Dogtor B and his brother Sky, both ex-shelter dogs, moved from Florida to New Zealand in 2020. Benji loves to talk about his endeavors and life in general as an American expat in New Zealand. His motto: "Eat, Snooze, Cuddle, Repeat".
Wowser, the New Sea Land continues to surprise me and da Sky. Last weekend when we celebrated Matariki, the Māori New Year, we saw some pretty big beasts! One of them barked but he certainly didn’t look like us canines. They smell different too. And I believe their mamas should give them some skin meds as some of them scratched and scratched.
We all kept a safe distance. Luckily, the Big Eye was able to zoom to infinity without ever touching da beasts so that they can now touch you. When it was time to go home we waved our goodbyes.
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.
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,
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.
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.
Well, apparently new seeds were growing last year. I would like to introduce my new little brother Luke Skywalker de Louisiana a.k.a. SKY. I gave him the Codename 0012.
Ain’t he something else?! His shelter name was Luke, we added Skywalker. SKY was moved from an overcrowded Louisiana shelter that was not suited for puppies to North Florida. Hence his last name. He is roughly 5 months old and our vet said that he was probably a mix between a Border Collie and Springer Spaniel. SKY has aspirations to become a Jedi Master. When my former agility trainer saw his photo she said, “The Force is strong in this one”. So maybe he’s on his way.
To be honest, I am hoping he can join me on my super-secret missions sometime in the future. With a name like SKY, he should be able to fly, don’t you think? That should come in handy on our Mission Impossibles.
SKY started his tactical training last Friday at headquarters. He has to wait at least a couple of months before he can start any offsite agility training but for now, he can start with the basics at headquarters. It’s a lot of chewing on a bone and sometimes there is a bone of contention but I’ve shown that it can be done. Anyhowls, in the meantime, SKY can prepare for his S.T.A.R. exam. More on all this prep work at a later time. For now, this puppy needs some rest.
Dg. B, a.k.a. 0011 Commander in Chief Headquarters
Finally, we are back in the game after a long break due to Hurricane Michael. We got our internet and landline back after two+ weeks. We lost it two days prior to the hurricane. Turned out that somebody who is building a house did not know what he was doing and cut the main telephone and internet wire. He should have asked me to dig, I have lots of experience. They say that I can dig to China. Anyhowls, now that we are back online we are happy to report that we are doing OK post-Hurricane Michael.
Michael turned out to be one tough cookie and brought lots of havoc. We heard and even saw trees fall down when we took shelter during the storm. There was a lot to organize before and a lot to clean up after Michael’s visit. I think it’s best for Michael not to visit us anymore. Ms. Zulu and I tried to help as best we could. I carried dead branches and pinecones; Ms. Zulu sniffed out trouble. Now I come to think of it, she seemed to sniff a lot at my butt too. How come?!
We are celebrating all breeds and mixes every day but especially today because it’s National Dog Day. Ms. Zulu looks a bit like Battlescar Galactica because she had four masses that needed to be removed surgically. We are happy to report that she is recovering nicely without any problems.
I discovered my true calling today: the CAT. It’s not your regular cat but a furry special one! CAT stands for Coursing Ability Test. I ran it today and earned my first qualifying ribbon. Who knew it would come in handy one day to be able to run at Mach 3+ speed. It was hot, 85 degrees Fahrenheit already. This meant that we went straight home after the event so that I could cool down. Once I was chauffeured home in an airconditioned car, I was all rested and decided to get another run in with my big sis Ms. Zulu.
My first ribbon!
Riding home, look what others are riding!
Showing Ms. Zulu what I did today
We ended the day on a lesser note; even though I can run pretty fast I couldn’t escape the wetness. Tomorrow I have my third R.E.A.D. session at the library so I had to get all shampooed and such. Whoever invented the wet stuff should be on a faraway island all alone. Still, all things considered, it was another wonderful day in doggie paradise. Hope you have a pawbulous weekend ahead of you.
It has been a whirlwind since LZ and LB showed up on our doorstep. It took them six weeks to travel from Vigo their birthplace in Spain to us. They left Vigo on November 8 and arrived in Madrid the next day where they had to stay for a while. We didn’t receive any updates until they showed up again in New York on December 10! Both Belén and we at headquarters were all worried when we didn’t hear from the little ones for four long weeks. We are still trying to get the gist of it but may never completely know what happened. At some point, there was even talk about LZ and LB being kidnapped. Luckily that was not the case. Customs did hold on to them a bit longer than what was needed but we can’t blame them because the little guy and girl are just too cute for their own good. The travel from New York to Florida took them another 11 days. They took this opportunity to sightsee. It was a bit chilly up north so it was a good thing that Belén had packed warm blankets in the suitcases. Now the little ones are soaking up the sun rays in Florida. LB and LZ have had their eyes on Benji’s agility equipment since the first second they stepped paw in the house. We had to tell them that that has to wait until everyone is well rested and full of new energy.
Dear friends and fur-iends, we have more exciting news from headquarters! We are in the process of bringing Little Benji (LB) and Little Ms. Zulu (LZ) home. You can see them enjoying Vigo’s view in the photo Belén took a couple of days ago. Don’t they look alive?! We can’t wait to meet them in person and show them our neck of the woods.
And you know what; you can take one (or more) of the little guys home as well! Belén said she will offer a special price to Life of Benji readers. Of course, you can also ask Belén if she can make you a sculpture of your own furry kid. Belén sells other ceramics too that would make a nice Christmas present for your special one. She can ship items with a tracking code and insurance to most countries. Isn’t that nice or what?! To shop around the clock right in time for Christmas click on this link: Ceramica Belen Soto.
What a day today. We had our first trip on our new Follower. Ms. Zulu and I sniffed out the whole thing. No, we didn’t find any hidden treasures. And yes, that was a bit of a disappointment. Luckily our treat bag was brought onboard.
Yep, this works
I think we can get used to this
Can I have some privacy please?
Any day on the water is a good day!
We tested everything inside and out and can honestly say that the Follower is a keeper. Ms. Zulu found the trampoline quite comfortable for lounging. I have to try that next time. The rigging is solid and the sailing is smooth. This means that I should be able to keep my feet dry so what is there not to like!
Look who is here; it’s Mr. B! He looks so real and isn’t he adorable?! Check out Belén’s website below to see more photos of the sculpture.
Benji Las piezas han pasado de nuevo por el horno y el fuego ha realizado su alquimia, los esmaltes, ahora ya vitrificados, crean una fina y suave capa que cubre toda la pieza. En esta ocasión Benji, nuestro modelo favorito, ha escogido su habitual abrigo atigrado, su camisa mas blanca y una […]