Saturday, December 27, 2008

Bring It On!

Jib here!

Life is good! Life is sweet! Life is full of dropped turkey bits and cookie crumbs. The Two E’s and a C are here. So are their Mom and Dad. Their Mom and Dad don’t drop much. But the E’s do. And C is just my size: tongue level.

I am learning about new food. Cheerios is not a new food, but Cheerios and Milk sloshed on the floor is. Pumpkin Pie is new. So is Peas in a Package. I don’t much care for Peas in a Package. But I love Carrots and Salad Dressing.
But best of all is Turkey Sandwich Bits served on my dog bed. Unless C is sleeping on top of my sandwich. Then all I get to do is Leave It!

Mom is feeding me pumpkin from the can. With breakfast AND dinner. Mom says my digestion is not up to her Granddaughters’ generosity.
I say, Bring It On!
All of it!!

Life Is Good

Sailor here.

Life is loud. Life is messy. Life is full of loud messy little vending machines running all over my house, waving cookies and sandwiches. I burp a lot. Jib is told LeaveIt a lot. He likes his whiskers pulled. He likes his nose bopped. He likes the baby who is up off the ground and wobbling around.

I think he’s nuts.

Mom’s daughter and husband and Mom’s granddaughters came in the middle of the night and stayed. And stayed. Mom says they are staying for a long time. Mom says they are on vacation from Maine to California. They went from Real cold to California cold. They went from snow to rain. They are here. They are staying.

Life is good.


Monday, December 1, 2008

Jib Here - Dear Santa,

Dear Santa,
This is Jib. Only Mom calls me Desperado. Again. Well, she really called me, NONO Not Again You Desperado. Again. When she says this, she usually runs for towels.
I tried to be good. Really I did. But the hose was dangling there just barely out of reach. And it dripped. It dripped, dripped, dripped into Zoe’s water bucket. It was a tease drip. A big tease drip. And today I could jump high enough to reach the drip. Last time I tried, I couldn’t, all because Mom put it out of my reach. But Mom says I am growing. So now I can reach it.
And I did. I reached it. And I grabbed it. And I bit it. And the snozzle came part way off. And that made a big spray all over the place. That’s how my face got all wet.
And Sailor barked from his dog run, calling Mom to tell her I was in trouble again. But Mom wasn’t here. So he couldn’t tell on me.
Santa, all I wanted to do was grab the hose and play in the water. It’s really fun to bite the water and catch the spray in my mouth. That’s how my head all wet.
And it’s really fun to prance around shaking the hose. The snozzle feels good snapping around in my mouth. The spray sounds good bouncing off the doghouse roof. And it makes an even better sound bouncing around inside Zoe’s dogloo. That’s how my back and sides got all wet.
It’s really fun to water the dog yard, the deck, the house, and the fence. It makes the back windows drippy and muddy. And it’s really fun to splash in the puddles, too. That’s how my feet got all wet. I don’t know how my belly got so muddy, though. I wasn’t paying attention.
And it was really fun to sit in a puddle and watch the hose spray gravel and mud all over. That’s how my kilts got all wet and muddy.
It was fun, anyway, until Mom came home. She screamed and turned the water off and dragged me out of the dog yard by my collar. That’s when she called me Desperado. And then she ran for towels. And then she gave me a bath and took my picture afterwards because she said I won't stay that way, I will probably blow it again. But, SHE was the one who blew it. She blew me dry.
But, Santa, does this mean that you won’t mush your reindeer to my house this year? I only did this for fun. I didn’t mean to dig a hole in the mud big enough to make a lake when the hose got away from me. Zoe taught me how to dig, so it really wasn’t my fault. It wasn’t Zoe’s fault, either. She is a Siberian and can’t be held responsible.
And besides, Sailor has been good enough to make up for today. And for last summer, too, when the hose leaped into my mouth and I just had to bite it. Off. And make a giant lake. My first lake. (I was rather proud.)
So please come to my house and bring me a squeaky sheep and some freeze-dried liver and a Glow in the Dark Frisbee. And bring Zoe and Sailor something, too, but make my present bigger.

Jib, the Desperado who really didn’t mean it. Or at least, I didn’t mean to get caught.

P.S. If you are looking for Cookies For Santa, I ate them. But Zoe nosed a chicken wing way far under the couch, so you can have that. If you can reach it. I can’t; my nose is too short. (Never thought you’d hear THAT from a collie, did you?)


Sailor here.

Turkey Day was terrific! I got a turkey neck, Jib got a turkey neck, and Zoe got a turkey neck. I am still confuzled about a turkey with three necks, but Mom says not to worry. There aren’t two more turkeys running around neckless. Thanks, Mom, I don’t even want to think about that!

During dinner, Jib and I hung out under the table and watched for scraps. Jib stood, looking up at the people thinking that the scraps came from up above. Silly dog. I lay down and watched the floor. I watched long and hard. And suddenly, POW! A piece of turkey appeared right in front of me! I didn’t tell Jib the truth about sudden food, though; I wanted the scraps all to myself.

But then after dinner, Mom gathered up a lot of our stuff and put it outside in the giant dog food cans by my outdoor bath tub. She says the Biffy Men will come in the morning and pick it up. Well, they do more than pick it up. They take it away. They steal our stuff!!!

Mom says that they aren’t really stealing. She is giving it to them. Where do they take it? Do they give it to homeless dogs and cats? I hope so. I hate to think of all that good stuff going to waste.

Zoe says Mom is right: the Smelly Men come very early in their Smelly Truck and take away the stuff in our Dog Food Cans. Zoe sleeps outside and knows about things like this. I sleep inside and hear the Smelly Men but I don’t see them. Jib hears them, too, but he doesn’t know that they’re stealing or he would bark and jump up and down. Mom likes to sleep in the morning, so I won’t tell him. She gives me extra scritches when she wakes up if she isn’t tired.

Zoe says that sometimes Mom gives our Dog Food Can stuff to the raccoons. The word goes out and the raccoons come at night and have a feast. Then Mom comes out in the morning and grumbles about their terrible table manners. And they DO have terrible table manners! They don’t leave anything for Zoe or give me anything either. Hmmmph.

Maybe Zoe can work on the raccoons’ table manners and next time the Smelly Men come in their Smelly Truck, there won’t be anything for them to steal.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Jib Here - And I Love Her!


Jib here.

I love Mom. I really do. I always did. But she didn’t always know that. She knows it now.

A long time ago, Mom said, “Oh, Jibby, I love you so bad!” and something warm and furry turned over in my chest and I wanted to lick her and lean on her and I couldn’t stop smiling. I love her. I do.

And I love My Collie Mom, too, but that was a long time ago when my nose knew her scent before my eyes were open. I loved her milk and her licking and her soft breathing. And sometimes I still dream that I am warm and full and she is licking me. And when I dream this, I yip a little to keep my siblings away and have My Collie Mom all to myself.

But now I love Mom. I show her I love her all the time. When it’s light outside after Long Dark Sleepytime and Mom lets me out of my crate, I stretch at her feet to tell her I love her. I lean against her and kiss her arm to tell her I love her. I run between her legs to tell her I love her, too. And when she says, “Where’s my pony?” I run back between her legs the other way to tell her I love her. I love Mom. Especially at breakfast time.

I love Mom when she says it’s time for dessert and she opens my crate after chicken time and gives me the special treat I only get after chicken time. I love Mom when she throws my bouncy ball and keeps throwing it even when I am tired and feel like throwing up. I love Mom when she pulls a squeaky squirrel out of her pocket when I find Heel position without being asked. I love Mom when she throws Squeaky Squirrel for me to catch. I love Mom when her hand smells like liverwurst and she takes me to the dog park and makes me watch her instead of all the other dogs and gives me what is in her hand. I love liverwurst, too.

And I love Mom when I my tummy feels icky and I hork in my crate and yell for Mom. She always comes running and cleans up so I can lie back down and go to sleep until daylight. This happened once a long time ago, but I know if it happens tonight, she will come when I call. And she won’t make me skip breakfast, either, unless I hork more than once. Then I have to skip breakfast and my morning drink-of-water for a long, long time, and when I finally can drink again, Mom only lets me have a tiny bit and I have to wait for breakfast until Sailor and Zoe get supper. But I love her anyway.

And I love Sailor. He is old and wise and doesn’t yell at me any more when I try to lick his lips. He just turns his face away and I am happy. This means I don’t have to take over for him and make decisions I can’t decide and go places I don’t want to go. Like the bath tub.

Sailor is fun to play with when he makes me run, but he doesn’t run much himself. He just starts to run, and when I take off and run across the lawn and down the fence line and when I turn and run down the other fence line and when I keep running and look behind me, he is just standing on the grass with his tongue hanging out. Is he laughing at me? I am not close enough to hear.

I love Zoe, too. She runs more than Sailor even though she is older than he is. Mom says Zoe is twelve-going-on-puppy. She will run with me, but then she stops and I keep on running down the fence line and when I turn around, she is prancing on the lawn, laughing at me. I don’t have to hear her laugh to know she is laughing. I can see it in her feet.

Zoe never told me off when I was a puppy. Not once. She just turned away and ignored me when I jumped in her face and tried to pull her collar off. And if I got too obnoxious, she gave me The Eye. But she never yelled at me or booped me with her nose. Never.

Mom says Zoe is the most tolerant of dogs. Whatever that means. Zoe treats the human puppies like she treats me, but is much better at getting away from them than she ever was from me. I am hard to get away from. My feet are fast.

I love Leisl the Leonberger. She runs with me and chases me and I chase her and her Mom gives me treats if I sit when she commands. Leisl likes to come over to romp and to eat the cat-pee plant and to get in trouble. She likes to warn me that my toys are now Her Toys and I can’t have them. But I can have them. I just have to give her The Eye and not back down, and she lets go. I love Leisl, she is fun.

And I love the bouncy Poodle down the block. Mom says he is everybody’s favorite uncle and would get me in trouble if he could. He would do naughty things and teach me to be naughty. He would bark and bark to tease me into jumping at the end of my leash and then he would just stand there while Mom scolds me. When Mom and I are out walking and we see Bouncy Poodle, she tightens the leash and says, “Here comes Trouble.” But his name isn’t Trouble. It should be, though. Instead of me.

But best of all I love Mom. Even when she is not perfect and doesn’t feed me when my tummy says it’s tummy time. Even when she is not perfect and takes away her yummy pen, and says Leave It! when we’re out on walks, and forgets to refill my water bowl every two minutes with cool water. Even when she is not perfect and makes me watch her instead of watching the dog across the street or the squirrel in the tree, I love her. And even when she tells Sailor that she loves him the best, I love Mom. Because I know she really loves me the best.

When she is lying on the couch, I like to come and lay my head on her chest and listen to her soft breathing. She would be perfect if she had milk and licking.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Happy birthday to Me!


Sailor here. Today is my birthday, according to my pedigree and to my Mom. She says it’s really the anniversary of my birthday because I only had one real birthday and that was ten years ago. In human years, that is, not in dog years.

Mom says that if you count 10.5 dog years per human year for the first 2 years, then 4 dog years per human year for each year after, this makes me 53. If the first year of my life was about the first fifteen years for a human and if the first two years were equal to twenty-four human years, and after that, if each year is equivalent to four years, than I am 56 in Mom years. Another place on the Internet told Mom that is I weigh between 51 and 90 lbs. (and I do), I am 66!
So which is it?

Who cares? I feel young! I run in the backyard chasing Jib and squirrels and barking at the mailman through the fence. I run many, many agility courses at class and a few more at home. I eat like there’s no tomorrow and I remember eating like this since my puppy days. I still bark and jump when Mom comes home, but I don’t jump on Mom any more. I jump next to her. And I taught Jibby to do this, too.

I am young! Except a little bit when I take a nap at night and have to stand up when I wake up and my legs are a little stiff for the first step or two. Zoe is like this, too, in the morning, and she’s even older than me. She is twelve in Mom years and too many for me to count in dog years.

I am young! My digestion is as good as it’s always been, but most dog cookies that crunch make my eyes run. I only used to get goopy eyes from wheat, but Mom says that my Moon System is not so young any more, so my eyes run with grains. I don’t ever remember running with grains. I run with Zoe and Jib and with Mom at agility, but not with grains.

I am young, but I have matured, too. I no longer gnash my teeth when Mom says things that confuzle me. Like the grain thing. I just smile and pant and let it all roll off my back like a light rain. And the best part about this is that I never get my face wet.

I have matured. I have finally learned to love heeling at Dog School and retrieving my dumbbell and jumping over the broad jump. And I never wake up stiff after this.

I have matured. I don’t bark hysterically when the doorbell rings. I let Jib do this for me. Mom says that I may be getting a little hard of hearing, like Zoe who has to be within ten feet of Mom when she calls her for supper. But when Mom whispers, “Cookie,” or opens a bag of potato chips and I am in the other room or down the hall, I can hear just fine. Then I come running. You never know….

I have matured. And I am still young in my heart. Mom says I awake to each day like it was my first. And she says that I am blessed because I don’t know that one day, that day will be my last.

I think I will let this roll off my back like the summer rain.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Rally Advanced/Excellent

Sailor here.

Mom says I have a new title. She says it’s the AKC RAE title. I had to do two things ten times. But actually I did a LOT of things many more times than ten times, more even than twenty toes and several dewclaws worth. So although I can’t count high enough, I have a new title.

Now I like titles, I do, but my new one? RAE? I mean, what is this? I think I would like the title Duke, or Earl, or even Prince. Or King. That’s it! King! I’d love to be a King.

Then I could get cookies whenever I want and go for walkies whenever I want and sleep on any dog bed I want even if Jib wants it, too. He can be Mister or Sir or something, but I want to be King!

And what does this RAE get me, anyway? Huh? Mom and I two green ribbons and a yellow ribbon and a blue ribbon and two coffee cups, but NO COOKIES. What good is that?

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Bay Spaghetti

Sailor here.
Well, it was another good day. Mom took Bilgewater and me out for a spaghetti breakfast, but we didn’t eat spaghetti. I had fizzy water and Jib snorted some out his nose. And we made a new friend, too.
This morning, Mom hustled us both downstairs and out to pee. She let us back in and bustled around the kitchen, getting things out and putting things in and getting in my way because I was trying to smell what she was getting out and putting in. And because of all this getting and putting, she forgot to give Jib and me our usual breakfast. We had what Mom called an abbreviated breakfast.
Bah humbug.
Then she brushed us and shoved us in the car. That part was normal. She filled my big water bottle and fastened her seatbelt. That was normal, too. I thought we were going to a dog show.
Instead, we drove out to the Bay. Mom said we were at Bayfront Park.
“I hope she doesn’t take me swimming,” I thought and I sat in my crate a long time sniffing the air and the water and the bushes and the water and the Bay.
“Come on, Sailor,” Mom called, hanging on hard to Jib who was trying to chase a seagull.
I jumped out of the car and stood there, looking for a way out. But instead of putting on my swimming vest, Mom put my backpack on. Then she loaded up the pockets with spaghetti. She put water in Jib’s backpack and stuck a funny-looking hat on her head.
“We’re going on a picnic!” she told us excitedly.
“Oboy!” Jib barked. “I love picnics!” He turned to me. “What’s a picnic?”
“A picnic is where you eat on the ground,” I explained.
“So why is this different from dinner in the backyard?” Jibby asked.
I didn’t know the answer to that, so I quickly changed the subject. “Do you have the sauce?” I asked him. “I don’t have the sauce.”
“What sauce?” Jib asked. “I have the water.”
“Meat sauce, I hope,” I said. “For the spaghetti,” I added since Jib was looking a bit puzzled.
“Nope,” Jib said. “No meat sauce.”
“What about plain sauce?”
“Water,” Jib said. “I have the water. Maybe Mom has the sauce.”
I took a swift sniff of Mom’s backpack. No sauce. But I smelled something, a maybe something, a maybe something interesting, a maybe something…
Mom twirled out of reach and grabbed up our leashes and marched off, telling us how exciting this was going to be.
I failed to see how exciting that would be since clearly we were having spaghetti with no sauce.
Bah humbug.
We walked down a trail with holes alongside and I tried to sniff out who may have made the holes, but couldn’t find a scent I knew. Jib trotted on Mom’s other side, watching for something to chase.
We came down a small hill and there in front of us was the Bay. Mom said something about All That Mud, but it didn’t smell like All That Mud to me. It smelled like something Good To Roll In. I wondered if Mom would take off my pack and let me roll in it. She didn’t. She wouldn’t. And she wouldn’t let Jib, either.
A nice man joined Mom and took my leash because Jib is sometimes too hot to handle, even with a backpack full of water and an almost-grown-up brain. Mom said the man on the other end of my leash was John, but he didn’t smell like spaghetti sauce or cookies or anything exciting. He just smelled like, well, like John. And so I lost interest in his pockets.
We walked for a long time. A really long time. And we stopped for water, too. And we walked again. And finally the morning started to be exciting. A ground squirrel ran across the road making Jib jump around and bark. A pelican swooped over our heads, smelling like the I-Want-To-Roll-In-It mud. When we stopped for water, I got to smell other dogs who walked the trail before us and where shore birds had scratched in the gravel.
We spent another long time walking, and then we came to a grassy place with duck poop all over it. Now this was exciting. But Mom and John didn’t let us smell or snack or even walk near the poop. They took us over to a large flat bench and we all had to sit on that. I pretended I couldn’t jump up with my backpack on, but Jib leaped up and was getting all the butt scritches, so I made small face and jumped up for a butt-rub, too.
And then the sun came out and shined on us. And Mom opened her backpack and took out lunch. It wasn’t spaghetti. It wasn’t sauce. It was hot dogs! I love hot dogs!! She gave one to me and one to Jib and one to John and kept one for herself. Mine didn’t have a bun, but it also didn’t have mustard, and I ate it in about three nanoseconds. John passed a soda to Mom. Mom poured water for Jib and me. John slipped us some of his fizzy water into my bowl, which made my drink a bit exciting. Mom ate her hot dog right down. John ate his hot dog right down. I suppose Jibby ate his, too, because it was not there when I went to check. He eats faster than even I do.
Then Jib took a sniff of our water and snorted and jumped up and fizzy water came out his nose! He spent some time sneezing and rubbing his snout. I found this quite exciting!
Then, in mid-sneeze, Jib jumped up and woofed. Two yappy frizzy dogs came trotting by yapping and frizzing at us and choking at the ends of their leashes. Jib almost got sucked into Bark and Lunge Wars, but Mom said, “Look at that!” and he turned right around to look at her. (They have been practicing this for a long time and I don’t get it.) By the time Mom got through patting him Good Boy, the yappy frizzies were gone. And the fizzies in Jib’s nose were gone, too.
A small flock of seagulls flew low overhead looking for a handout. Mom’s hands were not out, so they gave up and flew out over the water. Jib sat and stood and sat and stood and couldn’t decide what to do. I lay down and put my nose in Mom’s rear pocket. Mom gave John a funny look before she realized it was my nose in her pocket and not John’s.
I dozed.
The next thing I knew, we had to scramble to our feet and go back up a new hill and down another trail back to the dog car. Jib and I hopped in. Mom hopped in. She waved. We drove.
And in the car crate, I smiled. This was a great morning. We saw exciting things, drank exciting water, and ate hot dogs for breakfast. And I came home with a backpack still full of spaghetti.
But no sauce.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Jib Here - Today I am Three!

Dear MamaMarla,

Thank you for my burfday present. It came in a big box yesterday. Mom brought it inside and opened it. She shrieked and danced and laughed.

Inside were my BRAINS! Mom read the destructions for installing them. She unzipped me behind the ears. She dropped my brains inside. She zipped me back up. Then she told me to shake my head.

I shook my whole body. Then I shook just my head. I heard a small rattle and then a loud CLICK.

And suddenly I could think! I could remember! I could come the first time Mom called. I could stop chewing everything in sight. And everything outta sight, too.

Mom gave me cookies. She had tears in her eyes.

Sailor didn't get any cookies.

I love Brain Day!


Wednesday, July 9, 2008


Sailor here.

Mom loves the top of my head. She says it is soft and rounded and loves to rest her hand there. When she does this, I stand very still and pant. Mom wrote me a poem about the top of my head.

As I reach down to pat my dog’s head,

I marvel at what a perfect fit

Is his head to my palm.

The two meld together,

My yin to his yang.

I remember having similar thoughts

When my babies were born.

What a perfect fit,

Their little bodies meeting mine,

Nestled at my side.

It was as if they were sculpted before birth

To fit just so.

Now, with my hand on Sailor’s head,

I know better.

It is my body,

My hand

That was sculpted

Before time began

For such a fit.


Sailor here.

Mom's friend is very sad today. Her dog went to the Rainbow Bridge while she was at work and she never got to say goodbye. What is goodbye?

Mom wrote a poem so I could remember.

You died today. And I was gone,

Away at work, away at play,

Inside the house, upstairs somewhere.

You died alone. I was not there.

I never said goodbye.

You lay down in your corner.

And sleeping in the shade,

You felt our love,

Though we weren't here.

You didn’t want our grief

To spoil Your Time to leave.

You slipped away into the light,

Comforted by bonds of love

That remain unbroken still,

Heart to heart between us.

You carried this love with you,

As you chose to go alone.

I never said goodbye.

But, what is one goodbye

When set against the thousands

Of hello’s that we have shared?

What is one goodbye?

It is for people, this goodbye, not for dogs.

Dogs don’t understand goodbye.

They know a pat, a kiss, a hug

As their loved one walks away.

Dogs don’t understand goodbye.

What they know is your return.

They know you will come back.

And so they wait with patience,

Napping in the sun

Until you walk back through the gate.

They know you will return.

Yes, dogs know hello.

They know the leaping bliss,

The joyous bark,

The happy kiss,

The ecstasy of greeting.

Oh yes, dogs know hello.

And what is one goodbye

When set against the thousands

Of hello’s that we have shared?

No, I never said goodbye.

You taught me well.

I had no need.

And when my time has come at last

To follow you into the light,

To meet you waiting at the Bridge,

My love, my heart, my perfect dog,

You will be the first that I shall seek.

Yours will be the first hello.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Jib Here - Spelled!!

Jib here.

Mom can't wait til I grow up. She was down on her knees yesterday, doing something Zoe says is all about her Prey Drive. She was asking Santa (or someone big up in the sky) if I would EVER be safe outside my crate.

Who says I am safe INSIDE my crate? Huh?

I think I'll slide the pan all the way out of my crate again and chew up the corner. Again.


Jibby here. Guess what? Mom spelled me. Spelled me from class. Agility class. My favorite class. And Mom spelled me. She says that means we aren’t going back.

“Not ever?” I asked.

“Not for a while,” Mom said. “You need a brain in your head and not in your feet,” she said.

“And other parts,” she added under her breath.

What does she mean? My brain is fine. It works. It works fast. It works fun. Mom says that last night it fell out of my nose.

But I was good last night. I didn’t yell. I didn’t scream. Mom reminded me to be quiet. She reminded me with Stinky Spray. Right in my mouth. Yuk. Double yuk. And it was really hard not to yell. Yelling is fun now. Yelling is loud. I love to sound loud. It makes me feel grown up. Yelling is loud now because we have a new place. It is indoors. Actually, it’s through several doors. It is echo-ey. It is crazy. It is very exciting. There are Tall Ring Gates. Very tall. There is a Walk-It and a Climb-It and a Teeter. And many Overs.

And there are DOGS! Dogs everywhere! Dogs jumping. Dogs climbing. Dogs walking. Dogs chasing dumbbells. I love dogs!

And there was a big black Rushing Terror. He growled and lunged at me. So I had to show him. Mom said I did the teenage equivalent (whatever that is) of thumbing my dewclaws at him when he turned around. I peed in my corner. To show him this was MY place. Not his.

Mom groaned. She grabbed paper towels. Mom said she loves Nature’s Miracle. That must be me. I am Nature’s Miracle. I am Mom’s Miracle, too.

But best of all, there were GIRLS! I love girls! Girls are my favorite! And there was a collie girl!! Across the room. Heeling with her Mom. A collie girl!

My Mom let go of my collar. “Climb it!” she said. She pointed to the Tall ClimbIt. I climbed it. I stopped at the bottom. I touched the TouchIt.

And Mom was right. Right then my brain fell out my nose.

"Girls," my brain said. "There are girls here. Right across the Tall Ring Gates."

I ran. I launched. I cleared the Tall Ring Gates with room to spare.

I said hello to the Collie Girl. “Hi, I’m Jib. Who are you? I’m Jib!”

"Camille," she said. "I am Camille. What are you DOING?"

Camille's Mom grabbed me.

I ducked. I ran. I said hello to the Golden Girl. “Can I smell you? Huh? I’m Jib. I’m Jib!”

I started to say hello to Black Little Girl. But Mom caught up with me. She dragged me away.

And she spelled some words. Some bad words. And me. She spelled me, too. She spelled me out the back door. She spelled me down the sidewalk. She spelled me away from all the girls.

I was spelled from agility. Mom says we will go back. But I have to be put in neutral first. So my brain will stay in my head. So my nose will stay away from girls. So I will be good and not bark and not run away and not tell everyone I am Jib.

Now, is this fair?

Jib, the life of the party, spelled J-I-B

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Desperadoes All!

Sailor here.

I am the good dog. The other two? Desperadoes! Zoe instigates, Jibby executes, I tell on them, and they both get in trouble.

Zoe to Jib: "Hey, logs are FUN to carry around."

Jibby knocked over the firewood basket to get logs. Only there weren't a bunch of logs in it (easy to pick up). Nonono, there was one small log and about 4 inches of dirt, leaves, large bark, medium bark, tiny bark, and bark so small I call it dust. AND Zoe told Jibby to do it right after Mom finished vacuuming which meant that for one shining second, the floor in the family room was actually clean. One shining second.

Zoe: "Now run through the house and see how many things you can knock over with the log hanging from your mouth."

Table lamp: $65 (the OTHER one; the Desperadoes knocked over the first lamp last week.)

Cardinal bird finial: don't know the cost. (Super glue didn't work on its poor broken tail this time, either)

Window pane: Don't know yet, but mosquitoes are beginning to be a problem.

Zoe to Jib: "Digging in mud is grand!" as she proceeded to dig up yet another sprinkler. She has gotten clever. Instead of a creating a $300 geyser ($75 to repair, $225 water bill), Zoe created a slow seep (only $160 extra on the water bill last time) which was really hard to find, since it didn't shoot up into the air. Mom shuddered about the water bill this time around. And yelled about all the mud.

Jib to Zoe: "Mom says I look like a tricolor collie. Even my face."

Mom: "Aaargh!!!!!”

Well, at least it's not winter any more and Mom was able to hose Jib and Zoe off on the lawn.

Zoe: "Hey, WET LAWN, let's DIG!"

Zoe: Banished to the dog run.

Jibby: In jail, too.

Water bill: Big bucks
Plumbing repairs: Smaller bucks
New vacuum bags and filter: Less bucks (Mom didn't spring for a HEPA this time)
Table lamps and finials: Pretty replaceable
Desperadoes: PRICELESS

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Jib Here - Bath Time!!

Hi, Mom, what’s up? Cookies? Gimme cookies!
(long pause)

Leash? Where? Huh? Where?
What’s a “good drying day?” I’m not wet.
You’re going to what?

Oh, Paws Up. I can Paws Up. I can Paws Up really well!
Where am I? Where am I? Smells like Sailor. Smells like plastic. Where am I?
Water! Water! It’s too cold! No, it’s too hot! No, it’s…It’s WET, that’s what it is, it’s WET!
(snort, shake)
Why are you wet, Mom? Huh?
Oooh, wet water. Wet feet! WET!

(stamp stamp stamp)

Ack! What’s that? Smells awful! Smells awful! Nononono!
Hurts my nose, awful smell, owwwwww! TASTES WORSE!

Was NOT my fault! Was NOT!

Cookie! Gimme a cookie! No? No?
(long pause)
Please? Huh, Mom, please?Yum. Gimme more!

(pant pant pant)

Yip! That TICKLES! Mom, that tickles! That tickles!
Let me OUT!
Let me OUT! I’m in charge! Let me OUT!

(shake, shake, shake shake)

Mom, why are you dripping? Gimme a cookie!
Okay. Please? Please?
Thanks, thanks, thanks!

More water! Let me out! Not my face NONONONONONO not my face!

(snort sneeze snort)

Was NOT my fault! Was NOT!

Cookie? Yummy.

Now what? Where are we going? I’m gonna shake?

(shake shake shake)

Towels, I love towels.

(chew, bite, shake)

Phew. It’s over. Can I go roll in the dirt?

What? Now what?

Paws up? OK. Paws up.

Cookie? Cookie?



Stop the air! Stop the air!



BARK! pant pant pant pant

What’s that? What’s flying in the air?
My fur? That’s MY fur?
NONONONONO I want it back! Give it back!
Aaaaaaaah, my fur!

(pant pant…silence)

Ah, it’s quiet. Ahh. Ahh.


What? We’re done? Already? So soon?

Can I get down now?
Thanks! Cookie?


Mom, why are you all hairy?
Can I go roll in the mud?

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

The Saint Bernards Go Marching

Sailor here.

Do you like music? I like music. So does our puppy, Bilgewater.

Mom says every registered dog has a call name and that the puppy’s call name is Jib. But I call him Bilgewater. Mom also says that every show dog has a long ACK registered name. My long ACK registered name is Shalimar’s Stilvalley In Cahoots. When I compete in dog shows, this is my name in the program. Boy, am I glad Mom calls me Sailor. Bilgewater’s long ACK registered name must be NoNoBadDog-LeaveIt. I’d love to see THAT one in a program some day.

And when my name is in the program and I compete in dog shows, we all pile into the Dog Car and drive, drive, drive.

When we are riding in the Dog Car, Mom plays music for me. Sometimes she plays rock and Rollover. (I love Rollover, but I think it’s called Natural Balance now.) Bilgee loves listening to Rollover Beethoven, a song about beetles, cookies, a Saint Bernard, and a funny dog trick. He loves this song because rolling over was his first dog trick and he got Rollover when Mom clicked and treated. He likes Saint Bernards, too; there was one in his puppy class that he actually got to play with.

When we are riding in the Dog Car and Mom doesn’t know the way, she plays another of my favorite composers, MostArt. I mean, what’s not to like about a gang of wolves? Mom also plays Dog Gone Classical Music to help keep the puppy’s tummy calm. It has the added benefit of helping Mom find her sense of direction so we don’t get lost.

Sometimes Mom picks songs by Tammy Swinette and Cowdog Hank when we are out in the country and drive by pigs and cattle. Bilgewater sings along with his favorite Cowdog Hank song just to make Zoe mad. “Move over little dog, cause the big dog’s moving in….” Zoe pretends she is not amused, but I can see the tip of her tail wagging in time to the music. She likes being the little dog who rules.

Mom sings this same song to me, too, when I am heeling and sit in heel position a little too far away…”Move it on over, move it on over…” she hums, and I move over and Mom smiles. She sings this to me if I forget and sit crooked during our Rally exercises, too.

But she doesn’t have to sing to me in Rally much any more because I am a star. I have mastered the Johann exercise, a really hard one which makes a lot of dogs lose their composer. It’s called Bach one-two-three steps. This was difficult to learn, and Mom would almost go into a fugue state until I figured it out. But she taught me to back up next to a short wall, and now she smiles and says, “Good Sailor” if we find the Bach sign on the cone.

Speaking of Bach, when we are entered in a real obedience trial (which for Mom really is a trial), Mom has been known to gulp Rescue Remedy before she goes into the ring. All that music and flowers tend to make her smell less Nervous. Which is why the class is called Nervous A or B, I suppose, and why Mom was In Cahoots with Bach when I got all those legs. This was very fitting because of my long ACK registered name.

There’s one song I really hate, though, and it’s not Dirty Old Egg Sucking Dog by Johnny Cash. (That’s Zoe’s favorite.) When we go into the ring and Mom starts singing about a duck being somebody’s mother, then I know we are going to heel, heel, heel, heel, heel. I don’t know why she’s picked this song. After my last duck disaster, I am a little leery of ducks, and when she does her duck named Suzy thing, I get very nervous. I mean, what if a rogue duck pops up in the middle of the ring? Then what do I do? Well, I lag. That’s what I do. And I forget to sit at the first halt. I do wish Mom would pick another song. I never know if she’s just singing to sing, or if she’s trying to make the rogue duck less Nervous.

When we are riding in the Dog Car, Mom sometimes tries to amuse us with singing dog trivia. Did you know that this Dog Dad (named Rossini after his favorite pasta dish) wrote a piece of dog music each year for his dog on his dog’s birthday? Mom’s trivia can be disappointing, though. She didn’t even know the name of Rossini’s dog. Or the names of his birthday songs. I’d much rather listen to Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. Nothing like a piece of music about dog food additives, but Mom’s trivia questions can drown out the best part, the dog barking in the background.

When we are riding in the Dog Car for a long time, Mom listens to Opurra, which is not cats purring like it should be, but sounds more like Bilgewater in the morning when he wants to get out of his crate and start his busy day. Mom says he is a soprano, and if nighttime television is any measure, I hope he doesn’t start shooting up the neighborhood any time soon. Maybe he can wait until I go to the Rainbow Bridge.

When we are riding in the car, Bilgewater sleeps, I lie down and stare out the windows, and Zoe stops pacing in her crate and sometimes even sits down. Mom plays Going Home dog songs and sings along. She sings about a hound dog, a dog named Bingo, and a dog named Blue, but all this singing can sometimes hurt my ears. One day, I swear, we three dogs are going to join in and have a pack howl right there in the back of the Dog Car.

Today it’s started raining, we are home from a Dog Car trip, and my ears are still full of Hank the Cowdog. Zoe is camping out in Bilgewater’s doghouse and won’t make room for him, so the puppy has had to cram himself into Zoe’s dogloo. I can hear him singing under his breath, “This dog house here is mighty small, but it's sure better than no house at all.”

Zoe will not move it on over.

Friday, January 25, 2008


Sailor here.

Mom has gone on this teethie brushing kick. First she kicks me outside, then she brushes my teethies. The teethie goo tastes good, but the brush is annoying. The goo tastes better than the brush annoys, though, so today hopped up on the grooming table and showed her my teethies.
Mom started brushing. My tongue started fighting back. I tried to push the brush out of my mouth. That didn’t work. Mom brushed and brushed. She brushed up one side of my mouth and down the other. Tooth goo went everywhere. My tongue went everywhere. But still, Mom got the job done.

Then it was Jib’s turn. He loves having his teeth brushed because he loves the goo way more than he hates the brush. He is better with his tongue, too. He can flick slobbery goo across the porch! He tried to hit Mom with it so she would go away, but that didn't work. Mom never goes away. And she always finishes the job with Jib, too. Then she goes inside and washes her hands and changes her shirt.

Mom is trying to get Jib to make Ugly Face when she wants to brush his teethies. First she grabs the clicker. Then she grabs some cookies. She tickles Jibby’s upper lip. Jib sometimes makes a small Ugly Face. Mom clicks. Jib gets treats.

I do not. Hmmmph. And I CAN make Ugly Face.

“Show me your teethies,” Mom said to Jib today.

Jib made Ugly Face and then ruined it by smiling. He doesn’t quite get it.

I was standing on the ground looking up at Jib. I made Ugly Face for Mom, but she didn't see. And I didn't get cookies.
I was robbed.

Mom is Cross

Sailor here.

Mom’s being cross. Mom’s being wordy. Well, wordier than normal. She is sitting in the swing chair with a pencil and a cup of coffee. She is puzzled.

Jib and I are swinging her. First I put my nose in her lap, then Jib does. (There are cookies in her lap under the puppy papers.) Mom swings toward the hot tub. Mom swings toward the grooming table. Mom goes back. And forth. And forth. And back. And she twirls.

“Sailor,” Mom finally said. “Have YOU ever actually been seasick?”

“Once, I think,” I looked deep into her eyes. “When I went to the dog doctor and came home drunk and shaven.”

“Well, you and Jib are making ME seasick.”

That is funny! Sailor, Jib, seasick, get it? BAHAHAHA!

Jib and I suddenly took off.

Bark! Bark! Someone’s in the street! Alarm bark! Bark! Bark!

Whistle! (Mom really can whistle, and loud, too.) She whistles us to quiet when we run to the fence and yell.

Go run to Mom! Run fast to Mom!
I tried to beat Jib, but he was too fast. I knew we would get cookies for coming on the whistle. Jib didn’t, but he still beat me.

I got my cookie first. Hahahaha, Jibby.

We swang Mom some more, looking for cookies.

“Sailor,” Mom said, “What’s a five-letter word for ‘get lost’?”

A squirrel yelled at us from across the lawn.

We scrammed.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Jib Here - The Dog Park!!!


Jib here.

Mom went to the dog park today. She brought cookies. She brought me.

Dogs! Dogs! Big dogs, loud dogs, running dogs. They are inside the fence. I am outside.

I wanna play, I wanna play, I wanna play!

Oh, smelly fish cookie.

I wanna play!

Look at you? Look at you? No! I wanna play!

Bark! Bark! Pull on leash.

Erk! Hard on neck, that one.

Look at Mom.

Yum. Smelly fish cookie.

Yum. Smelly fish cookie.

Yum. Smelly fish cookie.

Heel? Heel? OK but I wanna play! Look at Mom.

Yum. Smelly fish cookie.

Dogs far away. I wanna play.

Heel, heel, heel, smelly fish cookie, heel.

Dogs closer. Dogs closer. Sniffing me through the fence.

Look at Mom.

Yum. Smelly fish cookie.

Sit? I can do that.

Yum. Smelly fish cookie.

Stay? You want me to STAY? NONONONONONO!

I wanna play, I wanna play!

(Think about butt, think about butt. Butt on ground.)

Wow! Liverwurst!!!!!

Look at Mom. Sit. Stay. Look at Mom.


I wanna…liverwurst! I want liverwurst!

Heel, heel, heel, look at Mom, sit. Look at Mom.



Heel, heel, watch Mom.

Yum. Smelly fish cookie.

We’re leaving? I …wanna…play…

I’m tired. I’m so tired.

Look at you? OK. I’m so tired.

Yum. Smelly fish cookie.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Jib Here - It's ME!!!

Jib here.

Hi! Hi! Hi! Can I smell you? Do you have cookies or…
Look! Is that a squirrel? Where? Where?
I’m Jib, I’m Jib, My name is …
Hey, cool shoes! I love the laces! Can I smell…
Cookies! Cookies! Mom has cookies! How can I get one? Maybe if I…
Squirrel! Squirrel!
pant pant pant
Let’s run!!

Jib here. I’m Jibby! I’m Jib but Mom calls me different names, too.

When I’m having fun in the house, my name is Leave It!
When I’m saying Hi to new human friends, my name is Off!
When I see a dog across the street, my name is JibWatchMe!
When I’m lonely, my name is Enough! Hush!
When I’m hungry, my name is WanntEat?
When we are at agility, my name is INCOMING shouted very loud. Playing with the other puppies is much more fun than…

I’m Jib! I’m Jib!

When I want to bark at Sailor and Zoe, my name is Nothing’sHappeningHush.
When Mom and I go walkies, my name is WithMeGoodDog. (I like that)
When I am sleepy, my name is GoodBoyJibby.
When Mom leaves for work, my name is Box. Then I get a cookie when I go out with Aunt Zoe.

When Mom goes to bed, my name is Crate.
When I play with Mom, my name is FrisbeeJibby or SqueakyBallJibby, GET IT!
When Sailor tries to hump me, my name is…

Hey! Squirrel! Squirrel! Squirrel!

My name is Jib!

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Puppy Kindergarten

Sailor here.

Well, Bilgewater is learning at a rapid clip. Mom says at his young age, his mind is a sponge.

Yes, I would agree. A soggy sponge some days, a dry one, others, but mostly one full of small holes and odd smells.

Here are some of the things little Scurvy has learned:

1. If he teases Zoe too much, Zoe will lure him into a game of chase and then roll him in the mud.

2. If he teases me too much, I will roll him in the mud, too.

3. If he steals the game hen out of my mouth, Mom steals it out of his mouth and puts it back into my mouth.

4. Mom always comes home to give him lunch.

5. I never get lunch. Hmmph.

6. If he lies down in the car crate, he won't have to hold on with his toenails when Mom goes around corners.

7. If he has to hork in the crate when Mom goes around corners, it is best to do it through the wire so Mom's carpeting gets yucky and not the crate mat.

8. When Mom yells, "Leave it!" - he'd better.

9. The world is full of "Leave-it!"s.

10. His first name is JibJibbyPuppyPuppyPuppy, his middle name is Good Dog, and his last name is Come. Then he gets cheese.

11. I never get cheese.

12. Hmmph.

13. Some days, he looks like a wart hog with floppy ears, the way his nose is growing.

14. Some days, he smells like a wart hog, too.

15. Loud sounds on the street aren't as interesting as what's in Mom's pockets.

16. When Mom steps on the long line and says, "Wait!” - he'd better.

17. Jib’s crate is a good place for a nap. My crate is an even better place for him to nap. Hmmph.

18. If he barks in his crate, someone will squirt him in the face. He can whine, though.

19. Standing in the water dish will give him wet feet.

20. Wet feet aren't much fun because Mom always comes at him with a towel.

21. Towels are really fun, though. They feel good on puppy teeth.

22. Losing puppy teeth means lots more chewing.

23. Lots more chewing means having his ears braced. Again.

24. Ear bracing makes a sticky mess all over the place, especially Mom's fingers and the hair on Jib's head.

25. Mom sometimes uses bad words, but he is not to take it personally.

26. The fireplace is verboten.

27. The fireplace tools are verboten, too.

28. Bitter apple tastes really awful and turns his face into funny shapes.

29. Mom loves bitter apple.

30. Hmmph.

Give Back the Change!

Sailor here.

Mom kept telling me that things were going to change around here.

What things? I don’t remember the last change around here, unless it was when our latest collie rescue, DeeDee, showed up. And stayed. And stayed. I don’t mind, though. I think I like her, and I know she likes me. She gives my ruff love bites every chance she gets. And she barks at me, too. I think she’s saying how handsome and wonderful I am.

Mom said things are going to change, and two days ago, they did.

What has changed is that I have become a grumpy old man. Hmmph. Mom spends all her time with this strange puppy who is beginning to smell less and less like Strange and more and more like Family. His name is Jib or Jibby or Jibaroo or PuppyPuppyPuppy. Unlike many puppies I have known (shudder), his name is not NoNoBadDog. Which is probably a good thing for him, but he makes me look bad. I wish he’d become NoNoBadDog instead of me.

My name is changing From Sailor-boy to NoNoSailorLeaveIt whenever the puppy gets in my face, or my ruff, or my, er, other stuff. I feel obliged to snarl and raise my lip and let the Interloper know that This Is Not Polite. Mom would rather I walk away, but how do you walk away when a Little Pest is hanging on to your kilts? Besides, DeeDee loves him and lets him hang on her lower lip and she doesn't even give him The Look.

Mom plays with The Pest and gets up many times during my sleep-dream-dark cycle to take him outside. She says she is Sleep Prived. I say she is worse than that. She acts like her brain has fallen out of her ears. She has forgotten to feed me right on time, and she has forgotten how to give me scritches. Instead, she listens to puppy screeches.

And she leaves me outside when the puppy is inside and brings me inside when the puppy is outside. She is big on Management, and I don’t particularly like being Managed. At least she is managing DeeDee, too. DeeDee has to be outside when the puppy is inside and inside when the puppy is outside. That’s because DeeDee actually loves the puppy too much and can be rough when she wants to play with him. Mom says we will both get to play with Jib when he is bigger.

I am hoping he will be bigger in another place, like Mom’s rescues are, and go to a nice forever home and leave Mom all to myself again. And maybe he will take DeeDee with him.

And “Jib.” What kind of a name is that? I thought the least Mom could do was name him something that goes with Sailor, like Hardtack or Scurvy or Keelhaul. I think I will call him Bilgewater.

Mom says all puppies are a pain in the kilts, but that this puppy is really a good puppy. Already, in two days, he has learned to sit, and down, and come, and stand, and poop and pee outside when Mom takes him. He had his nails clipped and didn’t play foot tug like I do. Mom trimmed his feet, too, and he only chewed the scissors three times. Mom says he is so good because his first Mom who was Responsible gave him a really good start in life.

Mom doesn’t see things the way they really are. This Bilgewater thing takes up way more time than he should. He cries sometimes when Mom goes in another room. He wakes us up at night and gets to go with Mom outside when I have to stay in my bed. He wants to pester me all the time, he makes DeeDee bark at him, and he gets LUNCH! Lunch, I tell you!

Mom says he’s just being a puppy, but I think he’s being a puppy-pain.

I was never like this, was I?

Happy Beaster

Sailor here.

Mom woke up, groaned, rolled over and I stuck my nose in her eye.

“Happy Beaster,” she said, throwing back the comforter and hobbling to the large water bowl in the small room.

Happy Beaster? Well, I am a beast.
“Oboy,” I thought, “a day devoted to making me happy!”

“It’s bunny day,” she added, stepping into her not-work pants.

Bunny day? I get to eat rabbit, too? For breakfast?

“I can’t wait,” I smiled and wagged my tail.

But breakfast was not as I had pictured. I don’t understand human language. Well, I DO understand Cheese, Sit, and Leave It! But a lot of the things that come out of Mom’s mouth go right over my headpiece.

While I waited for the Breakfast That Wasn't, Mom’s grandbaby, who is now 2 years old in human years, and her parents and her uncle came over. The grown ups shuffled around in the backyard, putting eggs down on the grass.

Eggs? For me?

“Well, OK, I like eggs,” I thought, “especially if Mom opens them and pours the insides into my bowl over a blob of yogurt.” I got ready to eat eggs.

But that was not to be either. Mom picked a really rotten time to practice the LeaveIt! command. And she practiced it over and over. And over. BabyEllie got to pick up the eggs. She got to carry a basket. She got to put the eggs in the basket. She got to drop the basket on the bricks. She got to pick the eggs up all over again.

“Mom,” I whined from the deck where I was also practicing my long Down, “I can carry a basket, too. It’s like the dumbbell, I can carry it, and I can drop it, just like BabyEllie.”

Mom ignored me. BabyEllie ignored me. Zoe in the dog run ignored me. I felt, well, ignored.

And as I was waiting for the Eggs That Weren't, the most wonderful thing happened.

“Breakfast!” Mom called, and she wasn’t calling her human family. No, she was calling me and Zoe.

Mom put my bowl on the floor. Eggs! Rabbit! Yogurt! I glanced at Zoe to make sure she wasn’t going to spook me away from my bowl. Zoe glanced at me to make sure I wasn’t going to vulch over her bowl. And we both tucked in.

Happy Beaster, indeed. I celebrated Happy Feaster!


Sailor here.

We have been invaded by lemmings. Well, actually the spirit of lemmings. Lemmings, according to Zoe (who is an arctic breed and knows about such things), throw themselves off cliffs. The spirits of these lemmings have possessed our house. No, our house hasn't thrown itself off cliffs, just everything else.

This morning, Mom was fixing pancakes. The pancake box did a lemming off the end of the counter. I sniffed it, but it wasn't much interesting. MUCH more interesting were the eggs. I like lemming splats with eggs. And Mom didn’t disappoint me.

"Lick, Sailor," Mom said, and I licked. And crunched. And licked again.

Mom says next time she will use the counter with the berm, not the counter with the straight drop-off. I disagree. I much prefer the marble counter with the drop to the bottom. It's yummy potential is high.

While I was hanging out under the marble counter, Mom went downstairs to the laundry room and lemminged the laundry out of the dryer and into the basket. Then she tripped coming back up the stairs and lemminged herself bump to the bottom. She landed on top of the laundry. While the laundry was washing itself again, it got unbalanced and the sashaying of the washer lemminged the dog towels off the shelf.

Giving up on laundry, Mom then decided to take down the Christmas tree and, yup, lemmings struck again. Fortunately, because of Zoe and Josie the FatCat, all our ornaments are soft and bouncy, not hard and shattery. But Mom says she is still waiting for the Retrieve light bulb to go off in my brain so I can help the put the lemming stuff away. My brain bulb is staying stubbornly dim.

Mom says that gravity is just strong today, and that's why the lemmings have invaded our house, why her jeans are too tight, and why she had trouble Ah-erging Zoe onto the grooming table.

Mom also says she wants to take Zoe and me for a long walk after breakfast, but NO WAY! I am not going to go, no sir, no. I am staying safe. Indoors.

Mom Goes Herdiing

Sailor here.

Today Mom herded. And I had to watch from afar. Actually from a window.

“Gee, Sailor,” Mom said at breakfast (hers AND mine). “We sure had a windstorm last night. Gotta go clean up.”

With that, she walked out the back door and returned with the dog dryer under her arm.

“Mom,” I said, “am I going to have that B-word first?”

“No, you’re safe, Sailor. You may know this as a dog dryer, but most of our neighbors think it’s really a leaf blower. I am going to herd today. “

“Herd? Just WHAT are you going to herd? Can I come?”

“I think you’ll be safer inside instead of running around barking your head off like you do when you protect me from the dreaded mop.”

“You’re mopping?”

“Yeah,” she smiled at me. “More like mopping up.”

“Sheep?” I persisted. “Suffolk? Southdown? Rambouillet?”

“Sheep. Mostly Maple Leaves and Redwood Needles.”

“Hmmm, Needles,” I thought, “Strange breed of sheep. They must have long noses like collies.”

But Mom ignored me and trotted outside leaving me to watch from the living room window.

Mom turned on the dog dryer and started herding. She had a little trouble on her first outrun, splitting the flock and herding some of the leaves back into the garage. She regrouped and started over. Her next outrun was wonderful. The leaves didn’t lift very well, but rustled around until she got closer and then, dog alive, did they ever gather! She had things well under control until it was time for the drive.

Mom’s Needles are, well, sheepish. She couldn’t get them all to drive together because the larger the flock, the heavier the leaves, and the leaves and needles got stuck and wouldn’t move very well. She resorted to sorting them into smaller flocks and had much better luck. Maple Leaves gathered better than Redwood ones. Redwood Needles drove faster than Maple Leaves. Her drive was outstanding - boy, can Mom ever move her leaves! A flock of them galloped under the Dog car, and she gathered them up and headed them off in the right direction. She drove the rest of the leaves through the wheels of the daughter’s car and onto the dirt.

“Way to me! Come by!” I heard her yell above the roar of the dog dryer as she swept back and forth behind her flocks.

When the leaves and needles were all penned into the dirt area, one large, bubble-wrapped sheep-like blob stood out from the rest.

“Ah,” I groaned, “The dreaded shed.”

Mom’s shed was awful. The leaves were too light, the dog dryer too heavy and she had no way to fix this. Mom herds on only one speed, it seems: Fast. If she put the dryer on a down, it would have flown in circles all across the driveway. I know because she actually did this. Fortunately, the result was similar to when a bunch of sheepdogs run onto the field where the sheep aren’t and just dash around until they are called back.

Finally, she gave up on the shed and turned off the dryer. She bent over and picked up the bubbly plastic sheep and threw in into the garbage can.

When she came back inside, she turned to me and asked, “Well, how’d I do, Sailor?”

“Sixty-eight,” I answered, feeling kind and generous.

Plumbing Woes...Again

Sailor here.

Mom should just give up on this plumbing thing. Really. She usually embarrasses me but yesterday took the cookie.

I awoke from a snooze to hear cries of woe coming from the Room of the Giant Water Bowl. It seems that the water bowl had an intestinal blockage of some sort. Maybe Mom was feeding it the wrong sort of Raw Meaty Bones. Anyway, moans of dismay, two naps, and a doorbell alert later, a man who is not Roger my plumber friend showed up at the door. The bathroom door.

“I’ll go get my snake,” he said, heading for the door. The front door.

“Snake?” I asked. “He’s getting a snake? What’s that?”

“Snakes are fun,” said Zoe, lurking Siberian-style in the background. “They slither and hiss and spit.”

“Like our Rainbow kitty?” I asked, thinking of HissSpit who is at the Bridge.

“Nah,” Zoe sneezed. “More like Josie the FatCat. She can drag her belly across the carpet just by walking into the front room. That’s called slithering.”

“But Josie doesn’t have a snake belly now,” I said, well aware of what a few months at Mom’s Fat Farm can do to your belly.

At this point, Mom grabbed us and put us both outside, so I never got to smell the snake. Bah.

But the next thing I knew, she was calling me to jump into the car for a trip to the hardware store. I love the hardware store. The hardware store loves me. Sometimes Mom puts on my backpack and I pack Mom’s hard stuff to the car. Just for practice, she says.

Yesterday, we went to the hardware store to buy what Mom told me was a plunger.

“We are going to swim?” I asked, yawning in distress. Water is not my favorite thing.

“We are going to solve our plumbing problems,” Mom said, and proceeded to line up a row of weave poles across the floor. “Gotta find one that isn’t too stiff for me to collapse,” she explained as she leaned on all of them.

“Yay! Here’s a good one,” she said, and then tried to pick it up.

The weave pole stayed put. All the weave poles stayed put. I started to weave, even though Mom was yanking and pulling with all her might on the poles. I tripped over Mom. She tripped over me.

“May I be of assistance?” a voice behind us asked.

Mom turned the color of Zoe’s Kong. I stopped in mid-weave and popped out.

“Oh-oh,” I thought, “I goofed. I’m going to have to do all these poles over again.”

But Mom didn’t send me back to start re-weaving. Instead, she grinned a silly grin and said in a halting voice, “Stuck. They’re stuck.”

The hardware man chuckled and said, “I’ll get a potty knife.”

“Appropriate,” I thought, and watched him release the weave poles from the floor with a really flat knife.

By the time Mom and I got home, she was giggling and laughing and even had to turn up the cold wind in the car. She marched into the house waving her weave pole in triumph. She reminded me of her friend whose Siberian husky got his MACH and the friend got to run around the ring waving a specially decorated bar.

I don’t think I am going to let Mom use the Giant Water Bowl Room alone any more, though. It’s just to embarrassing.

From Sailor's Mom: Remember?

Remember your Novice A dog?

Remember all he taught you?

Remember how much you learned together?

Remember how proud you were the day you two earned that first obedience a team?

Remember how that Novice A dog showed you how to develop a special relationship with all the dogs that followed?


Novice A is the beginning.

Novice A is the first.

Novice A is new and exciting and can never be duplicated.

Novice A. Should be Novice Ahhhhhh.

Sailor, you are the only Novice A dog I will ever have. You’re very special.

Oh, Sailor, I love you so.

Nervous No More

Sailor here.

Mom is very proud of me. I am very proud of me. Over the weekend, I earned another leg in Nervous A and now have a Compact Disc somewhere hidden on me as well. I wonder if it is playing music with my microchip.

I find Mom’s happinesses very confusing, though, but I’ll humor her. She holds the cookies.

“Well, Sailor,” Mom said as she grinned and fed me cheese after my turn in the ring. “Three is the lucky number. Three trials, three legs, second place – not too shabby!” She held up a red ribbon for me to sniff. "You have a CD!"

“Gulp, lick,” was all I could manage at the time. I was worrying about having a limp with my now-I-have-seven legs.

“Now you are no longer in Novice A,” she went on. “You are now in Open!”

Open? Open? Did she say Open? Do I dare believe that now I will finally learn how to open things, like doors and cupboards and…and the refrigerator? The refrigerator???

“Actually, Sailor, Open is a lot of fun. You get to retrieve a dumbbell, jump over jumps, do a body slam on the recall…all sorts of fun stuff.”

“No refrigerator doors?” I asked.

“Nope. Just some off-lead heeling in the beginning.”

Off-lead heeling? The bane of my existence. No opening of doors?

“Hmmmph,” I grumbled. “I can just see me heeling around the ring on seven legs, limping and gimping. You may as well call it ‘Mopin’. I am now in Mopin’ A.”

Mom laughed and gave me some water. “Tomorrow will be just for fun, and a chance to earn an insurance leg on your Novice A title,” she said. “There will be cheese and you’ll be back in balance again.”

I perked up. Cheese? All right! With eight legs, I will be better prepared for the Open body slamming and jumping. Bring on tomorrow!

Actually, tomorrow brought itself on, as it always does. It brought heat with it, too. Despite the heat, I had a much better go-round in the Novice A ring since now neither Mom nor I was nervous. I stayed right with her except in the beginning of the off-lead heeling. But I was wonderful anyway. Mom was thrilled and says I even won a blue ribbon!

I liked my red one better, though. It smells like liver. It smells like Mom. But I must admit, blue is Mom’s color.

I Am an Insect!

Sailor here.

I am an insect! I have six legs.

Mom says that four are what I was born with and two are those nebulous things from our last two Obedience Trials that will follow me wherever I go, but not seen and not herd. I am still looking for them, though, and hope they won't pop up at unlikely times, like today, in the Nervous A ring. One must be cautious on days like today in the Nervous A ring.

I was cautious. I was very very cautious.

Mom says that today was one of those Embarrass Mom in The Ring days, but I disagree. So what if my brains fell out my nose the minute I entered The Ring. So what if the grass was more interesting than Mom. So what if Mr. Do-You-Have-Any-Questions was more interesting than Mom. So what if Mr. Do -You's hat was more interesting than Mom. So what if the ring ropes were a bit scary, not ropes at all, but these wooden pincher things that looked like they might grab you and accordion you into a very small collie. So what if Mom's backside was MUCH more interesting than her frontside, since her frontside did not have cheese attached to it. So what?

And to make matters worse, Mom was not nervous. What's up with this? This is Nervous A, she's supposed to be nervous, and I had to make sure she followed the rules. After all, she IS supposed to be obedient and that's my job, to make her look good.

No matter what Mom says, I did a great job. I made Mom nervous and got through all the exercises. And Mom's friend, Dyin' Aych, was amazed at my performance, too. She even told Mom that she just couldn't believe it when Mom said that so far, according to Mr. Do-You, we had qualified. Dyin' said that I really understood the concept, "in the vicinity". Furthermore, my Stand for Exam was stellar and Dyin' said my Recall was fabulous. I love the Recall.

Mom says I had a total eclipse of the brain.

If that is so, then how did I manage to win a red ribbon and a picnic basket that's really a nylon bag to hold my cheese and water? And how did I also manage to win Highest Scoring Therapy Dog?

Answer that, Mom, answer me that.

In Praise of Training

Sailor here.

Mom and I do a lot of training. We train in the morning. We train at lunch. We train after supper. I love it. We train five minutes here, thirty seconds there, ten seconds someplace else. (That’s in human years and not dog years, either.) I love it. We even go to dog school and train there.

“Mom,” I said, “Some of my doggy friends don’t like dog school and they don’t like training, but I do. Why is that?”

“Sailor,” she answered, “you always want to know why. Why do you think?”

Mom’s good at turning a question into a question. I’d rather have answers.

“Well, “ I said, lying down and crossing my white paw over my sable one. “I get cookies?”

“You don’t always get cookies,” Mom reminded me.

“Hmmmm,” I grumbled in good collie fashion. “Because you tell me how good I am? Because you play games? Because I have Fun with Mom?”

“Yup,” and Mom smiled.

“So, then, how come you’re so good at training if I’m your first dog ever?”

“Well,” Mom said with Reflection and Contemplation, “I am not totally inexperienced. I trained two human puppies before you came to me. And they turned out very well.”

“Did they get cookies, too?”

“Not often, no,” Mom said. “Usually I told them how great they were.”

“Did you tell them all the time like you tell me and thump them on the ribs?” I asked.



Mom laughed. “Instead of thumping, I hugged,” she said. “And I spent a lot of time looking for reasons to tell them how wonderful they were.”

I did the Doggy Grin, smiling and putting my ears back into my frill. I got thumps and they didn’t. I got cookies and they didn’t. And Mom spends a lot of time telling me how wonderful I am.
“Tell me what you did,” I said.

Mom leaned back into her chair. “One day we were driving in the car. The puppies were in the back seat punching each other…”

“They booped each other with their noses?” I asked, amazed. I have never seen humans punch like Zoe and me.

“They punched each other with their fists,” Mom clarified. “Anyway,” she went on, “that day, I asked them how long they could keep their paws to themselves. The minute one of them stopped punching, I thanked him and told him how much I liked seeing that.”

“Did it work?”

“Yup. Now then, imagine if I told you to knock it off and then said nothing else. It wouldn’t be as much fun as telling you that you were good for knocking it off.”

I thought about this. To make sure I understood, I said, “You mean, like when you tell me to LEAVE IT! and then say GoodBoy right afterwards? Like when you say Sit! if I look like I am going down on the LongSitStay, and then say GoodDog right afterwards?”

“Yup. The same. It’s called praise.”

I wagged and crossed my sable paw over my white one. This made sense. I love praise. I love hearing GoodBoy, and Mom says it a lot.

“Did you make human puppy training into a game, too?” I asked, remembering all the fun games Mom and I play.

“Sometimes,” Mom said. “I might ask them how long they could each keep their hands to themselves. If one said One second, the other would say Two seconds, I’d say Ten seconds, and we‘d take turns bidding all the way up to a three or four minutes. By the time we were through bidding and laughing and daring each other, the three or four minutes had already gone by and they were ready to do something else besides punch each other.”

“Then who won?” I asked.

“We all did,” Mom said.

“Then did they get cookies?”

“Not as often as you do,” Mom answered.

I smiled again, glad Mom has learned enough about training to give me cookies.

“Did they ever get in trouble for punching?” I asked. I have learned all about trouble from Zoe.

“Once they wouldn’t stop punching, so I stopped the car and parked, got out and walked off into a field and hid behind a tree,” Mom said.

“The Open Group Exercise, huh?” I said proud that I knew what the Long Out-of-Sight Sit Stay is. “Did they qualify?”

“They panicked,” Mom said. “When I got back into the car, they were as good as golden retrievers.”

“And did you tell them how good they were?” I asked. I understand about panicking when Mom is Out Of Sight during the Open Group Exercises.

“Yup, I’m sure I did,” Mom answered.

“And did you tell them that Mom always comes back?”

“I’m not sure that I did,” Mom answered.

“Big mistake,” I said, yawning with distress. “That’s important to know.” I am still struggling with the Open Group Exercises. But the dumbbell, now, that is another story. I love the dumbbell!

I jumped up. “Come on, Mom, let’s play games now. I want to go outside and play Heel and Halt and Ready, Set, Go! I want to run for my dumbbell and bring it back to you!”

I stood, stretched, and play-bowed. “Come on!”

I leaped across the room and rang the bell on the back door. “Hurry up!” I clacked my teeth together and wagged my tail. I pranced my front feet on the wood floor. “And don’t forget the cookies!”

Six Legs, Really

Sailor here.

Well, Mom’s really done it this time. She’s confused me past the point of endurance. She says I have another leg. She says it’s somewhere on ACK paper. As near as I can tell, it’s like the Emperor’s New Leg undergoing puppy potty training, but this still doesn’t make any sense at all. Let me explain.

This morning before the sun was truly up, Mom and I harrupped ourselves into the big blue dog Behemoth and took off across the mud flats and slappy water. We parked and made our way down a hill, me carrying my backpack with all my stuff in it and Mom carrying my dog show crate and her chair. I also carried all her stuff, gentleman that I am. We set up camp, said Hi to our collie friends, and gave Mrs. Counterclockwise-Everybody a big smooch. Mom gave me some water, and I prepared myself for the usual Mom and Me in the Ring workshop.

But no, today was most unusual. Mom wasn’t her normal self. In fact, overnight she had turned into someone I didn’t know and didn’t particularly want to have anything to do with. She even made me dangle my prepositions and drool a bit at the mouth. She was acting decidedly odd.

“Having another Nervous A day, Mom?” I asked with a sigh. “Didn’t we get that all behind us months ago?”

“Uh, er, heel, heel,” Mom mumbled, turning in small circles.

I circled with her, concerned and puzzled.

Since I was younger than Mom, I got to ask, “Why is today different from all other days?”

Mom looked down at me. She looked up at the sky. She surveyed the rings, the people, and her friends. I surveyed her pockets, which were alarmingly empty.

“No different,” she said with a great big breath. “Thanks.”

I yawned to keep her company in her stress-relieving exercises. And did you know that pockets with no cheese are a bit like a place setting at dinner with no dinner guest? And no dinner? Before I could point this out, Mom called me to heel.

And away we went into the ring.

And away we came out of the ring after all the usual stuff. And back in for sits and downs. And back out. But today WAS different than any other day. It seems that somehow during the course of morning, I have acquired another leg!

Now, just where is it? And this brings my total of legs up to what number? Mom says I now have six. I can only see two most of the time with two more sometimes near my tummy when I lie down, but not always. So, I conclude that I have two always-legs, two sometimes-legs and two nebulous ones floating around Dog knows where waiting for the opportune time to attach themselves to me…somewhere.

I am a bit Nervous A all right waiting for those legs to strike. Mom says not to worry, though, they are obedient legs and will heel along with me with no trouble at all. And when I have acquired one more obedient leg, I will finally have that compact disk, the point of all this ring-with-no-cheese nonsense.

All in all, though, the day was fun. The best part was the cheese, and the next best part was the yellow squeaky monkey that matches my yellow third place ribbon. Mom can have the ribbon, it doesn’t taste very good. I will tease Zoe with the monkey next time I see her.

Five Legs, Really?

Sailor here.

Well, Mom’s really done it this time. She’s confused me past the point of endurance. She says I have another leg. She says it’s somewhere on ACK paper. As near as I can tell, it’s like the Emperor’s New Leg undergoing potty training, but this still doesn’t make any sense at all. Let me explain.

This morning before the sun was truly up, Mom and I harrupped ourselves into the big blue dog Behemoth and took off across the mud flats and slappy water. We parked and made our way down a hill, me carrying my backpack with all my stuff in it and Mom carrying my dog show crate and her chair. I also carried all her stuff, gentleman that I am. We set up camp, said Hi to our collie friends, and gave Mrs. Counterclockwise-Everybody a big smooch. Mom gave me some water, and I prepared myself for the usual Mom and Me in the Ring workshop.

But no, today was most unusual. Mom wasn’t her normal self. In fact, overnight she had turned into someone I didn’t know and didn’t particularly want to have anything to do with. She even made me dangle my prepositions and drool a bit at the mouth. She was acting decidedly odd.

“Having another Nervous A day, Mom?” I asked with a sigh. “Didn’t we get that all behind us months ago?”

“Uh, er, heel, heel,” Mom mumbled, turning in small circles.

I circled with her, concerned and puzzled.

Since I was younger than Mom, I got to ask, “Why is today different from all other days?”

Mom looked down at me. She looked up at the sky. She surveyed the rings, the people, and her friends. I surveyed her pockets, which were alarmingly empty.

“No different,” she said with a great big breath. “Thanks.”

I yawned to keep her company in her stress-relieving exercises, well aware that pockets with no cheese are a bit like a place setting at dinner with no dinner guest. And no dinner. Before I could point this out, Mom called me to heel.

And away we went into the ring.

And away we came out of the ring after all the usual stuff. And back in for sits and downs. And back out. But today WAS different than any other day. It seems that somehow during the course of morning, I have grown another leg!

Now, just where is it? And this brings my total of legs up to what number? Mom says I now have five. I can only see two most of the time with two more sometimes near my tummy when I lie down, but not always. So, I conclude that I have two always-legs, two sometimes-legs and one nebulous one floating around Dog knows where waiting for the opportune time to attach itself to me…somewhere.

I am a bit Nervous A all right waiting for that leg to strike. Mom says not to worry, though, it is an obedient leg and will heel along with me with no trouble at all. And when I have miraculously acquired one more obedient leg, I will finally have that compact disk, the point of all this ring-with-no-cheese nonsense.

All in all, though, the day was fun. The best part was the cheese, and the next best part was the yellow squeaky monkey that matches my yellow third place ribbon. Mom can have the ribbon, it doesn’t taste very good. I will tease Zoe with the monkey next time I see her.