Friday, May 29, 2009
I'm really glad it's Friday. By the time you read this, I'll be probably be celebrating the occasion with a nap. My human says she's got some fun things planned for the weekend, so I'd better be awake.
See you Monday!
Thursday, May 28, 2009
By Merrill Markoe
The "official" synopsis describes Nose Down, Eyes Up as "A hilarious novel about a man who won't grow up, his confused relationship with women, and his four (talking) dogs." Of course there's a lot more to it than that, but I won't ruin things by unraveling the book's entire plot. Let's just say by the time you reach The End, a whole lot happens. There's love. Betrayal. Multiple identity crises. Metaphysical discussions about peeing. Oh, and a life-threatening natural disaster that'll keep you hanging on until the last page.
Nose Down, Eyes Up would be a good read even without dramatic plot twists thanks to its enlightened cast of canines. Of all the dogs, pack leader Jimmy is by far the coolest. He's super smart, kinda snarky and if he didn't live in a book, I'd totally hang out with him. See what I'm doing in today's photo? That ridiculously cute nose down, eyes up thing? Learned it from Jimmy.
The human characters in Nose Down, Eyes Up are... interesting. Gil, the alpha-human, is what you might call a bit of a loser. He swears a lot, drinks too much, makes consistently bad choices and lets everyone down as a result. Even when he knows better, Gil heads straight for worse. But he loves his dogs and that goes a long way with me. Besides, without Gil's impressive canine-communication skills, who'd tell the dogs' side of story?
The LA Times called Nose Down, Eyes Up "an amusing time-eater" but I think it's a little more than that. Most humans (including my own) have a hard time creating an authentic "dog voice" but Merrill Markoe is totally fluent in dog. If you don't mind some swearing and Gil's awkward (but brief) attempts at a sex scene or two, think about adding Nose Down, Eyes Up to your summer reading list.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009
Y'see, last night some streets in my neighborhood were blocked off by big metal fences and rows of policemen. Pretty unusual. So I asked one of the nice police people what was going on. He explained it was to keep the crowds under control.
Yes, crowds. Marching through my neighborhood in protest. Long story short, last November a whole bunch of California voters said yes to a state constitutional ban on same-sex marriage. Because their vote won the majority, the ban went into effect. But then a whole bunch of other people said no way! Separate is NOT equal. And tried to fight the ruling in court.
Well, today that court announced its decision to uphold the ban. So if you live in California, are gay and want to get married.. too bad. All you can do at this point is protest the decision (like hundreds did tonight in San Francisco). Or move to Massachusetts, Connecticut, Vermont, Maine or Iowa.
Now, I'm a pug. And a lot of human details get lost on me. But from what I understand, this constitutional ban-thing makes it impossible for two people who love each other to get married. And even I know that for humans, getting married to someone you love is a pretty big deal. I'm sure there's another side to the story, but from a pug's perspective I can't think of too many good reasons to get in the way of love.
Pugs love love!
So, Brother Dutch and I spent yesterday prowling the picnic areas for leftovers and I didn't give flag waving a second thought. Until later that day when I saw lots of people waving flags on the nightly news. And a lot of them looked kinda sad. Sad about picnics? Sometimes humans can be really confusing!
As usual, I turned to my friend Google for help. Turns out Memorial Day doesn't have anything to do with picnics at all - it's a tribute to soldiers who have died in wars. I'm a little fuzzy on the whole "war" concept, and I still have no idea how picnics got involved, but I'm really glad I did the flag waving thing. Even if I didn't know why at the time.
Monday, May 25, 2009
Friday, May 22, 2009
Puggggglet, what are you thinking?!? If you only knew the hoops I jump through for a few measly cookies!
Please don't confuse the humans. You are wrong. Food IS love.
Great timing, Puglet. Memorial Day weekend? Picnics? Snacks galore? Hellllo!
And their humans:
Puglet, I don't think you understand how hard it is to "just say no" to a dog. Especially a hungry one. And my dog is always hungry.
My dear Puglet, YOU might not think food is love but MY pug does.
Our dog is overweight. We feed him twice a day and twice a day he acts like he's never eaten before in his life. We try not to indulge him, but always give in. It's not like he'd be happy eating carrot sticks!
Uh, I didn't mean to rain on anyone's picnic. The truth is, I love food and I love to eat. I love eating SO much that I've been known to snack on rocks Yes, ROCKS. With an appetite like mine, it'd be real easy to go from Pug to pig. So it's up to my human to keep me healthy. She says it's really easy to go overboard on snacks because most commercial dog treats are calorie dense. Lucky for me, there are some tasty human-food alternatives**.
Favorite snacks at my house include:
- Big fat crunchy carrots
- Apples (be sure to remove the seeds!)
- Asparagus (steamed)
- Gerber (like the babyfood) Veggie Puffs (more 'puff' than veggie, tasty air keeps calories low)
- Pirate's Booty (another yummy puffed human snack; one bag lasts FOREVER)
- Raw marrow bones, filled with broth & frozen
Some human foods aren't safe for dogs to eat so check ingredient lists before getting too creative. If your dog has allergies or sensitive stomach, be on the lookout for stuff like wheat and corn.
Eat and be well!
** My human's never been a huge fan of feeding dogs "people-food", but Brother Dutch can't eat a lot of extra meat proteins (it's a Dalmatian thing) so she's had to get creative.
Thursday, May 21, 2009
To be fair, it's not just the pugs. My friend Google says half of all dogs in the US are overweight or obese. And my human says it's not just about vanity either. Doggy obesity can cause a whole list of health problems from diabetes to heart disease. I mean, I think food is one of THE best things on earth - but it's not worth making yourself sick over.
Visible signs of doggy obesity include:
- Fat on lower back and base of tail
- No visible "waist" when viewed from above
- Sagging stomach
- Overly-padded ribcage (ribs are hard to feel)
To keep me from porking out, my human takes me on long walks, uses low-calorie treats for training and floats my food in water to make mealtimes longer and more "satisfying". If your dog has a weight problem, only you can fix it. Talk to your vet or visit the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention website. There's tons of great info on there (no pun intended).
Wednesday, May 20, 2009
Self-indulgence: excessive or unrestrained gratification of one's own appetites, desires, or whims.
Whoa. I had NO IDEA that's what we were talking about. Luckily my pledge*not* to self-indulge only applies to blogging! I do try to keep my Daily Puglets engaging, but it's not always easy. Sometimes I don't really have much to say. Or would rather just take nap. My human suggested I start doing reviews to keep things interesting. Y'know -- Toys. Books. Food (if I'm lucky). Sounds good to me.
Today I got this new toy called a Bento Ball. I'll get to work on a review as soon as I figure out how to open it.
Tuesday, May 19, 2009
As usual, Animal Planet has been a huge source of inspiration: Cheetahs. Piranha. Black Mambas. Tarantulas. They all seemed promising. But the Cheetah method only works if you can run as fast as a car. Piranha-style attacks require lots of willing accomplices; all I have is brother Dutch and he's not into it. Black Mambas rely on this stuff called "venom" which I don't think I have and don't really want 1) because it can kill things (despite outward appearances, I'm a peaceful pug) and 2) all the venomous animals I've ever seen are real creepy looking. The Tarantula approach had the most potential: use large fangs to trap the victim. Ok - I've got teeth, I can do that. Except they also "shower their victim's body with digestive juices, then lap up the resulting fluid". WHAT? Now that's just gross. Even to a pug.
I was feeling real discouraged, ready to give up my dream of catching the elusive mouth-meat. Then, during a re-run of "Untamed and Uncut", I found my muse: The Great White Shark.
Apparently there's a lot I can learn a lot from Jaws -- the shark's hunting technique varies by what's being hunted. Their primary strategy is "ambush" - taking their prey by surprise from below. But attacks can also come from above or behind when hunting dolphins (this helps the shark stay off the dolphin radar). Great Whites are also surprisingly acrobatic and can leap high out of the water to surprise its prey.
I've been working on perfecting my "ambush", but no luck so far. Am sure if I try all the Great White's hunting strategies, one is bound to work.... Right?
Monday, May 18, 2009
Guess it's not all that exciting to watch me watch TV. But I really like watching the horses and Saturday's Preakness Stakes was really worth seeing. For one, the winning horse was a girl and a girl horse hasn't won the race in a very long time (1924). Not only did she beat alllll the boys, but Rachel Alexandra is the first horse EVER to win the race from the 13th gate (positions are drawn by lottery; 13th is farthest from the center of the track so whoever gets stuck there ends up running a longer distance).
My human's not a huge racing fan, but brother Dutch told me she used to have a "recycled" racehorse and really just likes the horse part. Lucky for me, she likes to put horses on the TV so I'll probably get to watch the Belmont in a few weeks. I'll let you know if something fantastic happens.
Friday, May 15, 2009
Kelp is the Jack's beanstalk of ocean algae. It lives in chilly, shallow water and can grow 2 feet a day to lengths of a hundred feet (even faster than that crazy kudzu plant). Kelp beds create underwater forests that provide food and shelter for so many different forms of ocean life that Charles Darwin called them rain forests of the sea.
Even if you've never eaten something you found washed up on the beach, chances are you've eaten kelp. It's used as a common binding agent in things like ice cream, salad dressings and cereals. For those of you who've never bitten into an actual kelp plant, let me tell you - the stuff is weird. Firm on the outside, hollow in the middle, with a thick jelly-ish bit in between. Good stuff!
Sadly, my human took away my kelp right after today's photo was taken. She said the plant's yummy jelly goodness can swell in stomach and cause big problems. I tried guilting her into getting me some kelp-containing ice cream, but she said no to that too.
** see kelp for yourself at Monterey Bay Aquarium's Kelp Cam **
Thursday, May 14, 2009
I've seen ducks before. Seagulls. Giant crows. Even the oddly misplaced Night Heron that hunt for food in Dolores Park. But these big, fat, honking Geese? Never. Both my human and brother Dutch found this hysterical. Have you been living under a rock? I mean, who's never seen a Canadian Goose?? They're EVERYWHERE.
I have not, in fact, been living under a rock. But I don't know how these geese have escaped me all this time. According to my friend Google, I am definitely in the minority. The Canada Geese that just used to pass through the Bay Area on the way to someplace else have settled down. And taken over.
The city of Oakland has a serious goose poop problem. Palo Alto's once-migrating geese have gotten so fat on fast food leftovers, they're no longer able to fly away home. The flock I saw in Golden Gate park are crowding out other birds. Google says the Canada Goose issue isn't just a California thing either - these birds really ARE everywhere.
Maybe I have been living under a rock.
Anyway. My human says there's a company called "The Geese Police" that uses specially trained dogs to keep geese away from places like airports and parks. I've been thinking about getting a part-time job and chasing geese around sounds like fun. Geese Police dogs are Border Collies, but don't see any reason why a pug like me couldn't do it.
Wednesday, May 13, 2009
Have to admit, I found this all very confusing. I've met lots of brother Dutch's spotted friends, but I'm always a little shrimp compared to them. The new spotted puppy (Miley) is my size, but that's only because she's still a baby. Junior is 3 years old and 100% full-grown. He will always be pug-sized.
Brother Dutch explained that Junior is a mini-dalmatian. He says they're quite rare, probably the only one I'll ever meet. Cool. I asked if there are any rare giant-pugs I could meet. All he said was, "A dalmatian-sized pug? God, I hope not".
Tuesday, May 12, 2009
But short hair also has an annoying tendency to fall out easily. Especially if it belongs to a densely coated dog like a Pug or Dalmatian. Live with one of these breeds and, like it or not, you will develop a new hobby: hair removal. Whatever time you don't lose to detangling knotted hair will be devoted to sweeping, vacuuming, swiffering, lint-brushing, and duct-taping every surface of your self, car and home.
To illustrate just how much shedding can happen in one 1,000 sq ft apartment, brother Dutch and I are going fill this 15 qt Ikea waste bin with discarded dog hair. Our human has agreed to only put ambient shedding in this bin -- y'know, no massive piles from Furminator sessions (we'll share one of those later!) just stuff that gets swept or sucked up with the scary vacuum.
We'll post a follow-up as soon as the bin is full.
Monday, May 11, 2009
Alright... that's not me. But it's not the greatest picture my human has ever taken, so thought I might get away with it. Until my human chimed in with: How fair would that be to Arnie, the pug in the photo who actually ran through tunnels and hoops? On a very hot day.
Anyway. No matter who's doing the running, it's called "Agility" and it looks FUN! Brother Dutch's spotted friends were doing it and there were lots of those racy Australian dogs too, which made me feel a little... well... slow. And short. And generally not very agile. Then I saw Arnie. He was like lighting!
At 13" tall, Arnie the agility pug competes in the 12" class. This means the jumps he flies over are almost as tall as he is! Arnie's diminutive puggy stature probably makes going through tunnels easier, but this doesn't seem like a major size-advantage. I mean, how hard can it be to go through a tunnel? It's not like you defy gravity or anything. Flying over 12" jumps on the other hand, wow. That must take some work.
I didn't get to test out my Agility at the competition yesterday, but after watching Arnie I'm dying to try. Next time I post an agility photo, I swear I'll be the pug in it.
Friday, May 8, 2009
The holiday itself has a long history and mothers have been around for, like, forever. I mean, without mothers, none of us would even be here. I haven't seen my mother in a long time, but I will always love her.
Like many Pugs, I came into the world via something called a C-section. My human just explained this means they had to cut a HOLE in my mom to get me out. Gee, think she deserves more than just flowers for something like that!?!
Thursday, May 7, 2009
- lean, sleek, muscular build
- originally bred to run long distances along side horse-drawn carriages, are full of stamina and endurance
- highly active; don't enjoy sitting around all day with nothing to do
- born completely white - black or liver colored spots develop later
- square, thickset, stocky body
- bred primarily for companionship, are well suited for sitting on human laps
- inactive to moderately active; capable of walking pretty long distances but also make very good couch potatoes
- light colored pugs are born a dark chocolate color - everything but the face and ears lighten up later
Wednesday, May 6, 2009
These dogs might look like Brother Dutch, but they have one thing he doesn't: ribbons. LOTS of ribbons. And trophies. And loads of other stuff they've won competing in something called "obedience".
I'd never heard of this obedience thing and, as usual, had to ask my human for more info. She said obedience is when she tells me to "Sit" and I sit. Competitive obedience, on the other hand, gets waaaaay more complicated than just sitting. There's heeling and staying and coming and going and jumping and retrieving and lying down and... wow. Like she said - a whole lot more than sitting.
I don't know about everything else - but sitting, I can do. Have never won anything for doing it, but as you can see, I can sit with the best of them.
Tuesday, May 5, 2009
In places like Oregon.
Thanks to a partnership with its sister city Guadalajara, Mexico, Portland, Oregon has one of the largest annual Cinco de Mayo festivals. Over 300,000 people attend the festival each year -- some even travel from Guadalajara TO Portland, bringing authentic Mexican food and culture with them!
I wanted to celebrate this 5th of May by eating lots of good Mexican food, but my human said I had to settle for wearing a sombrero.
Monday, May 4, 2009
Even if you're not a racing fan, this year's derby was definitely worth watching. The drama started early when the favored horse dropped out at the last minute with a foot injury. When everyone was busy recalculating the betting odds, Kentucky's yucky weather turned the track into a dicey sloppy mess. Things got really interesting about a minute and a half into the race when Mine That Bird, a nobody horse with very beatable odds, sprinted out of dead last place to win.
And not just by nose - he won by a near record-breaking 6 1/2 horse lengths.
My human says the best thing about Mine That Bird's win is that it scored one for the underdogs. A $9,500 horse among million-dollar competitors, he showed up at the derby in a regular old trailer pulled by his trainer's pickup truck. He was so far off everyone's radar that even the race announcer failed to notice him taking the lead until he was almost across the finish line.
I think this horse racing stuff is the best thing on TV!
Brother Dutch said racing also has a dark side, that endings aren't always so happy. I don't exactly know what he's talking about, but when Mine That Bird's jockey started to cry during the post-race interview, there wasn't a dry eye in the room.
Friday, May 1, 2009
Awhile ago, a Daily Puglet follower named Kathy (LOVE that I have followers!) suggested I enter a pug photo contest put on by the Valentino people. I had no idea who Valentino or his people are, or why on earth they'd want a picture of me.
As usual, my human explained. Valentino is a super famous fashion designer. Uh, ok. Who also happens to be a huuuge pug Like all devoted pugs, Valentino's follow him everywhere, from design studio to private jet to yacht. They even have starring roles in the new documentary about his life's work. To celebrate the film's release, there's a glamorous pug photo contest.
Ah, got it.