More Fun!

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!

Photo credit: Zeil16

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.

Benji

MP-15 and CCI

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.

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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.

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.

Benji

Happy Howlidays

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.

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.

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Happy Howlidays

The Gang

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LB and LZ soaking up sunshine under a palm tree

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.

Our motto: play, rest, play into eternity

The ZAB team

Home For Christmas!

IMG_5542b.JPGLook 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!

The ZAB team 

Fun Stuff

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.

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,

Benji

P.S. Tomorrow we are expecting a furry important package by super express delivery. Stay tuned.  

MP-14

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.

Benji

R.E.A.D.

IMG_5030b.jpgLately, 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.

Benji 

Happy Dayz!

Oh, Happy Dayz; hope you had the same great weekend as I did! It started with a big bang black bear and ended with agility training. Sorry, no photos of the black bear. The humans were too slow. At first, they didn’t understand what I was telling them and by the time they did it was too late to take out their camera. The humans still aren’t fluent in doggie woof. I try to be patient but it is tiresome at times.  The bears must like the persimmons and palmetto fruits around headquarters. I don’t blame the bears as I often have my nose on them too. Unfortunately, the doggie police won’t let me touch them.

On Saturday we went for a loooong car drive to see boats. Don’t ask me why because we already have one sitting idle at headquarters. We could have just as well stared at that one instead of driving all day to see one. I just let ’em be. My dutch human granny tells me that you just have to skip the chapter if you don’t understand it. It seems sound advice.

In the evening I played with my fur-iend Adonis and watched the movie Megan Leavey with my CCI f(ur)iends. The movie is about a military combat dog Rex and his handler Megan. Together they completed more than 100 missions. Rex and his colleagues are amazing; they are my heroes and I hope that all military combat dogs are well-taken care off and get a relaxing retirement as they certainly deserve some serious pampering after all their risky work.

Sunday morning, Ms. Zulu and I had a photo shoot for a calendar at the coast with a professional photographer. We will let you know when it gets printed. To top of the weekend, I had agility training that same evening.   Pfff, I need some rest!

Work hard, play hard,

Benji 

MOM!

Man O Man (MOM), look what I and my CCI buddies found during a training session the other day. Maybe all skeletons should be left in the closet instead of barking about them but who can resist such a thing?

Wishing you a wagging weekend without any skeletons,

Benji

MP-13

Today we turned another Mission Impossible into a Mission Possible. It was the 13th visit so what could go wrong, eh? We went back to the adult care center. This time I was the only Dogtor so I was a busy bee and I don’t even have wings. Everyone was pleased to see us again. We chatted our heads off with the folks for about half an hour when I heard rumbling noises. It was faint at first, well not to me but those with shorter ears seem to be less sensitive to sound; it definitely got louder over time. I looked at M and we both figured that it was time to go home before it would catch up with us. It was good that we did. As soon as I jumped in the car it started raining cats and dogs. Lucky for us, we did not get a visit from that fellow Harvey that caused havoc way west of us. He is a bad, bad, guy from what I’ve heard. Lots of people and animals got themselves into a pickle. Some even died because of Harvey;  so sad. Our thoughts are with everybody in that area. If you would like to help with the animal disaster relief efforts visit https://www.houstonpetset.org/hurricane-harvey-relief-fund/

As we drove away from the adult care center, the sky got brighter the closer we got to headquarters. Maybe the noisy pickles got scared by Ms. Zulu’s Border Collie stare. I don’t blame them, she can be pretty intimidating at times. Maybe barking helps too. I wouldn’t mind taking the lead on that sometime. OK, gotta run. I have a playdate with my CCI friend. After the playdate we will go shopping and meet more CCI friends in the city!

Let the sunshine in,

WOOFFF!

Benji

The Visit

Finally, we are getting to the visit of the prison puppy.  I wasn’t always invited to the outings but I did get to play and hang out with him. A seven-month-old pup can be exhausting and I got tired already after only two days of fun. The pup was here for a week so you can imagine that I had to sleep and sleep after he was gone. I can tell you, those pups can play! I wonder if I played that much when I was a youngin. Hmm, someone nods yes; I just can’t imagine it.

So what did the puppy do when he was at our place? Well, he got to go shopping, he went to a fire station where he met real firefighters, and sniffed out firetrucks and ambulances. I showed him some of my favorite places near the water. Of course, I told him to always keep his feet dry. No dog should ever get wet.

Keep your head cool and your feet dry,

Benji

MP-12

I know, I know, we are way behind on updating you but I had a couple of busy weeks so thought I would chill on my sofa with live television before I got back on track. I’m happy to report that on Wednesday another Mission Impossible became possible. I went to a youth center where I met teenagers who are enrolled in a non-residential counseling program. It was a new place for me so I met lots of new people. I worked the crowd together with one of my colleagues, a Great Pyrenees. He is a great guy literally and figuratively speaking. We learned that he has been in the business for more than 4 years. That’s twice as long as I have been on this planet! The guy was very calm. I guess that’s what happens when you have done this a million times.

The kids at the youth center are a hoot. They wanted to know everything under the sun about me. Their greeting ritual is a bit different from mine as they wanted me to shake their hands over and over again. I got rewarded with treats so it was no problemo. I even put in a couple of spins for good measure. Afterwards, we stopped at a cafe to cool down. It’s hot here, 102 degrees Fahrenheit, so we ordered drinks on the rocks.

Stay cool and have a pawbulous weekend,

Benji

Joy is…

Jumping up

High in the air

With ears flapping

Wishing you a wagnificent weekend with lots of treats and cuddles,

Benji

MP-11

IMG_2204c.jpgHi guys! Another update from the field. Yesterday I went on a new mission. This time I was asked to go to an adult day care center. Understandably, I was a bit nervous at first. I shouldn’t have worried because the people were super nice. They all sat in a circle and my buddy Dg. K and I worked the room from opposite ends. That way we made sure that everybody got the attention they needed. A sweet lady said that I reminded her of one of her doggies from long ago. She gave me two big kisses for it. Isn’t that nice?!

The visit was different from my other therapy visits. I thought I had seen and heard it all, but no sirree. In this place, there were lots of noises and commotions too. Wheelchairs and walkers that seem to have a mind of their own kept rolling towards me. Chairs scraped on the laminate floors, canes fell, and sensitive feet that I had to avoid popped up out of nowhere like mushrooms after a rainy day. At one point even a high pitched siren went off. My instinct told me to bark but I knew I shouldn’t so I gave the source “the eye” like a real Border Collie. It worked like a charm because the noise stopped. I sincerely thank my big Sis for showing me how to do this. She often practices it on me and I have to say, she knows her stuff. Her stare will stop you dead in your tracks and make you think twice about your next move.

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My Sis and I

As a reward for all my hard work,  I got to play with my buddies at the doggie center. Once home I got dinner, played some with my stuffed buddies, and then went to bed. I fell asleep as soon as my head hit the pillow.

Have a great weekend, 

Benji

Cool Hot Summer Fun: 7

As you know, I love agility training. However, sometimes it’s raining or just too hot to do any agility training outside. That’s when the Ultra-Movable-Agility aka UMA set comes in handy. What you need? One human and one chair. You could even use a table. Really that’s all. How? Here it comes:

1. Under
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Instructions: put the human on a chair, look at one or both leg(s) and think “extend”. Crawl under the leg(s). Done! It’s that easy. The same can be done with a chair and even a table. So you really don’t need the human but I think that it is way more fun with one. They are also good for yummies in the tummy.

2. Over 
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Instructions: put the human on a chair, look at the leg(s) and think “extend”. Jump over the leg(s). Again, the same can be done with a chair or table. Whatever takes your fancy.

3. Up
armsc.jpgInstructions: Put the human in a stand. Make sure you grab a sturdy human and not a wobbly one. Pick an arm. Look at it and think “extend”. Jump up on said arm. This can also be done with a chair or even kitchen counter. Personally, I like the latter the best but I can’t even take a peek before the doggie police starts to bark.

Sorry for the not so clear illustration here. We experienced some technical difficulties. Something to do with not having enough arm to take the photograph. At least you can see how careful I’m about not digging any of my nails in the arm. After all, it’s very important to be gentle with your agility equipment. Sometimes I am “up in arms” too. That’s when I jump up high on my human and she wraps her arms around me. Oh, and before I forget, always get official approval with stamps and an inifinite number of carbon copies for any of these exercises. Especially if you want to be(come) a therapy dog.

Have fun,

Benji

A Wagging Day

Another pawbulous day today as I graduated from Agility Training I.  I successfully jumped through hoops and over many obstacles in the last two months. Not sure why humans complain so much about all the obstacles and hoops in their lifes. Just get on with it and over it. Next on my agenda is Advanced Agility Training. It should start in July. That’s when “the sparrows fall from the roof” as they say in Holland. Rest assured, we will be early birds to avoid the falling from the roof problem. I know, I know, every obstacle will be higher in Advanced Agility Training, but I’m sure I’m not gonna jump off the roof. No sirree.

You know what else we celebrated today? I seem to have attracted more than 300 followers with my woofanigans.  Not bad for an ex-shelter dog, heh?

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Two wagnificent followers on my tail

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The tire sure makes me tired 

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Crashed again once we got home

Try to stay out of trouble this week, I will try to do the same
Benji

Happiness is …

Going to your favorite place where you can play, and play, and play, and have fun with your buddies.

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Guess what I did today!

I crashed after dinner at home.

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Crashed Subject

Benji

Cool Hot Summer Fun: 6

I’m so happy; finally, we made it to the dry matter!  No, not the dark matter, that’s a whole other ballgame. Dry matter is more my cup of tea. Although now I come to think of it, I have never had tea in my whole life. It’s probably not good for us canines anyways. Plus it’s wet…

Anyhowls, we are getting off track here. The question is what can you do as a dog besides getting wet on a hot summer day? Well, I love to go to Doggie Dayz. It is a daycare and training facility. I get to play pretty much the whole time when I’m there. It’s inside and that is absolutely pawbulous in a hot climate with lots of rain in the summer. Of course, we go outside for our walks, but other than that we are sheltered from the sun and rain. And I just love, love the staff. I could go there efury day.

Photo credits to Doggie Dayz Daycare and Training Facility

I’ve been going to the doggie facility on a regular basis since I was 12 weeks old. These kinds of facilities are nice for humans too. They can shop till they drop or work to get treats on the table without having to worry about us four-legged ones.

Happy Dayz, WOOFFF!

Benji

A Pretty Cat and a Postcard

Yesterday we heard from Kosmo the cat from faraway Finland who sent us a tail wagging postcard the other day. Kosmo sent word that he received our postcard as well and he has some pawsome kitty news to share. Click on the Pretty Cat or see the link below.

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This blog has been very quiet almost two weeks. We had some real summer days, then it started to rain. It was good, because it was such a long dry season we had to water our trees and plants, but to take beautiful photos of rain was difficult. I had also problems to transfer photos […]

via Problems and surprises. Ongelmia ja yllätyksiä. — Rantasalo Home Album

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