Smarty Spot

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Smart Way to Go

If you're gonna go on vacation, you should do it right! And that's why I choose George's Retreat Center for all my vacation needs.

George's Retreat Center offers:
* Food (in convenient pre-packaged portions, plus little treats that my owner will never hear about)
* Fun
* Friends
* Exercise

And, of course...
* George! (You should meet him, he's nice.)

Not to mention great memories. I've been coming here since I was a kid!

So I'll be away for a few days, but please check back next week for further installments of Smarty Spot!

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Sunday Moanin' and Where Has the Time Gone?

Time is not on my side.

I woke up, as usual, at 7:00 am. As is my custom, I spent the next hour carefully monitoring the female owner’s sleep patterns and subtle movements. In my usual ways, I created an environment condusive to her waking up in time to feed me at 8:00 am.

Now, it’s important to know that this 8:00 feeding time was not my idea. I lobbied hard for a more reasonable time – or times – namely, 6:00 am (appetizer), 6:30 am (few pounds of raw food as a main course), and a third feeding at 6:45 am (dessert, something simple like a fudge brownie cake). So clearly this one little feeding at 8:00 am is not my first choice; it resulted from difficult negotiations and a lot of sacrifice on my part for the sake of this whippet-human relationship.

So anyway, this morning she refuses to get out of bed. I keep illustrating to her how to do it: jump off the bed, land on the floor, through the door, take the first right, slide across the wood floor to the double doors on the left, and there you are – in the kitchen.

But whenever I did this, she was not behind me. Did she fail to make that right turn? Did she slide too far and hit the dining room wall (I know this happens to novices sometimes)?

She was just relaxing away, as if our heavily negotiated trust relationship meant nothing. Soon it was an unconscionable 8:30 am!

About the third time of running from bedroom to kitchen, I noticed something strange. The clock in the kitchen said 7:30 am.

I checked my inner clock. 8:30.

I checked the position of the sun. 8:30.

I checked my level of discontent. 8:30.

I checked the clock again. Still 7:30!

And by now, I am not having a good "time" – literally.

You know, after those horrible negotiating sessions a year ago, I used to monitor the clocks much more carefully. It’s not that I didn’t trust my nice owners, but I thought they might try to save money on food by slowly but surely making meals later and later – until one day you’ve crossed over into the next day.

Okay, now it’s 8:30… again… helloooo?

Well, it’s time to do what everyone else does these days: take the battle to the airwaves and the internet. So while I’m on hold with the local talk radio station, I invite you to take a look at this picture. Is this what you would want to see when you sit down to a meal?

Sure, it’s shiny. But there’s NO FOOD!! Isn't that the important part??

Okay, pardon me, the call screener is going to talk to me now…

What? “Daylight Savings Time”? C’mon, heaping adjectives in front of the word “time” doesn’t change the simple fact that it’s time for breakfast!

What is this, some kind of vast right wing conspiracy?

I guess I’ll call NPR next…

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

Only Human

Last night I learned something the owners probably don’t want me to know: dogs are faster than humans!

I saw this on Animal Planet, on a show called "The Most Extreme." And let's just say the humans were not very extreme! Well, maybe extremely slow...

Not everyone knows this, but Animal Planet occasionally lets slip information like this in order to boost ratings among alert homebound pets. Also, there are moles that work at AP (literal ones!) that work to keep animals feeling empowered, encouraged, and ready for – well, I shouldn’t give everything away. Let’s just say it isn’t called Animal Planet for nothing. And let it be known that I’m very happy with my owners and don’t intend to take part in the more radical aspects of “Operation Unleashed.”

So anyway, it turns out that dogs are far more speedy than humans. They couldn’t catch us if they tried! Which explains why they don’t try.

This explains many things.

For example, it explains why they always refuse to race. Have you noticed that even though they walk down to the boxes with us, they never get in?

It also puts the leash in a new light. Whereas we’re led to believe that the leash is an expression of affection – “bound together for life” and all that – in reality they know they can only keep up with us if we do the pulling. They’re riding on our coattails, no pun intended.

If any humans are reading this I have a few suggestions.

First, change your diet. You need a healthy mix of tripe, fruit, and chicken blend. That processed stuff you eat – well, I wouldn’t eat it. Okay, I would, but not if I were in your shape (or lack thereof) (sorry, no pain no gain). And what is that you’re pouring milk into in the morning, some kind of sugary kibble? You should know better. Also, your salads look a little pale – just eat grass outside, it’s much more fresh and comes topped with mushrooms.

Second, you’re wearing far too many layers of clothing to the race meets. For speed, I suggest – well, let’s just say that I was “born to run” and I was also born in my “birthday suit.” A racing blanket is usually offered for modesty’s sake anyway.

And third, you’re really going to have to work on using all fours. We realize that you’re quite proud of being able to walk on your hind legs, but it’s getting a little old. If you want to impress the animal planet, you’re going to need a stride that will enable you to do 200 yards in 11 seconds.

Okay, now you’ve got no excuse. The animal kingdom is watching. Show us your stuff!

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Happy Birthday!

Today is my owner’s birthday!

Now, you may be thinking: which owner?

That leads to an important point. I used to think I had two owners, and now I’m not so sure. The one feeds me and takes me to race meets, which are clearly the two most important needs any whippet has. She also brushes me, cuts my toenails (and when I say “cut” I mean it!), and takes me to the vet – less fun, but bregrudgingly important.

The other one does something important, too – takes me for walks! He does other fun things with me too – plays with me outside, watches cartoons with me, proofreads Smart Spot, and some things I’m not supposed to let the other one know – you know, water fights, jumping on the bed, things like that.

So I thought to myself, do I really have two owners? Or one owner and one friend? Or two friends and one owner… well, let’s not make it too confusing.
In any case, I admit it’s a pretty nice setup.

So hopefully that answers the which owner question.

So what did I do for her birthday? Well, I have to admit I didn’t know it was her birthday till today. You’d have thought I would have been informed about this so I could have been more prepared…

So once I figured out why she was opening a present, I tried to tell her happy birthday in the most exuberant tone I could muster up. But she understood me to be simply begging for breakfast. Granted, once I noticed this I intensified my birthday greetings… I mean, hey, whatever works!

But since I wasn’t better prepared, I thought I’d draw a picture for her to put on the refrigerator:

Okay, I guess the scenery is a giveaway that I didn't really draw this myself. I found it one someone else's site. But it's the thought that counts, isn't it? That's what my friend said about his present, too...

Well anyway,

Happy Birthday to the best owner ever!

Thursday, October 12, 2006

Smart Mobile

Have you ever Googled your own name? Be honest. Sometimes it turns up interesting information.

Sometimes it can be downright scary.

Here's what I found when I Googled my name: someone has designed something called the Smart Car. Now, you might think the name is a coincidence (although, c'mon, how common a name is "Smarty"?) -- but you won't think it's a coincidence when you see this photo:

It's small. It's red. It's buff(ed). And it's called the "Smart" car.

I hope they give me royalties.

But actually, I'm thinking something more sinister is afoot. They are only making these in Europe right now... but I suspect they'll show up here soon - at our race meets!

This is totally unfair. If you look closely it's obvious these are "non-pedigree."

On the other hand...

It just might be that they can't keep up with the real thing anyway!

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Smarty By Morning

It's time I finally unveil the project that has been taking up so much of my time, energy, and thoughts lately...especially since the owners have wondered why I've been in such a pensive mood.

I have started working on, or at least thinking about, a book that would be entitled Smarty By Morning. It would have 365 days worth of insights on life from a whippet's point of view, in a "devotional" format (and handsomely illustrated). I had the idea because at least one reader likes to check up on Smarty Spot each morning, so I can only assume there are hundreds more. So why not have a large, glossy picture book with the same kind of uplifting and pet-friendly material?

But then I got thinking... Why not also market this book as an introduction to an even bigger work entitled The Encyclopedia for "Smart" People, with an online version entitled Whippetpedia? The goal: rewrite every entry found on Wikipedia in a pet and racing and raw food friendly style, so that whenever someone does research on any topic it is guaranteed to result in a better world for all God's creatures?

I started with "Aardvark" of course, but still have a long way to go.

But back to the original project, Smarty By Morning.

The first entry for January 1 is entitled "Life's A Struggle." What do you think of this picture to go with it?

Of course, I can use that same picture for the January 2 entry: "Life's a Ball."

As soon as I get the other 363 entries done I'll let you know!

Oh, wait a minute, what about leap year? See, this project keeps getting bigger and bigger...

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Smart Advice: An Open Letter to Lucy

Dear Lucy,

Thank you for your letter! I’m sorry it took me a few days to get to it. Lately it seems everybody needs advice! For example, one young whippet from California wrote to ask whether she was on a raw food diet since her owner doesn’t add anything to her “raw” kibble.

But you’re my sister, so I moved your letter right up to the top of the stack. Well, almost to the top anyway. I did have to renew my subscriptions to Squirrel Aficionado (which is a little high brow for me, but has great pictures) and Highlights. But aside from those business matters, your letter received priority.

So, let me get to your question: You asked, “Are three whippets better than two?”

This is a good question, and one I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. Clearly two are better than one - that’s common knowledge. But three… let’s consider.

The biggest advantage of a third whippet is that there is more food placed on the floor at once. If you’re quick, you might be able to gain from someone else’s loss…if you know what I mean. This may not be proper behavior according to some ethical theories, but usually the additional whippet is smaller and so probably doesn’t need all its food anyway.

The biggest disadvantage relates to attention span. That is, the span of your owner’s attention will presumably decrease since now she must divide time between three whippets. Now, if you are the quiet type – if you like to read long novels, do crossword puzzles, watch infomercials, etc – this can be a welcome relief from an overbearing owner. But if you demand attention, you will need to put your paw down and keep your owner from creating this attention deficit.

There is an important exception to the rule, though: If your owner has a personal assistant - someone who walks you, perhaps – that frees up the owner to have additional whippets with far less maintenance. And you still get the attention you need, because those assistants tend to be very friendly – after all, if they entered the whippet walking profession they must love animals, right?

Beware, though. There’s something known as “assistant spook.” This is a widely reported phenomenon in which the assistants – otherwise mild mannered, unassuming helpers - react with a bit of shock to the additional whippet. They will sit around in a daze, almost unable to pick up a leash. There have been cases of this reported that have lasted months! Some warn that “assistant spook” is connected to maladies known as “assistant rage” and “assistant gone postal,” but this has not been proven definitively.

Hopefully that gives you an idea of the pros and cons of allowing a third whippet to share your space. So… why do you ask?

Your sister,