Smarty Spot

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Guinea Piglets

So here’s the story. Mom (Scoche) has not been looking well lately. She’s been gaining weight and panting a lot. And who can blame her? She’s been getting more food than me lately (ahem) and someone’s been turning the temperature waaaaaay up outside.

After a night of panting and pacing, the female owner gets up and suddenly takes mom out the front door – hours before breakfast time. (Well, hours before they feed me breakfast, which should not be confused with when I’m ready to eat!) At first I thought we were going for a walk, but they didn’t come back to get me. I even did my cute trick of looking outside so only my eyes and ears can be seen through the window – this one gets them every time. But for some reason, I was ignored, and off they go in the van.

Then they’re gone for a long time. And I’m thinking, did they go out to breakfast without me? I’m imagining mom eating bacon and eggs while I’m stuck with the usual tripe. But I like tripe better anyway… So then I’m thinking, wait a minute. Just a few days ago the male owner was taken away in the van and never came back! Now I’m starting to worry. What is the female owner up to? Where is she taking everybody?

To my relief, they came home…eventually. Strange as it seems, they had gone out to the woods and hunted down some guinea pigs. They came home with five of them. They are kind of funny looking. They look like puppies except they squeal a lot and have flat faces. The female owner likes guinea pigs, though. I know this because there are pictures like this around the house:

So, okay, this is fine I suppose. I can live with this temporary change of pace for a few days. But then the days go on and it seems the guinea pigs are not going anywhere. In fact, they're having all the fun! They get to climb all over mom and play in the crate. Meanwhile, it’s all I can do to get the back door open so I can go into the back yard and eat a few woodchips. And a walk? Ha! Good luck getting one of those around here!

Well, until yesterday that is. That’s when the male owner returned and I got the first walk I’ve had since these piglets arrived. But it was a pretty short walk, and the temperature in the park was turned way up – just like it’s been in our backyard lately.

I’m beginning to think this is some kind of crazy psychological experiment. I wouldn’t be at all surprised if they are monitoring my every reaction to the strange happenings and abnormal deprivations that I’ve been experiencing. In fact, I think I’m the real guinea pig around here!

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Another Technicality

Okay, this is what I get for making fun of my techie owner. He's going to be away for a week and now he won't be able to start up the computer for me. It's not that I don't know how to use a computer (I obviously do), but he password protects the internet after a little "incident." Let's just say that it involved a lot of raw food and I didn't know he had such "privacy issue" with his credit card.

Well, I'll write to you on August 1 or 2. There shoud be a lot to say by then! Till then, enjoy the extensive archives found on this site!

Friday, July 21, 2006

Getting Technical

Hopefully you all read my post a week ago about the "communication breakdown" we've been experiencing here at the home. Well, I gave this more thought.

I noticed that each morning the owners tend to get onto the computer nearly as soon as they get up. And I notice that when we go for walks, they often take the cell phone with them. I also noticed when we come home they often check to see if the light is blinking on the answering machine.

So it hit me: these are people who like technology! If I'm going to get their attention, I can't resort merely to barking my head off all the time. Sure, that's the classic canine communication technique, but "classic" can sometimes mean "outdated." If I'm going to get their attention, I need to come out of the stone age and into the 21st century.

So I began communicating by using my deluxe remote resonation device. All you do is bite into this thing and it emits a high pitched signal to the humans, letting them know you need immediate attention.

So far, it does seem to get their attention. But to my chagrin, it hasn't helped get my breakfast to me any quicker. They often want to borrow it, but since they don't know how to use it (it's the latest model and kinda "high tech") they end up just tossing it away in frustration. I bring it back to them, eager to give them another chance, but they tend to just toss it away again.

How do I get through to these people??

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

The Happiest Place on Earth

Boy was I excited yesterday when I heard we were going to Tibet! I had heard about Tibetan monks, and I figured they must be as fun to chase as Chip monks.

Then I was informed that we were not going to Tibet, but to the vet. I need to listen more carefully… Well, I was still excited. Since my mom, Scoche, seemed quite glum, I tried to cheer her up by telling her we were going to the vet. It didn’t seem to help.

When we got to the vet, it was even better than I’d imagined. You wouldn’t believe it. There were all sorts of animals and people to meet. I think they might have signed me in under the breed “social butterfly”! Okay, that was a dumb joke…sorry. But it was so much fun! They even had cats caged up, all ready to be chased. I was all ready to make a go of it, too.

But just then, guess who walks in but the girl with the blue shirt! She was the first person I ever met when I came into the world last year. We had a lot to talk about. Sixteen months worth, in fact. She was so happy to see me that she gave me a special tour of the back room and even let me play the “weigh the dog” game. (We have a private joke between the two of us. She says “don’t let the tail weigh the dog” and I say, “every dog has its weigh!” Well, like I said, it’s a private joke.)

After that game, we played “hide and seek.” I went with mom and the humans into a little tiny room. I could hear all the other animals trying to hide, barking and all that nonsense. I counted as high as I could (23), but they must have wanted more time to hide because we weren’t allowed out of the room yet. After a long time, they only let mom (Scoche) out. She was gone a long time, so I was kind of laughing because she must not have been able to find any of the other animals. Naturally, she came back, still looking downcast. I told her she should try again, and look in the cages – that’s where they tend to hide.

But just then the nice man came in to tell her that she was going to have puppies! I thought that would cheer mom up, but she wasn’t very expressive. I think she should have at least said “thank you.” When we left, they completely forgot to give them to her anyway. That’s too bad, because I was looking forward to playing with them. Maybe next time.

What a great day. I can’t wait to go back to the vet again! Though I still need to get to Tibet and chase those monks.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Communication Breakdown

Relationships are all about communication. And frankly, I'm a little bit concerned about the communication problems around this house. I won't name names, but I just want to say that some people around here need to start listening instead of laughing.

Whenever I talk, the humans (who shall remain nameless) just look at me and laugh. Or they take a picture. Or they say things about how cute I am.

Personally, I find this a little demeaning. And not at all funny.

Here's the breakdown:

Quick bark, ears up means "let's have breakfast." Based on context it might also mean, "What time is breakfast?"

Double or triple bark sometimes means "time for a walk." Otherwise it means, "Time for dinner!"

Multiple barks, ears down, followed by deep gutteral noise means "this is not funny, I need to eat or I'm going to hurt someone."

Look, I hate to air dirty laundry. But I just don't get what's so funny or cute about any of the above statements. I can take a joke just like the next whippet, but I just don't see the humor in starving to death!

So let's put the past behind us and move on. And let's listen to one another. I trust that if you have a bone to pick with me, you'll be honest about it... in fact, a bone would do me some good right about now!

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Obedience Training

One of the lessons I've learned in my short life is that whippets are expected to obey humans. In particular, the humans that feed and walk them, and especially those that take them to race meets and cut their toenails (still don't know why that's so important).

This is an easy lesson to learn. However, to actually be obedient is harder.

Allow me to help.

There are two ways of looking at obedience. The first is "only do what your owner wants you to do." Now, this is a nice thought. However, are we mind readers? In the absence of the human, how would I know whether or not I should, for example, steal and eat Scrappy's bone? Even if I was punished for this last week, does that mean my owner doesn't want me to do it this week? Add to that the problem of multiple masters (the female and the male human), with differing concerns about what I'm allowed to do and when, and it really gets complicated. In my mind, this is simply unworkable.

The other way of looking at obedience is "don't do what you're told not to do." So you steal Scrappy's bone and part way through you're told "no." Okay, I understand that. Don't chew on Scrappy's bone any more today...once you finish the part you're working on. There is actually a lot of freedom in this model, because there are many areas in which a dog is not told "yes" or "no." In fact, you basically just do whatever feels good until you're told to stop.

Of course, even when told to stop there needs to be a reasonable time frame. When I hear "no" I take this to mean "no, please stop at your earliest convenience, if you're able to, thanks." I mean, I assume my owners are reasonable people.

So don't look at the commands as burdensome. Lighten up. Live a little. And remember, whenever you're not hearing "no" -- that's as good as hearing "yes!"

Monday, July 03, 2006

Window Shopping

Here's another picture of my mom. She loves to shop!

If you look out the window, you'll see exactly what she's after... At first you might think it's the van. She's always wanted to have one of her own. The way things are worked out now, we have to wait for the owners to get ready to take us where we need to go -- and that can literally take days! If mom could get her own van, I'm sure we could have a lot of fun during the day.

But actually, it's not the van she's looking at today. If you zoom in closer you'll see what she's eyeing... Ah, there you go!

Oh, wouldn't it be great to have one of those! The male owner often speaks about buying some as pets. I would really like that. A lot.

The great thing about window shopping is you can do it almost anywhere - see?

When I window shop, I get really excited!

Please slow down! I saw something I really, really want! Pleeeease!!

Drat. I hate this "you can look, but don't touch" policy. I can only assume they're waiting for Christmas to surprise us with all the nice things we have seen out the window all year.

Christmas is only 5 months away! Only 175 shopping days left!