A Lesson for The Scribe – Redux

Zoe tried to shrink the size of her modification to the classic scene from “The Princess Bride” in the hopes that this would solve the issues with our last post (and she renamed it just in case).

In case this doesn’t make complete sense, she included the full clip of the original scene in order to give it some context.  Of course, even in this longer version there are references to previous scenes in the movie so I’d recommend you watch the whole movie (or have the book read to you) next time you are under the weather.  While I hope this never happens to you, it is a great “I don’t feel well” film.  We promise.  And we know.

A Lesson for Zoe

A couple weeks back we had another trip to the dog trainers up at Tops.  Since Zoe got injured, we haven’t been there for over a month.  One of our last visits there I had a blast.  We had to do all these bizarre things that were like a puzzle or a game.  For instance, we had to walk up this set of 6 stairs…which is nothing for me…except at each step we had to stop and wait.  At the top, the staircase went down again on the other side, and we had to do it all again – one step at a time.  A great game but if I am to be honest a really stupid staircase.

Then there was the box games.  The first was similar to the stair trick, in that we had to put our front feet in a box, pause, bring in our back feet (keeping our front feet in), and then step out with our front paws, wait again and then step out completely.   I got it pretty much on my first try.  Zoe eventually got it too but it wasn’t as natural for her.

Anyhow, that was a lot of fun as it challenged my problem solving abilities.  And it was cool as the trainer would have the struggling Zoe watch me (saying the whole time “she is really smart!”) and then Zoe would start to get it.  Yay Me!  Then the last trip to Tops was fun but for a totally different reason.  For one, it was the first time we had gone there when it wasn’t stormy (which usually meant snow).  Second, because of the great weather we got to go outside for some drills.  This was, in part, due to my parents describing to coach what happened to Zoe (her Mohawk giving it away)… and restating that recall issues are why they are really trying training.

After describing the events that resulted in her (Zoe’s) hospitalization, it was determined that we needed to seriously only work on our recall.  Not bragging, but I pretty much caught on right away…Zoe not so much.

So, the next step was to let Zoe “be free” but on a long leash.  When signaled, Mom called Zoe to “come”.  If she did, she got praises galore.  If not, then she got a sharp tug on the leash as a negative reinforcement.  After a couple of rounds of this treatment, Zoe started to catch on – not wanting to leave Mom’s side.  So we upped the ante and went outside where there was more distractions.  Somehow, a co-worker of our trainer managed to arrange having two BUNNIES inside the fenced enclosure we were now in – but still on leash.  Zoe and I spotted the furry little XXXX almost instantly.  I sniffed them but waited.  ZOe did not.  She went straight for them and got reprimanded again – much to her chagrin as she was sure she could have cleared the fence and eventually caught them.

Next, it was off to the enclosure with REALLY high fences (the trainer was careful to inspect all fences top to bottom to ensure Zoe was safe)…and we were allowed “off leash”.  I trotted around having a blast and getting lots of good sniffs.  Zoe was still allowed to “be free” but was still secretly under the control of the teacher.

“Come Zoe!” our Mother yelled.  Zoe sprinted toward her and then got distracted about 5 feet from her (I may have been involved in that distraction…but then again maybe I wasn’t).  Reprimand.  Then we were freed again.

“Come Zoe!” This time she bee-lined for Mom but rather than sprinting she sort of wandered over to her.  This did not get her the normal negative response – but rather got the “adults” to chuckle a bit.  In the meantime, I continued to run around free, a big grin on my face, and now and again coming to sit in front of Dad should he utter the “Come” command.

The bottom line is that this training session was maybe my favorite – except I didn’t get a whole lot of mental stimulation but a lot of laughs.  Best thing ever to have my sis getting so much training!

The good news is that the training paid off big time.  Today when our parents got home and we were let out into the backyard, Zoe noticed immediately that one of our gates was ajar (left open by our landscaper’s partner, we think?) and without hesitation, took off with that look of sprinting through the neighborhood in her eyes.  Mom, heart racing that Zoe would once again have a negative interaction with a car, shouted “COME!”

Zoe came to a screeching halt, turned and returned to the backyard where she got lots of “Good Zoe” and pats and rubs and “GOOD ZOE”!  And treats and more Good Zoe.  She was so proud of herself, and, well, I think she deserves that.  I think my Mom’s heart is still pounding hours later…but I will acknowledge, they love that girl.  And me!!

Maybe she is learnable!?!

The Tempest


The Nose Knows: A Scent of Tilly

On Thursday, my parents got home from work a little late – which is frustrating when it chews into our dinner time.  This time the insult wasn’t only on my gastronomic system but also to my olfactory sense.  See, they came home (late) smelling like not 1, not 2, but THREE different dogs.  Which of course did not get by either Zoe or I.  Apparently they delayed reuniting with us after a long day of work in order to visit a friend/co-worker of my parent’s at her house; a house shared with Bob, Lily, and Winston.  And Bob was shedding, I tell you what!  Fortunately for them, they gave us some good pets, a decent dinner, and an evening stroll – so all was forgiven.  After a bit.  After all, as many of you know, loyalty is a big deal to us people!

Then on Friday, a day we are relegated to our crates so our house can get cleaned (which, by the way, only lasts about 37.2 seconds after we are let out), we expected our parents to come home early.  At one point around 4 PM, I thought I heard them pull up in the driveway, but the garage door never opened up so I went back to sleep…in my cramped crate.  While Zoe snored rather loudly in her palacial crate.  Why she steals mine for snoozes when my parent’s are home is beyond me.  Hers is huge!

Anywhoo…  as I later found out, they did stop by to consolidate into a single car while they ran some errands.  Unbeknownst to Mom, Dad had planned a short detour to go by the post-office where they were going to drop off our DNA test…I won’t relate to you the torture we had to endure for them to get the samples other than our cheeks were abraded with some little wiry brush thing.  And you know it was bad if you saw how many treats we received to help us through this event.  Anyhow, rather than turning left where they normally would have in order to complete the original errand (similar to the way we came home from the hardware store in a recent post), they went straight.  As they approached Deerfield Rd – which has pretty significant traffic especially on a Friday at this time of day – they saw a dog running toward the intersection, off leash, and with no human in sight.  Since they were stopped at the light and traffic was heavy passing in front of them, all they could do was sit and send telepathic messages to this dog to turn around and go home.  And just as the pup got to the curb, it turned around and ran in the direction that s/he had come from.  Finally the light changed, but only for the cars in the left-turn lane.  So they say there waiting while the runner kept trotting away from them.  Then they got the green light and sped – cautiously – in the direction they last saw their target going.  After a block or so, they saw the kid again and Mom jumped out and tried to lure the free-pup into our car.  It appeared as this might work but then something spooked it and…poof…gone again.

So the chase continued – Dad in the car, Mom on foot, and no one in a dirigible (unfortunately).  Around another corner and the pup headed toward a house.  Phew.  It was finally home.  There was a lot of yard work going on by the couple in the house so it made sense to Dad that the pup may have snuck out while they carried out some of the trimmings.  So Dad opened the gate and asked if they had a dog.  “No.  We just got this house for our son and his fiancee.”

“OK.  Sorry for bothering you,” Dad.

At about this time Mom caught up, opened the car door, and offered up a bone they had in the car as a way to attract the run-away so they could get a hold of it and bring it to the local no-kill shelter…the same place they found me and Zoe!   Unfortunately, as it went to sniff the bone, Dad made the mistake of trying to grab it by the collar, and off it went again finding a way into the backyard in which the people were working.

So Dad went back to ask the home owners if they would let him go in the back yard around the back of the garage to see if he could capture this elusive dog.   The husband, sweaty from his efforts to prune one of the trees in the yard, came down from his ladder to help in the search.  Our parent’s new friend and Dad came around the back of the garage while Mom held her post in front with the car doors open (it works for us, so why not?).   The furry little one was obviously freaked out, panting rapidly and hiding in the shade of a sheet of plywood leaning against the garage.  Dad and Jeff (that is the new guys name), slowly approached the panicked pooch, but before they could corner her she took off toward Mom who stopped her from running into the street.  With no other possibilities in front of it, the dog took refuge in the back corner of the garage – an odd glare in her left eye.IMG_1008

The Husband, the Wife, my Dad, and my Mother, converged in the corner and discussed what to do.  The wife went into the house to fetch some water, a bowl, and some popcorn (“what dog doesn’t love popcorn”).  She really didn’t want any of it.  Dad got close enough to get a photo of her tag, asked Mom if she could read it, and Mom said ” that is an Orphan’s tag!”  The Husband (Jeff) pulled the table away from the girl (it was apparent to them all at this point that they were dealing with a very scared little girl) – constantly reassuring her as the table made a crazy eerie screech as it got dragged across the concrete floor of the garage.  This offered Mom enough room to get close enough to her – without freaking her out – to see that the tag on her collar was indeed that of the rescue that we were in – Orphan’s of the Storm.  With water in one hand, her phone in the other, Mom contacted Orphan’s with the tag number on her collar – a girl who was increasingly looking like our newest pack member – while getting the pup to take a few drinks of the water.

Long story short, Tilly (that was her name) had gotten adopted that day.  The guy who rescued her had bought a really sharp new harness for her ( my parent’s never got us anything that nice.  Just sayin’).  However, Tilly was able to back out of it and escape.  She had probably run a good mile or so while he was freaking out not knowing what she’d do since he had just met her.  Thanks to the work of my parents, the very nice homeowners, and the rescue, they were able to connect with her new forever friend.  After a short while, Tilly and the guy with Ohio plates (on his car) were reunited.  The guy restated to all present, that he had just adopted her that day and that she was blind in her left eye.  Mom and Jeff made sure to instill upon her new owner that he better take care of her…or else.  Still in a bit of a state after having his new responsibility run off on him, he swore he’d give her a great forever home.  Satisfied, they let Tilly go off with him – but we do have his cell phone number so we can always check in on her.

So, for two days running they returned home later than expected and smelling of another dog(s).  This time we totally forgave – after doing some exaggerated stretching following our day in our crates (‘specially me) – since we could smell the fear and kennel odor that was all over Tilly and was glad she didn’t get hurt and had a new home to go to.

The Tempest

Sons and Daughters

Last Sunday we got this email:

SambucaI couldn’t believe a year has passed since Sammy went off to college. But looking back at my blog entries I find it is indeed true:


This then means, it is just about a year since Zoe joined our pack.  Together, we sat down and choreographed a wonderful sequence of fun in the backyard to go along with the song Sons & Daughters by the Decemberists.  Unfortunately, the person behind the camera had difficulties with the instructions for panning, zooming, product placement, and appropriate background images…limes???? really??? that was supposed to be our feline brothers.  Overall, Zoe was fine with how it turned out after a few edits, and the edition of an overlay of the soundtrack, which was the same song that was playing over the AppleTV while we were performing.

Interesting side note:  the singer and songwriter of the music in the video grew up in small college town: Missoula, Montana.  This just so happens to be where my NM grandfather grew up and the destination of my parents first road trip (a story I have yet to hear the full version)!  I guess that had something to do with my sister’s name, but who knows…  Apparently they have a great school system there: Grandfather ended up going to Stanford and getting a doctorette in Physics and what other musician uses the word “dirigible” in lyrics?!? And this isn’t the only instance in which his eloquence is on display in their music.   My point being, I really want to visit Missoula at some point, and hike to the M that they inscribed at the top of a local peak near the University campus commemorating … Ms. Montana!

The Tempest


Cinema Verite

Aside from occasional cameos or acting parts, most film directors sit behind the camera to direct the action…Zoe chose to sit on it in this rather long and, in my opinion, boring video she made yesterday.   There are some good moments in which I appear (un-credited I might add) both directly on camera and indirectly through a reflection in the roof.  I think with a little editing, some product placement, less sitting on the camera, and a better soundtrack, she could have made this a much more mainstream (and shorter) flick.  However, she is the filmmaker in the family so she has final edit rights.  At 3+ minutes it is unlikely to go viral or make any money but I suppose for an artist that wasn’t her objective.   I’ll stick to writing…

The Tempest

The Nose Knows

So I “forgot” to tell this story from a week or so ago [the Scribe was not available to take transcription and they have a new password for their computer which they did not share with me].


Anyhow, after Zoe returned home from the Michigan Ordeal she had two scars where her Port-Holes were inserted into her chest cavity to alleviate the build up of gases following her bilateral pneumothoracic insult (this is the medical jargon I picked up while I was in the waiting rooms which basically means – collapsed lungs).  Once we were home I thought she smelled weird…she thought I smelled a bit off following my run in with the previously mentioned stripped stink factory (skunk).   However, although my unintended aroma aura was still present the following Monday – apparent even to my parents – the smell emanating from Zoe’s right side scab was not something that would gracefully fade away given time, but one that was going to continue to get worse if not treated.  Now I am no doctor – and my parents say they are…if PhD’s count for anything…but I could smell an infection building in her wound (the “doctors” failed to pick up on the odor).   However, to their credit, they learned that a dog’s nose is far superior to the human eye when it comes to such matters.  As I understand it, for it was before my time, back in the day Montana was the one who was the first to identify Sammy had some bad hot spots on his sides.  How the humans missed all of this would still be a mystery to me if I hadn’t noticed their absurdly inadequate nasal appendage.

In short, I saved the day for Zoe as there was still a stitch in her right side that was causing a bit of aggravation to her and possibly resulted in a mild infection.  Once the stitch was removed and some topical cream was applied for a few days the odor dissipated and Zoe was back to her normal self.   This isn’t to say that I was happy with her.  I scolded her for a good part of the ride home…not only because she got herself in a dangerous situation, but mostly because her actions have caused us to miss going to the dog park for what seems like months.

I guess my point of this story is quite simple when boiled down to the essence of what I related to you:

It is no wonder you humans have reduced introductions to a simple hand-shake since your noses are completely inadequate.


Now we are looking to the future (which according to us is apparently WSW) which we are sure will contain lots of other extraordinary adventures.

Version 2

The Tempest