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.

My human enjoys dog art.  All kinds of dog art.  And some of it is far from what some what consider art.  Some of it is called “kitschy “- which is defined as being in poor taste, but having some sentimentality.  A prefect example is these  chalkware dogs.  They were sometimes given away as prizes at fairs.

While many would NOT consider them art – as they are mass produced AND kitschy- they ARE unique…
Another kitschy example is paint-by-number art.  They are not “art” in the true sense, but because many people remember making them as a kid, they have sentimental value, and believe it or not, have become collectible.  Here is a Bernese example 

and an example on velvet that my human did when she was a kid.  Beauty?  Art?  I’m not so sure….

Then we have print art.  Some of it is mass produced so some would argue that it’s not art either. But some prints are done in limited editions, and depending on the process used, can have value and ARE considered art.  It’s very confusing!!

And then there are older prints or etchings.  Some are hand coloured, like these. 

 And some are just black and white.   Older versions like this from  the 1700’s are cool to see the differences in the breeds.

This old print is a bit reminiscent of the FG and his cornflake catching…although this girl make actually be teaching a trick where she WANTS him to keep the treat on his nose!

Other art mediums include oil paintings, like these old guys…


Pastels – like this one done by a local artist of three dogs who once owned my human – that’s Barney, her first dog who was a “multi-breed”, Guinness, her second Bernese, and Beamish, her Labrador.

And we have colored pencil – with a sketch done by my human of her Bernese, Harper…

We have fiber art, like this little framed needlepoint…

This wall hanging…

And this hooked rug done my my human’s mother….

We have pottery and sculpture…

And wood carvings…

Including this primitive guy…

And this one done by my human’s father…

We have old photos…

And funky photos which my human made once…

We have metal art…

And let’s even include this which you have seen before…

So that’s a short tour of some of our dog “art “.  The bottom line, if you love it it doesn’t matter if it is one of a kind, worth 2 million dollars or 2 cents.  Remember the name of the day- Inspire your HEART with Art – and that’s the most important thing! Art in whatever form should tug at your heart – and be something you love!
Have a good one!  Peace and paws up!
Seizure-free days: 19

Look who is maturing…

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

A birthday….

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…

She had been owned by Bernese Mountain Dogs and a Lab for many years, but she decided she wanted to learn more about PONs – a breed she had been introduced to many years before.  So she went to visit a breeder here in Nova Scotia.  She just went to “meet the dogs” not knowing that the breeder happened to have puppies… So she went in – and well, the rest is history.  It was love at first sight.
Einstein and my human accomplished something she had never been able to do before – she showed him in beauty pageants and he got something called a Championship.  He also got an Obedience title with some pretty impressive scores and a Rally Excellent title – where he also got lots of ribbons.  My human thinks that Einstein is the easiest dog she has ever trained.  Except for the barking. For example – they have this little routine.  She goes into the garage to get our food.  Einstein barks.  She throws open the door and says “be quiet.”  He waits for her to shut the door.  Then he waits until he hears she has stepped away from the door. And he barks again.  She runs back, throws open the door and he stands and stares at her.  Yes.  This happens almost every day.  
Yesterday when she was ready to get  in the shower, Einstein started barking.  Like every ten seconds.  So she went to see what the problem was.  He was just standing there and barking.  For what appeared to be no good reason.  She told  him she was going to shower.  As soon as she was in, he started up again. She got out of the shower and wondered if he needed to go out.  He was sitting by the French door that goes into the hallway.  I should note, that the FG is fed in the hallway.  And if he doesn’t finish his food, my human picks up the bowl and puts it away – which she had done that morning.  So thinking, that Einstein wanted to go out, she opened the door to the hallway.  And he raced in to get a single piece of kibble that the FG had dropped on the carpet.  And that’s why he was barking.  No point in seeing good food go to waste…
While he MAY seem to be the perfect dog (except for the barking), he IS a typical PON and he DOES have a mind of his own.  But he and my human really understand one another, and she can pretty well predict his behavior – even his bad behavior!  She knows if he will run off – when he hears another dog – and she knows exactly when he will come back.  He’s friendly, but not exactly sociable.  When he gets to know you, he’s your best buddy, but before that he has to be sure he wants to bother spending time with you.  He is also THE best watch dog in this house – sounding the alarm for any type of deliveries.  He tolerates grooming but can be rather dramatic about it.  He attempts to hide when my human calls him into the garage – aka grooming torture palace – and the thought of a bath – or going out in the rain, is enough to make him run away.  
Einstein is excellent with me and with the FG and he is CLEARLY the boss in this house. Well I suppose after my human.  Then again…maybe not….
Happy birthday big bro.

Cheers to many more!
Have a good one.  Peace and paws up!
Seizure-free days: 17

Pop Art. Or is it Pup Art…

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.

We talked about this topic before and I showed you an example of a drawing of me, converted to a Pop Art image.  This time, we’ll use a photo of the FG – and you can do this too.
We start with his photo:

Then using a free app called Super Photo, we can select the Warhol filter and voila – we have  Pop Art images of the FG.  

You can also use an app called Enlight – which costs a few bucks – and this app can give you this kind of Pop Art image.  

Enlight can actually do all kinds of things with photos – my human uses it a fair bit and she realizes she doesn’t even know all the possibilities.
While searching for dog art, my human came across the following video.  It isn’t a PON or a Picard – but it’s neat to see the artist creating this painting for 2018 – which is the Year of the Dog in the Chinese calendar.  The music is actually pretty cute and rather catchy!

We found some videos of dogs making paintings with non-toxic paint on their paws.  Clearly that was one craft that would NOT be attempted in this household…
Anyway, I hope YOUR day is colorful!  Have a good one.  Peace and paws up!
Seizure-free days: 16

Ordinary stuff

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

Treeverse study

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

Pied Piper

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

Sled on

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…

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

FG training….

If at first you don’t succeed….

OK. So we have been doing this gradual experiment to prepare the FG for sleeping out of his crate at night – and in the bedroom.  And to get him ready for this, we have all been sleeping free in the dining room and kitchen – while my human has been sleeping on the sofa in the DFZ.  We’ve been doing this for weeks – and we all are happy to sleep together and the FG settles down immediately when it is bedtime. So my human decided on Saturday night to go back to sleeping in her bed at about 11PM. Einstein and I quickly returned to our usual sleeping locations on the bed – me near the head of the bed, and Einstein at the foot of the bed.  When the FG realized what was about to happen, he RACED into the bedroom made a flying leap onto the bed and flailed himself onto the comforter.   Einstein and I just looked at each other.   My human managed to find a spot on the edge of the bed and for 58 seconds it appeared the new sleeping arrangements would work.  But the FG was SO excited about this, he couldn’t settle down.  He spun around on the bed.  He started licking Einstein’s ears.  He spun around again.  My human was looking at her iPad, so she observed the goings on without saying much.  He spun around again.  After about a half hour, Einstein jumped off the bed and went to his favourite corner of the room.  And I joined him.  The FG just watched us and sat up.  Where was everybody going?  Now he flailed himself on top of my human.  By now it was almost midnight, so my human turned off the light, thinking he would settle down. He sat up again, looking to see where Einstein and I were located.  He flailed himself again on top of my human.  Licking her face.  By this point, Einstein and I decided to get back on the bed.  The FG sat up again. And he spun around.  And around.  And it was at about 12:15 that my human conceded defeat.  She went into the kitchen, with the FG following her.  He raced onto the dog bed in the dining room.  She had a glass of water and went back to bed, putting a gate in the doorway to the bedroom.  It didn’t matter – the FG didn’t want in – he was quite comfortable on the dog bed. However at about 5AM he wanted in, so it was time for all of us to get up.
My human isn’t convinced that this sleeping arrangement thing won’t work – so we will try again.  
The good news – the whistle training is coming along quite well.  Not only will the FG grab the toy when he hears the whistle, but my human can actually tell him to wait in another room, she blows the whistle and he comes running.  BUT – this IS  inside with no distractions.  And to be honest, one time he was playing with the hedgehog after finding it, and she debated whether to blow the whistle.  She didn’t think he was probably ready for that level of distraction, but she took a chance.  Blam.  Didn’t work.  So he’s not ready for distractions just yet.  But he certainly is associating the whistle with coming to play. So that is coming along – so Einstein and I think he IS trainable…. Ya gotta love him.
My human is off today – so lots of playing on the agenda.  At least on OUR agenda.
Have a good one.  Peace and paws up.
Seizure-free days: 10