Dachshund over promises and under delivers . . .

This morning Puppy said to me, “If you take me for a walk, I’ll use my superior powers of smell and hearing to tell you things about the neighborhood.”

That sounded intriguing, so I got his leash, and we took off heading west at his usual 4.5 miles per hour.  I was wondering how he would smell or hear things at that speed, but finally he paused to smell a rock.  He was quite thorough, and then he said knowledgeably, “A man sat on this rock last night.”

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I think he expected me to ask how he knew that, but the empty cigarette carton next to the rock was sort of a tip off.  I didn’t want to hurt Puppy’s feelings by being sarcastic and saying something like, “Really, dog?” so I just said, “Hmmm. . .”

We continued on around the corner.  Puppy always follows the sidewalk, so we tend to go around the block a lot.  He paused to sniff some beautiful golden African daisies that bloom this time of year.  His observation was, “Bees.”Image

A few more houses down, he paused again, straining slightly toward a huge patch of prickly pear cactus and then announced, “There are rabbits under there..”

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At Puppy’s next stop he told me that a kid had taken a fall in this spot.

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At this point I was thinking to myself (not saying it out loud for fear of hurting Puppy’s feelings) that he really hadn’t given me anything new about the neighborhood.  But then I heard a rooster crowing.  I’ve heard this rooster numerous times and always wondered which neighbor owned it.  Now I could find out!

“Puppy,” I said, “Which yard did that rooster crow come from?”

He replied (a little disdainfully I thought), “From the yard where the sound came from.”

“Yes, which yard was that?”  I pressed him for an answer.

“You’d have to look over the fences and see,” he said.

Around the corner we encountered a rather homely sight which was an old mattress in someone’s front yard.  The big trash truck comes around in January so I’m not sure who they think will pick the mattress up.  Puppy seemed to think I would because he said, “Bedbugs.  I wouldn’t sleep on that if I were you.”Image

Now we’ve been walking 20 minutes and I’m pretty sure I haven’t heard anything new about the neighborhood from my dachshund.  We’re almost home, and Puppy is getting a bit tired.  He sits down on the sidewalk to pant for a minute.  Then he said, “The person in this house was gardening.”

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After his last pronouncement, Puppy got up and we continued on home.  As we went in he looked at me proudly.  “Bet that was an eye opening experience for you.”  I was able to answer truthfully, “Yes, it was.”

If you’re interested in more of Puppy’s thoughts and dreams, you may enjoy my children’s book, Puppy, the Navy Seal Dachshund.

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Dachshund Makes New Years Resolutions

I never have before, but it seems that now some people think I need self-improvement.  A new year resolution is something you think up to let the people know you are going to improve.  I’m assuming they are also making improvements such as taking me for a walk every day.  Anyway I’m thinking on it.

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Here are my thoughts . . . How many resolutions do I need?  How do I know what needs improvement? Will I get any kind of reward for making resolutions?   

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What if I don’t make the right resolution?  What if I make the resolution and then I forget to keep it?  What if I don’t get a reward for it?

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Okay.  I think i’ve got it.  I have 4 legs, so I’ll make 4 resolutions.  Here they are:

1. Don’t dive into Lucy’s bowl when she lifts her head.

2. Don’t wake Bob up at 5:30.  Wait until 6:00.

3. Be more considerate about passing gas. (I think I figured out what “Ewwww, Puppy, Puppy!” means.)

4. Look at the camera every fourth picture.

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Did I do good?  About that reward . . .

Dachshund is reluctant to play Santa . . .

“Puppy, will you pose for a Christmas picture in the Santa suit?” I ask politely.

“What’s in it for me?” is his reply.

“Cheese?”

“Hmm, eh, nnno . . . ”

“Canned dog food?”

“You’re getting warmer. . .”

“What then? What will it take to get a Christmas picture of you in this Santa suit?”

“A walk.”

“You’ll do it for a walk, really?”

“Yep, a walk.”

“OK, great.  Here, let me put it on you.”

Slight struggle yields dachshund in Santa Suit.

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“Wait, Puppy, let me get the leash.”

Fumbling at the door, and then we’re out side.  He takes off running with me flopping behind.  He runs 4.5 to 5 miles an hour, pretty fast for a dachshund with 6″ long legs.  He turns the corner, runs past barking neighbor dogs, ignoring their snarky comments.  He finally stops around the corner to sniff a cable box.  I try to get a picture.

“Puppy, look at Mama.”

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An odor from the flower bed attracts his attention.  I try again, “Puppy, look at Mama!”

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He has moved on one house and looks like he’s preparing to start running again.  It’s next to impossible to get him to stand still.  As I thought, he takes off, ignoring my question, “Wait, what about the Christmas picture?”

We continue down the block to the west.  He briefly pauses at the corner house with the beautiful green winter grass and tinkling fountain.  I pause too, listening to the fountain and the bird apartment  shade tree in their yard. Suddenly he takes off.  I realize that I’m about to lose out on my opportunity to photograph him..

The second he stops, in front of our house, I say, “Puppy, be a good boy!  Look at Mama!”

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I give up.  “Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all!”  From Puppy, the Dachshund.

Oh and by the way, Puppy the Dachshund reminds you about his book:

“Puppy, the Navy Seal Dachshund”, a good Christmas present for kids who love dogs!

Author Central sales by geography brings a thrill of joy and big thank you!

I bet I’m not alone in my ritual of checking Amazon Author Central several times a day to see my sales rank for my book, “Puppy, the Navy Seal Dachshund.”   There’s a nice line graph there with points for each day.  You can tell if you’ve sold a book because the point will go sharply up.  There is also a section that will show you sales by geography.  I love that because i can tell whom I should thank for buying my book:  2 copies sold in LA, (daughter), 9 copies sold in Phoenix (dad and dear friends), 2 copies sold in Huntsville (son’s in-laws), 2 copies sold in Dallas (sister-in-laws and friend), 1 copy sold in Tulsa (daughter’s best friend), etc.  Then in the last couple of weeks, I’ve had a sale each in Seattle, Baltimore, Washington, D.C., Houston, Columbus, Albuquerque, and Dayton!  Excitement sets in because I don’t know people in those areas. (Well, Houston might be my niece!)  I guess my point is, “Thank you all so much for buying my book, and I so hope you enjoy it!”  I wanted to share my joy and encourage all of those authors, who like me, are closely watching sales and hoping to see the line go sharply up.

Hoping to hear from homeschoolers . . .

At the risk of repeating myself, I have recently published a children’s picture book, “Puppy, the Navy Seal Dachshund.”  To help get my book out there, I gave it to several teacher friends of mine.  They were so nice and happy to get the book, but when I ask if they had read it to their classes, the problem they are encountering is that the curriculum is so strict there’s no time to read a book aloud just for fun.  This is very different from a few years ago when everyday, for the last fifteen minutes, I would read aloud to the class whatever book they wanted (provided of course it was suitable).  It was such a fun time for us.  I would read a few minutes and then ask a question about a small detail from the story and draw a card with a student’s name on it.  If they could answer the question, I would give them a Jolly Rancher.  I’m sure the giving of Jolly Ranchers would be frowned upon as well.  If all of this is wrong, I would love to be corrected. This is my third year out of the classroom and I can’t really say that I’m familiar with the current situation.  It seems so sad to me that something as simple and fun as a teacher read aloud is virtually impossible now.

With that thought, I now turn to homeschoolers.  I imagine they have the freedom to read for joy whenever they want.  I was really hoping I had written a book that could be used in the classroom.  An animal hero works hard to fulfill a dream with unexpected results.  The book is available in kindle format for only $3.99.  I used higher level vocabulary and then prepared vocabulary activities and posted them here on my blog.  I also planned an entire unit that could be used with the book, in the old school way, and described those activities too.  Maybe a home schooling teacher might enjoy some ready made things that a student could do when he or she is all finished, and you are still working with his or her classmate.  My sincere hope is that the work I have done could be useful.  Of course feedback would be most welcome.

Rallying from a low point . . .

My old dog, Lucy, has rallied from the point of death to now wanting to take a walk and check all of her messages on every bush, cable box, and fire hydrant!  I had made the awful decision to have her matted hair shaved.  I did it to assuage my own guilt for not having groomed her as I should, and when I took her to the groomers, they said the only solution was to shave her.  Lucy’s hair is long, blonde, and flowing.  It’s her crowning beauty, and I, her supposed loving owner, had it all shaved off,  Lucy seemed to give up at that point.  She was like an aristocratic French noblewoman, whose head was shaved in the prison before being beheaded.   I was crying about this to my daughter who said, “Mom, why don’t you give her some pain killers?”  Why that didn’t occur to me, I don’t know, but I googled whether it was safe to give dogs aspirin and the answer is yes.  To verify that, I went by the vet’s office and spoke with his assistant who confirmed that aspirin was ok in low doses.  It has worked wonders!  

Like Lucy, I have been at the point of giving up on my book, “Puppy, the Navy Seal Dachshund.”  However, my good friend, Dahlia, who is a doer and a shaker, has given the book sales some aspirin.  She is a retired administrative assistant from the school district in California where I used to teach.  She dared to take my book to a school board meeting and make a presentation about how the kindle version could be used in the classroom along with the activities from my blog.  Now I have noticed some sales at Amazon which to me is incredibly exciting, making me want to blog again!  Thank you Dahlia!

Agonizing days . . .

Here is the true downside of pet ownership, the aging and deterioration of a creature who has been a family member.  Lucy will be 16 in January.  The last few months it has become evident that she has hip trouble as she falls a lot and wants to spend most of her time sleeping.  When I made attempts to brush her long, unkempt coat, she would do her best to escape, and I didn’t have the heart to make her endure.  So, I did something far worse.  I took her to the groomers.  They looked at her and told me that her hair was so matted that it would be torture for her to comb it out, and they recommended that she be shaved.  Like an unthinking idiot, I went along with it.  I don’t know what I expected, but when I saw Lucy, my heart broke.  In the place of her long hair, was a thin body with swollen hips, skin irritation, and some lumps which I’m afraid must be tumors.  I should have just made Lucy as comfortable as possible and let her sleep on the porch.  

After the grooming ordeal, Lucy has gone down hill drastically.  She can barely get up and walk.  I am hand feeding her and giving her small doses of aspirin as recommended by the vet’s assistant.  I keep her covered with a towel or pillow case and clean her up when she goes to the bathroom where she lays.  I know we should take her to the vet, but I hate to put her through that trauma.  I can’t stand making a decision to end her life.