It’s January 31. The last day of January already. Seems like Christmas was yesterday. Sort of. According to the crazy calendar, Today is Inspire your Heart with Art Day. Now art is a broad category. One definition says that art includes the “various branches of creative activity such as painting, music, literature and dance.” For our purposes today we’ll focus on visual art created “to be beautiful or to express important ideas or feelings.” The kind of art we see in galleries or in our home. Art is something very personal. What one person views as being artistic – well another person might view as junk! If we expand the view of art to those things in our environment that we use to decorate and to give us pleasure, we include even more things. True art may be defined by some as “one of a kind” unique creations. Visual art can include paintings, drawings, sculpture, photography, fibre arts, carving, and even metal work. Technically, every photo someone takes is a unique creation – so anyone can be a photographic artist. But not everyone can be a good photographic artist! Still, I think there is an inner artist in all of us. And at very least, we know what we enjoy and often surround ourselves with art that we enjoy – in whatever form.
Yesterday my human was off. You would have thought the night before was a full moon – we were all up numerous times. I had her take me out at 3, and the FG wanted out at 4. We just wanted to pee. We DID let her then sleep in until almost 7. At 7 she quickly got up and had this “idea.” She knew the FG NEEDED a really good RUN off leash. So she took Einstein and me out and then while we were having our breakfast, she loaded the FG in the car. And she drove a couple km down the road to a fenced ball diamond. She went around 7:25 so it was just light out – and she figured she would beat any other dog owners there. She didn’t take ALL of us simply because she wanted to try an experiment with the FG and she knew if we were all running around haywire that he would probably not pay attention.
When she got there, she saw no one else was there, so she got him out of the vehicle, went in the field, secured the gate and let him rip. And boy did he GO. It was like letting a zoo animal free after captivity for 10 years. He FLEW around the perimeter of the field. And then he realized she had two of his favorite fetch toys. And he came RACING toward her with such speed that she began to fear she was going to be bowled over. But he ran past her, spun around ran back and threw himself on the ground in front of her. And he began to play fetch. Well. That’s a bit of a stretch. Let’s just say he would race out to get the toy, come part way back, fall onto the ground and would roll on the toy. My human did most the fetching. But they DID have fun.
And then. The most AMAZING thing happened. My human was about half way across the field, and the FG was intently smelling something on the ground. And she stood there with the whistle in her hand. Should she? Or shouldn’t she? She realized the chance for a successful recall was about 50-50. And REALLY, she shouldn’t try until the odds were better. If he didn’t come, it wouldn’t be the end of the world…but still – it wouldn’t be great either. She held the whistle. He wasn’t paying ANY attention to her. And he was a good distance away. She nervously lifted the whistle to her mouth and blew it 3 times. His head flew up, he looked at her, and came RUNNING. Honestly, my human just about cried. She hugged him and told him how brilliant he was. She gave him treats. She played tug. Seriously, you would have thought the woman just won a lottery.
After that they played more fetch. Or she did. And then she said, “time to go.” He raced back to the entrance where the car was parked and stood there waiting to get out of the gated area. She looked at him and wondered if someone had dognapped the FG and replaced him with this seemingly well-behaved creature. Nope it was him.
They came home and Einstein and I were not impressed. But not to worry – we got extra treats to make up for the adventure – and an extra walk too.
So it seems the FG is maturing. But you’ll note – my human didn’t try the whistle twice. Like a good gambler, she knows when to quit. They’ll try again some day soon and in the meantime, continue to practice indoors. Will wonders never cease…
Have a good one. Peace and paws up!
Seizure-free days: 18
January 29. A national holiday. Because it is the birthday of a very famous canine. None other than my brother, Frodo. Who I prefer to call Einstein. Yup my older brother turns 8 years old today. My human still remembers the day she met him…
It’s January 28 and according to the crazy calendar, it’s Pop Art Day. Pop Art is a style of painting that became popular in the mid to late 1950’s in the US and the UK. It took images from popular culture and advertising ( like comic strips or signs) and incorporated them into works of art. An example is Andy Warhol’s famous painting of Campbell Soup cans. Pop art often used bold and bright colors.
According to my survey, it appears that slightly more than 50% of dogs have the ability to treeverse. Which is better than the stats in this house. Someone suggested that the skill can be trained easily with a clicker. We’ll have to give it a try. Thanks to all who responded!
And speaking of training, the FG is still not catching anything. Neither toys nor cheese popcorn – and certainly not the cornflakes. The whistle thing IS getting better. But far from reliable enough to be tested outdoors. Training is hard work. We DO remain good at countersurfing though. In fact, I am starting to like the FG more and more – partly because he has better reach than I do. The other day, my human took him out first for his walk. And then she took Einstein and me next. And when we walked in the door, she discovered that a multi-page flyer that had come in the mail was now multi-piece confetti. And she said the breath-wasting statement: “what did you do?” At which point the FG walked away, wagging his tail.
My human was again sleeping on the sofa the past few days. And it had nothing to do with the FG. After his unsuccessful attempts to sleep free in the bedroom, she was allowing just me and Einstein in, while he was sleeping on the dog bed in the other room. But unfortunatley, my comfy sleeping arrangements didn’t last long. As I did once before, I jumped off the bed while I was half alseep, and awoke the next morning – limping on one of my front legs. So for the next couple of nights my human slept back on the sofa – because she didn’t want me jumping on and off the bed. So why not simply block the door – and leave us with the FG? Because Einstein won’t let her. He stands at the bedroom door and barks. And barks. To be let in. So the only option was to go BACK to the sofa – because for some odd reason he doesn’t bark at her in the DFZ. He’ll stare – and look longingly at her, but he doesn’t bark. Have I ever mentioned how very well trained we have her?
Today is Saturday. Have to get my human up early – no point in wasting the day.
Have a good one! Peace and paws up!
Seizure-free days: 15
So I am doing a study. Well, it’s actually a survey. And I don’t have any grant funding to carry out this survey, so I will rely on my blog readers to help me out. And I realize that this subject pool would be a select group – but it’s a place to start. So here is my research question…what percentage of dogs have the ability to treeverse? As you may recall, the term “treeverse” comes from my own Viktionary. I define it as “the ability of some dogs to reverse themselves when they are on a leash and have gone around a tree.” In this household, we are looking at 33% who are able to perform this movement. And you can probably guess who that is – Einstein. We don’t call him that for nothing.
Last night when my human got home from work, she took each of us on leash in the backyard to “do our thing.” In the process, Einstein went around a tree, while my human and I were on the other side. My human simply said to Einstein “go around” and he reversed himself and we continued on. On the other hand, the FG went out and somehow managed to wrap himself around not just any tree – but a pine tree – with low branches. He bounced around while my human worked to untangle him and set him free. She clearly needs shorter leashes. I didn’t actually get tangled last night – but based on past performance, my human is counting me as one of the non-treeversers.
I think that treeversing can be trained – and agility dogs can probably figure out this move pretty easily. But I’m not entirely sure. And herding dogs MIGHT also be able to figure out the move too – but obviously the FG and I aren’t in that group. I should also note that this doesn’t just apply to trees – poles count as well. Poles as in structural columns – not the people. Although, I suppose some dogs can get humans tangled in leashes too…But that’s for another research study.
It’s FRIDAY. Thank goodness. The temperatures sound perfect for good long walks – although I did see a forecast for rain on Sunday. What a crazy winter!!
Have a good one. Peace and paws up. And watch out for trees. And don’t forget to respond to my survey….
Seizure-free days: 14
Well the FG sure learned how to tease a couple of PONs yesterday. He was like the Pied Piper luring us from room to room. My human bought these new treats for us – they are called Cod Bits. They are made from “Wild Alaskan Cod Skins” and they are “Hand twisted and slowly dried in Canada.” I sure would like that job. Anyway, they are basically dried cod – and they are light and crunchy. And the aroma when you open the bag is scrumptious – to us dogs anyway. And probably cats too. My human gave each of us a piece. Of course, Einstein and I simply grabbed it, crunched a few times and it was gone before we even realized what we ate. The FG stood staring at the strange thing in my human’s hand, and wasn’t going to touch it until he realized that Einstein and I were about to grab it. So he took it gently in his teeth. Now as I said, these things are pretty light and crunchy and they break apart pretty easily. So here he was, carrying around his delicate cargo, but unwilling to drop it because he KNEW a PON would quickly get it. He wasn’t even sure if he really liked the thing, but he knew that he liked it enough to not want one of us to have it. So he walked around the dining room table. Carrying his cargo. And careful not to drop it – although it was starting to break up just as he held it. He walked faster. And two shadows walked faster. My human said “hey – let him enjoy that.” We glanced at her and kept following the Pied Piper. Into the kitchen. Back into the dining room. Around the table again. By this point he had taken a few tentative bites and decided he definitely wanted it. So he took the plunge and ate the whole thing, without dropping it to examine it – like he does with any new food item. Safe to say, the Cod Bits were a hit with everyone. Mind you, I don’t know if there has EVER been a treat that we PONs didn’t like…
The FG is actually feeling like a celebrity these days. Remember my story about Toto? Or Terry. Well I also mentioned that there were a couple of Picards who starred in the movie, Because of Winn Dixie. Well I came to find out from one of my readers that there were 5 Picards in the film. The two that were well known were Laiko and Scott. And I quote Betsy Gilardi Richards:”… Laiko was a proven stud dog and had fathered 8 litters in France before he was leased by the production company Birds and Animals. The other dog Scot went on to star in at least 2 movies in Europe after he went back home.” These two dogs were used for the close-up shots, while the others were used for distance shots. So of course, my human had to see if the dogs were related to the FG. And sure enough, Laiko is the great-great-great-great grandfather of the FG!!!!!! So clearly, he comes from a “trainable” ancestry. There’s hope for him yet. Next things you know, he’ll be giving out paw-tographs…
Have a good one. Peace and paws up!
Seizure free days: 13
So in looking for news in the world of dogs, I saw an article about a man “crossing Canada with his sled dogs.” So of course I had to check it out. It seems a guy who calls New Brunswick, Canada his home (which is north of Nova Scotia if you are not sure of Canadian geography. From Halifax, Nova Scotia you can cross the border into New Brunsick in about 2.5 hours. Unless you have LOTS of pee stops). ANYWAY, he is starting his journey from Churchill, Manitoba and traveling by dog sled to his home in New Brunswick. Churchill, Manitoba is an interesting place, because it holds the title as “Polar Bear Capital of the World.” Tourism and ecotourism to see the bears is a big industry in Churchill. It’s on my human’s bucket list. But she said we are not allowed to come along. Because although you MAY have seen a video like this…
These same polar bears have been known to EAT dogs as well. So we’re not going to Churchill.
I should point out that while the sled dog story describes the man as “crossing Canada” – if you look at a map, Churchill is about half way across Canada. Still, the journey is about 3000km or 1900 miles. I checked out the names of the sled dogs going on this journey and there were some interesting names – like Alpine, Juniper and Tamarack. And of course, there was a Bella. Seriously. There HAD to be. If you want to follow their progress or find out more about this adventure, here is their website:
Given that Einstein and I don’t like to get wet, and we quite enjoy the comforts of sleeping on my human’s bed, I don’t think we are cut out for this kind of work. I think the FG could do it, because he certainly has the energy and he LOVES to run. Mind you, he doesn’t follow directions well – so they could end up in Florida instead of New Brunswick…
Have a good one. Peace and paws up!!
Seizure-free days: 12
I bit my human. Yup. I did it. But it was an accident – so I don’t think I’m really guilty…Am I????
My human was off yesterday. And we were sure to get her up nice and early to make the most of the day. Sunday night was a repeat performance of Saturday night with the FG. She attempted to allow him in the bedroom again. But like the night before, he preferred to spin, chew, lick and basically NOT settle down. But this time, he went on his own into the other room to sleep. And then we ALL were able to sleep.
My human had several “projects” planned for Monday, including cleaning out the tool closet in the garage. Somehow, it had exploded – and she couldn’t find a thing in it. Nails were mixed with screws, hammers were buried under rope – it basically was a disaster. So she had been to the infamous Dollar Store to purchase a variety of containers to help her organize. But she ALSO bought some other things at the Dollar Store…So before she began her organizing, she “invited me” in to the garage to take some photos. And although I don’t mind the picture-taking thing, wearing assorted holiday attire – because I DO get lots of treats – I was in a serious modelling mood. And try as hard as she could – my human could not get me to smile. I would sit and look seriously at the camera. So she figured I needed some play time first. So she got out the hedgehog. And she tossed it for me. And I ran around with it. And we played tug with it. And she somehow managed to get it away from me and tossed it again. We were having a grand time. And then she attempted to pull the hedgehog. And I went to grab him to get a better grip and bam – I grabbed her finger. “Yow” she said. And she grabbed a towel because, well let’s just say I got her good. I quickly realized I had dome something because our playing came to a halt while she tried to stop the bleeding. “Aw buddy” she said. “game over.”
After she got herself bandaged up, she figured she should start her organizing project. So she put all three of us in the run in the garage while she was working. In the run there were assorted toys that dispense treats – so we quickly emptied those. But Einstein wanted more treats. So he kept batting around the now empty “Pyramid” while barking. Incessantly. So it was like bam-crash-bark-bark-bam-crash-bark-crash-bam-bark-bark-bark-bam-crash. After about 15 minutes, my human couldn’t take the noise any more, so we were all ushered back into the house, leaving her with her bandaged finger to clean the disaster closet in peace and quiet.
We DID get to play games when she was finished and had a good run around outside. Although I must say the snow is really not very much fun right now. It still has that crusty surface. So it’s slippery and then all of a sudden you fall through. Einstein and I tend to keep to the areas that have already been walked on. Even the FG finds it hard. And today, we have rain in the forecast. Great fun.
Well time to go on guard duty. Oh and I forgot to mention – I really AM sorry about that bite….
Have a good one! Peace and paws up.
Seizure-free days: 11
If at first you don’t succeed….