Monday, April 30, 2012

Doggy Tales -- Bailey

Contributed by Jackie Bouchard

The Perfect Caper

If you’ve ever loved a beagle, you know that the adorable little tri-colored hound is not so much a dog as a nose on four legs. And not just any nose. No, this nose is fine-tuned to the tempting smells of edible items that waft past on the slightest of breezes. The beagle is indeed a hunter – a hunter of elusive snacks.

I think beagles in general, and the four I knew and loved specifically, have a fairly wide definition of what constitutes “edible.” Just run through a list of somewhat questionable delicacies with any handy beagle, and these might be his or her responses: Dead animals? Sure. An entire stick of butter? Of course; how can you even ask that! Cat poop? Yes, please. Bird seed? Yeah, I’m game.
One prime snack-hunter example was my sister’s beagle, Casanova, who could go into an amazing stealth mode whenever unattended food presented itself. One minute, there’s a house full of my siblings, nieces and nephews, clearing the Easter brunch table, bustling to-and-fro from kitchen to dining room; and the next minute there’s a beagle standing in the middle of said table eating a block of cream cheese. How he got up there with all of us around, and without his tags ever jingling once, is one of life’s great mysteries. The story is probably passed to beagle puppies as part of their training and oral history.
Our own beagle, Bailey, was likewise—to put it mildly—a chow hound. (Luckily she was addicted to chasing the laser light, so we’d “buzz” her around the house three times per day every day to help her maintain her girlish figure.) She was known to eat many of the items mentioned above, but by far her favorite thing to eat was people food.

My husband and I got her at just eight weeks old when we were living in Ontario, Canada attending graduate school. I’d had dogs before growing up (including an amazing beagle named Barney) but my husband was new to the whole dog thing. We had grand ideals: at night, she was going to sleep in a crate, not our bed; in the living room, we designated a dog bed as hers, no sofa surfing for our girl; and, finally, she was going to eat dog food, not people food. We did not want to have a beggar on our hands!
Well, after three nights of whining, Bailey was out of the crate and in our bed. (After all, we lived in an apartment building at the time and we were just concerned about the neighbors…). As for the sofa, she claimed that pretty much right away. She was so tiny! So cute! How could you not want her on the sofa and in the bed with you? Still handful-sized, it was only the mornings when we awoke to find her sleeping on one or the other of our heads for warmth that we regretted our decision.
As for the begging… well, let’s just say that this girl honed her craft over a lifetime, but even from a young age she could widen those big brown eyes and look at you just so from under her concerned brow in a way that turned your arm, quite against your will, into a food-dispensing lever. Later in life she added a cheek-sucking-in move that I wish we’d photographed. She could give you a hypnotic “I haven’t eaten in hours, I mean days” look, and the next thing you know you’re handing over the last bite of your ice cream.
Bailey could beg a morsel off the Scroogiest of eaters. She could remember every spot where she’d ever found a random bit of, say, dropped barbecue in the park and drag you to it each time you got within a quarter mile. She could poke the cupboard door with her nose until it opened, revealing the trash and all its glorious tidbits therein. (We had to start tying it shut with a kitchen towel.) Once, she literally took candy from a baby—and it looked just as easy as they always say it is.
But the most memorable food-related thing Bailey ever did happened one day when we were still living in that old student-housing apartment building. My husband’s friend had dropped by unexpectedly. Just as we opened the door to greet him, our neighbor walked out his door. Bailey, who’d never bolted from the apartment before, flew out our door and into the neighbor’s apartment, where his roommate sat on the sofa eating pizza. She leapt up on the sofa next to him, snatched the last piece of pizza off his plate, and raced out to devour her treasure in the hallway! She must have smelled it through the thin walls and plotted her perfect crime. I can just picture her, every time she smelled pizza next door thinking, “If only someone would come to visit at the exact same time that they open their door!” I imagine her waiting. Plotting. Calculating time, distance and speed. Until that one perfect storm of simultaneously opened doors while hot, cheesy pizza waited in the hands of an unsuspecting student.

You never saw a happier dog. Or a more surprised college kid.

Learn more about Jackie and find ways to connect with her at: 


REMEMBER: Doggy Tales is reader contributed. If you have, or have had, a finned, feathered, or furry friend you were fortunate enough to share your life with, we want to hear about it! Leave a comment here with an addy where I can contact you, or click the FaceBook link on the right hand side and PM me. Your article will be featured in a future Monday segment. :) 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Cami Checketts Huge Fitness Giveaway

We’re celebrating the release of Cami Checketts’ novel Dead Running
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Autographed copy of Dead Running
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Win one of these amazing prizes simply by following this blog or liking my Facebook
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Follow this blog or like my Facebook page and leave a comment below to enter to win one of these great prizes. Please list the top three prizes you're interested in with your comment. An entry will be chosen from each of the participating blogs. Prize winners will be posted be on Cami’s Blog.
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The blogs involved in this giveaway are some of the top fitness, running, book, and Mom blogs on the internet. Have fun checking out their content and entering the fitness giveaway on each of their sites.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Doggy Tales -- Andy

Submitted by Terrance L. Weber

When we found Andy at the local animal shelter he had some behavior problems. Even so, most of the time he was just a very playful little one-year-old brown terrier. They told me Andy had a reputation of being a “biter.” They said that if I did not adopt him they were going to put him down the next day because he was not the kind of dog who was readily adoptable, and because of a limited budget, the fewer un-adoptable dogs they have to feed – the better for them. 

As soon as I heard what was going to happen, I thought that was not right for such a young dog so I decided I wanted to at least give Andy a fair chance to survive and live with me and my family so we could try to help him have a good long life in the days ahead. 

I asked the people at the animal shelter to tell us what they knew about Andy’s history. They said, as a little puppy he was found running around the neighborhood as a stray, eating out garbage cans and barking at everyone. They also said the dog warden had a lot of trouble catching him. When finally caught, he was taken to the dog shelter where we found him. They said even the attendants at the shelter could not go near him because he would always try to bite them. 

The panic he experienced during his capture had calmed down somewhat when I first saw him. They had been able to put a collar and leash on him and they gave him a plush toy to chase, chew on and play with. He loved that toy. Andy and I got along just fine when we first met and he seemed to know he could trust me to not hurt him, so I paid the fee for him and took him home as “my dog.” 

We had Andy for four years and as it happened, I never could totally correct his bad behavior or his biting. During those years he bit my hands several times. It seems to me that during those times he was somehow biting in self-defense because I had accidentally touched some very sensitive part of his body. As time went on he sort of adopted me as “his pack leader” and after awhile, we became buddies. 

I did not have a lot of time to spend with Andy; so instead, I used to take him with me in the car whenever I went, to the bank, the post office and the grocery store. He loved to ride in the car with me. 

When I had the time, before a walk, I put a small backpack on him and took him for long walks around the neighborhood. While we were walking I tried to teach him how to walk and behave properly while on a leash. I noticed that the backpack seemed to make Andy feel special for some reason. 

You see, as soon as that backpack was strapped on Andy he would walk without pulling on his leash. He soon learned to follow my commands. As time went on I discovered that wearing that backpack seemed to give Andy a sense of responsibility and worth. In fact, every time he saw me take the backpack and his leash off of the hook, he got very excited, stood still and quietly waited while I fastened it on his back with no biting. He just loved to wear his backpack and be able to do useful work. 

Over time, I was able to teach him to “heel” and to walk quietly beside me, with no pulling. I taught him to stop – at my command – at every cross street, and to sit and wait for me to say: “OK.” After awhile, he would automatically sit at every cross street with no commands from me. 

A few months ago Andy became quite sick with allergies and ear problems. He often acted like he was in pain as he shook his head and tried to scratch the inside of his ears with his toenails. We tried to put ear drops in his ears but the only way we could do that was by putting a muzzle on his face so he could not bite us. 

When I finally took Andy to the veterinary hospital for an examination, all of the staff told me that in their professional opinion Andy had some internal and invisible injury or sore spots that, when touched, made him react by biting whoever touched him. In short, the vet did his best to help me understand that to put Andy “down,” was the best way to help Andy and to stop his painful suffering. 

Even now, months later, I can say thanks to everyone at the vet’s office who helped me make the decision to end Andy’s life – acceptable and understandable for me. 

It was not an easy decision, as you would know if you had seen my tears as I held Andy on my lap and watched him go to sleep and then sort of fade away and leave this world, but I’m sure it was the best decision for my friend –my dog Andy. 

You should know, I expect to meet a healthy Andy when I get to Heaven to spend eternity there -- and I will again have Andy trotting proudly beside me --  backpack and all... 

Visit Terrance at Smashwords.


REMEMBER: Doggy Tales is reader contributed. If you have, or have had, a finned, feathered, or furry friend you were fortunate enough to share your life with, we want to hear about it! Leave a comment here with your addy  where I can contact you, or click the FaceBook link (right hand side of this blog) and send me a PM. Your article will be featured in a future Monday segment.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Doggy Tales -- A Teddy Tale

I have a dog. Well, a dog has me. Maybe I’d best start with how I came in possession of my talking dog. Yes, I said talking dog. Don’t think dogs can talk? Well, hang on and I’ll explain.
We’d lost our German shorthair, Molly in September, after thirteen wonderful years and we were devastated by the loss. My wife arranged with a friend who’d rescued an abandoned pregnant dog to take one of her pups for my birthday. I fell in love with this little roly-poly fur-ball at first sight and called him Teddy because he reminded me of a real live teddy bear. At the time he was nine weeks old and weighed just thirteen pounds. The vet took one look at him and told me that Teddy had dinner plate paws. I didn't know what he meant, but I soon learned. Two months later, he was already up to thirty-five pounds, and growing fast, though his appetite was never excessive. Our other dog, a shepherd mix named Bear, got along well with the pup, but was annoyed when the 'little' dog started herding him around the yard. Little did Bear know what would happen over the next six months when Teddy grew to equal Bear's ninety pounds and beyond.


Then Teddy began to talk to us. Only one problem; his tongue wouldn’t let him annunciate properly. That didn’t deter him as he issued his guttural commentary any time he needed some attention. Not a growl or a bark, just an ongoing series of hilarious sounds, accompanied by hysterical expressions of his eyes and brows. This dog can make you understand what he wants with his face and his voice.

 Now a whopping one hundred seventy pounds, Teddy is still growing, though he’s nearly mature at two and a half years. When Teddy barks, the walls shake and folks quake. The behemoth sounds ferocious, but in truth he’s afraid of his shadow. It is clear that he still thinks of himself as that little thirteen pound fur-ball that stole our hearts.

Back to Teddy’s talking prowess. He loves to engage in dialogue with the missus and me. We begin a discussion and Teddy interjects his guttural commentary in ten to twenty second bursts. He hates being interrupted and gives us a ferocious glare if we try to talk over him. Usually ends with us laughing and wiping tears from our eyes from his sincere intensity. Because he doesn’t speak English and we don’t speak Dog, we have to guess at what he’s telling us, but it is always fun to try.
Now I’m engaged in writing a romance, with Teddy as protagonist and narrator. He tells the tale of a woman who casts off hubbies like last year’s fashions, trying to find one who can get along with her big dog (Teddy, of course). There is a man in the story that gets along with Teddy, but Andrea has overlooked him. Do you see the catalyst for a good romance here? Yep, complete with the dreaded black moment and, naturally, a happy ending for man, woman, and dog.
That’s my Teddy. Oh, if you’ve been wondering his breed? He’s an Alaskan Malamute/ Great Pyrenees mix, with a soft downy undercoat that makes him soft to the touch, warm to winter breezes, and a mess to clean up after. We once had a Malamute, Sebastian, who weighed in at one hundred pounds and was a handful in his own right. I expected Teddy to be about that size, but I got more than I’d bargained for. Truth told, I’m so in love with this dog, it doesn’t matter his size, or the extent of his shedding.
We are grateful that he is such a positive, happy dog, though. If Teddy were a grouch, or God forbid, mean, I don’t think we could keep up with him. Darn, that dog is fast when he bolts. We have four foot fences and he could easily clear them if he only knew it. He doesn’t, and we want to keep it that way. His bark is enough to keep ne’er-do-wells away from our home, and where we live, those types are always nearby.
Talk about a gentle giant! Luckily, we have an old Caravan with the middle seat removed. Well beyond two hundred thousand miles under its belt, it is now our canine cab. Bear and Teddy live for the weekends, when we take them for drives to one of the nearby Missouri state parks.
With the physical problems in my legs now, I have to wait with the van while Patricia takes them for a long walk. One at a time. She’s taken them together a few times but at ninety and one seventy pounds, they’re almost too much for her. Especially when they roust out a deer or, on one occasion, a mountain lion that was lurking in the edge of the adjoining woods. So much for the myth of no mountain lions in Missouri.
And so much for leading either dog into those woods any more. Now we stick to the mown part of the park. Life has enough drama without teasing wild animals with our domesticated pair. Patricia had enough of a challenge the day a rabbit spooked Teddy and he lurched, pulling her off balance in into a painful face-plant. Bent her glasses, bloodied her lip, blackened one eye, and destroyed her buoyant personality in one fell swoop. Or was it one swell foop? Lol
Suffice it to say, she did not return to the van smiling that day. The good news? He never bolted, even though she dropped the leash when she hit the ground. Like a good pal, he stood over her, looking around to see that she was safe until she could get her glasses bent back enough to see which way to go. And from the look on his face, he was very sorry for his boo-boo.
And that’s Teddy’s Tale from Missouri with Pat Dale.

Visit Pat at his website.


REMEMBER:  Doggy Tales is reader contributed. If you have, or have had, a furry, finned, or feathered friend you were fortunate enough to share your life with, we want to hear about it! Leave a comment here at an addy where I can contact you. Your article will be featured in a future Monday segment. :)