Toto. Or Terry.

January 21. And on this day in 1903, the musical, The Wizard of Oz premiered in New York City. Interestingly, Toto did not appear in that early stage version, but obviously had an important presence in the famous 1939 movie classic.  And here are some interesting facts about the dog who played in that movie role:

1.  Toto was a cairn terrier and was a female dog – not a male as most people believe.
2.  Toto’s REAL name was Terry.  In the film credits, she was called Toto – and several years later her name was officially changed to Toto.
3.  Toto’s owner was a dog trainer.  Someone had droppped Toto off for training – and never picked her up – so the trainer kept her. Wonder what her original human thought when she saw Toto’s career!
4.  Toto actually starred in 15 films in her career – including one with Shirley Temple.
5.  Toto received a weekly salary of $125. Which was more than the people who played the Munchkins received…
6.  Judy Garland wanted to adopt Toto after the movie, but her human said no.
7.  Toto didn’t like the basket on the bike, or the wind machine used to simulate the tornado.
8.  Toto actually appeared in more scenes than Judy Garland.
9.  Toto had a biography called “I Toto” which was published in 2001.
10. Toto lived to the age of 13 and was buried at the residence of her human.
So it was a rags to riches story for Toto – or really I should say Terry.  I’m not sure how I would feel about the whole Scarecrow, Cowardly Lion and Tinman thing…and I know I definitely would not want to encounter the flying monkeys… 
And  one more interesting movie tidbit – you know the movie Marley and Me?  My human has never actually seen it.  She read the book – and figured she didn’t want to make a spectacle of herself in the theatre so she never saw it on the big screen.  Anyway – how many dogs do you think play the role of Marley in the film?  Are ya ready – 18 different dogs!  Mind you, the film depicted Marley at various ages – but 18?! Still waiting for a movie to star a PON.  There WAS a movie starring a Picard – Because of Wynn Dixie.  Reportedly, two dogs by the names of Lyco and Scott shared that role…although another source said there were 4 Picards.  
So that’s your movie trivia for today.  Now excuse me while I go and work on my screenplay.
Have a good one.  Peace and paws up!
Seizure-free days: 9

The new poop on poop

Now here is some fasciniating research in the area of dogs.  Just don’t read the following while you are eating.  The topic is about eating.  But about that wonderful canine habit that some dogs have of eating poop.  Remember, I warned you.

It seems some researchers in California decided to try and figure out why we dogs eat poop.  No offense, but I wonder how much funding they got to do this research.  And who funded it – the poop bag companies?  Anyway, seems that they surveyed 3,000 dog owners.  And they found no evidence to suggest any coorelations with age, specific diet, or obsessive behaviors like tail-chasing.  But here’s the interesting part.  We poop aficionados won’t eat stale poop.  We like our poop less than 2 days old.  They say it goes back to our wolf-ancestors – who would essentially clean-up poop that was left too close to the den, to avoid the infection of parasites that hatch on poop after a few days.  I’m not kidding.  This is what they said. They also found that most poop eaters tend to be greedy eaters.  So it might suggest some dietary motivation.  Given that not all of our food may be fully digested, we see the poop as a secondary food source.  I call it recycling.   And we poop eaters also like to eat dirt.  And cat poop.  Personally I’m not a BIG fan of dirt, but if given the chance to sample some feline products, I’m thinking I would give it a shot.  I certainly liked sheep poop.

Oh and you know those “solutions” like putting pepper or chilis on the poop to discourage us from eating it?  And those products that are supposed to make our poop taste bad?  I hate to tell you – but the success rate is pretty poopy at less than 2%.

But the good news, the next phase of the research will be looking at solutions.   Thank goodness.   In the big scheme of world problems, this IS a big one.

So that’s the poop on poop.  And lest you shake you heads and think that we dogs have some disgusting habits, perhaps I should remind you that on this day in 1982, Ozzy Osbourne, the heavy metal musician, ate the head off a bat on stage in Iowa.  Really.  And you are disgusted by a little poop eating…

Have a good one!  Peace a paws up!

Seizure -free days: 8

Human attire

Well we finally have had the opportunity to assess the the skills of our new plow driver.  He needed to come last week – for the first time this winter, and Wednesday night as well.  Wednesday was a typical Halifax area winter day.  Snow all day. Followed by freezing rain, then some rain and then some freezing again.  Which made the snow crusty and hard on the top and wet and soft underneath.  And where Russell had plowed (I’ll call him Russell since that’s his name…) the driveway was icy.  Needless to say we didn’t get to go for suer long walks on Thursday morning, and we were less than thrilled with the whole walking-on-crusty-and-falling-through thing on the lawn.  At least we PONs didn’t care for it.  We went out, did our business, watched our poop roll along on the crusty surface and wanted to go right back in the house – to eat.  The FG on the other hand had a “leaping technique” were he basically bounced his way around the lawn, breaking through the crust and burying his nose in the snow.  He thought it was great fun. The photo you see is the pre-crusty stage.

Given the current state of winter weather, I would like to share several essential pieces  of human dog-walking attire.  If you live in a warm climate without snow (lucky you!) you can ignore the next few paragraphs…

First we have the boots with the cleats that are removable – they flip around back into the sole of the boot.  They work great in icy conditions – although if the surface is really hard and sheer ice, they could actually be slippery. But in crusty ice, they are PERFECT.

Next we have the mittens with  string. Now most people probably associate these with kids – but if you are owned by a dog, they are indispensable.  Because when you have to remove your mitten to get the poop bag out of your pocket, and you still have to hold onto two leashes and balance on the ice, you don’t need to worry about dropping your mitts!  

Then of course, we have the trusty headlamp.  Because it gets dark at supper time and doesn’t get light out until breakfast.  Don’t leave home without it.

My human could do commercials for dog walking attire.

It’s FRIDAY and it’s also January 19 – and according to the crazy calendar, it’s Good Memory Day.  And let me tell you something, we PONs have EXCELLENT memories..  And really, so does Picky Picard.  For example, we remember where treats are stored (and for that matter, if they have been left on the counter).   When we play the “find it” games, we often go to places that the hedgehog or bunny have been hidden in the past – before we start using our noses.  Some studies argue that we dogs don’t have a a short term memory that lasts more than 2-5 minutes – because we live in the here and now.  Our long term memory  is obviously longer – because we can recall commands and places we have been in the past.   They say our long term memory depends on our associative memory.  For example, we hear the treat jar being opened so we associate the sound with getting something yummy.  

One thing I know for sure, unlike my human who goes into a room and can’t remember why she went in, I NEVER forget.  Because I’m always going in for the same reason – to hunt for food.  And trust me, I NEVER forget where I found it before…

Have a good one.  Peace and paws up!

Seizure-free days: 7

Dog Clubs. A rant.

OK, what I am about to write will no doubt not sit well with some people.  But heck, I’m a dog, and honestly, we dogs don’t really worry what other people think.  We just want to be happy.  And we usually are!  And THAT’S why humans could take a lesson from us…

My human just joined another dog club.  She’s a member of several.  That’s one of the things some humans do – they join a particular breed club, like the Pogopogo Setter Club of Canada (there is no such thing as a Pogopogo Setter – at least not that I know of!) or they join what is called an all-breed club like the Halifax Kennel Club.  Now the purpose of these clubs, as I understand it, is to promote and share information about purebred dogs.  And ideally to promote good breeding practices.  The clubs may put on dog shows, or be involved in community projects – like the Halifax Kennel Club did – raising funds to buy animal sized oxygen masks for use by our local firefighters.  Certain clubs may form to focus on one type of dog activity – like obedience or herding or draft or agility.  In some of the more perfomance based clubs – dogs who participate need not be purebred. 

But the problem with “dog” clubs is that humans run them.  And humans come with their own set of agendas, their own ideas, and their own goals.  In THEORY, dog clubs SHOULD be happy places because they represent a venue where people come together because they ALL have the same interest. Dogs.  But somehow, humans act like humans – and not like dogs – who basically live for today, and rarely have an agenda.  And egos become involved and words get thrown around and people get mad and then they quit.  Or they have a mutiny.  And the next thing you know, the happy dog club is the cranky dog club.  Or in the worst scenario, the club folds.

It seems my human has stepped into a club like that right now.  And honestly, she is just NEW – so she holds no alliances, to anyone.  And she doesn’t know the “history”.  I suppose she could be voted off the island for even discussing this whole thing – but heck, I’m writing this – not her.   And you’ll note, I haven’t mentioned what club it is.  Or where it is.  In this day and age with the internet, one can easily become a member of a club in a different area or another country for that matter.

The one thing, as a newbie to this club, that my human recognized is that it is no wonder purebred dogs are in such a mess.   Humans are the problem when it comes to dogs.  Something brought all of these people together – an activity or a breed – and that’s what people need to keep in mind… And if they want to see their breed or their sport or purebred dogs in general, continue to grow and develop and be AROUND for a long time – they had better work together.   Unfortunately, with humans that is often easier said than done…What a shame…

OK.  I’m stepping off my soapbox, and instead, stepping up to countersurf.  And I’m going to form my OWN dog club – and no humans allowed…OK, just my human can come.  She has to type the minutes…

Have a good one.  PEACE and paws up! And be happy.

Seizure-free days: 5

BUSTED.

Yesterday my human had the day off.  So of course, we wanted to make the most of it.  By getting her up early.  Like at 3AM.  This has actually become a bit of a “thing” now.  I wander around at 3 AM, and she figures I need to pee because of my medication.  So I get to go out.  And then everyone gets to go out.  Then we get a treat and are told to go back to sleep.  And she sequesters herself back on the sofa in the DFZ.  Yup – she’s still sleeping there.  She realizes it’s about time she heads back to her bed – because we are all sleeping FINE together – with the FG out of his crate.  But I think she’s gotten used to sleeping on the sofa – and I THINK she is actually enjoying not having any of us sleeping on the bed and pushing her off.  But she has decided that THIS WEEKEND we are going to try and all share the bed.  Now THIS should be interesting.  In the meantime, I wander in the middle of the night and we all get to go out.

So yesterday she took us all out and then announced that she would be sleeping in.  She had her alarm set, for the VERY late hour of 7 AM.  She HAS to get up at that time no matter what, because I need my medication at 7.  Anyway, after the 3 AM walk-about she fell SOUND asleep.  But before she went back to sleep, she gave each of us a treat.  But not just ANY treat.  She gave each of us a piece of Honey Beefer.  I think I have talked about this locally made canine delicacy before.  It’s dried beef.  Mixed with honey.  And there is not a dog on this PLANET who wouldn’t like Honey Beefers.  I guarantee it.  Even Picky Picard scarfs it down…

So we went back to sleep at 3 AM,  but  we woke up PROMPTLY at our usual time of 5:45.  However, my human was still sleeping.  But we were hungry.  And it seems, in my human’s half sleeping state at 3 AM, she left the Honey Beefers on the counter…

When my human got up at 7, she wandered into the kitchen and then noticed the FG flinging something in the dining room.  Tiny pieces of plastic.  Now what on earth could THAT be, she wondered.  She went and pried a piece out of his mouth and could partly read the label on the plastic. “Hon…”.  And she immediately recognized the color of the label.  She ran to the counter and sure enough, the BRAND NEW FULL PACKAGE of Honey Beefers was GONE.  We all looked at her with innocent eyes.  “Who did this?” she asked as if one of us would miraculously have the ability to speak and shout out “It was ME.”

But unfortunately, unlike the other day after the power outage, this time, Big Brother was working.  She attempted to roll back the video footage.  It was tricky, because, of course, this happened while it was still dark out.  BUT, she had left a light on in the dining room.  She kept scrolling and scrolling though the footage.  And suddenly she saw no one on the screen.  No one was in the dining room.  And although she couldn’t SEE what was happening in the dark kitchen, she could hear the rustling of paper or plastic.  And then, out of the darkness and into the light of the dining room a figure emerged.  Carrying a package of Honey Beefers.  It was…..me.  BUSTED.  I proceeded to rip open the package with the assistance of Einstein, and eat all the Honey Beefers.  I think the FG was in the kitchen, checking to see if there were any more packages of treats.

My human was NOT impressed and she worried that I might have some dietary issues – but as of last night, no problems.  We’ll see what today holds.  While she is at work.

Good thing I’m cute….

Have a good one! Peace and paws up!!

Seizure-free days: 5

Wikipedia

Do you recognize the names Larry Sanger and Jimmy Wales?  Nope…they are not a recording duo from the 1970’s.  They are two guys who launched something on this day in 2001, that you likely have used more than once in your life.  In fact, if you do Google searches on a regular basis, you are usually directed to their web product pretty quickly.  Larry and Jimmy were two of the guys instrumental in starting Wikipedia – the on-line encyclopedia of sorts that contains information on just about every topic you can think of, from various sources. While it does have loads of info, it is important to realize that it can be edited by varying people – so you need to recognize that all of the  info may NOT be accurate.  It is a great tool for general info on a topic, but if you are looking for details – you can’t always rely on it.  Tha being said, most of us DO read it when looking for general information.

One of my favourite Wkipedia pages is this one, with dog breeds|:
Now keep in mind, this info may not be entirely accurate, and the photos of the dogs may not be the best examples of a breed, but my human still likes to scroll through it to look at the breeds from all over the world. When you click on a specific breed you can read more about them.  In the Temperament section for us PONs it says the following:
“Polish Lowland Sheepdogs are stable and self-confident. They have an excellent memory and can be well trained, but may dominate a weak-willed owner.”   Perfect description if you ask me.  We PONs never forget – and let’s face it, we have our human very well trained.

As for the Picards, here is a quote describing them:
“Picards are energetic and hard working, alert and are not excessive barkers. Some Picards are notoriously picky eaters, and it may be difficult to decide on a diet that you and the dog agree on.”  Again they got this part right.  The FG is definitely the most quiet dog in our household, and definitely does NOT have the food drive that we PONs do!

Wikipedia has all kinds of info on dogs.  When I looked at all the breeds it is interesting to note that there are more than 25 that are now listed as Extinct…. I won’t go into my soap box rant now – since I’ve done it before – but breeders of purebred dogs need to be careful that more names aren’t added to that list.. Just sayin’…

I’m not sure how famous you have to be to get your own Wikipedia entry – but I’m not quite there yet.  I’ll keep working on it….

Have a good one.  Peace and paws up!

Seizure- free days: 4

Communicating and cleaning

I was reading an article the other day about new research that is going on to develop a “pet translator” that will help animals to communicate better with humans.  By using artificial intelligence, scientists are learning to translate animal vocalizations and facial expressions to translate what we animals are trying to say.  They have done work with monkeys and prairie dogs and they predict that within 10 years they will be able to interpret what dog woofs really mean – like “I want to eat now.” OK.  Maybe I’m missing something here – but my human already clearly understands that Einstein is yelling “hurry up with the food bowl – I want to eat NOW” every day.  Actually at every meal.  She doesn’t need a computer translator to tell her that.  No artificial intelligence needed.  And the article does say that the new technology won’t exactly allow humans to have actual conversations with us dogs.  So while it sounds all exciting and novel, I’m not certain it will reveal a lot more than what a good canine owner already knows.  I mean it doesn’t look like we will be carrying on conversations about our deepest thoughts.  Just as well.  We don’t really need you to know about our plans to take over the world.

Today, according to the Crazy Calendar is Organize Your Home Day. A good one for my human.  She is into this organizing mode lately.  Which is pretty boring for us dogs.  Because what are we supposed to do while she’s becoming the Tidy Queen? And I must confess, we don’t always help.  For example, she puts all of our assorted bones and toys in a big copper boiler thing.  And as soon as she puts everything away, one of us promptly takes everything back out.  We NEED the stuff.  And we need to take stock.  We can’t see it when it’s put away.  We LIKE decorating with toys.  It gives the home a joyful , homey look – in our opinion. She should just stick to organizing her own stuff. 
Well it looks like the rainy, windy weather is over for today.  We didn’t get super long walks yesterday because of the weather. But today should be perfect.
Have a good one.  Peace and paws up!
Seizure- free days: 3

PBS and more training

Today, January 13, is Public Radio Broadcasting Day.  So I went to the PBS website and they have quite a number of dog-umentaries and info on dogs.  I also found this quick interactive quiz that lets you match a breed with it’s place of origin.  Which requires that you know the breed – AND you know  your geography:

 http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/nature/dogs-around-world.html

And if you have kids or grandkids, here are a BUNCH of dog related interactive games to play.  I wanted to try them on my human’s iPad.  But as is usually the case, the answer was no.

http://pbskids.org/games/dog/

The cornflake caper continues or should I call it the case of the cereal killer.  BEFORE my human read all the good suggestions that people had about training this trick – like USING kibble, or cheese popcorn or a toy, she tried it one more time with the cornflakes.  This time, the FG didn’t want to sit.  At all.  He is obviously not interested in wearing breakfast food.  And when she tried to entice him to get excited over the cornflakes, and she would grab them when they hit the floor, they just ended up crumbling into tiny little pieces.  She’ll try kibble or toys next.

We were all driving her a bit crazy the other night and after we EACH played a game of find the treats (which are hidden all over the room), we STILL wanted to do something ELSE.  So my human said, “OK, let’s do some obedience sit-stays.”  She basiaclly sits us in a row, sets a timer and we have to sit and wait until the timer goes off.  The timer is set to different times each time, so we don’t get used to a pattern.  Einstein and I wanted to play this game.  It’s boring – but easy.  But the FG was feeling lazy after eating all the cornflake crumbs, so he would’t sit up.  She asked him several times.   He would just lie there and look at her.  I think he was afraid to sit up for fear the cornflakes would come out again.  She physically had to lift the limp Picard into a sit.  All the time we PONs just wanted the stupid timer to get started so we could get our treats.  The whole sit-stay training ploy works GREAT for my human – she can do other things while she is waiting.  Like check her email.  The time period is anywhere from 30 seconds to 2 minutes.  After a couple of sits, then we got to do down-stays which the FG loved because he really did NOT want to sit.  Anyway, we ALL passed every sit-stay and down-stay exercise.  And my human read all her email….

Today is Saturday.  And hopefully the rain that is forecast will hold off so we can have good walks.  Enjoy your weekend!

Have a  good one. Peace and paws up! 

Seizure- free days: 2

Comic relief. Or is it cornflake relief…

Wow.  Thank you for all of the good wishes and healing thoughts!  We were overwhelmed with all of the comments and feedback an d the sharing of stories. I had a good night after the day of drama.  Well – I did anyway.  My human probably got like 15 minutes of sleep.  Every time I MOVED she would wake up.  I started my new medication yesterday – so we’ll see what happens.  The person I feel most sorry for is our vet…My human sent her SO many articles and literature. At 3 in the morning.  I’m SURE the vet is ready to scream “enough.”  But she doesn’t know my human – the Queen of Google Research.  Heaven help my vet.

I think that in order to keep you abreast of my progress – I am going to put a little counter at the end of my blog.  Kind of a score card – indicating seizure-free days.  Let’s hope I can have LOTS.

So now on to some comic relief.  And who provides the best comic relief much of the time?  The FG…

My human got this “idea” the other day.  She decided it was time she start training the FG to catch.  You see, she hopes to show him in beauty pageants this year.  And last year, a professional handler (the people who get paid to show other people’s dogs) asked my human if the FG could catch things.  Because apparently, one way to get a dog to have ears up and look all attentive in the ring is to teach him to catch a treat.  The dog looks at the treat and gets ready to catch it.  My human said she hadn’t tried it with him, but she would.

So the other day she sat the FG down in the kitchen and told him they were going to do some “training.”  He looked at her like she was speaking Greek.  Which she might as well have done because his reaction to most things she requests is pretty much hit or miss.  She put Einstein and I in the hallway – as she knew that there was NO way the three of us could do this at the same time.  So.  First step.  What to catch?  She figured kibble might work, but given that the Picky Picard sometimes doesn’t even CARE about kibble, she didn’t think that would work.  ALSO – I should note, that the Queen of Google Research had actually not bothered to look up how to do this. 

She decided that maybe she should try something “light” in weight that would fall more slowly.  (Sometimes you just have to wonder about her logic.)  So given this premise, what to use?  Marshmallows are light.  But clearly not good for dogs.  And we didn’t have any in the house anyway.  Treats?  Too heavy.  Ahh – the solution.  Cornflakes.  Seriously, I couldn’t make this stuff up.  So she got out the box of cereal and poured a pile on the counter.  She then proceeded to pick out the largest flakes.  Stop laughing.  This really happened.  She fed one to the Picky Picard.  Who immediatley dropped it and had to examine it on the floor.  After about 8 cornflakes, he decided he liked them.  So now he was watching her hand.  And here is where she messed up.  Instead of getting him revved up to catch the treat, she just tossed it up in the air, thinking he would grab for it.  It landed on his head.  He sat there staring at her with the cornflake on his head.  She took it off and gave it to him.  She tossed another one.  He made NO attempt to catch it.  It landed on his muzzle.  This time he flipped it off and scooped it off the floor.  Try again.  Cornflake again on the nose.  And he sat with it there.  She ALMOST grabbed her camera – but he flipped it up and again scooped it off the floor. And so the process was repeated. Again. And again.  By now he was getting annoyed with cornflakes landing on his head and nose.  And he became more intent on cleaning up the tiny crumbs from the cornflakes on the floor.  After about 12 futile noggin landing attempts, she quit.  She THEN looked up a YouTube video on how to actually train this trick.  And she discovered that the dog has to WANT the treat really badly.  And you have to grab it if it drops on the floor before the dog eats it.  So he’ll be really interested in it.  And you also try to toss it into the dog’s mouth. 

So it’s back to the cereal drawing board.  Now this is training is going to be interesting.  I suggest she  keep her camera handy.  Just in case.

Have a good one.  Peace and paws up! 

Seizure-free days – 1