Monday, December 18, 2006

I've been Christmas tagged

I'm a little late in the game. I've had trouble getting computer time what with the puppy and all. My person just isn't getting on as much. That should soon pass, so we just have to be patient.

For Christmas tag, you say three things you want and three things you don't. Here are mine

Things I'd really like
1. I'd like at least three solo fetch sessions a day (right now, I often have to share with Rafe and he steals all the tennis balls)
2. More chest rubs sitting next to my person on the couch

3. For my favorite person, Moni, to visit me every day

Things I'd not like
1. Another new kitty2. Any kind of grooming or baths
3. For my person to keep trying to teach me to "roll over"

I tag Cubby, Pappy, Max, Ayatollah Mugsy and Chester

The Rules: The player of this game starts with "3 things he/ she would love to get for Christmas" and also has to list "3 things he/ she definitely does not want to get for Christmas". Then he/she tags 5 friends and list their names. The ones who get tagged need to write on their blogs about their Christmas wishes, as well as state this rule clearly, then tag 5 more victims. And the one who tags need to leave a comment that says "you've been Christmas tagged!" in their comments and tell them to read your blog.

A note on our puppy: Copper asked what kind of puppy he is and if he'll look like the rest of us. He's a little Border Collie and he will look a little bit like all of us (except for Renzo). He'll be speckly, black and white like Tansy and me; his ears will probably stand up like Hamish's; and he'll have a smooth coat like Rafe. Just like all of us, he has a white tip on his tail and his tail curls under like a shepherd's crook (little known Border Collie fact--when Border Collies are working, we hold our tails down, very close to our bodies, but when we play, we hold them up. There are some YouTube videos of Border Collies "herding", but you can tell they are really playing because their tail is up instead of down). He already has started to do the typical Border Collie crouch and stare that we use to make the sheep listen to us. He's been using it on the dastardly cat.

That picture up there is our holiday picture--we also used it to apply to the HULA hoop.

Friday, December 15, 2006

Puppy thoughts and other matters of importance

Hi friends,

It's me, Pippin, writing from my crate. Now that the secret is out about our new pack member, I have been able to safely return to the sanctity of my safe space. And none too soon. This very morning, as I was called to go for my morning walk, I carefully looked left and right to make sure that the scary Fox-kitty was not in the hallway. I really don't wish to rock any boats. I even took the alternative route to the front door--it's a longer route, but hey, if it means not confronting the cat, then no expense is too great. Do you know what happened. The scoundrel ambushed me again--leaping down from the piano and chasing me. I think war is on. Not at all helped by the fact that the cat has allegiances with all the other dogs in the house already--including the 7-week old puppy, with whom he plays and plays. Why, oh why, am I the only one who can see through his tricks? Sigh.

Kyzer, the new puppy packmate, is kind of boring. He mostly sleeps, eats, wrestles with the dastardly cat and pees. And pees. And pees. My people had completely forgotten how much a puppy pees. It's like every hour on the hour. Here's a very sweet picture of him sleeping in my person's arm. Doesn't he kind of look like a little Thumbelina? He's all curled up. That's Hamish's head trying to get a sniff of him. Today, Kyzer seems to be noticing that we big dogs will play with him. Up to now, he's mostly just interacted with his toys, our people and that cat. I've done several play bows and spins to try and entice him, but so far no luck. But he did bow at Hamish this morning outside. He got a bit overwhelmed when Hamish started to play with him, though--Hamish is a pretty rough fellow, but I think in time, he should have fun. Rafe, the oaf-puppy, is being a surprisingly outstanding older pack mate, even though he's hardly more than a puppy himself. He's only stolen Kyzer's stuff a couple of times.

The other big even in the house is the people's testosterone reduction program that has been on-going. As I think Hamish mentioned in a previous guest blog, Rafe left one day and then came back without his testicles. Boy, were Tansy and I overjoyed at that. Even though it takes a few weeks for the flow to really stop, we knew that we were on the downward slope with him finally. Little did we know that Hamish was scheduled for the snip-snip too. He got a brief reprieve so that he could finish his agility class, but lo and behold, on Monday he went away and he didn't come back until Tuesday. And since then, he's had to wear this contraption which is supposed to keep him from licking--poor guy can't do any normal grooming at all. His "procedure" was a bit more involved than Rafe's since Hamish was a "monorchid" (I'll let you look it up--I had to), so instead of surgical glue, he had to get stitches and be shaved and all of that. He doesn't seem too worse for the wear and that thing the vet said about no exercise except leash walks--well, you can imagine how that's been going. My person is trying hard to at least keep him from leaping on things. Poor guy doesn't know it yet, but he won't get to go herding on Saturday (or the next Saturday either)--talk about adding insult to injury.

Well, I've gone on long enough. I'll end with this very cute picture of Kyzer--he doesn't only sleep, eat, pee and forge alliances with the cat. He's also pretty darn cute almost all of the time.












Sunday, December 10, 2006

Our newest recruit

Hi everyone,

We are proud to join Hershey and FuFu (and we are sure many others who are waiting in the ranks) as honorary Huskies in the fight to take over the world from the people (or, maybe, we should say take back the world by overthrowing these human interlopers who keep just screwing things up and leaving huge messes for us to clean up afterwards)

We in the pack are just elated over our induction into HULA (the Husky United Liberation Army) and we are honored to stand up with Meeshka and her band of Sibes in such a noble cause.

Of course, we are not Huskies, but we believe that it isn't necessarily the breed that matters, but the heart of the dogs and the dedication to thwarting people when they have stupid ideas. We have joined as a brigade, meaning that we can be mobilized as an entire unit. We are fleet of foot and quick on the spin, so we look forward to our marching orders from Meeshka, the soon to be queen, to whom we have pledged allegiance.

And, we already have a new recruit to the commando. Everydog, meet Kyzer, our 7-week old private straight off the farm--a.k.a our people's secret.

We have lots to teach him yet (but first he'll have to stay awake for more than 10 minutes at a time), but he seems like a quick learner. We explained to him right away how the people get really cranky if they haven't had enough sleep, so on his first night here, he slept through for almost six hours before his little bladder said "I can wait no longer." He's also already figured out that the little fences the people have up around their flower gardens are meant as guideposts into the garden rather than as the deterrents the people think they are.

I have to be honest and say that I wasn't all that excited when Rafe finally told the rest of us what he'd learned at herding camp. At that point, we knew that a young dog was on its way. But, now that he's here, I have to say that I kind of like the little buckaroo. Reminds me of back when the people brought home my goofy little brother Hamish and I adopted him as mine right away. Kyzer isn't quite the same, but I've still already been showing him some play bows to make him feel welcom

Plus, Fox, our new kitty, doesn't seem to like him much--score one for the puppy!

Friday, December 08, 2006

Report from the field II (Guest Blog)


Hey Dogs

Rafe here. Miss Pippin is resting in her crate. Thought I'd get a word in. Herding camp was good, been back a few weeks. Got my "lie down" and "that'll do". Met a nice black-and-white gal named Daisy. Played with Jack who was also at camp. That's him in the picture. Says he's related to Hamish, don't know about that. Missed my pack. Missed chasing tennis balls. Hey Pappy, don't go cold turkey unless you have sheep around.

My people say I lost something recently, don't know what. I know I feel faster, more air-o-dynamic. So I think I gained something, not lost. Hmm.

Oh. Our pack knows something's up here. Has something to do with sheep herding. I told you I was at herding camp. My instructor's best trial dog was fixing to have pups soon. So I've been thinking. Maybe I'll talk with the pack.

Keep your barks short and sweet,
Rafe

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Another piece of the mystery unveiled

Oh. Mi. Dog.

The people pulled a crate from storage in the basement--a crate. As in a dog crate. As in another dog. As in what on earth are they thinking. It's a small crate, too. Maybe it's another cat. Maybe it's a chihuahua. Renzo has whispered with great worry the possibility of a youngster, but the rest of us told him he was nuts. Why would the people get a youngster when Hamish and Rafe are finally turning into normal dogs. No, it's a terrier or a cat. I'm sure of it.

They are going to the Pet-Mart tomorrow to buy food--when they come home, we'll know for sure. The last piece of the secret. My head is spinning. Never in my wildest imagination.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

All Quiet on the Western Front

Zim asked in a comment on Hamish's guest blog whether or not I had the questionable kitty in my crate with me. I'm here to report that it is not said kitty with me in the crate but rather one of his toys, which I brought to my crate for thorough investigation for signs of spying, enemy action or other nefarious deeds. I also brought some of the people's jeans (seen in the bottom right corner) for sustenance (since they ALWAYS have treat remnants in their pockets).

I am still up in the air on my assessment of Fox. He seems to get along well with the other dogs in the pack and plays all the time with Rafe and Hamish. Of course, they are not nearly as skilled at recognizing the signs of evil and wrong-doing as I am, so they take his boxing of their ears as play rather than as an attempt to implant tracking devices into their brains. They also assume that his hiding around corners and leaping out unexpectedly is a sign that he's their friend. I know from long experience that this can be used as a ploy by cats to lull unsuspecting dogs into certain danger.

Although the older dogs, Renzo and Tansy, seem unconcerned about Fox, I shot the photo below while wearing night goggles. You can see quite clearly that he is attempting to get into our food bags while the people are not there to supervise (which always seems to be the case with the stupid people--just when the potential for hazard is greatest, they go off to watch football or something).
I have decided that occasional, cautious forays out of the crate are safe, however. I am always careful to look high and low to locate Fox before settling for chewing a bone or giving Rafe a much needed lesson. If Fox so much as moves toward me, I hightail it back to the crate with a couple loud barks telling him to stay far away from me as I'm not susceptible to his charms.

It is important, however, that I make such moves since it is now only four days before the revelation of the people's big secret. I'm not sure at this point that we are going to be successful at ferreting it out beforehand, though believe me, it has not been for lack of trying. All dogs have been working tirelessly, but the people are just too cunning on this one. We are pretty sure that the secret involves an animate, possibly sentient, being since the people have been talking about warding off the cold once the furniture is moved.

Here are the most recent clues
1. Renzo overheard them say something about charging the camcorder batteries before Saturday.

2. Tansy caught the following snippet from an e-mail message "....noon...all going at once...easier that way."

3. Hamish and Rafe noted definite differences in the people's play bows, snuggles and tone of voice, indicating increased attention to obedience training for the two of them.

4. Finally, at my agility class last night, my person spoke for some time with the agility instructor, who kept looking at me and smiling.

Whatever does it all mean???

Friday, December 01, 2006

Report from the field (Guest Blog)

From the desk of Lt. Hamish Braeburn Moy


Hamish here reporting on recent events from the field.

Pippin has been directing operations from her crate as she trys to decide if our new kitty, Fox, is potentially a dangerous spy or possibly an enemy combative. Only a few days ago, Fox hid around the corner in the hallway and leapt out at Pippin as she meandered by. This caused her great alarm, and she immediately took to the crate to insure her own safety while she conducts the important mission of discovering the people's secret.

She only comes out to eat, to do her business and to humor the people with tug playing and butt scritching. (This is an important component in lulling them into believing we are not working to crack their secret, so even though it's perilous, she's a soldier for the cause.) She now has the added task of trying to figure out what Fox's intentions are. She's already a little worried that he's turning some of the troops, particularly the more established regiments, against her.
So, she asked me to report on our two important discoveries. While pretending to give kisses, I was able to sneak a glance at the piece of paper with the strange words on it. The people have since removed it, but we saw these words: kyzer (circled) zeki and something that looked like osk--but the people got the paper away before I could decipher it all.

We thought we'd figured it all out when Rafe disappeared for the whole day on Monday and returned in the evening without his testicles. We decided that the secret was really a holiday surprise for Tansy and Pippin and that the strange words were a decoy. Except on Tuesday, the people were still talking about moving furniture and saying things like "only one more week" and "it's kind of exciting."

Then, we thought we had cracked the secret when we saw the people ordering a new range on-line. We figured that they had decided to make sure Pippin couldn't burn the house down anymore. We were not sure how our herding instructor came into the picture, but thought that perhaps she had advised them on a reasonable option for us and our house and again assumed that the strange words were meant to lead us off the real trail.

Alas, we realized last night that we were mistaken and that the secret is still, well, secret. The people were talking about the range right in front of us and we heard them say that they were getting a new one because the old one is broken (that's why Pippin almost burned the house down). Then they said that it was coming on Monday--which is Dec. 4 and we know that the critical date is Dec. 9. Then, they asked Tansy how she was going to do with the changes.

This was quite perplexing to all of us and Tansy could shed no light on what they were talking about--although in her worry and concern, she did bark, bark, bark at Rafe all evening long--thinking that maybe he could tell her what was up.

Of course he couldn't as he is still recovering from losing his testicles and is kind of clueless on the whole secret thing anyway. He's the guy you want to call if you need some brute strength, but he's really not ready for true intelligence missions.

So, friends, we are left still searching for the answer. Whatever it is, it seems like something kind of big.

Pippin said to tell you that she'd post soon. She just has to wait for a point when that scary kitty is in the basement so that she can compose a proper message without having to watch her back.

Over and out
Lt. H.B. Moy

Friday, November 24, 2006

Things I'm thankful for

Yesterday, my people took Hamish and Rafe and were gone all day long. Our pet sitter came to play with us, and my favorite person in the entire universe, our neighbor Moni, came over too. But Tansy, Renzo, the kitties and I still missed our people. In the many hours I had to ponder, I came up with a list of things I'm thankful for and here they are

1. I'm thankful that my people decided that they wanted to see what it was like to train a border collie
2. I'm thankful that they got Tansy, since it meant another girl in the house AND that they decided to try sheep herding with us.
3. I'm thankful that my buddy Renzo was already here when I came to live with the people so that I didn't have to teach them everything myself
4. I'm thankful for my goofy little brother Hamish since he's my best playmate and friend
5. I'm thankful for Rafe because....well, right now I'll just be generous and be thankful that he's in the world
6. I'm thankful for the kitties because they make my people so happy
7. I'm thankful for all my fans and friends in the dog blogging community
8. I'm especially thankful to Opy and Charlie's people who do so much work for the dog blogging community and for Charlie for convincing me to keep blogging and for Opy for being an all around peach of a dog.
9. I'm thankful I haven't burned the house down or eaten anything that required surgery
10. I'm thankful for the sun when it comes out, for the snow when it falls, for the leaves when they turn colors and for the flowers when they bloom
11. I'm thankful that I get to learn flyball, agility and sheep herding and some tricks on the side
12. I'm thankful that the 2006 election is over so that the phone has stopped ringing with canned messages from candidates my people gruffed and complained about
13. I'm thankful for my walks, my toys and my good food
14. Most of all, I'm thankful for my people because they love me so much and I love them back just as hard.

Pippin the flyball dog

p.s. Update on efforts to determine the people's secret. We intercepted a phone call between the people and our herding instructor--it was hard to decipher, but we did learn that Dec. 9 is a key date. We have seen a piece of paper that seems to harbor important clues, but we haven't been able to steal it yet. Hamish is doing his best innocent, good boy impersonation to see if he can nab it. The people are talking a lot about crates and food.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

I'm a good boy

From the desk of Hamish Braeburn Moy


I'm a curious kind of fellow and I wondered what it was that my person had in front of her face. She holds these silver things there sometimes and then there are noises and flashes. The people take some real delight at whatever happens after the flashes and noises.

I was very tired last night after hard work making sure I was successfully entertaining my demanding older sister Pippin and making sure that Rafe didn't steal my things. He's like that, you know.


Pippin said in her post that I'm undercover as a good boy. I'm here to tell you that I am in truth a good boy. A very good boy. I bark sometimes and jump up and I don't like to wait my turn in agility class and last week I pee'ed in the tunnel (but only because someone else pee'ed there first), but I am a very good boy. On Saturday I worked very hard with the sheep and it was only by the sheer magnitude of my speed and smarts that the stupid sheep didn't run into the fence and mangle themselves.

Our people have some secret going on. Tonight they were talking about which furniture to move around and they had a list with words on it that they were saying out loud and discussing. The words didn't make any sense to the rest of us. We are trying to get to the bottom of what's going on, but they are really holding their cards close to their chest. However, Pippin has her army mobilized and I'm confident we'll get to the bottom of it soon.

Sincerely,

H.B. Moy

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Sunday night musings

Well, as you can see, that guest blogging thing that the other pups in my pack insisted on has not been a huge success (yet). One post from Rafe, the oaf-puppy (who my people have recently decided is very cute--I'll have to work on changing that--although truth be told, I kind of like him too), and one from my brother, Hamish (who demands to be called H.B. Moy as if he's a "professional")

There is far too much communing between kitties and pups at our house.


Up there, that's Tansy posterior to posterior with our new kitty, Fox








And there's Renzo actually sharing a bed with our fat kitty, Fritz

I think it might be time for some missions for both of them to get their minds back on the tasks involved in being a D.O.G. and not some mealy mouthed cat-lover.

The people remain too stupid to remember to keep tasty things out of their coat pockets and so I am still having to try and remind them through negative reinforcement, which involves clearing out the coat closet of all coats so that they have to put them all back up again. Whenever possible, I also chew a hole in the pockets so that they can really think about their mistakes. When they don't leave treats in their pockets, I give them kisses--positive reinforcement works, too. Of course, if I had opposable thumbs, I'd use a clicker.

As you can see, I brought several coats to our bedroom (but first I rolled around on the people's bed so that it looks a little more lived in and not so Martha. And it also helps reinforce the dominance hierarchy just in case they are confused.)

The real treasures I brought to my crate to carefully extract from the pockets (There's Hamish in his crate trying to look like a good boy--he's still in deep undercover)

We had herding practice yesterday. H.B. Moy (a.k.a. my goofy little brother Hamish) did really well as usual. He's so good at pretending to be a good boy and a suck-up that I forget sometimes that it was MY plan for him to go undercover like this so that he could be our secret weapon when we need him. At herding he outdid himself and ALL the people watching went on and on about how handsome he is, how good he is on the sheep, what a good team he and MY person are, how he's confident but not pushy, on and on and on. They didn't mention the fact that he melted down like a baby when he was supposed to move the sheep past the instructor and to my person. Something, I might add, I did with aplomb without melting down and crying for my mommy.

Tansy and the oaf-puppy also did very well--though the oaf-let is still slow as molassas and the people can't figure out why.

Today, Hamish and I went to flyball practice. Once I get the ball, I kind of mosey on back--double-stepping on some of the jumps. My person tends to think it's because I'm worried about where my feet are, but another person pointed out that it's probably because I have my ball, so what's the hurry to get back. I am truly coming to fear that my act as an unconfident pup may soon have to end as the people are getting wise....

The people watch way too much football (American-style) on TV and were kind of sad yesterday when the Michigan Wolverines lost to the Ohio State Buckeyes. All I know is that football often means frozen Kongs for us--except when it doesn't and that's when I hit the switch as I described in the Nov. 14 edition of my blog.

Finally, there is some big secret that my people have cooked up. I'm not sure what it is, but will let you know as I discover more.

Lesson for today
Some days are for pondering life's grand absurdities not for learning lessons

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Yes, I'm still among the living

It would be nice, though, if my person let you, all my fans, know that I'm alive once in a while. I hate being beholden to the opposable thumbs. Hate it. I want to speak to those in charge immediately. (I've tried this approach before--it never works--but a girl can hope).

Anyway, I have to be quick since my person is "working" (uh-huh....), but I wanted to tell everyone about my new trick I learned on Sunday. See, one of my people had been gone for days and days--we never know where she goes, but all of a sudden she's gone. We still have the other person, of course, but we are kind of a lot for only one person--even when we are trying hard to be good and not annoying (cf. Meeshka's blog). See, we don't want to throw the people into complete hysteria and have them decide to have fewer of us, so we try to be accommodating when there is only one of them around. Plus, we were being especially careful since Rafe just came back from herding camp and, even though he annoys US, we do like having the extra paws available for our missions, so the rest of us work hard to keep him from annoying THEM.

All beside the point--except to say that when my person came home she was really tired and just wanted to watch some football on TV. So, there they were watching the Bears and the Giants (and rooting for the Giants since the Bears don't really seem like all that) when POOF, off went the TV--and all the other stuff connected to it.

Why? Because I figured out how to flip the switch on the little box that everything was plugged into. Cool trick, huh? You'd think it might have met with treats and praise, right? Perhaps a stuffed Kong for all my efforts. But no, they acted like it hadn't even happened--not so much as as a laugh or a "well done". And I thought humans were a species of culture and decorum.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Things moving back to normal

Although it's been a pretty sad couple of weeks without our good friend Macchio, the love kitty, around, I think that things are slowly shifting back to a state of normal. My people haven't been quite so sad and they've been playing a lot with us and the other kitties--even the naughty Fritz.

Yesterday one of the people came home from work early--the other is working at home these days and is mostly sitting in the big red chair in the living room with a computer on a lap desk. For hours at a time. Sometimes I worry that she might be dead, but then I see those weird toes the humans have tap-tap-tapping away at this rectangle with little boxes on it, so I know she's still alive.

Normally, coming home early from work means a big, cool walk for us in one of the parks you have to drive to. I got pretty excited at the prospect. But no. The people whisked themselves away and were gone for a long time. A very long time. Longer than is really quite conscionable on a Friday evening. It was at least 2 hours.

And look who they came home with.


They haven't named him yet (his name at the shelter was "Billy") and they're keeping him secluded in one of the studies. They let the rest of us smell stuff he's been sitting on and see him through the baby gate. Fritz has been pretty relentless trying to get in the room--there is, after all, full fat food in there and a litter box. So the people put up TWO baby gates and tied the door shut (there's no latch on it, so Fritz was just pushing it open). I don't know how long they'll keep him in there, but he looks like he might be fun, so I hope not too long.

Since a new kitty came home, I decided to call off the "dogs be good" routine. While the people were on the first round of walks this morning, I opened the closet door and took out all the coats. I left four of them in the hallway floor and brought the other four into the people's bedroom. There, I carefully extracted all cheese and treat residue from all the pockets. I had one of the coats in my crate, one on the bed and the other two on the floor. The people laughed when they came home, but cleaned it all up before they could get a picture. They think that will keep Hamish from getting any ideas.

So, anyway, we're off to herding lessons in a couple of hours. My people talked to the instructor yesterday and they decided to leave Rafe at her house for another week of herding camp. Par--tay.

Lesson for the day
There's nothing like a new kitty to raise the spirits in the house

p.s. My goofy little brother Hamish said to tell his fans that he's working on a video of him herding and will post it soon. I've graciously agreed to put in on my TV channel, but only if he agrees to cease and desist with any comments about my herding (and as a bonus, I promise not to tell how he freaked out like a little baby and practically hyperventilated when the people burned the pancakes this morning)

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The sheep king (Guest Blog)

From the desk of Hamish Braeburn Moy, Esq. (in training)

My sister Pippin has been corresponding with all of you for some time. On occassion, I believe that she even mentions me, her handsome, perfect, younger (and did I mention handsome) brother. Today, she is allowing me to speak with my own voice. I am not certain what has transpired between her and the people, but the end result is that on this day you get to hear from me directly.

I also know from reading her correspondence with you that she has referred to me as "goofy." Rest assured, I have my legal team evaluating the degree of libel represented by this coupling of my name with such an adjective, but in the meantime, I also wanted to let you know, personally and from the heart, that I am anything but "goofy", as the image below most certainly attests.

In any case, the reason for today's letter is to let you know that despite what either Pippin or Rafe have to say, I am the undisputed sheep king. The instructor told me herself on Saturday (the rainy, muddy day) that I was the best. The fact that she said that Rafe was quickly catching up to me is immaterial.

I won't disrespect my elders by talking about Pippin's herding abilities. Our mother taught us that if you can't say something nice, you shouldn't say anything at all and that is a credo I try and live my life by. But, let the record show that I am the king of the sheep.

Most sincerely,
H.B. Moy

P.S. I understand that my sister Pippin is now a TV star. You can see her at Dogs with Blogs TV (if you look carefully, you can even see me in a spot or two)

(This message has been read, and after revision, approved by Pippin, the flyball dog)

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Sheep = Wet + Muddy = BATH


Thanks to everyone's words of sympathy for the loss of our kitty. We are still very sad at our house, but we are soldiering on. Me and the gang have been extra nice to the people and haven't stolen any illicit items from the counters, left mud prints on the bed or barked too much (well, except for Tansy and Hamish--but they can't help it sometimes, so we don't count them). I don't know how much longer we can be so good, but for the people, we're giving it our best shot.

Yesterday was herding day. Yesterday was also a weather trifecta--cold, windy AND rainy. Today it's still cold and windy but it's completely sunny--not a cloud in the sky. What a difference that one component makes. But, I digress.

We went out to the sheep. There we were all snugged up in our crates in the rolling living room (a.k.a. the mini-van) when one by one we were pulled from the warmth into the elements to chase around those cloven-hooved creatures. Who, it must be said, are not all that excited about a wolf in their midst. But, that's not our problem now is it? Anyway, the instructor had laid out 40 bushels of pine shavings in the round pen. The round pen is for the babies and beginners. Not for us--even though we saw our people looking longingly at the pine shaving filled round pen as they slogged through the muddy sludge. Even the horse tried to follow us from the muddy sludge pen to the slightly less muddy sludge pen, but the people were too fast for him and he didn't get to come.

But, actually, we don't so much care about the mud--it makes us feel like real sheep dogs rather than "suburban wanna-bes"--that's what our instructor's dogs taunt us with (you see, they are real working sheep dogs, and not very kind since it's not OUR fault that our people live in the city and won't buy us any sheep no matter how much we beg and promise to feed and walk them every day).

So, we worked. When Tansy was working, it hailed and hailed, but still she and her person worked. Hamish worked. I worked (even though I think work is for the little dogs--not for a gentle pup like myself). We got VERY muddy. Rafe wasn't there since he's still at herding camp, but he works every day and we're pretty sure, he must also be muddy.

My tail was like a rat tail rather than its usual fluffiness. I must have gained three pounds in clinging mud alone. Because mud in this part of Michigan is really clay--you know, the stuff they bake into bricks and then build houses with. Plus, my person was really on my case as we worked, which meant that I had to lay in the mud a lot (when we herd, the people's way to slow us down or stop us while they blow their nose or whatever, is to say "lay down"--if they're feeling especially chuffed with themselves, they try to sound like a Scottish person and say "lay dune". Lots of the people do this with their dogs--we've heard it at herding trials. We dogs try very hard not to laugh and call them wanna-bes--we know how much that can hurt).

Anyway, that much mud and muck meant one thing for us once we returned to our suburban gulag--a bath. Tansy, Hamish and I were rather unceremoniously heaved one-by-one into the people's water tank and bathed. They were especially long baths since we were so muddy (as you can see in the picture of Tansy below--I was at least ten times as muddy as her since she didn't have to lay down as much as me).


So, then we had to sleep a lot since the sheep and the rain and the mud and the bath had worn us all out completely.

Lesson for the day
Working sheep is great but be aware that if you do it in the rain, it'll probably be mean a bath

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Very sorrowful day

Everyone at my house is very sad today. This morning one of our kitties, 5 1/2 year old Macchio, died suddenly. We're pretty sure his heart wasn't good and it just finally gave out.

He was a very cool kitty and taught all of us dogs, plus all the foster dogs, how to play carefully with kitties. He was never afraid of dogs and he didn't put up with any shenanigans from us either.

He was a snuggler and often naughty (He broke many mugs and glasses by pushing them off the counters). He brought a lot of joy to our house and we will miss him terribly.

Friday, October 20, 2006

Rafe Game (Guest Blog)

I want to tell you about my game with the tennis balls. It's not "Pippin Game". It's "Rafe Game". Go outside. Make sure one of your people comes too. Lie down by the bird feeder. All the tennis balls are there. Wait. Soon your person throws a ball far away. Run run run. Bite the ball. Hold it. Run back to the bird feeder. Lie down. Let go of the ball. Wait. Soon your person throws another ball. You know what to do. At the end, all the tennis balls are with you. At the bird feeder. Life is good.

Sometimes Pippin plays "Pippin Game" at the same time. Then I play "Rafe Game II". I'll tell you how, later. Today I go to herding camp. There I herd sheep every day. All my relations do that. I like it. My person says I won't play "Rafe Game" at herding camp. So you can play. When I come back, I play.

Woof,
Rafe.

(this post has been read and approved by Pippin, the flyball dog)

Thursday, October 19, 2006

They never learn

Well, before a guest blogger could pop up, I had to report this afternoon's business. After almost setting the house on fire last week, I've been laying very low. Keeping my nose clean. Being the sweet little Pippikins my people remember from yesteryear.

How quickly they forget that they are living with a wolf.

I have mentioned muffins before. My people bake something once a week or so. The muffins they make usally have left over batter, so three or four days after the first batch, they bake a second, smaller batch. This they did today.

At 6 p.m. as per usual, we gentlepups (and Rafe, too) got our dinner. The muffins were cooling on the rack. My person took one and started to nibble it and then, you may as well put paws to mouths now for what I'm about to tell, she laid it down on her lap desk, which was sitting on the foot stool. At exactly Pippin snout level. I think she thought that because we were eating, it would be safe. Actually, I don't think she thought at all.

I wasn't even the first one done with dinner, but believe me, I found that little muffin-let in short order and had it in my lair before the person could say boo. A nice little dessert after a long day of playing ball outside, chasing squirrels and teaching Rafe lessons.

A nice little dessert indeed.

Lesson for the day
Reminder to all dogs: People are S.T.U.P.I.D.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Guest bloggers

After almost three years of blogging, I'm starting to face some unhappy packmates, who believe it is unfair that the humans will channel me but not them. I have been able to ameliorate the discontent through strategic sharing of counter loot, cute butt wiggles and relinquishment of prized toys. However, the voices of unhappiness have finally reached the people's ears.

Last night, the people and I sat down for some power negotiations. They plied me with cookies and lots of lovin'. With promises of solo walks, ball playing and a revved up training schedule for me, they suggested that maybe some of my packmates could guest blog on occassion. I held a firm line about the solo walks and added the following requests:

1) My entries must still be double the total number of guest blogs
2) No more toddlers for a period equal to that of the guest blogging
3) All posts by Rafe must be o.k'ed by me first
4) I will always be enrolled in the most training classes at any given time
5). For every occassion in which something yummy has been baked or cooked, I get at least one.
6) The counters will be freshly stocked with challenging and delicious items daily
7) I get to be first for herding, walks and ball-play
8) I will not be brushed, combed, bathed, have my toenails clipped, my teeth brushed or my ears cleaned without advance notice and prior written consent
9) I, and I alone, reserve the right to wipe my face on the people's bed
10) Any snarking that occurs between me and another dog will be immediately recognized as the other dog's fault.

The people drove a hard bargain. They tried to claim that they do the primary labor of the blog and so should have equal say in what happens here. I scoffed at that claim. I mean, really. The negotiations went on into the night and I thought we might have to call in an arbitration, but finally, we reached an agreement, the terms of which can not be revealed by either party or the agreement will be null and void.

As part of the agreement, I conceded to formally introduce the new guest bloggers. Please join me in wishing them all well.

Clockwise from left to right:

1. My goofy little brother, Hamish Braeburn Moy
2. The oaf-puppy, Rafe-a-roni, the last to learn to "sit", suggesting a generally diminished intellect.
3. Resident non-B.C., all around good boy and my buddy, Renzo Linguini, A.K.A. Sir Barks-a-lot
4. Gracious and very humble Pippin Noodle Moy (me)
5. Tiny Tansy-cake, my dear rescued gal pal, the only girl I've never had to put in her place.

Lesson for today
Heaven help us all

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Back to my roots

After my recent escapades with counter surfing and almost setting the house on fire, I realized that it was time for me to get back to what started this blog--namely my training for various activities. From my last few posts, you might think that all I do is try and steal food and harrass Rafe. While both of these are important day-to-day activities for me, I'm also training in a couple of doggie sports: flyball and agility. In addition to them, I'm learning sheep-herding too. My person is trying to decide what should be my "main" activity and whether or not we have time for all three.

My most recent agility class ended last week and the new one starts at the end of the month. At my first training club, we spent more time learning to run over lots of obstacles--like 18 at a time rather than really honing our skills on a couple. At the new training club, we work more on getting the transitions between two or three obstacles down really well. Like most dog training, the training is more for the people than for the dogs. I mean, how much is there to "learn" once you've figured out how to jump over the pole or to climb the A-frame? Sure, you have to learn to sometimes watch the person and sometimes listen to her, but she's got to run around, spinning in "front" and "rear" crosses and making sure she doesn't trip over obstacles.

My flyball training continues on as well. I'm still running the whole course and last time we went, they brought a dog in as a "distraction". I was a little distracted, but not too bad and I still got the ball and brought it back and all. For me, the jury is still kind of out on whether I think it's fun or not, but I definitely want to keep giving it a go.

My sheep herding is great and I love it. We just switched to Saturday herding because the sun is going away too soon to keep going on Thursday nights. That also meant moving to a different field-a smaller field in fact. This is good for everyone since it means that the sheep can't really run away from me, which also means I can't decide to quit. See, in the bigger field, I often just decided it was too much bother to keep going. Not such a great thing for a working border collie--on the other hand, why do more work than you have to, I always think.

This week, the instructor decided it was time to get serious about letting me know what I was doing wrong. Unfortunately for me, by doing that, she exposed one of my long-standing human tricks. I have for some time been plying the humans to do my bidding by pretending that I am "soft" and "unconfident" when all along I have been the queen of the ball. When you lack confidence, the people will let you get away with a lot more because they are just happy you're doing "it" (whatever "it" is at the moment). That's what I've been doing with herding. But on Saturday, the instructor just wouldn't let up and I got so irritated that I forgot my game and just went ahead and did it right--so right in fact that the instructor said she was shocked, shocked indeed. I may be able to fool them again, but I'm a little worried because my person has been pretty firm with me all week. I know she loves me and all, but I think my days playing the wilting flower are past.

I guess that's not such a bad thing, though, and it does kind of make my person grin to realize how I pulled the wool over everyone's eyes.

Lesson for the day
No need to work hard unless you really have to. But if you do have to, you might as well.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Maybe I went too far

I’m sorry that it’s been so long since I last posted. I’ve been working pretty hard at my operations; however, a recent incident has made it much more dangerous of late. Indeed because of a minor miscalculation on my part, I have been not been able to conduct many missions. This is, to say the least, a bit of a crimp in my style

In my most recent operation, I think I might have gone too far. Like most operations, this one started out well but then I let things get a little out of hand. Once they were out of hand, though, there was nothing I could do to stop it.

Let me back up a little and start from the beginning.

I have been working on two fronts lately in my war on the counters. First, I have been training Hamish in particular for covert operations, including spying and reconnaissance missions, and I have been working on improving my own skills. Things were going swimmingly until the “incident” and I have four missions to report on.

Mission one: The egg carton

As most of you know, in addition to training my little brother Hamish in covert missions, I’ve also been training Rafe for some the easier operations -- things that are really not much challenge for me anymore but that still need to be done. The egg carton mission was one such operation. The people had left an empty cardboard egg carton in a relatively accessible place, requiring a minimum of counter effort. So, I called Rafe to me and asked him to watch. I demonstrated the careful counter technique, involving a solid stand on the hind leg and a hook (it helps if you have a claw like Meeshka) with a front leg. Once you’ve snared the object and have not been discovered by the people, you can take the object to one of your lairs and do with it what you will. I took the carton to my crate; however, as I was showing Rafe how to dissect something like an egg carton, one of the people (the nosier one) happened upon us. I ran away quickly, though I knew that the telltale evidence lay in my crate. Rafe acquitted himself rather well, acting as if he had no idea what had happened. There he is, looking at the egg carton as if he'd never seen it before and certainly wouldn't touch it himself.

Mission two: The apple

When the toddler and her mommy were visiting us, the people all went “apple picking” and came home with two big bags of apples which they left, astonishingly enough, in the middle of the living room for several days. Apples are normally the purview of my buddy Renzo, so I left them alone for almost three days. Inexplicably, Renzo wasn’t interested in the apples. (He is having his own battles with the people who have started using a water gun on him when he does things they don’t like, so he may have been trying to convince them that he’s turned over a new leaf.) In any case, since they were right there for several days, I thought they presented a good covert mission. So, I called Hamish and told him to watch me. I delicately took an apple from the bag and then whisked it away to the people’s bed, where I took a few tiny bites. Then I called him to the bed to have a turn. But, suddenly I noticed that the people were coming to the bedroom. I quickly jumped off the bed and ran away. Hamish stayed on the bed; but his excellent training allowed him to look very innocent. The people called him off the bed without ever seeing the apple. Once they found it (several minutes later), they couldn’t be sure if Hamish had been the one to steal it since they hadn’t seen him actually eating it. AND, they suspected me in any event with a mission like this one—however, they hadn’t seen me anywhere near the apple. So, the second mission was also a success.

Mission three: The candy bar (uh, I mean “protein” bar)

One of the skills I’ve been working on for the last couple of weeks has been opening the closet doors. My people have sliding doors on all the closets and I discovered, by accident really (though I’m not sure there are any real accidents as I’m a firm believer in fate), that I could open the doors using a combination of nose and paw pushing. I’d been perfecting my abilities for several days but the people kept hearing me at work and calling me off. Which helped me to realize that if I was going to get at the items in the closet (like the coats that have the pockets that hold the treats), I’d have to wait until the people weren’t around. This kind of mission can always be dangerous because it can lead to the people deciding that you can’t be trusted alone in the house and so I try to reserve attempting such missions for seriously promising loot. Well, it happened. The people were doing the morning walks (mine turn was over) and I made my move. For which I was heavily rewarded with an entire candy bar, called a “Tiger Milk” bar. It’s called a protein bar on the wrapper, but it was pretty much like any other candy bar I’d ever seen—though it was the first I actually got a chance to taste. It was good. I extracted it from one of the coat pockets and quickly (though delicately) removed it from the wrapper and ate it up. The people kind of laughed and said, “Well, at least it’s carob-coated rather than chocolate.” I don’t know what that’s supposed to mean, but I know the people are really maniacal about not letting us have chocolate ever since Renzo took on the mission of eating a bag of Hershey’s kisses (that were hidden in a cabinet) and ended up at the vet’s for two days. From this mission I learned two things: 1) There are no limits to my access to things behind closed doors or in other difficult to reach places and 2) The people didn’t crate me for my new-found skill. Unfortunately, these two lessons have led to my downfall because I got overconfident.

Mission four: The ill-fated mission

The last mission I’ve had was the one that seems to have ended it all for me—at least for the time being. The people had left a frying pan on the stove-top without washing it and then left for work. They actually do this every day and so it wasn’t that unusual. I’d been eyeing this pan for some time, trying to figure out how to get it and with my confidence at an all-time high, I decided to just give it a try. Pulling it to the edge of the stove was not nearly as difficult as I had imagined and it was in my grasp within seconds. As I was licking off the lovely food particles (vegetarian sausage and sausage-flavored oil residue), my front paw slipped on the burner knob and it turned on. I looked at it quizzically as it started to get hotter and hotter. I knew this was bad, but I didn’t know what to do—stoves being a new type of “counter” for me, I didn’t really understand how they work. So, I decided the best course of action would be to take a nap and maybe it would all go away. The next thing I knew, my person had walked in the door with a quizzical look on her face. She noticed the smoke and strange smell right away and hurried to the kitchen. There, she found the frying pan on the red-hot burner. The pan was smoking and had turned an eerie shade of white (as you can see in the picture). I could tell she was really upset and so I tried to give her kisses, but she was too busy piecing together what had happened.

Ever since then, the people have been crating me when they aren’t home. I’m not sure what I’m going to do and may have to deploy the youngsters, Hamish and Rafe, well before they are ready.

Friends in the dog blog world, do you have any advice?

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Toddlers

Hello friends, it's me, reporting back after the toddler-week-end. I have to say that it wasn't as bad as I'd feared. One really nice thing was that the toddler seemed to understand that sometimes you have to go into your crate. My people had gotten one for her to sleep in next to her mommy, but up in the living room, all that was there was the crate that Rafe and Hamish use. But, the toddler understood things and frequently climbed in the crate all on her own. Unlike Rafe and Hamish, she didn't need a cookie-bribe. After reading's Turbo's suggestion that a toddler might be a lot like a cobbler, I was very hopeful. And then when Max and the Army of four mentioned the possibility of dropped food, I was positively anxious to get her here.

But, listen to this. We dogs almost never got to interact with the toddler. From what I could tell, though, she wasn't like a cobbler at all (where'd you get your info, Turbo?). Instead, when she was upstairs, we were either outside or in our crates (with Kongs or bones, so I can't really complain too much--plus, all in all, I like my crate quite a bit--it's just that I like to be the one to choose to go in it). When the toddler was in her sleeping crate, we got to run around. That suited me just fine because it meant that I got to give lots and lots of kisses to the toddler's mommy--who looks like a tall, thin version of one of my people, so I think they might be sisters.

The toddler's mommy doesn't really like face kisses for some reason and she spent a lot of time trying to convince me to sit nicely. But, the more someone doesn't like kisses from me, the more anxious I am to give them. See, I figure that they just haven't realized what a treat, a gift really, a good kiss from me is. Now, I understand that you might not want a kiss from my goofy brother Hamish because if truth be told, he's pretty sloppy about his kisses.

Mine however are like little raindrops or a delicate dusting of snow. Always expertly placed--for instance on the lens of a pair of glasses or just between a pair of human lips. I once actually removed a human's contact lens while delivering a well-aimed kiss. Sometimes, when a face is not available, I give ankle or wrist kisses. Anything to show what a well-mannered pup I am (don't even ask about Rafe's kisses--I haven't tried to tackle that one yet and don't know when I will). But the toddler's mommy didn't like it no matter what I did. I also heard the toddler's mommy talking to the toddler's daddy on the phone and saying things like "no, the dogs aren't licking her" and "you don't have to worry, everything's pretty clean". I understand that the toddler's daddy is more the kind of person who likes to enjoy animals from afar. I'm sure a kiss from me would change his mind.

In any case, I got to go on a couple walks with the toddler in her stroller. My person helped her give me cookies and that was pretty good, if a little weird (I mean, one cookie from two hands??). When I tried to kiss her face in thanks, as a pup of my breeding and upbringing would naturally try to do, she SCREAMED and kind of grunted--she did this to all the pups who got cookies from her when we tried to say thanks. The good news was that she screamed less and less as the week-end went on. A couple times on our walk, she got out of her stroller to walk around. Boy, was that scary. I definitely kept my distance then. I understand now why they call them "toddlers". I really thought she might just toddle right over me and lay me flat.

In the end, there was some dropped food that we got to take care of--a couple pieces of dried fruit, some egg on the floor, a bit of bread, so at least we didn't starve. Overall, she was a pretty sweet little human girl, and she and her mommy made my humans very happy, so that's always good. My humans were kind of sad after the toddler and her mommy had gone back home (they had to fly far on a plane), but all us pups worked hard to make them feel better by giving lots of kisses and wagging tails. Things seem kind of back to normal now. My person even has apple muffins cooling on the counter, so I better go see what kind of challenge they pose.....

Monday, September 25, 2006

Fall is here

How fast a week passes. I thought I just posted about family, but here it is 8 days later. It's my person's fault, of course.

Fall has arrived in our corner of the nothern U.S. It's rather lovely.

Some noteworthy news from my life this week

1. I scored some apple pie while my people ignored me in favor of a "football" game (note: my people have gone so far as to give each of us five dogs football positions--I don't know why but they've spared the cats this indignity)

2. My person has decided that I get private ball-throwing time most every day so that Rafe can't steal all the balls all the time (and also so Rafe can learn a proper fetch)

3. I have heard that a toddler related to one of my people is coming to visit. I have also heard that this will mean lots of "management" for us dogs (which I think means frozen Kongs in our crates--so that won't be too bad). I don't know what a toddler is, but from what I can gather, I think I'd rather not have one. I will have to report back on this, though

4. Rafe continues to advance in his quest to become a gentlepup. Very little staring this week, though I did have to pin him twice to remind him of his manners. My people think they are thwarting me with a "look away" and "walk away" command--I let them believe that just to keep their spirits up.

5. After being carted all the way to herding lessons--I didn't get to herd. There wasn't enough light once we got there, so my people decided to sacrifice my time instead of Tansy's, Hamish's or Rafe's. They will pay for this. Repeatedy.

6. I continue to excel at my agility training. In fact, I have training tonight--yippee. I also look very stylish while doing it.

7. I got a little confused at flyball, but still gave it a college try. Plus, I look as stylish at flyball as I do at agility.

My lesson for the day
You can never look too stylish

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Family

Just posting after a day spent at the fairgrounds at a flyball tournament. I'm not running yet, but I love being in the environment. See, I get to hang out with all the other flyball dogs, the ones competing AND the ones learning. Plus, my person almost always takes me to the big field behind the barn and plays fetch with me over and over. And I get lots of lovin' from all kinds of folks, which is, really, what I love most about flyball.

I have a LOT of relatives on my flyball team and I know I have relations all over the place. Given the way things in the doggie world work, I'm sure I have relatives that I don't even have any inkling of. In fact, I think I just heard from my little sister, Mi Lou.

This all gets me to thinking about family. Is family who you live with? Who you love? Who you share a mom or a pop with? Does family include your people and your people's family? (Am I a grand-pet?) The people often refer to their friends as my "aunt so-and-so" or "uncle this-and-that"--are those aunts and uncles different from the ones who are "related" to my people (their brothers and sisters)? It's very confusing.

See, on my flyball team, we have:

Brock and Tip, who are littermates to each other and have the same mom and dad as my mom--that makes them my uncles.

We also have Simon and Tyler, who are littermates and have the same grandmother as my mom--which makes them my first cousins once removed (I think) on my mom's side, BUT, they have the same dad as my mom, which also makes them my uncles.

Then, we have Cap, who was born only one week before me, and is technically some kind of cousin to me, but I'm not sure exactly which (his mom is related to my mom somehow and his dad is my grandfather, Radar). He and I were at the Moy Hall Farm together.

Then, we have Hailey and Jack Jack, who are littermates and whose mom Casey is my half-sister and whose dad, Jed, is also my goofy little brother Hamish's dad. That makes them my neice and nephew.



Which brings us to Hamish, who is my half brother because he and I share the same mom, Ness.

See, how confusing it is? It's kind of like those old European royal families where everyone ends up being somehow interrelated. One thing is that we all play flyball and most of us are speedy and excellent (we won't say who among is isn't, but let's just say I'm making great progress).

This is a picture of me with Hamish the day my people brought him home--don't I look sisterly?

But see, there are the other kinds of family too. Like, when my people brought me home, that made me and my buddy Renzo into a "pack" (or a doggie group if you don't like the term "pack"). For a long time it was just us two and we were pretty much the doggie family.





Until Tansy came along. Once she joined us, then we were a bigger pack. And we kept getting bigger with Hamish and finally in June with Rafe.







Here we all are--Hamish, Rafe, Renzo, me and Tansy.





And in between Tansy and the boys came all the foster dogs. Are they part of my family too? I sure did like some of them. We played, spatted with each other, shared bones and toys. Isn't that kind of what it means to be a family?

Here's me and one of our first foster dogs, Scamp (his name is Dylan now). Don't we look sweet together? My people liked him so much that when they saw Hamish they were reminded of Dylan-Scamp and decided they would like to have a "red" border collie. Doesn't that kind of make Dylan family?

So, you see, family can be a tricky business. I guess in the end, family has to be what YOU decide it is. For me, my family is all those doggies I'm related to, sure--but more, it's those doggies I really share some experiences with. The more experiences I share with them, the tighter we are as family. And since I love my people, they must be part of my family too. And since there are lots of people that my people love, I guess those people are part of my family.

It's still pretty perplexing, but I think it's ultimately a really, really nice thing. It would sure be nice if we could all just agree to recognize each other's families and believe in our hearts that what matters is sharing our experiences and our love.

And that's my newest lesson of the day.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Triumph

A banner day at our house yesterday.

Thanks to my crafty ways and excellent teaching skills--I was able to snag a blueberry muffin without being caught because my person was more worried about getting the blueberry muffin that Rafe stole away from him.

Although Rafe and I have had a rocky start, I'm beginning to see the potential in having an ally in the all important war of the counter. My person thought she'd outsmarted us (actually she wasn't paying much attention to us if truth be told), so I sent Rafe in as an early scout. He quickly spied the secret treasure, hot muffins cooling on a wire rack, and reported back. I told him that the time had come for him to earn his stripes, and even though he was not assured success, he sucked it up, took a deep breath and went for the prize. I waited behind, giving quiet pointers and was happy when he carefully made off with a muffin. I thought he was in the clear until suddenly, my person looked up from her computer, leapt to her feet and hurried over to where Rafe was valiantly trying to get the whole muffin down his gullet without chewing. It was a move any teacher would be proud of, but alas, he just doesn't have enough miles on him yet and, like the rest of us, has been brain-washed into immediately heeding the "drop it" command--so, the person was able to get the prize away from him.

However, back in the kitchen....

Once I realized that her attentions were diverted and that there was no hope for success with Rafe's venture, I quickly went in for a muffin of my own. My person was none the wiser until later when she counted the muffins. And as compensation for an excellent first attempt at stealing from the counters, I let Rafe lick the crumbs off my muzzle. I believe there is hope for him yet.

And then.....

My people were so lame as to leave a cheese slicer, with much delectable cheese residue right on the very same counter only a few hours later. Here is what they came home to--


It is difficult to see in the picture, but in addition to thoroughly cleaning the slicer, I also nibbled the handle just enough to leave my mark. I didn't want one of the other dogs, and especially not my goofy little brother Hamish, to get any credit OR to alert the people to the fact that I'm working with both young boys--Hamish and Rafe--to join me in the battle for the counter. They now know about Rafe, but haven't yet figured out that Hamish is part of my silent army, too. He will be a much more subtle, covert operator.

I'm still contemplating the moment when I can deploy him--right now, I'm holding him back as a secret weapon. My people have been properly lulled into believing he is a little sweet boy, as evidenced by this picture of him, where he has well-disguised his cunning, sneaky ways.

Little do they know what terrors await them.

Today's picture from the puppy archive
Early training for the battle of the counter. Although they gave me the treat, I quickly practiced taking it to a lair for consumption

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Giardia :-(

Well, after many truly unspeakable acts on the part of the vet, we have determined that I have giardia. What is giardia, you ask. It is some kind of nasty one-celled parasite that attaches itself to my intestines and basically steals my food while also making me feel yucky and have diarrhea. A nice beagle lady wrote a whole long explanation about it. Because of the giardia, all five of us pups are now taking Flagyl--but we know it as a peanut butter niblet.

Speaking of peanut butter, my person gave Rafe-oaf puppy a stuffed Busy Buddy to keep him busy. Of course, as soon as I could I took it away from him. Then, if you can imagine it, my person got up and took it away from ME and gave it back to HIM.

Here he is just chewing away on it. He is not nearly as skilled as I am at deconstructing the busy buddy. I used to get one every morning so that my people could eat their breakfast in peace, so I got very good at cleaning it out.

I'm pretty sure that he'll leave some of the choicest morsels--the kernals of dog kibble that have been thoroughly saturated with peanut butter--aided of course through targeted salivia delivery, which serves to bind the peanut butter more completely to the kibble.


When he gives up, I'll be waiting. In the meantime, my people lamely tried to appease me with a Kong--also stuffed, but not nearly as much challenge and really not more than a blatant bribe against my being mad at them for taking away my rightful acquistion.

Here I am in the last stages of cleaning out the Kong. I took it to the people's bed so that I could leave a nice peanut butter smear on their freshly laundered comforter. You can compare my skill to Rafe's--note in particular the differences in our grips--the wrist bend makes a lot of difference. Plus, you'll notice that my tongue is completely inside the Kong whereas Rafe is putting his in and out--a completely unnecessary use of energy that obviates the benefit of the additional calories gained from the peanut butter encrusted kibble in the first place.

Believe me, I have tried to explain this to Rafe, but he simply doesn't listen. Indeed, he listens to very little I have to say.

In this picture, I am doing my best to explain that there are serious consequences for staring at other dogs, in particular, for staring at me. You'll notice that he is averting his glance, finally--but this was after several tense moments of showing all of my teeth to him. I really am not sure he will ever be ready to enter the world of refined gentle pupdom, but I will perservere and accept that my lot in life is to try and teach this young rapscallion some respectable manners.
I may at some point need to enlist the services of the great Mugsy, who recently rid a Chihuahua of demons or perhaps William John Gavin can talk some sense into Rafe. I'm just glad that my goofy little brother Hamish is not quite such a project or I don't know when I'd ever get my grooming and napping done.

Today's picture from the puppy archive
Me at 10 weeks with my first ball (it even had a "tail")


Sunday, August 27, 2006

Faith restored

My trust in my human companions has been restored (perhaps only briefly, but still baby steps are important steps). True to rumor, we DID go to a Border Collie Picnic on Saturday and we DID go to flyball practice today (and herding last Thursday WAS canceled). AND, best of all, the people DID enroll me in an advanced agility class and it starts tomorrow--wheeeeee.


The picnic was the annual Great Lakes BC Rescue picnic. We love GLBCR because that's how we got Tansy in Feb. 2005. And since Tansy came to our house, my people have also worked pretty hard to help other Border Collies who need new families.

Me and my gang let 11 other pups hang out at our house (not all at once--one at a time thank goodness) while my people looked for new homes for them. That's what people call "fostering". My friends at Dogs with Blogs, the ones who convinced me to keep on blogging, also help pupsters in need by giving all the "dogs with blogs" proceeds to a rescue organization in Australia. There's so many people who don't treat their dogs in ways befitting a dog that it's so nice for all of us to know that there are also lots of people who work really hard to help.

Anyway, the picnic was fun--50+ Border Collies and Border Collies mixes (and a few others who get to be honorary BCs on the day of the picnic--like Billy's awesome Rottie sister, Grace Anne) all running around off leash, doing border collie kinds of things at the Bluhm County dog park in LaPorte, IN.

Flyball was pretty fun too and I got lots of compliments on how I run like the wind. Hamish did pretty well, but he still needs to get a better sense of where his back legs are. He's been complaining that he doesn't have a blog of his own. Right now, he's laying on his back, wiggling around, "talking" and kicking his back legs like a human infant--he is such a goof. I had to take the computer back to my crate just to get away from the embarrassment of it all. I don't think he's quite ready for the big-time world of blogging.

In any case, it was a pretty good week-end and I'm happy that what my people said was going to happen did.

Today's vision from the Pippin puppy archive
Little me in the snow

Thursday, August 24, 2006

On being a girl

It's come to my attention that some of my friends and admirers think that I am a boy. I have nothing against boys--I live with three of them (this is not my choice exactly, but the people haven't ever asked me before hauling another one of those scamps into my life)--but I am, decidedly, not one. (I mean really, do you see any evidence of testosterone in that picture of me up there?).

Not only am I not a boy, I am very much a girl--one might even call me a girly girl. A diva. A lady. I give very delicate kisses (unlike my goofy brother Hamish whose kisses can leave bruises on unsuspecting human skin); I watch my manners carefully around people and other dogs (unlike the oaf puppy Rafe who barrels through life as if the world is his oyster); I do not abide any humping and certainly would never dream of such myself (unlike my buddy Renzo who can be most embarrassing in his zeal). Even my gal pal Tansy is a little rough around the edges and barks much more and much more loudly than the mores of refined gentlepupdom really allow.

I think some of the confusion about my gender comes from my name. Thanks to the Broadway muscial and the character from Lord of the Rings, Pippin has been claimed mostly for boys. I myself was named for an apple, however (like my friend Pippin in N.Y., who left me a comment but has no blog for me to reciprocate on and also left no e-mail address). The person who "bred" me has an apple last name (McIntosh). My people had some different names picked out for me: Scout and Spy were at the top of the list, but didn't really fit once they met me. My goofy brother Hamish, who came from the same apple person, also has an apple in his name--Hamish Braeburn.

My people call me all kinds of other things, too. Here are a few of them: Pippy, Pip, Pipkin, Pippy-dip, Pippy-dippy-do, Pip-dip, Dipples, Dippykins, Pip-slip, Pippikins, Pippineaster, Pippin Noodle, Noodlehead, Dippiy-do and so forth (I agree, they do seem somewhat limited in their imagination....)

So, I just wanted to set the record straight about my girlishness since I know it can be embarrassing for anydog to suddenly discover that the pup you thought of as a possible beer-drinking, slap-on-the-butt kind of buddy turns out to be a delicate flower who would never dream of doing anything more than politely lick the top of the beer bottle before retiring to her bed. And definitely no derriere slapping.

Picture of the day from the Pippin Puppy Archive
My first puppy bone