Happy National Mutt Day!

Do you know what day it is? It’s National Mutt Day! We hope that means more shelter animals are getting adopted and more cake for Mutts like us!

Have a fury fun kind of day!
Benji and Sky

Da Sky Flies

I never knew this but da Sky can fly. You learn somethin’ new efurry day. 

I didn’t feel like flying, it’s too hot (above 84° F when we tried this amateur stint, pfff) and the yummies were not too yummy (I think da Sky ate them all), so I said thanks but no thanks. Sometimes you gotta pick and choose. In two days time, I will go to professional agility training. There are bound to be better yummies (shhh, don’t tell da Sky). Hope you get to do something fun this weekend with lots of yummies on the horizon and bright skies.

Da Sky is da limit,

Benji

The Beast

Conquering the heart of The Beast has become part of our tactical training. Sky seemed ready for this so M took him to The Beast Park. The Beast looked older. There is some wear and tear on him. I think he needs some pampering from a real Dogtor.

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Is this the one?!

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He is purretty big!

To win your adversaries heart you say goodbye with a kiss. Sky didn’t have to do that yet; that’s for his next lesson.

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Moi in 2017: Till we meet again!

Benji

 

Back in the Saddle

And yesterday the power was back on, and off, and on, and….. But yes, later in the afternoon, we seemed to be sort of back in business at headquarters. We cleaned up debris, opened hurricane shutters, and tried to get our act together. Ms. Zulu’s and I are good at supervising so that is what we did most of the day. We especially looked for squirrels because they steal enjoy the nuts on the hickory tree that fell down.

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We are not supposed to chase squirrels but it’s hard to resist these guys. My excuse is that I could be a Treeing Tennessee Brindle. Thanks Amy for pointing out the breed. A DNA test didn’t mention this breed but I sure look like one!

I’m dead tired after all that hurricane stuff. So this Brindle is going to take a well-deserved nap with Bunny and Crab. IMG_2953cr.JPG

Zzzz, 

Benji

A Day of Rest

I know Sunday is supposed to be a day of rest but I’m taking one today. I had such a busy week. Sunday morning I had agility training, Monday I had a play date, Tuesday I went a whole day to the doggie entertainment center,  Wednesday I had to puppy sit Adonis, then went straight to a training session in the park…. on Thursday I could rest some, while on Friday we went to the river and supervised boat launches. Of course, we had my regular on-site SIS training sessions as well. I’m getting out of breath just thinking about it.

So, today I am practicing mindful body, mind, and soul. I read that resting for a day benefits all three. We call it Zuluism in our house.

I love sleeping on my bed. I now have a Molly Mutt headrest that I truly enjoy. My bed is a Brindle soft memory foam bed. I did not pick it because of its name. It just seemed like a good bed and I’m very happy with it. I still like Ms. Zulu’s bed the best, it’s a PetFusion bed with a headrest on three sides, but that’s hers so I don’t get to use it much.

Take a break and replenish your body, mind, and soul,

Benji

MP-5

Another Mission Impossible became Possible. I was called up for duty to the emergency center for the second time. As we walked from the car to the entrance an ambulance came up with its siren on. It didn’t distract me as I munched on lots of treats. It’s always nice when they show up at the right time. The need for me must have been high because lots of people were standing right at the door to greet me.  Needless to say, I did a lot of pawshaking. The youngest guy I saw was three years old. I helped him and his dad ease their stay.

When we were done we went to my favorite store. There were numerous interruptions as we walked through the petstore. People kept asking us about my Dogtor status. We were supposed to get one bag of dry food and one bag of treats. We walked out of the store with a big bag of dry food and eight different kinds of treats. I guess I had earned my keep.

Happy Wednesday,
Benji

Home Sweet Home

After the record breaking business yesterday I got home alright. I’m a bit jetlagged but nothing that can’t be fixed with a nap and some lazy couch potato TV watching. Here I’m watching a video about the Lyrebird. That bird can mimic any sound in the world, even chainsaws. That’s howling impressive if you ask me.

Enjoy,
Benji

Tomorrow = Da Day

One more day till Da Day! I decided to go a day earlier to spend the day watching life TV with my friend Da Phenny in France.  So I got my pilot scarf, took some treats from my treat account, went to the airport, rented a plane, and now I am finally on my way. À bientôt; will see you soon on the other side! Benji.

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Me and da plane

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France, here I come!

The Archives: 1

M has been digging into the archives again. This time she took out some old photos of furry ones I’ve never met but who walked in my pawsteps and paved my way. Five other dogs and two cats have lived at headquarters before I arrived, Ms. Zulu told me. Rumors say that even a snake lived under a temp headquarter’s facility at some point. I guess I would do the same if I were a snake and the cats didn’t chase the mice away.

Not every animal lived at headquarters at the same time but at some point, the monarchs did consist of four canines and one feline. Here are some photos of when the empire was at its height. Today’s story is about that empire.

Once upon a time, a long time ago there was a Queendom in the middle of a big green forest, with extremely large pine cones I might add. Ms. Sierra, a.k.a. Sashia, reigned the Queendom with howls, drama, and laughter. She was well-known far and wide for her endearing talents and howling good morning talks. She had two mighty shining knights: Mr. Charlie a.k.a. Coco and Mr. Bo who would do anything for her. One day these humble guys even helped their queen climb a tall fence that surrounded headquarters and had a full day of adventure before they returned hungrily at the end of the day just in time for dinner. 

And then there was Ms. Zulu, my big sis, who you all already know. It’s hard to imagine now but she grew up in that mighty Queendom too. Ms. Zulu was Mr. Charlie and Bo’s real sister. The three siblings came from a family of 12 puppies. Her real mom was supposedly a purebred Border Collie,  who unexpectedly got impregnated by the wrong [Ed. as defined by the breeder] dude. Hence, the puppies were unwanted and thrown in jail the shelter.  Ms. Zulu was the first who found her forever home. When M went back to the shelter several months later to drop off some goods, she found out that Mr. Charlie and Bo were on death row. M quickly transported them to headquarters and decided to foster them. They eventually became foster failures as nobody wanted 8+ months old black pups from the shelter. I know it’s unfair but it’s the truth.  

Last but not least, there was Katja the kitty cat. Not as big as my friend Lion but she knew how to stand her ground. All canines learned one way or another that she would give two warning shots with retracted claws. Katja liked to give these shots from her throne of thrones. The third shot was always a charm and ended up in one little bleeding dot right on the nose. This last shot always sufficed to humble even the mightiest warrior. So Katja showed them that even the tiniest of cats, she only weighed 9 lbs, demand respect and love. And they all did end up loving and respecting her, even the high queen. Katja had been part of several other King- and Queendoms before she ended up in the Pinecone Forest Queendom. Maybe someday Ms. Zulu will tell you her whole story.  

It is no surprise that when one after the other died in the Queendom from so long ago,  Ms. Zulu felt alone and a bit depressed. She loved her peace, naps, and time with her humans but it did not seem to fill the void completely. It was then that higher forces decided that it was time to look for another friend. And guess what, that turned out to be me! I am now happily living and playing ever after with my big sis Ms. Zulu in the Pinecone Forest Queendom.

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-THE END = TO BE CONTINUED-

Happy tails

Benji

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Hi peeps, just wanted to let you know that another super-secret mission is behind me. The covert operation was yesterday while the actual mission in Dogtor uniform was today. No gates this time, but impressive heavy wooden doors and lots of small corridors with people coming from nowhere and everywhere. We passed a cook in one of the corridors. I detected him from miles away. I liked him a lot, he smelled delish. He can come to my house anytime.

And guess what: there was another big box in the building! Before I started my missions, I never saw one and now they show up out of nowhere. M found it to be a sign. I have to agree with her. So after we had completed MP-3, we went into the city and found one to practice with. This one was pretty obvious as you can see. It said Dream Big in 3D. I guess higher authorities didn’t want me to miss the big box. The only thing that was missing was my S-SD device.

Happy Dreams, make them big,
0011

Then and Now: 6

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On my drive home from the shelter (11-3-15)

Remember this picture? Not sure if I have shown it to you before. This is how I used to be transported. No expenses were spared, WOL. The day M adopted me from the shelter (November 3, 2015), she used the big box to bring me home. It was the first big box I ever traveled in. That’s when I learned that big boxes can take you to new worlds, to boldly go where you have never gone before.

I was only 6.5 weeks old when M saw me and she hadn’t anticipated that she was allowed to take me home. But the lady at the shelter said she could and of course M was so smitten with me that she had to take me home before someone else did. Because of zero preparation time, yes this is very unlike the normal procedure at headquarters but I think seeing my picture on petfinder.com threw all caution to the wind that morning, M didn’t have a crate in her car. After desperately rummaging around in the trunk of the car, she did manage to find a big cardboard box and a blue beach towel. Before anyone could argue she had me in the car and drove me home sweet home in the big box.

The first box shrunk at some point. Why? I don’t know. Maybe it was washed too many times. Anyhowls, the box was eventually replaced by, how could it be otherwise, another “expensive” big box. I traveled in that one many more times when the car was full with people and my crate just wouldn’t fit.

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No expenses were spared… (12-3-15)

These days I travel in style on the back seat in a hammock. I was so proud when I was finally allowed to sit in the back seat without the crate. The arrangement is very comfortable and most of the time I sleep meditatively when I am driven to my missions.

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First time without a crate (1-24-16)

Sometimes I can even travel “shotgun” when the backseat is taken by other things that have to be driven around. Those times M drives like a snail on muscle relaxers while she normally tends to drive like a car racer on steroids. Not my words; just repeating hearsay. In her defense, I’ve never seen her drive like a maniac when I am in the car. Either way, we are still trying to find a dependable safety harness for me. Have you found one? We have asked around and researched the topic but the jury is still out on whether there is such a thing as a dependable safety harness for canines.

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Traveling in style (2-14-17)

Wishing you happy and safe travels,
B

A Dangerous Affair

The day after MI-2 was supposed to be a lazy office day but instead, we found ourselves tackling a dangerous affair. At headquarters they decided that it was time to burn down the house! At first I thought that they wanted to put up a smokescreen. But then it got closer to headquarters, so I thought maybe they want to burn all evidence of our missions. But no, wise Ms. Zulu told me that it is a yearly affair.*

Ms. Zulu has many missions that went up in smoke under her belt. The belt became so heavy that she eventually had to take it off. Yesterday’s flaming affair was my second time but I don’t really remember the first one. I must have been itsy bitsy teenie weenie. This time, Ms. Zulu and I took it upon us to supervise the event. Of course safety first, so this was all done from within headquarters behind a fireproof window. When all was behind us, M gave me a glowing review. I had remained calm and relaxed in a smoking hot situation. That is not an easy feat she said. I guess we can say that Ms. Zulu and I have deserved our rest.

Stay safe,
B

* Prescribed burns are done in this area to restore longleaf pine forests

MP-2

Yesterday, I was called up for a second super-secret-mission (Mission Possible 2). This time the higher authorities wanted my expertise as a real Dogtor at a special community with gates and everything. Of course, as a real soldier, I did not refuse. My preparations for this mission was two-fold. The day prior we had a thorough scrub session to fight pesky microorganism. This part is getting a lot easier. M now knows that I like some good food with my bath and that the water temperature needs to be right, i.e. not too cold and not too hot. On the day of the mission I did the usual: go for a walk with my prep team, take an extra long nap, meditate, brush my teeth, put on my best suit and tie, and then I was finally good to go.

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All suited up

My prep team consisted of Ms. Zulu and M. Ms. Zulu adds lots of practical wisdom to the team. She is especially well versed in Zuluism and she taught me how to take long refreshing naps. M is for tactical advice and general guidance. And of course, she is my chauffeur. Q was missing in action. He seems to be busy with other missions.

Once we were on the premises, the action began. I met B, another real Dogtor and her supervisor. We decided to walk around to sniff out if all was secure. Only after the OK sign from us Dogtors did we go inside the building. Doors automatically slid open with my magic harness and we were welcomed by lots of people who were happy to see us. I had to watch out for rolling wheelchairs that could easily squash my tail and frail toes that I tried to avoid. From time to time, big storage carts would come flying around corners. It looked like they had wings, they were so fast. They were noisy too, I can tell you that.

There was also a big box that we stepped into. It was located away from the main area, in a carpeted hallway. Doors closed once we were inside. Then a low hum, a bit of shaking, and the doors opened again. I made sure to take in the surroundings before I stepped out. I immediately noticed that something was off. I am 100%  sure that the layout of the hallway and rooms was exactly the same but here is the kicker, the people were different and there was no carpet anymore on the floor. I must have time traveled!  Now I come to think of it, the box kind of looked like the TARDIS, you know the time machine. This one was gray instead of blue though. Maybe this machine worked properly, contrary to the one my esteemed colleague Doctor Who uses.

If I would have known that I would time travel, I would have brought my S-SD. It probably would have helped on the way back to our timeline. You see, I had a bit of a problem getting back in the big box so the executive decision was made to take the staircase. Luckily this one did not end up in heaven so I was able to return sound and safely on solid ground. M said that we will try to find another big box (there are more?!) so that we can practice how to better commandeer the device.  Sounds like a plan to me.

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Busy, Busy, Busy…

So far I have had a busy week. I guess no rest for the wicked! Besides my regular tactical training, I had my first official agility training on Sunday. I’ve been at different sites to test out some equipment before, but last Sunday was my first organized training as a real Dogtor.

There were all kinds of equipment varying from what they call an A-frame to elaborate tunnels and jumps. The seesaw was a different kind of animal. It’s a strange device. It felt like walking the plank, for real. If you ask me, I honestly believe that somebody needs more carpentry training. You would think that they would know by now how to fabricate a steady boardwalk. Oh well, I guess we just have to make do. Luckily there was excellent food on the premises, so life was good after all. At the end of the session my belly was full and while my chauffeur drove me back to headquarters, I was able to get some well-deserved rest.

In order to be able to train more intensively, we also started building our own track at headquarters. It will look a lot more like what I am likely to encounter in the field. Hopefully, the installer has some decent carpentry skills. M supervises the effort so we should be good. It’s all hush, hush right now, so we don’t have photos yet. More on that later. First I need to rest some more so that I can show up in good shape for the next training session.

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Happy Valentine’s Day

It’s Valentine’s Day! A big hug and lick smack in the middle for you from us bachelors. From left to right Capone (CCI in training), me (ES & CTD), and Fuse (CCI).

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XOX, Benji.

Communication is a tricky business

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Reardon and I philosophizing

Since I came to live with my forever family, mom has shown a renewed interest in interspecies’ communication. It all kick-started with the book “Are we smart enough to know how smart animals are? ”  We, a.k.a. the ZAB team, truly thank our dear friend in Groningen, the Netherlands for this book! The book is a New York Times Bestseller and written by Professor Frans de Waal. He is a Dutch primatologist and ethologist who works at Emory University in Atlanta. Frans’ research shows that animals are a lot smarter than what most people give them credit for. WOOOFFF, high paws for Frans!

We also saw an interesting National Geographic documentary on dog training research. OK I admit, I lost interest as soon as I discovered I couldn’t play with any of the dogs in the video. I did see one of the experiments that showed how dogs empathize with human emotions. We love what they said about a Staffordshire Bull Terrier that was one of the most emphatic dogs in the experiment: “we should never judge a book or a breed by its cover”. We totally agree! Most shelter dogs in our part of the world are part Pit Bull Terrier and that is the reason why some people hesitate to get a dog from the shelter. While most of us do come with a history, it doesn’t mean that we cannot be great companions! Education (yes, one important component is educating the humans) and working with excellent dog trainers are key. But the same holds true for any dog that is adopted from a breeder. Of course, stay away from puppy mills. We don’t want to support those awful practices.

During our puppy and animal therapy training, we were introduced to two phawbulous dog trainers: Patricia McConnell and Emily Larlham. We thoroughly enjoyed the book “The Puppy Primer” written by Patricia and Brenda Scidmore and have signed up to receive Patricia’s next book “The education of Will”. I especially love what Patricia’s blog tells humans to do when us doggies do something naughty:  take one newspaper (no doggies, don’t shred this one yet), roll it up and say bad, bad, bad, boy/ girl… then hit yourself (yes people, you read that right, that’s you) in the head for not paying attention to what your dog was doing! Emily posts a lot of “Kikopup” videos on youtube that are educational. Here are two of the videos we recently saw; there are lots more:

1. What not to do to your best friend: 

2. How to be …: 

After some philosophizing with Reardon (many high paws for your input my friend), I have to conclude that communication between species is a tricky business and most humans haven’t mastered our dog language yet. So for now, humans can show us doggies what they want by following these steps:
1. Interrupt the unwanted behavior. No bullying and yelling here! Say something NICE and in an upbeat voice to distract us … such as ‘hey puppy’.
2. Redirect and ask for good behavior. For example, ask us to sit. Again be polite!
3. And this last step is very, and I repeat VERY important: give us TREATS when we sit nicely or do whatever you like us to do! Remember we are people pleasers and you can use this to your advantage. Just saying…

People don’t beat yourself up if you can’t get the above steps right immediately. After all, nobody is purrfect (I learned that word from Andy and Dougy). Although I have to say that the newspaper idea mentioned above has a lot of potential… Anyways, us doggies love your patience and TLC while we are learning your language and you don’t have a clue about ours yet. Oh oh, wait…, Ms. Zulu whispers into my ear… She notes that there is a lot of miscommunication and misunderstanding between humans as well and that seems to cause a lot of terror and destruction. So, you don’t need us for the destruction side of it after all. Too bad, I always love a good chew. Maybe we can help you fight the terror then, hey?? Word is getting around that I’m good with puppy kisses and I’ve heard that love conquers all.

On a final note, I would like to point out with my paws high up in the air, and this is not in surrender but in celebration, that there is hope for the future. Recently, we spoke with Linda Saraco, an animal communicator who follows my blog. She is an animal communicator on a whole different level that is fascinating. While there is still a lot more digging to do on interspecies communication and humans have barely scratched the surface, it seems that we are making progress. Just thinking out loud here but maybe you should let us help with the scratching and digging more. Us canines are renowned experts in the field of archeology a.k.a. digging. Our feline friends can help with the scratching, I am sure. Anyhowls,  we hope that once people learn more about other species it advances animal rights. And remember, communication is a two-way street, so start barking and howling like you mean it!

High paws for always trying your best,

Benji.

General Disclaimer: While mom tries her best to interpret my woofings and put these in writing, some parts may get lost in the translation. 

Alphabet Soup: B

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Mom is teaching me how to spell my name. We started with the letter B which stands for Braveheart. She says that I am a braveheart because I am courageous in anxious times. I barked at this lion when I was a pup but learned that when someone else is different it doesn’t mean they are scary. Lion and I are now best buddies and share our treasures.

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Puppy kisses, Benji

Then and Now: 3

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2017: In the car

It’s Arbor Day again, well at least in our state! Last year, when I was four months old, was my first year. I made sure that everyone left with a free tree. There were long lines. Some people even thought they could take me home. Mom made sure that didn’t happen and kept a close eye on me.

This year I helped transport the trees from the nursery to the site where they are handed out on Arbor Day.  These outings are always fun as I am bound to meet interesting new friends like Sunny.

Have fun, Benji

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.