Smarty Spot

Tuesday, October 30, 2007


I've had a variety of visitors ever since we started living in the beach house. Things progress along the usual relational spectrum.

I'm sure you've heard it all before. You know, that first awkward moment...

Followed by that person bearing their soul to me - sharing their secret dreams and fears, while I listen compassionately and nod knowingly...

This is followed by some act of kindness on my part, usually a physical gesture to let the person know that in this cruel, unforgiving world, there is in fact someone who understands, someone who cares.

And finally, appreciation is offered to me, perhaps in the form of a smile, a donation to my college fund, or a donation to a favorite charity. My favorite charities, by the way, would be Smarty Spot, my Food Pantry, and my college fund. I must say that in this world of small tippers, I'm seeing more and more people offer just the smile.

And there's nothing technically, legally wrong with that. A smile is nice. It doesn't pay for the paper, crayons, and erasers I'll need in college, but that's a long way off anyway.

Well, this past weekend, I received one of the best thank you gifts in a while - an all-expense paid round trip to the dog park! It was a gift from a newly engaged couple, along with the other usual suspects. All that listening, encouraging, and affirming finally paid off big! Not to mention my decision to include premarital counseling among my advertised services.

I still am accepting donations to the college fund, however. It's not that I think I need an advanced degree obviously, but it's almost like you need one (or two) to be taken seriously these days. I can't tell you how many times people have thought that Smarty Spot is a humor blog instead of a serious academic endeavor, and it all goes back to how many fancy letters you have (or don't have) after your name. It's crazy, I know, but that's the world we live in.

Besides, if I can earn the degree online I can pretty much have the whole thing completed during TV commercials and while my music is downloading from the internet. That also saves money on supplies, commuting, and even tuition if you lowball it. Plus, as you can see, I'm already doing enough work to count toward an internship. So really, it's no big time loss either.

The point is, stop by anytime and visit. I'm here for you. And I'm all ears.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Trick or Treat?

As everyone knows, I'm not one for conspiracy theories. Theories are far too complex. If there's a conspiracy, I just want someone to tell me so I can get on with my life with the appropriate degree of anger, paranoia, and alarm.

Well, turn your alarm clocks on, because you're about to learn what's going down. Take a look at this picture:

And this one:

Notice what's going on here. They've broken Scoche's will! They've reduced her to a piece of entertainment... a circus act... a show dog!

Somehow using the treats to turn Scoche into their private plaything, their personal puppet!

Look closely and you'll see them pulling the strings, like true puppet masters. (You've wondered where humans earned the title "master"?)

I would have never thought it possible. Me? Sure! I'll do anything for a treat. But Scoche? No way! I'm not sure how they did it... Are the treats tainted? I've heard about Halloween horror stories like this. Or, is this what awaits all whippets when we get to be Scoche's age?

This second possibility actually cheered me up. I realized hey, I'll never be that old! Scoche is like, forever years old - I think she's eight or nine even. Maybe a hundred.

But then I started thinking... not theorizing, mind you, but thinking. And I started putting pieces together. A lot of scary things have been going on lately.

Take for example my recent trip to the vet. In my experience, the vet is to animals what a pool hall or ping pong parlour is to humans - a place to relax, hang out, meet friends, play on the tables. But this last time, I go there, and some weird lady sticks me with a giant needle and literally draws blood out of me (seriously!).

And I'd like to mention that it hurt.

Then, I get another "opportunity" to go somewhere fun - at least that's what the tone of voice implied - and I end up abducted, in a headlock, and nearly drowned in a tub!

They haven't broken my will yet. I'm only pretending to be amiable, needy, and submissive while I figure out their endgame.

Meanwhile, those qualities really do help you to get more treats. And who can argue with that?

Thursday, October 18, 2007


What a weekend... I got to see all those friends I wanted to see and I got to use my EZ Bake oven to bake my owner a delicious cake!

Not only that, but I made a killing on what I charged for the cake, which is the beginning of a wonderful new business that could allow me a little extra pocket money. In fact, I might need to spend my first profits on buying some pockets! This will also allow me a place for my pocket knife, which will be my next purchase.

Between friends, baking, and the birthday party it was hard to do much else. But I also got to race! I usually try to nap in my crate prior to a big race - it's one of my secrets, along with [top secret information removed by editor]. But my mind was doing the racing this time, especially because I was relying heavily on a student workers to do a lot of the party planning:

They did a great job, but they were so small I found I had to micro-manage them. So by the time it was my turn to race, I had to catch a nap at the very last minute. And I do mean the very last minute!

But all in all, it worked out pretty well. Out of 120 dogs, I came in 5th! And when I raced again I came in 5th a second time! I'm still waiting for that third and fourth race... apparently we're on a little break.

I do need to give a bark out to Tula, who apparently did very well. Here's a picture I snapped (yes, yet another little chore I had to tend to) between flour fights and quality control seminars:

Congratulations, Tula! I knew when you signed with Lucy's agent you'd do well - especially with that early morning regiment she puts you through! (Don't think I don't know about the cultish techniques used at her "training camp" - no one should be deprived of that much sleep. I'm planning an expose but I'm still waiting for my mole to send me the secret video tapes.)

So, I had a good time even though now I know what they mean when they say "be careful what you wish for." This weekend might have been better spread out over a whole month! In fact, it might have been better to spread out those 5th place finishes into 5 different 1st place finishes.

At least that's what some of my fans have told me. Here's one of my fans at the beginning of the day... Notice she was a little nervous, knowing I had a lot on my plate... and I don't mean a literal "plate" unfortunately...

But by the end of the day she seemed to wear her cool Smarty Gear a little less boldly...

I'm sorry. I take full responsibility for the actions of my interns and promise to intend to do better next time - specifically, to have more cake to feed everybody and also to hire a bigger crew so I'm not so distracted by seminars, sleeplessness, and incredibly fun times.

Thanks to everyone for coming to the big party!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Birthday Wishes

Okay, let's be honest, all this babysitting is getting a little old. I was happy when my chore was just to fold the laundry. Helping with the baby's bath wasn't so bad - although it left me dangerously close to getting one myself! But now that I'm starting to be the baby's primary guardian, I'm finding the job a little more demanding than I'd been told.

I started looking into child labor laws, and determined to blow the whistle as soon as I was assigned diaper changing duty. But then I found out -- a holiday is approaching! Maybe a little break is all I need.

One of my owners is having a birthday in October. And we all know what birthdays are for - presents. So although it's rather late notice, I'm trying to put together a list of what I'd like to get for her birthday. It's hard to choose - there are so many things I want her to get for me!

In a situation like this, it's usually best to not ask for too much. Because if you do that, you'll just get one or two of the things you ask for - or clothes. Instead, it's best to ask for one thing... but one thing that somehow combines all the gifts. (For example, instead of asking for "raw food" ask for a frozen cow.)

This year it will be tricky, though. What I'd really like is a chance to see some friends, such as Lucy and that agent of hers...

If at all possible I'd like to find out how my old babysitter Emily is doing...

Of course no party is complete without George...

But as much as I'd like to see all these friends I'd also like my present to include a little exercise. Or maybe even a lot!

But, I'd also like to travel...

Hmmm... The problem is that these gifts don't seem to naturally combine into one giant gift from what I can tell. After all, I can't ask to race Lucy, George, and Emily - I'd leave 'em in the dust and never get to really enjoy their company. Plus the whole dewclaw envy issue... And if I ask to go to Camp George, that kind of changes my travel hopes - I was hoping to head south this time around, see a new place.

Well, I'm sure I'll come up with the perfect present to ask for. If only I could get some time to myself so I can just think!

Monday, October 01, 2007

Putting the Beach back in Virginia

We arrived in Virginia Beach early in the summer, and I was so excited about doing some snorkling and sandcastle building I could hardly sit still. I even made up some blueprints of the perfect sandcastle and ordered my own trowel off the internet. I never received it because I listed our address simply as "THE BEACH!!" After all, I thought that's where we'd be spending most of our time.

Well, that didn't happen... But after a couple months of "Virginia" and not a whole lot of "Beach," we finally made it to the Promised Sand!

If you look closely, you'll see that's me and Scoche in the crowd. Scoche was in a happy, friendly mood...strangely enough. Whereas I know that at the beach - also known as THE BEACH!! - it's best to play it cool.

Which was hard because my owners didn't bring the snorkle, or the flippers, or even suntan lotion. They brought leashes. That's great if you're able to do things like walk on water, but not if you want to film underwater caverns. Lifelines are great, but when they're wrapped around your neck that sometimes doesn't qualify as "water safety"! (I'm sorry for being sarcastic. Sometimes I just have to vent my feelings in my private online journal. The owners read me like a book, and this is the one place where I can be alone with my feelings and the online community.)

Okay, back to the story. Snorkling was out since there was, uh, no snorkle, so that left sandcastle building. Which sounds easy enough, right? I have four paws, dewclaws and all that, what else do you need? Well, it depends what kind of sandcastle you want to build! Remember, I had a lot of time to draw blueprints over the summer.

I named this one "How I Spent My Summer." If I would've had my trowel it could've been even better. I think the paws look a little bit too much like fingers. I had wanted to add some paint, tinsel, and laser beams, but -- well, we don't need to talk any further about what the owners did or didn't pack. As a result, it came across a little more dark and disturbing than I had planned.

After all this work, it was lunch time! It turns out the owners did pack all sorts of great food! All is forgiven...

Then again, I was a bit disappointed in my portions. This weekend visitor ate my sandwich and brownies!

Not quite sure who she was. Apparently the babysitter... and apparently she's pretty new at it - she made some pretty big mistakes, like going for a walk but forgetting the whippets! She must have looked very foolish, pushing that stroller around the neighborhood without the dogs. As we know, humans don't always know how to "pack."

I forgive her, though. She's just a little wet behind the ears.

Which is more than I can say for myself!

But at least I have sand in my toes.