Sunday, October 29, 2006

More from Sunday

Here is a picture of me sitting with Alice, stretching to smell a new local pug while puppy Mozart looks on. Mozart is getting big! And, his leg feathers are starting to get long like mine. The fawn pug has a little companion. They like to run around together and tire out the big dogs.
Also met two big black labs. Pika thinks labs are rock stars. Me? Just another dog. These two liked to sit and soak in the sun like Kate and me. One is a retired guide dog for the blind. The other was going to be a guide dog, but had a "career change" part way through training. So, now both live in the home where they were raised as puppies by a young human girl and her family. Alice did not know that when guide dogs retire, they often go back to live with the family who raised them as puppies.
But, lying on the carpet as Alice writes this, I think of the little dog of Victoria's mother, the Duchess of Kent, lying at his or her person's feet in a sunny spot by a window in a 1857 watercolor of a sitting room at Frogmore.
We all like to soak. Retired guide dogs, pampered pooches of royal duchesses, and me, too.

Eos and Kate

Yesterday, Alice saw an etching of Prince Albert's beloved greyhound Eos. On EBay of course. Hard to say if it is an original or not....
It reminded both of us of Kate, our grehound neighbor who lives a block away. We see her many times a week on walks. Kate is a retired racer. She was the first neighborhood dog I felt comfortable with. She is gentle and soft. She moves very slowly and carefully since she is an elder. She never moves fast around me. But! I've seen her run in short bursts. Wow! Is she fast without even getting to her half speed. Can outrun all the others around here.
But, she's been having some nerve trouble on a back leg and has to wear a little black boot on walks. So, no running for now.

At today's local public school Sunday 11 AM "services" for neighborhood dogs, Kate and I preferred to lie soaking the sun while all the others chased around and around. Delicious to warm up on green grass with our people safely close by.
Eos was also a female like Kate. But, Eos was black and white, not white with pale spots like Kate. Prince Albert brought Eos in 1840 when he left Saxe Coburg to marry Queen Victoria. Eos was a hunter of deer and an inside companion to Albert. She was his first female companion.
Lucky for Eos, Victoria loved dogs and knew what her husband's special bond with Eos was all about. For her Christmas present to Albert in 1841, she commissioned a portrait of Eos by Landseer for Albert.And, before Eos died in 1844, Albert and Victoria did drawings and etchings of her. If not for all those pictures, Eos might have been forgotten. But, now I know about her and will think of her whenever I see Kate who is also beloved by her people.

Saturday, October 28, 2006

More About Drive-Thrus

Last week, Alice took me to try Jack-n-the-Box. They have nice hamburger patties. Not as good as In 'n Out, but OK. Here's a picture of me listening to make sure Alice makes the correct order.
She used to like their rice bowl meals. Now she likes their salads. They put very nice pieces of chicken on those. She gives me some chicken before she puts on the dressing.
Yes, life is good.
But, I would like more walks and long soaks in the sun. Please. But I can wait. Beats sitting on a cold stone floor for days listening to monks chanting as lots of my relatives get to do.

Friday, October 27, 2006


Fall has arrived around my home. Trees are turning colors. Lots of leaves on the pavement. On the first walk this morning I got a little oak leaf stuck in my paw with the mended bone. Ow! All the memories of the break flooded back. Stopped dead in my tracks. Alice took the leaf out.
I occassionally do what Alice calls the "limpy-limpies". Sometimes my healed foot feels fragile. Sometimes by favoring the other front paw I overwork it. Jumping off furniture after a snooze.... stiff legs.... ouch. She never falls for the too-hurt-to-walk-home-gotta-pick-me-up routine I used to do years ago.
The Japanese maples in my backyard are starting to turn colors. One right outside the big back windows is a beautiful red. The birch haven't turned yet, nor the bigger maples near the redwood. Lots and lots of sycamore leaves falling in the front yard.
At Sta. Rita, the house there is getting a new roof. Here's a picture of shingles being loaded up to the roof right at sunset last Friday. The roofers work hard. They might be done today nailing on the new shingles. Then there will be room again for me to sun my fur in the backyard there.
Watched the news last night with Alice. Very sad what's happening in SoCal. A big fire near Palm Springs which has killed four human firefighters. I bet lots of animals lost their homes or worse. A lady on the radio news talked about having to leave behind her mother's dog. Seems the fire was set by an arsonist. Murderer. Grrrr. In his or her next lives, life will be very unpleasant. For a long, long, time. Won't have any time to enjoy the sun. Fall leaves. Pats from the neighborhood kids. And, certainly not any liver diners. Not ever.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Real Estating Inside and Outside

Most often, for "real estating" Alice takes me out in her car to visit properties. Mostly I say in the car, but always get short walks if there is time. Like yesterday, went to one place around the corner from where I used to live. Loooooved smelling the old smells out the window in that neighborhood. Then went to what Alice called a "Wanna-be Master of the Universe" house nearby. It was on a street so new it was not on her local 10+ year old map. Met a very sweet border collie there who was surprisingly shy. Made sense later when Alice took me for a walk on that street where around the corner was a Schutzhund barking his head off in the most nasty alarming way. No wonder the border collie was nervous on that street. Life is way to short to get so riled up. Over anything. At any time.
In the office, I try to send messages to the people.... after an hour or so of them telephoning, shuffling papers, and writing that it's time for a break. At least a quick walk to smell the smells of life. I sit on their papers to try to get them to, "Stop with the papers!" But, as you can see from the picture, I am still in full Zen mode when I send messages. Unlike the Schutzhund in full bared teeth mode, stuck outside a house with a huge ivy covered brick wall, on a chilly day, without a hope of snuggling on a couch with a person or even another warm creature. Taught to be mean and nasty to everyone on first glace. Horrors. What that must do to one's stomach....
I shall send warm thoughts to the Schutzhund. Peace be with you.
And to Pika, not to worry, your big protector dog has not forgotten you. When he sees leaves turn colors and fall he'll think how nice it would be for a quick walk shuffling through those leaves. He knows what matters in life. And he would not frighten any border collies for no good reason.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Bon Voyage to the Jag

Yesterday after an unexpected delay, Frank's Jag is finally on its way to the Netherlands! It is now owned by a family from Oirschot. They will fix it up better than new for someone, I think, from Spain. So, off to sunny Spain from sunny California.
Sitting on the backseat I try to think of who will sit there next. Certainly the children of the family who will fix it up. One of them likes to play guitar, the other likes to surf. Maybe the Jag will have a surf board on top for the first time instead of Frank's canoe!
Then, down to Spain. I hope some dogs get to ride in it. Maybe they will often get to go fast with their noses out the window from a city to a finca where there might be horses and black cattle. Alice rode horses on a long trip there in Andalusia. She says there are mountains there just like the ones here: golden in summer, green in the winter, studded with oak trees.
The Jag likes to go fast. That's what its engine was built to do. Yesterday, my stepsister's husband got it up to 80 MPH on the San Mateo Bridge on the upslope across the San Francisco Bay. He said the engine charged up the slope without using anything near its maximum power. So, here is a picture right after that charge for its last time in California for a long, long, time.
And, finally here is a picture of the Jag's last person from the USA, my stepsister, as she looks towards her current car, a big Mercedes, she admits, is much easier and smoother to drive on the kinds of local trips she takes almost every day. The Jag was to her, in many ways, a "keepsake" from her father. Now, after taking care of it for over 19 years after he had it for 27 years, she hopes -- and I know -- it will have lots of new adventures, drive across many mountains, and purr along with a second chance at seeing the world across the oceans.

Friday, October 06, 2006

Getting better, but....

It's getting colder here. Nice day to snooze on the big purple floor cushion. You can see the scar on my left paw. It seems to be getting smaller every day. I'm still doing the bunny hop on walks, but am putting The Paw down more often every time. I just got into the habit of the bunny hop, you know? And it still feels very weak. Alice told me the leg muscles atrophied a bit. Didn't need to tell me. I knew that already. Back to snoozing.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Dogs Rule

Just in case anyone has any doubts.... we dogs rule. Even the smallest amoung us command the people like the Chihuahuas from New Spain. The people don't like to admit it. They will deny it. But it's a fact.My extended family from the high Tibet plateau knows this great truth. We know it's not a good idea to rub it in. People can be very sensitive. Better just to be very Zen about this. Watch us dogs to learn how to relax and enjoy the world. As the Dalai Lama has said, from the roof of the world (Tibet) one day those below will learn the lessons of how to have real peace.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Lucy Stern

Dreary day today. Rain coming. Days getting shorter. But! I got the longest morning walk in over six weeks thanks to the splint and bandage being off. Checked many favorite "mail" spots.
I'm thinking of sunnier days like the one last Summer at Lucy Stern Center. It's got a very nice brick patio, benches for tired people..... and nice old mission style buildings. The concrete planter behind me in the picture used to be a fountain.
Lucy was part of the Levi Strauss family who used lots of her money to build a place for local community theater groups and Boy Scouts. She loved theater. The City of Palo Alto didn't want to let her have design control even though she was going to pay for the whole project in the depths of the Great Depression. So, her architect asked the City Police Chief if building started would the police stop it. "No!" So, it got built the way she wanted and is beloved by many.
West Bay Opera does full productions there.
When she was in grammar school, Alice played a lilac fairy with a monologue at the childrens theater there. She remembers having to carry a plastic bunch of lilacs. Turned her off lilacs for years and years. Her next time inside for theater there was to see a performance of Threepenny Opera last year. Too bad mere "companion" so-called non-working dogs aren't allowed inside. But, really, we prefer the sun anyway.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006


Here are the new xrays. Side and front. Isn't it interesting to see all the bones in my leg? You can see why dogs walk on the "tips of their fingers" as the humans would say. And, what seems to be our knees are really our wrists. The front view makes it seem I got two new breaks in my bone where the screws went in. But, Dr. Staatz says my bone is all healed up, so the black shadows by the screws must just be xray artifacts. It's quite amazing to Alice xrays can be downloaded to CDs to carry around instead of dealing with floppy films which get covered in fingerprints and are often very expensive to reproduce. She had some dental xrays taken last week without film, instead direct to her dentist's computer screen. Wave of the future. Goodbye xray films.

Splint & Bandage Off!!

Yesterday, a long day, Dr. Andy Staatz had a look at new xrays of my broken toe and declared the bone is all healed up! Alice will post the new xray ASAP.Dr. Andy explained to her my foot's skin will take a day to "dry" after being in bandages so long. Indeed, the foot looked very wet. With a big pink scar and some places rubbed raw near the splint. But! After a day in the lampshade collar while away from the watching people..... the foot should look and mostly feel OK. Dr. Andy also explained how I will for a day or so, lift my paw a lot, "Oooooo, my sore, weak, and tired paw!!!" Alice noticedI've been doing that a lot. But at least I'm starting to get around better, going further on walks and putting my paw down more often. In 7-10 days, I'm expected to be back to normal speed and distance. Meanwhile, am getting lots of attention.Last night, Diego took care of me at Sta. Rita while Alice went to a chorus rehersal. I snoozed on the tweed couch while he cruised on the house WiFi and his cell phone. Very comforting not to be alone. Or stuck in a vet's cage not knowing for sure what might happen next.

Monday, October 02, 2006

Neighbor Sasha

Sasha is my next door neighbor. She moved in a few months ago. I never had a next door neighbor dog before.
It's been fun. Sometimes we bark hello at each other at dawn. We sometimes alert each other to interloper dogs during the day such as Fluffy and Tuffy, the big woolly labs, who sometimes do a chorus of "Wake Up Sleepy Heads!" to us in the very early morning. They bark at Pugsy, too, who lives three doors away.
But, Sasha, whom her person calls "Saaaassh", has trouble hearing everything. She's had a rough go with hepatitus and some other troubles which have damaged her hearing badly. So, I try to help her out on alerts. Sometimes. When I feel like it.
Like me, she likes to smell things, especially the ivy under the gardenias. Eat Greenies. Get lots of attention from her person. And soak in the sun.
However, for some odd reason, she likes cats. Actually gets along with them!! Even with the big black and white Nino on the street. Ooooo. I just don't understand that. I suppose I never will.