 2015. 

I guess no matter what office I am planning to run for, I need a party. How about Canines Around the World. CAW.  Nah – sounds like a bunch of crows…Canine Reformist Autonomy Party? CRAP.  Nah – that’s not very nice sounding. The Canine Reform Party? CARP.  Nah – sounds fishy to me.  Dogs Really Are Best.  DRAB.  That doesn’t work either.  Canine Liberty Independence Party.  CLIP.  Hmmmmm…  I’m not loving it – since it does have grooming connotations, but it does have a catchy ring.  I’ll have to keep working on it.

And my campaign promises.  Every candidate has to promise things – most of which they never actually deliver.  Let’s see….

I will:

·      Help to shut down puppy mills

·      Support research for canine health problems

·      Focus on the environment by willingly shredding all papers for easier recycling

·      Ensure that all dogs can obtain veterinary care through affordable insurance

·      Increase taxes to grooming supply companies

·      Reduce taxes to companies that produce dog food, dog treats, and dog toys

I think that’s a great start.  Want to join my party?  Free treats for joining…
Oh – and Happy First Official Day of Fall!!! Let the colors begin!

©  Linda Wozniak


So life returns to “normal” after the big rally day.  Frodo and I were so exhausted from all the hoopla, we slept most of yesterday.  Well – he did.  I was a bit drowsy, but quite happy to bug my human while she was working on her computer.  By the way – the reviews for Team Bark were great.  I think we should take our entertaining show on the road!

So Frodo has his Rally Excellent title and I have a start on my Advanced title.  I THINK that’s all the trialing my human is planning for this year.  Except for one more shot at herding.  She is still searching for a good herding video.  There is probably a moneymaking scheme here…a herding video designed JUST for dogs.  No human – babbling on about herding – just some demonstrations for us dogs.  From a dog’s point of view.  So far, she has found a video of some older gentleman, who made his dog lie down by quickly stepping on the dog’s leash.  The dog looked terrified.  Check that video off the list.  Another video telling the steps in herding ducks, but not REALLY showing us how.  And a series of videos showing herding “skills” – using a stuffed toy cow.  I had no interest in that one either.  So my human is already beginning to question whether this second Instinct test attempt was such a good idea.

I am doubtful we can rent sheep before the next test and the wild local ducks are NOT interested in staying still long enough for me to herd them.  We have two loons on our lake – but something tells me they can’t be herded.   But leave it to my human.  She’ll come up with SOMETHING!  Heaven help us.

© Linda Wozniak

Cheers to Chimo

So mission accomplished. Better results than with the sheep. Frodo finished his Rally Excellent title – so once the paperwork comes in he will be CFC Elite Ch. Can. Ch. Frodo de Domaine de Polana CD, RE.  He would have been “in the big ribbons” if there wasn’t this slight problem with a down – I think my human was going too fast. But she is so happy he got his last leg. I’m not exactly sure what “getting a leg means.” As far as I can tell, he still just has 4!

And speaking of legs – I got one too – my first in Rally Advanced!  AND I WAS in the ribbons – a third place finish. My human was thrilled – particularly since we did almost no practice for this!

Then we also had the Team event.  We were invited to be on the Team with Goro – a Labrador Retriever and Chimo – a Samoyed.  Goro and Chimo are known to occasionally bark during obedience trials – and we also know that ON OCCASION, Frodo also barks.  So the Team was aptly named Team Bark.  Now keep in mind that this is an UNOFFICIAL class.  So let me set the stage.  The trials started at 8:30 AM – and there was no lunch break.  We arrived at 7:30AM because Frodo was in the first group at 8:30.  There were over 160 runs through the day.  By the time it got to the Team event – the LAST event of the day – it was after 6:00 PM.  Team Bark was the LAST Team of the day.  Frodo started the Team – and did well except for that MOMENT when my HUMAN had what she calls a Brain Fart – and totally lost her way on the spiral.  Costing us 3 points.  And of course, Frodo had to tell her she was wrong.  Then came Goro and Chimo – who did BEAUTIFUL work.  And at the VERY end there was moi.  Last dog of a long day…Well.  My human decided to TELL me what to do.  She and I discussed the entire course.  We argued, we plotted – and we had a BALL.  Despite her, I managed to do a beautiful job – although we of course, lost points for barking. (Please note that in our other runs of the day we did NOT bark.  We do know when to be serious!!)   The following is a video of Team Bark.  I warn you to turn down the volume on your computer if you don’t want your dogs to go crazy!

So Team Bark took home a Third Place ribbon.  Which was awesome.  But there is more to this story…you see,  part of the  reason my human joined this team was because of Chimo.  Chimo is THE happiest, sweetest dog.  Everybody loves Chimo.  But what everyone didn’t know was that Chimo came out of “Rally retirement” to enter this trial which was benefiting canine cancer.  Chimo has a pretty serious cancer diagnosis himself.  But he is doing well – and looked amazing yesterday.  My human remembers doing obedience trials and practice with him and a very special Bernese Mountain Dog she once had – who went to the Rainbow Bridge – due to cancer.  So this Team was special in more ways than one…

So it was an amazing day all around.   Cheers to Chimo, cheers to Team Bark – and to all the dogs who came out for a great cause.  When can we do it again?

© Linda Wozniak