Monday, May 26, 2008

My Best Day

Life is good when you're a dog. Someone else hunts for the food, someone else picks up your poop, and Mommy randomly takes you Next Door to play in Granny and Gram's back yard.

Today started out like any other day... wrestling with Bear, then a nice nap, and barking at dogs walking by outside. Then we put our harnesses on, and went Next Door. We run and pull when we are going Next Door, it's so incredibly exciting. We never know what we will find there... food? Another dog to play with? A big party of family? Since no one tells us anything, going Next Door is always a surprise.

We were pleased to run in the yard, and then Mommy started the barbeque. The meat smelled so rich and... and... meaty. Pork spareribs, lots and lots of them! And the best part of this meat is that there were Bones. We hoped that they were the good kind of bones that we could have. Our whole focus changed from running around in the yard, to praying for bones.

Mommy pulled a piece off of the fire for us, before anyone else got to eat, and let it cool off. She wouldn't give us Bones, but she tore meat off and told us to dance for it. Boy did we! Bear wouldn't sit down, he was so enthralled with the smell.

After dinner, we took a Walk. Down to the beach! We love the beach, but Mommy doesn't take us very often because she can't handle all three of us. She should just let us off of our leashes... we know the way! But she's funny that way, she likes to control how fast we are going and which direction. People are so hard to understand sometimes.

The Allison puppy and her Thomas went with us. Allison took pictures of us having fun in the sand. I rolled in the sand and seaweed, which smelled just delightful. There were subtle nuances of dead fish, with a tickling of grey seal and dolphin, finishing with the scent of a yellow lab that had been by previously and rolled also. Then, I ran. And ran. and ran. Even Casper, fat thing that he is, ran and capered. Bear runs up to the water, but doesn't go in very far. I go in up to my belly. Casper is the fat square one, Bear is wearing the blue harness, and I am in pink. Of course.

Here is the video of My Best Day:


Sunday, May 25, 2008

When we were pups...

Now that I figured out how to embed video from YouTube (pretty good for a dog, eh?) here is a quick video of our first day home. It was July 1st, 2006 and we were just eight weeks old.

Three days later, everyone celebrated how cute we were. There was a parade, and a BBQ, and fireworks at night. At least, I'm pretty sure that it was us they were celebrating. Everyone loves us.

Casper makes a cameo appearance, but I am definitely the star. Mommy says so, and Mommy never lies.

My Silly Brother, Bear

His official name is Klondike's Dancing Bear, but mostly we just call him Bear. Or Bear Bottom. Or Mr. Bear.

We were playing in a big Rubbermaid tub, and Bear stopped to take a little panting break. Here's the YouTube Video:

It's hard to admit, but he is rather adorable!


Yasha of the Trees

We named her for a Japanese half-spirit, InuYasha. Inu-Yasha is the protector spirit of the forest. Although bearing little resemblance to the InuYasha of legend, she seemed to grow into the name. She was just a tiny white puffball when we brought her and her brother home, but even then she developed a fondness for the bonsai.

She sits among them, in the growing beds, and watches graceful butterflies dip and flit among the lantana flowers. On warm days, she lays on the wet redwood chips under the benchs, where shade protects the maples. As a puppy, she sometimes did harm to the trees that she was meant to protect. Finding sweetness in the heartwood of liquidambar, she chewed a whole flat of cuttings into useless tinder. Once she lay on the soft perlite-plumped ground and chewed a small quince into pencil sharpness, and later pulled the same quince out and carried it around the yard as a prize.

Protector spirit of the forest? Not always, certainly. She is a half-spirit, after all... caught between two worlds. She cannot be entirely one thing or the other. Sometimes she is the Inu, and sometimes she is the Yasha. She can walk among the trees so carefully that they hardly sense her presence, when she is being protective. Squirrels, cats, and birds avoid her trees when she is guarding them. Her shining eyes miss nothing.

When she is the Inu, the dog, she can dig and chew and destroy. Unerring in her instinct, she finds the trees that are special to her Master, and with paws, teeth and wet nose she undoes the careful work that her Master has done. Sometimes the damage is not found for days, and the tree doesn't survive.

We named her for the half-spirit of the Japanese lore, and in the naming she found her path. And like so many other half-deities, her reckless moments can mean the difference between Life and Death. Her power over the trees is absolute and utterly without comprehension.

Maybe we should have named her Lassie.

(first published in Joanie's Journal, BonsaiTALK forum)

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

A Plate of Puppies

Silly Yasha! I forgot this picture. A Plate O'Puppies. Crunchy doggie goodness. Okay, actually dogs would see no merit in these. Now if they were made out of liverwurst... or vanilla ice cream... or bacon drippings... THEN they would be worth something.

Mmmmm. Bacon drippings over ice cream, with liverwust on top. And peanut butter. Stuffed in a Kong ball. WOW. Why aren't there Cold Stone Creamerys for dogs?

Maybe because dogs don't have money.

Or cars.

Or thumbs.


Bear and I on a pin!

Mommy has been working on these since about Christmas time, and they are all done! First, Adalee (who knows how to scratch dogs, and how to give bites of her dinner, she's one of my favorite people!) sculpted a pin of Bear and I in this ickky smelling brown clay. Then, Mommy poured that wet white stuff over it. I thought that she ruined it, but when the white stuff was hard, she pulled it off and the clay was still there! When the white stuff thing was dry, she started pouring clay into it and popping out pins.

She sat in the evenings in the big squishy chair, when she was too tired to work in the barn, and cleaned the seams and bubbles from the pins. They were dry and crunchy, like the mud that gets in your paws when you run outside in the rain and then lay on the warm rug.

Then she put them in the big hot thing, that makes a humming noise. They got really hot... she won't let us go into the barn when the big hot thing is running. We might burn our noses. The whole barn smells like HOT. When they were cool, she sat around and painted their little eyes and tongues and lips. Mommy holds these really close to her face... even with her new glasses. (do they make glasses for dogs? What can she see through them?) The photo on the left is Mommy's work area, where she was drinking tea and painting little Yasha faces.

Finally, she sprayed them with the pink stuff and put them in the hot thing again. They came out shiny.

Now she has put decals on them and heated them up again so that the decals sunk into the glaze, and glued pins onto them. Using the paper that she printed out, she stuck the pokey thing through the holes in the paper so they stay on the paper. The paper says "Bear and Yasha", which makes me wiggle.

They are all in boxes now, ready to go away. Why does Mommy do this kind of thing? What does she get out of it? Bear and Casper and I have talked about it, but we don't see any upside to all of this work. Anyway, she put them up in my Etsy store. She says that there won't be any more Bear and Yasha pins when they are gone... I hope that's a good thing.

The store is here:

It isn't very fancy... the Allison puppy has been too busy to make pictures of me for the storefront. But it doesn't matter, because the pins are what counts.


Today is the day of the week that I don't like. Mommy gets up and goes off in the car. She doesn't take time to play with us very much, because she leaves so early.

Bear and I sit and wait for her. Casper doesn't even get up until 10 am, so he doesn't care much. Bear and I worry about Mommy going away, since sometimes she goes away for a long time. But on Wednesdays, she comes back at lunchtime smelling funny.

She smells like sunshine and growing things, horses and dogs, and even a faint whiff of goat. Her hands are dirty and her fingernails have grime underneath, and sometimes she has a smear of dirt across her cheek. She sits down and eats lunch as soon as she walks in the door, because she seems to have really worked up an appetite.

I wish that she would take me with her... where does she go? What does a goat LOOK like? Who is that dog that she pets when she is gone? I promise that I would be helpful and wouldn't run away... well, not too far away.

Bear would go too, but I would help her more than he would. But Mommy leaves us home, watching out the window, waiting.


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

A Family Portrait

Anyone who has ever tried to pose dogs for photographs can sympathize with this post. First of all, dogs see absolutely no point in pictures. You can't smell them, you aren't supposed to eat them, they can't run out and bark with you when That Thing is hiding in the back yard. Time is much better spent walking, getting Treats, or getting scratched on that itchy place at the root of your tail. You know, the place that makes you twist your back around, lift your head, and drool.

Ahem. Anyway.

Here we are, posed with our Clifford toy that Sarah M. sent us. Bear looks more intelligent than he really is. He's the one sitting on the floor. Bear really isn't bright.... you don't see him with his own blog, do you? He can't even spell. Casper is laying down, which is pretty much his whole philosophy of Life. He's as wide as he is tall, and only carries it well because he's so fluffy. (well, and he's about twelve years old) I'm sitting there with my eyes closed, because I run around so much that if I rest for even a minute, I fall asleep. Just a few moments before this picture was taken, I was wrestling with Bear. Note the spitty, tangled mess of mane on that dog. Bedraggled is the word. Well, he's my brother and I love him, but no one accuses him of being overly fastidious.

We posed for Mommy, but our hearts weren't in it.


The Tunnel of Joy

One of Mommy's friends, Marilyn Jensen, thoughtfully gave us a net tunnel when we were puppies. Marilyn knows what dogs like to play in! Mommy brings it out once in a while, and when she does, we dance around and hook our feet into it before she can even open it up and throw it on the floor.

Bear and I have torn holes in it... but we aren't Bad Dogs! We use the holes to reach through and grab each other, or stick our heads out when we are playing. When the tunnel is in the living room, we run through it, just because.

Mommy was gone for a whole week, and Bear and I didn't know what to do with ourselves. Sure, we got into the trash... that's a given. I carried Mommy's slippers, a paint roller, all of our toys, and some clothes off of the laundry pile, outside. Spread all over the back lawn, it made exactly the statement that I intended. I spent hours carefully placing the items in just the right juxtaposition to heighten the effect of anxiety, stress, loneliness, and doggy doldrums.

Mommy immediately got the point.

Now she is learning the root forms of certain words and phrases. "Dogging her steps". "Dogged determination". We don't leave her side even if she is moving around during Nap Time. Even Bear, lazy and placid, gets up and follows Mommy when she walks out to the barn.

Why would she ever leave us? Will she do it again? Dogs live in such uncertainty.


Sunday, May 11, 2008

Mommy taught us...

Spring is for shedding. When you're an American Eskimo dog (hereafter designated Eskie) you carry around a major load of pelt. It's a mixed blessing... when you're white and fluffy and soft, people are drawn to pet and make a fuss over you... but you also get snarls, tangles, and junk caught in your fur. Sometimes food. Which your brother eats for you. Kinda weird.

So, now that the Allison and Bobby puppies have moved out, Mommy painted the back bedroom and has been slowly making it into a workspace. It's light and pretty and almost empty, and she put up a table in there. We were very intrigued when she put a throw rug on top of the table. In our observations of Mommy, we have never seen a throwrug on top of a table, and she is not usually prone to flights of fancy. Then she put a chair in front of the table, sideways, and taught us each to jump up on the chair and then the table. Casper, the food hog, the show-off, figured out what she wanted almost immediately. Maybe it is a Trick from his mysterious past. He certainly caught on quickly. Being the brighter sibling, I figured it out next... and I love to jump anyway. Bear, reluctant and suspicious when it comes to new tricks; heights; tables; chairs; and Mommy trying to lure him anywhere, was the slowest. Finally Mommy shooed Casper and I out of the room, and Bear had a Private Lesson until he demonstrated a certain amount of aptitude.

Here I am on my new table conquest, which I now jump up to and down from with great zeal. When I'm up on the table, Mommy brushes me, which I don't mind. Much. Mostly the attention is worth it. Bear, of course, looks like Mommy is pulling out his hair strand by strand, and he hides his head under her armpit. Casper enjoys grooming, stands at attention and really seems to get some sort of thrill out of being told that he is done. When Mommy thumps on him and says "Okay!", he jumps down and tries to dig a hole in the carpet, which he generally uses as an expression of great joy. If you haven't figured it out yet, Casper is sort of strange.