Letter to My Dad


This is Zoe, and I am mad.

First of all, at 3:45 this am, you left.  I cried, and what did Mom do?  She brought me to bed where I crashed sideways between your two pillows snoring in bliss.  Then she was so tired she hit snooze upsetting my sleep.  When she finally woke Tempi and me up know what she said?  “Dad is coming back; don’t get used to those pillows.”  ARGHHHHH!

Then she only takes us for a 2+ mile walk.  The nerve.  On our walk she made us sit while this little teddy bear of a thing on a leash lunged at us and growled.  Yep.  Made US sit!  The guy kept making excuses for his dog (only 8 weeks old, really wants to play, etc.).  And then he said the most hurtful thing ever… that we were good dogs!  Nah uh we are not!  And you know what?  Mom just smiled and said “Thank you.  They are very food motivated, which helps.”  WE ARE NOT GOOD, I promise Dad, we are not.

We had breakfast and we didn’t even get steak.

This was all only 3 hours after you left.  And it gets much worse.

I had to wear my special collar.

We had to go in our crate while Mom went to work and the people were here.  Know what?  I was so tired I didn’t even bark or notice when she came home until she called me.  What??  Who does that to a dog?  And they were drilling some more and I missed it??

Then we had to go on another walk, but Mom was on a teleconference so we had to behave AGAIN!

Then I had to share the couch with my sister.

Then after the people left Mom let us out back and the guy walked in the back yard unbeknownst to Mom who thought he was gone.  Tempi was giving her special tail wag and walking through his legs while I was giving my patented Zoe hug and kisses.  We were so happy to finally get to say hi in person to our new friend!  And you know what?  Mom told us to stop and to let the guy go home :(.  The nerve.

I bet she won’t even feed us.  And if she does it won’t be steak.

Missing you lots!  It is hard being a dog here, Dad.

P.S.  This is Tempi.  I keep telling her no one cares about her problems, but I agreed to post in the off chance it would make her leave me alone.



Animal Intelligence

I recently came across the below story.  I’ve heard a lot about artificial intelligence recently, but you all seemed to have missed the biggest link to higher enlightenment: Animal Intelligence.  Yeah, yeah.   I already hear the naysayers in the audience claiming that people (homo sapiens) are but mere animals when it comes to the kingdoms of biology.  In fact, you are going to say that we (people and dogs) are even more closely related than this, as we are both mammals. Which will get me to my second point: domestication.  But before, I go there, I think this particular piece of journalism – which no doubt some will say is fake news – will demonstrate all of you with the “Big Brains” are missing out on so much of the world (and here I am talking only about the world of mammals), to which maybe you should open your minds – and aspirations?  And if those maple-leaf headed “Uber Smart People” in Toronto had done so earlier, they could have saved millions (that barb is dedicated to you Steve of Montreal):


But there is more to this story, and that is one of domestication…and the fact that I can’t really blame you for missing the obvious right in front of your noses as you have been selectively bred to ignore the multiple scents on the breezes around you (not to mention your connection to your fellow mammals).  As you’ll see in this story, us dogs rock.   Maybe one day you’ll join Generation K9.  But likely, your shrinking brain pan, skull, droppy ear lobes, and other senses have been dulled by your quest for the perfect human (which in fact is an experiment lead by your two closest companions, and what you perceive as mortal combatants – Cats and Dogs) to get the best stewards in the Galaxy.


The Tempest



Will there be another race
To come along and take over for us?
Maybe martians could do
Better than we’ve done
We’ll make great pets!



A Quest for Service

We’ve been to Michigan the last few weekends for football games…which somehow Zoe and I keep managing to not get invited to attend.  However, we don’t mind because:

  1. We can play our own version of the game.
  2. Snowy comes over to play and our Aunt K (Snow-birds mum) watches us and makes sure Zoe doesn’t jump the fence…again – but that is a totally different story.
  3. Snowy can be the ref as she has shown more than enough skill in this department.
  4. If we ever get bored with our football game, Snowy is there to initiate a track meet in which we all do laps around our grandmother’s (Mormor and Farmor’s) backyard – of course constantly being aware of the flower beds and never causing any injuries to our flora fans who quietly, but avidly, watch our games.

After such romps, we naturally take a break and look for refreshments.  The “public” water bowl is always well stocked but sometimes us girls need a little special attention and someone to wait on us.  So we head to the nearest bistro for what we hope will be an excellent opportunity for service.  On the first occasion, our good friend and human relative, Miss E, joined us at this lovely little outdoor eatery.  However, the service was atrocious!  In fact, that would be a compliment to the wait staff since none ever  stopped by our table!  Pretty much like our IL bistro…  In this series of pictures you can see that there is no one close to helping us – and this is despite Zoe and Snowy going off to try and find someone.

Once we got home, Zoe and I checked out another Cafe but this time took a different approach hoping it would attract some of the wait staff.  This is akin to the bistro I tried another day in another blog.

This tactic also got us nowhere.  But their Yelp profile will take a beating once I find both of these rat-trap establishments!

At some point we have to be able to find a decent place to go get our post-exercise refreshments and goodies.

Zoe may have just about given up on finding a good place but Miss E agreed to help us in our quest…and if successful, Zoe will no doubt be right at the edge of her seat at the table (being the food motivated pup that she is).



Until then, take care, and may you encounter better hospitality on your adventures.

The Tempest



That Zoe.  Always has to do things just a little bit different from everyone else in our pack.  Saturday morning was no exception.  On this occasion, Ms. Zoidberg chose to get into it with a skunk before going on a road trip to Michigan!  In case you aren’t familiar with our pack, despite the numerous Skunk v. Dog trials in our neighborhood, none of our pack has engaged with those sneaky black with white stripe critters in our backyard…that is until Saturday morning.  Past precedence being that we wait until we arrive in Ann Arbor.

Sammy and Montana shared a series of stories about their encounters with the polecat at our grandparents in Michigan awhile back (one, two, three, four).  I myself have also had some run-ins with these critters when visiting Ann Arbor.   And despite rumors around their house of a roaming stink bag, last week when we visited there was no encounters with the odoriferous kind (unlike the previous visit…).  We chalked that up to the new shed my grandparents got before we arrived.  Although they call it a shed, Zoe, Snowy and I think it could be a luxury flat for us canines.  But once again, I digress – even though we do have numerous stories about our times in the backyard of farmor and farfar with Ms. Snowy.  If I am lucky, dad will take the time to sit down and relate some of those with you.  But tonight it is all about skunks.

So getting back to the tale at hand, yesterday morning we were to embark on another road trip in our EV to Michigan.   As is the case with most mornings, Mom got up with us as Dad continued to lounge in bed.  One difference on this day was Dad was a bit more awake since it was a football Saturday.  This isn’t to say he did anything different from his usual lack of momentum, but he may have been a bit more cognitively aware when the call from the first floor came.   I can’t recall exactly what Mom yelled but she was in some way predisposed to an extent that she could not engage Zoe and I in what was readily apparent to her to be of paramount importance…in other words that sickly petroleum-esque odor of a “stink badger”, aka Mephitis mephitis.

Dad, unaware of what the exact crisis was, none-the-less responded “rapidly” and ran down the stairs to assist in whatever problem had befallen our tiny tribe.   Upon hitting the bottom stair, his nasal referents started firing SKUNK SKUNK SKUNK.  However, the odor quickly overwhelmed him and as Zoe and I sat innocently in our room (having rubbed all over the couch), he, and shortly our mother, was unable to detect which one of us had engaged with the skunk…humans and their ever limited sense of smell.  So, as the skunk smell wafted into our house, and they tried to determine who to douse with the Nature’s Miracle “skunk-off” remedy, Zoe and I were sniffed and pawed as they tried to find the source of the stank…which is ridiculous when you stop and think about it since there was no black and white mammal with stinking anal glands in the room – well aside from Zoe (HAHAHA!).  In short, the decided I, the princess Tempest, was the one who had gotten the brunt of the spray since my hind quarters were damp.  So they deduced that I had chased a moving intruder in our yard, realized it was a skunk, and high tailed it out of there but not quick enough to avoid some skunk spray.  So I got the largest dollop of skunk off and then we were off to Michigan.   Although I knew this was untrue, I went along with their “fake news” and erroneous deductions since I was really looking forward to seeing my cousin Snowy.  Let it be said that they – my parents – were quite surprised when trying to console Zoe on our drive to Ann Arbor, that the acute smell of skunk infiltrated their nasal passages as she sat upon their laps with a majorly stinking face and chest (I of course said nothing as I remained stoic in the back seat…but I did laugh heartily to myself).  As an aside, we had a nice time entering our house today and re-engaging with the de-stinkification efforts!


I am sure I had more to say on this topic but the Scribe is fading so I will finish where I started: That Zoe has a way of making things her own – even when it comes to third party types – which no doubt include the aforementioned skunk.

The Tempest

ps- My mother drew a great picture on the ipad of a skunk in our neighbors yard (“the new potted plant”) which I can’t find at the moment but will share as soon as I can find it – along with the story that goes along with the picture.

pps – tonight on our walk, Zoe and I saw the stinky little critter – boy is he lucky we were on leashes!!  Or maybe it was our parents who were lucky? 🙂


some clean air…please!  I love the sun roof!


Acronyms confuse me to no end.  I’ll be sitting there in the backyard, minding my own business like the good dog that I am, while my parents are eating at the dog table discussing their day at work.  And to be quite frank, it sounds like a foreign language with all the SPMs, HPLC’s, EP, etc.   I guess it really is another language distinct from what Zoe and I use to discuss among ourselves – often at a frequency our parents can’t even hear – but we have gotten pretty good at English…but this gibberish doesn’t even qualify as a dignified language.  Total aside but this is one of my favorite quotes from the Simpsons:  Homer: “Why cant you support my gibberish?  I’d do it if you were stupid.”

But, despite my dislike of acronyms as a form of communication, I couldn’t help but use them in the title of this blog since it made me laugh…unlike the actual event I am going to relate now.

As you may remember, I lost a toe nail in the first 15 minutes (ish) of our drive to Los Alamos New Mexico (LA NM).


So when we arrived at my mothers home town in the mountains, our first stop (after a night at the local Holiday Inn Express (HIE)), was at the vet shop that was open in town and had an appointment that weekend day.   Since Zoe had arrived in our pack, we have spent a lot of time at vet offices.  Some of these visits were for our routine yearly preventive maintenance (PM) check ups.  Dad says at work they have PM’s on their instrumentation and it usually results in the “fixed” equipment not working for the next week or so.  Luckily, our PM’s are usually pretty innocuous – a few probes of joints, some listening to body parts, a couple of shots, and maybe a blood draw.  In fact, a week or so before we left for NM we went back to our vets and since I hadn’t been myself lately, they requested a urine test, poop test (fecal inspection), and one more blood test to make sure things hadn’t gone haywire over the past few weeks.  As soon as the hypodermic needle entered my vein Zoe let out a screech.  Mind you I was “silent” – at least to the people in the room – but Zoe knew things weren’t right instantly.  The vet jumped and said “I think that was a sympathy screech!”

Back to LA and my nail.  On this occasion, the four of us in our immediate pack hustled off to the doctors office and were almost immediately ushered into one of the exam rooms where Zoe and I could not help but become quite agitated by our new surroundings and smells:

Finally the actual doctor (DVM) arrived with a vet tech.  She was a bit odd at first – immediately asking who had been skunked (it is coming to a blog near you soon, folks… be patient…) and constantly washing her hands and rubbing disinfectant gel up and down her arms.  Then she started talking about ringworm which did not sound like a good thing too me at all.  So I decided to give her a pass on the whole weirdness with the cleanliness thing.

She asked my parents once again what my issue was and they responded that I lost a nail – which was technically accurate but missed the big picture of what I have issues with.  To be fair, they did mention I had nail sensitivity.  But really, who can understand?  She said she would shave my toe hairs so that she could determine if the there were shards or sharp edges associated with the break.  So the vet tech picked me up and set me on the operation table in the room.  Zoe had not moved at all – still in repose on the cool tile floor.  Dad came over and held my face doing that stupid kissy face thing.  The vet tech lay on me.  The vet gently picked up my paw and started to investigate the damaged toe.  (“Gently” was a word the scribe inserted as my reaction was less than calm and would not evoke the term gentle…just saying).  At my voracious vocalization (#TT), Zoe stood up and looked at my parents and the vet to see if she should intervene.   She gave a sympathetic bark bark bark!!!!, but when Mom said “really?  Is that necessary?” she just lay down again and paid no attention to me – unlike the vein poke!

Then the vet continued to paw around with my paws.  This time I left no doubt I was unhappy with the whole nail touching experience.  And what did I get?  Nada.  The vet tech leaned in on me more (he was a big dude!!), Dad clamped down on my muzzle and Zoe slept.  Yep.  SLEPT!!!  While my very hurt nail was being tampered with and if you heard me you would know I was getting murdered in the most gruesome way possible!  Then the biggest insult of all came from the vet (DVM) herself when she claimed: “I’m no where near her hurt toe!  Honestly!  I started with the other paw, based on your warning.”   WTF?  All my toes are sacred to me.  And as I may have mentioned, despite my exposed quick and occasional bleeding, I made not one whimper about my condition.  That is until they brought me to this god forsaken place!  In response to my protestation they did not leave me alone – which I clearly requested in Zoe’s and my language – but rather they flipped me on my side and the vet tech (did I mention he was not a small guy?) laid over my torso and Dad further restrained my mouth and cooed even louder.  But these feeble attempts at constraining me were for not.  Eventually, after looking at my toe with her dentist-like magnifying glasses (of which I have read about but never have seen) she determined I’d be fine and that further shaving or manipulation would not work with “this one” (meaning me).

So they gave my parents some drugs in case my toe got infected – with a “good luck to you with that one, people” – and then allowed us to leave without any further torture.  In closure, although my toe did bleed a couple more times on our trip, I did not get any infection nor did I have any lasting XXXX from this injury.  Although my nails are still long and on occasion will catch my parents in a painful way, no further efforts have been made to trim them – aside from long walks on pavement.

And the winner is….

Tempi Trouble (#TT)

Backyard Bash

First off, I can’t believe it was a week ago already that this event happened.  Secondly, it was most memorable for me since I was actually invited to this soiree (first time a dog ever was)….unfortunately so was Zoe.

As it turns out, my parents have an annual(ish) get together in their backyard for their coworkers and neighbors.  This year, the party was called a “backyard bash” but the subtext to the invite was something about puppy destruction of the yard.  No idea where such a reference would come from as Zoe and I (The Tempest), are absolute darlings – which will become evident in a moment.

But before I begin the full-on story of the evening I have to say that this was the most people I have ever seen in one place in my entire life.  Well, except the time I visited the Big House in Ann Arbor.

Or maybe the time that our car told us to take a detour on our way to Michigan which included a pass through the heart of Chicago.   Sammy and I were originally minding our own business as it related to bones that needed chewing, but then we were on the top of our game as soon as we got off the freeway – barking at the first person we saw walking sedately down the sidewalk.  Then we may have succumbed a bit to the over-stimuli of tens/hundreds/thousands of people walking astride our car as we neared the city center.

Irrespective these asides, on the night of the party, it was by FAR the most people we had ever seen in OUR yard.

And as such, we are back to the present…or at least the not so distant past.  More precisely, last Friday in our backyard. And as I have already said, our neighbors and my parents co-workers appeared in what seemed like droves.  But even before them, the FOOD came – thanks to the great people our good friend Diane hooked us up with.  This is an important point, as it will come up again in a paragraph or two.

Anyhow, after the food arrived and the people started accumulating in our yard (which thanks to Mom was largely a poop-free zone), Zoe and I put on out best hostess outfits (leashes) and welcomed all new comers with the proper respect and decorum that was appropriate to the situation.   In other words, we lay on the ground and pouted that we were not free to roam and eat the baked salami.  This attitude played in our favor in two ways.  The first, many of the party attendees accused our parents of providing us with illicit drugs…OK, not really true “drugs” but sedatives to make us act less active. And here is the interesting twist: many of the people are readers of this particular blog that Montana started and I assumed authorship over after she was accepted into graduate school – without having to suffer through the rigmarole of general studies (she was one smart puppy).  In short, upon seeing Zoe and I in our “company has arrived” attitude, people started to question the veracity of our previous posts in which we are depicted (by the scribe) as mega-imps.  BA-HAHAHAHA (dad taught us the evil scientist laugh).  The second bonus?  There were a number of kids and we received lots of love from my peeps as well as some new friends.

Tempi w peeps

So, in summary, we were perfect angels throughout the evening

  1. letting kids pet us,
  2. staying quiet – mostly
  3. not interrupting anyone’s meal (except maybe drooling a bit as the kids around us ate – Zoe totally performing the extreme party foul by letting drool escape both sides of her mouth at one point).
  4. sharing our chocolate chip cookies – which we are very keen on but have never tasted as apparently they are “toxic” to dogs (aside: I think this is an invention by the scribe so that he can eat them all himself).

Then as fate would have it, the skies opened up, and the rain fell.  Thus causing the guests to mostly scurry for their cars as our house is not really big enough to accommodate all the people that were invited.  This led, I am afraid to say, to an early ending to the nights festivities.  However, since many of the neighbors – who did not have rides to “jump into”- stayed around, we had some more fun times!  And this is where things really became interesting.  First off, since the gates were now closed and our parents had complete control of us (not), we were allowed off leash.   Even with this new freedom, we behaved admirably.

That is, until one guest left forgetting to shut the front door after them.  This opportunity, which I have coached Zoe to be prepared for since the moment she arrived, was enough for her to bolt out the front door, barely avoiding the outstretched, grasping fingers of the aforementioned scribe (aka Dad).  The girl, bless her heart, ran back and forth across the street and engaged all the neighbors who were still at the party in a massive (hu)man hunt for the fugitive.  It is hard to find a black dog in a black night, so Zoe had to engage in quite the antics, getting close enough so the people could see her and then zooming off.  In the meantime, I was trapped inside the house (with all the food) so that I too would not be “lost.”  Zoe gets a solid A for her effort.  And by that I mean that she got everyone distracted without any injury to herself.   In the meantime, I took advantage of everyone’s focus on the escapee and helped myself to the remains of the baked salami (YUM!!!!).  But my efforts were not discovered until much later since I joined in the rescue operation to return Zoe to safety.  Upon my suggestion, Mom got into the car – me riding shotgun – and pulled out of the driveway.  Hearing this, the electric car being so loud, Zoe came running over.  After Mom opened the door and said “Zoe; your car is here!”, Zoe jumped in beside me – much like Sammy had done in the past.  Mom then put the car into reverse and moseyed back up the driveway.  For some reason this satisfied Zoe – most likely because she didn’t smell the baked salami (YUM) on my breath…yet.

The Tempest

Trash Day

This tradition of taking the garbage cans from the backyard out to the curb happens weekly.  As it turns out, where we live trash day is Tuesday morning so the cans go out on Monday.  This seems apropos as many people hate Mondays and think they should be tossed out with the trash.  I believe that this comes from the fact that a lot of people – my parents among them – (mostly) don’t work on Saturday and Sunday and then have to return on the day in question.   I for one understand this dislike…to a point.  True, I don’t get free reign of the backyard, nor do I get to play with Mom and Dad as much.  However, the current rule is that on “workdays” Zoe has to stay in her crate except when our friend from Paws stops by to take us for a walk and then again when my parents return home.  In other words, I get the run of the house, which includes defending our turf from such intruders as the postal delivery folks – or any delivery types for that matter – and chastising any dogs who dare walk in front of our house.  Sure Zoe chimes in with her own high pitched chatter on these occasions, but I am the only one who is able to get right up in the window.  So, in short, my feeling about Monday’s?  Eh.

But the whole thing about taking things we no longer have a use for out to the curb got me thinking…

Obviously, since Zoe was the one making the film, the story had a different ending than I had envisioned (I did manage to slip in a hint of a possible sequel though while she was off barking at something in the front yard thinking her video was uploading onto Youtube 😉 ).  I must say though, that it proved to be much more difficult getting her into the trash can than I had anticipated.  My parents make it look so simple when they toss in the bag from the kitchen.

The Tempest

P.S.  I guess my point is, despite the PS in my last blog, I still miss Parker.