Dogtor B, an ex-shelter dog, became a therapy dog in October 2016. In 2020 he moved from Florida to New Zealand. He loves to talk about his endeavors, his brother Sky, and life in general as an American expat in New Zealand.
We’ve had some rough weather lately with flooding, thunderstorms, and tornadoes. Luckily it didn’t touch our headquarters. But, it did leave lots behind at the beach. Da Sky and I felt obligated to sort it. After a quick initial assessment and leaving some pee-mail for future reference, we estimate that it will take weeks of dogpower to sniff out all the bits and pieces. I believe we should apply for a YITT (Yummies In The Tummies) grant to get additional support.
Hi! I know it has been a while but we have been busy with sniffing and snuffing in the New Sea Land. Yesterday we read that as of midnight all of the New Sea Land would turn orange to protect the New Sealanders. To be honest, I haven’t noticed a difference. All I’ve seen today is green. No, no, that’s not green with envy. I’m usually not the jealous type. We didn’t turn into a pumpkin at midnight either. Maybe they didn’t have enough orange to paint the whole country?
I’m not complaining though as I love to roll in the green stuff. That’s what I did today too. There usually is something brown and smelly hiding in it. And no, I’m not talking about the brown easter eggs. I only like the real ones. The others are poison, well at least to us doggies. Anyhowls, I found meself some good brown stuff today. I smell sooo good! The two-legged critters don’t seem to like it but that’s their loss.
Happy Holidays from the New Sea Land. We just came back from a visit to Taranaki. Surf Highway 45 on the west coast of the North Island is known for its spectacular beaches. There sure was lots of sunshine and sand. We swam, we ate, we slept, and we snacked some more. We are hoping that next year will feel like da sunny beach for everyone all year round.
I’m sure you are wondering what we are up to these days. It’s been a bit of a rocky road here in the New Sea Land. Lucky for us we got an out of jail card sooner than the Aucklanders. The Aucklanders will be let out of their cages in about 11 days. It is expected to be a mass explosion of bipeds dragging their brood. No escaping to the rest of the world though. I guess we all will have to get desensitized, desanitized and whatnot, before we are let loose again into the wide-open world.
In the meantime, we have been practising our runaways to the far unknown. Of course, this is alternated with lots of napping and munching. I can finally say that I have trained the humans one 100%. They now deliver yummies consistently when I look from the fridge to the human and back. Both humans were a bit slow on the uptake and it took a lot of patience on my part but who cares. In the end, all that counts is the rate of returns. My piece of advice for consistency is to keep your eye on the ball, or yummies, in this case. Anyhowls, I do believe we are in good shape for the big escape. Not sure where we are headed but I’m sure the path will become clear in due time.
What else, hmmm, let me think. In August Sky turned the big three and I turned SIX! in September. In October we both got a clean bill of health. Sky is for sure officially fully grown so we both can run very fast. We do worry about the humans; they seem to get slower each day. The problem might be that they only have two legs each. We are still trying to work around that conundrum. Maybe we need a longer leash and put them on rollerblades. What are your recommendations? OK, that’s it for now, gotta go get some naps in.
You haven’t heard from us for a while. Rest assured, we’re still here; well at least physically. For months we were busy with pawsonal affairs and such. Finally the humans had to slow down as we are officially locked-in in the new sea land. Today is day 10 of alert level 4. This means that we are only allowed outside to exercise and have to drag a human around. No more free roaming humans. Such a chore.
The humans were supposed to be in Auckland and us doggos in our own resort. Instead we are traveling virtually. We already watched a YouTube video of the train ride from Wellington to Auckland. Today we are “visiting” Waiheke island. Tomorrow we might pick our next boat. Please let it be a cat-maran and not one of those monohulls. It’s easier to chase cats in my sleep than to sleep on one of those wobbly monohulls.
Luckily, we don’t get virtual yummies for our tummies. We can comfortably alternate sleeping, eating, and exercising. The focus might be a tad bit more on the sleeping and eating part though. I guess we are practicing to travel to another galaxy just like the passengers of the Anxiom (Wall-E).
It’s the last day of the year today so went to the beach to blow out the old and let the new in. Wishing everyone a happy and healthy 2021. May you find many treasures, friends, and jolly adventures all the way to December.
No way; yes way! Can you believe it? I’m all grown up now and am sooo ready to tackle the world. I still play, especially with Sky because he needs it. Bsides, it keeps me young at heart.
My birthday weekend was filled with agility fun. I did purr-etty well if I do say so myself. Da Sky had a bit of the zoomies. I guess he doesn’t know yet that he gets to play more if he goes snail pace with the human. A couple of weeks later Da Sky seemed to have morphed into an eye-on-the-ball Speedy Gonzales at our first ever flygility show. My little brother and I both won ribbons and kibble, so we can honestly say that we are earning our keep.
What else is new? Well, we are still house hunting. It’s not an easy task. For some reason, people seem to like big houses with tiny yards. We like a big yard with a not so big house. After all, we need to practice our agility and flygility moves. Apparently we can’t do it inside. Believe me, Sky has tried.
Yahooooo, Da Sky is twoooo!!! This was his first B-day in the New Sea Land and meant that we all went on a Tour De Fun. This weekend our days were filled with beachcombing for treasures, playing with friends, a catch-the-frisbee contest, hide-and-seek, agility, flygility, and of course a delicious Da Sky Cake to top it off.
Sky can sit still too
Here I am!
When can we dig in?!
Yes, you can have the cake and eat it too. Have fun and celebrate efurry milestone!
Our search for the One Ring continues. This time it took us to Putangirua Pinnacles Scenic Reserve. The Lords of the Rings know it as the Dimholt Road (aka The Paths to the Dead). We took the path along the streambed and had to cross the stream multiple times in order to get to the base of the Pinnacles. These pinnacles are also called hoodoos. It was my task to make sure that da humans did not get bewitched and stayed alive. I succeeded in the latter but am not sure if I succeeded in the former. Only time will tell.
Leading the way
Along the streambed
Find the puppy
The pinnacles or hoodoos
Crossing the stream was often tricky. I had to calculate with infinite precision which rocks I should step on to keep my feet dry and body unharmed. Sky approached the water as he approaches life: he plunged in headfirst and dealt with the consequences, good or bad, later. The One Ring was nowhere to be found. Luckily, we didn’t find the dead either.
A couple of weekends ago, Sky and I stumbled upon the Lord of the Rings trail. There is supposed to be a ring with special powers. It’s called the One Ring. We took a good sniff in Rivendell to see if the One Ring was there. After walking for ages through an ancient-looking forest we came upon a mighty river. In the distance, we saw something that was a vague resemblance to a bridge. Much narrower though than the ones we have seen in da city, and mostly made out of rope. It must have been a rush job getting that bridge built. It was good that Sky and I are skilled in agility because the bridge was one unpredictable creature. It could swing pretty darn high from side to side. Unfortunately, we had no luck in finding the One Ring so we have to keep sniffing.
Through the forest
Over the swing bridge
Crossing the river
Where is da Ring?
If you can’t find what you’re looking for you can always try harder,
We try to sniff out something new and exciting each week in the New Land. The other day we went to Te Kopahou Reserve (The Red Rocks). We walked and walked until we stumbled upon some mighty beasts. Sky was especially impressed by their mighty smells. I knew better than to disturb them in their beauty sleep so we watched the smelly ones from a safe distance.
Te Kopahau Reserve
Lots of rocks
The mighty beasts
Start sniffing; you might stumble upon something mighty impressive,
Finally, we managed to set aside a bit of time to update you all of what is going on in this part of the world. We got out of lockdown in New Sea Land after nearly seven weeks. This means that we can freely move around again. Parks, retail and restaurants are all open, people are back at work and children in school. The number of deaths due to COVID-19 has remained the same since May 28. It’s so different from what is going on in Florida. We really hope that the US will get on top of the barfy things soon too. I, as a real Dogtor, am of the opinion that they should listen to Dr. Fauci. Anyhowls, you probably don’t want to hear more about the illnesses in the world, so onwards to fun stuff.
Da Sky with da trophy
What we’ve been up to since we got out of jail? Sky and I joined a dog training group and are back on track with our special training. Sky even won the Best Beginner’s trophy in agility for this month. We also got addicted to a new hobby named flygility. Flygility is a combination of flyball and agility. You have to jump over obstacles and run through tunnels in order to get to a machine that shoots tennis balls in the air. Once you get to the machine you have to hit it, retrieve the ball and bring it back to your human teammate after you jump over or run through the same set of obstacles. You get tired quickly but it is so much fun so we don’t mind. Sky is super busy as he started Rally obedience training as well. I’m lucky to have escaped that predicament although I have to say that I miss the amount of yummies that you get there. The ratio number of yummies to performance is far better in (rally) obedience training than in agility or even flygility. On the weekends we try to explore the New Sea Land. One of our first trips was to the beach to do some beachcombing. We haven’t found the famous penguins yet, but we did manage to find something way bigger. More on that later.
Kapiti Island in the distance
Keep honing your skills and you are bound to find what you’re looking for, Benji
Well, we figured it out; we’re in the New Sea Land. I’m told there is water all around the land. I have seen some of it but not all, so who knows. It’s hilly too, maybe I will become a Hilly Billy. My hindquarters are getting pretty strong. The humans are a bit slow here, we need to find them some skates and then we can pull them more easily up the hill. I bet it would be loads of fun on the downward leg too.
Oh, the possibilities once we’re “out”…
Dreaming of the trails we can hike
We managed to find a backyard with this specimen
By tomorrow we have been in lockdown for three weeks. It’s been pretty strict here; no outdoor activities other than some exercise in the hood and we can only get essential items. That reminds me, we need to order food for Da Sky and me. We are getting home-cooked meals too, but it’s best to err on the side of caution and build in some redundancy. Besides, we have started alternative backyard agility training so we need the extra calories. I was happy to see that treats are still on the menu. All that extra pulling of the slow humans uphill eats up our reserves too.
Get this, just a couple of days after we got the key to our new headquarters, we were locked down. Have you ever heard of anything like that? That’s one weird key man. The container with our stuff didn’t get here before the lockdown so it will be delayed big time. We managed to buy some essentials before stores got closed for the lockdown but that’s it for now. On the bright side, this means that the house is pretty empty, so it’s basically one big playground for Da Sky and me. You can say that the humans are now in the dog house, WOL.
One big playhouse
A room with a view
Luckily, Q managed to fix the yard with some supplies he found before lockdown, so that we can roam around without too much bossy-vision. At first, we thought we would have to wait a long time before we could practice agility but then we got a bit creative and found a new hobby: alternative-backyard-agility. What it is? It’s agility with whatever you can find in your backyard. It can be steps, discarded wood, benches, humans, even your buddy that you use to jump on, over, or weave through. It’s fun and M says it will prevent our brains from getting all mushy.
Yawn, let’s do something fun instead
BTW, have you figured out where we are yet? Please tell me you as soon as you find out because I would like to know.
So you’re asking where we are. Well, let me tell you, they drive on the scary side of the road. Da Sky was also promised to see a lot of sheep but so far we have counted only five. Sky was especially disappointed as he was not allowed to chase herd them. The cows here are something else too. They look a bit like Sky on steroids. Furthermore, it’s hilly and sometimes you can see the sea.
At an airbnb
We did manage to find new headquarters but it was not an easy nut to crack. Talk about COVID-19 and lockdown didn’t help either. We needed a place where Da Sky and I were allowed (yeah not sure what the problem was there) with a sizable yard for us, where we can walk a bit in the hood, and a place that’s decent enough to stay at for a while. It seemed that the first requirement was pretty much incompatible with the last. Cats were fine in most places and sometimes one tiny skinny dog, not more than a couple of inches of the ground. Sounded like unfair profiling to me. Then there were those places that the humans pretty much ran away from. One of them had a basement that looked like a scene out of a Stephen King novel. If you would poke around a bit you would expect to find a corpse lying somewhere in a dark yucky corner. YIKES!
Sky and I helped with house hunting
M wanted this in the backyard
House hunting was alternated with nature sniffing
At long last, after many days of driving and sniffing, we decided to sniff out places where pets were not allowed and threw my and Sky’s resume in the mix. My career as a Dogtor should count for something, right? And it did, together with the AKC CGC, trick, and jump titles, we found a place that we can call home for a year.
The road trip from Crawfordville, Florida to LA in California was just the beginning of the big escape. After spending two nights in LA, we had to face the big air-monster. Luckily we had practised months in advance for that big step. We had listened to the growling sounds from the monster on the computer -with comfort food and chew toys- while we got in and out of what turned out to be our sleeping quarters in the big monster. Da Sky saw it all as one big game, but I knew that we were heading towards something fishy. Of course, I was right; the ocean on the west coast does smell fishy. Always trust your instinct guys and girls.
For the trip across the Big Blue, our sleeping quarters were lined with M’s sweaters and our own bedding. Da Sky’s kennel even had his name on it. I think M should have taken one of my blankets with her because it turned out that she was more nervous in the big air-monster than Da Sky and me. Especially when we all got in the plane and there was a 1.5-hour delay because of a mechanical issue… M hardly slept while we did manage to get some Zen in. Maybe she should have taken her own sleeping quarters and practised sleeping in it too.
The Big Air-Monster
When Da Sky’s and my sleeping quarters got opened and we got out it was like we stepped in an alternate reality. Instead of being nighttime, it was morning, and instead of winter, it was summer. My sense of orientation was off too, I didn’t seem to know where south or north was anymore. So weird! As if the world stood on its head. We didn’t see M nor Q on the other side. Luckily the people in the kennel were we stayed for 10 days were super nice and they sent messages back and forth between us and headquarters. While we were getting pampered, M and Q were trying hard to find new temp headquarters in this new strange world. And then finally, after 10 days, we all got reunited. Even Puffy, our mascot, was waiting for us on the other end.
Hey guys and girls, here an update from Da Sky and myself; I know you all have been waiting like furever. You probably thought that we disappeared from the face of the earth just like Amelia Earhart way back but no we’re still here although it seems to be in an alternate reality. More on that later. After helping pack a gazillion boxes in February we finally got ready for the big trip and headed out west with M and a VIP chauffeur we hired for this furry special occasion. In about eight days, we drove 3200+ miles through eight states, learned that snow is wet and cold [YIKES!], sauntered in desolated deserts, visited friends, made new friends, and made sure that our drivers didn’t get lost in the big cities. All that helping makes you tired so Da Sky and I always hit the snooze button as soon as our dog-mobiel started moving. We arrived in LA just in time before COVID-19 entered the scene.
Some exciting news from headquarters this Christmas. There is lots of movement, talk about moving, and moving parts to manage. Stuff is being donated or sold -yes, Da Sky and I are very closely guarding our stuff – and boxes are being filled. Da Sky and I even had to practise sitting in a big box for a gazillion days couple of hours. No, no, we are not left behind since we are considered priceless. Pew, that’s a relief.
The word is that we will move overseas but we won’t travel by boat. Why not travel by boat over the sea? Yeah, that beats me too. Traveling by boat would have been my first choice since I got my captain’s license way back and Da Sky is a fine first mate. Instead, we will travel by car and then in an air-monster. The car will be easy peasy. We will even have a VIP chauffeur flown in for us from Europe Still, I’m not too sure about the air-monster. You-all know that Da Sky can fly and I’m famous for breaking the sound barrier but we are no rocket stars. I guess that’s about to change. Where we’re going? That seems to be all hush-hush and top-secret. All I know is that we haven’t been there yet, they have lots of sheep to chase look at, and it’s far, far away.
While the moving parts are moving, Sky and I are trying to fit in a couple of things one more time. I finished my last secret mission and I got my AKC Novice JWW (Jumpers with Weaves) title (with three first places). My little brother got his first Q and a second-place at his first AKC agility event ever. Pretty good heh?! He had barely turned 15 months, the minimum age to enter. We also said our goodbyes to Apalachicola. We missed Miss Martha but were able to sail one more time on the big float a.k.a. The Follower. I was told that the big float won’t be able to follow us overseas. Yep, that’s another mystery to me. I would think that we can slow down soon but knowing headquarters that might be wishful thinking. If I don’t see you before the end of the year:
A bit of shopping
Sailing on the big float
Ms Martha MIA
Happy Howli-Days and Smooth Sailing from all of us!
P.S. Don’t eat all Santa’s cookies and if you do make sure you shred the evidence.