Boo humbug

OK.  Ha ha.  Very funny.  By now you have seen the dreaded Halloween attire.  Trust me – it was assigned and NOT self-selected.  But I’m a good sport.  However I must say that I now feel the urge to live up to my Halloween persona.  So look out…..

I suppose after two days of rather heavy blogs, you did need some comic relief.  Allow me to be your clown.

So my human has already been making her way through the Halloween snacks.  I kid you NOT.  CLEARLY she purchased things to HER liking – in the (likely) event that no kids ever show up at our house.  Seriously, what kid wants to come to a dark house down a long driveway that when the doorbell rings, sounds like something out of a dog horror film.  I also noticed that my human didn’t buy dog treats to give away.  What’s up with that?  I mean we COULD get some brave kid who trudges to the door with his dog in tow.  And THEN what will my human do?  She had better not even CONSIDER giving away OUR treats.

The outdoor solar pumpkin lights she bought at the Dollar Store are as appealing as our costumes.  I mean if you stand within 6 inches of them you can tell that they ARE pumpkins and that they ARE lit.  More money well spent.  My human didn’t notice that I already peed on them.  Maybe THAT’S why they don’t light up….

Anyway.  Have a Happy Halloween.  Now we get to look forward to the Christmas reindeer antlers and Santa hats.  Oh joy.  Oh happiness.  Mind you, I suppose Frodo can actually wear the SAME costume for Christmas.  Lucky him. 

Boo humbug.

©  Linda Wozniak

Breeders. Owners. The Blame Game.

The Blame Game.  I’m not talking about some song title by some rapper.  I’m talking about a less-than-admirable human trait that makes me SO happy I am a dog.

My human was reading a thread on Facebook the other day and what started as an innocent conversation about dogs and health, quickly escalated to a round of the Blame Game.  The Blame Game occurs when a dog is hurt or worse dies, and everyone is feeling horrid.  We dogs do that to you humans.  You love us SO much – you cannot bear to see us sick and when we must leave you, you feel your heart is shreaded and will never be the same.  So in lots of cases, the Blame Game begins.  Humans must blame someone else for WHY they are feeling horrid – usually when the hurt or death occurs in a young dog.  But what humans seem to forget is that the world is made up of average people.  Average people who LOVE dogs.    And those average people do NOT want to see dogs hurt. Or see dogs die. 

 Yes, there ARE humans who don’t really LOVE dogs – and they abuse them, or breed them PURELY for profit.  But thankfully, those humans seem to be in the minority. Most people are AVERAGE.  They do the BEST job they know to love and care for their dogs or to breed dogs.  Most people do NOT want to see a dog hurt or to see a dog suffer.  Keep reminding yourselves that.  Yes – a breeder CAN breed two dogs KNOWING that there is some health risk in the dogs she/he has selected.  Those are the gamblers. And it doesn’t mean it’s the “right” thing to do.  But do they REALLY want to see a dog suffer?  I don’t think so.  But they think they can beat the odds. Can an owner contribute to a dog’s health problems by feeding poor quality food or exposing the dog to a toxic environment – like pesticides on their lawn?  Yes.  But do they do it so their dog will suffer?  Doubtful. 

Keep in mind that the Blame Game is NOT limited to breeders and owners.  In fact, breeders also blame other breeders.  If a litter has a problem, the owner of the dam blames the stud dog.  And vice versa…But remember – they BOTH love their dogs!

Humans also suffer from guilt.  In fact they are even better at it than we dogs. Sure – I can LOOK guilty right after I do something bad – like when I steal something from the counter.  But 30 seconds later, my guilt is gone.  But you humans carry around guilt.  Did I feed the dog the wrong food?  Is that why he has cancer? Did I walk him too far as a young puppy?  Is that why he has joint problems?  Did I not expose him enough to people and dogs when he was little?  Is that why he is fearful?  Should I have used this dog in my breeding program, even though his hips were mildly dysplastic?  Should I have run the latest DNA test? Did I get my puppy from the BEST breeder?  Did I sell my puppy to the BEST owner?  Humans are experts in guilt and then it’s a slippery slope to blame if things do not go well…. Even though – the bottom line – they ALL DO love their dogs!!!!
Good dog ownership and dog breeding boil down to knowledge.   The more you know, the more LIKELY you can have healthy dogs who live long happy lives.  Knowledge IS critical.  But even then – the reality?  You can take a dog in PERFECT home, with PERFECT owners, who feed PERFECT food and who was bred by a PERFECT breeder who did 100 health checks, and studied 100 pedigrees and guess what?  The dog can still have problems.  And that’s the truth.  It’s called nature.  You can blame God – but then remember who gave you dogs in the first place!

Humans need to work together – owners and breeders.  Remember you BOTH love dogs.  Share knowledge.  Prevent problems together.  And continue to do the BEST you can do. Blaming is not helpful.  It just hurts an already-hurting situation.

So that’s my rant for today.  My human was going to actually write this in that thread the other day, but then she decided I should do it.  She figures if people don’t like this message and complain – she can BLAME me!  After all, I AM just a dog!
©  Linda Wozniak

For Molly

Well, we had sad news on our road this week.  The canine matriarch of the road, Molly, a 13.5 year old yellow Labrador, and “sister” to my buddy Jackson, went to the Rainbow Bridge.  Molly’s humans are understandably VERY sad so I sent them my blog about Compartments of the Heart….

Molly was living on this road when my human moved here. Molly had another canine brother at the time – Remington, who I’m sure was waiting to meet her at the Bridge when she arrived.  Molly saw a number of dogs go before her to the Bridge – including three dogs that owned my human – Guinness, a Bernese, Beamish, a yellow Lab and Harper, another Bernese.  And throughout their lives, Molly was clear at establishing the fact that “girls rule.”  She put more than one boy in his place if he bugged her too much!  Including me!

Molly had a fabulous life in a fabulous home.  In the past year, her walks had slowed down – but she was always anxious to go out and join the crowd.  Her tail was ever-wagging – unless of course she was putting one of us young things in our proper place!

I’m sure Jackson will miss her. We are the same age.  I’ll have to go and visit him.  In fact, I think we’ll have to go for a run this weekend.  OK.  Maybe Jackson can run and I can walk on a leash.  My human still has not forgotten about my little wandering adventure the one day we went out with Jackson.  The last time Jackson went for a run with my human, Paxton got to go. Pax and Jacks went out on the golf course and went in just about EVERY pond they passed. I just don’t get that whole water thing…

So today we give cheers to a lovely blonde Lab lady who is running faster and swimming in every pond she sees.  Jackson has big pawprints to fill – but I know he will do his best…

We know that humans can never replace one dog with another.  The memories are always there in those compartments in your heart.  Forever.  Just remember, you have the key to open the compartments and look inside…and you’ll be so happy with what you find.

©  Linda Wozniak

Plush Animal Lover’s Day. Not.

Well I had a fabulous birthday.  Thanks to all who sent me best wishes!  My human was a bit jealous – she said I got more birthday greetings than she did on her birthday!  I didn’t want to tell her it’s no surprise – I mean I AM more entertaining than she is.  And her “adventures” pale in comparison to mine.  And I didn’t want to remind her that I’m the reason she has as many friends as she does.  She’s so lucky I picked her.

Anyway, I had an extra long game of fetch yesterday AND we had special new dog treats made of Greek yogurt , veggies and berries. They are supposed to be an “anti-oxidant” blend.  Who cares.  We’ll eat anything.  But they did taste good.   In the .0025 seconds it took to eat one.

 And we all got ANOTHER treat!  A scoop of tuna fish in our meal.  Now tuna for dogs is not supposed to be all that good –if eaten on a regular basis.  But a treat every now and then (like for a special birthday) is FINE.  The canned tuna packed in water is better than the tuna packed in oil.  We LOVED it.  My human sang Happy Birthday and everything.

And THEN she decided to “try” something with us.  We all know how we LOVE a game of “find the bunny.”  That stuffed bunny is beginning to look a bit ratty – but we still love him.  What we didn’t know, was that my human had looked at the calendar – and today is “Plush Animal Lover’s Day,” so she wanted to surprise us.  You see, once upon a time, my human used to collect old Teddy bears, AND for some God-forsaken reason she ALSO used to collect stuffed Bernese Mountain Dogs.  Now let’s be clear here – not the taxidermy version – that would be creepy – but toy stuffed Berners.  And she has several that are almost life sized.  BUT they have been packed away in a closet for years.  And that’s where her “idea” came in….

I always get to play “find the bunny” first while my brothers are sequestered, squeaking and moaning in another room.  So my human hid the bunny, and I went to find it – three different times.  I raced into the bedroom, and the bathroom and proudly came back with my find.  Then my human hid the bunny downstairs.  What I didn’t know was that she had taken a couple of stuffed Bernese, and put them in the middle of the room…  Well I raced downstairs and glanced over and nearly DIED.  What the HECK were THOSE?!!!!!!  I dropped the bunny.  And I was suspended.  My human came down and asked me what was wrong.  What’s WRONG?!  Paxton has called in reinforcements!!!!!!!!!  I would NOT go near those things.  My human moved one and I nearly passed out.  I RACED away.    Then I played hide and seek with one – as long as the couch was between us.  Finally my human had to sit on the floor next to the stuffed dogs and toss treats so I would come closer and closer.  It took QUITE a while before I got up the courage to actually SNIFF one.  And yes, I am the same dog who was willing to get up close and personal with a porcupine!  After about 15 minutes, I FINALLY agreed to sit next to the beasts to take a photo.  At which point I was a BIT embarrassed by my earlier fear.  To top it off, when Frodo and Paxton played the same game, they looked at the Bernese and came right back with the bunny.  They could not have cared LESS about the cotton-hearted-creatures.

So that was my birthday.  Great treats, fun fetching, lots of great wishes and a bit of humble pie thrown in for good measure.  And today, I’m hoping I can meet those plush Bernese again.  THIS time, I’ll be prepared.  We’ll just SEE who wins the game now…

©  Linda Wozniak

Happy Birthday to ME!

October 27.  It’s a BIG holiday today!!!!  It’s my BIRTHDAY!!!! Yup – I am four years old today.  Four years of joy, happiness and pure bliss for my human.  OK, I guess that’s not entirely accurate.  More like four years of “adventure”, entertainment,  and the occasional moments of frustration.  I have trained my human very well – to be prepared for ANYTHING when it comes to me.  I CAN be obedient although I do have a wild, wanderlust streak in me.  It’s “the call of the wild” – and I just cannot pass up the chance to commune with rabbits, foxes, the neighbor’s cat – and this past year, a porcupine too!

Ever the comedian, I love to roll on the floor, get up with my hair looking like Donald Trump in a wind tunnel, and just stare at my human.  It makes her laugh EVERY time. 

I torment my canine brothers to no end.  Frodo is currently sporting an interesting hairdo compliments of moi.  In the past, I used to just work on giving his ears an asymmetrical look.  Now, this past week, I have also given him bangs.  SHORT bangs.  My human is NOT impressed. Personally, I love the look.

And poor Paxton, is totally accustomed to my wild side.  I must learn to be nicer to the big guy – he is soooooooooooo tolerant of me.  He won’t even make eye contact with me when I get crazy sometimes.  I really DO like him – and I lick him every chance I get!

But despite my wild side, I AM also a very cuddly kind of guy.  I love snuggling with my human – whether she is watching a movie on the sofa, sound asleep in her bed, or just sitting RIGHT next to her while she is eating her breakfast. 

So it’s a day to celebrate ME – and all the crazy things I do.  We are planning a PONtastic day, with extra treats, extra bananas, and extra games of fetch.   And I think my human can even have a glass of wine.  On me.  Heaven knows, she needs it!

© Linda Wozniak


I thought we had it bad with the obligatory Dollar Store Holiday attire, but I am happy to know we are not alone.  Misery loves company.  On Saturday in New York City they had what was described as the biggest Halloween Dog parade in the US. Over 400 dogs were dressed in costume in a chance to win Best in Show.  The proceeds for the event go to a local dog park.  Apparently there were lots of dogs dressed as dinosaurs, and even one dressed as the Pope.  Honestly humans, you really ARE a strange bunch.  It is nice to know the dogs in our household are not alone in this horrible “activity.”  I am thinking I could start a support group for us dogs suffering from C-PTCSD – Canine Post Traumatic Costume Stress Disorder.  Seriously.

And speaking of dinosaurs, my human and her mother watched the Jurassic Park movie the other night.  They were indulging in some of the Halloween snacks that my human routinely buys for all the kids who NEVER show up at our house.  I mean she buys snacks for 50 and we get….hmmmmm…..maybe 6 on a good night.  But one never knows – so always best to be prepared.  Need I remind her that she is still sporting the remnants of LAST YEAR’S snacks around her waist?!  Nah.  Better not.  Anyway, my human thought that I might enjoy the movie since I was so engrossed when she watched Planet of the Apes.  But really, dinosaurs aren’t my thing.  The apes?  They were pretty smart guys.   The dinosaurs?  Not so much.   I watched those wild monsters from my comfy position on the sofa for about 15 seconds and promptly fell asleep.

So we played lots of fetch this past weekend, begged for banana pieces and had lots of belly rubs and ear scratches.  Today we heard something about “grooming” so time for Frodo and I to hide.   Paxton loves grooming.  We vote to pick him.  Paws crossed.  Or maybe I can disguise myself in a costume.  So my human won’t recognize me.  Maybe a sheep costume….Bwhahahahahaha.  I won’t have to worry about Frodo chasing me!
Happy Monday!

©  Linda Wozniak

Pumpkin Day

October 25.  Pumpkin Day!  A day to celebrate those orange members of the squash family that become VERY popular during this time of the year. Pumpkins are believed to have originated in North America – but they are grown the world over.  Except for Antarctica.  I guess penguins don’t make jack-o-lanterns.  In Britain and Ireland,  there has been a long tradition of carving vegetables into lanterns at Halloween and they were originally turnips.   But apparently pumpkins were first used in North America for jack-o-lanterns. 

 In 2014,  Beni Meier of Switzerland set a World Record for HUGE Pumpkins.  His pumpkin weighed in at 2323 lbs!!!!  I’m not sure if that record has been broken yet this year.  A cool pumpkin fact – it was Howard Dill, a NOVA SCOTIA farmer, and 4 time World Champion for huge pumpkins, who developed the famous “Dill’s Atlantic Giant” seeds which have produced many of the world-record pumpkins.  Those pumpkins routinely weigh more than 1000 lbs.  A jack-o-lantern from one of those pumpkins could light up a small town.

Another pumpkin fact – pumpkin is EXCELLENT for us dogs when we are having dietary problems.  My human always has a can handy – JUST in case one of us gets….hmmmm….how do I say this….soupy poops.  Now be careful to use the PLAIN canned pumpkin – NOT the sweetened pie filling stuff.  That might lead to MORE problems.   My human has also used pumpkin if one of us canines has put on a few extra lbs!  She had her first Bernese who became a bit portly.  So she reduced his food but added pumpkin – so he felt full – and he quickly took off those added lbs.  Pumpkin is a WONDERFUL additive!

 So celebrate pumpkins today.  And make your dog take a picture with one! And post it to my Facebook page!   So I can see other dogs whose humans made then sit with a large orange squash.  And look like we are having fun….Even though these things are too big to retrieve.  

Not that we didn’t try…

© Linda Wozniak

It’s FRIDAY!!!!

Well it’s Friday – so that means for the next THREE days we have our human home with us – AND her mother too.  We know I am her favorite grand-dog, or at least I THINK I am, so it means lots of treats.  She is familiar with the lick-the-yogurt container routine at breakfast, and she knows how to share her banana. And she has learned how to distribute those banana pieces so that Frodo doesn’t take off her fingers in the process.  She is also very familiar with the treat jar – but just in CASE she doesn’t know where it is, I’ll be sure to remind her.

My human’s broken toe is healing up quite nicely.  Thank goodness.  Because she has had QUITE the week.  While she was waiting at the red light coming home from work, someone hit her car from behind.  It appears that just the bumper on Harold was damaged, and it will have to be replaced.  More importantly, no one was hurt.  But it is a nuisance.

So I think my human is looking forward to the weekend as much as we are.  And I just KNOW she can’t WAIT to play fetch.  Over.  And over again.  She is so lucky we keep her active.
Here I am retrieving and jumping down a garden wall. I can do this, like 3 thousand times. I LOVE retrieving!!!!
Have a grrrrrrrrreat day! I know I will! But then for us dogs, EVERY day is Friday!

© Linda Wozniak

International Stuttering Awareness Day

October 22.  Today is International Stuttering Awareness Day.    Stuttering is a human communication challenge in which the flow of speech is interrupted by repetitions of sounds, syllables or words, the prolonging of sounds or the complete stoppage of speech altogether.  Stuttering is not, contrary to popular belief, an “emotional” problem.  It’s caused by a combination of factors – including early language challenges as a child; genetics (60% of people who stutter report that some other family member stutters, and interestingly, the ratio of male to female stutterers is 4:1); neurophysiological differences in stutterers, and family dynamics – a fast paced, high drive lifestyle can contribute to stuttering.  So it’s actually a bunch of factors that come into play when someone stutters.
Some famous people who stutter(ed) include actresses Marilyn Monroe, Jane Seymour and  Emily Blunt, actors James Earl Jones and Charlie Sheen, author John Updike, TV reporter John Stossel,  US Vice President Joe Biden, singers Carly Simon and Elvis Presley,  Prime Minister Winston Churchill, and one of the most famous political individuals, King George, whose story was depicted in the movie The King’s Speech.
Speech-language Pathologists can help people who stutter but did you know that dogs can help people who stutter too?!  Some people who stutter report that when they talk to their dog, they are fluent!  So practicing speech techniques with a dog might be a good thing to do!  We also know that dogs can reduce stress (well some dogs can) and even that may help individuals who stutter to reduce tension and practice fluent speech techniques.
 So there are your stuttering facts for today!  No matter whether or not you stutter, go and talk to your dog and reduce your stress.  Maybe.
Have a good one!
© Linda Wozniak

The Family Tree

 So a new study just came out that traces the roots of us canines back 15,000 years – and this research says we came from Central Asia – somewhere possibly around Mongolia and Nepal.  I read a bit about it and while all the info is still not 100% definitive, they are learning more and more about our humble beginnings.  The study is cool – it analyzed the DNA of more than 4,500 dogs of 161 breeds and 549 street dogs from 38 countries.  Did you know that 75% of the earth’s one billion dogs are homeless?  They scavenge for food and live outdoors.  Kind of like the Littlest Hobo.  Although I’m not sure that a lot of these wild dogs have as much contact with humans as The Hobo did.  When I’m bad, my human reminds me that I could EASILY become a Hobo.  I know she’s kidding – she could never throw me out.  I think.

To get blood for the DNA study from the street dogs, the scientists reported that it was generally easy to get subjects, if the researchers had food.  No kidding.  Although apparently some of the dogs who live off of the carcasses of fish in small fishing villages were not interested in roast beef. Seriously?  I cannot IMAGINE not wanting roast beef.  Well. I can’t imagine not wanting ANY food.  Except lettuce. 

So that’s our latest history lesson.  Imagine the family tree we could plot back for 15,000 years.

And then we would promptly pee on it. 

Sorry.  I couldn’t resist.

Have a great day!

© Linda Wozniak