A new skill

OK. Do we know several things. PONs like food and we do like to countersurf. Remember the time I stole bananas and ate them – peel and all? Food is not safe with us.

We also know that the FG is a picky Picard. Some food he eats. Some he tosses. Some he stares at. Some he ignores. Leaving food on the counter is not really a problem. Until now.

Yesterday morning we had our walks. We had breakfast. Her highness had some people picking up some furniture at the house – she’s doing some “redecorating” – so she’s been selling and giving some stuff away. Our good friends (and neighbors) came by to watch (and help) as some folks removed a particularly heavy item – while we were sequestered- and shouting out directions. Her highness enjoyed a cup of coffee with one of her friends after the “movers” left. Meanwhile, we were outside- enjoying the crisp morning sunshine.

The neighbor left, and her highness let us in and went about making her breakfast. She poured another cup of coffee and put her toast on the island. She went to open the deck door to let in some fresh air. Einstein and I ran to make sure there were no leftover movers on the deck. Her highness turns around and is shocked to see the FG with two paws on the counter, licking the butter off her toast. “Hey” she shouted “get down from there.” He jumped down and smacked his lips. I immediately ran over for three reasons: 1. To see what he had sampled. 2. To see if there was any left. 3. To congratulate him on the success his newfound skill. I mean, he MAY have looked at food before, but THIS was his real first lick. He’s learned the technique- so there’s no stopping him now. Well done Friendly Giant. Don’t forget who was your coach. And don’t forget to share!

Have a good one. Peace and paws up.

Nothing exciting

So yesterday and Thursday, her highness went out for the day. She was helping a friend who was selling antiques at a big festival about 45 minutes away. But not to worry about us. Anna came by after school, gave me my medication and let us out for a pee. She told her highness we were pretty vocal. That’s because the first time she came by to help out, we were on our very best behavior. This week she got the true behavioral sample. Her highness hopes it doesn’t scare Anna off. Nah. I think she likes us.

When her highness got home on Thursday at supper time, she fed us and took us for walks. We wanted to do something else – but it was already starting to get dark out. Have you noticed that it gets dark out much earlier already? So much for outdoor fetch at 8PM. Anyway, we kept bugging her highness- so in a moment of exasperation she announced “OK – everybody in the car.” Imagine our jubilation. She let us into the garage, opened the hatch on Ludwig and Einstein and the FG hopped in. Meanwhile, I was searching the garage for food – remember- the dog food is stored in the garage. Her highness called me but I was busy searching. She finally came to get me, hoisted me up into Ludwig and closed the hatch. I immediately jumped into the front seat. She opened the driver’s side door and I hopped out – again in search of food. She came around Ludwig, caught me and again hoisted me into Ludwig and warned me to stay in the back. This time I listened.

We should have realized that the fact that we were all loose in the back was unusual. We excitedly smeared olfactory art all over the back windows. We drove up the driveway to the road. Where could we be going? The pet store?! The vet? Nope. She drove down our road – to the mailboxes at the main road. The drive takes all of 2 minutes. She hopped out of the vehicle, careful to remove the keys. She doesn’t trust that we wouldn’t drive off without her. She gets the one piece of mail in the box, jumps in and heads for home. Nice trick. So much for an exciting destination. That was worse than just going to the gas station. Still, I suppose it beat staying home. And we did enjoy it.

Today she’s not going to the festival- so we’ll see what she has on the agenda for the day. No mail on Saturdays – so another mailbox ride isn’t a possibility. Whatever we do, as long as it doesn’t involve a comb and brush, we’ll be happy.

Have a good one. Peace and paws up.

Do your homework.

So today we have a money saving tip…

I need to begin my blog by saying I love my vet. She is super nice and she puts up with her highness’ wild internet research and her 1000 questions. She always calls us back to answer questions about my meds. We truly love her. We wouldn’t trade her for all the biscuits at the pet store. Vets themselves are truly worth their weight in biscuits. They have a tough job – they treat humans as much as they treat animals. A good vet is a treasure and we are very lucky to have one. We actually like all the vets at our clinic.

We learned something about veterinary medications, though that not everyone MAY realize – and something that isn’t always evident. Between me and Einstein, we take 6 medications. Some are prescribed and we get them at the human pharmacy. The vet clinic does not even carry those drugs. Some are only available for pets through the veterinary clinic. BUT we learned that at least one, which is designed for dogs and is sold through the vet clinic is ALSO available at the human pharmacy at a substantially reduced cost. The drug has a fancy schmancy veterinary name. BUT – it also has the real drug name. And her highness was paying $99 at the vet clinic for 28 pills. As you might guess, our monthly drug bills are rather high. No wonder her highness is always looking for money making schemes! Anyway, this week, she did her homework. She got the exact same medication (with a prescription of course!) at the human pharmacy for $72. For 60 pills. Yes- 60! Um I’m no math wizard – but I think she just saved us the cost of a box of biscuits. SEVERAL boxes of biscuits!

We are not blaming our vet clinic for the cost of the drugs. The costs are what they are. You can’t get mad at your human pharmacist for the cost of your human medication. The human pharmaceutical industry is not without its own issues when it comes to drug prices! And clearly the same is true for pet meds. When your dog is taking medication, it is important to consider all the options. And that’s where people owned by pets have to do their homework. You have to be involved in your pet’s care and you do need to ask questions. That was our lesson this week!

Have a good one. Peace and paws up.

Viktor’s balls. Part 2.

So let’s start off with a little follow up to my pill pocket story. We had some questions after we posted it – AND we gained some great information. Someone asked if they needed to be baked. We forgot to mention that they don’t require baking. Just roll and go. Someone asked how long the balls can be refrigerated. According the recipe, they will be good until the expiration date on the milk that you used to make them. We actually stretched that date- as her highness usually does anyway. We were thinking you could maybe even substitute water for the milk- and then that wouldn’t be an issue. But if they don’t work – don’t blame me because we didn’t try it.

Someone also wrote that coconut flour absorbs moisture more than regular flour – which is why we initially had the crumbling problem. Good to know!

And finally someone wrote and suggested a brilliant idea. They don’t even go through all the trouble of making little balls. They just make the dough, put it in a container in the fridge and then pull out a piece as needed to put around the pills. Now that’s smart! No need to roll balls! I like it!

Her highness made another batch of balls AND she also made the big dough ball. She figures the balls are handy if someone else needs to give me a pill – like Anna. But we have the big ball for her highness to use.

Not much new around here – although I hate to report I’ve had 3 seizures this month. Including one last night. We don’t know why. We never know why. Epilepsy is hard…Her highness needs to call the vet today to see what we do now about my meds…

On a lighter note, on this day in 1948, the Honda Motor Company was founded. In previous blogs we have talked about how car manufacturers use dogs to market their vehicles – like VW and Subaru. So you KNOW I had to see if Honda ever did. And I found a few examples:

This one pulls at the heartstrings because it looks at dogs with disabilities:


This one looks at service dogs:


This one addresses our canine ability to pick out when people may not be totally truthful…


But THIS one is really special…


I think her highness got tears over that one.

Well time to check the plantation. Einstein is REALLY into the harvest. He LOVES those cherry tomatoes. He stands and STARES at her highness while she’s picking them- hoping to get a handout. I like them – but he LOVES them. The FG still uses them as marbles.

Have a good one. Peace and paws up.

Fall fever

You can smell it in the air. That sweet, pungent smell of rotting leaves. But it’s not a bad smell. It’s the smell of change. Mother Nature is changing her wardrobe, and shedding her attire. But before she does that, she puts on a beautiful display. And the show is just starting here. With several weeks until the grand finale.

Her highness LOVES the fall. And we canines do too. The evenings are cool, but the days are often warm and colorful. The fall photo shoots have slowly begun- but won’t be in full swing for a few weeks.

She came home from the dreaded Dollar store the other day. Wearing that “Do I have a surprise for you,” expression- which usually signals some kind of appalling attire. The FG is already planning his escape.

And speaking of escapes, we had some excitement on our constitutional yesterday morning. It was just after 7AM, and the sun was already up. Einstein and I reached the road and all was quiet. We were doing our typical SPAT -sniff, pee and trot and we were walking on leash, ahead of her highness. It was rather warm yesterday- a contrast from the past few mornings when she could have been wearing gloves- it was so chilly. Anyway, we’re rolling along, and suddenly, her highness is aware of heavy breathing. Right behind her! She turns around and finds Max – our neighbor who lives on the property next to us. Max is on his own. Which is very odd. Clearly he has escaped. Her highness says hello and Einstein and I swing around. We all do the obligatory butt sniffing circle dance – and we agree that all is right with the world. Max and Einstein do the play bow and start attempting to wrestle. Her highness is concerned, because traffic to the golf course will be starting- and she doesn’t want Max to jump out into an oncoming car. She decides to head back toward Max’s house- with all three of us doing circles around her. As we start heading back, she spots one of Max’s humans who is heading toward us on the road. She reaches us and explains he just took off when let out. She cannot for the life of her, catch him. He dodges her every time she tries to grab him. So we all head back toward their house, knowing he will follow. Just as we approach their driveway, who appears from the golf course but Jackson aka Pig Pen and his human! It’s a canine street party! Before 7:30 AM. To solve the problem of capturing Max, Jackson and his human go down the long driveway and right into Max’s house. Meanwhile, Einstein and I are just standing there watching a comrade being corralled. The door shuts. Busted. He is contained. We wait for Jackson and walk back up the road with him.

We have come to the conclusion that Jackson is probably the best behaved dog on the road. True – he will run off his property to greet us – but he usually comes when called. Well – unless there is a mud puddle or body of water that he spots – then even the good dog becomes deaf. I guess we all have our vices. Some of us more than others.

I think Max took off because he has fall fever. Either that, or his humans brought home a bag from the Dollar store too…

Have a good one. Peace and paws up.

Viktor’s balls.

Well we now know her highness is REALLY into the retirement mode. After a summer of doing nothing- well except tending the plantation, mowing the lawn, cleaning the house, walking us, feeding us, playing with us, walking us, doing the laundry, walking us, grooming us, getting groceries, picking up our medication, taking us to the vet, walking us and spending some time with friends- she is FINALLY doing something productive. Yesterday she made pill pockets. How exciting is that? She made them once before- it was MONTHS ago – but she finally made a batch again.

For those who don’t know, between me and Einstein, we get 14 pills every day. Now if one were to use the commercially available pill pockets, which cost 12.99 for 30, you can see that we would have a BIT of a challenge – because my name is not Viktor Gates (as in Bill Gates). We do use things like white bread (without the crust) balled up around the pill- but her highness notices we tend to chew the bread. Sometimes resulting in tiny pill pieces being dropped on the floor. We use peanut butter- although I am actually learning how to separate the pill in my mouth from the peanut butter. It’s not easy and I can’t do it all the time. But it does happen. Not to mention fact that I usually end up with peanut butter in my beard. Put it in a banana? Sure but I still can find the pill. Especially the BIG ones – and I take 6 BIG ones each day. When she does use a pill pocket, I just swallow the thing whole.

So yesterday she decided to make her own. I think I talked about this once before- but it’s been a while. The recipe called for 2 Tablespoons of flour, one Tablespoon of milk and one Tablespoon of peanut butter. Simple enough. But then she never does anything simply. Not only did she double the recipe, she used organic coconut flour instead of regular flour. As if we care. You are supposed to mix the ingredients to form dough. You then roll the dough into little balls, and insert a straw so you will have a place to insert the pill. Because we are so environmentally conscious, we don’t have any straws. OK. That’s not true. We never had any straws. We were environmentally conscious before we needed to be – and didn’t even know it. Anyway, she found something in the cooking utensil draw – which holds an assortment of things she rarely uses. And she attempted to make holes.

Well. The first mix was kind of dry, so the balls crumbled. Maybe it was the coconut flour. She added milk. And more peanut butter. Now it was soupy. More coconut flour. The batch was getting bigger. All the while, the FG and I are of course, underfoot- supervising.

After much moaning and groaning and many defective balls, she finally managed to fill an ice cube try with them. They don’t need to be frozen- just refrigerated. She figured if she put them in a bag, she would end up with a huge ball of peanut butery mess. Yum.

When pill time came, she was able to insert a couple of the smaller pills into one ball. Which is a good thing- otherwise she would be going into full- time production. Hey! There’s a money-making scheme! Viktor’s balls. Wait that doesn’t sound so great. I have to think about this one…Plus I wonder if you can make pill pockets out of tomatoes…

I must confess- I DID like them. Thank goodness.

Have a good one. Peace and paws up.


Quick update from the plantation. The tomato harvest is in full swing. And Einstein and I have discovered that cherry tomatoes are a tasty treat! Mind you, besides spinach what won’t we PONs eat? At first we weren’t sure about them – but it took about 3.8 seconds before we decided we liked them. Of course the FG was a different story…

It’s quite remarkable that we haven’t peed on the plantation. Probably because her highness watches us like a hawk if we are in the back yard. Yesterday she went to do another harvest. She has already frozen a whole tray of tomatoes and they are residing in the freezer. Every day she picks more. So when she went out yesterday, she took the FG with her. As she was gathering the crop, she handed him a nice ripe cherry tomato. I should interject here with a reminder that green tomatoes as well as the leaves and stems from the tomato plants can be harmful to us canines. We should NOT eat anything green on a tomato plant. We CAN eat red, ripe tomatoes- in moderation of course. We are allowed two each of the cherry tomatoes. That’s because we had about 4 each the other day, and while yours truly was fine, I DID pass some rather aromatic gas that night. So it’s a two tomato limit.

Anyway, back to the FG. So he gets the ripe tomato and gingerly carries it in his mouth. Then he lies down on the lawn and drops it. He nudges it with his nose. Her highness picks it up and tosses it at him. He grabs it and tosses it himself. Then he stares at it. For about a minute. Her highness tosses another tomato to him. Now he stares at both of them. He picks one up. He spits it out. He stares at both of them. This goes on for several minutes until her highness says, “OK- let’s go.” He is on a leash- and she tugs at it. He stays lying on the lawn, staring at the tomatoes. She tries again to move him. Dead , tomato-mesmerized weight. She runs to the end of the leash. Still no movement. He can’t decide what to do. He doesn’t REALLY want the tomatoes, but he doesn’t want to leave them either. After several fruitless tries, she finally gets him to move.

He comes in the house and Einstein and I are let out. We race to the backyard to see what he had – we had been watching the spectacle from the deck. We find the tomatoes and gobble them up.

The peppers on the plantation are also growing well. But the BEST are the pumpkins. OK. They wouldn’t win any weigh off for size, but they are cute. And turning orange. I can see a fall photo shoot in the near future.

Speaking of which, her highness has been rumbling something about going to the dreaded Dollar Store. And you KNOW why. Howl-o-ween. The one time of the year dogs cannot be held accountable for biting their humans. My only hope is that they don’t have anything interesting for pets to wear. Who am I kidding. She’ll find something. I think a little run away might be in order….

Have a good one. Peace and paws up.

The latest waste of money…

We know that her highness gets these “ideas” sometimes- that are great in her mind – but which often turn out to be a bust if you ask us.

Like those brain game toys “Santa” brought us one year for Christmas. They cost a small fortune- and none of us REALLY like to play the games – we just want the treats. And we’ll destroy the games to do so. The same is true for any indestructible soft toy she has ever purchased for us. They don’t MAKE a soft toy that we can’t destroy. And remember those huge hunks of wood she BOUGHT one time. None of us chew them. We still prefer table legs.

The jury is still out on the “bargain” rain gear. I mean they keep us dry. But then she has to be prepared to walk me twice as long because I don’t like to poop wearing the suit. Yup – that was a good deal.

So when a big box arrived this week, we all wanted to see what was inside.

And the newest bargain? Paw pods. Four paw pods. Don’t know what paw pods are? Google them. They are basically dome shaped rubber things with little bumps all over them. And why would she buy paw pods? To teach the FG where his feet are. I kid you not. They are supposed to “improve your dog’s dynamic balance, independent limb awareness and coordination.” You see, when the FG moves, he floats. He looks beautiful. But when he stands still- he has no idea where his feet are. And when you are in a beauty pageant (aka dog show) , you need to look good standing still as well as moving. So she got this great idea that she could teach him where to put his feet. As soon as she took them out, Einstein and I knew we were in for some entertainment.

Well. I wish I could have operated the video on her iPhone. It would have gone viral. The instructions say that the dog should be trained to put one foot at a time on a paw pod. So her highness sequesters me and Einstein on the deck as she knew we would try to get in on the act. We watched through the glass door.

She tries to entice the FG over to the pod. He throws himself onto the floor and sniffs it. After several fruitless attempts to get him to voluntarily put one foot on, she takes his paw and puts it on. He recoils like he has stepped on a hot coal. She tries again- and gives him a treat after his foot touches the pod. By the third try, he has figured out how to make his foot go limp. So he’s not really standing on it.

So she tries another foot. Which also becomes limp. After each attempt, he runs around the dining room table and she has to catch him. This is not working.

So she pulls out a second pod. This time she straddles over him, lifts him by his front legs somehow and places his two feet on the pods. And he stands there like a statue. “Excellent,”. she shouts, “Free!” And he hops off the pods. She gives him a treat. She repeats this maneuver several times, rewarding him every time he stands there like a statue. He stands there all big-eyed – wondering what the heck he is doing.

She didn’t dare attempt to add the other two pods. She’ll need a crane to lower him onto them. We know it was the first lesson- but Einstein and I are placing bets as to whether or not she’ll get him to do this voluntarily. The FG has a mind of his own. Volunteer work is not in his resume.

Wonder how much money you can get for slightly used paw pods on EBay…..I should sell tickets to watch the next episode. Personally, I think those things would make really good chew toys…

Never a dull moment…

Have a good one. Peace and paws up.

It takes a village…

For those of you following my blog for a long time, you know that I have epilepsy. For newcomers – it’s a tough disease. JUST when you think you have it under control- BOOM – I have another seizure. I’ve had epilepsy for several years now – and it is considered “controlled” if I have one or fewer seizures per month. I used to keep my seizure count on my blog. However, her highness has bad math skills and she often messed up the count! Since we are not writing every day, it would be even MORE mixed up. She does, though, still mark it on the calendar.

So you know about my seizures and you know about my meds. But I’m not sure you know about my schedule…Since before my human went on her trip, my pill schedule is like this: 7AM, 3PM, 7PM and 11PM. The 3PM and 11PM pills were added just before she went away.

We did the 7 and 7 routine for years. It often meant that her highness had to turn down social invitations if they were scheduled close to 7PM. Sometimes she WOULD give me my pill a bit early, and sometimes if she was to attend something important, she would ask one of Pig Pen’s humans to pop by and give me my pill. He is a very nice neighbor- and never seemed to mind – but at the same time, her highness hates to bug people. She hates to feel like a nuisance – even though she probably never asked more than twice a month..

And we were doing fine – until the new schedule started. Although she IS retired- the mid-afternoon pills really changed things. She has to run her errands early in the day, and go to an EARLY matinee. Now that may not SOUND so bad, but it really does change things. Like when Elroy was in the dog show. There were two shows each day. The show was about a 50 minute drive. Entering the afternoon shows was a challenge because I would miss my 3 PM pill. And when she entered the morning shows, and her group started at 8, I had to get my pill early and then she had to drive like crazy. Within the speed limit of course. Cough. Cough.

So in the past week, she decided she needed HELP. She took up the offer of several neighbors, and showed them how to give me my pills. The schedule is also written very clearly on a big sheet on the cupboard door.

Yesterday her highness was going with two neighbors on a little boat trip to an island that she had always wanted to visit. They would be gone from 9-4. So now what? Well. We have a new girlfriend. Her name is Anna. She lives on our road, and she and her mother came by the other night. Anna LOVES animals- and it’s very evident. As soon as she came in, yours truly was all over her. And usually I’m kind of aloof, until I get to know someone. I’m a typical PON. Anyway, I was NOT aloof with Anna. I thought she was cool. We ALL did.

Anna gets home from school each day at 2:30…. So Anna learned how to give me my pill. And she was shown how to let us out into the fenced side yard for a pee. Although, her highness said she didn’t HAVE to do that yesterday- the pill was the main task.

Well I’m here to tell you, Anna did he job VERY well yesterday. AND she let us out too. We love her!

During the dog show, another neighbor had also given me my pill. And another one has also offered to help and we just need to show her how to do it.

As I said earlier, her highness hates to ask for help. But sometimes- you just NEED it. And that line – “It takes a Village..” could never be more true! And more amazing…

Have a good one. Peace and paws up.

It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood…

Not too much new on the home front after all the excitement of Dorian. Yesterday morning was a typical garbage day Wednesday. So her highness’ monologue during our morning constitutional sounded like this. “Viktor. Viktor. No. Stop! No. Don’t pee on the neighbors’ garbage can. Frodo. Frodo. Noooooo peeeeee there. Whoa. Whoa. (While she is pooper scooping). Whoa. WAIT. Viktor leave it. LEAVE IT. (While I attempt to grab something on the road that must have come from someone’s garbage can.) Leave it. Whoa. Frodo – that’s three poop bags for you alone. WHAT did you eat? Elroy. Elroy. Leave it. LEAVE IT. Yes – that’s where Frodo peed. Leave it! But wait – don’t pee there…” This monologue continues for 50 minutes of walking. We love Wednesdays.

Yesterday her highness did something that retired people can do. She went with a friend to see a movie matinee. They went to see a movie called the Peanut Butter Falcon. I like peanut butter. I would have probably enjoyed the movie. Not that I was invited. Anyway, both her highness and her friend very much enjoyed the feel good film.

And speaking of feel good movies, there will be a movie coming out soon starring Tom Hanks. It’s all about Mr.Rogers- that famous American children’s tv show star. He hosted 900 episodes of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood from 1968 until 2001. Mr. Rogers, with his calm, sincere manner, was a genuine “good guy.” He talked about kindness and sharing and equality. And he wrote books for children – including one entitled: When a Pet Dies. He even talked about losing a pet on his show. You can Google the episode.

Mr Rogers also talked about walking the dog. Here’s a sample of his mild-mannered, pleasant approach to going for a walk. Note he isn’t doing an unending monologue with the dog….


Her highness is looking forward to the Mr. Rogers movie. I wonder if THIS time I can go along….

Time for our morning walk. No garbage cans this morning. Unless someone forgot to bring their’s in. We can only hope!

Have a good one. Peace and paws up.