Dog Blog

Thursday, September 25, 2008

We had a rather unusual experience at our neighborhood park this evening.  As we entered the park with the dogs, I heard the distinctive sound of bagpipes coming from somewhere nearby. It's always been a haunting sound that sends chills up my spine, and I wouldn't be satisfied until I found the source of the music.  

At first I thought someone was just playing his stereo too loudly until I spotted the piper near the back of the park.  Someone was video-taping him as he practiced.  He played quite well, and the pipes are not an easy instrument to play.  I wondered how Bubba and Peaches would react as we approached the piper.  Peaches went right past him and didn't seem to take any notice, but Bubba was very curious about the whole thing.  He'd sure never heard a sound like that before! 

He meandered right into the filming and froze in a point before the piper.  His ears perked up...well, as much as a bassets ears can perk.  He peered up at the piper, not quite sure what to think of all that noise.  For a moment I thought he was going to start howling along.  He did purse his lips as if to vocalize but then became distracted by the camera man, who had been filming the whole thing.  At that point, Bubba went on about his basset business of sniffing the grass.  

We all had a good laugh at Bubba's first introduction to the bagpipes.  How I wish I'd had my mini-cam with me at the time, but I'll never forget it.  What a funny old guy.  Still so lively and curious like a pup at his age.  It does my heart good.  


Sunday, September 21, 2008

It's taken nearly two years, but Peaches has finally become fully basset.  When walking her in the neighborhood, if I do not take her in the direction she wants to go, she freezes in place and peers up at me in a rather sulky and pitiful manner until I have no choice but to comply.  I am powerless to refuse a face like that.    

Who needs a GPS system when you have a basset hound?  Peaches always knows when our walk is winding down and we are headed in the direction of home.  She takes every opportunity to stall for more time, pausing to smell every tree, every flower, every blade of grass.  When I first adopted her, she couldn't move fast enough through the neighborhood, which was chock full of scary things, to get back to her safe house.  Actually, it was kind of nice because I could actually cover ground at a quick pace and get some real exercise while walking the family dog (something I have not been able to do for the past 30 years with a succession of slo-mo bassets).  Now, confident in her territory, she flops down on one after the other neighbors' lawns and refuses to proceed until I say the right phrase or give a special whistle to coax her onward.

Tonight while I was typing at the computer,  she decided that I was not giving her my undivided attention (we had just finished our nightly games with her favorite toys, Foxy Loxy, Barky Larky, and Loopie Loo, the only toy of hers that still squeaks).  All of a sudden she let out the first really long, loud basset howl she's emitted since I adopted her in 2006.  I think we were both equally surprised by the sound that came out of her.  She certainly had my full attention. Mission accomplished.  Yep, Peaches is finally 100% basset hound...oh, and in case I neglected to mention it, the utter joy of my life.


Sunday, September 07, 2008

I can't wait for the hot summer season to be over in Sacramento, not just for myself but for the dogs that are amazingly still being left to cook in cars despite all the media coverage of such things during the dog days of summer.  As I pulled up to the post office, there inside the cream-colored late model Cadillac next to my car was a poor little Lhasa Apso perched on the tip-top of the front seat trying to get to the only ventilation his owner had provided, the partially open sunroof.  The car was in direct sun, and the dog was in obvious distress.  A bagger I recognized from the Save Mart was clearly bothered about it, but he hadn't notified the security guard for the shopping center, even though he told me that a dog had died in a hot car in the parking lot only days before.  I began my search for the owner, which didn't take me very long.  A group of young people were seated at a table just a few yards from the car blithely chatting away at each other or on their cell phones.  When I asked if anyone there had left a dog in the car, the response was, "Oh, he's fine."  Spoken like someone who sees a dog as a mere commodity or fashion statement, much like Daddy's new Cadillac.  I informed them the dog was not fine and that I was going to call the authorities if they didn't remove the dog from the car immediately.  When they didn't make any motions to comply, I told them they were not only risking their dog's life but a fine and jail time for cruelty to animals, and I would get a $500 reward for reporting it.  Then I went into the post office and asked to use their phone (didn't have my cell with me, as I usually do).  When I came out to get the license number, the car was gone.  Apparently, I had struck the nerve connected to someone's wallet (Daddy's, no doubt).  I saw the Caddy with the nearly cooked canine making a hasty departure from the lot.  I can only hope the next stop was home, and I hope the Lhasa's ignorant owner took emergency measures to cool the dog down, but somehow I doubt it.

If only store owners would post a sign at their entrance reminding patrons not to leave dogs (or children or seniors) in the car while they shop, so many lives would be saved.  I think this is an important goal for all humane organizations in every city to undertake. Print up some signs and distribute them around town.  I would like to see our own SPCA encourage Sacramento businesses to take an active part in helping to prevent needless deaths from heat stroke.   REMINDER FROM THE HOT DOG PATROL: Don't park the dog when you park the car!