Saturday, December 26, 2009

Photos of Holidays Past and Present

SUMMARY: Those were the days, my friend--and so are these.



(The one in the middle here is on the left in the preceding photo.)

1966 - Sam still puppyish

(Me in long blonde hair. Dad in blue plaid shirt.)

1978 - Amber comes home

(Me in long blonde hair.)

1983 - Sheba and Amber

2001 - A rare three-dog Christmas (Jake, Tika, Remington)

2009 - The Merle Girls


(Mom in green, Dad in back.)


(Mom in white, Dad in blue plaid shirt (some things NEVER change!). And these are the sisters and the cousins and they number up by dozens and the aunts!)

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Who Eats Better?

SUMMARY: In which we analyze our Christmas goodies.

So, really, who eats better, dogs or us?
These are the doggie treats Tika couldn't keep her saliva off yesterday:

"You will be begging your dog for a taste!" No fooling! *I* start salivating every time I see them sitting on the table. And get this:

There's no liver or pork belly byproducts or anything else dog-like in here. So the big questions are:
  • Why was Tika so convinced those were dog treats?
  • Can I eat one? I mean, they were a gift TO Tika and Boost from my cousin's dogs, not to me. Would that be thievery? Do I have to ask permission? I know Tika would want them all for herself given a real option.

Now, students, compare and contrast to the peopleie treats that Human Mom received:

Extra credit: WHAT peopleie treats did Human Mom receive?

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Friday, December 25, 2009

Thanks, Santa!

SUMMARY: Do you detect a theme among some of our gifts?
Tika had no trouble at all identifying which one would be more appreciated by Dogs than by Humans. And she'd like to start appreciating as soon as possible, thank you very much.

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Christmas at Taj MuttHall

SUMMARY: It's a beautiful morning.
  • Frost on the grass that melts the moment it's touched by the sun. The sky is brilliant blue; not a cloud to be seen.
  • The Bay Area Air Quality Management District has declared this a Spare The Air Day. We must restrain ourselves from burning that Yule log as long as the weather conditions insist on trapping everything in the valley for us to try to inhale. It's still SO much better than it was 30 years ago.
  • The Merle Girls took Human Mom for a walk to the park this morning and rejoiced in frisbee in the dew-laden grass until even Boost didn't want to run any more. Tika wore her bootie on her erstwhile sore foot and there's no sign of soreness at all. HOOOOOray.

  • Gifts are wrapped (although some still don't have ribbons or bows).
  • I get to see my WHOLE family this afternoon! Two years in a row--it's a miracle. Might try for another photo if they're actually all in the same building at the same time.
  • I say: "Dog bless us, every one."
  • Daneen says: "Wreck the halls with Dals and Collies!" (Or: "Wreck the halls with cows on dollies," for those absurdists among you.)
  • Mallary says: "Hope you're having a great dane!  All the best for the howlidays and the new year!"
  • Tracey says: "Fleas Navidog!"

Merry Christmas, Happy Belated Hanukkah, Happy Holidays, and the best of everything to all of you.

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Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Holiday Music from Taj MuttHall

SUMMARY: Only the best hijacked and misused lyrics from KTMH.

I needn't burst into "Bark us all bow-wows of folly," as Pogo already did that many years ago.

Instead, while shaking and rattling our lovely jolly ball in the yard and listening to the dogs' collar tags jingle, we came up with:

Jingle tags, jingle tags, jingle all the day,
Oh what fun it is to play at tug-of-war this way,
Jingle tags, jingle tags, jingle all the day,
Oh what fun it is to play at tug-of-war this way!

Dashing through the yard with our fav'rite jolly ball,
Running very hard, trying not to fall.
Our bods are lean and lank, have great mobility.
You know what we have to thank--it's dog agility!

Oh, jingle tags (etc.)

OK, back to the drawing board--

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Monday, December 21, 2009

Candyland Agility

SUMMARY: Best gingerbread house of the year.
For those of you who haven't finished assembling your gingerbread or candy house yet this year--and who among us has?--here's fellow Bay Teamer Tania's (and spouse's) offering as an inspiration to you. As San Jose Sharks fans, they provided a rink on which the Sharks can practice (because they need all the practice they can get), but even better a whole agility yard! With sugar-coated Aframe, candy-cane weave poles, and a red licorice jump bar balanced on life-saver uprights. I'll bet Santa will have trouble getting his reindeer back to work after they have a chance to play here! (Remember you can always click photos here for larger versions.)

(Thanks, Tania, for letting me use your photo. This is SO cool. Brings back memories of the creative candy houses my dad made for us every year.)

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Thursday, December 10, 2009

Dang and Tree

SUMMARY: No agility for Tika. So we found ourselves a tree instead.

Tried Tika over just a few obstacles, jumps at 16" and then 12", in class tonight. Boom, came up limping again. So that's it for her for a few weeks; obviously this isn't going to recover quickly. Scratched her completely from this weekend's trial.

Boost: Knocked bars bars bars. Must do drills the next 2 days. Argh. Cold. Wet. Grumpy.

So, as a pick-me-up, guess what we grabbed on our way home this afternoon?

Boost helped.

But guess who still had to drive.

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Friday, December 29, 2006

Christmas Rawhides

SUMMARY: Different dogs, different rawhide personalities. (This was one of several scenarios that I had envisioned as part of my Christmas letter. But I pared a lot out of it, so you-all get it on my blog, instead.)

Sheba and Amber: Christmas 1983, just a couple of normal dog pet pals enjoying a treat. Maybe Sheba wants to enjoy two treats.
Jake Step 1: Carry his gift around looking concerned and mildly reproving.
Tika Step 1: Tear off enough paper to get to work. No nonsense here.
Jake Step 2: Carry his gift around looking concerned and mildly reproving.
Boost Step 1: Carry it to bed and check it out cautiously.
Jake step 3: Carry it to bed and monitor for intruders.
Boost step 2: Bury the rawhide in a secret place.
Jake step 4: Carefully remove just enough paper to tempt the other dogs to just dare to try to come take it.
Boost's cleverly buried rawhide bone. No one will find it now.
Jake step 5: Carry his gift around looking concerned and mildly reproving.

In the Olden Days, when we had Sheba and Amber (who were just normal sort of pet dogs, although special in their own ways), we gave them giant rawhides for Christmas every year. They'd pull the wrapping paper off and lie there chewing on them for a while and eventually get tired of them and then chew on them off and on for maybe weeks.

Remington was completely spooked by giant rawhide. (He was a sensitive soul.) He just wouldn't go within a foot or two of one, although he'd chew small rawhides with pleasure. After two or three attempts in different years, we just gave up.

It occurred to me that I hadn't tried giant rawhide bones with any of my current dogs for Christmas, I don't think. So I bought three large rawhides, wrapped them loosely with just one piece of tape holding the paper, and handed them out.

Tika immediately trotted to the den, gently tore off enough paper, one small bit at a time, to get at one of the big knobby ends, and proceeded to gnaw. Normal. Except for the wrapping paper remaining on half the bone, for hours.

Jake, typically, carried his slowly around or just stood in one place, looking concerned and occasionally shooting me admonitory glances for saddling him with such a huge responsibility. Eventually he retired to his bed and let it rest beside him for a while, while he monitored the environment for encroaching canids. When none approached him, he appeared disappointed at not having a chance to warn them off, so after a while he tore the wrapping off half the bone and went back to carrying it around past the other dogs, looking concerned.

Boost took it gingerly, watched the other dogs for a couple of minutes, then took it to her bed, where she examined it closely for a while. Then she determined that the best course of action was to bury it where no one else could find it while she decided the ideal plan of attack. A couple of hours later, Jake found the cleverly hidden package and walked around with THAT one for a while, looking concerned. Eventually, it disappeared again, and I assumed that Boost had buried it again. Apparently she had, but in some odd corner of the living room, because the next day Jake found it again (still wrapped) and carried it around for a while before Boost finally took over once more and removed the wrapping paper to give it some chewing.

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Holiday Letter Photo Credits

SUMMARY: Holiday letter, as usual, didn't make it for Christmas.

Well, folks, the annual Holiday Letter is finally printing and a big batch will (I hope) go out in the mail tomorrow.

I had intended to give photo credits for all the photos, but decided that there just wasn't enough room and, since this is a limited-distribution-to-friends letter anyway, I figured I'd just post the info here. Here goes:
  • Front cover (me at Scottsdale): my camera, some friend wandering by
  • Back cover (me at Disneyland): my camera, my sister Linda or her spouse Paul
  • Back cover (odd shell thing): me
  • Sepia hiking group: me with camera on tripod & timer
  • Me with camera: Keith Holt
  • Me with Boost going over jump: Bamfoto
  • Pile of mulch: Me
  • Jake: Me
  • Team at nationals: My camera with human tripod (I set up the camera and position and hand it to random someone with instructions on how to frame the photo)
  • All others: Probably my father (Bob Levy) or mother (Louise Levy)

Now all you need is the letter. :-)

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