Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Traveling with Posy

Unlike Dorothy who gets anxious, and Plum who gets nauseous, Posy likes a car trip. She likes to ride in a car, and she likes to sunbathe in a car, and she likes to "talk" in the car. Non-stop. For at least the first two hours, and then after that she has less to say.

Here she is, in the first few minutes of our 10-hour car ride from Philadelphia to Maine:

Before I show you some more pictures, I should admit that when it comes to pets in the car, I am old-school (or, as Britney Spears would say, "country.")  I don't strap my pets in or rig them up in car seats; I take the throw-all-the-kids-in-the-way-back-of-the-wood-paneled-station-wagon approach.  For this trip, Dorothy sat in her bed behind the driver's seat where I, in the passenger seat, could see her.  My cats were next to her in their carriers, placed bunkbed style (oh, the horror! --I know) one on top of the other.

Plum likes his carrier locked and secure and would prefer to not venture out for even one iota of a second.  Posy, on the other hand, likes her carrier door to be wide open so she can leave it every ten minutes and walk into the front seat and purr and talk loudly on my lap.  I don't know what she is saying --it sounds like a series of squawks and trills and chirps -- but she purrs and kneads my lap as she is saying it, so I figure it is generally happy talk, and not of the "are we there yet?" whining variety.

Here is Posy on her way up from front to back (notice Dorothy worrying about the injustice of Posy being allowed to do something that Dorothy is not):

And here she is next to her Grandfather, enjoying the view of the road and the sun on her whiskers:

For the first two hours of the trip, Posy comes up to the front every ten minutes and then sits for ten minutes and then returns to her carrier.  After that, she begins to spend slightly longer in her carrier than she does on my lap, until finally, the last four or so hours of the trip she is basically snoozing happily in the carrier, as pictured below:

The worst part of the free-range car-cat system is that by the end of the trip, the dashboard of the car looks angora, plastered as it is with cat hair.  But it works for us!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Eating The Great Outdoors

There is, apparently, something that has been missing in Dorothy's life...and that something is salad.  She has spent as much time eating greenery outside as she has spent running in the grass and chasing tennis balls.

She doesn't seem to be a very discriminatory eater when it comes to her greens, either. She'll eat whatever her snout is in when she lowers her head, be it grass, clover, flowers, weeds, what have you.

Might Dorothy be the first ever vegan bulldogge?!  Maybe I just need to serve her a small house salad as a side dish to her kibble!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Getting Z's and D's

Both of my cats enjoy going on vacation.  For a few weeks they get a respite from a small-ish, sunless apartment, and instead have a house to run around in, stairs to go up and down, a screened-in sunporch in which they can pretend they are out of doors, and sunbeams everywhere!  Within a few minutes after arriving in Maine, both cats were out on the porch feeling intrepid:

If the weather is nice, chances are both cats can be found either curled up on a chair or lying in a sunbeam.  Posy especially enjoys a favorite sunbeam on the sunporch.  She likes its warmth, and when she starts to feel feisty, she can attack the rungs of the chairs (apparently, they are impudent rungs and mock her to the point where they deserve fangs and claws).

Here is Posy, a fierce tigress, in her favorite spot:

And Dorothy, too, is learning the joys of getting her vitamin D's in a sunbeam:

Don't forget sunscreen, Dorothy!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Sea Barked Back

The other day Dorothy took her first trip to the sea.  We took a route that ended up on the rocks above the ocean, so there wasn't any wading or swimming or anything like that.  Just fine views:

Dorothy was not so sure about the view.  And she wasn't so sure about the noise of the waves crashing on the rocks, either.  She barked:

And then the sea barked back.

A few days later we walked on a forest trail that ended by another bit of rocky shore.  She gave a half-hearted little chase of a wave as it retreated, and then took a few steps back when its brethren arrived on its heels.  And then she was ready to return to the forest trail, which she zoomed down like a mountain bike with thick tires.

She has yet to really wade or swim or even get all four paws wet at the same time, let alone ankles and legs.  But she just might be a swimming bulldogge yet!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Smooth Criminal

I was waiting in the self-check-out line at CVS the other day when another customer cut in front of me in the line.  He hadn't seen me, and when he turned around and saw me waiting there he came over and apologized profusely.  He could have been a little bit high -- his apology went on a few seconds too long and he seemed a bit off somehow -- but he also seemed genuinely rather chivalrous and polite.  After he let me go ahead of him with a sweep of his arm, I started ringing up my purchases, and was not done doing so before he apologized again on his way out.

It was a small incident on the whole, but I thought about it on the way home, because there was something very old-fashioned in the man's looks:  I could picture him dressed in a 1920's suit with a moustache, selling vacuum cleaners door-to-door, all compliments and flattery, yet when he left he'd leave with all your money, plus the pie you had cooling on the windowsill.

And then my mind started wandering, as my mind is wont to do, and I started wondering about Dorothy and her guard dog abilities.  A lot of people who live in my building pass my door on the way to their apartments, so Dorothy is used to hearing many daily comings and goings.  She's also used to hearing conversations of people as they pass by my window at night.  As of late, however, if she hears something different in a footstep, say, or if someone pauses too long by our door, she will rush over growling and perhaps barking once or twice, and I've been amazed at how fierce she sounds!  She has a deep rumbling growl and a downright menacing bark when she wants to.

She's still just as likely to lick and kiss a burglar to death, but if I were lurking outside and heard the sounds Dorothy makes, I'd think twice before breaking in.

Dorothy thinking go ahead, make my day.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Bulldogge Underbite

There is not much in this world better than a bulldogge's underbite.  As evidenced:

I rest my case.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Finders Keepers

Last weekend Dorothy found a soccer ball in the park.  While we looked around to see if it belonged to anyone, Dorothy was all finders-keepers:  she figured out how to get her mouth around it, and then made a bee-line towards home.  It was the first time ever that she walked back from the park quickly, and in front of me at the end of the leash!  Except for the fact that she was trying to go home as the crow flies, diagonally, through traffic, it was one of the most enjoyable walks I have ever had with Dorothy.  She held her head high so that the soccer ball wouldn’t touch the ground, and seemed very proud with her find.

Eventually, the soccer ball was deflated by Dorothy’s sharp teeth, but she sure had fun with it while it lasted.  Dare I say she bent it like Beckham?

Don't even think about touching this ball!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Dorothy Meets a Yeti

Dorothy spent her first ten weeks amongst her 7 litter mates, and then also with her parents, her Aunts Dharma and Suzie, and a pretty senior citizen pitbull whose name I am forgetting.  When I picked her up, I took her to my parents’ house for the first two days I had her.  While there, she met Nellie, their Tibetan Terrier.

As far as I know, this was Dorothy's first exposure to a very furry beastie, and I can only wonder what she made of it.  I pictured her writing a mental journal:  “Week Ten.  Met a Yeti.  Not sure if she is friendly, but am enjoying playing with all of her toys.” 

OMG!  Bigfoot DOES exist!

Can you see this too or is it just me?

Already, Dorothy was deploying her signature wrestling move, which is to go for the jowls and hang on for dear life.  Nellie, to her credit, was very gentle with Dorothy.

Soon Dorothy and I and the cats are heading to Maine for a few weeks’ vacation, and I am looking forward to seeing how Dorothy and Nellie interact.  No doubt Dorothy will want to play with Nellie constantly, and will make a pest out of herself…but since this is what Nellie used to do with my elderly pug, Tulip, I can’t help but think Nellie is about to receive her just desserts.

The yeti with its master

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

It's All Relative

When Dorothy came to live with me in March, she weighed 12 pounds and was a roly-poly little thing. 
Dorothy and her rubber ducky:

She is now about 32 pounds and rather gangly.  She’s the size of a large beagle, I’d say, and whereas her back half is still skinny and rather ribsy, her front half is getting very muscular.  My guess is that she will be a bit smaller than her 50-pound mother, Nancy, but I could be wrong about that.

Yesterday in the park we stopped to talk to a man who has an Olde English Bulldogge, Shayna, who is about 1½ years old.  Shayna is a very pretty tri-color dogge, black on top and cream and brown underneath.  Shayna lay down when she saw Dorothy, and Dorothy’s response was to start running mad circles around the circumference of her leash, and leaping gazelle-like over Shayna whenever she got to her side of the circle. 

While this was going on, Shayna’s owner then asked if Dorothy was small because she was seven months old, or if she was just a really small bulldogge?  I didn’t know how to answer that!  Shayna was big, but not huge, I’d say in between the sizes of Dorothy’s parents.  In other words, a size that Dorothy could definitely end up being herself one day.  To him, however, Dorothy seemed quite petite.  (He also thought her name was Burpee!  Note to self:  stop mumbling.)

Ironically, we then left the park and ran into a woman who lives down the street who hadn’t seen Dorothy in about a month.  The first thing she said was, “Dorothy!  You’re huge!  You’re the size of a gorilla!”  To this woman there was nothing miniature about my Dorothy!

So I guess the jury is still out as to whether Dorothy will be large or whether she will be small—and I also suppose size is in the eye of the beholder.  I will be happy with a big Dorothy or happy with a small one.
Dorothy eating her kibble so she can grow big and strong:

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Feeding the Squirrels?

Someone on our block feeds a squirrel who lives in a large oak tree.  Each morning when we walk past the tree we see peanuts in the shell scattered about, and on occasion I’ve even seen the squirrel carrying the peanuts up the tree.

Now I know for songbird fans, squirrels can be the scourge of the earth, but I am always rather glad that someone is looking out for the squirrels in my neighborhood, especially since they are very skinny squirrels, and probably have to compete with the Philadelphia rats for their nuts and garbage.  They always look on the verge of famine, so I’m sure they appreciate the occasional protein-packed peanut. 

The other day, however, the squirrel feeder got fancy and scattered some pieces of sesame candy alongside the nuts.  Guess who gobbled up a piece of this sesame candy?  Need more time to think?  [La, la, la….]  Yes, you’re right!  Dorothy!

She ate a piece of sesame candy, and she liked it muchly.  So now can we pass by the tree like a normal girl and dog?  No we cannot.  The four-legged one of us has to frantically start searching the ground for candy as the two-legged one of us has to pull with all her might on the leash to get her away from the Tree of Treats.

How about we stick to scattering peanuts from here on in, squirrel lover?  It would be much appreciated!

Dorothy, wondering why is it wrong to eat the sesame candy?

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Many Voices of Dorothy

I think I have mentioned in this blog once or twice about how Dorothy does not much like to walk.  Ahem.  As my long-suffering readers know, Dorothy has a habit of sitting down in the middle of the sidewalk and refusing to budge.  News flash!  Ho-hum.  Etc.

Lately, however, I've noticed a new occurrence when Dorothy sits, and that is that passers-by now feel compelled to give Dorothy a voice.  So for example, I'm walking slowly along pulling Dorothy hither, when Dorothy decides nope, that's it, she will sit, thank you very much.  Well from my left I might then hear someone say, "I'm tired!"  And from the right, someone will add, "I'm not moving!"  And maybe someone coming up behind will quip, "I don't wanna walk!"

And all of these proclamations are supposed to be from the mouth of Dorothy, my pup.

This is a little weird, no?

I mean, I make my pets speak often, but generally IN THE PRIVACY OF MY OWN HOME.  And they are my pets!  I don't feel the need to let my crazy flag fly and start voicing the thoughts of the pets of strangers.

But Dorothy seems to have that effect on people.  They feel her sidewalk sit means something, and I guess they want to help her voice her discontent.

Okay people, carry on!  Make Dorothy not want to walk in all sorts of voices and all sorts of languages.  But know that once you pass by, and we remain at a stand-still, bulldogge-butt firmly planted on the ground, I am rolling my eyes a little at your back.

Dorothy is pretty sure she didn't say a word:

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Wanted: One Hellhound, Preferably Vicious & Ungodly

A couple of weekends ago we were taking a leisurely stroll through the park finding sticks for Dorothy to chew when we heard a bit of a ruckus.  A young-ish man was delivering a sermon via megaphone; he had a small crowd of people listening to him, and he also had a few people walking through the park trying to round people up to head in his direction (they nipped at our heels and we said no thank you; black sheep we).

For the most part I didn’t pay much attention to the sermon, although I heard enough to note that it was of the hell and brimstone variety in which one’s possible torment is enumerated upon with great (and rather unseemly) glee.

Not too far from the preacher, we reached a wall upon which a group of arty youth were sitting.  They asked if they could meet Dorothy, and since there is nothing Dorothy likes better than a meet n’ greet, she happily obliged.  She kissed and wiggled and basically charmed the bunch.  In fact, one of them asked if she could stay and be their mascot for awhile.  He gestured to the sermonizing megaphone fellow and said that in light of all that, he felt they needed Dorothy to stay and be their Hellhound.

We declined their offer and headed home, but I thought as we went that Dorothy would have made a very fine Hellhound indeed. 

Dorothy, thinking she could too be a hellhound:

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Posy Thinks

She is wondering about the cat imagery in T.S. Eliot's The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock:

Let me know what conclusions you reach, Posy!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Lunchtime Siesta

My cats rotate their sleeping spots.  They each have two or three spots where they can always be found for a few months, and then one day I’ll go to look for them in their spots and they won’t be there.  A spot shift will have occurred and for some reason unbeknownst to me, they will have switched to two or three different locations.  Since cats are melodramatic, I’m guessing that this rotation has something to do with [imaginary] predators and their desire to not be prey. 

[Digression:  it is also no doubt for this reason, that when I am holding the blanket open on the couch so Plum can climb under, and he is standing there trying to decide whether or not he really wants to go under the blanket for a good four or five minutes, and then just as I am dropping the blanket in exasperation he decides yes, yes that is where he wants to be, so I hold it open again even though my arm is hurting – it is probably because of predators that before climbing down from the armrest and under the blanket like a raccoon into a stream, he will look left, he will look right, AND THEN HE WILL LOOK UP AT THE CEILING before climbing into his spot.  THE CEILING.  What he thinks might be lurking up there waiting to drop down on him I can only guess, but he likes to cover all his bases.  Weird animals.]

Anyway, in the last day or so my cats have rotated their sleeping spots, so that when I came home at lunch and looked for Posy in her two spots in the bedroom, and Plum in his spots in the living room and study, I found nothing.  Nary a cat to be seen.  I finally discovered Posy lurking in Plum’s carrier which we keep in the hallway:

And then I found Plum wedged into what we call the cabana, which is really a Chihuahua bed (but don’t tell Plum that):

Plum almost always greets me at the door when I come in, but the cabana is so small that he was probably somewhat stuck.

Before I started looking for the cats, I opened Dorothy’s crate door.  After five minutes or so of cat searching and then cat greeting and cat photographing, I returned to Dorothy’s crate and found her unmoved:

A friend and fan of Dorothy’s who works at the nearby market said to me the other day that he bet Dorothy really greeted me when I came home from work, and that there must be barks and wiggles and whatnot.  And I had to reply that actually no, she gives me no greeting whatsoever.  Let’s review.  Dorothy, again, ten minutes after I have returned home to take her out at lunchtime:

She doesn’t look too excited, does she?  In her defense, she was a bit tired from two play sessions yesterday with Josie Beagle.  In fact, after I finally got her up and out of the crate and took her on a “walk” halfway down the block and back, she decided not to oversee my lunch eating and disappeared.  I found her later in the study crammed in the small cat bed:

Sleepy Dorothy!