Merlin's Monthly Diary

Year Four

February 24, 2004

This month was much quieter than last.  Mostly Mommy and I hung around the house and did doggie and Mommy stuff.  We worked on tricks, took walks, played in all the snow and painted some pictures.  I have painted six so far.  We are going to donate one of my new paintings to LEARN, the rescue place that pulled me out of the pound, for their annual auction.  We haven't decided which one yet, and we may ask all of you to vote for the one you think we should donate, but I haven't gotten around to scanning them yet.  Mommy is trying to take photos of me painting, but it isn't very easy.  I don't like having an audience around while I paint, so I tend to glare at the cameraman.  Mommy says I am a temperamental artist.  She has taken pictures of me with each painting (
click here to see one ), but she really wants an action shot.  She's been setting up her camera to take photos with the timer setting.  Some of the shots should be really good.  I think the latest roll has a nice picture of my butt because I turned around and backed towards the camera just as the timer went off.

The big event this month was the Great Squirrel Hunt.  Mommy and I were walking and we spotted a squirrel.  Well, we spotted TWO different squirrels.  Mommy was prepared for me to chase the one she saw, but I took off after the one I saw, which was in the opposite direction.  I pulled the leash out of her hand and ran at the squirrel.  He zigged left, I zigged left, he zigged right, I zigged right, he zigged left again, I zigged left again, he zigged right again, I zigged right again and I got between him and the tree.  He froze.  I GOT HIM!!  Mommy was VERY upset and yelled at me to drop him.  I eventually did, but, even though a neighbor took him in to try and save him, the squirrel didn't make it.  Mommy said that was VERY BAD behavior and now she won't let me out in the backyard without checking to make sure there are no squirrels on the ground or feeder.

Finally this month Mommy was taking a shower when she suddenly yelled out, "GRANDMA ARMS!!"  I'm not sure what that meant, but she spent some of MY weekend time going to look at something called "the Y" and "health clubs" and now she is spending MORE of my time at "the gym".  I'm not sure what it is, but it can't be good because dogs can't go there and she comes back tired and aching.  If she wants to be tired and ache she should just take me for walks in the woods without my headcollar on.  I could pull her all over the place, make her run, and knock her down hills and stuff and then she could come home tired and aching, but still have spent quality time with ME!


March 23, 2004

Happy Spring!

This month was another dull one.  Mommy and I mostly hung around the house, went for walks and hikes and all of that.  I couldn't even play run along the fence with Berkley this month becaue he hurt his foot on the concrete slabs on his side of the fence and now his mommy and daddy say no more fence game until they can fix up the yard and put some sod there.  It is very upsetting.  I want to play and so does Berkley, but we aren't allowed to be out in our yards at the same time anymore.

I have two girlfriends now.  The first is the WONDERFUL chocolate lab puppy in the new development.  I wish she could come out and play with me, but she is rarely in the yard.  I check every time we walk by.  Sometimes, if I think she might be coming out soon,  I refuse to continue my walk.  The second is a yellow lab puppy who lives one block down from the chocolate lab.  She escaped from her yard the other night and we got to jump around and sniff noses a little.  She was too shy to get closer than nose sniffing distance, but it was fun anyway.  Then her daddy caught up with her and picked her up and carried her home.  She wiggled and squirmed and tried to get away again, but he held on too tight.  Now I sniff her yard and the yard where we met when I walk by, but I haven't seen her again.

I've been doing more painting and I've been working really hard trying to learn the "turn off the light trick" but that isn't going so well.  I can't quite decide where exactly I need to hit to make the light turn off so now the bedroom wall is covered with footprints and scratches and I have scratched a lot of paint off the door jam.  Mommy says we need to stop working on that trick until she gets some of the quirks worked out of it.  Mommy has put my new paintings into an online photo album.  I am donating the one called "Chasing Squirrels" to the L.E.A.R.N. auction in April.  Mommy got it framed the other day.  A lady at the store helped her decide how to frame it.  It is in a "frameless" frame with a black matting.  It looks really cool.  Now Mommy says she really has to get some of my other ones framed so we can hang them up at home.  Right now they are in my "portfolio" (a large binder with 12x12 sheet protectors)
Click here to see my paintings.

April 20, 2004

This was a BUSY month.  First, Mommy spent the early part of the month working on "Heel!" with me and making me walk on a short leash once a day.  I don't like my short leash much, but I played along.  She also kept telling me, "If you do that at Grandma's house you are going to get smacked on the nose." whenever I did things like countersurf or jump on the couch and stuff.  Then she started packing things up in boxes and putting them in the basement.  Finally she packed my vacation bag, but she didn't pack hers.  I was getting a little nervous.  Then Mommy went downstairs and got the babygates.  I smiled and smiled to remind her that I am a good dog who doesn't need babygates anymore, but she brought them up anyway.  Then Grandma came to our house to pick up her canary, Willy Singh, who we had been babysitting and she took my bird, Fred Astaire, too!  I was VERY upset.  Grandma did take the babygates away though.

Then the next day Mommy went to the L.E.A.R.N. auction where I donated one of my painting, "Chasing Squirrels".  Along with the framed painting the high bidder got a
photo of me with the painting, and a one page bio.  Lots of people looked at the painting and made comments, and the people at Mommy's table thought it was really cool that I painted, but only one person bid on it.  Mommy was happy that SOMEBODY bid on it, but she kinda wished that more than one person had.   She noticed that a lot of the people at the auction weren't bidding and some of the high ticket items, such as a weekend in Wisconsin didn't get any bids at all!  Anyway, my painting sold for $25 and the woman who bought it talked to Mommy afterwards to tell her that she collects unusual art pieces with stories attached to them, so I think it is going to have a good home.

When Mommy got home she put some more stuff in our basement and took me for a long walk and then she packed up the car with my bag and feeding station and beds and stuff and we went to Grandma and Grandpa's house.  Mommy ate dinner there and she hung signs on the doors that said, "Where is the dog?" and she put my bed in Grandma and Grandpa's bedroom.  Grandpa blocked off their living room and dining room with the babygates and they talked a while about me and then MOMMY LEFT WITHOUT ME!!!!!  I barked and barked and barked and barked, but she drove off without me!!!  She had abandoned me at Grandma and Granpa's house!  I got my Pyramid and carried him around and I followed Grandma around the house and I whined a bit.  Mommy called when she got home and I whined and moaned some in the background while Grandma talked to her.  After a while Grandma and Grandpa went to bed and I tried to get on the bed with them, but they said NO.  I tried again, but they said NO again and I had to sleep all alone in my own bed.

I stayed with Grandma and Grandpa for a whole week!  Mommy called every day to ask about me, but she didn't talk to me.  Grandma said I was a being a very good boy and she thought that all bad dog things I do were in Mommy's head!  This was great revenge.  I didn't counter surf at all or take anything off the table except for a mailing tube that Grandpa had left in reach.  After the first night I didn't try to get on the bed.  I didn't pee in the house.  I didn't get on the funiture.  I didn't knock them over when we walked (Grandpa held the leash and he REALLY out-weighs me so I couldn't have knocked him down if I tried).  I didn't wake them up in the middle of the night to say, "Hi!"  I didn't try to bolt out the door to chase squirrels.  I was PERFECT!!  Heh heh heh.  Grandpa and I saw a deer every night on our walks and one night we saw a coyote (I think it was a coyote, Grandpa said it was a fox, but it was big and grey with a not so bushy tail).  They have windows that go all the way to the ground so I could sit comfortablely and watch the squirrels and bunnies and birds all day.  I got treats and stuff too and NO NOSE SMACKS!

After a week Mommy came back to get me.  I was watching squirrels in the family room, but when I heard her voice I came running out to greet her.  The rest of the night I followed her around the house.  Velcro Dog.  After dinner Mommy packed up my stuff again.  She picked up my feeding station and said to Grandma, "Hold him for me will you?" and Grandma said, "He never bolted.  All we had to do was say, 'you stay' and he did."  She said, "You stay." and reached to open the door.  The door opened about 2 inches and I shoved Mommy and Grandma aside and ran out the door to the car.  Grandma shouted, "You could have said, 'Thank you Grandma!' and 'goodbye!' you know!" but I didn't listen.  I was making sure I went home with Mommy.  I sat in the car the whole time she was packing up.

When we got home I ran in the house and went flying!  The kitchen floor was wooden and slippery instead of linoleum and the rest of the floors in the house were polished to a high shine too.  The house smelled funny and I had to sniff everything and glare at Mommy every once in awhile.  I couldn't eat that night either because the strange smell of the house made my food taste funny.  I wasn't very happy with what Mommy had done.  My fur rug was gone too and I searched all over for it until Mommy brought it up from the basement and made it into a fur pillow on my daybed.  That night when I jumped off the bed about 3 a.m. to wake up Mommy to say, "Hi!" my feet went sliding and I fell down.  That woke Mommy up and she said, "oh poor baby!" but she was laughing at me too.  So, since I had gotten used to it at Grandma and Granpa's house I slept in my own bed and refused to talk to Mommy when she asked if I was okay.  A few days later, when the house smelled a little more normal, Mommy brought Fred back home too.  And now things are normal again, even if the floors keep making me slip and fall.

Oh, and after having to watch those squirrels at Grandma and Grandpa's house, but not chasing them, I got my revenge this week.  Let's just say there is one less garden raiding squirrel and one less chipmunk running around these days.  Sorry Auntie Naomi I just can't help myself!!

May 25, 2004

This was a month of recognition.

First I got a check in the mail.  That's right, I got a CHECK for $5 in the mail.  Mommy said it was a mistake, but I think that FINALLY the world has recognized me for the special dog I am.  The check was from Heartgard, the company that make my heartworm preventative.  When I had my check-up in February the vet told Mommy there was a $5 rebate and if Mommy wanted they would send in our info electronicly.  Mommy said that was fine and forgot all about it.  Then one day she opened the mailbox and said, "Merlin, you have mail."  I let Mommy open it because she has opposable thumbs.  When she got it open she laughed and said, "Some data-entry person was on his first, or last, or possibly both day."  She showed me that we had gotten the Heartgard rebate check in my name.  I think it is only right that I got the check because, after all, I'm the one who has to eat the Heartgard tablets and get a tummyache for a day, not Mommy. 

Anyway, Mommy didn't know how she could cash my check so called grandpa to see what he thought she should do with it.  He said she could just deposit it in her account because with computerized banking nobody would ever see that it wasn't signed by me.  She thought that didn't seem quite right so she called her bank, but it is big and impersonal and she got agravated by the phone jail and hung up.

She realized a few days later that I have a PHOTO ID from dog camp so she took me, the check and my photo id to a small local bank to see what they would say she should do.  They were very nice and let us cash the check even though we don't have an account with them.  They even gave me a treat for coming in!  I really like that bank now, and so does Mommy.  She says she thinks she is going to open a small account there just because they were so nice to us.  Maybe it will be my account.  So, Mommy took the $5 and said, "We'll have to go to the petstore so you can buy something with your money."  I thought that sounded like a good idea, but first I wanted to go to the lake.  When we got there I saw some ducks and took off after them and I broke my zipline.  After Mommy caught me she said, "Well, you can forget about a toy.  Your $5 is going towards a new zipline."  What a rip-off!

The second bit of recognition for me is that my webpage was chosen as
Cartoon-Dogs' Website of the Week for the week of May 17!  If you go there it says my site is a "Site dedicated to Merlin--lab mix and painter."  Mommy was very pleased.

The third bit of recognition was that Mommy FINALLY sent in the necessary stuff to get me my official Pack Dog title for carrying my pack for 50 miles.  My certificate arrived the other day.  It is already outdated though because this weekend my total packing miles exceeded 100 miles!  That means if Mommy can find a 10 mile check-out hike I can get my Pack Dog Excellent certification.

Auntie Naomi, don't read this next part it has nothing to do with recognition and you will just get mad at me...

I caught another squirrel and a baby robin.  The squirrel got away because Mommy didn't grab it when I threw it at her (It was her birthday present and she didn't appreciate it!)  The robin had been knocked out of its nest by the last big storm we had and he hardly had any feathers.  Mommy said I probably did him a favor by catching him since he probably would have died of exposure anyway (like the baby sparrow she found the next day), but that didn't keep her from telling me that grabbing birdies is a BIG NO NO BAD DOG!!  She worries about Fred and Willie Singh, but they are safe as long as they stay in their cages where birdies belong.

June 22, 2004

I don't care what people say, this past month was the dog days of summer, or late spring I guess. 

First, Mommy and I went to Grandma and Grandpa's house in Wisconsin so Mommy could help them get ready for summer.  We were going to be the only ones up there with Grandma and Grandpa, except Mommy's oldest brother and his family who have their own house there now and would come by to help with the raft and the window wells.  When we got up there though Grandma said that Mommy's middle brother was going to come up with his oldest daughter and my Portugese water dog cousin, Missy.  Mommy did outside work with Grandpa and I helped some.  When they got the blower out I decided it was a good time to wander into the woods.  I went rather far and I didn't hear them calling me so Mommy was kind of mad when I came back on my own later.  After that I had to wear my leash.  Mommy says she is buying me bells for our next trip up. Anyway, around dinner time Mommy's oldest brother came by and everyone was sitting around talking when Mommy said, "Look Merlin!" and pointed out the back window.  I looked and Missy was here!  I ran around and barked and cried and Mommy let me outside.  Missy and I ran and wrestled until dinner and then we ran and wrestled after dinner until dark.  I ate Missy's dinner because she was too slow.  It was lots of fun.

The next morning I woke Mommy up at 5 a.m. and said we should go find Missy. She said nobody else would be up and I should go back to sleep.  I woke her up again at 5:30 and she said it was still too early.  It was STILL too early at 6 a.m. but finally at 6:30 Mommy let me get up.  She said that nobody else was going to be up, but I could go have potty time and breakfast before Missy got up.  The minute Mommy opened the bedroom door I ran down the hall, shoved open Mommy's middle brother's door, ran in to say hi to Missy (who was asleep in her crate) and jumped on the bed to say good morning to Mommy's middle brother.  He wasn't happy.  Mommy took me away and made me go outside and eat breakfast and be quiet for a whole HOUR!!  Finally Missy got up and we ran and ran and ran and wrestled and ran and ran.  We played all day.  Then around dinner time Mommy said I should go for a walk.  We went walking and when we got back to the house I heard a dog barking!  It was Mommy's oldest brother's new golden retriever puppy, Walter the Pooping Dog (he pooped in the car on the ride up! heh heh heh)  He was chasing Missy around.  I ran up and said hi and we chased and chased and played and wrestled. 

After dinner Missy and I were tired and wanted to have nap time, but remember, Missy and I had been playing all day and Walter had been sleeping (and pooping) in the car all day so while Missy and I got tired and wanted to rest, he wanted to keep playing.  We tried to tell him to leave us alone nicely, but he wouldn't listen.  He kept jumping up on me and biting my face and ears.  I would shake him off and he would hop back up again.  Finally I couldn't take it any more and I said, "ROWF!" he jumped back and I hooked his back legs with my foot and sent him flying onto his back.  Then I stood over him while he tucked his tail in and said he was a sorry little puppy.  When I let him get up he left me alone and went off to pester Missy some more.  She kept showing him her teeth, which looked extra scary because she has an underbite, but dumb Walter wouldn't take the hint.  Finally she snapped at him and pinched his butt and he cried, but he still didn't stop pestering her.  Then his Daddy sent him outside so we could rest.

The next morning Walter came back again.  Missy and I ran around and played and wouldn't let him join us.  He got frustrated chasing us on his little fat puppy legs, and it was great fun.  Then Missy and I ran down to the bottom of the hill and stood on either side of the path.  We looked up and said, "Walter!  Come down and play with us!  We'll play with you now!"  Walter came wobbling down the stairs and when he got to the bottom of the hill Missy and I looked at each other and then we both ran straight at Walter and both bodyslammed him at the same time, smooshing him between us.  Then we ran a few victory laps up and down the hill while Walter pouted.  It was very funny.  Soon after that Missy and Walter both went home and I spent the rest of the vacation sleeping.

The next weekend Missy came to our house for a sleepover!  It was great!  We ran around in the backyard from 9 in the morning until about 6 at night, then we ate each other's dinners and took naps.  At sunset though I was tired of being a good host.  I like having friends over, but they go home at the end of the day, and Missy was still at MY HOUSE.  She was playing with MY TOYS and getting attention from MY MOMMY.  I couldn't take it anymore and when she stepped over my tail to go see Mommy I jumped up and said, "ROWF!" and snapped at her.  She yiped and ran behind Mommy and Mommy grabbed me and threw me out onto the porch for a time out.  Then she gave Missy MY TREATS!!  The rest of the night whenever Missy would try to play with a ball or her lamb toy I would charge up to her and take it away, and Mommy would give me a time out.  It wasn't fair.  Finally it was bedtime and Missy had to sleep in her crate while I slept with Mommy on the bed, which was a good thing, 'cause there was NO WAY I was going to share the bed with her.  The next morning I wanted to play with Missy, but she told me I was a jerk and wouldn't play with me until about 10:00.  Then we played until her family came to get her.

And finally, the Friday before last,  when Mommy and I were walking,  a young and stupid English bulldog came charging up to us wanting to play.  I didn't try to bite her because she was smaller than me, but I didn't want to play with her because she had a square head.  I kept trying to get her to go away and Mommy kept swatting at her and telling her to go home, but she wouldn't listen.  She followed us for our whole walk until we got to Jessie and her brother's house.  Now Jessie and her brother really only like each other, not other dogs, but this stupid little bulldog didn't understand that.  She kept jumping on the fence trying to say hi while they tried to bite her.  Mommy was going to leave her there, but thought that would be mean to Jessie's people so she brought me home and went back for the bulldog.  When Jessie's daddy went into his house to get a leash, the silly bulldog followed him inside!  The dog didn't have any tags so Mommy brought her home and tied her to our tree out front and called the police.  They said they would take her and put her in a local training center's kennels for the weekend, but Mommy didn't want that to happen since the kennels also house police and guard dogs in training and Mommy could just see her getting mauled overnight, and besides, her people would have no way to find her for the whole weekend since the training center would be closed.  So she said she would walk the dog back to where we started being followed in the first place and ring doorbells to see if she could find the dog's home.  They got about 3 doors down when a truck pulled up and a woman yelled, "You have our dog!"  This dumb puppy sure had fitting owners.  They were just as silly as she was.  They said the dog's name was Payton and they lived a couple blocks down from where she had started following us.  A neighbor had seen us and instead of stopping and saying, "Hey we know that dog, let us help you get her away from your dog."  They had driven over to Payton's house to ask if she was missing!  The family had to look around to see if she was missing and when they decided she wasn't home they went looking for her.  They drove along asking people if they had seen me, Payton and Mommy and followed our trail that way.  Mommy said, "Do me a favor and get a tag for her." and the owners said, "We can't do that.  She has lots of different collars."  Mommy said, "The petstore has a machine that sells them for $5, buy one for each collar."  and they said, "Oh, that's a good idea."  As I said, they were fitting owners for such a dumb puppy.

That was my dog days of late spring.

July 20, 2004

This month Mommy and I visited Auntie Naomi and Uncle Fred at their new house in Door County, WI.  When Mommy was packing I figured we were going to Grandma and Grandpa's house, but then we got off to a late start and we didn't take the right turns and the smells didn't smell quite right.  When we finally stopped we were at a house I had never seen before.  Auntie Naomi and Uncle Fred were there, which was exciting, and we walked around the house and I sniffed stuff, but I was kinda looking for Grandma and Grandpa.  Mommy unpacked the car and she hooked my leash up to a tree while she carried our stuff inside.  That made me rather nervous so Auntie Naomi stayed outside with me while Mommy put our stuff away.  Then we went inside.  They had a whole room just for me and Mommy with our own stairway and everything.  I felt very special.  After we had settled in Auntie Naomi and Uncle Fred said we should take a walk and see The Lake. 

We went out, but there was no hill to run down to get to The Lake.  Instead we walked down the road.  At the end of the road there was THE BIGGEST LAKE I'd ever seen!  It went on forever.  I could have waded the shores looking for fish for days.  Mommy took off her shoes and went wading with me.  We were having a great time until clutzy Mommy stepped on something called "fossilized coral" and sliced open her foot.  Then we had to go back to the house so Mommy could patch up her foot before we finished our walk.  After the bandaging, we went to see the neighbors' houses.   They were very nice.  We even met one neighbor and he took us around to see his garden.  The humans seemed to like it.  Mommy said I had to stay out of the flowers tho and the neighbor's wife didn't seem too happy to see me in the garden.  Then we went back and we hung out on the porch and we ate and we sat around and I had to stay on a leash by Mommy so that I wouldn't think of trouble to find.  At bedtime I got the spooks and barked at every noise I heard.  Then at 3 a.m. or so Auntie Naomi's daughter arrived and I really barked.  Mommy said she was sure the whole neighborhood was glad to know that Laura had arrived.

The next morning Mommy and I went shopping for bandaids and watershoes so that we could go wading again without Mommy hurting herself.  Then we walked down to The Lake.  Auntie Naomi and Uncle Fred followed us a little later, but I was so busy sniffing things that they caught up before we got there.  When we got to The Lake and I went in looking for fish I found THE BIGGEST FISH ON THE FACE OF THE EARTH!!  These fish were BIGGER THAN CATS!!!  And they were right up on the shore.  I chased them and they swam away and once one got confused by some rocks and I could have caught him but he was BIGGER THAN A CAT and if cats have hidden knives what would a GIANT FISH be hiding?  I decided that I would be nice and let the fish go without trying to pick him up.  When we were about to leave a loose pit bull came to the beach.  Uncle Fred distracted her while Mommy, Auntie Naomi and I left.  Brave Uncle Fred.  The rest of that day was spent meeting friends of Auntie Naomi's and hiking on some cool trails.  One of the friends told us the GIANT FISH were called carp.  The trails were fun and one of them ended on the top of a 100 foot cliff.  I didn't understand why Mommy was so nervous about me getting too close to the edge (and Auntie Naomi was even more nervous!)  After the hikes Mommy and I went to visit some old neighbors of hers who lived in the area.  They all thought I was wonderful.

The next day was the 4th of July.  It was raining and cold but we went to the parade anyway.  Because it was going to be so crowded we all went in Uncle Fred's car.  I didn't know how to get into a car where you have your own door into the back seat.  Finally Mommy got in first and then I got in.  Then bad Mommy slammed the door on my tail!  She really only caught my fur, but I acted like she had amputated my tail just to make her feel guilty.  Anyway, we got to the paraded and it was the looooongest one I had ever been at.  I liked most of it (there was even a Scottie club that marched and handed out milkbones!) but there was a terrifying thing called Thomas the Tank Engine in the parade.  He was a big monster with an evil grin and he went "WHOOO! WHOOO! TOOT! TOOT!"  It was so scary that I just sat next to Mommy and shook.  Mommy had to take me away for awhile so that I could calm down.  I wasn't really calm until he was out of sight.  After the parade Auntie Naomi, Mommy and I went to see the craft sale in town.  Lots of people pet me and EVERY SINGLE ONE of them asked Mommy, "May I pet your dog?" before they touched me and EVERY SINGLE ONE of them said, "Thank you for letting me pet your dog." when they were through!  What a great place.  Mommy bought a sign for our door that says, "The dog and his housekeeping staff live here."  After that Mommy, Auntie Naomi and I went treasure hunting on Auntie Naomi's property.  It seems that the houses were built in an area where people used to dump their garbage.  Mommy and Auntie Naomi found and old runner for a sleigh and some old pottery, bottles and pans.  I found some bones, a dead thing, poop and something hiding in a half burried can that went "GRRRRR!"  Mommy and Auntie Naomi got to bring their treasures home, but I didn't get to bring mine back.  No fair!  That night we went to the fireworks.  I love fireworks, but I wasn't so sure about the crowd.  They all hollered and whooped when the fireworks went off.  At home they don't do that and I got kind of nervous and sat real close to Mommy.  I did watch the whole show tho.

The next day we had to go home, but first Mommy and I took our morning walk.  When we were just about home one of the neighbors who have three dogs, two labs and a shepherd mix, were walking their dogs off leash.  The male lab and the shepherd mix charged me from way down the road.  They may have just been coming to say hi, but I figured they were coming to get me and the shepherd and I went at it.  We had quite a tussle.  I lost some fur and I don't know if I actually bit him or not, but Mommy gave him a good strong kick in the ribs, so I think we won.  The neighbors were sorry (they HAD promised to keep the dogs on leashes while I was there to avoid just that sort of thing from happening) and Mommy said it was okay, but she was a little mad at them for being irresponsible.  Still, I wasn't hurt so, after breakfast, Mommy drove me down to The Lake and we had fun (no fish tho) until that pitbull came back.  Mommy put me in the car and then we got stuck because the dog kept coming close to the car and Mommy couldn't see where she was.  She didn't want to drive over the dog.  Auntie Naomi and Uncle Fred came up in their car and they could see where the dog was so Mommy could pull out.  We then went to see the ferry to Washington Island and Uncle Fred found out that dogs can ride free but kids cost $5.00!  Mommy says next time we will ride on the big boat.  Then we went down for ice cream.  Auntie Naomi bought me my own cup of ice cream and it was HUGE!! Mommy only let me have half of it.  Mean Mommy.  Then we really had to go.  I slept the whole way home and then I took a nap, had dinner and went to bed.  It was a fun vacation.  

The next weekend I painted a picture for Auntie Naomi.  It is called, "Fireworks for Auntie Naomi" 
Click here to see it.

August 24, 2004

This month Mommy and I went to Grandma and Grandpa's house in Wisconsin.  EVERYONE was there because we were celebrating Grandma's 70th birthday (3 months early)!  I got to play with my Portuguese water dog cousin, Missy, and my new golden retriever cousin, Walter, and my old mutt cousin, Harley.  Actually, I didn't get to play with Harley much because he didn't want to play big dog chase and wrestle games on account of he is really old.  So mostly I got told "NO! STOP THAT!" when I was around Harley.  Harley did shock Missy and me one day tho when we were playing retrieve Duckie.  Mommy was throwing Duckie in the lake and Missy and I were racing for it.  Harley was watching us from the dock.  I was always winning so Mommy started holding me back and letting Missy get long head starts, but I still won each time.  Then Mommy threw Ducky by the boat and I was afraid to get it.  Missy couldn't figure out where it was, so Harley and Mommy's brother swam out and got it for us.  Missy and I couldn't believe how well such an old dog swam and we watched him from the dock in shock.  He had to be helped up and down the shore, but once he was in the water, he was an amazing swimmer, and he wasn't afraid of the boat!

Everyone left before we did tho (except Grandma and Grandpa) and Mommy and I had our vacation.  The next door neighbors had their family up too and they brought a beautiful black standard poodle named Panini with them.  Panini was four months old and I really wanted to play with her, but for some reason they didn't want to let me.  I ran over there every day to ask too, and only got in trouble each time.  On their last day up Mommy was playing the "stay around" game with me.  I didn't have my drag line on and Mommy was giving me tiny pieces of cheese just for staying in sight of her and coming when she whistled.  It was fun.  Then, after awhile, Mommy ran out of cheese.  She handed me the last piece and I looked at her, turned around, and RAN over to Panini's house.  Boy did I get in trouble then!  I knew I was going to have a time-out so I made the best of it by running around and dodging, Mommy and Panini's daddy, mommy and human sisters.  Panini's daddy even managed to pull both my collar and my bandana off me on one of my passes.  Finally Panini's mommy sat on the ground, and, since I can't resist a lap, I ran over to sit on her's and she grabbed me.  I got time-out in the bathroom after that.

But Mommy forgave me and since I celebrated my 4th birthday up there (we usually celebrate on August 1) she bought me a marrow bone from the butcher.  It was yummy!  When she first gave it to me it was too cold so I decided I needed to bury it until it warmed up.  Unfortunately I was in the house.  So I dug some pretend holes in the carpet and then covered it up with pretend dirt.  I worked so hard at burying and reburying the bone that I wore the leather of my nose bloody.  Mommy says for a smart dog, when my instincts kick in, I sure get stupid.

Finally this month Mommy and I babysat Missy for two and a half days and two nights.  We had a good time running and wrestling in the backyard and I showed her my favorite walks.  She didn't understand about running through the cattails so even though I showed her how to do it a bunch of times she never joined me.  Oh, and I didn't bite her even once.  I did give her my "sideways eyes" a couple times and I made sure I took whatever toy she was playing with away from her if she looked like she was having too much fun, and I finished her dinner for her each night, but she stole mine while I was stealing hers, and I made sure to get between her and Mommy whenever Mommy was trying to pet her, but I didn't bite her, so I was a good boy.

September 21, 2004

This was a boring month.  Mommy and I did nothing fun.  Oh we took some of our normal hikes and stuff, but that was about it.  Mommy spent a lot of time getting some new furniture.  She got a brand new table and chairs in the kitchen and now I can't jump on them and I'm not supposed to lick them either because they are wood, not metal and formica.  I don't like that.  Also, she came home from work late and would have things with her that weren't good to eat.  Once it was some pictures and once it was two chairs.  She said they came from Auntie Naomi.  I don't believe this because Auntie Naomi knows what I like and only gives me good stuff.  Mommy said the pictures and chairs weren't for me they were from her.  Again, I don't believe this, why would Auntie Naomi give MOMMY things and not me?  Mommy says she was getting the stuff because Auntie Naomi is moving to her new house in Wisconsin and Mommy had bought Auntie Naomi's mommy's dining room table and chairs.  Then one day Mommy came home late and she brought her middle brother (Missy's daddy) with her, but they didn't bring Missy!!  Instead they brought another wooden table and more chairs and now there is another "no touching" table and chairs in the dining room.  What good are tables that you can't put your paws on and clean the middle of?  Mommy did buy me a comfy new blanket to cover my bench under the window.  So I guess all her redecorations aren't that bad.

Also this month Mommy's car started making funny noises so we couldn't take our normal weekend drives to go hiking.  We had to stick closer to home because Mommy was afraid we'd get out to a trail and not get back.  But, she got the car fixed and was very happy because the part was still under warranty even though the car is older than I am.  What's a warranty?  I don't see anything on top of the car.

The only exciting thing this month is that (DON'T READ THIS AUNTIE NAOMI!!!  IF YOU DO YOU WILL BE MAD AT ME!!!) I have learned to catch shrews.  Mommy is mad at me about that because she likes shrews.  She says they are like little tiny wolves and I should have more respect.  I think they are just fun to catch and throw around.  I can hear them from across the yard and I take off and dive into the bushes or plants where they are hiding and grab them.  Then I toss them in the air a few times until they stop working.  Mommy says it is odd that I can hear a shrew from across the yard and I can't hear her say "NO!" or "COME!" when she is only six feet away from me.  I think what is odd is that when you catch a shrew, if it bites you on the mouth your mouth gets tingly numb and you drool for about an hour or so.  Mommy says it is because shrews have venom and it serves me right and maybe I should learn something from this experience.  I have.  I've learned to grab them with only my front teeth and to make sure my lips are pulled way back.

October 19, 2004

This month was fun!  Missy came over for sleepovers two weekends in a row.  We've established some rules so things go much smoother when she is sleeping over and we don't get in trouble as much and we don't get early bedtimes.  Here are the rules:

1. Mommy is MINE!!  If Mommy sits down I get to sit on her lap.
Missy can sit BY Mommy but she must not TOUCH Mommy.  Mommy can pet Missy as long as she is petting me at the same time.

2. All stuffed squeeky toys and all pull toys are for sharing.  The only exeptions to this rule are Pyramid and Jack.  They are MINE!!  Missy may look at them and sniff them, but she must not touch them.  Also first-thing-in-the-morning toys and bedtime toys do not have to be shared and dogs should not ask to share them and must never just take them or Mommy will step in.

3. Keep away and tug-of-war are just games and should not be taken seriously.  If one dog starts to get too involved in the game the other dog should stop and lie down to indicate the game is over.

4. The bed is MY SPOT!!  Missy's crate is HER SPOT!!  Missy can't get on the bed, I can't go in the crate.  If we don't want to share a toy we can bring it to our spot and the other dog can't ask for them.
[Mommy  added this rule:  Only two toys can be reserved at one time.  More than two reserved toys becomes a hoard and ALL reserved toys in a hoard will be given to the other dog by Mommy.  Also, toys may not be grabbed away from the other dog and brought to your spot or it will be deemed "bullying."  Repeated bullying is punishable by mousetrap.]

5. The bench under the window is to be shared.  Whichever dog gets up on it first gets to sit or lie down until he or she is ready to vacate the spot.  The latecomer can put only his or her front paws on the bench until the first dog gets down.

6. My dogfood is served in the kitchen.  Missy's dogfood is served in the garden room.  Mommy will stand guard between the two rooms.  Dogs may not investigate each other's bowl until both dogs have decided to leave theirs.  If you leave your bowl before you are finished and discover that the other dog has eaten all of his or her food, too bad, the other dog gets whatever you left in your bowl.

7. There will be no tennis balls or bones allowed during sleepovers.  [This rule was established by Mommy since I seem unable to share tennis balls and Missy made bad dog faces at Mommy when Mommy tried to take one of my bones from her.]

Since those rules were established we have had nothing but fun.  We run run run all day long and drop from exhaustion at night, but we are ready to run run run the next morning.

On the first sleepover Mommy drove us to a nearby forest preserve for a walk, but Missy has to sniff everything for FOREVER.  When I sniff something I give it a quick sniff and say, "Hmmm.  Large male dog about three."  Missy gets tot the same spot and says, "Large male dog about three.  Usuaslly eats Iams and some people food, but got into the garbage yesterday and had some moldy bread and chicken bones.  Wears a red leather collar..." at which point Mommy and I are both bored and Missy gets pulled away.  Also, she is afraid of big dogs (but not me for some reason) and we had a lot of sudden stops when she would see another dog and refuse to go on.  So the walk took a lot longer than Mommy expected it to and she says only street walks from now on.

When Missy was supposed to be getting in the car after the second sleepover she found a pile of cat poop to roll in instead.  She rolled in it so well that her daddy couldn't get the poop out with a wet towel and she had to be hosed down.  When I saw the hose I was upset, but when they started spraying Missy I stayed just out of the splash and watched and wagged my tail.  Hose baths are terrible, unless they are happening to another dog.  Then they are funny!

November 23, 2004

This was a strange month.

First Mommy woke me up really early and put my seatbelt on me like we were going to Grandma and Grandpa's house in Wisconsin, but she hadn't packed anything except water and a leash for me.  Mommy said we were going to a doggy haunted house.  Then we drove and drove and when we stopped she parked on the side of the road and left me in the car for about an hour.  When she came back she put the leash on me and we walked down the road to a place that had all sorts of dogs hanging around.  There were poodles and collies and little fluffy guys, but no German shepherds.  Mommy said that was because she had called ahead and all the GSDs were inside where I couldn't see them.  We hung around for a little bit and I talked to the poodles and fluffy dogs and then they called my name. 

?Mommy and I had to walk past a scary, smelly kennel and then we were by a field that was set up with orange cones and folding chairs and stuff.  I looked at the set up and knew right away that this was some sort of obedience test, so I put myself into test mode.  We walked to the first chair and I heeled the whole way.  Then a lady got out of the chair and shook hands with Mommy.  I knew this!  This was the first test in the CGC.  I figured I must be taking the CGC test again so I carefully ignored the lady.  The lady and Mommy talked for a long time until the man in the middle with the clipboard said, "well okay, go." and we went to the next chair.  That lady got up and made a fuss over me so I made sure my feet were all on the ground and I didn't jump.  Then we went to the next station and someone made a loud noise in a yard shed and then they put a bucket on the ground outside the shed.  I checked the bucket to see if maybe it was food, but it was rocks.  Then I looked in the shed to say hi to the person who made the noise.  Then we walked to a big wood wall and stood still with our backs to the wall, but I saw the shed person run out of the shed and behind the wall so I was looking at her when she made three loud bangs.  When she was finished I went to the wall to tell her she didn't scare me.  Then we walked to another lady in a chair and she opened an umbrella right in front of me and hid behind it.  Rather rude if you ask me, but I still went behind the umbrella to say hi.  Then we had to walk across some plastic and then I had to walk over grating while Mommy walked on the grass.  This made me nervous because Mommy likes me to walk on the same surface she is walking on, but when I looked at her to see if I was doing it right she pretended like she didn't see me.  Then we stopped and looked at a fence and this strange man with a stick came out and waved the stick around.  I watched him closely because he was acting kinda strange.  Then he saw us and started yelling and coming at us.  I gave him my big dog stare.  Then he started banging the ground with his stick and running at us.  I tried to run away, but Mommy didn't follow so when I hit the end of the leash I turned around and barked at the man and he left.  Then Mommy and I went to sit on the chairs by the side of the field.  The man with the clipboard came up and said, "He passed." and I jumped up on him and licked his face.  Then he sat with Mommy and they talked awhile and we went back to the car and drove back home.  Mommy said I had passed my Temperament Test and she bought me a cheeseburger at McDonalds.  She made me give a little bit of bun to a seagull who came to the car to beg, but that was okay since the meat is the important part.  Oh, and now I can put a TT after my name and I got a new patch for my backpack!

A week after that Mommy did that strange thing where she plays with the clocks and doesn't feed me on time, and then that night she made me wear bunny ears for the kids who came up in costume and begged for treats.  I was going to be Superman, but Mommy had made the outside of the house so scary this year that she decided I should be something really silly instead.

Finally, Missy sent me a Petco gift card as a thank you for all the sleepovers and Mommy took me to the store to spend it.  I would have bought nothing but bullysticks but Mommy said I could only have two of them.  It didn't stop me from taking them out of the basket each time Mommy set it down though!  I got lots of yummy bones and treats and a squeeky zebra.  Then Mommy took me to see the fish, but I wasn't very interested in them.  I like the aerators better because the bubbles moved really fast and I also liked the crickets that someone had let escape from the feeder cages.  As we were heading to the checkout from the fishtanks we passed another tank that was right at my eye level and there were BUNNIES inside it!  I had to stop and stare at the bunnies and one of the stupid bunnies came right up to the glass and looked back at me.  I couldn't believe it!  He came towards me instead of running away.  I thought maybe we should get a bunny instead of some of the treats, but Mommy said no and eventually dragged me away from their tank.  At the checkout I kept grabbing the bullysticks off the counter before the girl could ring them up.  The girl seemed to get rather annoyed at that, but I thought it was fun.  I FINALLY got to eat one of the sticks in the car on the ride home.

Have a good Thanksgiving.  Hope you get lots of treats, but don't eat any turkey bones!

December 23, 2004

Sorry this update is late.  Mommy has been so busy running around getting ready for Christmas, and then her car broke down, well we kinda forgot about my diary until today.

Let's see, this month we celebrated Thanksgiving.  Mommy had Grandma and Grandpa and their next door neighbor over.  I was very good and showed off my tricks.  They were very impressed by the new one Mommy and I are working on where I read flashcards and do what they say.  So far I have sit, down, stand, sit up, and where's your nose down.  Mommy made a really yummy cheese spread hors douvres.  I tried to lick it a couple times but was twarted by Mommy.  I did get a few crackers tho.  I got the most when Mommy went into the kitchen to check on the spinich dish, but bad Grandpa smacked my nose so I dropped them.  (Mommy told Grandpa not to smack me and then let me eat the crackers!)  I got to lick the turkey pan after Mommy has scraped out most of the grease.  Mmmmm.  I also got some pie crusts.

After dinner everyone sat around the table and talked until I made a pest of myself and got them to get up and go into the livingroom where it is more comfortable, but then after they had been at our house for almost 5 hours I decided I had had enough and became a royal pain until they noticed what time it was and left.  I had to go outside while the neighbor was helped down the stairs, but then I came back in to watch out the front door as they left.  As soon as the car pulled out of the driveway I ran to the bedroom and jumped in bed.  Company wears you out!

Mommy wants new countertops so she had a guy come out to give her an estimate.  Every time he went by the side of the counter where the antique canisters are that hold my treats I would run over to him.  When he wouldn't notice me I'd jump up with my front feet on the countertop to show him what he should be looking for.  He just didn't get it though.  Mommy finally told him what I was after and then she asked how Corian holds up to dog claws!

Finally this month it has been very very cold.  Mommy has to really bundle up to take me for my walks.  I don't see why she needs to do that.  Just because the temperatures are in the single digits and the wind chill makes it feel like it is 10 or 15 degrees below zero.  I think the weather is GREAT and I want to play play play after our walks, but Mommy usually doesn't.  After one recent walk she weighed herself and found that she was wearing 15 pounds of clothing!

Happy Holidays and have a great New Year!

January 25, 2005

Busy, busy month.

First we celebrated Christmas.  Mommy and I went to Grandma and Grandpa's house on Christmas Eve and we had a whole carload of stuff.  Some of Mommy's cousins came over for Christmas Eve dinner and I was very good and only ate the hors d'oeuvres that people offered me, which was very good of me considering that they had cheese, herring and a liver pate!  At dinner I mostly sat by Mommy but sometimes walked around to check out the other guests because they were doggie people and I thought maybe they'd sneek me some stuff.  At one point Grandma said something funny and everyone laughed so I ran around the table smiling at everyone and then they laughed some more because they hadn't seen a smiley-face dog.  After dinner I showed off my reading skills.  Then I got grumpy and wanted to go home, but Mommy said we were spending the night and I was NOT to chase the guests out of the house like I did on Thanksgiving.  We didn't have a very good night because we had to share a twin bed and Mommy kept kicking me and hogging the bed so I kept waking her up.

Chirstmas Day we opened our gifts.  I got a GIANT real bone from the butcher, a huge doggie stuffed animal, a giant tennis ball, a bullystick and a bag of Tiny T-Bones.  In the afternoon my cousin Missy came over with her family.  We had fun chasing each other around and Mommy's brother let us escape from the house so we had fun avoiding Mommy for awhile too.  I didn't pee in the basement this time either.  Missy gave me some Iams biscuits and a tennis ball.  I gave her a Dentibone and some Tiny T-Bones.  When we got home that night I stole my entire bag of Tiny T-Bones and ate them.  I had a tummyache the next day and Mommy said it was my own fault.

For New Year's Eve Mommy and I went to Grandma and Grandpa's house in Wisconsin.  It was cold and snowy, but we had fun.  We took walks on the lake and I watched squirrels and birds.  There was an evil red squirrel that kept teasing me. 
Click here to see how mean he was.   Mommy's oldest brother and his family came over, but they didn't bring Walter the Pooping Dog.  Missy had stayed at his house earlier in the week and even though Walter wasn't quite such a jerk-puppy she still didn't like him, so Mommy thought it was best that we not hang out together.  I ate the herring that they left on the coffee table one night.  Mmmmm.

Then Mommy got the flu and stayed home for a week.  I was a very good boy and helped her get better. 
Click here to read how I helped. Then on the 19th Mommy and I celebrated my adoption day.  She gave me another big real bone from the butcher and that night she brought home a roast beef sandwich and fries from Arby's.  Mmmmm.  Then that weekend she made steak and mashed potatoes and spinich and apple pie for dinner and I got my own serving of each.  Mmmmm again.

Unfortunately, after such a happy month, a sad thing happened.  My birdie foster brother Fred Astaire died on Friday.  Mommy was sick again (relapse) and was asleep when Fred fell off his perch.  He had been playing with his bells and stuff before so Mommy says she thinks he had a heart attack.  I ran into the room and woke her up, but she thought I just wanted attention and told me to go away.  I did, but when Fred hadn't gotten up again after an hour I went back in to Mommy and whined and carried on until she came out.  I took her straight to Fred's cage and showed her what happened.  She took Fred out and put him in a box.  She didn't let me sniff him because she thought my retriever insticts might strike and I would try to grab him.  She put the box in the downstairs freezer ('til spring) and put his cage on the porch.  The next morning I wouldn't leave the porch.   I kept searching his cage, but I couldn't find Fred.  It smelled like Fred, but Mommy said it was his cuddle cave that smelled and finally she took the top off the cage and threw out the cuddle cave.  Then I walked around the porch looking up at all the places he could have flown to, but he wasn't there.  That afternoon we went down to my studio and I painted a blue, purple and orange picture that Mommy named "Fred Flying Free" 
Click here to see it.

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