Sad News

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Today we read sad news about Dougy, the kitty boy. Dougy’s human, wrote on July 15, 2020: 

I hadn’t seen Dougy yet this morning, so I looked for him. I found him on the sofa in the guest bedroom. He died sometime during the night…

We send condolences and strength to Doug and kitty boy Andy. For the full post go to Weggieboy’s Blog: https://phainopepla95.com/2020/07/15/15jul20-my-sad-news/

We fondly remember the wonderful interviews Ms. Zulu and Benji had with Dougy and his brother Andy. RIP Dougy, we will all miss you tremendously,

BASQ

Homecoming

20171101_134144.jpgPhoto credits: © Belén Soto 2017

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.

The ZAB team

Modeling

In December of last year, I was invited to be at Drake and Sol‘s wedding in June this year. Drake and Sol are two beautiful creatures born at Belén Soto’s home. They are now happily residing at Resa’s, just click on the links to see their photos. I am very excited about the upcoming wedding as it will be my first!

For the occasion, mom and I have been shopping for bow ties. We settled on two possibilities: a dotted and a solid blue bow tie. Not sure which one it will be yet. I felt more comfortable wearing the dotted one but it seems to be the general opinion that the blue tie has a nicer color. What do you think?

Resa asked if we could show the results, so here I am modeling in my best suit and the bow ties.* Ms. Zulu didn’t want to be left out, so she modeled too with a beautiful hair piece to adorn her already gorgeous complexion. Maybe she can even accompany me to the wedding. Sort of a chaperone. After all, I am a bachelor and Ms. Zulu is much more experienced than me although I don’t think she ever attended a wedding either.

* I am happy to note that both I and Ms. Zulu were lavishly rewarded for the effort. There were complaints that the light conditions were not the greatest during the photoshoot so we may have to try again. I am not complaining as long as we are rewarded and I trust we will be!

Flashback: Video 2

It is time for another puppy video: Benji’s first day at the beach in December of last year. White, soft, warm sand. That’s so much better than that blue, cold, and wet water!

 

We’re back!

16 monts.JPGWe have been back for a week now and are finally getting around to saying hi to everyone. So, HELLO to you and 2017! The humans went on a big trip to New Zealand, more on that on Anarette’s blog. Ms. Zulu and I couldn’t go with them. At first, I was a bit disappointed, but it was explained to us that we had to travel in a crate for 1.5  days and then had to go in doggy quarantine for at least 10 days. It sounded a lot like a prison. So thanks, but no thanks.

Anyways, Ms. Zulu and I stayed in a fabulous resort too. It even had a swimming pool. I don’t care much for the pool though as you already found out. So what did we do? Well, Ms. Zulu snoozed a lot and I played pretty much all day. I played with everyone. Big dogs, small dogs, white, black, yellow, really, it doesn’t matter to me. I would have played with kitties or others too, but they don’t have them at the doggy resort that I stayed at. And of course, I played fetch with the humans. I even lost weight, so HM has put me on a diet with extra treats. I don’t even have to dig into my own treat account for that. And I am allowed to eat more kibble; life can’t get better than this. Of course, I share some with Ms. Zulu too.

Once we got home from our vacation, we went for a walk in our neighborhood. Ms. Zulu and I had a lot of catching up to do. Lots of creatures left messages for us in the forest. Ms. Zulu is more into world politics, you know territorial disputes and such. At times she even seemed pissed. Not me, I am more interested in local social affairs and what everyone has to offer (yes, I can be bribed for the right amount of pinecones and such). You can imagine that it takes awhile before we are back to business as usual. We are still not completely caught up as the replies take contemplation, concentration, and dedication.

Wishing you happy wanderings in 2017, and a pinecone or two,

Benji.

Foggy

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It’s that time of the year again; foggy morning walks! At least we didn’t suffer from brain fog because we still remembered to ask for a treat once we were done posing for the photoshoot. After all, fair’s fair.

Happy tails, Ms. Zulu and Benji.

Zuluism in Practice

Ssshhhh….Benji is practicing Zuluism after a morning of intense focus and dedication (okay read playing hard) at doggy day care.  We believe he is getting better and better. This type of meditation is bound to be helpful in Benji’s therapy dog practice. And practice makes purrrfect! On that note, Ms. Zulu reports that she is now convinced that there is such a thing as the P-state, short for Purrring-state. Previous research hinted at this and Andy the Cat has now proven that it does exist in feline species. However, there is still doubt that the P-state exists in canine species.  A research proposal for a treat-grant has been submitted to ABC (Academy of Brave Canines).  

Zzstate.JPGP.S. Be on the look out tomorrow for a rerun of the interview between Ms. Zulu and the two cats Andy and Dougy.

Benji’s assistants.

Zuluism

The other day, I told you that I got very tired during the Thanksgiving Holiday. There was so much to do and so little time. Since we are close to another big holiday, I asked Ms. Zulu how she dealt with that issue. She gave me some valuable advice and I thought you would like to hear it too. I know she shared it with some of you already, way before I was born. Still, I think it is worth reading again.  The approach itself is called Zuluism in my house. Ms. Zulu calls it reaching the Z-state. I will give Ms. Zulu the floor so that she can show you all the different steps: 

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Thanks, Benji. It’s really easy; follow my lead; You don’t have to get there through A-B-, etc., so don’t sweat it.  What is really important though is that you set up a routine. Without this, you get easily lost in the woods, so to speak. My routine looks like this:

1) Start the day with a good stretch, then hug and kiss your loved ones; okay I like to lick, but that is a matter of preference.

walking

2)  Go for a short walk to get fresh air and enjoy your surroundings. Have a little bite afterward and make sure you rehydrate (no alcohol please).

3) Go back to bed. This step is VERY important as you will NOT get to the Z-state later on in the day if you skip this step. I call this the N-state (you may call this napping). So basically, you made it already from A to N in three short steps; amazing isn’t it?!

4) After a little napping, go for an extended walk. On this walk, you make sure you exercise your whole body. Get a couple of sprints in as well as twist and turns. Benji, you are good at this.

5) You definitely deserve a BIG break after your exercise (step 4) and a little snack (I said a little! Okay if you insist another little bite is fine too for those of us who really need it). Make sure you rehydrate too.

6) Next, you make your way to the Z-state. Go to a comfortable place for this. This should be a place where you are not interrupted. I like to be close to M. You will get to the Z-state by going through the S-state. During the S-state you will most likely snore. This is perfectly normal. Don’t let others tell you otherwise. The S-state can take up to an hour after which you slowly drift into the Zzzz-state.  The Z-state is the most pleasant one as you do not remember any of it. So I can’t tell you more about it. I do know that I feel totally refreshed after I get out of the Z-state.

7) End the Z-state with another break. I like to run with M while she bikes, but you may prefer other activities. Sorry, no photo here as I still go VERY fast.

8) Try to get another snack by making sure you are in the kitchen while others are there as well. It is okay, maybe even better, if they stumble over you. Put on your most adorable face (I believe I have mastered this step) and try to look thin (tuck in that tummy; that is a good exercise too). Rehydrate.

9) Go back to bed. This time you will not get to the Z-state, but drift pleasantly in and out of the Y-state. Why is it called the Y-state you ask? Not sure, maybe because this state will help you get some answers to your questions.  Your legs may jerk and you may barf (or talk when you are a human) some. You don’t get to the Z-state this time as you need to be able to wake up for alerts. This can be squirrels who have ventured out too far from their house,  the mailman, deer etc. It is my job to alert the humans, they are often SO unaware of these things. Benji, I have been teaching you this step since you were a little pup. After all, two pairs of eyes are better than one.

10) Come out of the Y-state before you drift off too far, go outside, play some, go back inside, and eat your dinner. Rehydrate once more.

11) Go back to your comfortable place and drift off to the Z-state again.

12) Get out one more time before you call it a night. This time you get back up to snuff with the world. Sniff out what has transpired outside while you were inside. Follow EVERY trail. Benji, you were born ready for this.

zsniffing

12) Once back inside, get a little snack and go to bed. Take a friend if you don’t like to be alone. I used to sleep with Ducky. But I gave Ducky to you Benji, so these days I sleep either quietly alone or with another little friend out of our box with stuffed friends.  After such an eventful day, I am sure you will be able to sleep well. You and your friends (stuffed or human) certainly deserve it.

Happy snoring,

Ms. Zulu and Benji

The Deal

After putting our heads together, Ms. Zulu and I found a way to get lots of treats and make mom happy at the same time. This is the deal: for every “like” we get on this post, mom will donate $1.00 to the shelter we came from. AND, here is the kicker, my big sister and I will get one treat per dog for every 10 likes! For this purpose, we both put our best paw forward in front of the camera. So hit like and get as many people and animals involved as you can because we want to give back to the shelter we came from and uhhmmm… well, end up with lots of treats in our treat account too. It’s a win-win situation for everyone! 

silly

Attention, please!!

silly2

Are you listening?

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We need lots of li(c)k(e)s.

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To get yummies in the tummies!

Puppy kisses from Ms. Zulu and me,

Benji

 

Ducks in a Row

What’s up you ask? Well, I should report that I haven’t been on a super-secret-mission yet after I passed the exam last week. As you can imagine I am eager to flash my badge; you know, the one with Therapy Animal on it! I practiced flashing it many times already. I think I am fluent now so I got all my ducks in a row [as you can witness here; and yes, I now have two Duckys!].

ducks

So the waiting is on mom to finish her part. At least she passed the criminal check (Sooo glad to know that I am not living with a criminal; after all moving is not my favorite hobby) and she finished the medical screening and paperwork. Now, all that is left are the shadow visits. I can’t go with her then, so I have to trust that she will be alright without me. Since there are no treats in sight and dinner is still far out, I think I will catch up on my sleep for now. Maybe you should do the same. 

Happy dreams,    

Benji   

I passed!

Saturday morning, I took THE animal therapy exam and I passed!  My tail is wagging! HM was a bit nervous but I liked it. There were lots of people waiting in line to pet me. I had to perform  20 different tasks ranging from basic commands to walking through a crowd with obstacles. And again, there was food on the floor that I was supposed to ignore.  Such a waste. At least at the end, I got a big treat. AND I now have my own badge saying that I am a therapy animal. Me Benji, the shelter dog!  They said that I was the youngest in my group who passed the test. BTW, I chose to wear my Ruffwear harness; it seems to be my lucky charm. Since I wore it during the exam, I will wear it on every visit, so it will be my new uniform. 

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After the test, we celebrated the occasion with, you guessed it, more treats. Now it is up to HM to do some shadow visits to test the waters and see what sort of facility works best for us as a team. We can choose from a long list of assisted living facilities, senior centers, youth centers, a hospital, libraries, and even a courthouse. Once we know what type of setting we like, we can try a short visit to one of these facilities together.  But first, I will take a well-deserved nap. 

nap

 

Animal Therapy Training

Yes, the big animal therapy exam is showing up on the horizon. I only have a couple more weeks to prepare. I take my training very seriously (well there has to be food or something, you don’t work for free either). The photo of me in front of my school shows how serious I can be. I only have one more animal therapy training session and then I should be ready. Yesterday, we learned how to maneuver around wheelchairs, people with walkers, and small children who were running back and forth. I was very interested in the stuffed toys the children brought. At home, I play with stuffed animals and at school, I was told not to. It is a confusing world. Oh yeah, and they throw treats on the floor that you are not supposed to eat. What a waste, wouldn’t you say? But the trainers are saying that it could be a pill on the floor and that would be bad for me. I guess they do have a point. 

training

 

THE POOL

I went to THE POOL. It is a once-a-year event, where only doggies can be in the pool. Obviously, it was my first time.  M tried to get me in the water, but as you can see clearly in the second photo, it was a no entry zone. I am a stickler for the rules, so I stayed out of that big wet tub. Besides, I am really not a water dog. I know, I am supposed to be part retriever, but still I don’t see the fun in getting wet. I did have fun with the tennis balls, but did not really understand why they were all in the water where you couldn’t get to them. Humans, they are weird sometimes.    

First Year in Pictures

My assistants and I pulled together all monthly photos of me in one slideshow.  Watch how the soccer ball is getting smaller and smaller.  

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Me, Benji, growing up

November 2015 – September 2016

Benji turned One

Animal Therapy Screening

On August 6, I went to an Animal Therapy Screening. HM wants to try this with me and hey, I just follow along. I put my best paw forward (it is the one with some white on the end..) and it worked; I passed! The volunteers were all over me. There was one person walking with a walker. I had never seen one before, but I was not scared. They said that HM  and I are a great team. HM was proud, she said.  According to her, becoming an Animal Therapy dog will be hard work, but that doesn’t mean that I can’t be silly too…:)

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The Puppy Files

What’s up, you ask? Well, we are busy playing games… Here is the Rain Pipe Game that we invented on one of those rainy days. Ms. Zulu loves to watch and get treats for just sitting pretty… 

Snapshot 4 (6-21-2016 11-07 AM)

What you need:
– one flexible rain pipe
– a couple of tennis balls
– a post/ wall to attach it to

Costs: less than $10

My Second Exam

I passed another exam today, the intermediate dog obedience exam. HM wants to do the advanced training too, but there are not enough people interested. So, I am off the hook for a little while at least…

 intermediate