Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Another day, another dog fight

Her Majesty and I were in the elevator yesterday, going out to pee. We go out to pee very frequently these days, on account of her new obsession with pissing on her bed.

Anyway. The elevator stops on an intermediate floor, and a guy gets in. Then, Thor gets in.

Thor is an SPCA dog, I'm not sure if he's still being fostered or if his foster human adopted him. In any case, the SPCA identified him as a "pitbull cross". Because the SPCA here knows a total of five breeds: pitbull, shepherd, lab, shitzu and bichon. In reality Thor looks absolutely nothing like any of the above. He looks exactly like a Brittany spaniel, though a little larger. Like maybe 60 lbs instead of 40. But then, many dogs grow way larger than their breed standards. In any case, Thor looks like a big burly Brittany spaniel. And he's quite a personable creature, but he must have got into a dog fight before because every time his human sees another dog, she freaks out and wrestles Thor away. I don't think that's the best way to socialise him, really, but nobody asked for my opinion.

In any case, Thor was loose in the hallway while his human did who knows what, and he ran into the elevator and straight to Her Majesty, and pinned her in the corner. I don't think he had any hostile intentions, but Tinky-Winky freaked out on him, of course, so immediately it sounds like a major dog fight is going on. And I don't care for dogs freaking out Her Majesty, so I immediately grabbed him by the scruff with both hands (good thing there was no room for him to maneuver in the elevator) and yanked him away. The guy who had just got in the elevator took over, and between the two of us, we got him out of the elevator just as fast as he got in.

The funny thing is, Her Majesty obviously didn't see that we humans manhandled Thor out the door, so she figured she had scared him away with her Mighty Jaws of Death, and she was thoroughly pleased with the whole adventure. I don't think he even touched her, really, much less did her any harm.

But the moral is, if you get a dog, you should learn to break up a dog fight. Once upon a time when I used to read other dog owners' blogs, before I got aggravated with the Carebear ignorance of it all, all the dog owners who read each other's blogs freaked out over some dog fight that got in the news, and tried to brainstorm what to do in case your dog is attacked. One of them had once scared a dog off by waving a clipboard, but the others had no idea whatsoever. So again, here is how you break up a dog fight: use your prehensile hands to grab one or both dogs, and separate them. Seriously. Don't stand there screaming. Don't pull on the losing dog's leash. Just grab the dogs and separate them. Typically the safest place to grab a fighting dog is the tail or a hind leg, away from the toothy end. But if one dog has locked his jaw on the other, then you grab the jaws and pry them open. Srsly. Never mind freaking out and waving your clipboard.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Throw me a bone here, dog

Her Majesty and I are moving to Winnipeg in the new year. The decision was made October 15, but it's been a long time in the making, and part of the reason why is specifically because Her Majesty loves it here. But there are no jobs, so we have to get out of here.


So first of all I had to dismantle our garden before it froze solid, which caused Tinky-Winky to have a meltdown and pee on everything she normally sleeps on. It was weird. But yeah, the garden was a major thing for both of us. It hurt me to have to do it, but I did it quickly and turned my back on it. Tinky-Winky took it a lot harder.

After that, I've been hesitant to make any further preparations. Tinky-Winky has never liked me opening the storage room door to begin with, because I make all sorts of loud noises that make her nervous. Now as soon as I touch that door, or try to move anything bigger than a book from one side of the room to the other (we have a bachelor apartment, you'll recall), she goes into a dark corner and shakes like a leaf until I pick her up, sit down on the couch with her, and do nothing but pet her or brush her for half an hour. And that's kind of a problem, because I need to empty the storage room completely, mark out the amount of space that's available in the car, and then refill the storage room with boxed things, ready to load in the car the day before we leave. And I can't do anything without her freaking out.


You know, dog, I realise that you don't know where we're going, or why, or how things are gonna work out when we get there. I realise that we've moved lots of places together and you never know how long we're gonna be anywhere, and you can't tell when we're never coming back to a place you like. I realise that you don't get to speak your mind or ask questions. I realise that you have no way of knowing how much your well-being and happiness have been at the centre of my decisions all along. I realise that you know we're gonna go for a long, long drive in a tightly packed car, again. Ok, so it is stressful. You're not in control and you never know what's coming. And yeah, we've lived here a long time, we're comfortable, and it breaks my heart too to leave it. But you're not the one who has to find us a place in Winnipeg. You're not the one who has to find a job and make this move work out, one way or another. You're not the one driving that damn car 2500 km. You're not the one who has to pack, and to leave behind the things you can't pack - yet again. None of your stuff is getting thrown out or left behind, I can guarantee you that. You're all worried, but you're not the one who has to do any of the worrying.

Ok, so I don't expect you to hold my hand and be supportive and ask how you can help today. But it would be nice if after seven years together when I've never let you down or let you want for anything, you could at least trust that I'm taking good care of you, and I always will, and if there is a little thumping and banging here and there, you don't need to make me drop everything to address your little prima donna act.


I think I'm gonna try to send her to Otis's people a few hours a week so I can get something done here.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The dog who cried wolf

Her Majesty likes to lie right behind the front door. Which doesn't mean she's waiting faithfully for me to come home, because she also does it when I'm at home. Anyway. Yesterday she was a little slow in moving away when I opened the door, so the door hit her toes.


Of course she first let out a blood-curdling scream, and then since I had my arms full of groceries and couldn't attend to her immediately, she followed me to the kitchen, hopping on three legs and crying piteously all the way. So I put the groceries down, pick up the dog and go sit on the couch. There was nothing wrong with her foot, so I kissed it better. Then she squirmed free and carried on with her day with no further evidence of having just survived a near-fatal injury.

Ok, I know I said that physical contact with loved ones releases oxytocin which is a very effective painkiller, but still. Kissing doesn't cure injuries on little kids, much less on hard-hearted little dogs. She just totally faked it to make me grovel.

And I totally fell for it. Sigh...

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

That can't be a real shiba

I don't know how to include this video in a post so you'll have to click on it like in the 90's... but that's not the point.

You know what, I can believe that someone would manage to teach a shiba to do this. Some people have that kind of patience. But if they really have a shiba in their house, where is all the dog hair?

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Maybe I spoil my dog

I always say that I don't spoil my dog in that I give her everything that is good for her but I expect a standard of behaviour from her.


So now that I'm not working full-time, I've been staying up rather later than usual, and I notice Her Majesty will stare at me. The other day she was particularly pointed, standing in the middle of the living room staring at me for a rather long time. Not lying down and lost in thought, which would be one thing. She was definitely wide awake, full of intention, and staring at me. I asked if she needed food, water, a chewy, a walk, nothing interested her. Hmmmmm...

Well, after a while I got up to go to the bathroom, and immediately she jumped up on the couch and settled herself for the night in my spot. Because you see, that's one of her top three night-time sleeping spots, and she had made up her mind that it was past our bedtime, and she wanted me out of her spot. And the worst of it is, instead of moving her two cushions over, I tiptoed around her, put my reading materials away, and went to bed.

Perhaps I do spoil my dog a little after all.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Diesel, part II

Diesel and his people moved out of the building. How sad... I like Diesel. Anyway, while he was waiting patiently in the back of the truck, I went to pet him. At first he started to growl when I intruded in his home space, but he was wagging his tail at the same time. Strange. Anyway, he recognized me, then we socialized for a while and I got some better photos of him, thusly:

What a handsome devil!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Let's settle this once and for all!

See these?

They look like shibas, don't they?

Yes. Yes, they do. And you know why they look like shibas?

Because they're not foxes. They're Australian dingos. I got the photos from here.

So next time you see a shiba, you can sound erudite by saying "wow, your dog looks just like a little dingo!"

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

I keep telling you...

A fox looks nothing like a shiba.

Saturday, August 4, 2012

I am not amused

A dog bit me.

Her Majesty and I were in the Community Garden. I was chatting with a friend, and Her Majesty was lying in the shadow of the car, keeping cool. Then, two people approached with a loose dog, and they came into the garden to look at something. The dog saw Her Majesty and approached her with an aggressive posture, so I went to intervene. Her Majesty didn't get up but was visibly tense and on her guard. I put my hand on her back and tried to push the other dog away. Instead it went around me to go sniff Tinky-Winky's butt.

Tinky-Winky got up and started growling while I kept pushing the dog and telling it to slag off. It continued to stand aggressively and refused to move away. Finally Tinky-Winky gave a warning snap and that ugly cur laid into her. Luckily (I guess), since they were right in my feet, I was able to pick up Her Majesty fairly quickly and get her out of the other dog's reach before she got bitten. But as I was doing that, the nasty creature turned and bit me on the leg. And even after that, it kept refusing to move away, but stood pushing back as I tried to push it away with my leg, and stared at me menacingly. While its idiot owner (who happens to be an offspring of the idiot boss of the job I just quit) simply called it a couple of times, making no effort whatsoever to come and control her mutt despite the fact that obviously it doesn't come when called and it just got into a fight. Bitch... and I don't mean the dog.

Seriously, what the fuck? Your dog started a fight and bit someone and you don't even bother to come over and control it? I know I've been guilty of letting my dog off-leash when she couldn't be trusted not to get into a fight, but a) my dog has never bitten a person and b) if a fight starts I run to break it up. What a rotten family...

The more I know people, the more I love my dog.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Actually, LOVE is the best medicine

Last Friday, while we were hanging out in the Community Garden, Tinky-Winky started walking funny. I didn't see what happened. In fact, at first I thought I was imagining it, until somebody else noticed it too. Then I thought maybe the heat was getting to her.

But then, it was getting worse, so she couldn't even walk around the school for her bathroom breaks. And she was holding her head funny. So I thought maybe she had a pinched nerve. Then I thought, what if she had a stroke? But I dismissed this theory on the grounds that I'm paranoid because she's my littly-wittly-kins and I'm always worried that she's going to die.

Monday morning, however, as I carried her into the elevator, a neighbour asked me why I had been carrying her for days. So I says "I think she has a pinched nerve" and he says "what if she had a stroke?"


An impartial observer thinks she had a stroke! Oh no! She had a stroke! She's going to die! The horror! The horror!

Well. We'll see about that.

Of course the V-E-T is not here and won't be here until the 27th, but I have a trick up my sleeve. I made Tinky-Winky lie down with me, and held her close for a couple of hours, until I had to work. Then in the evening I did the same, and the next day. Immediately, there was a marked improvement, whereas previously she had been declining. By Thursday, she was able to trot and to jump up to lick my nose when I come home.

Now you might think it's a coincidence, or a superstition, but it's not. I tried it before when she had hemorrhagic gastritis, and since then I have read the real medical reason why it works. I'm Tinky-Winky's major attachment figure, and dogs are much more attached to their people than people are ever attached to anyone. Engaging in any attachment behaviour releases oxytocin, which is a strong pain-killer. And the best attachment behaviour is physical contact. So, by holding her close to me for several hours, I know that I'm giving her a very effective way to deal with the pain of whatever it was. And as the pain lessened, she was able to move more, which helped restore function that was impaired, whether the impairment was due to a stroke or a pinched nerve or a pulled muscle or any of the other theories that were proposed.

This morning, for the first time since last Friday, when we got to the Community Garden she went off running. I watched how she ran and there is still something funny about it, but she's running, she's smiling, she seems free of pain, and she's NOT DEAD. Praise be to God, the Compassionate, the Merciful! And also, thanks to Dr. Gabor Mate, who wrote the book in which I read about this oxytocin deal.

Tinky-Winky's new best friend

Ever since Carter died, I figured Otis would be Tinky-Winky's new best friend, since he was her second-best friend before. Otis lives in our building and is a really sweet, quite large dog. Everybody loves him... except, of course, Her Majesty. When we first met Otis, the Creature was in her snapping-at-noses phase, so she would snap at his nose. Otis would leap out of the way, and then try again. So over time, this became a game. Otis pokes his nose at her, she makes a show of snapping, he makes a show of leaping out of the way. They find this hilarious. Now that Tinky-Winky is in a new phase of saying hello like a polite dog, Otis is rather disappointed that she won't play his game anymore.

But as it turns out, Tinky-Winky's new favourite dog is not Otis, but this handsome fellow:

Too bad he looked away, but oh well. You can see he's a quite large male pitbull. Intact, at that. His name is Diesel.

Now if you're very obsessive about reading this blog, you may remember that the first time we met Diesel, he was being handled by a small girl who had no control over him, and I found the whole thing alarming. Since then, I've heard many anecdotes of Diesel being aggressive to other dogs in the building. Now I'm not saying that aggression is ok when a small dog like Tinky-Winky does it, but the redeeming quality of Her Majesty is that you can overpower her easily, and she has less capacity to inflict serious damage than a 100-lb dog. A dog like Diesel can't afford to be aggressive, or he's gonna meet an untimely demise. (For the record, there came a time in my early days with Tinky-Winky when I wondered whether she wasn't heading towards euthanasia herself.)

All this to say, when Her Majesty and I came face to face with Diesel and his human in the woods, I thought there might be trouble. The other human (the alpha male in Diesel's pack, who does in fact control him and does obedience work with him) and I each restrained our mutts, and then we let them have a look at each other.

This is not the first thing that happened. What happened first, of all things, is that Tinky-Winky wagged her tail and went to sniff Diesel's butt.


That has never happened. She's learned to tolerate being sniffed, and she's even taken, quite recently, to wagging her tail at other dogs, but I had never, ever, to that point, seen her make friendly overtures and take the initiative for butt-sniffing. And here, of course, Diesel returns the compliment.


They're perfectly friendly. No snapping took place at any point. No growling. No aggression. Somehow, the two fightingest dogs in the building immediately hit it off as Best Friends Forever. I tells ya, you could have knocked me down with a feather.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Hello, world!

I finally got the local newspaper to take a photo of Her Majesty. This is a crudely edited version since I don't have Photoshop. Maybe I can get someone to make it look really good... for free... One can hope.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Shiba: 4, chance of getting lucky: 0

Her Majesty dug up my peony.

Boohoohoo I'm so sad!

You see, peonies are good feng shui. They "activate your relationship luck." So I planted two peonies; one that I got in October and wintered inside, and one that I got in May. The October one was alive but not growing... until yesterday. Which is also the day that Her Majesty dug it up.

I am Jack's complete lack of surprise. Her Majesty likes to look at men, but she doesn't like me to have any kind of life. If she had it her way, I wouldn't even go to work. And she didn't like my ex, or my male roommate in Yellowknife. She doesn't like anyone very much, and she very much doesn't like people taking up my time. I'm thinking she dug up the peony on purpose to ruin my relationship feng shui.

Then again, if you want to be an optimist about it, she dug up the $13 peony, not the $40 one that's actually putting forth some shoots. So maybe she's not so much ruling out all relationships, as making sure we only activate rich-boyfriend luck and not cheap-ass-dude-with-no-job luck. That kind of guy seems to gravitate to me just fine without any peonies anyway.

Oh well. She didn't dig up all the pansies (yet). Maybe pansies activate some kind of luck I could use.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

Shiba: 3, autism: 0

It's gardening season again, and I now have two 4 x 4 foot flowerbeds on the balcony. My little autistic buddies, who have been visiting for months, are always careful with the plants, and with everything else in the house. One of them is naturally careful, the other is just motivated to be allowed back, because for some reason, coming to my house seems to entertain them immensely. So they follow directions to the letter and make sure to move anything fragile, like the guitar, out of their way before doing something crazy. That's rather amazing for any nine-year-old boy, let alone two, let alone two nine-year-old boys with a learning disability.

So what does this have to do with Her Majesty?

Well, when I first set up the flowerbeds, I let Her Majesty explore them, and waited for her to pick a spot where she'd like to lie. She picked, of course, one of the very best spots. The vast majority of the balcony is in part shade, with only a small portion in full sun. Her Majesty didn't quite pick the sunniest spot, but the one just on the shady side of the full sun / part shade boundary. How gracious of her. Because I really needed that full-sun spot for my roses. So then I seeded grass in the spot she chose, and put my flowers here and there in the space she left me.

Now that everything is growing, however, Her Majesty doesn't want her spot. She seems aggravated that the grass doesn't uproot easily anymore. The last two years she had a 3 x 3 lawn with only 3.5" of soil, so she could rip up great swathes of grass easily. Now the soil is 15" deep, so the grass is solidly rooted and un-diggable. Apparently, this is not at all what Her Majesty wants out of a lawn. So instead of lying on the lawn I planted for her, she's made herself a comfy dug-out spot that allows her to lie simultaneously on a) my carefully selected collection of pansies, b) the three very expensive double oriental lilies, and c) the $40 peony that was supposed to "activate my relationship luck."

After showing her several times where I'd like her to dig and lie down, I seem to have achieved an uneasy truce, wherein she's willing to lie mostly on the pansies, which are at least much cheaper than the lilies and peony, and not dig up the lilies. Subject to change at her convenience, of course.

There you go. Yet another reason you should try doing respite for an autistic child before you try serving a shiba.

Have you seen a basenji?

Notice how people with purebred dogs will ask for the breed when their dog is lost? "Have you seen a basset hound? Have you seen a corgi? Have you seen a Chesapeake Bay retriever?" Friend, I could see a whole herd of Chesapeake Bay retrievers and I wouldn't even know it. Can you describe it?

Get this: the guy looking for the Chesapeake Bay retriever described it as "a brown dog." That's all. No size, no coat description, no ears or face... Goes from very specifically "Chesapeake Bay retriever" to just "brown dog."

As it happened, I hadn't seen a brown dog. But if ever your dog is lost, I rather recommend describing it rather than counting on the average citizen's knowledge of dog breeds. When I'm looking for Her Majesty, I ask people if they've seen "a little orange dog with a pointy face". Because "shiba inu" means nothing to them, even after I've introduced Her Majesty many, many times. (I keep telling the paper to do a story about her, which would be vastly more interesting than half their other fluff pieces, but so far, no luck.)

That being said, I don't have to ask people about my dog unless they're new to town. Everyone who lives here has seen me walking my dog. I know this, because total strangers will walk up to me and say "I saw you walking your dog." So in the unlikely event that Her Majesty would be lost, I can just ask people "have you seen my dog?" But most of the time I don't have to. First of all, because Her Majesty does not get lost. We've been all over this town for the last seven years; she knows exactly where she is and how to get back to her food dish. Second, when we do take separate walks, people will come find me and say "your dog is lost, she's at (such place)." Or they will look me up on Facebook. Or they will tell their friend who will find me on Facebook. In any case, I will be promptly informed of the whereabouts of The Creature. Which is very nice of everybody, of course, but I just thank them politely and don't bother going to look where they said, because by the time I get there, she'll have made her way back home. So I just stay right where I am and wait for her.

Some people's dogs, when they get loose, roam the whole town for days. Carter once ran from town all the way to Paradise Gardens, which is at least 20 km. Her Majesty would never do that. Partly because she's never been to Paradise and has no reason to come up with such an idea, and partly because she's far too lazy.

So the moral is, as it always is, walk your dog more. Then your dog is less likely to be lost, because 1) it will know the way home, 2) everyone else will recognise it as your dog, and 3) it won't be tempted to make the most of its scarce freedom.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

So long, old friend

You may remember Carter, Tinky-Winky's best friend. Carter was born 17 February 2003 and only ever had one human. In 2006, his human's then-boyfriend was working with my then-boyfriend, and sometimes the two of them would bring "their" respective dogs to work. That's how Tinky-Winky and Carter met. Back then, she was still psychotically aggressive, but she got used to Carter. I don't think they ever had a real fight, although Tinky-Winky snapped at him a fair number of times.

On the other hand, the guys didn't introduce myself and Carter's human. We only met years later, when we had each broken up with the then-boyfriend. And we recognised each other by our dogs. Then we became friends. Recently, Carter's human had to be out of town a lot, and one time she couldn't get her usual dog-sitter, so she asked me. So Tinky-Winky and I spent a couple of days at Carter's house. Then we ended up dog-sitting him every time his human was out of time, because we all got along so well.

Finally, after we had spent many days as a pack of three, something amazing happened: Tinky-Winky played with Carter. They were running loose in the off-leash area (we have official off-leash areas in town, though you can't really tell the difference with the rest of town), and Carter ran up to Tinky-Winky and balled her over. I thought she'd freak and try to rip his throat out, but she just rolled over, got back up and ran after him.


I never thought I'd see the day when my dog would let another dog approach her casually, let alone participate in any kind of playful behaviour. And after that, she'd actually let him sniff her butt and not snap at him. Another thing she absolutely doesn't allow. Her second-best friend, Otis, who is almost as big as Carter and fascinated by Tinky-Winky, loves to get her to snap at him so he can make a big show of leaping out of reach. Then he does it again. They both seem to find this game hilarious. But anyway, even Otis does not get to sniff Her Majesty's butt. He has to do a kind of drive-by sniffing and get out of reach before she can turn on him.

So, that was Carter.


Carter saw the vet for his annual check-up on Monday, June 4. They said he was well enough though obviously declining, which seemed normal for his age. Of late he had been unable to jump into the car, but what can you do. Dogs age. His labs were a little off, but nothing serious.

Tuesday, Carter was his usual self.

Wednesday morning, Carter couldn't get up. He had to be carried out to relieve himself, then helped back up the steps, and then he lay down and didn't move all day. His human called the vet, who by then had left town. (The vet lives three hours away and comes here a few days a month with his portable clinic.) The vet was alarmed. Plans began to be made to transport Carter to Edmonton the next day.

In the evening, Carter started shaking, and then he started to have seizures. I wasn't there, but I hear it was very traumatic. The decision was made to put him down. Unfortunately, when the vet isn't here, we have no mainstream way of euthanising dogs, so we have the choice of shooting them or trying to overdose them on whatever prescription drugs are at hand. Yes, yes, it's barbaric. What can you do. That's the price we pay for the freedom our dogs get. I've often said the best part of this town is the dog-walking. But anyway, the problem is, it's very difficult to obtain any prescription drug in a quantity that can kill a 100-lb dog. Most drugs aren't even strong enough to kill a rat. So Carter was given something, which didn't kill him, but mercifully stopped the seizures.

After a while, his human, who had been holding his hand the whole time, left the room for some reason. Immediately his breathing shallowed. The other people who were there called the human back, but before she could get back to him he was gone. I guess he was holding on to her all that time. It was Thursday morning, June 7. The vet thinks it may have been a toxin, or a tumour in the spine (boxers are prone to them), or perhaps one small thing that precipitated a cascade of failure due to his age and declining condition.

We buried Carter that evening in one of his favourite spots. He got a four-car motorcade and five pall bearers. There were eight people at his funeral, plus Tinky-Winky. At first Her Majesty wanted to participate in the grave-digging, but she got aggravated with the five-year-old girl who kept chasing her everywhere. As you know, little girls love Her Majesty, and the feeling is extremely not mutual. So after a while she absconded, then the kid lost interest, then Her Majesty came back and lay on the beach watching us work with her smug shiba grin. She was clearly having a grand old time. I wasn't watching her when we took Carter out of the car and put him in the grave, so I don't know if she ever clued in. Certainly she was completely indifferent to the fact that half the humans, myself included, were crying. She's never been the kind of dog that "knows exactly what you're feeling".

After the family had left and I had captured Her Majesty, I carried her to the grave to say goodbye. She still had no reaction. I still don't know if she's aware that her best friend for the least six years has died.

Carter leaves behind his very sad human, her two daughters, and her two step-daughters. And a hard-hearted little shiba. And me. He wasn't always what you'd call a "good dog." He was insanely strong in his prime and would take off after squirrels on a regular basis. He'd escape and roam the town all night. He ate the family garbage, and the baby-proofing locks that were installed to keep him out of the garbage. He also made an annual tradition of eating the littlest girl's gingerbread house. He got into an awful lot of dog fights. He was famous for his drooling. But he was extremely devoted to his family and a staunch protector, and a genuinely good person. He liked people and wanted to be liked. He was affectionate and funny and had infinite patience with the children. He was even good to cats. He wasn't even my dog and I miss him terribly.

Goodbye, old friend. You did good.

We want to play

Tinky-Winky brought me a rawhide.


Really. My dog brought me a rawhide.

Most dog's people wouldn't notice such a thing. Except Her Majesty does not fetch things, nor does she play. In recent months, we have developed this little game where she starts kicking a rawhide around the floor, then she does a playbow, and then I kick the rawhide around the floor for her and she chases after it. That lasts a few seconds, then she sits down and has a good chew.

This is important, because she's never played any other game. She doesn't fetch. She doesn't play with balls. She doesn't care for squeaky toys. She's never tried tug-of-war. She's the least playful dog I've ever met. Apparently, she wasn't even playful as a puppy. Weird little Asperger dog.

So, the fact that she does playbows and plays with rawhides, even if it's only for a few seconds, strikes me as a very important developmental achievement. So what if she's twelve years old? Old dogs, apparently, do learn new tricks.

Bringing me a rawhide, though, that's a whole 'nother achievement. Normally, if she wants something from me, she calls me over to where she is and points. Granted she can't very well drag the fridge over to the couch to signify she wants cheese, but still, it's always been how she works. She gives one bark, and I attend, and she points at what she wants and I do it. Bringing something to me is a whole new development. I don't know if it's a cognitive thing or an attachment thing or she's channelling Carter's spirit, but it's definitely a brand new thing.

I loves you, mutt-mutt.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Albert the Optimist

Albert is one of Tinky-Winky's habitual victims. He brings it on himself.

We first met Albert in the winter of 2010-11. He was a puppy and had been dumped at the pound, and taken home by a pound volunteer so he wouldn't freeze to death. (Due to financial constraints, the pound / SPCA does not have an indoor kennel.) So Albert was walking with his foster people, off leash. Albert is always off-leash, even during the Bylaw Guy's work hours.

Albert looks like some sort of small retriever, black with a white chest. He's quite cute. And he's always been extremely enthusiastic about Tinky-Winky. The first time we met him, when he was tiny, he ran up to us, stuck his nose in Tinky-Winky's face, and got a licking.

The second time we met Albert, he ran up to us, stuck his nose in Tinky-Winky's face, and got a licking.

The third time we met Albert, he ran up to us, stuck his nose in Tinky-Winky's face, and got a licking.

Now that he's about two years old, Albert is taller than Tinky-Winky. He still runs up to us every time he sees us, sticks his nose in Tinky-Winky's face, and gets a licking. His people always recognise her and try to warn him, but he never listens. And no matter how many times he gets a licking, he's still delighted to see her, every single time.

It's too bad people aren't more like dogs.

Sunday, May 20, 2012

A shiba is a good walk spoiled

I'm sick, and I'm tired of being surrounded by morons. But I woke up this morning around seven, and it was a gorgeous morning, and I thought The Creature and I would have a lovely off-leash walk.


On the way to the off-leashing point, we passed some garbage she wanted to eat. So as soon as the leash came off, she doubled back with all speed to find it. I followed her. She ran. I followed her again. She ran. And of course, being a dog, she has to go behind all the buildings, where all the garbage is likely to pile up. So instead of a lovely morning walk in the woods, I wasted twenty minutes following this little douchebag dog behind all the buildings downtown.

It's bad enough having to deal with idiot humans. At least I can shut them out of my house. But it really gets to me sometimes having to put up with such a disagreeable creature as my dog.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Shiba: 2, autism: 0

On Saturday, my little autistic buddies slept at my house, so that their mother could sleep in on Mothers' Day. I have a twin bed and a queen-size hide-a-bed, so I put the kids in the hide-a-bed and myself as usual in the twin bed. With the dog.

Naturally, the dog took the middle of the bed. As always.

After maybe ten minutes, one of the kids crawled into my bed. I figured I'd let him stay, so he'd fall asleep faster. Good thing he's small and can work himself into the very small amount of space left by Her Majesty.

After another ten minutes, the second kid crawled into my bed too. And actually found some space left over at the foot of the bed.


At this point, only The Creature was still in her original, comfortable configuration. So I put both the kids back in the hide-a-bed and went to sleep with them. And the dog remained master of the field.

See, even TWO autistic kids can't win against the orneriness of a shiba.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Tinky-Winky vs. the pigs' ears

Carter's human brought us some pigs' ear strips to thank us for housesitting. That's nice.

Now as you may recall if you're a big fan of Her Majesty (and who isn't?), she and I previously had words over a bag of pigs' ears that she refused to eat. I put them by the garbage for later disposal, but then she was cross with me, and so she stole the bag, ripped it open, and ate some of the pigs' ears, all the while giving me dirty looks. So I put them back by the garbage, and every time she'd get pissy, she'd break into them and eat some more. And every time she gets this "what you gonna do about it?" look on her face.

That was a long time ago, and pigs' ears are not readily available in this town, so there hadn't been a recurrence. So when Carter's human gave me this bag, I simply put it, unopened, on Her Majesty's stash of chews. Sure enough, she found the bag, slew it, and ate a whole bunch. Thus leaving crunchy bits of pigs' ears all over the freshly-Dysoned carpet. Of course.

As much as I admire people whose dogs obey such fancy commands as "go lie down on the mat" or "come", I love my precious just as she is.

Saturday, April 28, 2012

You know what I've noticed?

Tinky-Winky doesn't know how to make puppy-dog eyes.

I'm serious.

Right now we're housesitting Carter again, and he's giving me puppy-dog eyes as I type. Who knows why. Otis gives me puppy-dog eyes. Dexter, Freddy and Baron make puppy-dog eyes.

Tinky-Winky? Never. I don't think I've ever seen her make puppy-dog eyes. If she wants something, she gives the Command Bark and expects things done. She doesn't believe in having to ask twice. And she always looks wide-awake, with a big smile. There is no doubt in her little one-track mind that I will immediately do whatever it is she wants. As she gets older and more cuddly, she's getting into the habit of whining for attention, but even when she's whining, her facial expression is nowhere near "puppy-dog eyes."

I guess begging isn't really a notion she understands. How very like her.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Waiting for Godot

When it's nice, Her Majesty sits on the balcony. Then she can't hear me open the door, so she just keeps waiting for me.

How to find the centre of a rectangle

The easy way:

Intersection of the diagonals.

The hard way:

Plan to sleep on it. Then put a shiba in a corner. The shiba will find the centre for you.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Saturday, March 24, 2012

How sexy is this dude?

This isn't my next dog, obviously. I'm pretty sure he belongs to someone already. But he sure reinforces my interest in borzois as possible next dog.

Pet your dog thin?

I was reading this book about addictions, and I learned some things. As you may or may not know, the brain, human or otherwise, secretes a variety of hormones to make us feel good or bad. I call the good ones "brain rewards". I knew this already. I didn't know that one of the brain rewards is oxytocin. One thing it does is induce labour, but also, it's a brain reward related to attachment activities, and an analgesic. And the important thing here is, attachment.

So that is to say, oxytocin is a brain reward that you get from interacting with other creatures.

What does that have to do with addictions? Addictions are a way to give ourselves brain rewards when we're not getting them through normal processes. Which is why people who say they eat to make themselves feel better aren't actually lying; they're just not creative about giving themselves brain rewards. So they eat, and get a brain reward related to eating. But that doesn't exactly replace the brain reward they're missing, so they keep eating.

Likewise with dogs.

Do I have a point? I do. Tinky-Winky and I are dog-sitting Carter again. Carter... Oh wait, I forgot to post my other post, so you don't know the back story. Anyway, Carter overeats. I explained that in the post I forgot to post. When he wants a brain reward, he eats. When he has no food, he asks his person for food, and she gives it to him.

Not me. When Carter whines, I pet him. Or I brush him. He loves being brushed. When I stop brushing him, he goes to sleep. Without having eaten.


My theory is, Carter cries because he needs a brain reward, not a food reward. If I pet him or brush him, he gets a brain reward, therefore he doesn't eat. Therefore he doesn't get fat.

On the other hand, it's also possible that he doesn't eat when I dogsit him because he misses his own humans. But I like my theory.

Doesn't matter anyway. Petting your dog lowers blood pressure for both you and the dog, and fills some time that you both would normally spend stuffing your faces.

You know what else? If you walk your dog, he gets exercise, therefore he's less stressed and difficult - and also less fat. Also you are less stressed and difficult, and also less fat.

Funny how doing the right thing for your dog also happens to be the right thing for you. Oh wait... Yes, that's easily explained by 12,000 years of living in packs together. Or maybe we formed packs together because we need the same things. Either way, spend more time petting, brushing and walking your dog. It's good for both of you. And besides, why would you get a dog if you're not gonna pet, brush and walk him?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Pwnage: you're doing it wrong

Tinky-Winky and I went house-sitting last weekend. Technically we were "sitting" the dog, Carter, who is Tinky-Winky's oldest, dearest "friend". They've known each other since... almost since I first got Tinky-Winky in September 2005. The way they met is that my ex and Carter's owner's ex were friends. Carter's owner and I didn't even meet until 2009.

Carter is a nine-year-old boxer. As such, he drools. A lot. Also, he farts a lot. So I decided to go to their house rather than letting him come to ours. Therefore, Her Majesty went on a progress to Carter's house, and I, her faithful servant, brought her household goods.

Being best friends forever, Carter and Tinky-Winky completely ignored each other. And yes, that shows what good friends they are. Of course we know how Her Majesty is with other dogs. She hasn't been in a fight in nearly two years now, but she does snap at the nose of any dog that doesn't grovel before her. Carter isn't as consistently and masterfully ferocious as Her Majesty was in her day, but he weighs somewhere close to 100 lbs, and has been in quite a few fisticuffs. He's not a very good fighter, as far as I can tell, so he doesn't win, but he does instigate. So, having the two in the same house, ignoring each other completely, for 48 hours, shows that they're very dear friends, or possibly, that I'm the next Dog Whisperer.

The first evening, each dog lay on Her or his own bed. At bedtime, I put Her Majesty's bed next to the owner's bed, which is immensely wide and high. Her Majesty can't, or won't try, to jump that high, so I figured she'd sleep on her bed, and Carter would do... whatever. I didn't think he was allowed on the bed.


Carter jumped up on the bed and tried to sit on me. Did I mention he's close to 100 lbs? I can control him on the leash, but I couldn't wrestle him off the bed, so I picked up Her Majesty and put her near me. At this point they had words, because if there is one thing Her Majesty absolutely will not suffer, it's another dog being closer to me than she is. So Carter backed off a few inches, and then all three of us had a nice pleasant night's sleep.

The second day, Her Majesty took over Carter's dog bed. Carter didn't say anything, but lay miserably on the floor. Also, Carter got unwell. He hardly ate all day. Seeing as he is on a diet and supposed to eat only two scoops a day, I thought I'd outwit him and give him a half-scoop four times a day, so I could feed him when he asked yet not over-feed him. But he didn't even eat what I gave him. He did drink a lot, though, with the obvious result that he loosened his bowel considerably and spent the evening pissing like a racehorse - the first time, unfortunately, in the house; the next six outside. After that he wasn't feeling all that cuddly, so he slept on the floor the second night, and Her Majesty and I had the bed to ourselves.

The third day, Carter decided to get cocky, thusly:


He's lying on Her Majesty's bed.

Amazingly, Tinky-Winky let him, and didn't even object to his smell being on it afterwards. Even though she won't even drink from the same dish he does, on account of the drooling. Still, Carter seems less than thrilled with this new bed. Maybe because he can't even fit completely on it, let alone sprawl out.

So the moral is twofold: first, nobody pwns Her Majesty; and second, if I get a borzoi, I'll need a much bigger dog bed.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Don't get a dog

And you thought I was crazy...

I have a long weekend of nothing going on, and I'm housesitting in a house with internet, so I'm looking at pictures of borzois. For example:

The dog is Kenai's Flight of Fantasy, at Kenai Borzoi. But the really important thing about this photo is, apparently I'm not the craziest dog-lady out there. At least my dog doesn't have a fancy leopard-print Recamier chair. (Yet.)

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Next dog, schmext dog

Yes, I'm still obsessing about that. I hope to continue obsessing about it for many years yet.

I had previously considered the shar pei as a possible next dog. The main advantage of a shar pei is, people won't want to pet it. The main drawback of a shar pei is, neither do I.


And then I thought, what about a borzoi? People might want to pet a borzoi, but that's ok, because it can run away like the wind.

Hmmmm... Maybe "I don't want people petting my dog" is not the best criterion for picking a dog breed. Still, I'd like people, and in particular little girls, to leave my dog alone when we're having a walk. And mind you, my main criterion for picking a new car two years ago was "I want to be able to lie down full length in it." After all, a dog is a dog, and a car is a car. The difference is really just in the details.

Well, anyway.

Pros of a borzoi: it's essentially a greyhound. Therefore it's a sprinting dog more than a long-haul dog, like say, a husky. So I could probably stick to much the same walks as Tinky-Winky, and then I can get one of those fast remote-controlled car, and let the dog chase it on the school track. Greyhounds are actually very quiet in the house, as long as they get out enough. So that would be nice. Also I've met borzois before and they don't stink or drool. Also, it's beautiful, very good in cold weather, and not into strangers. My dog is MY best friend, not anyone else's. And last but perhaps not least, I always wanted a large dog, but the bigger the dog, the more it costs to feed; a borzoi, being very light for its height, mitigates this problem.

Cons of a borzoi: might not be easy to find, and will cost a fortune to ship up here. A lot harder to find roommates that will accept a borzoi than a shiba. It will eat three to five times as much as Her Majesty. And since I have never seen one in Hay River yet, I suppose people will want to stop and talk about it.

Ok. So the borzoi option seemed attractive. But then, after last week's eight-kilometer walk with my little autistic friend, I thought a schnauzer might be a better idea. Not that a borzoi can't walk eight kilometers, but a schnauzer is more of an endurance dog.


Pros of a schnauzer: handsome; endurance dog; comes in three sizes, from 12" to 28"; herding and police dog, and therefore will work better with the kids.

Now you might say, shnauzers are difficult and not known as service dogs. But that's what you think. In Germany, they do work as police and military dogs. That's exactly why they can be difficult, in fact. All the highly intelligent dogs get difficult if they're not getting enough mental exercise. And while it's not commonly used as a service dog here, that doesn't mean it can't. So what if golden retrievers get all the credit? Most of them are as smart as a sack of doorknobs; the good ones become service dogs because they're tractable, that's all. But when you think about it, being tractable isn't necessarily a quality in working with an autistic kid. Autistic kids can be infinitely stubborn. (Or "focused" as I like to call it.) A dog that just does whatever the kid wants is no help to me; I need a dog who can out-stubborn the kid. In fact, if I'm gonna get a dog to help with the kid, I definitely want a herding dog, so it can outrun the kid and bring it back my way. If you can herd a cow, you can herd a kid. Hauling ducks is nice, but you can't do that with a kid.

Cons of a schnauzer: "handsome" isn't the same as pretty; hard to find; and not the dog I'd pick for myself. If I get a schnauzer for the kid, and then my life changes again and the kid is no longer a part of it, then I still have a schnauzer, for no apparent reason.

Obivously this dilemma is irrelevant just now, but the choice between a borzoi and a schnauzer could be summarised thusly: the borzoi is good for me, but not so good for the kid; the schnauzer is good for the kid, but not so good for me.

And then I think, if I'm looking at big dogs, why not a Belgian shepherd? I always wanted a Malinois. They're awesome. Then I remember that I can't get a Malinois because they've got way too much drive for me. Just because you love a breed, doesn't mean it wants to live with you. Sigh...

Then again, there are also some sporting dogs I rather like. Brittany, Nova Scotia duck tolling retriever, Gordon setter, English cocker spaniel, English springer spaniel, Welsh springer spaniel. And of course there is always the Icelandic sheepdog or the Norwegian buhund, both of them not in the book of breeds I borrowed from the library. Books of breeds are becoming lamer and lamer, if you ask me. And as sheepdogs go, there's also the Australian shepherd. And the Bernese mountain dog (my grandmother had one) and the greater Swiss mountain dogs are handsome, helpful, and strong enough to drag the kid home if need be; but I'd need eight times the food budget and a much larger apartment.

Or I could just get another shiba.

So, I guess I got it narrowed down to 17 breeds. Good thing it's not urgent.

The ten-dog race, again

Friday, March 2, 2012

I don't like the look of this

The front door of our building is metal to about halfway up, and then glass. As Tinky-Winky and I were heading out on our evening stroll today, I saw there was a young girl outside the door. I would guess about twelve years old. And when she saw us, she started moving in a way that suggested, to me at least, that she was handling a dog. I figured, probably a yorkie or something rat-like and killable like that; so I picked up Her Majesty and carried on.


When I opened the door, all I could see was a blur of brindled hide. I got the impression that it was a pitbull, from its colour, but it was so in my face, I never got a good look. And more than that, it was trying to get in Her Majesty's face. Tinky-Winky seemed cowed at first, but then, I got the impression it nipped her, and she started snarling and barking furiously.

Meanwhile, I was trying to push the dog away from me and down, as it was trying to stand up against me. Less relevantly, the girl was yanking on its chain and begging it to obey her. As if that would do anything. And I was trying to manage the dog with one hand, since I had Tinky-Winky under the other arm, and talk to all three so as to calm Tinky-Winky, control the dog, and prevent the kid from freaking out.

Finally I pushed the creature far enough off me that I could walk past it, and let it and the girl get through the door and into the lobby. Thinking that was that, I turned my back on them and put Tinky-Winky back down. Immediately the dog actually pushed its way out the closing door again to try to come at us. WTF???

I shoved him back and forced the door shut in his face until it locked.


Ok, so that was NOT cool. I still think, looking at my stored mental image of it, that it has the physique of a pitbull, but taller. It's a tan colour with brindling and four white feet. Quite handsome, actually, but it's the most aggressive large dog I've ever seen. Tinky-Winky was significantly worse when I got her, but as I always say, had she been a large dog, she'd have been put down early on. The only reason she wasn't a serious danger is because she's small and easy to overpower. This creature is less aggressive in that he didn't attack with lightning speed and single-minded purpose like she used to. On the other hand, it had absolutely no respect for me. If you're one of those people who "don't believe in dominance", then you wouldn't know what I'm talking, but I'm the dominant bitch. Dogs give me respect. Come to think of it, "respect" is another word for "dominance". If you don't want to think of it as being "dominant" to your dog, think of it as "respect" and the obvious fact that your dog has none for you. Hey, if you don't believe in it, why would anyone give you any?

Well, the dominance thing isn't the point here. The point is, dogs give me respect. I rarely have to put my hands on them to get my space respected, let alone apply force. And being a construction worker, I can apply more force than most women. So if this dog won't back down and I can't overpower it, that's rather alarming. And the fact that its owner lets it walk around with a little girl who has absolutely no power over it is very alarming.

When you think about it, there seems to be an alarming amount of interest in pitbulls in this town lately. And all of them, as far as I can tell, are in the wrong hands.


Sunday, February 26, 2012

Shiba: 1, autism: 0

As you may know, I currently have the good fortune of having two young people with autism in my life. They're awesome. Which is not to say autism is awesome, because it sucks for them. But for me, these two are way more fun than the average two nine-year-old kids.

One of them has apparently infinite energy and determination, but significant impairment in language, and not much obedience to authority. This makes most people think he's "difficult".


Today I decided to take this little dude (we'll call him "Mr. T") and Tinky-Winky for a walk. I had tried to borrow a bigger dog, thinking the kid would have more energy than Her Majesty, but apparently, I don't know anyone who wants their dog walked. Whatever. So Tinky-Winky, Mr. T and I set off for a walk along the Kiwanis Trail. I let her off the leash, as we haven't had a good off-leash in some time. And Mr. T, obviously, was not on a leash to begin with.


Initially, Her Majesty was full of energy and ran off in all directions, and I kept having to call her and call her. Mr. T, on the other hand, stayed close to me. From time to time he chased the dog, or I chased him, and she chased one or the other of us. A good time was had by all. When we got to the ice crossing, however, Mr. T decided to go across. Her Majesty followed him enthusiastically. I tried to recall them, individually and severally, and they would have none of it. Then they took off together into the deep snow where I can't follow them. For a dog who doesn't like little kids and a kid who is allegedly scared of dogs, they hit it off extremely well. I guess Her Majesty found a kindred spirit.

After this part, I was still hoping to get things under control, when Mr. T decided to walk all the way to the store on the Reserve, and Her Majesty decided first that she wanted to go home, then that she'd rather go with the kid. Argh! The Reserve is full of lose dogs, we're gonna get our clocks cleaned!

Luckily, Tinky-Winky being after all 12 years old and out of walking shape because it's winter, I was able to catch up with her and leash up. Now the thing is, the leash always makes her walk slower, and meanwhile, Mr. T was still making for the store.


So I had to carry Her Majesty a few times as she got more and more tired. And the kid started slowing down as well, so I asked him a few times "go back?" and he said very firmly "no go back."


Finally we got to the store, he picked a snack, I paid for it, and we started on the long way home. 4 km. Great... He sat down a few times to rest, but didn't complain. Luckily I had my cell phone with me, so I figured when he gave up walking, I'd call a cab, rather than try to carry a 70-lb kid home. But, he kept moving. We got to the river and I figured we'd walk back along the track that's been cleared for the upcoming dog races, but no, Mr. T evidently had a clear mental image of how he came, and he was retracing his steps in the opposite direction, without hesitation. And strangely, even though he was behind me and Tinky-Winky was ahead of me, she started to veer to the right the same time he did. By then I was following a snowmachine track and couldn't deviate from it, because I'm too heavy, whereas the kid was walking fairly easily on top of the snow. We got quite a ways apart, but when he got to a good spot to sit down, he did so, and waited calmly for me.

So we kept on walking and walking and walking. The dog was dragging along and I had to carry her from time to time. The kid was starting to lean on me and sit down more and more often, but still didn't complain. Of course he doesn't talk very much, but when he isn't happy, he makes it very clear. But no, he just kept on walking and walking. We were only about 500 m (about 0.3 miles) from the car when he finally spelled "T-I-R-E-D" in the snow with his finger.


On the one hand, it's cool that he was able to identify how he felt physically, he decided to communicate that to me, and he did so effectively, because those are three things that are separately difficult for autists, let alone doing all three at ones. It's also very cool that he walked 7.5 km before he got tired enough to say something. So I told him yes, me too, I'm tired, but we're almost at the car now. So he got up again and kept on going, and recognising that indeed we were close to the car, he actually started running again.

So the moral is two-fold. Or... no, at least four-fold. First of all, this is exactly the right kid for me. Too bad he's already spoken for. Second, we really need a bigger dog, because Tinky-Winky is clearly too old to keep up with Mr. T.

Third and most important, it's actually easier to walk a kid with autism than a shiba. Seriously. The kid listened to me more and didn't have to be carried. He didn't run madly off in all directions, pee on everything, eat garbage off the ground, or snarl menacingly at other dogs. Except for his unlimited endurance, he's much easier to walk than my shiba, who is actually rather easy, for a shiba.

And thus to the fourth moral of this story: if you can't handle an autistic kid, don't get a shiba. You may think you're the new Dog Whisperer or that you're even smarter than the actual Dog Whisperer, but if you can't handle autism, a shiba is way beyond you.

Monday, January 23, 2012

Single-bed dilemma... or not

For years, I have wished to go back to sleeping in a single bed. When Tinky-Winky and I moved into our furnished apartment, I asked the landlady if I could have a single bed, but they had none. So for the last four years, I have been sleeping on the hide-a-bed, and Her Majesty favours me with her company... when she feels like it. But now, by coincidence, the landlady had two single beds on hand when I was getting ready for the quasi-foster child, and I borrowed one. Thus I now have a single bed in my house, and I intend to keep it, in case more children come over, and because I always wanted one.

The advantages of the single bed seemed too numerous to count. First of all, I won't have to make the bed every night and put it away every morning, so I won't spend so much energy just on getting in and out of bed. And when I have insomnia, I'll be able to get up, sit on the couch for a while, and go back to bed when I'm sleepy. The apartment looks much more welcoming now, in my opinion, and at night my bed doesn't take up the entire place. And I can have a nightstand with a lamp and other nightstand-ish things on it, which wasn't practical with the hide-a-bed. It seemed perfect...

and then it hit me: where is Her Majesty going to sleep?

Oh no!

Well, obviously she can keep sleeping on her bed, which is her favourite anyway. Or she can sleep on the couch, which she likes too. In fact, I don't think she really likes to sleep on my bed, even though lately she's been doing it of her own free will a lot. So maybe it wouldn't matter to her, but it matters to me. She's my dog and I like having her on my bed.

Accordingly, last night I went to bed in the single bed for the first time. Tinky-Winky considered the situation and decided to jump up on the couch, where her blanky was. So I got up, picked her up, and put her on my single bed.


she plonked herself down and went to sleep. No trouble whatsoever.

So, apparently I was worried about nothing. I can have a single bed and have my dog sleep on the bed.

Of course the downside is that she takes up most of the bed and I'm not quite sure where I am supposed to sleep, but that's really just a detail. As long as Her Majesty is happy, all is well.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Things that are poisonous

An anonymous reader commented that grapes are poisonous to dogs. Hmmmmm... Good to know. So for my own information, I googled what else is poisonous to dogs, thusly. But for those who don't want to read the article, here is a short version:

Alcoholic Beverages
Apple Seeds
Apricot Pits
Cherry Pits
Candy containing the sweetener Xylitol
Macadamia Nuts
Moldy Foods
Mustard Seeds
Onions and Onion Powder
Peach Pits
Potato Leaves and Stems
Rhubarb Leaves
Tomato Leaves and Stems
Yeast Dough

It should also have tobacco. And if you think people don't give their pets tobacco, my uncle had a sheep who did tricks for cigarettes. He ate the cigarettes. The uncle later died of lung cancer; I'm not sure what became of the sheep.

Tinky-Winky and the foster child

Tinky-Winky and I have a little girl staying with us this week. She's not technically a foster child in that the government hasn't intervened (yet), but she kind of is in that she got dropped off with a complete stranger because none of the people who have a legal position in her life are available to take care of her. Anyway.

The thing is, little girls love Tinky-Winky, and Tinky-Winky does not like little girls. So Little Girl is always trying to play with Tinky-Winky, and Tinky-Winky is always running away from her. Most of the time I intervene, but as soon as my back is turned, like when I go have a shower, Little Girl is harassing Tinky-Winky again. Her Majesty is not amused.

Also, Little Girl doesn't really care to go for walks, and she walks really, really slow. We have to walk the dog regardless, and it's good for her since she's overweight and she insists she wants "seven big dogs". But it annoys Her Majesty. Plus today is horribly windy, so Tinky-Winky chose to come back home without pooping. Oh well. She didn't really eat last night anyway.

So, Her Majesty is out of sorts. She hasn't slept on my bed since Little Girl got here. Well, at least she hasn't slept on Little Girl's bed either. That would annoy me.

The moral of this story is, I don't think Tinky-Winky is in favour of having foster children in this house. I guess she'll be really unimpressed when the little autistic twins come sleep over. Still, I believe in putting people ahead of dogs, but this is her house and her life, not just mine. People who can't get along with her will not continue being welcome in my house. After all, she was here before them and she'll be there long after they're gone. Loyalty goes both ways.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Have you got a shar pei?

I'm not looking for another dog. Tinky-Winky is in excellent health and will be my only dog as long as she lives. But, once upon a time, I joked that when she's gone I'm gonna get a shar pei, because it looks surly and not cute at all, and it feels like petting a toothbrush; that way I'll finally be able to walk my dog without being interrupted every few years by someone who thinks it's adorable.

That being said, I've heard that shar peis smell and are prone to various ailments, particularly of the eyes. So if anyone reading this has, or had, a shar pei, I'd like to hear about your experiences with them.


Monday, January 2, 2012

So you're my best friend, eh?

From time to time, I start to worry that Tinky-Winky is going deaf. So to test it, I call her.

Yesterday, I tried calling her several times. Outside the house. Inside the house. When she was busy. When she was not busy. When she was alert and when she was bored.


She never once turned her head to look at me.

Oh no! My dog is deaf! Whatever shall I do?

Oh well. Being dinner time, I took some cheese out of the fridge.

Immediately, the dog came galloping from the other end of the house. Deaf, eh? She's not the least bit deaf. She can hear cheese for miles. Turns out she was just ignoring me the whole day.


At bedtime, it had gotten quite cold, so I put my heating pad under the sheets to warm up my spot before bed. Then I went to brush my teeth and so on.

When I came back, the dog was lying on the bed... right on top of my heating pad.


Frankly, if this is my best friend, I'm glad I don't have very many friends. Or to draw a less cynical conclusion, she's lucky she's a dog, because as a human she'd be a real bitch. Then again, "cynical" comes from the Greek "kunos" meaning "dog", so many cynicism is the best way to look at it.

Oh well. I still love you, bitchy-witchy. (Yes, that is actually one of the nicknames I call her.)