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:


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


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.


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


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.


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!


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.


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:

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?


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!