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".
Another month went by in the Life of Benji. It’s getting hot here. It’s not even Summer yet and we have seen a heat index of 105 °F. already. Therefore, higher authorities decided to try the blue wet stuff again. I have webbed feet and for some reason, that means I should like swimming. What kind of logic is that?!
“Hmm, yummies or squeakies that is the question“
A perfectly good A-frame (the humans called it a ramp) had been put in the blue liquid. I ask you, why would anyone want to do that?! The humans tried to lure me in with yummies and squeakies. I tried to be a good sport and walked down the ramp until I got my paws wet but that’s where I drew the line. I mean what’s the point? As soon as you hit the liquid, it feels like the brakes are on. There is no way to run fast. Besides, I didn’t see any fun jumps and tunnels. So my advice for next time: remove the wet stuff and add some exciting obstacles.
You probably wondered if we’re still alive. I’m happy to report that is still the case. We are just a bit behind in the blogging world. My human got busy with other stuff so blogging was put on the back burner. I know, what could be more important than doggy adventures?!
Manatees hanging in a tree
Dolphins in the city
At the Homeless and At-Risk Veterands Stand Down event
Rest assured, I haven’t sat still. On April 19, I went to a CCI outing with my assistants-in-training buddies. We encountered lots of wildlife in the big city, seriously that is no joke. Manatees were hanging from trees and dolphins could be seen splashing in front of buildings. So WEIRD! The next day I had some Dogtoring to do at the Homeless and At-Risk Veterans Stand Down event. This is an annual event to help homeless and at-risk veterans. Several people asked if I was up for adoption. WOL, of course not! On Saturday I went to the library to help children read. That was my fifth time. I even had two repeat customers.
One of my fans asked me what I’ve been up to lately. Well, besides going to therapy events I’ve been practicing my agility jumps a lot since practice makes pur-fect. One of these days we’re hoping to be ready for a formal agility event. I’m now up to 23 inches. I’m supposed to jump 24. That’s only one more inch to go!
Ms. Zulu supervises
Jumps require my full attention
Jumping through holes
Jumping 23 inches
Ms. Zulu would like to practice too but the humans are afraid that she hurts herself. Unfortunately, her response time is not what it was. She seems to be happy to supervise so maybe it’s all for the best. Tonight we plan to join our CCI buddies on an outing. Let’s hope the weatherman is wrong again and the outing won’t be canceled due to rain.
Hi, hope you’re enjoying your Saturday! We went to the library for a R.E.A.D. session. I got lots of reading, petting, and reversed Reiki in. Afterward, we had to get some fertilizer for our fruit trees. This is supposed to help grow fruit in abundance. Not sure why we bother as it always takes fur-ever for the fruit to appear. Once the fruits finally do show up I’m supposed to leave them alone; I can’t even nose the fruit for a daily progress check. On top of that, last year Bear ended up with most of the persimmons. We ended up with less than 10 of the 100+ that were on the tree before the bear was let loose. That’s less than a 10% return rate. While I did get some of the 9 tiny! apples that showed up, 0 persimmons ended up in my tummy. So not a good investment if you ask me.
Again, why are we feeding the trees instead of me?
I heard that if you want apples, you have to shake the trees. Maybe I should follow that advice this year because I definitely want me some apples. Yum!
This morning I volunteered for the third time to read with children at the library as a R.E.A.D. companion.* I like going to the library; everybody is always so nice to me! The children pet me while they read aloud to me and I even get yummies for my tummy. I favor books with pictures. Especially when they show animals; that’s when I pay close attention. I think I’m ready now to take a nap after all that volunteering. I didn’t know that reading can make you feel tired.
At the library with my R.E.A.D. gear
* “R.E.A.D. companions are registered therapy animals who volunteer with their owner/handlers as a team, going to schools, libraries, and many other settings as reading companions for children.” (Intermountain Therapy Animals)
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.
Hi, you-all! Hope you’re enjoying your Saturday. I had another fun run today. I went flying with Mach 2+ over and through 18! obstacles. This included the BANG device. I think I got the BANG beast tamed now without ending up in an alternate universe. The tough part was that all of this had to happen with an empty tummy that couldn’t be refilled until I was off the agility field!
The first run was over with before I knew it, with 30 seconds to spare. That run was too easy peasy. On the second run, I decided to be smarter. I mean if I can’t have yummies while running I might as well take detours and greet people (tip: you never know what they might have in their pockets). I’ve also heard that you need to warm up before strenuous exercise so I gave myself enough playtime on the field before going all Mach 2+ and showing off my awesome jumps.
Yesterday was another busy bee day in the Life of Benji. In the morning I helped children read at the library. The children were ranging in age from 2.5 years to about 11 years. Some of them were a bit intimidated by my size. I tickled their hands with my whiskers to break the ice. When they felt how soft I am, they were hooked and couldn’t get enough of me.
In the afternoon, I went sailing with CCI buddies Adonis and Flint. It was their first time out on the water so I showed them the ropes. They seem to catch on fast. Don’t be surprised when we are soon sailing all by ourselves. That should be easy as we don’t have to ask the humans for any keys. Flint is a new recruit. You couldn’t tell that he is only four months old; he behaved so well.
It’s hard work keeping an eye on things
Adonis helped me
Adonis says he can get used to this
Showing the ropes
Eager to learn
Lights were turned off around 6:00 PM, that’s when we all got sleepy. After a good meal, I went to bed satisfied and content knowing that my missions went well.
Wow, it was steaming and co-old earlier this morning. The yummies must have thought so too because they were nowhere to be seen while Ms. Zulu and I froze our behinds off for this photo. We hadn’t even had our breakfast yet! Hence the “all-business-and-can-we-get-this-over-with” looks. I’m happy to report that we are currently warming up in front of the fireplace with full tummies.
Not sure why we went, but we went to the beach on Sunny Day. And yes, the sun was out as it should be on Sunny Day but it sure was no weather to go out without a winter coat. It was only 58 °F! That’s no beach weather if you ask me.
One with nature
Despite me still haven’t gotten a winter coat, and yes my B-day is not until September so I can’t wait for that one to get one, we had fun. I met two new fur-iends and their human family with a gazillion offspring that sprung up out of nowhere. They were very nice though and knew how to treat a dog: like a long-lost friend.
You won’t believe it, but on Tuesday we had snow at headquarters. The universities and schools were even closed because of severe weather conditions. On top of that on Thursday agility training got canceled! Snow and Florida, who would have thought those two would go together. For me, it was a sign to start my winter sleep. Ms. Zulu didn’t seem to be too disturbed. If anything, she looked more alive. I guess her winter coat is better quality than mine. Maybe I need a new one. It’s supposed to warm up over the next couple of days but after that, it will get cold again. Brrr.
Guess what we got for Christmas; a DIY seesaw that works! When I saw it installed in the backyard, I had to try it. I approached the beast like you would any unfamiliar animal: with caution and one paw at a time. Once I knew I could trust the thing, I climbed on its back to the top of the world. I can tell you, the view is amazing. Experience has taught me that its great to try new things. It expands your mind and you always end up with lots of delicious yummies in your tummy. I think that’s how I solved the riddle of alternate realities. I discovered that when you climb the seesaw beast fast enough, you come down with a Big Bang. They say that without a Big Bang about 13.7 billion years ago, you and I wouldn’t be woofing to each other now. It’s now my theory that all new Big Bangs create new realities. Next time when I climb the seesaw mountain I need to set my mind on creating a new reality with an endless supply of yummies. That’s definitely food for thought.
The seesaw beast
Ready set go
Teaching Ms. Zulu the jump
Ms. Zulu hops the jump
We are wishing everyone from here to all the way around the world, happiness and full tummies fur-ever and ever. Hugs and a gazillion doggie kisses from the ZAB team.
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.
Look who made it to our doorstep! We are so happy Little Ms. Zulu and Little Benji (LZ and LB) made it home just in time before Christmas! After traveling for almost six weeks from Spain, the little ones are a bit tired but unharmed and full of joy. Thank you Belén Soto for making it happen and ensuring that the pooches were safe throughout their travels. As you can imagine we are quite busy catching up on their travel stories so this is all for now. We will soon bring you more news and photos of the whole gang. Let the fun begin!
Yesterday M and I went to our first agility competition. It was loads of fun. Our agility trainer had organized it to raise money for VOCAL (Voices of Chance Animal League). Its mission is to improve the lives of dogs without a voice. They provide free fencing, shelter, and medical resources for dogs that are forced to live their lives at the end of a chain. We came totally prepared, ahum, and showed up with one small bag with all my necessities: yummies and water. This was in contrast to others who seemed to have hauled their entire house to the event. Maybe they like to lift weights. Fancy crates, chairs, and even tents showed up on the sidelines.
Checking out the competition
Soaking up those precious sunrays before the game
Me and my fur-iends
Puleasssee let me win the dog toy
The agility course in the background
During my run, I had to conquer 20 obstacles. Since M had never watched or participated in an agility event, I took charge as soon as she unhooked my leash. I started with a Mach 2+ victory lap. I got a lotta of applause for that one. Why save the best for last, right? Still, time was ticking and we had only 90 seconds to complete the whole thing. Not a problem for me but M is always lagging behind, so I knew I had to come up with something good. Instead of jumping over obstacles in numerical order, I just skipped the first obstacle, the tire. The second obstacle was the weave. To save even more time I pretzeled around only 4 of the 6 poles. Onwards to number three: a jump. From there I went straight to number eight, the A-frame. I ran that thing twice; it’s too much fun to only run once. At some point, after more jumps and the boardwalk, and of course thanks to my pawbulous ingenuity, we made it to number 20. I didn’t have time for another victory run, so my instinct to do that first was a good one.
There was a raffle at the end of the event. I saw some great dog toys displayed that I would have liked to get my paws on. Unfortunately, I didn’t win them. Maybe next time. All in all, it was a grand day. I made a lotta new fur-iends and friends and got hugs from many people. I can’t wait to go again.
Always listen to your gut,
P.S. Tomorrow we are expecting a furry important package by super express delivery. Stay tuned.
Yes, I did it; I turned another Mission Impossible into a Mission Possible! Last Saturday, I read with the kids at the library and decided that it was a lotta fun. They stroked my ears, those are definitely my sweet spots, my back, and even my belly while they read to me. I had two incognito sessions at the library before I officially opened my office. Next time I will ask my photographer/ driver/ butler/ whatever-I-need-person to take a photo of my office. It has cute monkeys on the wall, even though we are not supposed to monkey around.
Here is a photo of my new outfit for the R.E.A.D. program. I use it together with my favorite blanket that states: “In a perfect world every dog has a home”. Ain’t that the truth.
Lately, I have been reading a lot. Why, you ask? Well, I am enrolled in the R.E.A.D. program. The program helps young readers improve their literacy skills. Today we had a practice run at a library to show me the ropes and my office. Although now I come to think of it I didn’t see any ropes, just rows, and rows of books. And people sitting at long tables. They were reading quietly until I showed up, then all heads turned my way and people started to talk about my brindle stripes and such. I guess I was a bit of a distraction. Maybe that’s why I will have my own office. Gotta go, I haven’t finished my book yet and I want to know how it ends.
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!