Category Archives: backyard critters

Mystery Solved!

Hi Fellow Bloggers!

I know you were concerned about Opie! Let me put your worries to rest. He is much, much better. In fact, he’s fine now. So what happened?

What was wrong with him?

Well, the vet’s receptionist actually made an accurate guess based on what I told her?

Opie was stung in the paw by a bee.

Here’s what we think happened.

Opie went outside to take care of some personal business and do his usual squirrel patrol. Two days ago when this happened, it was a nice sunny day. I think it was about 74 degrees outside. I know my lilies and geraniums were blooming quite nicely as were a number of other plants in the neighborhood. So, even though it’s currently raining and 54 degrees outside right now, two days ago it was a beautiful day, a great day for bees to be out and about foraging for their hives.

Opie at some point encountered a bee, maybe it got stuck in his fur, maybe it entered the house with him and before my husband could close the back door. (Here again another reason to get a doggie door! Stop the entry of flying insects through the open back door!)

When my husband returned from picking the kids up from school — I stayed home to keep an eye on Opie– Michael found a dead or dying bee inside the house in the front door entryway. It did not have its stinger!

We had a 4PM appointment with the vet, and at 3:50PM Opie and I were on our way. I told the vet what we’d discovered. I should mention that by the time we got to the vet, Opie had STOPPED walking on 3 legs. He was walking on his sore foot. He’d spent the entire time at home with me licking and chewing on it.

Dr. Miyazaki gave Opie a very thorough examination and started really examining Opie’s affected paw. She spent a long time looking at each individual little pad and “finger” and finally said, “Aha! What’s this!? She pulled out a quarter inch long black stinger from in between his pads. YIKES! If I hadn’t been so busy holding Opie still during this examination, I’d have taken a picture of it. But here’s what it looked like.

I couldn’t see the little jagged parts, but based on the fact that we have regular bees in our neighborhood I think this is what it must look like under a magnifying glass or microscope. A bees stinger is attached to the abdomen, so when the bee stings its victim, half its belly gets ripped out. Sometimes that belly part is visible on the surface of the skin. The venom sac may be attached there as well. Neither the abdomen nor the sac was visible on between Opie’s pads, but he’d been working on it with his tongue and teeth for about 2 hours. Luckily, he is not a dog that has a bad reaction to bee stings beyond pain.

She saw only the slightest little inflammation around the sting area and he had no signs of stronger reaction.

HALLELUJA!

Bee sting reactions in our pets can run the same range of severity as those in humans. Some dogs are going to go into anaphylactic shock and possibly die and some are going to be mildly irritated by the pain and that’s that. We were lucky that Opie is NOT allergic and didn’t have a severe reaction. He was bothered only by the sting itself and didn’t have any swelling or difficulty breathing. His pooping in the bedroom and hiding must have been based on fear of the flying insect that hurt him. Opie already has a definite fear of flies. He’d like me to keep that under wraps, but he goes a little nutty if we get a fly in the house. I imagine he’ll be even worse now.

Dr. Miyazaki finished off our appointment with a fast-acting cortisone shot to make his paw a bit more comfortable and then we were good to go. Opie has been fine ever since.

I know other bloggers have written about how to deal with your dog if they are stung by a bee, but I want to share what I’ve found out as well. This is a particular problem for anyone who lives in an area where there’s no real winter. As I said, it’s currently about 54 degrees outside and raining, but where we live, all those clouds could blow over during the night and tomorrow it’s 82 and sunny. It is possible to have a heat wave on Christmas day here! This is of course FABULOUS! But it also means that our “Bee” season never really ends. A couple days before this happened I recall finding a dying bee in the driveway. He could have been dying because the temperature dropped unexpectedly that day, or from that “bee” disease that’s been going around. The point is that if you live in an area like mine, please be vigilant and about bees. This could have been a horribly tragic incident. If Opie had been allergic, he could have died before I could get him even to the emergency vet. My kids would have come home from school to tragedy!

Bee Sting care for Dogs

Okay so here’s what I found out about regarding Bee sting care for dogs.

If you are lucky enough to witness the sting, check your dog immediately and find the sting area

If the dog has been stung in the mouth or face or ears don’t waste time…RUN, not walk to the vet! Call your vet immediately and grab your car keys! A dog stung inside the mouth is serious business, especially if the tongue begins to swell or the dog tried to swallow the bee or wasp. This kind of a sting can cut off their air supply and become life threatening quickly. So don’t let any grass grow under you feet. Hustle your bustle to the vet.

To treat a dog’s bee sting, the first thing you need to do is to remove the stinger. Do not use tweezers to remove the stinger. Tweezers will squeeze more venom into the wound. Get something with an edge to scrape across the surface of the skin to remove the stinger. Dr. Miyazaki used her nails and a tissue, but she’s an expert. My nails are not nearly long enough and my stomach is not nearly strong enough (Yes, I’m a pansy!) A bee sting will have a venom sac attached; a wasp sting will be more cone-shaped with barbs.

If your dog is not displaying any signs of severe swelling or difficulty breathing you might have time to make a little poultice to ease his pain. Personally, I’d just take the stinger out and hustle my bustle to the vet. I’m not a vet so I’d rather pay the cost than lose my dog because I was worried about the cost. I’ll talk more about how much Opie’s bill was in a moment. So, if he or she looks okay and you have to wait around to go to the vet anyway you can make a little poultice of baking soda and water. A little vinegar soaked pad will also counteracts the venom. By the way, this works for humans too. A mud pack will also draw out toxins; you can also make a little poultice of crushed plantain leaves. And let’s not forget about a little antihistamine, like Benadryl. However, I’d hold off on the OTC stuff. The vet is bound to have better drugs and you don’t want to cause a problem by dosing your pet before the vet can give you something more effective, or better. Additionally, you’ll have to consult them about dosage anyway. A good old fashioned icepack is also useful to bring down the swelling.

Here are the things to watch out for after the sting.

Labored breathing, wheezing, fast breathing, anaphylactic shock, collapsing, vomiting, diarrhea, pale gums, trembling or weakness, pale gums, excessive drooling, a fever or agitation.

If your pet exhibits any one of these things, hustle your bustle – call the vet and get yourself and your furbaby over there asap!

How do we Protect our Furbabies from the Flying Stinging Menace?

There’s not much we can do to keep the little stinging bees and wasps from bugging our beloved pets when they roam free in our back yards. Opie investigates every corner of the yard. He tracks squirrels relentlessly under the bushes and through the ivy.

However, there are a few things you can do to make things a little safer. We do these things, but as you can see there’s no complete remedy if you want your dog to enjoy the backyard and being outside. I have no desire to turn him into the “bubble dog.”

Here are some measures we’ve taken and that you can take as well.

We regularly inspect the eaves of the house and tree branches for wasp nests and bee hives. I have had to call L.A. County Vector Control twice to have both a bee hive and a wasps nest removed from cypress trees and our 60 year old ficus. We no longer have a significant wasp problem since we cut down the cypress trees (I never liked them) and I regularly “napalm” the eaves of the house when I find a wasp nest.

On walks, just to be nice to my neighbors I keep Opie out of flower beds. He’s not allowed to lift his leg anywhere near them and sometimes we hop into the street if the azaleas are blooming. (Double whammy for him – it’s a tall bush that he wants to mark and it’s a flowering bush where wasps and bees like to forage!) So keep your pups out of the flower beds!

Also be careful about water sources. Bees and wasps like to drink from stagnant pools, and puddles. Occasionally they fall in and drown, but their stingers are still dangerous even after death. So don’t let Fido near it. We have to be vigilant about standing water anyway in our neighborhood and our yard due to the whole disease bearing mosquito issue.

So fellow bloggers. Keep your puppies safe. This could have been a very sad article indeed. Personally, I thank God that Opie is not allergic. We all would have been devastated.

So on a happier note … expect the following postings from Opie coming your way… his Xmas list, A diatribe against flying insects, a rant about squirrels, a poem or cartoon or two, and other topics that he’s been bandying about with me.

 

Have a great day! Give your furrbaby an extra special cuddle from Opie’s Mom

Peace out,

Opie’s Mom

 

 

 

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Who Dat? Who Dare?!!!

“Good night Michael!”

“Good night Gregory!”

“Good night Mom!”

“Good night Dad!”

“Good night Boys! Sleep tight!”

“Good night Opie!”

“Yeah, Good night Opie!”

And all the lights are out. We sleep with the windows open. Yes, we live in the city, but the distant wail of sirens and the occasional person driving by with their music blasting is our lullaby. 

My husband is the first to drift off. Eventually, I have to shake him into a new position. His snores are drowning out the truck horn sounding in the distance.  Finally, it’s quiet and we drift off into that deep comfortable sleep, the kind you crave after a long and busy day — all muscles relaxed, deep in the cocoon of your warm bed, boneless relaxation.

I sleep , but the sound of Opie’s nails on the wood floor shift me to drowsy wakefulness.  What is he up to?  He’s fully house trained, but I have little boys who get up in the middle of  the night to pee. It’s hard for me to countenance that our 8 month old puppy can “hold it” until his 6:45 AM walk.  I look at the clock. It’s 4 AM. I wonder if the 2 hours and 45 minutes sleep is worth, the “clean up” if it turns out he’s picked up the boys’ late night  habits. 

It’s not.  I sit up in bed. Opie is standing at the window peering intently outside. His tail is up, not curved, but straight up like an exclamation point. We have french doors with window side panels in our room. He’s looking out of the open side panel.  There’s something out there.

Then I hear it. A low almost inaudible growl. Opie is not happy about whatever is skulking about in the ivy. He hasn’t even noticed that I’ve swung my legs out of the bed and am standing next to him.  He’s intent  on the darkness. Of course, I can’t see anything. Whatever is out there hasn’t crossed the motion sensitive backyard light yet.  When or if it does,  Opie will wake the entire neighborhood with his doggy outrage.

“Opie, go to bed!” He looks at me, clearly contemplating ignoring me. He looks back out the window and gives a soft “Woof!”

I close the  window panel. ” Go to bed, Opie!” 

Opie turns and goes back to his bed.  So do I.

I crack the window panel  near my head and just then catch a strong whiff of the scent that must have woken Opie! 

Skunk!

I close and latch the window.

I make certain the latch is set on both windows.

Through the window I can hear Wednesday, the little terrier next door. Obviously, she’s caught the scent as well. 

For now, we’ve dodged the skunk.


My Tree — What happened to it?

My back yard has a great tree in it. Squirrels hide in it.

I love to bark at them. I love it when they jump off the branches to the telephone wires that run to the neighbor’s yards. Once, one of them missed the mark and fell on the ground. Dog, that was a great day!

Best chase I ever had! He got away, but I have hopes – high hopes of a repeat! Mama says to tell you what kind of tree it is and how old it is so that you can imagine better how big it was. First of all, it’s a Ficus. My tree was planted in 1954. It is 56 years old! It is the biggest tree on the street and is taller than a two story house. The branches span the entire width of the backyard and even go a few feet over into my neighbor’s yard. Mama says this is the root of the whole situation – whatever that means. In the summer it is about 5-7 full degrees cooler in the backyard under this tree than the front yard. I can attest to that. It is HUGE!

Anyway, a few days ago I was banned from the backyard. A big truck pulled up to the house and lots of guys – strangers got out of it. I couldn’t see what they were doing, but they were up to no good!  I barked at them every time I saw one of them come back to the front of the house.  I was banned from the back of the house. I couldn’t look out into the backyard to see what they were up to.  I heard a lot of disturbing noises coming from my backyard — Mechanical whining, shouting, funny chopping sounds, whirring sounds and the sounds of heavy things dropping to the ground. Mama took me on a long walk cause I was going a little nuts in the house. 

I’ll let the pictures tell the story.

The men left before dark and Mom let me into the back room. I looked out the window and … Well,


Mom wouldn’t let me out there. Sawdust and sharp branches were everywhere! I think it looked like fun!  Mom went outside to take a picture and I could see that the branches were almost to her chin!  It was a jungle!

The next day, they came back.  Mam said they had to clean up and finish the trimming my tree.  The same guys came in their truck, but and I barked at them good!

They finished early in the day, and Mom let me out. We all went out.
What happened to my tree?

Where before there was this towering canopy of green that hid all kinds of stuff, now there was all this ….. Well… sunlight and sky! The backyard is so BRIGHT!

I’m not sure how I feel about that. I went sniffing around and I could smell those strange men. They’d been everywhere – even in the places Mama and the boys won’t chase me! They’d been in Mama’s flower bed. She wasn’t happy. Some of my favorite bushes were crushed.

I suppose the upside to this is that the squirrels don’t have a good place to hide anymore. The branches are NAKED! I can see all the way to the top of the tree!

I don’t know though. So far this trimming has not brought me too much backyard luck. I had that impromptu bath right after I went out  and rolled in something that THEY must have uncovered. 

I’m not sure that this wasn’t a bad omen.
Well friends, wish me luck!

At least the base of the tree is still the same. It still smells like it’s mine!

Well time for me to take a walk outside. I’ll put my own special imprint on it so nobody gets confused.

Smell you later,

Your pal,

Opie


Happy Thanksgiving — Uh Oh…. No… Not Again!

Our Thanksgiving morning began beautifully. Sunlight came streaming into the bedroom. Opie was sleeping peacefully on his side in between my husband and me. He looked so peaceful and content. I woke up groggy but rested.  My husband let Opie out into the back yard and reported that Opie had bolted to his favorite tree and done his duty with enthusiasm and passion.  I dropped back off to sleep.

Spongebob smelling something foul

Oh My God! What is that Smell!

Sometime later my husband let Opie back in.  This is what I heard as I burrowed deep into the warm covers.

“Did you have fun out there? … Wow you are really muddy!  No, not on the bed… OH MY GOD! WHAT’S THAT SMELL? OFF! OFF! OFF! “

I caught a whiff of something … and my nasal passageways slammed shut — I am a veteran mom and I have great olfactory self defense.  I stopped breathing immediately.  I pulled the covers farther over my head and shoved my head under the pillow.

Honey — the dog is a mess you’re going ot have to clean him up!” Said my husband.

Okay, some of you are wondering why the person who let the dog out into the muck that he rolled in is asking the person who was innocently sleeping and minding her own business to deal with this dirty job.  Well, here it is. You may recall that Opie was pretty leery of Dad when he was first adopted. Of course, he adores Dad now, but Dad has a lingering concern that because he’s not the top love monkey for Opie he will not get forgiven as easily for cleaning “assaults” as the number 1 love monkey.  As you all know, I am Opie’s number one love monkey. He loves me even though I’m the one that takes him to the vet for shots and rude examinations as well as the hated pet groomers.  He forgives me every time!  So these tasks fall to me. Besides, myhusband had to take the turkey out of the brine and do his magical Thanksgiving voodoo on it — a very important job!

I got up — put on my slippers and my glasses and headed to the living room where there was a brand new bottle of dry shampoo and doggy deodorizer. I went for the Chicken Jerky as well — Opie was going to need some persuading to sit still while I worked this stuff into his hair and brushed and washed  him with wipes and rags. Chicken Jerky is my secret weapon.

I went to work.  Half a bottle of dry shampoo later,  I asked my husband to wet a rag with warm water and some Dawn dishwashing soap! Whatever this stuff was it was not coming out.  I’d knocked out 50% of the smell, but Opie was still quite pungent.  He was going to compete with the smell of the turkey roasting.

Two of these Dawn filled wash clothes later and Opie  and I were headed toward the bathroom. Opie would have his first bath in the house!  I should mention we’d been reluctant to do this washing ourselves because his hair is so wispy. I had a horror of washing him and matting him up so  badly that we’d have to have his little body shaved. 

Turns out it wasn’t so bad. We have a shower/bath that has shower doors.  I ran the water and  set it perfectly ( I am thankful for our New Tankless Water heater that gives us INSTANT Hot Water — no waiting)  Opie and I got into the tub. ( Yes, I was still in my PJ’s.)  I set him down in 2 inches of warm water and watched the mud swirl away from his little paws.  We didn’t have any special doggy shampoo, but I’ve got kids. Here comes the Suave Kids 2 and 1 Wild Watermelon scented shampoo.  It’s kids shampoo, but it even has a dog on it! 

By this time Opie and I now have an audience. The boys are up. Gregory gets Opie a big Spiderman beach towel, runs to clean his grooming brush and fetches my blow dryer.  Opie had three shampoos and rinses.   Michael gave Opie a lot of sympathetic pats.

I would have taken a photo but ALL hands were busy with the dog or with the Turkey, so no camera.  Let’s just say the fluffy dog you see in the  top right hand corner of this page looked more like a miniature Italian Greyhound than a Schnauzer.

Italian Greyhound from 1915

Italian Greyhound -- What Opie looks like wet!

 

His hair was slicked down completely on his body. I made the water warmer — he was shivering. We got a great lather going, and finally he was rinsed.  I dried him off in the shower and then sat down on the closed lid of the toilet to dry him off.  Luckily, our heater was going full bore at this hour so all of us were toasty.  After some towel drying, Gregory started up the blow dryer. He stood about 3 feet back. My blow dryer can straighten hair and I’ve burned myself with it. I didn’t want Opie get burned.  We brushed and dried and brushed and dried and soon he was silky smooth.  We took a break from the dryer while Gregory washed Opie’s collar which turned out to be caked in the malodorous stuff. It was even stuck to his tags. (I began to see how people lose their dogs. On Black Friday, I’ll be at the pet store buying Opie a back up collar.)

Michael fetched some diaper wipes so that we could get the last of the goo out of Opie’s eyes. Michael and Gregory dried Opie’s collar.

Finally, he was done — 95% dry, but 100% clean!  He looked just as good as he does when we come back from the groomers. 

Total time for home grooming operation — 45 minutes!

We just learned something. Opie doesn’t have to wait for the groomers for a bath. Additionally, his hair feels really, really good!  Suave is quite good– it’ll do in a pinch.

Opie stayed clean the rest of the day. No more unsupervised backyard time until we locate it, and  the gardners come sweep it or dig it away.   Our day improved from then on . We shared a lovely meal with Grandma Gloria and Grandpa Joe.  Opie had a his own Thanksgiving meal of Innova Kibble with a layer of turkey breast and thigh meat with drippings as well. — that doesn’t count whatever he managed to scavange as I was chopping things for the dressing.  He spent most of the day with his nose in the air.   I was happy to fill his nostrils with the smells of roasting turkey, candied yams, collard greens and pumpkin pie.

Thoughts from Opie on the situation

How the @#$% was I supposed to know that really cool smelling stuff was going to get me into so much trouble! It smelled different from the last stuff I rolled in.  Geez! They are SOOOOOO picky!

I must say that I’d rather spend 45 minutes at home than 5 hours at the groomers, just sitting around and waiting.  Mom didn’t cut or clip anything and she even got in the tub with me.   All my family was with me.  Maybe home baths aren’t so bad.   But I don’t like that dryer. It’s too loud.

I can go anywhere in the house.  I can roll on everyone’s bed and Michael and Gregory have a lot of sympathy for me.  I’ve gotten tummy rubs from EVERYBODY today – even Grandpa Joe and Grandma Gloria. Joe says I’m spoiled.

Thanksgiving Dinner

My dinner was AMAZING! And the house smells like HEAVEN!   Grandpa Joe fed me MORE turkey when he took his plate to the kitchen. I heard Mama tell him not too, but he did it anyway.  Grandma gave me some too.  Later that night as Mom was putting things in the refrigerator she tore me a really good delicious piece — juicey and dark. 

I LOVE Thanksgiving!


Snorkie Musings — Opie’s Thunderstorm Dreams!

 

 Do you every wonder what your dog is dreaming?   


I CAN TOO CLIMB!

Squirrel eating

Squirrel eating a nut. This isn't my squirrel, but it might as well be. Dirty Rotten Squirrel!

Hi Guys,

Opie here!

The squirrels were at it again. They were chattering at me, taunting me from their perches on the skinny branches.  I had had enough!

Rotten  &%$@#  Squirrels!

Mom took me for my walk in the afternoon. I could tell she was tired and it was going to be a short one because it was hot outside.  She put my big leash on, the one that let’s me go way far out in front of her until she hits the  “STOP” button.  We came out to the front yard and as usual I went to the pine tree in front of the garage. There’s a squirrel that loves to sit in the tree, eat the pine nuts and throw the cones down on my head. ( &$#*$&(!)  

Mom sat down on the neighbors wall and let me do my usual thing — scoping out the squirrel scent and letting them know that I’ve got my eyes on them.  She started talking to the lady across the street and that’s when I tried it. 

I climbed the tree!

Scoping out my climbing options

Here I am scoping out my climbing options

The leash was loose so mom didn’t notice  what I was doing for a while. She was busy talking to the lady.  The pine tree is really crooked along the bottom. The first foot of it is bent like a knee.  I can stand up on my hind legs and rest my paws easily on it.  I pushed off with my back legs and PRESTO!  I was able to jump up onto that bend.  I was up OFF THE GROUND!  I was standing up on the bend in the branch. I was trying to get to the next big

I spot my prey -- SQUIRREL!
I spot my prey — SQUIRREL

bend. I figured I could jump and use my claws and get to the next little twisty part. It would be hard but I was confident.  The squirrel had been chattering at me, but I could see him looking down at me with his beady little eyes. Soon he would be mine. I couldn’t wait to sink my teeth into his grey and red squirrely fur. Oh Joy! I was just about to make the jump and … 

Just about to make my move
I am just about to make my move.

 

“OPIE!!!! Get down from there!”

Mom was standing by the tree. She had a really strange expression on her face. I was about 2 and 1/2 feet of the ground up a tree!  The leash was tangled in these little starter branches on the knee branch that I was standing on. 

Mom was grumbling at me pretty good as she unwound the leash and pulled me out of the tree.  She grumbled pretty much during the whole walk.  I did n’t know humans could growl. 

I didn’t mind.  Now, I know I can climb a tree!  Those squirrels are in for a  BIG SURPRISE! 

 

“Oh I love them Squirrelies!
Squirrelies what I love to eat!
Bite they little heads off! Nibble on they tiny feet!
Dah, dah, dah, dad, dum, dee, dee, dee , tee, dum!”

 


My Collar — a Love– Hate Relationship

Hi guys,

Mom let me write this posting!  I wanted to complain about my collar. 

I ‘m tired of it.  I wear it all the time and it’s noisy! 

Chain Martingale Dog Collar by http://www.Pink...

This isn't mine, but my mom is looking at them on the internet. I don't like pink!

When I was at the shelter, I didn’t have one. Then the lady from the rescue came and got me she put a collar on me that had this dangly thing on it. 

When my mom got me from the rescue lady, she and the boys took me to a big pet store. Gregory and Michael, my human big brothers, picked out a pretty blue collar for me that had waves on it. I don’t know what waves are but that’s what they said it was. It was a Martingale like the black one I had on. They changed my collar right there in the pet store. That day I also got another tag to add to the other one. I was very jingly like Christmas bells. 

For a while I really liked that collar.  But, I got tired of having it on all the time. I jingled every time I moved. 

Scratch my ear. Jingle, jingle! Sit up. Jingle, jingle! Lick my parts. Jingle, jingle.

It’s annoying!

Dad said I was too noisy so he took the rings off the tags and put all of them on one ring.  That made things a little better, but then my license came in the mail. Dad added a THIRD tag to the ring. Mom bought some of those rubber things you can put around the tags and keep them from making a lot of noise.  It was very chewy.  Mom had to dig it out of my mouth.

Collar too loose

Then Dad said my collar was too loose. He tightened it but it was still really, really loose. I hoped he wouldn’t notice, but he notices everything. He’s the one that picks the stickers out of my chin and pulls stuff out of my paws when I can’t quite get it.

 New Collar

A few days ago Mom got me another collar. She tried to get a smaller blue one like the one the boys picked out. But they were out of them. My new collar is smaller and it’s red with a funny design on it.

I don’t’ think mom likes it though. She says it’s too thin and she’s always rubbing the edges trying to make duller.  She’s not happy about how short my hair has gotten right around the edge.

Why do I need a collar at all?

Actually, I don’t see why I need a collar at all.  I asked mom and we had a talk about it.

Conversation with Mom as translated from the original Snorkie

Mom: Opie, did you knock the screen out of the bedroom window the other day trying to get that grey cat?”

The Gas Man

This isn't our gas man but he wears that orange thingy. I hate him!

Me:  Well, yes Mama. That cat doesn’t belong in our backyard, and she poops under the swing set and that’s gross and…

Mom: Did you bark at the gas man when he came through the backyard to read the meter?

Me:   Yes, and he doesn’t belong in our backyard either. He’s ..

Mom: Opie,  did  the gas man leave the fence gate open when he came in?

Me:  Yes, he did, the ….

Mom: And what would you have done if I hadn’t closed the window?

Me: Jumped out and chased him all the way out of the yard.    

     

“I should mention that I realized that I was about to lose the argument here so I started licking my parts and pretending I wasn’t listening. My human brothers look out the window or play with their game boys when the lecture starts. I don’t have thumbs so I have to make do.”

Mom:  Now, Opie, you know we don’t want you to get lost, right?  We do our best to keep you safe in the house. We take you off leash in the house and at the dog park and in our backyard.  We never take the collar off, because it’s got all your information on it. If you ever got out of the yard and got loss, someone could read your tags and know who you belong to. It’s got all our information on it and if for some reason we didn’t get to you quickly, Randee’s information from Lhasa Home rescue is on it too.  You have to have your Culver City License because if animal control gets you before any of us, then they will take you to Culver City’s No Kill shelter.

Do you understand why you have to wear the collar now?

Me: Well why do I need it in the house?

Looking out the window

I love open windows don't you?

Mom:  Are you going to stop jumping out the window and knocking the screen out?

Me: (Lick, lick, lick) Wait! What about the microchip? Hasn’t that got everything on it too.

Mom:  Yes, it does little Doggins, but how do we know that whoever gets you will have the little doohickey necessary to read the microchip.  The tags are a great back up.

Me: Oh all right.

Mom could tell I was disappointed about not taking off my collar. She gave me an extra long tummy rub and played a long time with me and Hedgie.  Later, I got a little piece of breakfast ham too!

I guess all those tags and the collar are a sign that Mom and Dad care about me and want to keep me safe. 

I guess I’ll have to endure it. Mom says that if she may buy me a new collar soon. She doesn’t like the red one very much.  Oh well, she says it’s this or doggie outfits.  She said something about having to indulge her desire to dress me up. What does that mean?

Oh well!

Smell you later,

Your friend Opie


Opie’s Many Names

 

O, be some other name!
What’s in a name? That which we call a rose,
By any other name would smell as sweet.. 

                                                  Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare

Opie has more than one name in our house. This is not surprising. We all have many names.  For example, I am Mom, Mama, Mommy, Josette, Honey, sweetie, and of course,  WOMAN!!!  As you can imagine, each of these names is evoked in a  different situation. The person using the name is usually in a distinct emotional state when using it.  Opie has different names as well. What follows is a list of his names and the situations which warrant each use.

Opie — Default name. He is referred to in casual conversation by this name. 

OPIE! – He’s being called for some reason.  Here are some  possible reasons:

  •  He’s on the couch trying to bury his bully stick
  •  He’s got  Dad’s cargo shorts in his mouth and Dad isn’t in them.
  •  He’s barking at a critter in the backyard after midnight.
  •  He’s knocked out the screen to get at the critter and bolted into the dark backyard after it.
  • He’s pulled the leash out of my hand in an effort to “climb” a tree to get at a squirrel.

DICKENS DAWG! –  My husband calls him this when he’s being a little Dickens and a rascally little fellow.

I’ve always wondered how that term evolved.  Charles Dickens is the only Dickens I can think of, but it seems odd to call evoke his name when calling someone a rascally mischievous character.  He certainly has some rascally characters in his novels.  The “Artful Dodger” comes to mind as well as Fagan from Oliver Twist and  Uriah Heep, the disgustingly “‘umble” character in Great Expectations.  Somehow, the use of the term “Dickens” to denote a rascally type fellow does not connect that well for me.   Wouldn’t it  be more logical to have developed specific references to the characters in our popular culture rather than  to their author?  I can easily see calling Opie, you little “Dodger,” and saying, ” Don’t give me those “Uriah Heep” eyes!

 If I make a reference to Cujo, you will immediately know I m referring to the vicious  dog in a Stephen King novel of the same name. If I say a dog sounded like the “Hound of the Baskervilles,”  you may not have read that  particular Sherlock Holmes story, but it sounds creepy and mysterious, right?  You don’t refer to a vicious dog as a little Stephen King or as a scary sounding dog as an Arthur Conan Doyle dog. We refer to them by their character names.  Cujo and The Hound!  It just doesn’t make sense. Okay, I digressed.

Honey Dawg — obviously, this is when he’s being sweet, nuzzling in for a pet, flipping over for a belly rub and showing his puppy adoration.  We call him this because it just feels right!

Crazy Nut Dog!  — This name is invoked when his squirrel frenzy will not make him mind!

Moron Dog — He’s usually done something stupid which has exasperated us — tied himself up in his leash, stepped in his water bowl and caused it to spill all over the kitchen floor, or worse yet stepped in another dog’s poo at the dog park, or gotten himself “marked” when he was smelling some dog’s underbelly while said dog was marking a pole. He got “baptised” today by Poppy, one of his little buddies.

Stink Dog — Well, I don’t really have to explain that do I?

Mama’s baby — When he’s the only sweet child in the house. He hasn’t forgotten his homework, had a tantrum, hit his brother, refused to do his chores or complained about the laundry not being done and not noticed that you are wearing a new outfit and feel a little fragile. Mama’s Baby always knows just when to come and sit  on your foot and look up at you and lick your knee. Mama’s baby knows just when a little doggy adoration is just what is needed.

And so those are the many names of Opie! He’s clearly a multi faceted dog.

I'm an onion. I have layers!