The Emperor’s New Bark

I may not have mentioned this before but Sammy tries to get me to call him “His Majesty” or “Emperor Sam” when my parents aren’t around. Since I think of myself as a Princess of the highest order, there is no way I have never, nor am I ever going to disgrace myself by submitting to his request. I am happy he is my big brother but that is as far as I will go.

As I have mentioned recently, Sammy is pretty much back to his old self. Counter-surfing, trying to get me to play “take the bone”, and all the other hijinks that make him so much fun to be around. One big difference is his voice seems to have change after the surgery…oh and his ability to drink water without a whole lot of hacking afterwards. He will still remind mom and dad that is time to go for a walk or admonish the mailman or UPS guy for approaching our door but instead of the deep resonating tenor voice I am used to all that comes out is this hoarse rasping hacking thing. I am not sure what those doctors did to him – aside from saving his life for which I am eternally grateful – but he just doesn’t demand the same respect from people that he used to. In fact, my aunts and dad were kind of making fun of him when they were visiting which appeared to frustrate Sam even more.   After our mother chided them for this behavior everyone agreed to hold their hands over their ears and pretend that when he barked he was raising a real ruckus. At first this made Sammy think he was losing his hearing as well…but then I’d speak up and he realized that his hearing was fine – at least for an old man (hehehe). So I guess what I am trying to say is that unlike that guy who walked around naked, Sammy isn’t proud of his new bark. And in fact, I think now his bite could be categorized as worse than his bark…not that he bites me but I’ve seen what he can do to a Milkbone!  Hopefully, he’ll soon realize how awesome he is even without his intimidating bark.


Here he is in action:

Hunger Strike

It has been a busy time around the old homestead since I last sat down with my scribe to submit a post.  My apologies for my short hiatus.  In the meantime, I have built up a lot of stories I need to translate to you over the next week or so.

Among these are:

1) Sammy welcomes aunt Elaine to our house

2) My potential weight gain

2) “Mostly dead” on the radio

3) Sammy has a new voice

4) My friend meets a skunk – which just might lead to a four part exposé on these little black and white critters

5) A house full of relatives – and how things change once they are gone

6) What happens when someone stays home with me (and how my dad screwed up)- More data from the Whistle

7) A friend named Scarneckia

But for tonight I thought I would stick with the story that is the title of today’s blog…Our Hunger Strike.

To be completely honest, we never completely missed a meal but we did let our food sit in our bowls for awhile to start this week -something we never do.  However, once I explain why this happened I am sure you will not lay blame on us but those horrible parents we are stuck with.

Ever since Sammy had his surgery, he has been on a restricted diet and a different feeding schedule due to the meds he was taking.  The whole point of the meds, our parents told us, was to prevent him from throwing up (they used the term emesis but I already knew what that meant – us dogs being prone to that sort of thing).  Puking -another word we hear a lot 🙂  is a very bad thing for someone who has recently had one of his laryngeal flaps sown to the side of his throat.  This is because the aspirate could end up entering his lungs causing a potentially fatal case of pneumonia – something I seriously did not want him to have to endure (especially the death thing since he already tried that once).  I think you people sometimes refer to an event like this as “going down the wrong pipe”.  Anyhow, he had to take his medicine 3 times a day and have soft, palatable food 30 minutes after dosing.  I think I may have already mentioned this but the medicine did not always sit well with him and he quickly associated the different types of food with his unpleasant tummy.  My parents therefore had to try all sorts of tricks to get him to eat…I benefited greatly from his finickiness since whatever he dropped to the floor I tended to scarf up!

His course of treatment lasted 3 whole weeks which eventually eliminated a number of food choices.  The last few days we (but mostly him) got either chicken breast, tuna, sweet potatoes or a combination thereof.  Good times indeed!!!

But like all good things, this run came to an end on Sunday evening and we were back to dry kibble with a little wet food added.  In other words: same ol’, same ol’.

We did not take favorably to this turn in culinary offerings.  We both independently (but also synchronously) turned our noses up at what was in our bowls and walked over to the stove (Sammy) and the refrigerator (me).   This was not a planned course of action but again you can see how well we work with one another.

To our dismay – and supreme disappointment – our objections were met with complete indifference.  I was quite flabbergasted and Sammy was down right pissed off.  But again, no response from our parents despite our indignation.  We continued our hunger strike that evening until we could no longer stand it – the pain became almost crippling after 2 hours and the bowls were emptied by bed time (I may have taken more than my share).

I’ll cut this story short now since the sequence of events was pretty much the same for the next few meals although our “strike” duration decreased with each repetition.  As of tonight, we are back to our normal schedule (one breakfast, one dinner) which we scarf down with our typical gusto.

I guess the best thing about this tale is that Sammy is even more like his old self than ever.  I still wouldn’t mind if he was a little “under the weather” so we can go back to tuna and chicken but if I had to choose I would go for the status quo.


ps- the #2 point above we really don’t have to discuss (which is why I had Dad strike it out.  First off, it is not nice to talk about a girls weight.  Secondly, you can probably figure out how something like that might have happened – given what I related in this entry.


If you left now….

So there is a story of my great-grandfather in Denmark who used to say to visitors to his home: “If you left now, what time would you get home”.  This was his way of saying it was time to leave.  Maybe not the most polite thing to say but neither is over staying one’s welcome.

Two things I should clarify at this point:

1) The grand-father in this story is from my human lineage not my blood relative.

2) He actually didn’t say those specific words since he was speaking Danish.  The quotes above therefore are more approximations of his statement – not to mention this story has undergone at least 3 hand-offs before it has reached you. As an aside have you ever played the telephone game?  Makes one wonder about eye-witness accounts!  Anyhow, if you want the Danish version of the statement it is:  Hvis du nu, hvad tid vil du komme hjem  (at least according to 🙂 ).

So why am I telling you about this tonight????

Well it so happens that my Aunt and Uncle spent the night on Friday.  Because the four of them (my parents and relatives) went out to dinner and then settled down to watch the Women’s World Cup (I do enjoy soccer – or I should say football since this entry has a Danish flavor to it.  I mean who wouldn’t want to watch people chasing a ball around a big grass field???   Obviously I would rather be participating in the game but I’ll take a good game on the TV over some boring movie that I can’t follow).  The result of their activities was NO NIGHT WALK for the two well behaved dogs in the house.  We pups rolled with that though since they had popcorn while watching the game – I do love Skinny Pop.

In the morning, things got a little less pleasant.  First off, although it was a Saturday, my parents didn’t get up at our normal time.  Second, our visitors wanted to get on the road around 8 AM – later than my parents leave for work on most days.  This again delayed our walk.   I chilled out and waited as they ate their waffles but Sammy was less tolerant.  He kept telling my parents it was time to take our stroll around the block but they were way too busy chatting (and stuffing their faces) to pay any attention to him.  This level of inattention to his commentary is not something that was going to thwart my bro.   His first attempt to expedite their breakfast was to pull my mothers chair in with his teeth when she got up to refresh my uncles coffee.  Unfortunately, this did not get things moving along any faster.  Finally someone realized that he was “hinting” at going for a walk – but in all honesty, I can attest as a witness – that he said it 3 or 4 times already.  Everyone at the table thought the whole thing was a great joke and started talking about what Sambuca might do next to draw attention to the fact that they were dawdling over their morning repast. One comment was that he would start packing their car for them.  I am not going to speculate whether Sammy was inspired by the conversation or had already determined his next course of action but before 5 minutes had gone by a noise was heard near the front door.  When my mother went to investigate the cause of the disruption, she discovered that Sammy was dragging our visitors suitcase toward the front door.

This seemed to expedite the exodus of our visitors and we were soon on our walk.  This might be TMI, but we both relieved ourselves (Sammy twice) in short order – thus the urgency of his request that our aunt and uncle get out the door ASAP.

So in conclusion, I think this illustrates a number of key findings I have made:

1) Sammy is totally back from the land of the dead!  Viva Sambuca!

2) You may not think we understand what you are talking about but don’t count on it…we are a pretty clever species – not many others get free room and board without having to do serious work.

3) Never, ever overstay your welcome.


ps- I wish I had video documentation of these events so my version could not be questioned.  But alas, without these data it is up to all of you to determine for yourselves the extent this story is fact or fiction.  More soon.


Sammy is still getting better – now not only counter-surfing but also stealing stuff like mail and shredding it, pulling pillows off the couch, etc…what a card he is!

This weekend was a bit different though as my parents went out of town and left me at home alone…and the pet sitter.  Sammy left with them Friday morning which I must admit made me a bit jealous – I was sure he was getting to go for a road trip with them and I could not figure out what I did wrong that resulted in me being left behind.  But as I found out Sunday this was not the case.  Sammy was left at the emergency vet so they could take care of his wound and make sure he was eating properly. I figured this out even before he told me since the stitches had been removed from the side of his neck.

Anyhow, now that everyone is back home things are returning to our more normal routine.  This included a walk around the short block in the evening…Sammy is still not allowed to over exert himself with long walks.  Just in case you were worried, the short block still allows me plenty of time for multiple jumps and jump sequences – something I have been working hard on lately trying to up the degree of difficulty.

This is our normal route around the short block (note – the exact deviations in the oval change from day to day):


As we neared home Sammy started acting strange and slowing down.  I realized his behavior was occurring in about the same location as his initial breathing problems…what I have termed his “area of distress” or just AoD:

Area of Distress

This morning my parents decided to try going around the block in the opposite direction:


This time, he didn’t seem to have any issues walking by the AoD and upon our return home, he did not delay walking up the driveway.

This evening my parents went on auto-pilot which meant going clockwise.  Once again once we got to the AoD Sammy basically stopped and did not want to go on until we crossed the road.  I think the old guy actually remembers his whole experience and much to my relief he is not interested in returning to the land of big, fat, slow rabbits.  The other good news I am taking from this is he hasn’t slipped over the edge of senility (nor is he experiencing major memory loss as a result of his near death experience).  It makes me sad that he remembers those very scary moments but if we have to go counterclockwise from now on it is fine with me because:




Round and Round

One of the games Dad and I play a lot of mornings is for me to figure out which side of the barrier he is on.  Sometimes we’ll go back and forth a number of times before I am able to pin him down…at which point I get very excited and proud of myself for solving the puzzle.

I guess I should take a quick step back and explain the playing field in a little more detail./

Below is the basic floor plan of our day space in the house:

Basic Layout

There are barrier gates up in the hall and between the dining and living room.  Apparently we are not to be trusted by the door and the front window (with the couch underneath it) when we are alone.  This may be due to the fact that Sammy has shredded the blinds in the front windows once or twice but that was well before my time.  The good news of this layout is we get to look out the sliding glass doors into the backyard – which wouldn’t happen if we were stuck in our room.

So each morning our Dad has to put up the double barrier gates by the dining room (the hallway barrier isn’t put up until Mom comes downstairs).  My job is to determine if Dad is in the dining room or the living room.  He is tricky though because when I come around one corner it looks like he is in the dining room:

Dad 1

So I will circle back around and all of a sudden he looks like he is in the living room:

Dad 2

I am pretty quick so going back and forth doesn’t take me any time at all.

I am also pretty clever and soon I figure out his tricks and catch him on the same side of the barriers as I am:

Dad 3

This is a pretty good time…especially when I catch up with him and get pets while giving him kisses.

So why do I relate this tale now?

Well – of course it has to do with my big brother Sambuca!

Besides taking his medication and eating his special foods my parents were supposed to take care of his stitches on the side of his neck.  One of these treatments was to put a warm compress on his neck to help with the inflammation.  This is done by wetting some paper towels and putting them in a plastic bag and then the whole lot goes in the microwave for 20-30 s.  The warm, moist compress is then wrapped in a dry towel and applied to Sammy’s wound.  The first time this was done Sammy had no idea what was going on so it caught him by surprise…I think he was hoping Dad was making popcorn.  However, my bro is also a quick learner and the second time Dad got the compress ready Sammy was prepared.

His solution:  The Round-n-Round game.

Dad tried to catch up with him going clockwise but Sammy was too far ahead so Dad tried reversing field and going counter-clockwise.  Sammy heard his footsteps and also switched directions.  This went on for a good 2-3 minutes and it took my mom stepping in to hold Sammy in place for my dad to catch up with him.  By the way, the whole time I was standing on the sidelines watching the whole thing and having a good chuckle.

It was at this point I thought to myself: “That Sammy is going to be alright!”



Counter surfing

First off, I apologize for not letting everyone know what was going on with my big brother yesterday   I had a great idea for a post but my dad didn’t get around to helping with my idea for a visual display.  He promised he’d help me soon…so stay tuned.

In the meantime, here is a quick update:

Every hour Sammy is getting to be a little more and more like his old self.  He is still holding out for special foods – but who can blame him for showing that kind of initiative. Each walk he has a little more energy and he is laughing a lot more.

Tonight mom even caught him doing a little counter surfing looking for some of that good grub!

Great to have him coming around!

More soon,


-ps: he still looks goofy 🙂 !


Scar Tissue

In talking to the surgeon before Sammy was discharged from the puppy hospital, we found out that part of the process for this procedure is that scar tissue will basically cement the flap of the larynx to the side of his throat so his airway won’t constrict on him again.  Therefore the sutures they use in the surgery are rather fragile – which is why we have to keep him calm and give him special meals.

I must admit I might have forgotten about these limitations a little bit this evening.   The first problem is I thought his special meal smelled awful good and may have tried to bump his snout out of his bowl – that is until my parents separated us (what they don’t realize is my ultrasonic vocalizations let him know I was onto him).

Quick aside:  why is it called ultrasonic when we have no trouble hearing it?  I suspect it is another one of those human-centric terms.

The second issue arose when I started tornadoing around the living room.  After I did a clockwise triple spin followed by a double counterclockwise rotation, I bounced off the wall by the stairs and then ran up to Sambuca.  I did my patented downward dog double paw slap in front of him…no response.  I repeated the whole routine – except I may have varied the number of spins and again returned to Sam to try to get a reaction out of him…still nothing but this time I swear he rolled his eyes at me.

It then dawned on me what my parents had told me about trying to keep Sammy calm.


Once I got out my energy with a spin around the yard I came back in and suggested Sammy come outside and relax on the grass with me.



I’ll keep you posted on Sammy’s progress.


“Scar tissue that I wish you saw
Sarcastic mister know it all
Close your eyes and I’ll kiss you”