Monday, October 31, 2011

Dorothy Unplugged

Since all has been relatively quiet here the past week, and since I decided -- slothfully or frugally, I'm not sure which -- to forego dressing Dorothy up for Halloween (much though I thought she would make a fine nurse, complete with old-fashioned white nurse's cap!), I thought I'd give you all a PG-rated Tour of Dorothy.

Her most obvious feature, of course, is her eyepatch:

Like a pirate's!  Arrgh!

My colleague says Dorothy's eyepatch makes her two dogs for the price of one, and it is the feature that gets her the most compliments as we walk down the street.

Dorothy the white dogge:

Dorothy the chocolate brindle dogge:

But she has a few more fancies up her proverbial sleeve!  She has, for instance, the mountain range on the back of her head:

It looks like Mt. Fuji, no?

She has two decorated ears:  one with a hip vampire bite, and the other with a superpower lightning bolt!

Bite and bolt, flapping as she kisses her auntie:

And then she also has this nifty little Charlie-Brown-sweater pattern zigzag on the top of her butt:

This photo doesn't do it justice.  
Take my word for it:  it's decorative!

My favorite feature of Dorothy's is her bulldogge underbite.  It's hard to get a photo of though, since someone made their iPhone bark at Dorothy once, so now she is understandably a bit wary of cameras.  You can see a bit of it here in this photo:

So there you have it:  the outer package that frames and showcases Dorothy's inner attitude.

Next up:  Dorothy, The Boxed Set.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

"To Pollock"

Last week I’m pretty sure Dorothy and I came close to being voted off our block.  It was nothing we planned.  It’s just that on our 9 pm walk on Tuesday, there was something on the sidewalk that Dorothy found irresistible, and before I knew it, she was crunch-crunch-crunching her way down the street.  I stopped and tried to see if it was a bone of some sort, prepared to pry it out of her jaws if so, but whatever treasure she had found was quickly crunched and just as quickly swallowed.  We went on our merry way.

And all was well until 24 hours later, when on our 9 pm walk, Dorothy’s whole innards seemed to explode outward.  To all of you Harry Potter fans, she was a little blast-ended skrewt, propelling her way down the streets of Philly with the momentum caused by what was shooting out of her hind end.  And oh, it was not pretty.  I’ve never seen anything like it, and hope to never see anything like it again.  It made me wish very much for a yard, because although I consider myself a conscientious dog owner who steadfastly cleans up after her dog, there was really nothing I could do to try to fix the mess that Dorothy created at 9, at midnight, at 6, at 11, at 1, and then once again at 5:00.

It. Was. Horrible.  In fact, Sean came up with a new verb to describe it – to Pollock v.: to make a mess that looks like this:

Only not artistic.  And created out of an organic matter that is better left unsaid.

Anyway, on Thursday morning I walked Dorothy to the vet, and tried my best to bring a sample of the problem with me.  As usual, Dorothy LOVED being at the vet, and happily climbed up on the examination room table all by herself (causing her sister Tulip to roll around in her grave).  All sorts of bacterial things were ruled out, and it seemed clear that Dorothy’s malady was probably caused from the tidbit of god-knows-what she had picked up and savored the night before.  I left an hour later and a few hundred dollars poorer, and the four blocks from the vet’s office to my apartment were disastrous.  I was carrying my purse, a bag of meds, and an 18-pound bag of special kibble, and leading Dorothy by her leash; Dorothy was doing one of two things:  she was either lying down in protest at the walk back, or lurching alongside of me with ghastly matter shooting out her back end, pollocking the sidewalk as we went.

Once home I played a brief and frustrating game of Ptui!, in which I put the metronidazole capsule Dorothy was supposed to take inside of some foodstuff, and Dorothy dexterously ate the foodstuff while spitting out the tablet.  Sigh.  It was definitely one of those days when I muttered whole paragraphs containing the oft-repeated phrase, “my last pet.”

But!  I am happy to report (knock on wood) that Dorothy seems to have recovered from her adventure.  I wish I could say the same for certain areas of the sidewalk on my street.

Oh it was so very dreadful!

Sunday, October 23, 2011


Dorothy's Auntie Martha came to visit for our annual get-together we like to call "Eatapalooza," since the theme of the visit is undoubtedly restaurants, restaurants, and then some more restaurants.

Dorothy wasn't included in the restaurant part of the visit, but she did her best to make her Auntie feel welcome, beginning with her specialty:  lots and lots of bulldogge kisses.

Dorothy is a vigorous kisser, and when the kisses are over, she is a firm believer in the cheek-to-cheek nap:

We tried out a new-ish Philly restaurant, Barbuzzo, on Friday, and it was delicious, except for the fact that I realized I am now officially an Oldster, since it was so dark in the restaurant that I almost could not read the menu.  I had to bring the menu as close to the single wee candle on the table as possible, and even shrugged off the fact that I was dangerously close to setting the menu on fire, since at least then for a brief instant it would have been bright enough for me to read the stupid thing.  Except for this little glitch, the food was spectacular.

On Saturday we went to our favorite Philly restaurant, Buddakan, with Sean and ate ourselves silly.  Our waiter was savvy enough to not point out to me that the chocolate bento box I ordered for dessert was supposed to be for two people and not just one, thus earning himself an ample tip.

We couldn't take Dorothy to the dog park, since she was recovering her equilibrium from an event I'll write about later, but we did walk her often, and Martha thus got to witness Dorothy's penchant for lying down and rolling over on the sidewalk in protest.  Dorothy exhibited her impressive wrestling skills with one of her favorite new friends, a Bernese Mountain Dog puppy named Haimish, and had good times with her aunt, even though from these pictures it looks like all they did was sit on the couch together.

I think Dorothy's favorite part of the visit was spooning with her Auntie in the bed at night and snoring loudly in her ear.  Martha didn't appreciate the snoring, but she did appreciate the warmth that is a cuddly bulldogge in bed.  And then we sent Martha back to Boston covered in multiple dogge and cat hairs!  How considerate of us!

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Bulldogge By-Laws: The Soccer Ball Clause

Last Saturday, Dorothy returned from the dog park wanting to look up something in the Bulldogge By-Laws.  She was quite certain that under either Found Items, or Treasures, or Soccer Balls, or a Just Because clause, there existed an article which said something to the extent of:

  • If a Bulldogge walks down to the dog  park, and finds there an unattended soccer ball in glorious red and white colors, then said Bulldogge is allowed to forego the remainder of her exercise session and run back home – as the crow flies – with the soccer ball in her mouth.

Because this clause had not been confirmed at the time, Dorothy was not allowed to leave with her treasure, and after we realized that she would do nothing but pace with the ball in her mouth along the fence by the gate hoping to sneak out and run home, we took the ball away from her and hid it up in a tree.  She did stand guard under the tree for about five minutes, but she eventually gave up and joined in with the canine merriment going on around her.

Apparently, soccer balls are Dorothy’s favorite!  I’m going to have to try to find her one that she can’t puncture.

Everyone has a soccer ball but me.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Dirty Dorothy

Reader, I have a confession to make [hangs head].  I have not been bathing Dorothy as much as I ought.  My pug, Tulip, pretty much got monthly baths, until she was very elderly -- since her walks then consisted of toddling down the sidewalk with a handbag, say, instead of romping in the mud and underbrush.

But Dorothy is a rough and tumble gal and gets dirty.  She will wrestle with her friend Josie Beagle on the wet sidewalks of downtown Philly.  She will gladly walk in mud.  In short, she walks around the city and gets Philthy and I don't do much about it.

Dorothy, returning home with a muddy face a few months ago, 
upon which she just received a cursory toweling:

When we were in Maine, and had the luxury of a laundry tub, I did give her a bath with the help of my father.

Here she is feeling very sorry for herself:

And then here she is drying off with the help of the sun and fresh Maine breezes:

And she was clean for a while.  And that was nice.  But the time for her next bath came and went and still I did nothing, except wring my hands a bit and wear more perfume up by my nose.

And who knows how long that would have continued, except that a week or so ago I was told by Sean that Dorothy was, well, stinky.  So I did what comes naturally to me and threw money at the problem, even though I don't have money to throw, and made Dorothy an appointment at the groomers.

Sean tried to make Dorothy nervous by telling her that all her brindle bits would get washed off and she would end up a small white poodle.

But I don't want to be a poodle:

But today at 2:00 I brought her down the street to Doggie Style, and she happily trotted off with the groomer, without giving me even one glance.  I got a call at 3:30 that she was ready to be picked up, and she emerged from the back room all sparkly and gleaming!  I had forgotten how white her whites could be!  Her nails were clipped, her ears cleaned, her teeth brushed, and her fur was very soft and sweet-smelling.  And the best part, according to Dorothy, was that while I was paying at the cash register, the shop assistants gave her several treats from a treat bag!  Bliss!  This pleased her so much that I had to pull her across the slippery floor towards the door, her clean legs scrabbling futilely for purchase as she struggled to remain united with the shop girls and the cookies.

Now doesn't she look beautiful?

Too bad the screen is not scratch -n- sniff.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

While The Dog's Away....

Goldi and Locks here try out Dorothy's crate:

And find it much to their liking:

Just wait until Dorothy joins them
and settles in for a fine snuggle.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Posy or Puppet?

Posy Fern, my Exotic Shorthair, is a comical little beastie.  Although she likes to think of herself as a fierce tigress, she is more fuzzy hand puppet.  As proof, I offer you exhibits A-F:

And because of this blog entry, tonight I shall no doubt be attacked in my sleep.  It was nice knowing you all.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Oh, Dorothy! Walkies?!

Picture the scene:  it's a glorious October day.  In the eighties, it's a bit too hot for some, including myself, but the sky is a clear blue, the humidity is low, the leaves still green and on the trees.  (There's a certain glumness in the air if you're a Philadelphia sports fan, but what can you do?  At least the Yankees are out, too.)

I walk home at lunch with plans to take my pup out for a walk around the block, so that she can stretch her pretty legs.  And she will be -- I know -- so excited, so eager, so chomping at the bit for our excursion!

I open the door to her crate carefully, so that I won't be bowled over by her enthusiastic exit!

Um, Dorothy?

Don't you want to go out on a walk?

Aren't you ready and eager to greet your admirers?
To do your biz-ness?
To get a bit o' exercise?

No?  Well then how about if I get out a treat and hold it towards you?

Two treats?

Dorothy, you drive a hard bargain.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Dangerous Dorothy

We had a strange experience with Dorothy at the dog park a few days ago.  We arrived at the park and found about 12 or so other dogs there moseying about.  Dorothy immediately became immersed in a game of Frisbee (in fact, she kept snatching the Frisbee away from a man and his dog and trotting with it over to us all proud of herself), and then a game of tennis ball.  She didn’t really seem in the mood to play with the other dogs, perhaps because it was a little hot.  Anyway, after we had been there awhile I noticed that there was a woman in the park with her two dogs—one an old looking golden retriever with strings of drool hanging from its mouth, and the other a medium-sized white furry dog, perhaps a cockapoo.  Whenever Dorothy got inadvertently near one of her dogs, or vice versa, the woman would jog purposefully across the dog park to them, and stand in between her dogs and Dorothy.  She wasn’t doing this with any other dog, so it soon became obvious that my sweet little Dorothy was once again being mistaken for a pitbull, and a vicious one at that.

I watched with amazement as this happened about six or seven times, until finally the woman got tired of her CONSTANT VIGILANCE! and decided to bring her two dogs into the special fenced-off small dog area.  In other words, she brought her large golden retriever, mind you, in with the dachshunds and yorkies, rather than let them be ravaged by my “pitbull,” Dorothy.  !!!  As I said before, Dorothy wasn’t really in a dog mood, so wasn’t paying any attention to the other dogs, for the most part.  And in general, she is on the submissive side when it comes to other dogs.  If a dog is bothering her, she might let the dog know to back off, but when we are walking and she sees another dog, she almost always will lie down on her stomach and sometimes even roll over on her side or back.  My point, I suppose, is that leaving out the fact that she was misidentified as a certain breed of dog, her actions at the park were only threatening to the tennis ball (and anyone who tried to take the Frisbee away from her.)  It was very strange!

If I had written this entry on Wednesday, I would have ended it with the above paragraph and felt very preachy towards that woman about pitbulls and how it’s not so much a breed of dog that is the problem but the owner.  And I still feel that way.  However, when I was walking Dorothy in my neighborhood yesterday, a woman in her twenties was walking a pitbull who was the same coloring as Dorothy, and very pretty in her pink collar.  The woman said her dog was friendly and asked if she could say hello to Dorothy.  I said yes, since Dorothy was very eager to meet this dog.  They sniffed for about two seconds before the dog started VICIOUSLY snapping at Dorothy and making horrible growling/arrghing sounds.  I barely was able to pull Dorothy away from the jaws of the other dog in time.  And the annoying thing is that the owner of the dog didn’t even seem aware that anything was wrong!  She didn’t apologize, or say something to the extent of “That’s strange, she usually likes other dogs.”  Nothing.  Nada.  She just went on her merry way.  My guess is that she is new to dogs and had no idea that the sound her dog was making – plus its serious snapping and biting – was not a normal happy greeting between two dog-friendly dogs!

And I must admit that as I walked away my first reaction was to be like that woman in the dog park, and in the future resolve to keep Dorothy away from pitbulls on the street.  But I know that isn’t right.  In the dog shelters in Philly, the majority of the dogs available for adoption are pitbulls or pitbull mixes.  Some places screen better than others, but if you see a young person on the street with a pitbull, there is no way of knowing if they are an experienced dog owner, or even how well they know their dog.  But to be logical, the same is true for owners of any dog, not just pit mixes.  The guy I see with the german shepherd daily might know nothing about controlling his dog either.  And on occasion we pass a fawn-colored chihuahua who acts like he wants to go for Dorothy's jugular.  So I need to remind myself that an ill-behaved or dog-hostile dog isn’t breed-specific.

It was Dorothy's turn to be put into a box:

Later on in the evening after we had had the experience with the woman in the dog park, we were in the neighborhood park and met a man with a beautiful pitbull mix (named Dottie!).  She and Dorothy sniffed calmly enough, but the pitbull Dottie was very still, in a way that made me a little wary (she also had the clipped ears, which could be a sign that she was once used for fighting).  The friendly owner told us that he had just adopted Dottie a week ago and was still getting to know her.  We moved on and all was well.  Then Dorothy was happily wrestling with her favorite friend, Josie Beagle, when Sasha, a tiny brindle "pug" with Frenchie in it came up to join in.  Josie and Sasha started to run (we were holding on to Dorothy’s leash still so she couldn't really join in) when tiny Sasha snapped and started attacking Josie and both dogs had to be separated by their owners.  I know Sasha somewhat and Dorothy has played with her before and she’s always been a great little dog, but something set her off this time and she got angry.  Am I going to now condemn all pug/Frenchie mixes?  Of course not….  There just has to be a balance between monitoring Dorothy's dog interactions and letting her fight her own battles, so to speak.

And then last night Dorothy did get attacked – slapped on the nose by an angry purple cat! 

She was asking for it, dressing that way.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Does She Bite?

I am not unfamiliar with biting dogs.  My parents had a cairn terrier who had a few issues, and would snap and bite if you did something he considered idiotic, such as touch him when he was in bed for the night, or pick him up for any reason whatsoever, or say "sorry" after bumping into him (he didn't so much mind the bump, but the apology drove him crazy).  I was walking him once shortly after he had bitten my two year-old niece on her earlobe, and two young girls approached me and asked what kids used to ask the owner of a dog, instead of what they ask now, which is "can I pet your dog?":  the girls asked, "Does your dog bite?"  And after a moment of consideration, I replied, "yes, yes he does."  And then they ran off screaming, with their hands in the air.

Dorothy does not bite.

Oh yeah?  Come closer with that camera and let's test your hypothesis:

I did joke with my nieces this summer, telling them that Dorothy doesn't bite, but on occasion she will pinch with her teeth.  But she would never even nip a child, let alone bite, although she does enjoy a good rough-housing with her favorite fellow.  And when she is in rough-house mode, her jaws are strong!  Which is why this came into my apartment:

It's an old glove which allows the wearer to wrestle with Dorothy with impunity.

Dorothy's real weapons, it seems to me, are what I term her "meathooks" -- i.e. her front arms.  They are muscular and leaden and in the morning if she is trying to wake me up so that I can attend to her breakfast, she will plunk a meathook on one side of my face, and plunk one on the other, and then lick my face while using the meathooks to hold me in place.   I suppose there are ruder awakenings, although the strength in those arms can seem rather startling, especially when it is 6:00 a.m. and I am groggy.

Bite?  This widdle ting?

I should add, too, that any misplaced nip nowadays is much more benign now that Dorothy has her adult teeth in.  Those needle-y baby teeth were deadly--definitely the ginsu knives of the teeth world.  I was very glad to see the end of them!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Social Dorothy

Dorothy went to the dog park again yesterday and absolutely loved it.  She eagerly walked the seven or so blocks to the park, and seemed to know exactly where we were going.  It is, sadly, rather rare for her to lead the way in the front with leash outstretched, but she led the way the entire trek, all eager like a normal dog!  (Just now, for example, when I took her around the block for a quick leg-stretch, most of the "walk" consisted of me dragging her behind me like a bag of cement.  The rest of the walk consisted of Dorothy lying down in the midst of smushed ginkgoes, trying to eat a few before I intervened.  It was when I had my hands in her mouth fishing out the ginkgo that a man passing-by noted:  "It is like you are the employee and she is the boss."  Yes.  Thank you for that observation, kind sir.  And hey:  I quit!)

But I digress.  Dorothy speed-walked to the dog park, and once there spent the first 30 minutes adorably playing frisbee with a 10 year-old girl.  The girl's dog, an Italian waterdog, wasn't very interested in the frisbee, so she and Dorothy paired up and had a fine old time.  I was a little wary at first, since Dorothy tends to get a bit too attached to frisbees and doesn't like to give them up to a human.  But as she seems to be in general with kids, Dorothy was very polite with this girl.  The girl threw the frisbee, Dorothy retrieved it and brought it back; the girl took the frisbee from Dorothy's mouth; Dorothy didn't bite her; the girl made Dorothy sit; Dorothy sat; and then she would throw the frisbee again.

Dorothy doesn't quite catch a frisbee in the air yet, but the day when she will do so is not too far off, I think.  For she has a freakish ability to jump straight up in the air out of nowhere, and will even do so on occasion on a walk.  She'll all of a sudden be at my eye level (and I am relatively tall) and then on the way back down will grab the leash near my hand and start a game of tug.  She especially likes to hold her own leash when we are safely back in my building, and is quite proud to walk herself up the hallway.

But after thirty minutes, the frisbee owner left, and Dorothy then ran around vigorously with the other dogs for thirty more minutes.  She even almost kept up with a matched set of two fleet boxers.  She met many a mutt and many a hybrid with "poo" in the title.

Sean and I were smitten by a tiny piglet-colored French Bulldog who sped around the yard as if his legs were sleek and not stumpy, his belly taut and not tubby, and his whole person the size of the heads of most of the other dogs there.  This French monsieur or mademoiselle had character!  S/he also did a fine job of greeting all the humans with wiggles and standing on hind legs to get closer to faces.  Very cute!

Dorothy even walked all the way home, only stopping twice to flop over on her side for a quick rest, and then getting up again without too much wheedling.  She is a very athletic and very social Dorothy!

Dorothy, resting up for her next dog park outing: