Apologies to Robert Frost

Stopping by Woods on a Drizzly Morning

Whose woods these are-- they're mine, you know.
My house is over that way, yo;
But you can watch me stopping here
To sniff the slowly melting snow.

The neighbor man must think it queer
To pause and check the atmosphere
(But it's a task I won't forsake)
The dampest morning of the year.

I give my floppy ears a shake,
My doggy senses all awake.
The forest creatures still asleep
The fog: a blanket, quite opaque.

I think I heard a nuthatch cheep.
But to my mission I must keep,
Miles to explore before I sleep,
Miles to explore before I sleep.




Tribalism is a social system. The society is a self-perpetuating grouping occupying a particular territory and having its own distinctive culture and institutions. Got that?

Tribalism in dogs is called pack mentality. Sister and I realize that the humans are the Alphas in our pack. Alphas are sometimes known as Exalted Rulers, but if you ask me, that's taking it a bit too far. The hierarchy is a little confusing. I like to test the boundaries.

Pack mentality is why dogs like to sleep with one eye open during the day. It's not even real sleep, it's more like meditating. We're conserving our energy while waiting for the humans to come home so we can assemble as a pack. It's instinctive. We like to stick together. Sometimes I am known as "Velcro."



Dog whisperer

Lately when I misbehave, the humans threaten to "go all Cesar Millan" on me. I can't tell if this is a threat or a promise. I don't think I like this Cesar Millan person. He uses words like "nervous aggression" when a dog barks at dangerous evildoing intruders like the mailman. And what's this, an outpatient clinic?



In the spirit of the season...

Remember the animals that are in need of shelter, food, and care. Click on the buttons below to see how you can help, and also please support your local shelters and animal welfare organizations.

Human Society Year in Pictures 2005



I was a weird puppy

Which of the following describe Z as a puppy?

  • He was so hyperactive you could never catch him sleeping.
  • He loved blankets, the more the merrier.
  • He always wanted water. It was like an obsession!
  • He was so tough he could only have "indestructible" toys.
  • He had some separation anxiety issues: If he was being cuddled by one person, he whined because he wanted attention from everyone in the room at the same time.
Big surprise ...all of the above.

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Most of them are a waste of paper. A waste of trees. The humans get a lot of catalogs this time of year, and the recycle bin fills up fast. Catalog is not even a good word. Dogalog has a nicer ring to it.

Newspapers are better. Sometimes on Sunday mornings I grab a section and trot over to my bed and just sit there. One time I took the Sports section and jumped up on the couch with it. Very funny, evidently. My human goddess wanted to take a picture of me, but the camera needed fresh batteries.

The worst thing was the time I took a catalog into my crate. The humans laughed and teased me mercilessly. Well, pardon me for not knowing the Victoria's Secret catalog is funny.


Love-hate relationship

I can hear it in the distance. It rolls up the street with its engine rumbling. The hyper-mega monster on wheels. The sound of the hydraulic brakes are a carefully nuanced threat. It's huge, it's mean, it's brown, and it's stopping in front of my house. Red alert! Battle cry! Bark! Someone is climbing out of the belly of this monster. He's wearing a uniform. He looks like he has evil intentions. He knocks on the door. Sister and I want to tear him up. We bark ferociously. We're protecting our territory. We hate this guy. He leaves a package on the porch. A bomb? Then he hurries away to bother someone else.

Oh. It's a package for us. Chocolate Nylabones, our favorite! What a nice man. I'm feeling conflicted, but I don't care.

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I am the evil paparazzo

This is a picture of my sister. She's been part of the family for almost two years.

It was right around Christmas in 2003. The humans went out, as humans often do. I thought they were just doing that usual sort of hunting and gathering activity where they come back with bags of food. Was I ever wrong...
(I've told this story before. You can read about it here.)

Remember when I said my sister is a privacy hound? Well, there are limits to my tolerance. Notice the angelic expression on her face. It's really a look of guilt. That's my bed, not hers. Wake up and share the limelight, Sis!




(with apologies to Richard Brautigan)

My sister is afraid of umbrellas. I'm not
afraid of anything and I thunder around
like a barking machine
that's just finished slaying
the world's biggest dragon.



Where's my tinfoil hat?

This morning I said "ragnarok."

Etymology: Old Norse Ragnarok, literally, fate of the gods, from ragna, genitive plural of regin gods + rok fate, course (later rendered as Ragnarokkr, literally, twilight of the gods)
: the final destruction of the world in the conflict between the Aesir and the powers of Hel led by Loki -- called also Twilight of the Gods
(Merriam-Webster Online)

You know. Ragnarok.

Later we played out in the yard. I'm not very tall but I made a lot of paths in the snow. Some of the paths look like letters or symbols. Mom asked me if I am making crop circles or trying to communicate with aliens.

Sometimes I'm too mystical for my own good. What do you think?



One more time


Not toy.



There's so much you don't know about us

But you're learning.

ABC News Original Report
Sounds of Dog's 'Laugh' Calms Other Pooches

Dec. 4, 2005 — Researchers at the Spokane County Regional Animal Protection Service in Washington state say sometimes a bark is just a bark -- but a long, loud panting sound has real meaning. They say the long, loud pant is the sound of a dog laughing, and it has a direct impact on the behavior of other dogs. "What we found is that it had a calming or soothing effect on the dogs," said Patricia Simonet, an animal behaviorist in Spokane who has studied everything from hamster culture to elephant self-recognition. "Now, we actually really weren't expecting that."

Nancy Hill, director of Spokane County Animal Protection, admits she was skeptical at first that this noise would affect the other dogs. "I thought: Laughing dogs?" Hill said. "A sound that we're gonna isolate and play in the shelter? I was a real skeptic … until we played the recording here at the shelter."

When they played the sound of a dog panting over the loudspeaker, the gaggle of dogs at the shelter kept right on barking. But when they played the dog version of laughing, all 15 barking dogs went quiet within about a minute. "It was a night-and-day difference," Hill said. "It was absolutely phenomenal." Officials say it works every time, and researchers across the country are taking note. "The laughing sound that they make is something that was not even considered a vocalization until this study was done," Simonet said.

Those who study dog behavior have varying opinions about exactly what Patricia Simonet's "dog laughing" sound really is. What they do agree on, however, is that to other dogs, it is at least a sound worth keeping quiet to listen to.
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