Tail tales

Another brilliant human idea.  I just read about a device that you attach to a dog’s tail – to see how he is feeling.  I kid you not.  It’s an emotion detector.  You attach it to your dog’s tail and you will be able to follow a plot on a graph on your mobile device that tells you how your dog is feeling at any point in time.

Reportedly, when we dogs wag our tails to the left, we are feeling scared or anxious or angry, and when we wag to the right, we are feeling happy or excited or content.  I’m not sure what it means when we wag back and forth…

The device is supposed to come out next year – assuming the company can raise lots of funds for the production.

Now the idea of GPS tracking devices I can see – particularly given my recent disappearing act during that off-leash run.  I might add, that I have NOT been off leash since then.  So if one wanted to spend money on dog technology, I can see the benefits of a tracking device.  But an emotion monitor?!  Really?  Look at my tail.  Look at my ears.  Do I LOOK happy?  And if you really want to know how I’m feeling when you’re not there – get a video camera, with a feed to your smartphone.   My human knows that if she were to talk to us remotely, we probably wouldn’t listen after the first time.  We’re intelligent beings – we’ll KNOW you are not there.  Heck, we don’t even listen when we’re doing something bad and you’re IN the room!

So good luck with the tail monitor.  I wonder if it will show up in Xrays when another dog eats it?

© Linda Wozniak

Sweet dreams

So the other night, my human had a bad dream.  She thinks it was because she had been in touch with a very good friend who is a doctor – who has worked at the hospital in Afghanistan that was recently bombed.  Thankfully her friend was not there at the time – but sadly, he knows the staff that lost their lives.  She went to bed and was dreaming of bombings!!!!  She was happy when she woke up from the dream and she didn’t even care that I had managed to sneak onto the bed.

Which brings me to the topic of dogs and dreaming.  Because we canines can’t TELL you that we dream, it’s hard to PROVE that we dream.  BUT –there is scientific evidence that shows it is HIGHLY likely that we DO dream.  Just like humans, dogs go into a pattern of DEEP sleep – and that’s when dreams are most likely to occur. You have no doubt seen us growling or running in our sleep.  That’s when we are dreaming.  Just the other night – my human looked at Frodo and he was sound asleep – but he was wagging his tail!  Must have been a dream about food.

Some studies say that small dogs dream more often than larger dogs.  I think it’s because they are probably defending themselves in their dreams more often – since they are little.  And speaking of small dogs defending themselves – did you see the video of the French Bulldog in California who chased away TWO BEARS?!  Seriously.  TWO bears.  Jewels was caught on surveillance cameras – and boy oh boy, I sure wouldn’t want to tangle with HER.  She sent those bears a-packing.  Hey – I wonder if bears dream?  Gotta check it out. They must – during that long hibernation!

Anyway, I hope you have a dreamy day – as long as it’s GOOD dreams!

© Linda Wozniak

Taking Dog Photos. For Humans.

So some people ask my human how she manages to get good photos of me – and my brothers. I have decided to share some of her strategies.  Now keep in mind, for every GOOD photo you see posted, 4,561,328 OTHER shots were also taken.  OK.  Maybe not THAT many.  But certainly more than 10.

So the first step in getting a good dog shot is to tire us out.  Play ball.  Take us for a walk.  And whatever you do – do NOT attempt to take photos immediately BEFORE mealtime.  Especially with us PONs.  If we THINK it is near mealtime, there is NO way we can sit still.  Tired or not tired. And it is not a good idea to try immediately AFTER mealtime. At that point we are satisfied, and may not be interested in the fabulously yummy treats you have in your pocket.  Well. That may be true for some dogs.  We PONs can eat ANY time.  But fabulously yummy treats ARE a KEY ingredient in the photo shoot.  It has to be something like….cheese.  We LOVE cheese.

So after we are tired out, take us to the photo spot and position us.  It is critical that all dogs UNDERSTAND a basic “sit-stay” command.  Mind you, that does NOT ensure we will actually DO it.  Position us where you want us, and then the real fun begins – particularly if you are trying to photograph more than ONE dog at the same time.  Position us and then slowly step back to take the photo.  Now you must begin to repeat our names.  Multiple times. And you must do it while changing the pitch of your voice.  You should also make strange sounds.  If you have a whistle or some other sound making device – like a kazoo – do it quickly and be PREPARED.  It is at that INSTANT that you will get ears up and strange but adorable expressions.  But the bottom line – once you have done it, you may not get that expression again.  We QUICKLY catch on – and will begin to display picnore.  That behavior where we KNOW you are trying to get our photo and we will do everything in our power to ignore you.  We will look up.  Down.  We will sniff the ground.  We will sniff each other.

So after your weird sound strategy, I still have another option.  I might add that throughout this process, no matter if you get good photos or not, IF we stay in place, we MUST be rewarded with the yummy treats.  MULTIPLE times.

Your next option, when we are COMPLETELY exhibiting picnore, is to throw something.  Now this is an art in itself.  My human threw a rock up in the air once and narrowly missed her own head.  Did I ever mention she is not terribly coordinated?  Anyway, throw the rock/stick/ wad of dirt BEHIND you.  It is not advisable to use a fetch toy as this can result in a stampede – and you will be in the direct path of the oncoming traffic.

So after you take your 4 million plus photos – and I might add – do NOT look at the photos right away, while we wait because we will think the photo shoot is OVER, and we will run away.  Then just TRY to round us up again.

So as you finally sit down and look through the photos, you will find the following:

·      One or more dogs look happy and another looks grumpy

·      One or more dogs are NOT looking at the camera

·      One or more dogs has his eyes shut (THIS is Paxton’s forte’)

·      One or more dogs has his tongue out – but NOT in a cute gesture

But every now and then, the more you do this, the better you will get – and you will record that perfect image.   

 You CAN also get candid shots of us – when we are not aware you are taking them.  It is probably easier to get those shots with a real camera – my human just uses her phone for our portrait shots.

But the bottom line – you must have PATIENCE (a glass of wine before photo shoots can be helpful) and don’t forget – if you want US to say “cheese” – you had better have some on hand!

© Linda Wozniak

SCARECROWS. The adventure.

Well I got to go on an adventure yesterday.  WITHOUT my canine brothers.  The rain FINALLY stopped and it was a beautiful Fall day – so my human decided to go for a drive with her mother to a town called Mahone Bay.  And it was a special day in Mahone Bay – they were having their annual Scarecrow festival.  The town is FILLED with scarecrows – and these are not your ordinary field variety.  These scarecrows can be QUITE elaborate.  The little town was JAMMED with people taking photos and walking about.  So of COURSE, my human had to get some shots of me with a few scarecrows. Now this was NOT, I repeat, NOT an easy task.  Because EVERYONE was trying to get photos.  So my human would wait until there was a break in the action, she would whisk me up and plop me down in front of the scarecrows.  Then she would beg and plead and make all kinds of strange noises to get me to look at her.  Which of course, I didn’t.  Not until she would repeat my name 468 times would I MAYBE glance her way.  Or stick my tongue out at her.  Other people would join in the “fun” and that usually worked to get my attention. 

As I said, there were dozens of scarecrows, but we had to be selective which ones we picked, as they had to be worthy of the drama.  We, of course, HAD to take a picture with Mary and her little lambs – or was she Little Bo Peep?  Anyway it seemed fitting that a sheepdog should be with sheep.  I actually paid more attention to THESE sheep than the live variety the other week. 

So here are a few photos from my adventure.  I can hardly WAIT until the Father Christmas festival in December.  I just hope my human forgets her 
 camera phone.
Near the town entrance

I was being baaaaaaaaaaaad for this shot

 

The businesses are beautifully decorated

My human didn’t attempt me with the Big Bad Wolf

Me and my harem

And of course we had to buy a pumpkin.  Or two.

©  Linda Wozniak

World Pet Day

October 4.  It’s World Pet Day! Now while I like to think that we canines are KINGS of the pet universe, there are lots of other species out there in the world of pets.  When we use the word “pet” we are talking about those creatures that live with humans for the purpose of companionship or friendship and not those animals used as working animals or livestock.  Although I am sure there ARE some pet milking cows out there!

The statistics on pets are tricky – and pet ownership varies around the world.  For example, in the US, the overall population of cats is higher than dogs – but more households own dogs.  That’s because in those households with cats, there are probably more than one.  If we looked at the overall NUMBER of type of pets, fish would win hands down.  BUT fish ownership is not nearly as high as dog and cat ownership.  Confused?  That’s because you can own LOTS of fish – dozens and dozens.  If you did that with dogs – you would have a serious mental health problem – or you would be called a puppy mill.  Actually both conditions are serious.

In Europe, they say the pet statistics are harder to define – due to the number of countries. If we look at cats and dogs, the UK, Poland and Italy have higher NUMBERS of cats than dogs like the US– while Germany is closer to 50-50. Paxton was VERY disappointed to see that Switzerland has LOTS more cats than dogs.  LOTS.

In China, despite the HUGE human population, pet ownership is considerably lower than in the North America and Europe.  On the other hand, Japan has LOTS of cats and dogs.

The pet population in Africa is said to be difficult to calculate because it is hard to survey many of the countries. The stats for Australia are like those of the US.

Most of the surveys about pets tend to focus on dogs and cats – but there are many other creatures that own people.  We mentioned fish, but there are lots of others – including birds, small mammals like rabbits, ferrets, hamsters, gerbils, rats, mice, and guinea pigs and reptiles – snakes, lizards and turtles.  People are also owned by spiders – like tarantulas and even hermit crabs. I just don’t GET that. But whatever works for you.  I just wonder if your pet tarantula gets excited to see you when you get home from work…

There are lots of health benefits to owning a pet.  For example, kids who grow up with pets are less likely to develop related allergies.

Pets are great for socialization.  For example, when you walk us in the park, we are great ice breakers.  Well.  Paxton is.  If people stop to ask about us PONs, Frodo will likely bark- resulting in my human’s explanation about how he likes to say hello.  We don’t always break the ice.  We probably cause it to form.  Well – he does.  I’m more of a social butterfly.  But just the same, pet owners do communicate with other pet owners – and dog clubs are an example of that too.

Pets are also said to lower human blood pressure.  OK.  Our house it the exception to that rule too. Anyway, in MOST cases pets ARE good for your physical health.  They get you out walking – they give you exercise – all of which is good for you!  Unless they drag you down the driveway.  And you fall.  And break a hip… But honestly, studies have shown that those people owned by pets have better recovery after a heart attack that non-pet owners.

Pets also make people FEEL good.  They can reduce depression.  Pets give unconditional love so we make people happy. 

So today, go out and celebrate us pets.  Thank us for all the benefits some of us give you.  And don’t forget to pet your pet.  That is – unless you own fish.

©  Linda Wozniak

My new BOOK!

OK.  So another day of rain fore-guessed for today and then MAYBE some SUN tomorrow.  Followed by a hurricane.  Hurricane Joaquin.  But the good news – Joaquin is supposed to track SOUTH of us – so we may JUST get a Tropical Cyclone. Oh joy. Oh happiness.

But enough about the soggy weather – I have some BIG news.  It is official.  I just put together my very first self-published BOOK!  Yes – a book by a dog – and not just any dog – a PON!   I decided to gather some of my famous dog terminology – and put it into a book!  With photos of moi.  Oh and Frodo and Pax too.  I didn’t know what to call my book.  Harry PONter?  Fifteen Shades of Grey?  Alice’s Adventures in PONderland? The Da PONci Code?  Valley of the PONs?  A Tale of Two PONs? PONdyssey?  A lot of those titles seemed familiar for some reason – so I went with the Viktionary.

You can find it at this site:

My human explained that I will NOT make a fortune selling this book – since the people who PRINT the book make almost all of the money.  But she did say that we MIGHT be able to make enough to buy a box of biscuits.  She knows that we will be able to buy SOME treats – since she will be able to convince her mother to buy 50 copies.  Well.  Maybe not 50.  But a few!

So if you are looking for a unique Christmas, Hanukkah or Kwanzaa gift – consider a book.  By a PON!  I’m a bit nervous as I have never written a book before.  But heck, if a HUMAN can write a book, certainly a dog can!  And if you buy a copy, and I see you someday, I will happily give you my pawtograph!

In other news, Paxton is going to the Vet today.  He doesn’t know it yet.  He’s going in for his annual physical and to get some medicine.  For worms.  NO – we don’t THINK he has worms – BUT since he eats all kinds of rotting vegetation- if given 30 seconds of off-leash freedom- my human doesn’t want to take any chances.  Paxton actually doesn’t mind the Vet – since he has spent time there – especially after eating my human’s sling last year.  They seem to like him – he’s kind of like a mascot.  Probably because he paid for the new wing on the building.  Our Vet could write a book about HIM!

Have a happy Saturday!

©  Linda Wozniak

Harold

October 2.  The good news.  It is Friday – which means our human will be noticeably happy when she comes home from work.  The bad news.  It is still raining.  And Frodo and I don’t want to go out on our walks.  On a day like this, my human walks, followed by two soggy shaggy creatures who appear to be in a funeral march.  On a nice day, we are bounding out AHEAD of her – often dragging her up the driveway.  But when it’s raining, everything happens in slow motion.  It is all my human can do to push us out of the house when she opens the door.

I looked at the weather fore-guess for the next two days and it is ever-so-informative and special.  Rain at times heavy.  Periods of rain.  Cloudy.  Showers.  All that to say WET for the next few days.  We are so depressed.  Except for Paxton.  He doesn’t care.  Put a coat on him and he thinks he looks fantastic – so out he goes. 

October 2 is National Name Your Car Day.  I have no idea what that means – I assume you give your car a name, besides the manufacturer’s name.  Our car is getting old.  It will be 10 next year – and in dog years, it is definitely a senior.  It’s a Subaru – and my human can’t decide whether to retire it – or drive it into the ground.  Whatever THAT means.  It has like a gazillion miles on it – but it runs well.  Frodo knows how to open the automatic windows in the car – so my human has to keep the child locks on – all the time.  We all LOVE going for a car ride.  Except to the Vet.   So what do you call a vehicle that has a faint “essence de canine”,  dog hair stuck under the seats, under the mats and in some places, stuck to the ceiling – compliments of Paxton.  And that’s AFTER it has been vacuumed.  The windows often have signs of olfactory art.  But it runs like a tank, and the body looks OK – despite a few parking lot “door dings” – caused by other vehicles. So what would I call our car?  “Hairy” seems appropriate.  No – make that Harold – that’s a bit more distinguished.  Harold – the K9 taxi.  That or the Barkmobile. Brutus?  Atlas?  Or how about Kratos – who was the Greek god of strength and power.  Our vehicle does have power and it carries dog crates – so that would work. Nah.  I still like Harold.

Oh –oh I must go and hide – I think my human wants to take me out again.  And it’s STILL raining.  Unless she wants to take us out in Harold.  We’ll gladly go out for that!

Have a happy Friday.

© Linda Wozniak