Thursday, November 30, 2006

Vote for Pappy, He'll Make You Happy!

Well the voting is officially open for November's Cool Dog Site of the Month at, and Pappy's Dog Blog is in the running. If you vote for Pappy, he will promise a soup bone in every dog bowl, and canine suffrage for the 2008 presidential elections. (Slogan: "Dog vote now! How much worse could they do?")

You can vote here once per day. Scroll down and you'll find the form has a lot of questions, but you only have to enter a name, email address, and vote selection-- and I haven't noticed the site abusing my info. We're campaigning against worthy contenders like Bella, Sid, and Pinky, so every vote counts.

Bark the vote!

Vote Pappy!

My Race Is Run

Woohoo! We're there! 40 posts in 30 consecutive days. For those of you who weren't aware, I've been participating in National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo) during November. I stopped mentioning this a while back lest I jinx myself. Too easy to imagine saying how well it was all going, then total blogger's block sets in.

Looking back over the posts, it was an eventful month, so now it's time for a long, boring, retrospective post. These are my thoughts:

  • When I look back, I am amazed at how much happened this month. It seems like a long time since those first posts. Posting frequently is like walking rather than driving; I see a lot more, and time moves slowly.
  • In browsing the sites, I saw a lot of participants bothered by the forced act of posting each day diluting the value of their insights. I often wondered whether I was getting tedious and repetitive. My wife reassured me that there were a few unmemorable posts, but the quality was good overall.
  • As mentioned before, I came across some participants' sites that had been closed off from public access. One of these left a message that she had found herself doing too much self-editing because of the influx of new and unfamiliar visitors. I did get a lot more traffic, and I definitely take a lot fewer risks when I am less sure about my audience.
  • I kind of hated posting immediately after Crusher's tribute. That deserved a few days of attention.
  • Ironically, I found I was writing much longer postings when working on a tighter schedule. I'm a fan of brevity, and it takes time to whittle things down and still get your point across.
  • I never felt that I was at a total loss for subject matter-- in fact I still have a couple of topics in the can. Of course, this just shows the depths of my lunatic obsession with my dog.
  • Once I had started, I was confident I'd finish. I'm pretty compulsive (for example... the movies).

Thanks to everybody for your visits and support. I notice some NaBloPoMo participants are talking about taking a vacation from blogging after this slog. I don't plan on a break, but going forward I'd have to say that I am going to take it a bit slower.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Holy Moley!

I was pretty pleased earlier this month when Gladiators of the Dog Park attracted 100 hits in a day. Then came the Do They Know It's Christmas? video... Jumpin' Jehosophat! Thanks everybody.

The Checklist

We are now enforcing the checklist anytime Pappy comes in from our back-yard-turned-mud-pit:

  1. Has it rained in the past two days?
  2. Is it morning, and was there a heavy dew?
  3. Was Pappy running around vigorously?
  4. Was he tromping around the back beds?
  5. Is he hiding a muddy ball under that moustache?

If the answer to any of these questions is yes, out comes the terrible towel for a thorough Pappy footrub and wipedown. This is intended to protect the light beige (ecru, really) berber carpeting that seemed like such a great choice before we had a dog. Sadly, the checklist failed us the other night. Our dinner guest found the wacky pawprints all over the living room carpet to be a charming view into our domestic life, but my wife was doing a slow burn.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

The Coat

Separated at Birth?Pappy's coat-- well, really, it's more of a protective vest-- has been a glowing success. He's enthusiastic when putting it on, never fusses with it, and it has been holding up well despite rough use. Plus, with the collar turned down, he looks kind of like Scotty.

While we were watching TV last night, he trotted into the living room dragging the coat along in his mouth. I was unclear whether his intention was to wear it or shred it. It was kind of 'spensive, so I didn't wait to find out.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Christmas Comes Early

In recognition of the good fortune that celebrity has brought him, Pappy wanted to give something back. So we lined up this holiday music video including other superstars of the dog-blogging world. Commence rocking out.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

More Thanksgiving

Ruby, 11/24/2006First there was Mock Thanksgiving, then we had Thanksgiving: The Dinner Out. Last night my brother and his wife hosted Thanksgiving 2: The End of the Gobbler. Somehow we decided that it wasn't enough to finish with last Thursday's Thanksgiving dinner, we needed one more gathering and immense meal to do the holiday right.

Pappy got to come. Polly had already gone home, but there's another family pup. My brother has Pappy's other dog-cousin Ruby. She's a mutt with a black coat, and the black-spotted tongue and shortened snout of a Chow. She's weighs a little less than Pappy, but she's a lot more compact. Many people mistake her for a pup, but she's around two and a half.

Snaggletooth, 2006-11-24My brother adopted Ruby last December from Hedgesville Hounds, a pretty wonderful rescue organization which takes great care in matching up people with the right dogs. They do a lot of evaluation, and offer to take back any pet if things don't work out. It's a nice approach to recognize that not every dog goes with every family, and that it doesn't mean the people are uncaring or bad owners. Happily, Ruby has worked out well.

She and Pappy are a good pair. Ruby is very affectionate. She's short, so she has a tendency to delicately hop up on your leg and gouge you with her claws to get some lovin'. Her ears are normally flat against her skull and the fur on her head is soft, so she looks a bit like a seal baby. Her unique characteristic is that she has one lower fang sticking out at a funny angle, so she's more of a seal baby with an attitude.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Cousin Polly

Polly, 11/24/2006Pappy's dog-cousin, Polly, is here for a visit over the Thanksgiving holidays along with my Aunt. She's a wee long-haired Dachshund around two years old. Pappy and Polly get along well, given that he doesn't seem to have quite decided whether she is really a dog. When wrestling, Pappy will come bounding up to her and plant a paw on her back, and then... that's it. Polly's got no follow-up move. She's a lap rug. Other than that, they lick each other and he carefully puts her head in his mouth.

For a long time Polly was flat-out terrified of me. The first time I met her was when I had unexpectedly stopped by my Aunt's house to pick up a key when my Aunt wasn't home, and that must have traumatized her. For the next months, she would shake and cower when I was anywhere near. Then we got Pappy, and we brought our bumptious dog around to meet Polly-- and she finally had something to be more afraid of than me. Actually, I think she kind of idolizes her dog-cousin. As for me, she now wags her tail fiercely and likes me to pet her, but she will never take her eyes off me for a second. She's been very good this visit, given that she's just spent two days in the house of the horrifying ogre.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Walking the Leaf Pile Obstacle Course

This time of year, with leaf piles every 20 feet along the road, Pappy's walks have to be extended considerably in order to offer adequate sniffing time. As an added bonus, he's taken to wading deep into these piles to take a dump. It's now a wonderful scavenger hunt through leaves to find the "warm needles in a haystack" to protect leaf-jumping kids from ending up "Truman Dirty".

Fascination with Storm DrainPappy has recently been showing a curious interest in storm drains, and I finally figured out he must think they are animal dens. I hope he doesn't try to take off down one. We wouldn't want to hear tales of giant albino terriers in the sewers of Takoma Park.

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving

Happy Thanksgiving! And, for those of you outside the US, have a great day at the office!

These are the things I am thankful about with Pappy:

  1. That he's naturally good despite our lousy training regimen. It makes me think I have control of animals through pure force of will-- call me Beastmaster.
  2. That he's so fond of the manly art of ball retrieving. I grew up chucking rocks at stuff, and throwing things around seems like a good guy-bonding activity. It lets me know he's no sissy.
  3. That he doesn't get into cabinets, trashcans, counter tops, or general mischief when we are at work. I know that crates are wonderful and natural and not the least bit like a prison cell, but I'm glad we don't have to use one.
  4. That he's a bizarre combination of graceful beast and gangly bag-of-bones. When he stops to sniff something, his hip is pointing the wrong way while his elbow and shoulder look dislocated. Then he'll just pop up and prance away like a Lipizzaner Stallion.
  5. That he groans when he's lying around and wants attention. Apart from being hilarious, it lets me know that Pappy is the right name for him.
  6. That his hair is so perfect. No brushing, no shedding, and always ready for a photo op.
  7. That we found him.
  8. That he would rather be with us than anybody else.
Pappy Doing A Turkey Impression

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Cool Dog Site of the Day

Just in time for Thanksgiving, Pappy's Dog Blog has been selected as's Today's Cool Dog Site. Since 1996, has awarded a site with this distinguished honor every day. Now, ten years later, they've reached down deep and found us.

Cool Dog Site of the Day

Think about it-- 3,500 dog sites have been awarded in that tenure. I have to go back through their archives. If enough of them have closed up shop, we may be only the 1,356th coolest dog site on the web... 26 behind Tinkle Trousers.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Dog Efficiency

Pappy, being a nonstop ball-chaser, has to conserve energy to devote to his primary task. It is truly astounding the amount of time he can spend retrieving balls, and some of this is due to his labor-saving strategies. The first he uses at home, where I generally toss balls to him from our back yard patio. He'll race after the ball at top speed, returns as fast as he can, stops short, and lets the ball fly forward bouncing across the flagstones to me. Over the course of a session he probably saves himself from running a few hundred feet, and he's in better position to chase after the next ball. We often get into a really good rhythm that way-- toss, run, bounce, toss, run, bounce. His aim is pretty good, but occasionally his bounce misses. In these cases he runs down the ball, places it on the ground, and then shoots it at me using his nose as a billiard cue. Is this normal?

Pappy Awaiting LaunchThe second labor-saving strategy he uses at the dog park. I toss a ball, and he chases it down. Rather than bring it all the way back to me, he'll take his wet, mud-caked tennis ball to someone close by, drop it on a shoe, and then look pathetic and expectant. It's the rare dog park newbie who isn't conned into tossing the disgusting thing, and even some old-timers are taken in. There's got to be some way to turn this moon-eyed gaze into some cold, hard, holiday cash.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Business, Business, Business

Pappy's planned cottage industry making holiday potholders from stuffed toys is wildly popular but running into production shortages. Nobody wants to see more scenes like the Playstation 3 riots. We're considering subcontracting some of the work, and thankfully we aren't lacking in skilled labor. Freddie has been really busy, and Bogie's technique is a little raw, but he shows promise.

After Hours

We don't indulge Pappy; he does not get to sleep in our bed. Well, okay, he does have his own blanket. And his bed is heated, if we ever find the power supply. But this is just sensible... the winters are very cold around here.
Pappy in Bed

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Mock Thanksgiving

Pappy Catching BallLast night we had a group over for Mock Thanksgiving. The idea is to get friends together who have other obligations for Thanksgiving dinner. Everybody brings their favorite dishes except, in our case, the turkey. Just like the actual holiday, I ate until I felt vaguely ill.

3dogcache came with two of her three dogs-- dog 3 stayed home after dog 1 tried to eat him, but that's all under control now and everybody's fine. The dogs, including Pappy, stayed in the back yard, where two red-headed preteens chucked balls to them in the dark. Dog 2 (Ellie) has this freaky trick where she launches herself five feet in the air, does a full body twist, and catches a tennis ball. I tested her with a squeaky ball, but only a tennis ball will do. The scary part is that she'll do this like eighty times in a row.

Of course, Pappy completely outdid her by chasing balls way past the time that Ellie was near collapse. During all of his exertions, Pappy's cummerbund finally slid down to the point where it ended up as a diaper, a wet one. So we had to get rid of it. Once he realized the bandage was gone, he immediately set to work on the stitches. So I have been trying to get an Ace bandage wrapped around a maxi-pad to stay on... without much luck. Four more days until the stitches come out, and it looks to be a long road.

The film strip on the left is Pappy at the dog park yesterday in his handsome coat. I was playing with one of the goofy settings on my camera-- you know, the ones that no one uses.

Happy Mock Thanksgiving everybody!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

At The Dog Park

When we went to the dog park this morning, the mood was a little contemplative as everyone recalled Crusher. He was at the park last weekend, and died after being hit by a car Thursday. Later on Crusher's mom came by for a visit and to talk with everyone, and it was good to see her.

For all of us it's hard not to let thoughts drift to the unspoken truths; we can't protect our dogs from everything, and, no matter what, they aren't going to live as long as we want them to. We just have to depend on good luck, and that's not always going to hold. Several people had experiences similar to Crusher's mom's, and it's pretty devastating. I've never had to go through this, but I'm the type of person who can't keep from dwelling on the thought that someday I'll wake up and Pappy won't be there.

Truman, Completely Poo-ifiedMeanwhile, as the owners were having these conversations, it was business as usual for the dogs. Jack was hauling Pappy around by the collar of his new coat (which held up very nicely), and Truman was smearing poo across his shoulder and back. The latter event allowed the rest of us to coin the phrase: "Yes, my dog is filthy, but at least he's not 'Truman dirty'."

Friday, November 17, 2006


I just got word that one of our dog park regulars, Crusher the Pug, has died. He was about the funniest little ball-chaser around, and as agreeable a soul as you'll find. That looks like him and his mom in one of these photos on the dog park's home page, which I think are from way back when it opened.

We'll miss you buddy.


Dapper Pap

Pappy with CummerbundSince Pappy was stitched up Saturday, he's all but back to normal. The vet's dressing has stayed clean and intact so we've left it on. It looks sort of natty, like a cummerbund, as opposed to pathetic, like a row of gruesome stitches and a big shaved patch. Somehow the latter always makes me think of those plastic cones and sad looking dogs, and I'd rather have happy Pappy.

The materials of the dressing include this rubberized, space-age, self-adhesive yellow bandage. Very cool, I may just have to hang on to that stuff. A couple of times the bandage has slipped down a bit exposing Pappy's stitches, which he immediately sets to licking. At 5AM yesterday we started hearing slorp-slorp-slorp-slorp-slorp from the foot of the bed, and I had to get up and jigger the tight bandage forward to cover the stitches back up. Yes, I've heard the stories about the coagulant and antiseptic properties of dog saliva, but Pappy's already fully coaguled and anticepted. With his OCD, he's more likely to undo the stitches and start pulling out organs than "heal himself the way nature intended".

With the wound uncovered, I got a pretty good look at the outcome of his weekend misadventure. Impressive. Lotsa big stitches. It's a shame Halloween is past. With a few more bandages he could have been a puppy mummy, or unwrap him and he's Frankendog's Monster.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Pappy's Rules of Engagement

Maggie And Pappy RumbleAt one time when we first got Pappy, I had visions of preparing a list of local dog parks and going on a tour. At that time, Pappy was a year old and seemed game to play with any dog in any circumstances. As he approaches his second birthday, Pappy seems seems most comfortable meeting them at his dog park, Wheaton Regional Park.

Pappy loves to wrestle, and doesn't seem to be overly discriminating about the size of his opponent. But he won't wrestle just anybody, and I'm always trying to figure out his rules of engagement:

  • He seems to favor dogs two years or younger-- maybe beating on each other is a young dog's game.
  • He likes puppies of any size, and plays down to their level. It's interesting to see dogs negotiate the terms of play, the small dog playing bigger and the big dog playing smaller.
  • He doesn't mind heavier dogs (he doesn't have much of a choice since he's a skinny puke), but not too big. The exception is if they are young and goofy.
  • He doesn't mess with dogs that have big hair, even if they aren't much heavier. He doesn't get it that they just look big.
  • He likes to box mano a mano, chest to chest. I think this is because he is lanky and has better leverage for this style of wrangling. When Bosco, a massive Pit, was whalloping Pappy around with his butt, it was clear to me that Pappy is at a disadvantage when all four feet are on the ground.
  • Pappy's uses a lot of teeth at play. I'm always a little horrified to see dogs hauling on each other's loose skin, ears, and appendages, but none of them seem to mind. Of course horseplay don't pay, as Pappy learned last weekend.
  • If another dog tries to horn in while he's wrestling someone else, Pappy will turn and run him off before getting back to business. Jack, the Rottie-Lab mix, never seems to mind multiple attackers, but with Pappy it is one dog at a time.
  • Pappy doesn't like that nippy Border Collie. Too bossy.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Pappy Protection

Okay, I'm faced with a guy dilemma. After a spell of recuperation following last weekend's injury, Pappy is fired up. He obviously thinks he's ready to go, and I think he'll be well-healed and completely manic by this weekend. But I wince at the prospect of the dog park because I keep visualizing another dog's claw getting caught in the wound-- owww. Plus he's got a shaved patch on his side which is completely exposed to cold weather and the mouthing and pawing of play.

He needs protection. So here I am...a guy... contemplating buying clothing for my dog. Though we are talking protective clothing, it's still doggy clothing. People continue to tease Truman for showing up at the dog park the first time in a sweater, and I know he must hate that.

In trying to minimize the frills and stay functional, I researched body armor for dogs. Apparently it is available, but $1045 is a little out of my price range. They have these nifty little Neoprene vests with Kevlar for hunting dogs-- Kevlar and camouflage are a great combo. But, from my limited experience getting into diving suits, the only thing I can think of worse than trying to put Neoprene on a dog is trying to get it on a cat. Pappy would look pretty tough if I put him into a Jason Campbell football jersey, but I doubt the shoulder pads would fit.

Pappy's Got A Brand New CoatOn the walk home from the subway we stopped in the pet store and picked up a sturdy, weatherproof dog coat with a reflective stripe. Nobody better laugh, because it's really very practical. And Pappy looks very handsome in red. What does that make him, a summer?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

The Dog Walker Conundrum

For a long time, one of the things that kept us from adopting a dog was our long days at the office. Then it dawned on us we could hire a dog walker. So we got Pappy, and each day a woman from the neighborhood comes by to break up his day with a walk. I also give him a short walk in the morning and a long walk in the evening.

The curious thing is that we hardly ever see the dog walker, and therein lies the riddle. This is a whole segment of Pappy's life we know almost nothing about. Which leash does she use? How does he walk with her? Does he pull? Does he sniff everything? Which way do they go?

I suppose I could ask her, but that takes all the mystery out of things. As it stands, I also have the puzzle of how he spends his days when we're away-- good fodder for lunchtime contemplation. Otherwise, you're left with situations like the secret life of this poor Pug being laid bare by a webcam.

Monday, November 13, 2006

NaBloPoMo Analysis

Since I've been participating in National Blog Posting Month (NaBloPoMo), I have been noticing a couple of things, which I find interesting.

  • As a "duh" kind of stat, my hits are way up-- easily doubling the previous month. Not all of this comes from NaBloPoMo, but probably a third of it does. Thanks to everyone, and come on back.
  • Entropy seems to be affecting NaBloPoMo participants. Most people seem to be keeping up with their posts, but the enthusiasm in surfing the different sites seems to be dying down (my own enthusiasm included), and I see a lot fewer comments from random visitors. Again, this isn't so unexpected.
  • This last one does surprise me: I'm noticing some NaBloPoMo sites in the randomizer that are blocked, allowing only access by invitation. I came across two in a row Sunday morning, and I am pretty sure I remember one was public access when the event started.

I'm thinking that some participants were a little freaked out at the responses they were getting from the non-regular visitors on their sites. I can imagine getting a comment that would creep me out, but dogs blogs aren't much of a lightening rod for loonies-- well, not that kind of loony. I like the loonies I get.

P.S. Ailing Pappy is much improved. He's toddling up and down the stairs with ease, wagging his tail, and is even playing a little slow-motion ball. Now he just whines because he's bored, bored, bored.

Sunday, November 12, 2006


Well, I spoke too soon about Pappy's rebound from his injury. Once the painkillers wore off, or once the muzziness of the sedation kicked in, he spent a lot of time standing like a zombie. Today the muzziness seems to have worn off, but now he's standing around lightly wimpering despite the pain pills. It's a heartbreaker. It seems like he handles short sharp pains better than long-term soreness. The light at the end of the tunnel is that, when we saw a dog on a short evening walk last night, he was rarin' to meet.

In Temple Grandin's Animals in Translation, she talks about dog and animal perception of pain as compared to humans. She mentions some tests on human chronic pain sufferers, who had been bedridden because of their pain. They had neurosurgery to have some connections severed to their frontal cortex, where most of the advanced functions of the human brain reside. This surgery didn't cut the link to the pain receptors, but somehow isolated the pain from the higher-level brain. Formerly bedridden patients were then up and around. When asked, they said they felt the same pain, it just didn't bother them as much-- they weren't suffering. Grandin then goes on to draw parallels between this surgery and the fact that animals have a much less developed frontal cortex, and so may not suffer quite the same.

But the way things stand right now, it's seeming like ol' Pappy suffers plenty.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Pappy on the Mend

Pappy, All Dressed Up and Ready to Go
Well, I've picked up Pappy after the stitches, and am $400 poorer. The vet warned me that Pappy might be a little woozy following the anaesthesia, and may just lay around. Absolutely no evidence of that, and he's ready to go chase balls. They gave me some pain pills; no evidence of any pain. They told me to keep him quiet for a couple of days, but I think I'm going to have to sit on him to make that happen.

For his convalescence, I might take him in the back yard and let him sniff the leaves while I rake.

Poor Little Guy

Pappy and I went to the dog park this morning, as usual. What wasn't usual is that we were meeting up with geocaching dog blogger, 3dogcache (motto: "dogs go with geocaching like pickles with peanut butter; no, really, it's good"), and her three pooches, Maggie, Ellie, and Andy.

Pappy was playing feverishly with all comers, and at one point I thought I saw a flash of red on his side. I looked him over but didn't find anything. An hour's play later I saw it again, but this time I found it-- a rather ugly gash behind his shoulder. Everybody at the dog park was really helpful, and one guy was apologetic and really worried that his dog had caused it (but my first glimpse came long before he arrived). We went straight to the vet. She said because of the way the skin was pulled apart, it wasn't going to heal without sutures. So Pappy's getting sedated and stitched up as I write this.

Pappy has this incredible pain tolerance, and it really worries me at times. He got his chip implanted without a sound, had a cordless phone dropped on his head without noticing, and I'm always finding scratches and cuts. He's a skinny twerp playing rough with much bigger dogs, and it doesn't seem like he knows when to ease up. One of these days I'm afraid he's going to snap a leg and still be trying to wrestle Jack.

No dog park for Pappy tomorrow, but we'll be back next weekend.

Blog Subjects

As subjects for a blog, dogs are sweet and all. But I'm not sure they are nearly as funny as... heaven help me... cats. I just see blogs like this, and videos like this that crack me up. But they also make me wonder why you'd ever invite a cat in your house.

But you'll never see anyone writing this about a cat:

Friday, November 10, 2006

My Experience with Dogs

Pappy, Cow Hoof ConsumerBefore we had Pappy, if you had asked me whether I'd ever owned a dog, I would have said sure. We had a couple of them when I was a kid. But at this point I'd have to revise that. The way that many kids own a dog (at least how I owned a dog) is by playing with it when they are inclined, ignoring it when they aren't, and not doing much else. There isn't a lot of end-to-end responsibility there.

To lighten up on myself, we got our first dog, Winnie, when I was five years old. I think it was Easter, and I remember that I couldn't decide whether I was more excited by the pup or my new plastic Batman glasses. I can't remember how long we had her, or exactly what she looked like. We let her run loose, and eventually she bit a neighbor so my parents gave her away. Our second dog, Fletcher, was a Lhasa Apso born to my Aunt's dog. Someone had taken the puppy, roundly neglected and/or abused him, and then returned him to my Aunt. We agreed to take him in as a semi-fostering arrangement, but he was a mess-- unhousebroken, really fearful, and with chronic separation anxiety. My brother and I were in school and both my parents worked, so no one was around to help him. Before too long, we found Fletcher another home.

Not an established track record of dog accountability there. My wife and I thought long and hard about whether to get a dog, and I like to think we have taken to ownership like ducks to water. But I'm always learning something new.

All of this exposition is leading up to a critical question for the experts, and I just don't have enough experience to know whether Pappy is unusual. Is it typical for a dog to be bow-legged and pigeon-toed in back, and knock-kneed and duck-footed in front?

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Adventures in Dog Walking

Pappy and my evening walks in the autumn have been distinguished by three things:

  1. It's dark out;

  2. There are a lot of fallen leaves;

  3. There's a creepy bamboo thicket behind the baseball field.

As for the darkness, there's not a lot to say. I took a picture of it on the right, and that's pretty much what it looks like.

The piles of leaves are like ambrosia to Pappy. He wades in up to his elbows, and then just sniffs and sniffs. The following haiku is by Pappy (interpreted by me):

myriad smells composting
in the piled leaves

wait, i'm not done

The bamboo thicket is immense and dense. As I approach it with Pappy, we're suddenly confronted with the calls and rustling of hundreds of birds-- but we never see any of them. Pappy is actually less freaked by this than I am. Partly it's fear of some Hitchcockian nightmare, partly fear of showering bird doo.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Fame, Fortune, and Terriers

I was just alerted in a comment by HotDog of that Pappy's Blog has been selected as Blog of the Week. Pappy gets to follow in the footsteps of many august blogdogs who have visited this page and left their marks. I couldn't help but notice a disproportionate number of terriers in the past winners' circle, not that I have any problem with that. Now, I collect my prize... a subject for one more post during National Blog Posting Month.

It wasn't so long ago that I was despairing that our blog seemed to fall off the Googlable internet. Now we've rebounded, baby, like Robert Downey, Jr. I'd like to thank Pappy, the Academy, and of course my wife...

Law of the Jungle

A couple of incidents at the dog park gave me some food for thought regarding Pappy's place in the dog pecking order. The first was that Jack had a scary fight with a creepy Akita. He was uninjured, but upset. Jack's pretty unflappable-- his favorite game at the dog park is "Jumping Jack" where five dogs simultaneously attack him. Later that afternoon he was pretty shaken, and only wanted to play with the little dogs at the dog park; some R&R amongst the Lilliputians.

The second incident involved Truman playing with a huge Lab. Truman is no wuss, in fact his owner worries that he can be aggressive at times. But he was alternately running around with this Lab, then rolling over in abject submission as the Lab sniffed around his nethers at great length. Truman's owner had never seen this before, and was aghast that her dashing dog had been so totally unmanned.

So, in considering these two situations, I kind of ponder how Pappy fits into dog society. Apart from the time that Joy, a stocky Boxer, pinned a surprised Pappy on his back and sprawled on top of him, he's never demonstrated anything resembling belly-up submissive behavior to dominant dogs. He's no strutting he-dog, he just somehow sidesteps the really dominant ones. As for aggression, he generally stays out of trouble despite all of his rough-housing. Whenever there is a fight he makes a bee-line right towards it, but he never ends up in the middle. I certainly don't need a tough guy, so it's okay with me the other dogs don't take him too seriously and he stays out of trouble. It's fine if he is the Barney Fife of the dog world.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

NaBloPoMo Blog of the Day

Momopeche Go has to be one of the most compelling blogs to follow during National Blog Posting Month. Each day I can't wait to see what she whittles next-- salami goldfish, chapstick owl, etc. And she's looking for ideas!

Driving Barometer

Pappy is a pretty good little passenger on car rides. He's never sick, and he can get pretty relaxed and flop down on the back seat. However, my wife likes to point out when I'm driving and Pappy is standing ramrod straight, propped in the corner of the back seat, with a slightly startled look in his eyes. I don't have much use for editorial comments about my driving from my wife, but I sure don't need them from my dog.

Pappy says don't forget to dog the vote.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Gladiators of the Dog Park

In honor of National Blog Posting Month, the movie they said couldn't be done. Ancient Rome! Fantastic battle sequences! A cast of thousands! Pappy! For what you are paying, you won't be disappointed.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Creatures of Habit

Pappy and I have a weekend drill. To many it might seem wildly boring, but I think dogs actually like it that way-- especially if it includes a visit to the dog park. The thing I really like about it is that, before we had a dog, I would fritter away my weekend mornings until around 10AM. I'd get the paper read, but not much more. Now, by 10AM, I've done more with my dog than most people do all day. And the dog park regulars are pretty entertaining.

Pappy's Sunday Soduko

As a onetime effort to make Pappy's blog entertaining and challenging, here's Pappy's Sunday Soduko Puzzle. This is a toughie; he ended up mastering the swordfish technique to get it.

Saturday, November 04, 2006

Immovable Object, Meet Irresistable Force

As part of the Saturday routine, we went to the dog park. Jack was there, but for some reason Pappy was consumed with wrestling Hamlet, a Great Dane easily three times the size of our 36-pound hero. I was a little worried that Pappy would get snapped in two, but he was holding his own with his lunges and flashing terrier teeth-- he even had Hamlet down a few times early on. Pappy's pretty used to tangling with bigger dogs, but sometimes a little fear would be a good thing.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Deja Vu, All Over Again

When I was a younger fella, strangers would sometimes walk up to me out of the blue and say -- "I think I know your cousin in Topeka" -- when, to my knowledge, I've got no cousin in Topeka. I always attributed this to the fact that I am somewhat distinctive looking. You take a typical person and you see someone similar, and... no big deal. But, you find the twin for someone more idiosyncratic in appearance and, Shazam, they must have been separated at birth.

This type of epiphany happened for Becky at Jell-o Universe today when she happened across Pappy's site. She has a pooch, Maggie (no not that Maggie), who could be said to be infringing on Pappy's Unconventionally Good Looking® trademark. She's much better groomed than the Papster, but let those brow hairs grow and she definitely has the same charm and charisma in photos. Becky got so excited she had put down The Grapes of Wrath, turn off The Beatles, and write a blog entry documenting the miracle.

Now if she'll just tell me what kind of dogs we have...

Foiling PtTD

Yesterday we wandered into the Big Bad Woof with hopes of finding a new challenge for "Pappy the Toy Destroya" (henceforth, PtTD). Next to the door we noticed these Tibetan boiled wool toys. They looked smelly and tough, just the thing to keep PtTD entertained when he's taking a break from making potholders of his other stuffed toys.

When we got home, PtTD was instantly nose first into the bag. After the presentation ceremony, he started doing his toss-it-up-and-prance celebration over the new toys. He even tried a feeble tug o' war with the ring, but this isn't one of his strong suits; his neck's pretty puny.

While we were eating dinner he set to work on the pumpkin toy, which had a nice little two inch stem sticking out of the top. He finally managed to tear this off only to find... What? NO STUFFING? This thing is a SOLID LUMP OF FELT? It blew his mind.

Since that discovery, PtTD hasn't shown a whole lot of interest in the pumpkin. Everytime I try and play with him using the ring, he takes it into another room and puts it away. It seems that these toys have violated his sense of order.

Thursday, November 02, 2006


In making the rounds of the NaBloPoMo Randomizer, I'm beginning to think I may be the only male participant in National Blog Posting Month. Not that there's anything wrong with that, but I'm feeling a little like I walked into the wrong bathroom. Then I begin to wonder whether the only men bloggers out there are haX0r dw33bs, drunken subliterates, and Matt Drudge wannabes.

Guys? Guys? Is there anyone out there?

Toy Terminator

As I talk with dog owners, it seems pretty routine for our pooches to demolish the toys they love. Pappy assumes we are asking him to destroy anything we give him, and he takes this mission very seriously. I got him a couple of tougher looking toys recently, only to have one eviscerated within the hour. The second, a rugged canvas dog, I stitched back together with some carpet thread after his ears were ripped off. I was pretty confident that this addressed his main vulnerabilities, but Pappy opened him back up within five minutes. He's been slowly pulling out the stuffing over the course of the past couple of weeks and scattering it around the living room floor.

Given that sagas of demolished toys are old news, I thought I would explore some fresh territory-- what to do with the remnants. My wife has decided that we should rinse off all of the pelts of dead stuffed animals and give them as potholders this Christmas. Pappy's going to very busy for the next month, but we'll definitely be giving one-of-a-kind gifts.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Inaugural NaBloPoMo Posting

This is my inaugural posting for NaBloPoMo, striving to keep alive through 30 consecutive days of postings. In honor of the event I photochopped Pappy as a poor man's Warhol portrait. Here's a prayer that Pappy will do enough interesting things this month to merit seven-day-a-week coverage.

(Let's see, we've got Thanksgiving, a new Pappy movie nearing completion, we'll be doing a bunch of raking sometime soon, maybe we'll get some snow, could do a tour of the local dog parks... yup, I think we're covered.)