Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Purely hypothetical question

Speaking purely hypothetically here...

Let's say you got a letter with a photo from a beautiful bitch who was asking for your help. Hypothetically speaking, let's say she was not very good at spelling but she really sounded desperate. And let's say she also sent along later a cell phone number and you called it and talked to her, and while her voice was a little croaky, she sounded sincere enough. And let's say you set up a meeting with her for that night, say, out behind the garage where it's real quiet, the point being to get to know her a little better and maybe give her some hints to help her solve her problem. Only hypothetically speaking I mean; not that I know of anyone who needed any hints to solve a problem.

Now hypothetically speaking again, let's say you showed up for the hypothetical meeting and instead of a lovely Estrela female, you were ambushed by a toad. Would it be wrong, hypothetically speaking, for you to run away, screaming in horror, at the thought of what just happened (after defeating the toad of course)?

Not that any Estrela would ever do this -- that's why it is all hypothetical. But I was just wondering.

Monday, August 20, 2007

A suspicious "Ask Bart"

Dear readers,

I received the following letter and I'm not sure what to think about it. I am tempted by the lovely vision even if she is a lousy speller. But something just doesn't feel right. I have to wonder if she is a true Estrela since she doesn't mention anything about feeding me if I come see her. I'm not sure how to answer her. If you have any advice, please do leave a comment!


Dear Bart,

Having read your recent blog post about how you managed to work your way into the humans' house for some attention, I had to write and see if, as a fellow estralla mountain dog, you could help a girl out.

You see, I am trying to get my humans to let me inside their house. To protect them. Not to spy on them or anything. Or try to explode them. An estralla mountain dog would never do that. And also it is dangerous to me to be outside. You know how it is when you think you have made a nice moist indentation in the ground where you can be safe and watch the humans, and you can hear and see them (I mean, any danger to them) all night, and not worry about getting eaten by a snake or stepped on, but then they come along and fill it in and you have to find a new spot? And that new spot doesn't have as many tasty insects as the old spot or does not have convenient access to electricity for charging up your communication devices? The ones you use to protect the humans, I mean. Like us estralla mountain dogs do.

I have tried everything I could think of... croaking incessantly, looking pitiful, pushing the door open with my tongue, hopping in while they weren't looking. I just can't get in! I really, really need to be in there. I mean, they need me and everything. Not so I can hurt them.

So I wondered if you had any hints for me. Or better yet, maybe you could come over and show me a few things. And maybe I could show you a few things too, if you know what I mean. The best time would be late at night, when the humans are asleep. So we don't disturb them, you know. I would hate for them to wake up and hear us. That would just ruin everything. For them, I mean. Not for me.

I have enclosed a photo of myself just in case you were curious what I look like. I am quite a beautiful estralla mountain dog, no?





Sincerely,


A.Hotnsexydognotatoad@yahoo.com



p.s. I think you need to re-think your position on Toads. They are actually quite lovely creatures. I have found them to be quite noble creatures, beautiful too. They would "never" harm humans! Although they are not good guardians like us estralla mountain dogs, huh! ha ha ha ha!

Monday, August 13, 2007

Toad Invasion: Masters of Disguise

So, it seems my favorite human had a potted plant (kept outside) which was not looking so well. At the same time, she had little holes in the nearby garden. She was quick to blame chipmunks or similar creatures but I had my suspicions. And after a recent rain, when she was going to move the pots back after having moved them out to get some rainfall, my thoughts were confirmed.

Look at this guy:



Cleverly (for a toad) disguised, leaving a trail of wrecked flowers behind him, was a spy.

Those white fibrous things on his back that look like plant roots? Wires to his listening devices. The black blobs on him that look like dirt? Well, they are dirt -- he is hiding in the dirt, you know.

I have seen others like him come out at night and park themselves near the garage door. One actually hopped inside when my agent came in to let me out for a walk. Good thing (for the toad) he saw him before I did.

As for this one, when my humans noticed him he froze long enough so they could get photographic proof, then high-tailed it out of there, only to be confused by the small fence that the humans have as a border to the flower garden.

If you haven't yet realized just how bad the toad menace is, I leave you with one last photo. I apologize for the shocking horror of it, but sometimes that is what it takes for people to see the truth.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Big Estrelas don't cry

This weekend, in order to get some much-needed pampering from my humans, I decided to milk an injury.

The plan came to me out of the blue, really. The Mulan special edition DVD, one of my favorite movies, has a song on it called "Keep 'em Guessing" (it was not in the theatrical release, it's in the bonus features). Ok, that's not really one of my favorite movies, but someone put it in the "Lassie Come Home" case and I accidentally started watching it and then I had to see how it ended and you know how I am a sucker for those "making of" featurettes. Anyway, the song is rather catchy and got stuck in my head that night. I think it was an idea awaiting an opportunity.

Well the opportunity came Sunday. And it was good timing, too. Saturday the humans took two of the big dumb wolfhounds out for what I still think is not really what they say it is. The wolfhounds say they go for a long ride and then get loved up by hundreds of people at a so-called "Irish Festival" but I know it can't be anything that good. Anyway, just in case they did do something enjoyable on Saturday, it turned out Sunday would be the perfect time to put my plan into motion.

As my agent started to walk me out to my duck-guarding post after breakfast, I suddenly sat down and started crying as if in great pain. I bit at the leash and jumped around a lot. My agent tried to calm me down. He led me into the garage and took the leash off and was petting me all over, checking me for sore spots and giving me a good massage in the process. Ah, my plan was starting to work already! But I had to keep making it good. My favorite human came running looking very worried. I knew my shrieks were convincing, but this was better than I expected! She too started paying tons of attention to me.

See, this is where "keep 'em guessing" comes in. I couldn't let them know where it hurt, because then they would have taken care of it and most of the fussing would have stopped right there. No, while there was a mystery they would be forced to check on me a lot, make me feel comfortable, give me treats, etc.

My agent seemed to think it was my neck. You see, Saturday night when it was suppertime, I did bolt from my duck-guarding pen, pulling the leash quite tight around the fencepost, and almost knocking myself down in the process (yes, I knew I had the leash on and it would restrain me... I just like doing this so my agent knows how hungry I am). Since I was on the leash when I started yelping Sunday morning, it was easy for him to imagine I had pulled something Saturday night and you know how sore muscles usually show up hours after the actual injury. Well, I do this quite often and it really doesn't hurt, so he was way off track (just the way I wanted it).

My favorite human concentrated a lot on my back end. She kept feeling my hips, looking for sore spots. She looked intently at the bottoms of all my feet. Both of the humans kept petting me all over. It was important that I not give away the secret though. A peep I did not make through all of this.

Back on the leash I went, and a few whines as we walked around reinforced the fact that I hurt and I needed some attention! They checked on me several times throughout the day. They did not, however, bring me in the house. I put on the most pitiful look I could every time I saw them. My "please make me feel better" look. Oh, you should have seen it; it was masterful.

Monday I felt a little better so it was hard to keep up the pitifulness to the same degree, but I still let them know I was not all better. Soon I was finding myself in the van, going for a ride. I knew I was going to that place where I get adored (I know that is not very descriptive, since I get adored everyplace I go) and sometimes get shots. This was going to be good. A waiting room to get admired in, vet techs to pet me, and somebody to give me a very thorough going-over. I was also hopeful, given the neck thing, that they would let me roam freely in the back of the van (they had the back seat out and everything). But unfortunately they instead put a pen in and made me go in it.

By the time we got out of the van, I knew the jig would soon be up because I saw the blood on my blanket. Still, I kept up appearances to maximize the potential for attention-getting. And it wasn't long before the wound on the top of my paw was located and shaved and checked out and cleaned up. I even got to see a picture of the bones inside my paw. That was pretty cool. They should take a picture like that of my stomach sometime. I want to see what food, good towels, sponges, and other items look like in there.

So then last night I got to sleep in the house. The humans made me soak my paw in warm water. I got several biscuits and lots of relieved petting. I am hoping they keep this up for a few more days.

A big dumb wolfhound would never have thought of "keep 'em guessing." It would have held up its paw and whined, or limped on it. An Estrela would only do that kind of thing in very extreme cases, because we must still do our jobs even in the face of pain. And in my case, you can see that I got extra attention by being mysterious (hey, it did hurt when I shifted my weight on it!). Had my favorite human found that boo-boo on Sunday, I might not even have gotten to go to the "shots&attention" place at all! Or even if they had taken me, I'm sure there wouldn't have been as much concerned affection forthcoming from the humans in the interim.

Now, there is still the mystery of where I got this injury. I'm not saying. The humans are going to have to figure it out. Personally I think there is some maliciousness involved on the part of the toads. Last night while I was inside I heard my humans say there was a big toad on the front step of the house. Checking on me, no doubt. He probably hopped off to tell his cohorts that their plan failed and I was not dead. They better watch out. When news of this gets out, there will be some mighty hurtin' toads if they are not careful.

Oh, and about the title of this post. I did not mean it exactly literally. What I meant was a big Estrela with a hurt paw doesn't hold it up and sob like a little child who needs a band-aid!

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Goodbye to Grandma

Dear Readers,


I have been away because our family has been in mourning. It is with great sadness that I report that my agent has lost his grandmother. She was a very kind and gentle person. She will be missed by us all.

In honor of her and for my agent, who despite his grief took care of my needs (which is very important), I have found a poem to share with him and my readers. I wish I could write my very own poem to honor his grandmother, but as we all know, Estrelas have very little time for hobbies whilst guarding the realm.

Rest in peace, dear lady.

Bart


GRANDMA

© Augustine Perez

Grandma

Thank you for the gift of love,
now you're sharing it up above.
You had many things to say.
All in a caring way.
You always saw good in everyone,
No matter what they've done.
You were always the one we could all lean on.
Even though it must have felt like a ton.
You were always the strength of the family.
Now we must let you rest calmly.
As we say goodbye,
as tears roll down our eyes.
I know your place in heaven has a good view.
Because you're telling God,
I need to keep an eye on a few.
I know you will always be in our hearts and mind.
So Grandma,
I must go, but I'll never forget you're one of a kind.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Infiltrated?

Ok, this is just unconscionable. How this could happen in a realm with two Estrelas, I don't know.

Batata reported to me that a book had mysteriously arrived in the house, so I checked it out. The name of the book is "Toad Heaven." Now, on first glance this sounds like a perfectly wonderful book -- a book about the evil toads meeting their maker. A glance at the blurb on the back provides tantalizing clues at what might lie inside... phrases like "Perhaps it was a fork wound" and "the human had tried to eat him." A quick look inside provides more wonderful imagery of a toad afraid of being squashed and otherwise harmed.

But a closer look reveals the truth. It is a pro-toad book! The picture on the cover shows three smiling toads with halos above their heads (the one on the right does look like a thug, so at least that part is accurately depicted). The hero of the book is a toad who is a "nice guy" and just wants to "find a safe place to live" where he can escape "persecution." If this isn't heresy, I don't know what is.

Here is a link to it on Amazon. Amazingly the same "person" (probably actually an amphibian) has written several other pro-toad books. I am thinking perhaps a good protest against Amazon for selling this kind of filth is in order. Also, when I looked there were only 3 left in stock. To me this says there is something big going on. Perhaps if Amazon provides data on who has been buying this book in large quantities, and decides to carry the Jorge Damas Estrela book, then I will rethink the whole boycott thing.

So now I must ask myself how this book made it into my realm. Do we have a spy in the house? A toad sympathizer? Or was it brought in by a 3rd party? If so, how could that happen without Batata or me knowing about it? It would have had to be while I was stuck in the garage... I know the humans sometimes take Batata out for "socialization" (that is what they call it... we call it "admiration") so the house is unprotected at those times (the big dumb wolfhounds are of no use for this sort of thing). Maybe someone stuck it in the backpack of one of the children while they were at school. That is more plausible, but it would be a bad situation, indeed, since it would mean the children are exposed to grave danger while out of my sight. Perhaps I need to work things out so that Batata or I can accompany them to school just to make sure they are safe. The toad spy could be that yellow lab. He does look shifty and he always barks at me (like it has any impact -- ha!). I still do not trust him. I have never seen him bark at a toad.

If Argus were here I would just have him eat this book to destroy it. Batata is good at chewing things right now so perhaps I can put her on it. I, personally, even though I have an iron stomach in general and could eat ANYTHING, including baklava and junebugs, refuse to stoop so low as to let this... this thing touch me any more than it already has (I feel like I need a good bath already, and hey, my favorite human has a coupon for bathing at PetSmart!). Ah, I have an idea! The big dumb wolfhound Brogan has been jumping the gate into the living room and peeing on the floor. I will convince him to pee on the book, and then the humans will throw it away. Problem solved! Well, this part of it, at least....

Saturday, May 19, 2007

INSOLENCE!!!!!!

There has been a setback in Batata's training.

I am all for the destruction of towels and sponges as well as the stealing of food. In fact, I encourage such activities.

Batata has done something so vile and heinous that I have to question her ability to learn the art of being the queen of the realm. My confidence is very much shaken.

Not only did she STEAL a photo of me in a plastic magnetic frame, she chewed it up!

Yes, I know you are as shocked as I am. How could she do such a thing?? Oh, woe is me.

I intend to give her a stern talking to and set things straight.

Here she comes now.

"Batata, you mustn't chew on pictures of moi."

"Awwww, look at you. You little monkey face."

"Oh no, I am not upset with you at all."

"Here you go, Batata, chew up another picture of me."

Argh!!!! I think she used her Estrela mind powers on me!!!!!!

The force is strong with this one.

Bart

Friday, May 18, 2007

Don't believe any rumors!

Dear Readers,

I want to dispell any nasty rumors that might be out there where you might hear that I was afraid of a toad. I don't know how this rumor could have been started as the only human witness was my agent and I know he would never repeat such blasphemy. I can only infer that the wicked toads somehow mangaged to start spreading this rumor.

Here is my side of the story......there was a toad in one of the dog yards. Having recently read a book on hip hop dancing (I must keep up with my #1 apprentice, Argus, as he is an avid reader)...I decided to merge some hip hop moves and judo to dispatch with the toad. I have to say that in true Estrela style, the moves were executed perfectly. Why my agent was laughing, I will never know.

Bart

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Batata Training update #3

Batata is a quick study. Over the weekend, Batata was sent to be with me for some instruction on how to properly guard the ducks. I was a little disappointed as she was not interested in heckling the ducks at all. I mean, when I heckle the ducks it is just for fun, not because I would actually harm them. Batata just watched them. What fun is there in that?

We had a good amount of time to have a little chat about the pleasures of stealing things off the counters, ESPECIALLY sponges and towels. I am happy to report that my youngest apprentice has destroyed her first sponge. You go, girl! Okay, that is enough Batata admiration. Everyone focus back on me.

Speaking of me, I must say that I am need of a bath and a good grooming. Normally I don't care for such foo-foo activities but with the warmer weather coming I am ready for a good shed! Plus, if my favorite human decides to take me to the groomers instead of doing it herself, I will command lots of attention with my Estrela mind powers. I am worshipped by the humans in the grooming shop. It's all lovely dovey ear scratching and treats for good ole Bart. What Estela would want to pass that up?

This weekend I must make preparations for our upcoming delivery of ducklings. My favorite human has ordered 14 babies to add to the flock. I hope we get more ducks than drakes. That means more eggs for moi. Of course we have eggs now but Thelma and Louise can't keep up with the demand of all the egg loving canines in my realm. Unfortunately our new ducks won't lay until next sping. Maybe we should find some chickens.

Well, that's it for now. I need to keep an eye on that yellow lab interloper. I think he's trying to make a permanent stay here.

Bart

Monday, April 23, 2007

An Estrela's work is never done.

The invaders attempting to disturb my realm are increasing daily during this spring season.

Yesterday a pesky young yellow lab showed up on my front doorstep barking his head off. My agent, for some reason, felt it would be better to hang on to him while looking for his owner. Now, an Estrela would never be "lost" (even when we temporarily leave our homes) but apparently the same is not true for Labrador retrievers, otherwise he never would have ignored my warning barks and entered my realm.

Let me tell you, I do not care for this intruder. He barks a lot (the job of the Estrelas) and he is quite... energetic. My agent has placed a 'found' ad in the newspaper and hopefully he will be claimed... and soon.

Secondly there was a gigantic snapping turtle heading towards my pond tonight. I do not need any ducks bitten in half, and I don't want my agent to get injured when he gets his waders on and goes in there to clean out the pond. I like turtles, especially Myrtle (I haven't heard from her in a while!) but not snappers!

Now, I am brave but I am not stupid, and I'm not going to deal directly with a snapping turtle (not to mention it was not within reach of my kennel). When my agent came outside to move me inside in the face of an impending rainstorm (I don't know why he bothers with that, because I like the rain), I warned him by barking. Ok, so I always bark when he comes out, so he might have missed the significance of that particular bark, but then he walked right by it (he couldn't miss it). He herded it into a box and took it away somewhere. Hopefully to a painful snapping-turtle death, but more likely back to the creek from whence it came (hopefully downstream).

And last but certainly not least were the toads. There were a few out by the garage including one trying to get into my exercise area. And Batata tells me one actually tried to get into the house. Luckily she was on guard. Without me being inside as much these days, I have to rely on her Estrela-ness to protect the humans against this type of threat (the big dumb wolfhounds are no help in that regard).

There are some new pics of Batata (including some of her playing with me) in her gallery.

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Batata training update #2

I am very busy watching out for toads, but I thought I should fill you in on the latest exploits of the little Batata.

First off, she has already learned (on her own) she can jump the gate between the kitchen and the living room. This is a good thing to have learned but I did not teach her, because she is not ready for this kind of knowledge. What she needs to remember is that the gate is there to give the humans that illusion of control that I talk about so much. She has missed her chance to lull them into a false sense of complacency that she is "secure" in the kitchen. Now, they are more vigilant about putting the extra screen across when they are not right there to keep an eye on things. This means she has lost some opportunity to freely roam throughout the house at times when they are not at home.

She is not a real fan of the pen. In a way, this is good for her, as I found out the hard way. I never minded going in the pen all that much. Well, what this led to was me being put in there, night after night, not just when they were out of the house. Batata yaps and cries when they put her in there, so much that they don't have the heart (or the guts, I guess) to put her in at night. Good for her! They still do put her in during the day when they are at "work," but at night she is free.

One of the prime lessons I like to teach my students is the pure delight in chewing on three things: potholders, sponges, and "good towels." Potholders always taste like food because the humans are so sloppy using them. Sponges soak up all sorts of interesting flavors, and they are easy to chew. And good towels... words cannot describe the pleasure of the feel of terry cloth ripping between one's teeth and one's paws. Well, Batata last night stole her first potholders, and today, while my favorite human was down with a bad migraine headache, she chewed up almost an entire sponge mop head! She got that idea herself. I knew she was a smart one.

She has also tasted the table legs, chair legs, and the gate on the deck. And, if one of the big dumb wolfhounds opens up that gate for her, she delights in getting the recyclables out of the toy bins on the deck and playing with them. I never much cared for the recyclables but I guess I can see the attraction -- many of them did once hold food, of course!

Speaking of big dumb wolfhounds, I am a little disappointed in the young female one. She is trying to prove my theory wrong. I know she is jealous of the little Estrela girl, but she is really cranking up her "naughty" behavior. Batata does love playing with her, though.

Well, back to toad duty. Keep an eye out here for updates as they happen.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Protege Training Update #1

I thought I should report on how the training of my newest protege, Batata, is going.

Now, you should be aware that it is a good thing for any Estrela to have a mind of his or her own. We do not submit to the will of the humans; we just sometimes make them think we do, to give them an illusion of control (which makes it easier for us to get our way with them).

I can report that Batata definitely has a mind of her own.

A couple of nights ago the humans let us together for a little one-on-one time. The little thing actually growled at me. I am proud of her. I heard she did that with the other dogs too. She had to put them in their place. Now she seems to like them, although she is a bit snappy around food. True that all the food in the realm is ours (hers and mine), but she cannot be rude about it! I will have to work on that. But anyway, back to me, where all attention naturally eventually focuses. I did not show any reaction to her behavior. It is clear that she was letting me know that she will not be intimidated. This will prove to be a good attitude as she grows up and does more guarding duty. I'm not sure she realizes she could be flattened by the big dumb wolfhounds if they wanted to do it. But it won't be too long before she's big enough not to have to worry about that anyway.

This morning the humans let us out at the same time in the two dog yards which have some distance between them. I took the opportunity to train her in the art of "warning barking." This is when the Estrela barks just to let anyone within earshot know he is on duty and they better not try any funny business. I personally do it anytime I go outside. She took to it very quickly. I am pleased. Toad season will soon be upon us.

Oh, my favorite human uploaded some pictures of Batata to her gallery. And for those who want an Argus update, he has a gallery too with some recent pictures.

Friday, April 06, 2007

O Joy! O Rapture! O Bliss!

I am very happy and excited right now. I am no longer the sole Estrela in my realm! There is a new one here... and best of all, she's a girl (Ela stop reading now, you know you are my one true love)!

My humans were away from the house all day yesterday. When they returned, I smelled and heard the new arrival. Even before seeing her I knew by her Estrela bark that my wishes had come true, my Estrela mind powers had finally worked, and my humans had brought me an Estrela at last!

So, meet the newest Estrela Mountain Dog in the States. Apparently her name is Batata but I haven't decided what I am going to call her yet. She is only a youngster, a few months old, but I think she is hot. In fact, here she is:



In that picture she is using her Estrela mind powers. Any guesses what she wants?

She came all the way from Holland yesterday. It was a long trip for her I'm sure, but she came through with flying colors, as any Estrela would.

I haven't had much time to spend with her yet but I wanted to post the news of her right away. It is wonderful to have a protege right here with me to instruct in the ways of the Estrela. The big dumb wolfhounds have from time to time shown promise but they're just not Estrelas. Argus is a great student but he is so far away. So, not only do we have another ambassador for the breed, I have someone I can easily pass my knowledge to who will really appreciate the finer points of the Estrela way.

I will post more after some initial training sessions!

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

The toad menace continues...

Now that we have had some warm weather, it is getting to be toad season. I have encountered a few small frogs already (they are harmless of course) and the dangerous toad invaders should be close behind.

A reader sent me this link: http://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/asiapcf/03/27/australia.toad.reut/index.html

Those of you who doubted me about the dastardly doings of these amphibian anarchists need to do a little more mind-changing research (those who are not familiar with the problem should read through my entire blog in chronological order, i.e. backwards from how it appears).

Oh, and my agent is uploading some new portraits of me to the gallery.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Happy birthday to me!

Yesterday was a very special day in the Estrela world. It was my 3rd birthday. You may stop singing "Happy Birthday" now and continue reading.

My favorite human and my agent made it a special day for me. We went for a ride in the van. At first my agent was very thoughtful and left the leash long enough for me to get up quite a ways on my favorite human's lap. But apparently (and this really surprised me) for some reason she did not like that very much, because we stopped and my leash was shortened so that I could no longer do that. That did not make me too happy, but as usual I went along so that the humans would have some illusion of being in charge.

Soon we made another stop and my agent went inside a building. After a few minutes he came out with some delicious-smelling food. But for some reason, none was given to me! Then we went to one of those places where they drive up to a window and bags of food are passed out. My kind of place! But again, no food was given to me. After a little more driving we arrived at the place with all the water and the sidewalks where the humans sometimes take me to go for walks and to be admired. But... get this -- there was no more water!

In its place was just snow. And there were people out in the snow. Look:



First my agent and my favorite human ate, right in front of me. And it was Greek food. I couldn't believe it. You know how I love that stuff, especially baklava. Well, they didn't give me any. They ate it all. All they gave me was water... in a little paper cup.

After they ate we walked around and my agent and my favorite human took some photos of me. Here is one where I am on top of a mountain of snow (but you can't tell that):



My agent and I also walked out where there used to be water. When I get a chance I will upload more of the pictures to my gallery.

When we returned to the van, obviously the humans had returned to their senses because they revealed my birthday surprise: a cheeseburger. Here I am checking it out.



Now, this type of hamburger is... kind of palatable. I had to eat the meat and leave the bun behind. But then I cleaned up most of the bun anyway... we mustn't waste food! It had too much ketchup. But hey, food is food, right?

After that they took me home and I got to go in the house and see big dumb wolfhounds. They were not aware that it was a special day (as if they ever have birthdays...) but they were still happy to see me. They were making some kind of mumblings about having a special day next weekend, with them being "Irish" and there being a St. Patrick's day parade and all. Personally, I think people would rather see me than them, so I know who the humans are really going to take, but I didn't say anything. I say let them have their little illusions.

And now, the weather is sunny and kind of warm. I spent some time today running around with one of the big dumb wolfhound puppies while my agent cleaned poop out of my kennel (now that the snow is melting, it's kind of like an archaeology dig out there!). It's getting springlike and there have been lots of critters out and about. So now I must go out and do some more guarding!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Not so fast, big guy.

Brogan, Brogan, Brogan.

First of all you don't need to try to hide your internet inadequacy by your defensiveness regarding blogging. You're just a big dumb wolfhound. Nobody expects too much out of you when it comes to computers. I shudder to think of where you'd be without spell-checking.

But, I have some bad news for you.

I have done some research, and my sources say you're not going to be happy with what is about to happen to you. Oh, my, the indignity that is going to be heaped upon you!

First, you are going to be taken for a ride to that place with the stainless steel tables where you get poked and prodded (and in my case, adored). And unlike the normal time, where my favorite human or my agent stay with you, they will leave you there.

Someone will probably come in and give you a few scratches to placate you and before you know it, something will be... different. You will find yourself missing all your hair in an area that, well, normally it would have hair and you really don't want to know where it went. Oh, and that's not the only thing you will be missing. I don't want to spoil it all for you, but... let's just say there won't be any more little Brogans running around (thank goodness!), shall we?

Trust me on this. I've heard stories. And if you don't believe me, just watch. You will not get your breakfast tomorrow morning. The starvation is all part of the process. I guess it softens you up so you can't fight back. My favorite human will get out the leash. You will be led to your impending doom.

Then when you get home, they may be nice to you for a while. Oh yes, you will be awfully sore, and if you proceed to lick back there they will put on one of those plastic contraptions that make it so you can't reach (or fit through the doorway, for that matter). They still won't give you any food that first day. You know, to keep you compliant. They won't let you play. They will, however, probably pet you extra and make sure nobody bothers you, stuff like that. But it's only to soothe you... to make you feel a little better because

You. Will. Never. Be. The. Same.

Still think you're the favorite? You just have to accept it, no other breed can ever be the favorite in a house with an Estrela Mountain Dog!

I'm getting a treat, I'm getting a treat!

Well, well, Mr. Bart. I just had to share this news and I thought I would post it here on your little bulletin board thingy (you can't spell "blog" without "blah" did you know that? Huh, smart guy?).

Something good is about to happen to me, I just know it. The humans are showing me all sorts of extra affection today. They are saying my name to each other a lot. I got brushed and petted and my butt cleaned of cling-ons. I think maybe -- just maybe -- they are going to give me something really good. Like maybe I'll get to sleep on the bed with She Who Must Be Worshipped. Yeah, I bet that's it. I'll get to have biscuits up there and stuff. I bet I am finally getting confirmation that I am in the position you have always coveted. Yes, I am her Favorite. I knew it already. But here's your proof.

So, nyah. Enjoy your outside kennel (I know you have a heavy fur coat and don't get cold, but... eww, it's dirty out there! and it rains and stuff) while I am lying in luxury tonight, getting scratches and stuff.

Your superior,
Brogan

Friday, December 01, 2006

A new protege

Please meet the newest Estrela Mountain Dog resident of the USA. His name is Argus and he lives in Texas. He flew all the way from Portugal just like my parents. He is about 10 weeks old. Was I ever this small?



Despite his lack of beautiful brindling like mine, I still think he is a handsome boy.

These photos were at his new home. Note the lovely flower bed, ripe for digging. And the motion blur -- I think he is going to be fast, like me.



The yellow object in this picture is, I believe, a duck. I do not condone chewing on ducks. Even pretend ones. But, he can be forgiven, because it does look kind of like a nice fluffy "good towel," one with a beak. And feet. Or maybe that was just photoshopped in there. Hey Argus, there aren't any big dumb wolfhounds around, are there? Or toads?

I sent him a welcome package. As you can see, it has a picture of moi on it.



He is carefully guarding it from his soon-to-be subordinate, Maggie. I also think he is trying to emulate my expression from the photo. The boy has some skills already! The force is strong with him. But I can see that there is still much I will need to teach him. Like the difference between "good towels" and ducks. The best spots to dig to make the muddiest paws. How to cajole his new favorite human into making him spaghetti sauce. The dangers of toads. The temptation of baklava (read the rest of my blog if you are not familiar with any of that material). How to chew that lovely rug that is right in front of him. He just has so much more potential than big dumb wolfhound puppies. And look what I have done with them!

I sent him a little letter with his cookies and rawh er, just cookies. This contained a bit of "getting started" advice. The boy is going to have to get e-mail so that we can communicate a bit more readily. If his favorite human sends me new photos I will post them too.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Election day...

... or "Everything I needed to know about government, I learned from dog clubs."

Well, yesterday was something called Election day and my human companions dutifully went to cast their "vote."

This is something I'm not really clear on. I guess the humans go and say who they want to represent them in their government. But I don't see the point. I thought that a few people were supposed to control everything -- at least, that's how I was brought up. If you have people in government who are not in that group, don't they just gum up the works? Don't they prevent progress? Don't they make it so that the country can't move forward? And what happens if they have someone in government who doesn't know enough about their breed? If you ask me, these "elections" should merely be a formality. If the wrong person gets chosen, just declare the whole thing invalid and go back to some arbitrary set of people you do want to be in office. All problems solved!

Oh, and the humans came home grumbling about how this Election day being in November is a problem because it gets dark so early and the weather is often bad and the parking lot where they went stinks. If it were earlier in the year, they could still go "vote" after "work" and still have some daylight... and a chance to avoid rain, cold, and/or snow. They were speculating on whether a "constitutional amendment" would be needed to alter this. Again I am confused. What's a big deal about that? Just change the constitution and be done with it! I know some people who can get that done, no problem! As long as they agree with it, that is.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

First big snow of the season...

... and it was a good one. Last Friday night and during the day Saturday we got about 8 or 9 inches.

Now, you know that Estrelas like snow. It can get cold up there in the mountains! I have a very warm, fluffy coat. To me, an indentation in a pile of snow is maybe even better as a bed than a hole I dug myself in the dirt. It's a toss-up. I do like tracking the dirt inside to "bring the outside in." But the nice thing about snow is, you can make it yellow. And you can eat some if you get thirsty (not the yellow kind).

At any rate, the big dumb wolfhound puppies had never seen snow before. They were quite bewildered by it. Here is a picture of the floor-digger. She looks like she has no idea what to do!



On the other hand, here is one of me on Friday night:



You have to look close to make out my eyes in amongst the snowflakes. I was really running fast. Contrast that to the big floor-digging dummy, who just stood there for the longest time.

Oh, and here is a pretty picture of a tree the next morning.



So after things quieted down outside, the humans let me go out into my pen by the duck house (as if they had any choice in the matter). I would like to stay out there all the time, but the humans do not want me to, complaining that I will not go inside that cute little cabin they put in my pen for me. I can't help it -- I can't see out of that thing. So I humor them, for now. Anyway I quite enjoyed the piles of snow on Saturday and Sunday but by Monday, the floor inside the pen was all dry. And now, the snow is almost all gone. But I know there will be more on its way soon!

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Puppies.

I think I am changing my mind on the topic of puppies.

Yes, we were all puppies at one time. Still this is no excuse for disrespect for one's elders. When the big dumb wolfhounds had their puppies (they were dumb but not big), they had absolutely no respect. It was shameful. One couldn't walk across the kitchen without them running after one and snapping at one's legs. They did not wait patiently for their elders to get any scraps offered. They did not honor "everything in the realm belongs to the Estrela" rule. I mean, come on. And there were ten of them for a while there.

When they started disappearing I thought they must be going to get their just desserts. Sent away maybe to the Estrela Mountains where they would be taught properly by lots of Estrelas. Maybe someplace with lots of toads. Sending them off one at a time was brilliant... don't let them communicate with each other, keep their anxiety up, make them wonder what their fate will be.

Well, unfortunately, I have found out that they have actually been sent off to lead lives of luxury. Take a look at this one! Her name was Sikozu when she was at my house and she was the tiniest of the puppies.



I mean, it is just shameful for a big dumb wolfhound to live a life like this. She acts like she gets belly rubs!

But here's where my feelings have changed. My agent likes to say that the best way to get "good" behavior out of your dog is to get a puppy. Your other dog will soon turn into an angel, which is just the humans' way of saying that it will not behave as a proper Estrela would. Now, I don't know why he would think this is true, because certainly there never was any dog in the household before moi... despite what the others in the house say about it.

But let me tell you... the puppies' bad behavior (bad by human desireability standards) really is a boon to the rest of us. We can still be "naughty" (by human standards) and the humans don't really care, because the puppies are more "naughty!" What a great thing! Make a little mark on the kitchen chair because it deserves some chewing? No problem, the puppies almost chewed it in half! Open the fridge to check out what is rightfully mine for the taking? Fine, because it will be the puppies who are gluttons and empty it out! A little peeing in the living room to mark my territory? Well, you would think that it would be eclipsed by the lakes in the kitchen, but alas not. Still, it only got me to spend more time outside where it's nice and cool. It's not like they tried to not feed me or stopped petting me or anything.

So, in effect, puppy behavior can be used to your advantage. Let it "lower the bar" of your humans' expectations of you, and you will be able to "get away with" much more of your natural, deserved behavior. Yes, they can be troublesome, but they can also be fun to play with (in small quantities).

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

A fine effort

Once again, one of the youngsters in the house has made me proud. This time it was the big dumb female wolfhound.

Observe below her handiwork:



This is the result of the hole she has dug in the kitchen floor. Brilliant! She has not only pulled up parts of the vinyl tile, she has actually dug up part of the plywood subfloor. I bet if she hadn't been so rudely interrupted, she'd have made it all the way through.

I was outside on guard duty at the time, but I noticed it when I came in to eat the other night.

I had not had much hope for any of the youngsters, since they are of course wolfhounds, but this proves that they at least have some proper instincts. Now, I know my favorite human really didn't care for that vinyl tile, so the big dumb wolfhound was really doing her a favor, though she didn't really seem to appreciate what has been done for her!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Ask Bart!

For new visitors: Bart writes an advice column (for dogs or humans). I will be posting some of his past columns for him here. You can also ask him a question and he will try to answer it here!

Dear Bart,
Why can't I have more cookies? My Mom seems to be very stingy when doling out the cookies around here. I know there are quite a few of us, but she only let's us have one at a time. My teeth are already falling out!!! She says there are new ones coming though, and too many cookies will not be good for them. But the cookies are the BEST!!!! They're right up there on the counter in a big jar.....should I go for it?
signed,
Drooling

Dear Drooling,

Isn't it funny how the humans always feel the need to control the food in the house? They put our dinner out when they want us to eat, they hand out treats when they think we "deserve" them, like we are some kind of peons, and they tend to get angry when we help ourselves to the contents of the fridge or the kitchen counter.

The fact is, we have the right to any food we want. But in order to keep the humans under control, we need to provide them with the illusion that it is they, in fact, who are the ones in control. The food thing is one small way we must give them that illusion.

I do understand that you have needs. Desiring food is a natural thing, and for many of us, resisting the urge to help ourselves to what is rightfully ours is difficult. I have been known to binge on occasion, after having knocked over the food bins, spilling their contents on the kitchen floor. So, with that in mind, you have a few options. You can either "go for it" (as you put it) now, and earn yourself a reputation that you will not be able to shake, or you can lie low for now. The latter has some great advantages. Basically if you have the reputation of being "well-behaved," you can lull the humans into complacency, and they will be lax about leaving the really good food where you can get it. And then, instead of cookies, you might find yourself in a position to feast on filet mignon or something.

On the other hand, er, paw, once you eat that filet, your goose is cooked, and the humans will probably be much more careful with your (they would say “their”) food. So you may find a third option a good compromise.

It seems that if you are judicious in the food you "steal," the humans are much less concerned about it. Personally, while I enjoy cleaning out partially-empty pots and pans from the stovetop, it is much less stressful on the humans when I clean them out once they have been placed in the sink. You see, once they are in the sink, the humans really only intend for them to get washed out anyway, so really I am doing them a favor. Obviously if they were really concerned about me getting into the sink, they would not put any "dirty" dishes in there!

With a little thought you may be able to come up with an idea of your own which will not concern your Mom enough for her to stop you, which fits into your lifestyle and affords you good eating for years to come. Good luck!

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Dogster

I have a page on dogster now.... I think this goes directly to me.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

A new camera!

Hm. My agent and my favorite human have purchased a new camera. It seems that there was an unfortunate incident with the old one. I don't think my agent wants to talk about it. I kind of think it was not an accident. My humans always aspire to take better photos of me.

Naturally you would expect that I would be the first subject chosen for test shots from the new camera. I was quite indignant to find out that this is not the case at all... rather, the first chosen subject was one of the dumb wolfhound children! No photos were taken of me until maybe about the 17th picture. Here is one of the earlier ones (of someone other than me).



At first I was dumbfounded. Why not take photos of the most photogenic guy in the house? Why one of those gangly teenaged kids? Well, later, when I got on the computer and saw the pictures, I realized why. When you first get a camera you will have only spotty luck taking good photos while you learn the functions. So, you don't take pictures of your best subject until you know a little bit of what you're doing.

It was not for perhaps a week that my agent asked me to model and spent some serious time getting good pictures. Unfortunately he was still learning and did not use optimal settings on the camera. Still, I like this action shot (of me).



And he has taken a few other nice ones too. This one is kind of cool. Made me a little hungry.



There are more in here.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

It's HOT!

For a breed whose ancestors lived in the moutains, I have to say I am not keen on the hot weather.

Today it was at least 96 degrees outside, but it felt like much hotter than that. With my thick double coat of fur, I was a bit uncomfortable. I was outside doing my guarding duty when I realized that I just needed a break and I needed it right then. I tried to open the gate to my kennel (have I mentioned I have my own kennel now?). Alas, the humans had it rigged so I could not get out. I am going to have to inspect that more because we must be prepared to escape the kennel on a moments notice should anything threaten my realm.

Anyway, back to my story. I decided to protest the kennel and I used my most pitiful bark. Well, it worked on my favorite human. Next thing I knew I was back in the house and I had plopped myself right in front of the big fan in the kitchen. I made sure to do a litttle extra panting to lull the human into thinking she made the right decision. Little does she know I made the decision for her.

OH! I have to tell you. I have a new house! Yes, I do. It is a log cabin. It's pretty neat. Do you know what I did when I saw it? I bet you can't guess. Why, I christened it, of course! I didn't want anyone else thinking it was theirs for the taking......for example Brogan that big stupid wolfhound.

You know, I have noticed some of the puppies look like him. I wonder if that is just a coincidence?

Well, back to plopping in front of the fan. I'm hoping for a snack since the humans haven't eaten dinner yet.

-Bart-

Thursday, July 27, 2006

A new chapter in the book of my life

Greeting faithful readers! It certainly has been some time since I have posted. I just don't have the time for blogging like I used to.

Let me update you on "my" life since February. First of all, I attended a show with my humans in North Carolina. I didn't get to show either one of them......but I did show a lovely lady in red and she beat out the other human in the ring that was being shown by Uncle Choupo. I got to keep the ribbons she won.

I think the judge called her "fat" (because he most certainly could not be referring to me) . My humans must have thought the judge meant me because they put me on something called a diet. This is where I am denied access to the food bins and other sources of nutrition around the kitchen.

Suffice to say, the last visit to the vet I was told that I was LOOKING GOOD. As if there was ever any doubt of that!!!

Did I tell you I had puppies? Yes! Well, not me personally, but Sabrina. I was very overjoyed at first. They were all cute and small and I loved guarding them. However, I have since discoverd a couple things. First, they aren't Estrelas. Nope. Instead they are wolfhounds. This is not good news and I was very disappointed. Second, there were ten of them! Oh my goodness, I didn't know what to do with all those puppies. They would not leave me alone! I was very put out. I will not tell you what I was doing to show my displeasure but suffice to say it made my favorite human quite unhappy.

The good news is that most of the puppies went to new homes. The bad news is that we are keeping three of them. That makes five wolfhounds in this home and only one Estrela. I am surrounded. If anyone reads this.....please send me a fellow Estrela to help out. I am pretty competent but this could be quite challenging.

We also had a tragedy in my family. I can't really talk about it. It was very sad.

There also have been some incidents that make me ashamed to be an Estrela. I don't really want to talk about those either right now. I am busy plotting.

Hope to have more time to write later, but between wolfhound duty and plotting I am mighty busy.

-Bart-

Tuesday, February 28, 2006

KFC Snackers Rule!

The joy. The delight. It is unimaginable.

My humans left a special treat for me on the counter. It was a KFC Snacker. At first I did not realize that it was there.....but then ever so softly I heard it calling. It said in its seductive sandwich voice "Bartholomeu, I am for you." It was like the "That Which Survives" episode of the original Star Trek. Only this time the sandwich was not named Losira and it wasn't trying to kill me. Thank goodness my KFC snacker didn't end up to be a holographic projection either!

No, my snacker was very, very real. Then it slid down my throat so smoothly I didn't even have to chew.

Now, why did my favorite human check my breath when I was done? You just have to wonder what these humans are thinking sometimes.

-Bart

Monday, February 13, 2006

He needed some exercise anyway.

I've been busy lately. As I have mentioned before, we're down one dog in our pack. A situation my agent needs to rememdy. Tomorrow is Valentine's Day and maybe he'll bring a puppy for my favorite human.

The wolfhounds are such slackers that I am left to do all the work. Whether it is chasing the cat, cleaning the stove, sink, dishes, etc. Okay, so the hounds will stare at the cat over the gate. But, they won't go for her.

Which reminds me......I kind of like the cat. She's so very attractive. Did I mention she looks like me? Yes. Black with brindling.....though in cats I guess they call that tortoise shell. I have to wonder about that (and maybe ask Mytrle, as the tortoise is a cousin of hers, I believe).

So, while I am doing all the work around here (like a modern day Cinderella), I noticed a couple things. One is that Brogan was looking a little soft and out of shape. The other is my agent was deluded into thinking he had Bart-proofed the gate.

It was a beautiful Sunday morning. The country landscape was covered in snow and it looked so inviting. There's no better time than the present. I nosed the gate and with a little brute force had it opened enough to SQUEEZE out. Oh, the sweet taste of freedom! Brogan was a willing participant in the escape. On the other hand, Sabrina was annoyed and barked her fool head off. TATTLE-TALE! If it hadn't been for her we might have gotten much farther away from the house before anyone noticed.

We were off! I ran around the house a few times to warm old Brogan up. Then down the road and across the bridge (so we didn't have to tramp through the creek). Next it was up the hill on the snowmobile trail.

Brogan was keeping up with me, which is pretty surprising since he's really a geezer in wolfhound years. I'm not sure how many miles we ran, but it was GREAT!

Now this story does have a down side. Apparently I stressed out my favorite human as she wasn't so confident that I could take care of myself and Brogan out in the "wild." I'm really sorry I did that. I never like to see her cry. I also didn't want her angry with my agent either.
She sort of blamed him for the gate thing. I don't know why she did that. When I want out, I get out. Next time I'll have to do it in such a way that my agent is held blameless.

The upside to the story is that my agent had to walk the snowmobile trail too!!! This was so good for him. It was as if I killed two birds with one stone. Brogan and my agent both got plenty of exercise.

My agent finally caught up with us. We were so happy to see him! Especially because we ended up getting a ride home. I could have run all the way home, but Brogan was looking spent.

Once home we spent the afternoon napping. Can you think of a better way to spend a day??

-Bart

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

I'm back... and saucy.

As you can tell, I have taken a brief (well, not so brief, really) hiatus from my blogging for a while. Sometimes a dog just has to be a dog. But so many things have happened lately that I had to tell you about some of them.

First and foremost, the topic of food. My favorite human says I must have some Italian in me. Well, let me tell you, you don't have to be Italian to enjoy her pasta sauce. And one day last weekend, she made a big pot of it for me.

Now, I have learned that when stuff is cooking on the stove, I should stay away from it. Only because it might singe my paws or burn my tongue. But, here's the thing. The humans quite often leave food on the stove without the heat on, so that I can have access to it. When that little red light is not on, I know I can have at it! And my favorite human must really have loved me that night, because there it was, this big huge gleaming pot of pasta sauce left on the stove, with nary a little red light in sight!

It had cooked all day so I knew it would be good. I had ample opportunity earlier to get into it but I waited, because waiting is half the enjoyment. It had the lid on it, which took quite some doing to get past. Alas, I did splash a bit on the walls and the stove. And I guess my humans didn't appreciate that, because they soon came into the kitchen (they had been off watching TV or something), yelled my name (in praise, of course!), and put the pot into the fridge as punishment.

Oh well, it was good... even thought it could have used more meat. So, I now have to wait until my next opportunity to get some more of that. I'm really looking forward to it. Maybe then they will make me some pasta too.