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Fossil Creek Adventure

So after Monty went home, Mum and Dad took me on a special adventure. I tried to be patient waiting for them to put all the camping stu...

Monday, December 10, 2007

Remembering Friends

This post is dedicated to Dudley Do Right, who made his great transition on December 4, 2007. Although I never met him, I know he was a fine dog because he chose such a lovely dog-mum.

Edited to add, Dudley's dear friend and companion, Dolly Rama, chose to cross the rainbow bridge and join him on December 31st, 2007.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Now, where did I hide that bone?

The termite exterminators are at the house, which means I get a big bone to keep me busy and out of their way. Only trouble is, there's nowhere to bury it. After an hour or so of non-stop gnawing, my mouth started to get a bit tired and I decided it was about time to find a safe hiding place for my bone. I trotted over to my secret passage (that's the new way I have to get to the back yard from the front porch), but Mum had put up a barrier to keep me from bothering the workmen. Never mind, I thought, the front door was open, so I trotted off into the house, intending to just go out through my dog door at the back. Drat! The steel door was down. I started wandering from room to room, feeling sure I would either find a door open somewhere else, or the perfect hiding place would present itself. I was just heading for the office (lots of good places there!), when Mum spotted me, and I don't know what it's like where you live, but in our house, bones indoors are a BIG no no. I'm going to have to be on my best behavior for the rest of the day now!

Being on my best behavior.

Doggy Sleepovers and the Food Tree

Yay! My friend Monty is here. Don’t tell him I made such a big fuss, but I really like having him around to play with. He comes every once in a while when his people go somewhere and we have just the best time for a few days.

He’s a yellow lab who used to be all big and overweight like a cow dog. Then he hurt his knee. After he got it fixed his people decided maybe he shouldn’t eat so much. They pretty well starved him for months, but boy does he look great now. All trim and agile. You’d never mistake him for me, of course, but for a dufus-y boy dog he’s not half-bad.

One thing Monty could always do, even when he was big, was swim. When we go to the creek Monty is always first to the stick wherever Mum or Dad throw it, no matter how far. I can’t keep up once he’s in the water. I figured out if I wait at the bank and bark at him, Monty will let me grab the stick out of his mouth when he climbs out. I win and he does all the work. Pretty clever, huh?

Ruby rules for Pully, Keep-Away and other games: Monty is not allowed on the couch... ever!

Really, though, he loves being in the water and would chase sticks until full dark if we let him. He doesn’t care about bragging rights. Yesterday at the creek he swam and swam while I nosed around in the trees and looked for ducks. I haven’t seen any of those for a long time. I think they must have got the message that it’s Ruby’s creek and they fish in it at their peril.

I know you don’t believe all those stories about how I could never catch up to a duck in the water. I just let ‘em get away so that they’ll keep coming back.

Monty is used to getting up really early in the morning at his house. My Mum and Dad don’t get out of bed quite as early as he would like, so he makes these big roary, rumbly noises like a rhinossomus until one of them either gets up to take us for a walk or shuts us outside the bedroom. Then he just stands at the door and does it.

Lately I’ve discovered how much fun it is to join in and bark while Monty rumbaroars. Then I jump on the bed for cuddles while Monty gets all frantic. He’s not allowed on the bed cause we don’t want him to get in trouble by going home with a new bad habit he learned from me. Wait. That didn’t come out right. It’s a very good habit, really. You know what I mean.

Um, I’m in a bit of trouble right now. Monty had to go back to his people. After that Mum took me for our afternoon hike. Naturally when she took off the leash I had to go inspect the “food tree,” that juniper where someone leaves food for the coyotes, just to make sure nobody suspicious had been prowling around.

Mum and Dad get really mad about that food tree. They say it just encourages coyotes and other animals to come around where they shouldn’t, and to get used to people, and well, dogs too, which is bad for everybody. I have to agree.

But everyone knows it’s part of my job to make sure no dangerous animals are about, so I trotted on over to the tree, quietly, so I wouldn’t scare my Mum, and had a look. There might have been some food there, I don’t really remember, cause I was sniffing for coyotes, of course, and couldn’t be bothered about food. And if there was any it might have been all moldy, smelly and delightful to the palate, for someone less busy than me to notice.

Mum might have been calling me, I’m not sure, since I was all vigilant for varmints, and that rotten food didn’t interest me in the least. Except slightly for research purposes, maybe, if at all. It’s important to know just what attracts the bad guys, you see.

Anyway, if I might have had just a little bite, not liking it or anything, and realized how important it was for everyone’s safety that I get rid of that nasty coyote bait, and to do it very quietly so I wouldn’t upset Mum about the danger, then it’s just possible I might have been all hunkered down under the juniper scarfing down oozy bits when my Mum found me.

For some reason she was all mad.

She took me right home and called my Dad.

I’m going out to the porch now and, burp, euh, guard from my, burp, porch.

Not feeling so good.

Friday, August 10, 2007

All Work & No Play... is not the way we do things around here

I don’t know if everybody knows just how important I am. There’s the fact that I’m beautiful and glamorous, as you know if you’ve met me or read this blog. And smart.

What you may not realize is how big a job I do. It takes somebody with a good head on her shoulders to do it right. It’s up to me to see that the humans in my life get the training they need and are always properly protected and supervised. Without my support who knows what might become of them?

If you’re a dog you know exactly what I’m talking about. Some of you probably work even harder than I do. You definitely do if you’ve got duff people to care for. I’ve noticed a few like that in our neighborhood, and boy, are the dogs that keep them overworked. Most days my people seem worth the effort.

Humans, of course, can be very unpredictable! I’ve seen them do things no animal would ever do, only to be rescued from harm, embarrassment or food at the last possible moment by their dogs. Just when you think everything is under control and it’s safe to nod off for a bit, well, let’s just say humans have to be watched every minute.

Like the time my Dad left a roasted chicken in the car. That wasn’t smart, and he should have known better. It might have gotten away but for my quick thinking. While he was in the store getting more food I alertly climbed into the grocery bag and ate as much of the chicken as I could before it had a chance to make a break for it. That was a close call.

Incidents like that demonstrate that a Security Chief can’t relax even for a moment. I have to guard myself, my people, our territory, the cars, all our stuff, and most importantly, our food. When we have guests I have to guard them too. That takes a lot of patrolling, sniffing, strategic barking and all-around paying attention. I can’t do it all from my couch, I mean observation post, on the porch. Sometimes I have to patrol.

Proper security requires consistency. It’s just like raising one of those babies you see humans with. You can’t bark the rabbit out of the driveway one day and just let it pass or expect it not to come back the next. You’ve got to bark those rabbits away every time you see them. That’s the only way they learn. Same with birds. They just don’t get the message. I think it’s all that flying. It makes them lightheaded. They don’t realize what they’re saying half the time, and when they do it’s always insulting. They need a firm paw.

Now some intruders require the use of a special vocabulary. I’ve heard my people call it “trash talking.” But it’s got nothing to do with trash. You just have to tell a coyote or javelina exactly what you’re going to do when you get hold of it. And what you think of it. This kind of helpful lecture from behind my fence can sound quite animated. Sometimes my people need me to come inside right away and comfort them when I’m being stern with a coyote. I know it’s only because they’re scared.

Besides keeping everyone safe, I’ve got other stuff to do outside. I’m Director Of Backyard Operations, and sometimes that means Dad is using big pointy, choppy, sawing tools to make firewood while I’m digging important holes in the ground. He’s my responsibility while he’s cutting, swinging, pounding or whatever. I have to get very close to see what he’s doing. Sometimes he needs reminding that it’s time to chase me or give me a treat. This keeps him alert.

All the people I know require special attention from time to time. I can tell immediately when they need to be distracted from silly human worrying and that’s when I lean against them or sit on their foot or crawl into their lap. I make sure they rub me to relieve the tension. It’s best to put them to work right away petting me so they get reminded about what’s important.

Dogs, you know what I’m talking about here. It wouldn’t be right to leave them fretting or moping when they could be playing, laughing or telling me what a good girl I am.

By far the most serious job I do is cleanup. Imagine how messy our house would be if I wasn’t here to straighten up after the humans! Who would lick up the spills, gobble the dropped crumbs and generally show people how important it is to eat food rather than leave it lying around? The amount of yummies they just let go is amazing. They don’t even think to lick the floor or gobble the juniper berries. They leave perfectly good lotion on their arms and faces when it’s so easy to just swab it up with your tongue.

I tell you, it's a full-time job being a dog. No wonder I have to catch a nap any time I can.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Sedona Monsoon

So for everyone who’s been wondering what I’ve been up to lately – you were dying to know, weren’t you – here’s the scoop. It’s Monsoon now, so it’s been raining a lot.

Well, not a lot, really. It just gets dark and feels all heavy a lot of the time, like it’s going to rain all day, and then it doesn’t at all. Or it might rain a little bit. But at least it cools me off some when it does, and my coat gets all silky in the moist air and Mum and Dad make a big fuss over how soft I am.

What I really don’t like this time of year is the thunder. It makes me scared. I just have to get under something when it starts rumbling. Sometimes I feel it coming from a long way off, and if Dad is in the house I go wherever he is and get as close as possible. Having his big hand on me is best.

I don’t mind it as much if I’m outside in the open, on the trail or chasing rabbits through the bushes. It’s just indoors I get all sort of small and weird and shaky feeling, like a puppy that doesn’t know what’s happening and doesn’t feel safe. Then it passes and I’m alright again. Especially if someone brings me a treat. Then I might forget about the thunder right away.

We went to see my friend Jazz the other day. He and his Mum Mary moved away and I hadn’t seen him in a long time. We started playing right away. He’s a little Schnauzer, my favorite size dog. He doesn’t chase me much, but he got up on his hind legs and batted me right on the side of the head. Then we ran out to the backyard so Jazz could show me where he hangs out when it’s cool. He’s a good boy, that Jazz.

My mum took me to Marg’s Draw the other day, a fun trail where we go sometimes for what she calls “a change of pace.” I run the same pace there I do around the home trails, but whatever. There are usually people to see and sometimes other dogs there. I got a bit bored this time though, so when Mum called me to come back for my leash I decided to run off on my own a bit and explore. I could hear her calling me. I think she wasn’t too happy that I didn’t come, but come on, I had stuff to do. I can’t be tied to Mum or Dad all the time.

When I did come back I was all wet and Mum couldn’t figure out for the life of her where I got soaked because it was all dry along the trail. I’ll never tell, but boy did I have fun!

After that we did one of my favorite things these days. We went to where my Dad works. Really he just talks to other humans. He and Mum call it “the gallery,” but really it’s a place where things smell interesting and lots of people come to see me. They make a big fuss of me. I can lie down right in front of the door, which is glass, so I can see all the people and they can see me, and when they do, of course, they want to come in and pet me and ask my name and what kind of dog I am. Dad gets all proud talking to them about me, and if Mum is there she just smiles. I love my life.

After people leave and there’s nothing much to do, sometimes Dad and Mum do that funny thing with their hands and start creeping toward me like they might pounce on me. I look at them out of both corners of my eyes and then, just before they can touch me, I dash off to the other side of the room at full tilt and then back again, all around and in between the big blocks that sit on the floor. We’re all racing, racing, and Mum and Dad are whooping and screaming and clapping their hands while they run after me.

Then suddenly I can’t see either of them. I don’t know where they’ve gone. After a minute I walk quietly over to where I last saw them and – they’re not there! I look somewhere else. Not there either. Now I’m stumped. They’re humans, so of course they’re not that good at sneaking and hiding. I’m the dog, so I should be able to easily – hey, there they are! They jump out from behind the counter and chase me all over until I’m pooped and need a drink of water.

One day I did a thing that Dad still tells people about. He says I made a sale. I wasn’t on a boat, so I don’t know what he’s talking about, but what happened was I was sitting by the front door in the gallery and three little girls outside spotted me and went, “oooohhh, a dog! She’s so pretty,” and I got to my paws and started wiggling my butt and wagging my tail and they just couldn’t stand it. They begged their people to let them come in so they could see me.

Of course I got down on my back so they could rub my belly and pretty soon all three of them were down on the floor with me. It was all nice rubbings and they were making sweet noises and it couldn’t have been better.

While all this was going on there was a man talking to my Dad. He said it was so beautiful, the girls and me all loving each other. Of course it was. He got a bit teary like I do when there’s a fire and it’s smoky. He turned to this woman next to him and asked her to do something. Then my Dad put a big picture thing in a bag and handed it to them, and they all stood there watching the rubbing and listening to the cooing. Those girls were the best.

Pretty soon their people made them leave and the man and the woman with the bag left. My Dad gave me such good pettings and puppy talk and told me what a good girl I was. He said I sold a Dr. Seuss. I had to have him spell it when I got to this part because I’d never heard of that before but I guess I did something good. I don’t mind helping out my Dad when its fun like that. As long as I get extra treats.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Out and About

I've been on vacation since my last post. A week in sunny Cornville with my good friends Babushka and Toma. I really enjoyed all the grass they have out there and played lots of hide and seek in the garden. Now I'm glad to be home again with Mum and Dad because we've been going on lots of day trips to the creek.

Here I am at Fossil Creek, which has lots of pools for swimming, and plenty of rocks and waterfalls. There were no ducks for me to chase here, but several people brought picnics, so begging opportunities were abundant.

All that swimming made me very sleepy...

Mum also took lots of video of me, so I'll post one of those, as soon as we've edited out all the bad bits.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

And So To Bed...

After a hard day's duck hunting, it's early to bed.

I love having my teeth brushed (or at least, I love licking that chicken flavor toothpaste off the brush!). I have to let Mum brush for at least a minute (well, 30 seconds if I bite the toothbrush), before I'm allowed to lick.

Ahh, bliss! There's nothing like a poulty-flavored treat before bed.

Sometimes I'm just too tired to go to my own bed...

In my dreams, I ALWAYS catch the duck!

The Art of Duck Hunting (and other doggie pursuits)

Keep very still and observe.

Sometimes a better vantage point helps.

When a duck is spotted, slowly creep along the bank until you are either very close or you just can't contain your excitement any longer and have to jump in the water.

Now, swim like a crazy dog. Swim like there's no tomorrow. Run in the water.
(I've been told this looks very silly, but it really does make you feel like you're gaining ground).
Keep your head high and your ears dry. At all costs, keep your ears dry.

When those ducks start laughing and throwing insults, you definitely want to be able to hear them.

Keep going, no matter what, because one day (and that day is coming, I just feel it), I'm going to catch one of those darn ducks!

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Sedona Dog Park and Friends to Stay

The new dog park that I've been hearing so much about has finally opened and I got my first trip there last week. If you haven't been yet, get on over there. It's great! Nothing like the ones in Flagstaff where we sometimes go and I just can't wait to get out again. In fact, you can easily forget you're in a dog park at all. It's just like being in the forest. It's full of bushes and trees, on the side of a hill, with plenty of places to hide when you're playing tag with your friends. But the funny thing is, there weren't any other dogs there. We've been twice now, and have only seen 2 dogs. Maybe no one else knows about it. I'm looking forward to going back with my friend Monty when he comes to stay next time.

Speaking of friends - we had a big sleepover a couple of weeks ago. Monty was here for 10 days, still recovering from his knee surgery. I was told we weren't allowed to play like we used to, but sometimes we forgot and Monty started to run, which he's not supposed to do yet. Then Ginger came for a few days. She had only been here for an afternoon up to then, so she was a bit shy and missed her mum and dad a lot the first day. Her favorite place was at the side of my couch on the porch, where she could watch the road from. Here she is, being a bit shy - can you spot her?

Ginger - I think one of her parents is a fox

It was fun having her here too, but Monty seemed to like her a bit too much. In fact, he was making a complete fooI of himself, but I didn't want to be the one to say anything. He followed her everywhere, and got really excited any time she so much as raised her head. I was glad when her people came to pick her up. Never mind. Monty's coming again next week and I'll have him all to myself this time.

Monday, January 22, 2007

Snow, Snow, Snow! (but where are the dogs?!)

Yes, we've finally had a great snowfall here in our high desert home. Mum & Dad have been promising that it's coming for weeks now, but it really is here at last. I've been rolling around in the white stuff, and picking up on all those good scents. There are tracks everywhere. It's been making me crazy, running all over the place. The only part I don't like is those nasty ice balls that get in between my toes and make my paws hurt.

My friend Luna likes the snow too, so I've heard. Here she is on her first foray outside after the snowfall. She's looking a bit cautious, but she's one of the bravest cats I know.She doesn't get mad at me for wanting to sniff her, and she likes to try and catch my tail, when it won't stop wagging.

Here she is making a swipe at my butt.
In fact, I think one of these days she might just get right on back for a ride!