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.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

A period of mourning.

As you may notice, it has been quite some time since my last post. I have been observing a period of silence in honor of the passing of my fellow packmember. Today's post is written in his memoriam. He told me many a story on those long days we spent together guarding the house while the humans were away.

Walker's Bluebacca (aka Blue) August 2, 1992 to August 20, 2005

Born a wee blue merle Australian Shepherd in Ohio, he travelled to live in an apartment near Lake Erie. There he grew up and blessed the home with many a dog hair and a few tinklings (especially on the Christmas tree).

He holds the record for the most number of times pooping in one day (13 times, can you believe it?). He had the unfortunate experience of developing carsickness on long trips. An expert digger, he made very large holes in the yard. He was also known for eating carpet, something I may try myself.

In his younger days he was pretty daring. Once he jumped right into the frozen water when walking near the bay. He liked the water and would go in on any occasion.

Then there was that time he worried the humans to the point of taking him to the vet.....only to discover that he had nothing more than a hairball. That was the $500 hairball. Next time they skipped the barium and went right to the Petromalt.

My humans were very sad to see him go and I am also. I never like to see my humans sad (annoyed with me, yes......but not sad).

Goodbye, Blue.....our herder, fellow guardian and despiser of wolfhounds. You were loved and you will be missed. I will endeavor to keep our humans safe until we meet again.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

I think I will keep my agent...

He has redeemed himself nicely. You see, this morning he was the last one out of the house, and "forgot" to let the big dummy Brogan inside before he left!

An Estrela wouldn't mind being outside all morning -- it was a nice day, after all -- but the big dummy did not like it at all. And an Estrela, if caught in such a predicament, and actually wanting to come inside, would have been able to figure out how to get in (after all, I have managed to let myself out and I have heard of fellow Estrelas doing the same).

So I have decided to give my agent another chance. If he keeps up this favoritism, it will certainly serve in his favor!

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Sprung! (kind of)

First of all I will say that I need a new agent.

On Saturday, my soon-to-be-ex agent came and took the big dumb wolfhound out of lockup. At first I thought, "ok, he'll be right back for me..." but he never came back.

So yesterday he did come pick me up. I played it all cool, like I was real happy to see him, but that was just showing off for the humans and little dogs in the waiting room near the exit. And what do you know, when I come home, I get to spend a little time outside, and then BAM! back into the pen.

But it gets worse!

While I am in the pen, there are interesting things going on in the kitchen. Sabrina's pen is being dismantled and removed from the room. I had a quick glimmer of hope that this would lead to a little more play room in the kitchen. But I was soon to find out the truth -- Sabrina's pen was being moved out to the garage, to hold Brogan the big dumb wolfhound, which is good, but my pen was also being moved out to the garage, to hold me! Can you believe it!?

Well, Brogan did not like being out there one bit but I think he got tired of barking. I, for one, was the cucumber-cool Estrela. But I was plotting my revenge. Today while my agent was at work and the kids and my favorite human were outside, I escaped out of the kitchen and left some nice wet pee spots on the carpet, in several rooms. That should send a message. Brogan, copycat that he is, also peed, but in the kitchen, and at a time when he was the only loose one who could have done it (what a dummy he is).

But wait, there's more! Brogan keeps bragging about why he got to come home early. I will not repeat what he said, but let's just say that I heard from other sources that his braggadocio is not to be believed.

Regardless, I have now essentially moved from one jail to another, and I can only wait to see what will happen next. It is very hard to guard the household from these various lockups, even for an Estrela. And to be treated like this by my own agent.... this is why I need a new agent. Now accepting applications!

Thursday, August 11, 2005

I just can't do it

Well, I physically could do it -- an Estrela isn't a wimp, you know -- but I just can't see any point in continuing this hunger strike any longer. It is obviously not working, so why shouldn't we just eat, like normal people? That dumb wolfhound Brogan is being more stubborn but I know he is starting to come around, eating a little bit here and there because, really, he doesn't want to go hungry!

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Jail?

Okay, I am not pretty sure this is jail. What crime I committed, I do not know.

I can't dig holes here, clean the sink, sniff and groom Sabrina (sorry Gisela!), chew on the furniture or bark to annoy the neighbors. Sigh. I shall plot to be returned home. Brogan has filled me in on how he refused to eat (can you believe that?) the last time that he was here. It resulted in him earning an early parole. I am remembering how my poop strike did not work when I stayed with Uncle John. I can try it here but somehow I don't think it will matter. These humans look experienced in dealing with dogs.

How sad can I make these big brown eyes look?

From the "inside"

Today I am writing to you from some strange kennel. I do not know why I was sent here or how long I will be here. The big dummy Brogan is here too.

They feed us well and we get exercise, and there are lots of new humans to adore me. I managed to sneak out to use a computer in an office during "free play." I have to be quick because I don't know what they would do to me if they caught me, even though it is my right as an Estrela to be using the computer!

I just know that Sabrina is getting to clean out the sink instead of me... the only good thing is that it's not Brogan!

Friday, August 05, 2005

Corn!

Tonight the humans had corn on the cob for dinner. And they thoughtfully left the used cobs in a bag on the counter. It would have been nice if they actually left the UN-eaten cobs out for me too, but an Estrela can cope with sub-standard food.

But here's the confusing thing... when I got a corn cob out for a little post-dinner snack, the humans actually yelled at me and took it away.

They hung the bag full of husks (ok, even I won't stoop so low as to eat those) and cobs up on a cabinet doorknob. I will have to treat this as a personal challenge.

Monday, August 01, 2005

It was a bonanza, but I missed it

The other night something wonderful almost happened.

You see, our dog food is kept in some plastic bins that are stacked in the kitchen. Being plastic, they are not exceptionally strong, which has already proven advantageous to moi -- the bottom bin has been warped a bit by the weight of the bins on top of it, so that the door doesn't shut tightly, allowing free snacking. The humans for some reason actually put a lock on it once I let them know about this, which must have been a mistake, so I broke it off of there one time (they subsequently swapped it with another bin, and I have chosen not to break this one as well).

But that is not the subject of this story. The other night I was awakened from my slumber by the sound of the dog food bins crashing on the floor. Someone (I'm not sure who, because I was asleep, but I have my theories) knocked the dog food bins over... and they of course spilled much of their contents onto the floor. I am sure this is partially because of the weakened bottom bin, which no longer provides a very stable base for the "tower of treats." Oddly enough, the humans either didn't hear it, or didn't care, because they did not come out to investigate.

And this is why I said something wonderful almost happened. I was locked up in my pen. It would have been truly wonderful, miraculous even, if I had been loose. Still, I have many reasons to be pleased with this occurrence.
  • Since the bins fell right in front of Sabrina's pen, she intimidated the other dogs so that they did not get any snacks, either. She got whatever she could get through the pen, but that was it... and she had to watch my agent clean it up in the morning.
  • Now that I have seen it can be done, I can try to repeat the occurrence at some point when the humans leave me loose in the kitchen while they are outside or something.
  • As I said, I was sleeping so I don't know who did it... but I'll bet it was that dumb wolfhound Brogan, trying to frame me again, forgetting that there was no way the humans could possibly have suspected me, since I was in my pen! I am still chuckling over that thought.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

You've been betrayed, livestock guardian.

I most certainly did not go to the vet. It was an I-R-I-S-H Festival. Should I say it again...maybe more slowly so your Estrela brain gets it this time? Irish. Not Portuguese.

Oh, and have you forgotten that I am a sighthound? I did not miss the fine print (like I would actually listen to you) on your blog entry. You are a kiss-up, Bart. Now you are trying to blame the poor innocent children for your mischieviousness. Rumor has it some new chewing on a chair leg was discovered today. Hmmmmm, I wonder who could have done that????

By the way, I have gotten out of going to the vet tonight. Yippeeee! It seems one of "your" ducks is ill. Guess you weren't doing your job very well.

Oh, and for the record, I get to go to Petsmart too sometimes.

Brogan the Fierce

Festival, Schmestival!

Well, Brogan the "fierce," I don't know where you and the other dumb "wolf"hound went on Saturday, but it sure wasn't anyplace where you would get attention from anyone. You couldn't have been "cleaning faces" or getting "hugs" or "being the center of attention." Because I know that my agent and my favorite human would never take you two, rather than me, to something like that. I am the one that always gets to go to Petsmart, remember? I am the one who goes to dog shows. Me, not you!

And, wherever you really were on Saturday, you missed out bigtime. You see, while you were probably getting poked and prodded by the vet or something, I was partying. The kibble was flowing and the stereo was pumping out tracks from my new mix cd... "Who Let the Dogs Out?", "Hound Dog," "I'm Gonna Buy Me a Dog," "By-Tor and the Snow Dog," "Puppy Love," "Givin the Dog a Bone," "Bad to the Bone," and "Muskrat Love." I took advantage of some golden chewing opportunities, then I popped in the DVD of "Best in Show" and Daisy and I watched it. On the couch. We could stretch waaaaay out on the nice soft fabric.

That's what you missed, big guy.

Note to my agent and my favorite human (Brogan stop reading now): the above is fiction, I did not lay on the couch, play the stereo, destroy any "good towels," or pee on the floor. And if you find dog food between the couch cushions, it was not me! Maybe the children have been sneaking it.

Monday, July 25, 2005

Who is the king now?

Well, how does it feel to be left home there, Bart? Ha ha ha. You didn't get to go to the Cleveland Irish Festival and get loved and adored by hundreds of people. Not only did I get to go, but Sabrina got to go. But not you, Bart. And why not? Because you are NOT Irish and you are not a Wolfhound. You had to sit home and baby-sit the other dogs.

Maybe if you grew a few inches, joined Weight Watchers and rolled in glue to make your hair coarse like a wolfhound you might pass as one of us. Sorry there Bart. You missed out on cleaning children's faces. You missed scruffles and hugs and being the center of attention. You didn't get to have the humans all to yourself. Better luck next year.

Brogan the Fierce

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Maybe I am getting through to them

As you know, as an Estrela Mountain Dog, king of all breeds, I am naturally the leader of any pack I am in. Rather than the brute-force approach taken by most other breeds, I prefer a more nurturing, educating leadership style. Other dogs cannot be Estrelas, but they can learn from us and try to take on some of our better qualities, even though for the most part they cannot actually succeed.

Now, anyone seeing the motley crew of individuals I have to work with might be immediately inclined to throw in the towel when it comes to education, and resort to the usual snarling and baring of teeth. Besides the two big dumb wolfhounds there is an Australian Shepherd that must be almost 91 in dog years (he once told me, "I was an Aussie when Aussies weren't cool"), and a smallish mutt that, thanks to the wolfhounds, seems to be getting more neurotic every day. But, I am not just anyone, I am Champion Bart the Estrela Prince, and thus I take it as a personal challenge upon myself to do what I can without resorting to violence.

So last night I was heartened by something that occurred. My favorite human had spent many hours yesterday in the kitchen preparing food. She had worked with the boy child on some excellent-smelling dessert with blueberries picked from the bushes in the back yard that so tantalizingly call me to them at this time of year. Most of the afternoon, I and the big dumb wolfhounds were locked in the dog yard, so I didn't have any opportunity to sample it. Old Man was locked in the big crate with the fan blowing on him, but the little mutt (who I am told used to be a lot of fun) was loose in the kitchen.

And wouldn't you know it, she remembered some of my lessons! She remembered how all the food in the house is actually ours, even when they don't directly give it to us. She remembered that humans sometimes leave food in challenging locations, which is a practice meant to encourage us to use our minds (some of us having more in that department than others) as well as our bodies. And she managed to sample some of the blueberry cake! Way to go, little mutt!

Now, she didn't get it exactly right. It seems she was still a little skeptical that the cake was for us, and thus she only took a minute sample that almost went unnoticed (that was at least clever, if misguided), and did it while the humans were busy outside. But still, progress is progress, and I am pleased.

But I still have to work out how to get myself some of that dessert. I know there is some left, but while we got some scraps from dinner, there was not a blueberry in sight.

Just keep me away from the baklava.

Monday, July 18, 2005

Wishing for Rain

Yesterday my agent was rather busy in the kicthen. He was moving crates and chairs out onto the deck. Then he mopped the kitchen floor. Now it smells funny. I don't like it. It's way too clean. I like to simulate the outdoors indoor in my kitchen. You know, drag mud, sticks and stones in and then "mark" everything with my scent. Now, nothing smells right!!!!

I'm hoping for some rain so that I can return my kitchen to that "earthy" smell. The rain will make the yard nice and muddy so I can do a proper job. I think I will research how to do a rain dance. I may not be a Native American, but I am smart so how hard can it be????

Friday, July 15, 2005

Ducks Gone Wild

I don't know what goes on in those peanut-sized brains of the waterfowl. As I have previously reported, I am stuck in the house while they are left to their own devices. Last night "some creature" was spotted outside their pen. The humans went to deal with it armed only with a spotlight. WHAT were they thinking??? What were they going to do to protect themselves? Blind the creature? Throw the spotlight at it? All they needed to do was take me with them. But NOOOOOO. Instead I was forced to stand at the kitchen sink and watch out the window at the spectacle. Luckily, I am good at math and had quickly calculated just the right velocity and force I would need to jump through the window if the need would arise (it didn't, but I was prepared anyway). Fortunately for the humans the creature out there took off (probably because it knew I was glaring through the window).

But back to my original thought, which was that the ducks are truly not beings of superior intelligence (like Estrela Mountain Dogs). The ducks were just being stupid today. They were wandering into the road. Now, even the wolfhounds know that we don't stand in the road. That's just not safe with the crazy drivers here that mistake 45 miles and hour for 65 miles on hour.

The humans had to go herd the ducks in. Now, I am NOT a herding dog and maybe if the Australian Shepherd that lives here was not a hundred years old and sick with that tumor, he could help with this little problem. Which reminds me......I heard a wicked rumor that a certain wolfhound that shall remain nameless could end up losing his family jewels mighty quick if he doesn't stop bothering the Aussie. I digress.

I am going to keep using my Estrela powers of mind manipulation on the humans. They need those ducks to be safe!!! I need to be with my ducks!

Thursday, July 14, 2005

Frustration

As we all know, or as we should all know, Estrela Mountain Dogs are besides being the king of all breeds, livestock guardians. Well, my whole purpose in life is to guard my favorite human's ducks. She has nine ducks, I can't remember their names so we'll just call them the ducks. Two of them are a rare breed, like me! So, here I am stuck in this stinking house (and when I say stinking, I mean stinking - who would think that peeing inside would make it smell?) and I can't even watch my (I mean her, no.....I mean my as everything in the realm really belongs to me) well, I can't even watch my ducks. They are unprotected out there! What is far, far worse is that my agent has been toying with the very lives of my waterfowl friends. For some reason, he cannot remember to latch their predator-proof pen at night. Now, this would not even be an issue if I was out there. There would be no danger to my ducks.

What is an Estrela Mountain Dog to do??????

Monday, July 11, 2005

Went for a walk last night...

Last night I took my humans for a walk on the peninsula. Well, ok, technically my agent drove us there, but I had in the first place used my Estrela powers of persuasion on them to convince them to go. I was at first happy to see that they had not put the pen in the van, but they worked out some other method of restraining me from riding in my rightful place (on a lap in one of the front seats, preferably the driver's side) which I will not go into due to the utter humiliation of it.

It was a good walk. I think we walked about 2 miles. I was not getting tired by the end of it, but it was just a little too warm for a dog whose ancestors came from the mountains. The little boy rode his bike humorously ahead of us. I valiantly protected my humans from the noisy, fast-moving creatures in the bay. I also thoughtfully took the time to check the faces of all the small children who we passed along the way -- we all know the dangers of leaving residual food molecules on the faces of children, and I make it a point to do my part to keep children safe.

On the ride home we stopped for treats, but I did not get any for myself. I tried very hard to convince them to give me some of their shakes and orange sherbet cones, but it was to no avail. They do make ice cream especially for dogs, you know!

Sunday, July 10, 2005

No way is he smarter than me!

That dumb wolfhound Brogan... he seems to want to get revenge on me after he got in trouble for peeing. He "thinks" that I framed him, as if it takes any effort at all to outsmart him and make him look bad!

So last night, he and the other wolfhound were outside for a while and when my agent let them in, I heard all sorts of yelling. Turns out that my hole by the steps was waaaaaay enlarged. Apparently he thought the humans would think it was me... nevermind that I was LOCKED IN THE PEN the whole time!! hahahaha!

Brogan on his best day will never as smart as I am on my worst day (that's from Judge Judy)!

Saturday, July 09, 2005

I'm OK!

I guess baklava is not poisonous, just too rich for the stomach of a dog whose ancestors were raised on sheep heads and other scraps. I'm still here! Yay for me!

Friday, July 08, 2005

Could baklava be poisonous?

I really liked that baklava, but it apparently didn't like me. I threw it up on the kitchen floor. Could it be poisonous to dogs? Or did the toads get hold of it and put some lethal substance in it, intending to use it as bait so they can get me out of the way and harm my family???

Now I know how my sister Pinta felt that time she ate a mole.

Please send someone to check on me if I don't post in the morning.

Sometimes my humans are so thoughtful...

Tonight my humans were gone for some time, and when I came inside after doing my business, and they were getting the children to bed, I found the Greek cookies they left on the stove for me.

Sure, they were in a closed container. But why else would they have been left tantalizingly in reach, unless they were for me to enjoy?

Mmmm... baklava.

The Lost Post

I noticed Bart had a post about our trip to Millie's that was saved as a draft but not published. I published it for him. Since he started it on 6/28 it's down a little bit on the page! Or you can just click here.

Friday, July 01, 2005

The culprit has been identified.

That Bart has been framing me for weeks, getting me in trouble for peeing on the kichen floor, while it was not me, but him doing it all along.

Well, last night he got caught. Caught in the act, making a big puddle under the highchair. His agent did not like that one bit. I felt vindicated. That little *** is going to get shown for what he is.

And I signed up for his blog, too. So there, "champion" Bart!

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Last weekend's trip report

Last weekend we made a little trip. At first I thought it would be a dog show where I could strut my stuff, but as it turned out, it was not. But it would take us a while to get there...

As usual, they made me stay in my pen in the van, but since they had the air conditioning on, I chose not to complain. The trip was relatively uneventful until shortly after the humans had stopped for lunch (not even bothering to offer me any), at which time we seemed to be passing the same landmarks over and over again. Well, without even knowing where we were supposed to be going, I knew we were not going to get there at that rate. If they had just told me where we were going I could have told them how to get there, but noooo.... they were stubborn. Then their cell phone rang, we made a sudden U-turn, and within minutes we were at our destination.

Our destination was the home of a human they called Millie. I knew when I got out that I would like this place, because it was built on the side of a rather steep hill, which I think if I had ever been to the Estrela mountains in Portugal, would remind me of them, and in fact I was so comfortable there, I pooped in the back yard. There were also four dogs there. Most prominent among them was Asti, who had written me a letter for my "Ask Bart" column.

I made myself at home while the humans talked. This seemed to go on forever! But then the one they call Millie started acting like my favorite human does at dog shows, wanting me to stand and stuff. I humored her because I like her. I think if she let me take her into the ring, I would be really good for her.

Before I knew it, the other dogs were eating, but I didn't get to eat. I will have to think of some way for my humans to pay for that. Right now I am thinking big holes in the yard.

Eventually the humans put me in a pen. I knew that could not be good, and sure enough, they left for a really long time. I barked a lot just in case they were just right outside the front door, but they did not come let me out. So eventually I got tired of that.

After what seemed like forever, they returned and let me out. It seemed like we were getting ready to go home, which I didn't want to do, so I got some attention from Millie in hopes she would keep me there with her. I even laid on her feet, but alas, it didn't work and I got put back in the pen in the back of the van.

The ride home seemed to be just as much of a roundabout path as the ride there. In fact it seemed like we were going around in circles. But eventually we got straightened out.

It was good to be home, but I really liked Millie and her whole family. I hope to be able to see them again real soon! I learned a lot from Asti. He was pretty laid-back. He says his wilder days are behind him. But boy, did he have stories to tell! (I can't repeat them)

Monday, June 27, 2005

It was NOT me!

It has come to my attention that someone known as the "voice of Tigger" and someone known as the "voice of Piglet" died over the weekend. I wish to make it known that I am not responsible in any way for this.

I have an alibi; I was visiting friends in Ohio (granted, I did spend a lot of time in a maze of twisty passages, all alike)! And I don't know who these people "Tigger" and "Piglet" are or why they had separate voices.

Saturday, June 25, 2005

If I wore a watch...

... this is the watch I'd wear.



If you want to know why, follow the link below to the store that sells them:

http://www.tokyoflash.com/viewwatch.php?id=53&from=W1&KW=LED-watches

Mmmmm... green beans

Tonight my agent very thoughtfully left a pan of green beans on the stove and vacated the kitchen. They were quite tasty.

Oh, and I re-dug my giant hole in front of the steps. It was even bigger than before. I am very proud of myself. And I found some more of those sticks stuck in the ground.

I am going on a trip tomorrow. My humans will not tell me where we're going, only that we will be seeing someone who loves Estrelas. Sounds good to me!

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

It was the challenge of it

Ok, so a couple of days ago I noticed something tempting in my yard. It was a stick, sticking out of the ground, right near the steps to go into the house. It appeared after my agent did some digging / gravel spreading in that area, so I figure he must have left it there as a treat for me.

So I chewed on it a bit, and pulled on it. It wouldn't budge. Hmm. This is going to take some more work. So I dug... and dug... and dug. I dug a hole that was big enough for the little dog of the house to lie in. A veritable cavern, right in front of the steps. It was a great hole, if I do say so myself.

But that stick would still not budge. It seemed to be attached to something underground.

Eventually, I chewed it off. It was worth the work.

But, my favorite human (my agent's wife, remember) was for some reason not pleased with me afterward. She muttered something about "cleaning the kitchen floor" and "muddy pawprints" which I really didn't catch too well as she was putting me in my pen.

Now the hole is mostly filled in (my agent's handiwork, no doubt), but I will remember that spot for future digging activities. Maybe some other treasures will show up there!

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

The culprit has been identified

Some extensive web searching turned up a photo of that dangerous creature I wrote about yesterday. Apparently his psychic hypnosis powers are very widespread, because he has his photo all over the internet.


Monday, June 20, 2005

Something orange with black stripes

Last night I spotted yet another danger in my realm.

It seems that my humans spent a great deal of time bringing containers of items (many of them looking tasty or at least chewable) into the room where I am not supposed to go (but still do). They rearranged the items into new containers and took many of them outside -- I suspect they took them to an animal shelter for less-fortunate dogs to chew on, which is an admirable idea, but one for which they shall pay dearly when the time is right. Some of the items are still visible though. And one of them makes me very nervous.

It is orange with black stripes. I have seen it often pictured along with a yellowish creature who eats a lot of honey, a pink one with a striped shirt, and a gray one that kind of reminds me of the wolfhounds.

This item sings and dances in a most frightening manner. It always sings the same song over and over, as if to hypnotize the children. And indeed, the children do appear hypnotized by it. The girl likes to sit her stuffed duck where it can watch, too.

The human adults seem to be annoyed by this creature but still allow the children to be bound by its spell. To be honest, perhaps it has some subliminal abilities which are keeping both the humans and me from stopping its diabolical plans.

As soon as I get the chance, I shall chew on it until it is powerless.

Friday, June 17, 2005

TGIF?

Well, it seems that it is finally Friday. Not that Estrela Mountain Dogs ever get a day off. No, we are always on guard protecting our realm and our families. In fact, I don't really understand why some humans like to "sleep in" on weekends. What is up with that? Even the wolfhounds don't like to sleep in. Of course, they are motivated by hunger and not the need to protect the humans.

My agent is rather gruff on weekend mornings when I bark. I don't think he realizes that I need to maintain perimeter control of my realm and the only way to do so is to bark. Toads don't take the weekends off! In fact, I am pretty sure that would be prime striking opportunity in the devious mind of the toad.

So, it may be Friday but there will be no rest for the fearless Estrela or his humans in the morning.

-Bart-

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Covert Operations

Take a look at this guy:



At first glance, he looks like a mighty evil toad. But I found out from Myrtle that he is actually the frog I spotted earlier. He is in disguise as a toad so that he can infiltrate their forces. Pretty good idea, but I don't think I could pull it off. Look at that detailing! You can even see the little detonators on some of those nuclear warhead bumpy things.

I haven't seen ANY tadpoles in the past few days. It's a good thing the frog is able to get into the toad lair and report on what exactly is going on. It's dangerous work, especially for a non-Estrela.

In other news...

The other night, I heard some troublemaker getting into the duck food bin (it's one of those big plastic garbage cans). I couldn't see it because I was stuck in my crate overnight (an indignity I've gotten used to), but I barked to alert my humans. They were too lazy to do anything about it, but I know my agent was a little unhappy to see the can knocked over and the lid off it in the morning. Well, there was hardly any food left, so it was not such a big deal. So yesterday he filled it up with duck food and guess what... those rascals managed to get the lid off!

Luckily it did not rain, or all the new food would be ruined. But tonight the lid is tied on. Let's see them figure that out!

Oh well, I have eaten my dinner and made my blog post, now I must find an inconvenient spot to lie in so that I am rested for my post-bedtime barking.

Monday, June 13, 2005

Cleaning!

I am rather annoyed with my favorite human. No, not my agent. His wife. She's cleaning my kitchen! I did not ask for this. I do not want this. To show my extreme displeasure with her tidiness endeavor, I made sure to dig a nice hole in the yard, the better to dirty my Estrela paws. Then when she came to admonish me, I ran right past her and into the kitchen leaving my my pawprints all across my freshly washed floor.

She was unhappy. Very unhappy. I was gleeful, but this didn't last long as she made me go into my crate for the rest of the afternoon. I tried to refuse, but I must say she was rather pushy about it. I wonder if she puts my agent in a crate when he makes messes?

So, now I am out but very exhausted as it is getting humid here again. I'm going to give the human a few hours of a clean kitchen floor before I muddy it up again.

-Bart-

Sunday, June 12, 2005

Update from Myrtle

My humans spotted Myrtle patroling the perimeter of the grassy part of my realm yesterday (that might not be the best job for a turtle). She was no doubt trying to keep our yard free from those dastardly enemies, the toads. In good news, there were no sign of those blood-sucking leeches my humans removed from her as a goodwill gesture. I must say, those were very distasteful creatures. Even my ducks would not eat them and ducks will eat June bugs!

I was watching from my favorite spot as my humans were using these machines called lawnmowers and I had a perfectly brilliant idea!!!!! I think these things could be used to fling toads off my property!!! Now, if I could just figure out how to use these contraptions, all would be well in my realm.

Today it has been especially challenging to be an Estrela Mountain Dog. First, it's hot here. I dislike hot days. Second, the new neighbors are having a picnic. Someone will need to inform them that they need my express written permission to do so. After all, I am just beginning to figure out who is supposed to be there and who is not. I think they are trying to confuse me. So, each and every time I am outside I will bark, bark, bark in their general direction as a reminder that they better stay on their own side of the property line.

Estrela Mountain Dogs are not really prone to complaining but I must admit the humidity makes me rather hot under the collar (pun intended). Time to hog the spot in front of the big fan my humans have running. Look out wolfhounds, the king of all breeds is coming!

-Bart-

Friday, June 10, 2005

I've dispached an enemy

It was a dark and stormy night.....not really, but that is a very dramatic beginning, don't you think?

Anyway, I was busy trying to rid my palace of those nasty vertical blinds. Those really impede the work of an Estrela Mountain Dog. They serve to block my view of my realm! Why the humans have them, I do not know.

Suddenly, I hear this buzzz, buzzz sound. The wolfhounds did not even wake from their slumber. My keen Estrela ears, which are rosed like wolfhounds but obviously superior in function, had heard the sound of an intruder. Next it was clink, clink against the glass patio doors.

I sprang to action! In seconds the intruder was located and dispatched. Still the wolfhounds slumber. Great hunters? I think the only thing they hunt for is a soft place to sleep.

My family was very pleased with me. After all, they dislike June Bugs as much as I do. It isn't that June Bugs are as dangerous as toads, but I have heard that they are food for toads and we can't have that, now can we????




Well, I must go bark at the thunder (it has now become a dark and stormy afternoon). I don't recall giving any permission for thunder to enter my realm.

-Bart-

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Toad Battle Update

I have been monitoring the toad-to-be situation closely and have made a startling discovery. The visible tadpole quantity has decreased signifcantly, as you can see in my log:


DateQuantity
5/25a lot
5/27a whole lot
6/1not quite as many
6/6not many at all

Now, I am not sure what to make of this. I would like to think my Estrela-ness is making them think twice about their invasion, and they are retreating. However, I must take a more pragmatic view. While not nearly as smart as an Estrela Mountain Dog, toads (and toads-to-be) are clever, and must never be underestimated. It is possible that they have merely found better places to hide.

I have noticed, though, that there are a lot more fish visible than usual near the area where the evil tadpoles like to congregate. And while I cannot communicate reliably with fish, I have heard good things about them, and it is entirely possible that these fish are eating tadpoles for dinner.

While we're talking about possible allies, Myrtle has been nowhere to be seen. I am sure she is conducting covert operations, rather than having gone AWOL. Maybe she is directing the fish. She did tell me she can talk to them.

When I went outside after my breakfast there were a pair of geese standing next to the pond. I didn't even have to bark at them, and eventually they got scared and flew away. While I like my ducks, I hate geese! They make giant piles of goose poop in the yard.

More news as it happens...

Monday, June 06, 2005

Two new creatures spotted in my realm

Over the weekend, my keen Estrela eyes spotted two new intruders near my pond. I am trying to decide whether they are friend or foe:



(I took that one in super-telephoto mode, sorry it's so blurry). After getting this photo I barked to scare him away but I've heard stories about the great bird with the long beak, so he may try to come back again. He looks like he could eat toads, so he may be a good ally to enlist in my fight.

And in the next installment of my "super-closeups of amphibians" series,



I'm pretty sure he is not a toad in disguise. You can tell by looking at that ant on his nose. He is in a real Zen moment, completely ignoring the tasty food right on his body. Toads don't have that kind of self-control (well, I don't think Estrela Mountain Dogs do either, but that's beside the point).

Friday, June 03, 2005

Here's my agent!

I just thought that it was about time that those of you that don't already know my agent, get to see what he looks like. I must say that it is very difficult to find a photo of him with his eyes open. This was taken at my first birthday party on March 9, 2005.




Don't you love the Spiderman party hat?

-Bart-

A little about blogs

For those of you who are new to the world of blogs, a little helpful information (I am no expert though!).

First of all, the newest additions will always be at the top of the page, with everything in reverse chronological order. That makes things easy if you are reading regularly, but kind of annoying if not. When you check in, you might want to skim down to the first new (to you) post, then read them in chronological order.

Second, only the "most recent" posts will appear on the front page. For now, "most recent" includes everything, since Bart has not been posting very long. Older posts (more than a month old) will be removed from the front page but all are still accessible via the archive links on the right hand side. For example, you can see all of May's posts here whether they have expired off the front page or not.

You can comment on any post. To read existing comments or add your own, click on the "X comments" link at the bottom of a post. You can post anonymously or create a blogspot account if you wish. Unfortunately, all the comments get kind of tucked away in this way, so if you want to see comments to your comments, you'll have to do some clicking. Also, If you click on the timestamp at the bottom of a post, it shows you the post, on its own page, with any existing comments.

Thursday, June 02, 2005

They can't outsmart me!

There's this lovely garden hose attached to the outside water faucet right inside the fenced-in part of my yard.

For a while, I merely wondered what it was. There were already enough other great things to chew on attached to the house -- dryer vent covers, window trim, and siding. But eventually, curiosity got the best of me, like it does all good Estrela Mountain Dogs, and I tried chewing on it.

And it was good.

Eventually I managed to chew some holes in it. To be honest, I was not going to stop here, but it was great fun when my humans tried to use the hose and water sprayed out from the holes. hahahaha! I guess they didn't think it was so funny though. My agent cut off the part with the holes, put a new end on it, and it was good as new, if a little shorter. And they moved the ex-pen (which by now was blocking my access to all the other good stuff on the house) so that it protected the hose as well.

But my humans did not think things through completey. The ex-pen blocked their access to the faucet as well, so they had to move it any time they needed to get water. And eventually they forgot to put it back. The chance was mine! The chewing commenced anew. This time I kept going until I chewed through the whole thing.

I left a little piece dangling from the faucet and I chewed pieces off from the other end, heading under the deck until I could no longer reach it. I swallowed a whole bunch (you could find pieces in my poop for a while afterwards).

And wouldn't you know it, my agent repaired it again. I was thinking how great he was to replenish my chew toy stock, next time he forgot to put the ex-pen in my way. But then one day I saw this:

(the more astute among you will be putting two and two together and realizing
I defeated this trick, and this photo is actually of the aftermath of my activity)


Ok, that looks like a challenge to me. Any Estrela Mountain Dog would think the same. And boy, did I outsmart these dumb humans.

You see, the horizontal part of this contraption only goes partway under the steps. And since it is not attached to anything, it eventually (with a little help) moved to where I could easily access the lower end:


And if you look closely in the above picture, you can see where I created another lovely water spray hole for next time my humans used the hose. And I took these pictures to prove the results!

All Estrelas (and other breeds), keep your eyes on this blog for the next installment of How To Outsmart Your Human. I have heard some lovely stories from some of my co-Estrelas and I may publish them here as well!

Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Just wanted some snacks

Tonight I decided to clean out the sink and the dishes from dinner (mmmm, tacos) to get a little nourishment so that I can work on my column tonight. And wouldn't you know it, the humans in the house were yelling at me. Can you believe it? It's my house, my kitchen, and I should be able to clean it up if I like.

Also, I want to be able to put my paws up on the counter and see out the window just in case there are any toads coming.

Monday, May 30, 2005

Here is Myrtle



If I was a turtle, I'd say she was hot! But as I am an Estrela Mountain Dog, my tastes run a different way.

Saturday, May 28, 2005

A new ally in the toad battle

Today I met a new friend. Her name is Myrtle and she is some kind of roundish creature with a really hard outer part that I was unable to chew on or penetrate with my Estrela claws. She was heading towards the pond, and she says she heard about the hatching and came to investigate because she hates toads. Any enemy of toads is a friend of mine.

I got some pictures and I'll post them as soon as my computer is hooked up again.

Oh, and it is junebug season. I hate those things!

Friday, May 27, 2005

A new danger

While on polliwog duty, I noticed a new threat to my family. It's red with a long bushy tail. It appears to be some kind of rodent. It was climbing the trees in a most impressive manner. I think it is called Tamiasciurus hudsonicus.

Is there no end to the dangers in my realm? Am I Estrela enough to ward off the dangers?

-Bart-

The evil tadpoles

I snuck out this morning and got some pictures of the tadpoles. Don't let their cuteness fool you! The whole pond is just littered with them like this. Maybe the number is higher than I originally estimated.




Can anyone tell from this closeup whether they are going to be toads or frogs? They are looking very toad-ish to me!


Carolina Classic 2005 photos

It was a long time ago, but I finally got around to organizing (somewhat) our photos from the Carolina Classic. Go here for the gallery.

There are some pictures of Bart there, plus a handful of other Estrelas (and Vic's Central Asians) who were there. Hmm, it's kind of light on pictures of people!

Something going on with IE

We have noticed that for some reason, this site does not display properly with Internet Explorer. Kind of a reversal of the usual state of affairs! I will see if I can fix it, but I recommend firefox anyway!

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Stopping the toad invasion

I have come up with my first step in stopping the toad invasion. I will sit in the corner of the yard nearest the pond, and bark incessantly in the general direction of the pond. This will let the little toads-to-be know that I am here and ready to take them on.

As a bonus, it's something I do anyway, so it's no extra work for me.

T-shirts

Well, Michelle made a t-shirt out of the photo referenced below. It turned out really nice. I think we should make more to sell, to defray Bart expenses (chewing damage, fencing, concrete, citronella collar, etc. etc. etc.)!

Wednesday, May 25, 2005

Anonymous comments allowed

I thought that I enabled anonymous comments last night, so that you all don't have to sign up for blogger accounts... apparently that didn't "take" so I have enabled the setting again and we'll see if it works.

Toad invasion brewing

Something bad is happening....

Over the weekend we had a hatching in the pond. There are now thousands of polliwogs (or tadpoles, if you prefer) swimming around in there... or perhaps actually lying in wait. I must now prepare for a possible toad invasion. I don't know how to tell at this stage whether these beasts will indeed be dastardly, dangerous toads, or merely harmless frogs. It is safe to say that they will waste no time in staging their brutal invasion, doing so as soon as their legs have developed and while they are still at their most potent tiny size.

I have written before in my "Ask Bart" column about the treachery of the toad. A single toad is bad enough... but thousands! I cannot even estimate the possible danger to my family. This is truly a job for the Estrela Mountain Dog. I can't trust the bumbling Irish wolfhounds in my house to help me out. I'm not sure if they would run away, or step on the toad-beasts accidentally (which would be somewhat helpful, but ineffective due to the large numbers involved). The little mutt Daisy has proven her mettle with rodents, but I don't know if she is up to the toad challenge. I would love to have the fair Gisela, or my sister Pinta, or perhaps fellow Champion Choupo, here to help me at this important time, but alas, they are all too far away to make it in time. I shall have to deal with this myself.

The more optimistic among us would probably hope that these are indeed frog tadpoles and not evil toad tadpoles... but I can't take the chance. I will be formulating my plans and monitoring the situation over the coming days.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

New Photo of Me


There is a new, excellent photo of moi on the emdaa.com website (small version at left). This was taken after my group placement and clearly shows why the Estrela is the king of all breeds. Go browse the gallery on www.emdda.com.

None of the other pictures my humans took are worthy or up to my standards. Next time I will get a professional photographer who knows something about photographing real beauty. Know any?

Now I must get back to my vertical blind chewing.

-Bart-

Monday, May 23, 2005

Back from Randolph, Ohio

Here is a message from Bart:

We are back from the Belgian Shepherd Dog (with other breeds allowed to show up) show in Randolph, Ohio. All in all, a fun trip, despite having to ride in the pen in the back of the van... an Estrela really needs to be on the lap of one of the people in the car when riding, you know?

My agent held the leash in the first show, on Friday night. The judge was really nice and friendly and all, but I just wasn't into showing. It was a long drive and a long wait, and while showing off is always one of my favorite things, standing still was not really among my priorities. So, I may have embarrassed my agent a bit. He'll get over it.

Supper that night was pretty late. The motel where we stayed was nice but there was no magic room with sliding doors, so I chose to be quiet all night so that my agent didn't have to cart my pen up to the room for me to sleep in. The bathroom floor was nice and cool, and I decided it would be a good place for me to lay where I could protect my humans. I got up at 6:30 on the dot, just like at home, so that they would not feel homesick or anything.

Saturday I met a nice young Kangal pup and his owners. I would have liked to play with him... if only it weren't for that darned leash! I could tell he didn't like his leash either, by the way he kept biting it in the ring. He'll grow out of it.

After more waiting around, Michelle took me into the ring for the morning show (by this time, morning was almost over!). I wasn't in the mood to behave then, either... but I must have looked GOOD since I placed in group. The Leonberger in group, who was right behind me, looked like my dear mom Castica, and I would have loved to investigate her a little more closely. Unfortunately she took group.

I took a bit of an afternoon nap, and lots more waiting before the afternoon show. I was really wanting to play with that Kangal. This judge was faster (not as chatty) but she must have something against the king of all breeds. Michelle promised me a hamburger if I behaved during group... you know I can't be bought off like that, but I chose to behave anyway. I just can't understand why I didn't place in group... but that same mom-like Leonberger took group again. Grrrrrrr... a sad day for Estrelas. But my new buddy looked really good and took second in group among the puppies. Yay for him!

On the ride home Michelle tried to give me that ketchup-laden hamburger. She actually expected me to eat it in the pen! I expected her to give in and let me out to eat it, but it wasn't happening, so I ate a little bit to appease her and saved the rest for a rest stop a little later.

There are some rumblings about "practicing" before the next show. I don't know, you'd think these judges would be a little more shallow and only care about looks, where I got it goin' on... this expectation for standing still is a little ridiculous!

Bart now has a blog!

Bart has so much to say that he has asked me to create a blog for him. Here we will chronicle the daily activities of Bart, UKC Champion Estrela Mountain Dog.