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).
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
I know, I know, we haven’t been in touch for a while but we’re still here and not in jail yet although the heading might tell you otherwise. Life has been fun with the little guy. He is turning into a big champ who is up for anything that keeps him moving! Agility, dock diving, you name it and he is in. He even got invited to herd some sheep AND he is allowed to come back! We can honestly say that he has a few tricks up his sleeve. That’s what led us to sit for the Trick Dog Exam in May. I’m happy to report that we are now officially two tricksters. That should keep us out of jail at least for a little while.
Where is da treat?
Let’s cut this crap
Just one more month and Da Sky will be one! I hope there will be a big partay with a mighty birthday cake. I’m definitely counting down for that one!
I never knew this but da Sky can fly. You learn somethin’ new efurry day.
Nope this won’t fly
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.
And it’s March; how did that happen?! We had several outings. The one that jumps out is Sky’s first sailing lesson.
I remember my first sailing lesson, eons ago. Beginnings can be a bit rough but Sky was like a rock according to the trainers I pawsonally hired for him. Pretty soon he will be ready to be my first mate. Can’t wait to go sailing with him and head for the skies.
Hi guys and girls! Another update from the office. In between Sky’s lessons and my agility classes, I still try to go to the Mission Possibles. The Howlidays and Agility had interrupted my schedule a bit as well but I think I’m pretty much back on track. The last one was at the end of January. Several children R.E.A.D. some pawtastic stories to me.
“A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies . . . The man who never reads lives only one.” – George R.R. Martin
The above is not totally true as you can live many lives in your head, I know I do, but you get the drift. Wished I could get mine all on paper. It would make communication with da humans so much easier.
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.
Is this the one?!
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.
I almost forgot to tell you about another successful mission I fulfilled at the library just before the holidays started. It must have been Mission Possible (MP) 22+ (we may have forgotten to post a couple of missions).
This time, four boys, three girls, and one teacher R.E.A.D. to me. Parents are always there too so there wasn’t a dull moment. I seem to have more repeat customers these days. The teacher has read to me several times in hopes of starting the R.E.A.D. program at her school. For some reason, there is some resistance at her school. Can’t figure that one out; who would not want a real Dogtor at school?! Anyhowls, the nice teacher read to me from a nice book with lots of large pictures. I love those. This time we read a book about Christmas. I was a tad bit distracted as we had moved to another office. This is the third one. A new office means new sounds and distractions to get used to. Even though it’s a small library I can guarantee you that there is lots going on even on a Saturday. I guess everybody wanted to get books for the holidays.
Hope you’re ready for a new year, sit tight, we’re counting down, Benji
And yes, we are back in business in the animal therapy world as well. It took a while as M had surgery and was not supposed to do much of anything for way too long. It meant that I was super busy lending a helping paw. I followed her around like a puppy and lay down next to her to make sure she got enough rest. Man, let me tell you, you can get tired from lying down all day.
I also helped with chores. In the morning I had to make my own bed (yes, I do have a nice soft comfy blanket on my bed). I already put my toys away every day but now I had to pick up stuff M dropped on the floor as well. Yes, she can be quite messy. The good news is that I made a lot of treats for my treat account with all my extra helping. Maybe I should make this into a side business to keep the treats flowing.
In addition, I got recertified for animal therapy a couple of weeks ago; this has to be done every two years to make sure we can still dot our i’s and cross our t’s. As an official R.E.A.D. partner, this was, of course, no problemo. Since all was deemed in order, we were able to visit the library together this morning for the first time in what felt like ages. Children R.E.A.D. to me while they petted me. It’s a nice way to start the day. Hope y’all had a good start of the weekend too,
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?!
Big drumroll pul-ease: Next week, September 18, I will be 3 years old! I expect lots of yummy treats and an extra toy or two or three or plenty. Anyhowls, my big birthday seems to be a reason to dwell on my puppy photos and has led to my own Instagram account: https://www.instagram.com/dogtor_benji/. I hope the humans know that there is only one account that really counts: it’s my treat account!
As a real pro, action photos were taken of my agility runs by a real photographer (T&C Pet Photography). Apparently, that is the thing to do, so we bought some. Next time we hope to get them for free, like a real pro.
We like the first one the best. It almost looks like I’m stepping into another dimension. Which photo do you like the most?
Finally, we got around to the best part of my life: AGILITY! There were two big events. One far, far away in South Florida. The other one was just across the border in Georgia. We had our own chauffeur/ lift boy/ dog walker/ photographer/ support/ you-name-it guy for both occasions. Even Ms. Zulu went with us in our dog-mobile. The dog-mobile was a bit overloaded but we safely made it to the other end without a scratch.
The first event was a team effort in which teams that consisted of 9 dogs +9 handlers competed with other teams. There were over 450 dogs + their handlers competing so we can honestly say that it was a bit crowded! But we had loads of fun. We even stayed in a real Dogtel. That was a first for both Ms. Zulu and me.
See, I did jump high and mighty!
Ms. Zulu was able to observe from her own comfy bed.
A real dogtel!
In South Florida, I used my time efficiently. I started strong with running around in circles and greeting all the volunteers in the field. I know you’re not supposed to touch the obstacles so I made sure to stay WAY clear of them. M kept waving at me and I kept waving my tail back at her from a distance. I even barked at the judge, twice. I learned later that that’s a no-no in agility land. OOPS. In my defense, the judge kept staring at me. That’s just rude man.
The second event was just a bit north of headquarters. It was a lot smaller than the one in South Florida. Probably around 50 dogs and their handlers were competing individually. By this time, I knew not to bark at the judge. My new Superdog collar seemed to give me superpower (unfortunately I was not allowed to take my S-SD so I had to make do). I flew over jumps and crawled through dark pesky tunnels. There were some out of control garbage cans while I was running my last run but I gave it the Superdog eye and got back on track. It was one satisfying happy day. Once at home Ms. Zulu and I were able to recharge without any problems.
You must be thinking by now, what’s up with Benji. Well, lots, just not enough time to write it all down yet. Last Wednesday, was probably the most exciting day of my career so far. I went to the famous MagLab! You know the one where they developed the world’s most powerful superconducting magnet!
I went to the MagLab to talk to 16 SciGirls. They were visiting the Lab to learn about a wide range of science disciplines. I was invited together with a cockatoo and four other dogs to show the girls what therapy animals can do for people. Below you can see a summary of my talk.
The equations I came up with for the occasion were well received. Before I knew it, my wisdom was spreading like wildfire among the scientists and being shared with the larger public. There is even talk that there might be a Nobel Treat prize in my future. Now I can’t stop thinking about how many yummies in the tummies that would equate to. Maybe I can ask for an advance payment.